Canada is experiencing some shortages and has decided to tap into its reserves — of maple syrup.

The association of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers – we’ll call it the ‘OPEC’ of maple syrup – is releasing around 50 million pounds from its strategic maple syrup reserves, which is almost half of the stockpile.

The reserve was created to keep maple syrup in stock during bad harvest seasons or when demand spikes.

This year’s hot, short spring leading to a lower yield and while Quebec harvested around 133 million pounds, sales rose 21% compared to last year – straining supplies.

“The pandemic helped in our case because we’re seeing people cook more at home and use more local products,” QMSP spokesperson Helene Normandin said.

“It’s not just in Quebec the demand is increasing.”

To Markets …

Local stocks fell sharply at the opening bell today after a rough session on Wall Street to end the week.

But by midday EST, the ASX 200 clawed back to a fall of only 12.30 points or 0.17%, to 7,264.60.

According to Morningstar with Dow Jones, stocks, oil prices and government-bond yields slumped on Friday after South Africa raised the alarm over a fast-spreading strain of the coronavirus, triggering concern that travel restrictions and other curbs will spoil the global economy’s recovery.

Asian and European stocks plunged as fears about the new coronavirus variant hit sentiment.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 2.7%, a seven-week low, and the Nikkei Stock Average closed 2.5% lower.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index, which tracks the performance of companies across 17 European companies dropped 3.6%.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.5%, the biggest one-day percentage drop since October 2020, the S&P 500 lost 2.3% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.2%.

Investors seemed to be following the playbook they pulled out early in the pandemic: sell travel stocks, buy work-from-home stocks.

“This is a market that is well practiced in terms of reacting to Covid,” said Jessica Bemer, a portfolio manager at Easterly Investment Partners.

Moderna rose 21%, or $56.24, to $329.63. Pfizer gained 6.1%, or $3.11. to $54.

And Oil US crude oil tumbled 13% to $68.15 – which might encourage the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and a group of Russia-led allies to pause steps to pump more oil when they meet next week.

“If the announcement is, the vaccine works on this, back up we go,” said Adam Webb, chief investment officer of Blue Creek Capital Management. “If the vaccines don’t work against it, then good night Vienna.”

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for November 29 [intraday]:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

 

The biggest small cap winner today was Pancontinental Energy (ASX:PCL) up 100%, followed by Amani Gold (ASX:ANL) and Ovato (ASX:OVT) both up 50%, along with Minrex Resources (ASX:MRR) and Cann Global (ASX:CGB) both up 25% – all on no news.

Also up on no news was Biotron (ASX:BIT) up 25%, Volt Power (ASX:VPR) up 22%, Norwood Systems (ASX:NOR) up 13% and Scorpion Minerals (ASX:SCN) up 13%.

Also up 13% was Talon Energy (ASX:TPD) after its partner Strike Energy (ASX:STX) released an update on drilling operations at the Walyering-5 well in the Perth Basin.

Strike said final depth of 3,435 metres was reached and positive indications of the presence of gas and conventional quality reservoir was observed.

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

The biggest loser today was Sabre Resources (ASX:SBR) down 27% on no news, followed by New Talisman Gold (ASX:NTL) who dropped 25% after releasing its preliminary half year accounts to 30 September.