US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and our PM Scott Morrison announced today that the three countries are teaming up in a new security partnership called ‘AUKUS’.

“The first major initiative of AUKUS will be to deliver a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia,” Morrison said.

The submarines will be built in Adelaide over the next 18 months, but the PM stressed they would be nuclear-powered – not nuclear-armed.

“[The] future of each of our nations – and indeed the world – depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead,” Biden added, not even mentioning China at all.

 

To Markets …

The ASX 200 is up 51.10 points or 0.69% at midday today to 7,468.10.

According to Morningstar, some US investors have voiced concerns that the economic rebound wouldn’t be as fast as they previously expected.

The spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, an economic slowdown in China and supply-chain difficulties have all dampened sentiment.

But global oil prices extended a recent rally, driven in part by disruption to output caused by Hurricane Ida and the US Energy Information Administration reporting that US crude oil inventories fell by 6.4 million barrels last week to 417.4 million barrels, the lowest since September 2019.

The Brent crude price rose by US$1.86 or 2.5% to US$75.46 a barrel and the US Nymex crude price added US$2.15 or 3.1% to US$72.61 a barrel.
Chevron shares gained 2.1%, to $98.24 and Woodside (ASX:WPL) was up 2.58% to $21.06.

Copper prices rose by 1.9%, aluminium prices lifted 2.2% after further cuts to production in China, and tin was up by 2.4%, but lead fell by 1.6%.

The gold futures price fell by US$12.30 an ounce or 0.7% to U$1,794.80 an ounce with spot gold trading near US$1,793 an ounce at the US close.

And iron ore shed US$6.95 a tonne or 5.8% to US$113.40 a tonne as China’s steel production slumped to the lowest level in 17 months due to strict government output curbs.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for September 16 [intraday]:

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

 

The biggest small cap winner today was Jupiter Energy (ASX:JPR) which jumped 126% off the back of news of a project development plan for gas utilisation at its Akkar North (East Block), Akkar East and West Zhetybai oilfields in Kazakhstan.

The agreement is with Sleipnir Technologies – a Kazakh registered company that has a background in oil trading and the design and development of oilfield infrastructure.

Jupiter and Sleipnir are aiming to complete and lodge the plan with the Kazakh Ministry of Energy by early 1Q 2022.

Next up was Twenty Seven Co. (ASX:TSC) up 50% after announcing it had identified new lithium and tin targets at its Trident project in NSW.

Locksley Resources (ASX:LKY) rose 38% after jumping into a trading halt pending a capital raising announcement.

It was followed by Cullen Resources (ASX:CUL) up 35% off the back of news it had identified nickel sulphides in ultramafics at its Wongan Hills project.

Delecta Limited (ASX:DLC) was up 27% on no news.

Toro Energy (ASX:TOE) was up 24% after announcing the first phase of an updated scoping level engineering study for the standalone mining and processing of the ‘Lake Maitland’ uranium deposit in WA is now complete.

And Cellmid (ASX:CDY) was also up 24% after news it was merging with BLC Cosmetics – which is owned by fellow ASX listee HNG (ASX:HGL).

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

 

The biggest loser was Carnegie Clean Energy (ASX:CCE) down 33%, followed by Wooboard Tech (ASX:WOO) down 25%, and YPB Group (ASX:YPB) down 17% – all on no news.

Ioneer (ASX:INR) dropped 16% despite announcing a deal involving a joint venture with US$10b mining giant Sibanye-Stillwater.