It wasn’t quite a direct route from optimism to pessimism this morning, but local markets opened with a much more cautious tone following a brief dose of exuberance yesterday.

Those Tuesday gains followed a strong US lead, after Massachusetts-based biotech Moderna reported promising early trial results form a COVID-19 vaccine.

Admittedly, the results weren’t peer reviewed and Moderna took advantage of a 20 per cent price surge to announce a $US1.25bn (~$1.9bn) share issue.

Just 24 hours later, markets had turned skeptical following a report from health industry website Stat which raised doubts about the strength of Moderna’s results.

Chalk it up as another day in the Age of ‘Rona, where uncertainty around the health outlook is still the order of the day.

Local markets also absorbed some sobering analysis from CBA economists this morning, who forecast that economic contractions in Australia’s two largest states — Victoria and NSW — will last through to to the end of the 2021 financial year.

In light of all that the ASX has been relatively resilient, with the ASX200 opening around 0.5 per cent lower before climbing back towards even into midday trade.

It was a stronger showing from the Small Ords Index, which shrugged off the negative sentiment to climb by more than 1 per cent — on track for its fourth straight day of gains.

SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm on Wednesday May 20:

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CODE COMPANY PRICE % CHANGE MARKET CAP
GTE Great Western Exploration 0.002 100.00% $2.5M
XST Xstate Resources Ltd 0.002 50.00% $1.4M
TKL Traka Resources Ltd 0.006 50.00% $2.4M
ASN Anson Resources 0.045 50.00% $28.6M
TPD Talon Petroleum Ltd 0.002 50.00% $1.8M
ALT Analytica Ltd 0.003 50.00% $5.3M
ROG Red Sky Energy 0.002 50.00% $1.6M
BAS Bass Oil Ltd 0.002 50.00% $5.0M
OPL Opyl 0.1 38.89% $3.0M
REE Rarex Ltd 0.033 37.50% $10.3M
TMT Technology Metals Australia 0.155 29.17% $16.8M
AQZ Alliance Aviation 2.72 26.51% $342.9M
CPT Cipherpoint 0.02 25.00% $786K
MAY Melbana Energy 0.005 25.00% $11.6M
TEG Triangle Energy Global 0.043 26.47% $15.5M
IBX Imagion Biosystems 0.027 22.73% $20.6M
NWC New World Resources 0.012 20.00% $12.8M
SLZ Sultan Resources 0.155 19.23% $7.6M
ROO Roots Sustainable Agricultural DRC 0.025 19.05% $3.6M
MAN Mandrake Resources 0.034 17.24% $8.8M

 

Healthcare data company Opyl (ASX:OPL) rose by almost 40 per cent in morning trade, after a commercial update in which it highlighted two new revenue-generating contracts “that will increase company revenues over the next three quarters”.

Opyl said it’s on track to reach cashflow break-even in the June quarter. The company attributed its positive momentum to “the rapid transition to focus on digital channels and data optimisation in healthcare as a result of COVID-19”.

And domestic airline group Alliance Aviation (ASX:AQZ) also performed well, after citing a pickup in demand for its charter flight services (particularly from its FIFO clients) due to the ongoing absence of commercial flights during the pandemic.

SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm on Wednesday May 20:

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

CODE COMPANY PRICE % CHANGE MARKET CAP
XPE XPED 0.001 -50.00% $3.5M
PCL Pancontinental Oil&Gas 0.001 -33.33% $8.1M
ICG Inca Minerals Ltd 0.001 -33.33% $4.1M
CAG Cape Range 0.36 -29.41% $34.2M
PGY Pilot Energy 0.015 -25.00% $1.2M
OAR Oakdale Resources Ltd 0.002 -20.00% $1.4M
ATX Amplia Therapeutics 0.125 -19.35% $8.3M
GBR Great Boulder Resources Ltd 0.029 -17.14% $3.9M
EMP Emperor Energy 0.029 -17.14% $2.4M
BRV Big River Gold 0.026 -16.13% $34.3M
TZ TZ 0.034 -15.00% $3.1M
CHK Cohiba Minerals Ltd 0.006 -14.29% $4.0M
GTG Genetic Technologies Ltd 0.006 -14.29% $30.7M
LSR Lodestar Minerals Ltd 0.006 -14.29% $5.1M
PSC Prospect Resources Ltd 0.086 -13.13% $24.6M
NEW Norwest Energy NL 0.004 -12.50% $14.2M
LCT Living Cell Technologies 0.014 -12.50% $8.0M
GNM Great Northern Minerals 0.007 -12.50% $3.8M
RBR RBR Group 0.007 -12.50% $6.1M