StarTrack workers have walked off the job for the second time this month, with thousands of workers beginning a 24 hours strike at midnight Wednesday.

Expect some parcel delays while employees protest the company’s move to hire cheaper contracted labour.

Six major transport operators around the country have recently settled job security agreements, and StarTrack workers want financial security in their jobs too.

“What they want of course is commitments in writing from this company in their agreements that protect that job security – That’s not too much to ask,” Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine said.

Kaine said the federal government needed to step in, and that the rise in online shopping has been “pulling down standards right across the industry.”

To Markets…

The ASX 200 is up 11.9 points or 0.16% at midday today to 7,425.60.

Base metal prices were mixed, with aluminium down 1.2%, and copper down 0.1% after China announced policies aimed at stabilising power supplies for the winter.

But nickel surged to 7-year highs, up 4.5% after Vale cut its nickel output.

Iron ore added US95 cents or 0.8% to US$124.45 a tonne.

And the gold futures price rose by US$14.40 or 0.8% to U$1,784.90 an ounce, while spot gold was trading near US$1,785 an ounce.

European stocks rose as investors reacted to a batch of corporate earnings. The pan-European STOXX 600 index, which tracks the performance of companies across 17 European companies, rose 0.3%.

“By and large companies are reporting decent numbers with an ability to pass on rising costs, without a significant impact on their sales growth numbers,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson told Morningstar with Dow Jones.

“While that’s encouraging, most of this ability to pass on these costs predates the recent surge in energy prices,” he said.
In North America, stocks have gained in recent days on strong earnings reports. Problems like labor shortages and higher prices for raw materials haven’t eaten much into profits.

That’s giving investors reason to look past supply-chain issues and seize on the strength of these corporations, said Carol Schleif, the deputy chief investment officer for BMO Family Office.

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for October 21 [intraday]:

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

The biggest small cap winner today was Centrex metals (ASX:CXM) up a whopping 214% after its 100% owned subsidiary Agriflex Pty Ltd signed a term sheet with Samsung for the Ardmore phosphate project.

It’s kind of a big deal – Samsung is one of the world’s largest traders in fertilisers and has representatives in 73 offices in 43 countries around the world.

The Term Sheet is for the first 3 years of production from the planned 800,000 tonnes per annum from Ardmore, with Samsung to be the sole and exclusive marketing representative for sales into Korea, Japan, Indonesia, India and Mexico.

Next up was EP&T Global (ASX:EPX) who jumped 56% after upgrading its annualised recurring revenue forecast, expecting growth from $5.3 million at June 30 2021, to $9.8 million by 30 June 2022.

That’s a massive increase of 85% – which the company credits to a 43% growth in annualised contract value in FY21 to $10.9 million.

“We are well positioned to capitalise on future sales opportunities with an ever-expanding list of verticals including commercial office, retail, hospitals, schools, hotels, clubs, and industrial,” CEO Trend Knox said.

“We are determined to become the world’s most trusted brand in building energy efficiency.”

And both up 50% on no news were Analytica Limited (ASX:ALT) and Volt Power Group (ASX:VPR).

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

The biggest loser was Oakridge Metals (ASX:OAK) down 50%, followed by Newpeak Metals (ASX:NPM) down 25% – both on no news.