• It was a week of mixed fortunes that left the ASX 200 up 0.5%
  • Real Estate, InfoTech and Materials all banked > 3% gains
  • The week’s big winner was Kula Gold, up 150% and one of five to break the ton

 

It really was a week of ups and downs, with the benchmark losing ground early before surging happily mid-week to hit a high for the month at 7,105 points – well above the paltry 6,780 we were left with when October finally decided to call it quits a couple of weeks earlier.

Since then, though, things have been a tad mercurial – a double dose of iffy data from the ABS put the worries back into local investors.

For starters, September wage growth came in at an all-time record high – usually a rock-solid indication that we’re staring into the abyss of fresh inflationary drama.

(That wasn’t quite the case this time, though – that wage growth of 1.4% for the September quarter included a bunch of extra money stemming from the Fair Work Commission’s annual wage review decision, and a bonus round of paycheque madness driven by a long-overdue correction to workers in the Aged Care sector).

The following day, unemployment figures for October hit the airwaves, showing a 0.1% increase to 3.7% – again, not the greatest of news, but moving in the right direction as far as the RBA is concerned.

The Board is targeting 4.5% on the bread lines between now and the middle of next year as part of its War on Everything Costing Extra Every Time You Blink, so the jury’s still out on what moves the RBA will be making when it meets to stick its snout in the trough at the beginning of December.

 

Where did we land at the end of the week?

In more specific terms, on balance it wasn’t that bad of a week – a look at the sector performances gives a pretty solid idea of how varied things were from top to bottom.

There were solid efforts from Real Estate, InfoTech and Materials, which all banked better-than 3% lifts over the past five days, but the poor old Energy sector took a somewhat unwarranted beating at the hands of a slippery oil market.

The news overnight was an almost 5% collapse in crude oil prices, as weak Chinese economic performance teamed up with a supply glut in the US to turn investors away from buying barrels of black goo.

And the Telcos took a hit this week as well – the Great Optus Outage of 2023 playing a major role in unsettling the market, particularly among those who suddenly found themselves without any service at all… not even the ability to piggyback across networks to call 000 in an emergency.

It emerged on Friday morning that 228 attempts to call 000 failed completely due to the Optus failure, which is a horrifying thought considering the possibility that each of those calls could have been life-or-death.

For what it’s worth, Optus boss Kelly Bayer Rosmarin says that the company has since done a “welfare check” on each of those customers, which is really just rubbing salt in the wounds.

“Hey… Optus here… just calling to make sure you didn’t die because your phone stopped working…”

I’m having cold sweats just thinking about being the poor call centre drone forced to make those 228 calls.

 

asx winner Kula Gold
Chart via Marketindex.com.au

 

In more granular detail, it’s hardly surprising that with everything that’s happened this week as mentioned above, plus the ongoing horror show in Gaza and Ukraine, that gold is still in the good books with investors.

While the price in Aussie dollars for an ounce of shiny goodness has retreated about $20 since the start of the week, it remains firmly entrenched above the AUD$3,000 mark for now – and the goldies are making the most of it.

The XGD All Ords Gold Index banked a 1.88% climb for the week – indeed, it jumped 2.5% Friday alone, raking back a dip the index suffered on Thursday and adding a bit of a cherry on top for good measure.

But overall, it was the XJR ASX 200 Resources index that claimed the lion’s share of the winnings this week, adding 1.9% to pip the goldies at the post.

 

asx winner Kula Gold
Chart via Marketindex.com.au

So… if you’d be so kind as to pass me the envelope, I shall announce the Big Winners for the week.

… and the Gold Bogie goes to …

 

ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks from 09-13 October:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

 

This week was a banger for a select handful of Small Cappers, five of which cracked the almighty ton in terms of gains since this time last week.

Up top was Kula Gold, bringing home a 150% price hike thanks to a two-fisted clutch of announcements that set the market alight – namely confirmation that the drills are set to spin at the company’s “substantial” Cobra Lithium Prospect in WA next week – and that the drilling operation is ready-funded, thanks to a handsome $650,000 boost from a placement of shares at the issue price of $0.013 a pop.

Techgen Metals also made its way into our Winner’s table this week, thanks to a meteoric rise off the back of a very flashy exploration update delivered on 10 November which has seen it jump 144% for the week.

As the week drew to a close, however, Techgen is in a trading halt called early on Friday morning – with the price as high as it as (and apparently holding well enough), it makes perfect sense for the company to launch a top dollar cap raise.

Thermal energy storage mob 1414 Degrees held its AGM, allowing CEO Matthew Squire the opportunity to address the masses and deliver some good news.

Squire evidently hit all the right notes, and 1414 Degrees is 116% better off as a result.

Firebrick Pharma has made some serious hay from an independent review into the Phase 3 trial data of it’s common-cold battler Nasodine, which nearly sank the company completely when the data was first released in early September.

The review of the data reportedly found “inaccuracies in trial efficacy data”, which in turn means that there couldn’t possibly be any reliable conclusions drawn – leaving Firebrick off the hook for a dud trial, and back on the menu for investors on the hunt for a pharma speccie to throw money at.

Which they did – Firebrick’s up 111% since this time last week.

And rounding out the big winners is Reward Minerals, throwing up a 100% lift on news that it’s shaping up to be the beneficiary of Kalium Lakes’ mid-year collapse into insolvency, which the company blamed on interference from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund in the months leading up to everything falling in a heap.

Administrators were appointed, and it emerged this week that Reward has entered into an exclusivity period with receivers working on behalf of Kalium Lakes, and is set to purchase both KLL subsidiaries Kalium Lakes Potash and Kalium Lakes Infrastructure.

Essentially that gives Reward ownership of Kalium Lakes’ promising Beyondie sulphate of potash project in WA. The market was pleased.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks from 18-22 September:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

 

HOW THE WEEK SHOOK OUT

 

Monday 13 November, 2023

Infinity Lithium (ASX:INF) has secured significant Spanish government funding for its headline act, the San José lithium project joint venture entity Tecnología Extremeña del Litio for advancement of said project – which, you can probably gather, is in Spain.

It’s an award of €18.8 million (A$31 million) grant funding from the government’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, and INF’s MD and CEO Ryan Parkin is describing it as a “significant milestone” for Infinity Lithium and the San José lithium project, of which it owns 75%.

On the way up again is the junior explorer Ronin Resources (ASX:RON) rising strongly on Monday, living off the lithium fumes of last week.

Beyond its flagship Colombian projects, including Vetas, a large, high-grade thermal coal operation, it’s also joined the recent frothy hunt for white gold in Canada. Lithium, that is.

It’s been focusing on the Hornby Lake lithium project in Ontario, where, about a week ago on Nov 6, it confirmed the sighting of numerous pegmatites, which it’s in the process of assessing for LCT-based mineralisation. Those assay results are expected some time in December.

And Aussie imaging tech specialist 4D Medical (ASX:4DX) says that from January 1 next year, the notoriously difficult American healthcare world will start helping notoriously troubled American patients.

4DX surged on the news its scanning device has been included into the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) – which is the US federal agency providing health coverage through Medicare and the rest of those weird US health things.

So from 1 January 2024, XV LVAS scans conducted in a US hospital outpatient facility for Medicare patients can be billed to CMS. Some 65.7 million Americans are enrolled in the program.

Also out of the medtech space, an update from Cleanspace (ASX:CSX) has the stock higher on Monday. October sales have continued growth trend up some +50% v PCP, and currently, CSX is running ahead of expectations for sales growth in FY24.

 

Tuesday 14 November, 2023

MetalsTech (ASX:MTC) made short work of Tuesday, ahead by about 125% when we last looked at about 3pm.

MTC yesterday shared some fine, fine results of a Scoping Study the team has done at its 100%-owned Sturec Gold Mine in central Slovakia.

“The Study confirms Sturec Gold Mine can support a Base Case scenario with an underground-only mining operation delivering gold and silver concentrate production of ~1.134Moz AuEq production over an initial mine life of 9 years at 2.3Mtpa plant production capacity.”

The digger says, based on a forecast gold price of US$1,850/oz (Consensus LT Forecast), the Sturec Gold Mine ‘exhibits an operating margin of >200%’.

In another cracking update, Cooper Metals (ASX:CPM) said it had some significant assay results in hand from its Brumby Ridge and Raven Cu-Au Prospects at the Mt Isa East Cu-Au Project.

Initial RC drill hole 23MERC024 intercepted 50m at 1.32% Cu from 80m including 2m @ 6.1% Cu & 0.23g/t Au at the Brumby Ridge Cu-Au Prospect, which is the best assayed drill intercept at the Mt Isa East Cu-Au Project to date.

Also making progress was  Kingfisher Mining (ASX:KFM), after lobbing an update from its ongoing exploration at Mick Well within the highly prospective Gascoyne Province.

KFM executice director and CEO James Farrell says they’re seeing some significant additional carbonatites and REE mineralisation.

“The latest discoveries confirm Mick Well is a very large and exciting REE system that extends over an area of more than 7km by 4km.”

 

Wednesday 15 November, 2023

Up enormously – but off one of the biggest collapses in 2023 – it looks like Firebrick Pharma (ASX:FRE) has had a reprieve. And a good one at that.

Firebrick has been developing and commercialising a povidone-iodine nasal spray called Nasodine with all the international trademarks and patents – some of which have already been granted in the US, Europe and here.

There’s been six clinical trials to date for Nasodine, including a Phase 1 study, three Phase 2 studies and two Phase 3 studies, which have affirmed the product’s safety and generally supported its efficacy as an antimicrobial nasal spray with utility in a range of uses.

But… Firebrick has been continuing its investigation into the results of the 2022-2023 Phase 3 common cold trial (2023 Trial), which in short, it reckons was a dud.

Now an indie expert agrees:

“The model outcomes strongly indicate major inaccuracies in the 2023 trial data, casting doubt on its reliability. This raises significant concerns about using the 2023 data to draw conclusions about the efficacy of the active versus placebo in that trial.”

So maybe the spray does cure the common cold after all…

Findi (ASX:FND) was up over 100% early and while buying calmed some in the sharp light of arvo, the gains were still impressive.

Everything you need to know about FND is in this rather timely peice of journalism Eddy wrote till the wee hours and filed just before the open. What a legend. What a gun. What a shame he’s too skint to put ten quid on the nose.

… because yesterday morning FND dropped the news that its Indian subsidiary, Transaction Solutions International, had raised circa $38 million via placement ahead of its groundbreaking Indian IPO this week.

That money has come via leading Indian investment group, Piramal Alternatives, by way of Compulsory Convertible Debenture which are compulsorily convertible to equity at IPO.

“The entry equity valuation is based on an FY23 EBITDA multiple and reflects a pre-IPO market capitalisation of $153.0 million (post money $190.6 million) ahead of TSI India’s intended listing on the Bombay Stock Exchange,” Findi says.

 

Thursday 16 November, 2023

Leading the Small Caps winners early in the day was Kula Gold (ASX:KGD), which added another 57% to yesterday’s solid results, off the back of yesterday’s two-banger announcement bundle that told the market that drilling is about to commence at the company’s “substantial” Cobra Lithium Prospect approximately 20km west of the world’s largest hard rock lithium mine, Greenbushes in Western Australia.

Drills are set to spin next week, with Kula revealing that the target strike has been increased to ~3km and up to 500m wide, and that the “initial RC drilling programme is 1,000m but is flexible to extend the programme for a prolonged period based on favourable mineralisation/rock types”.

The drilling programme is also now fully-funded, thanks to the completion of a $650,000 boost from a placement of shares at the issue price of $0.013 per share.

But there was a late charger in the afternoon, after it was announced that Reward Minerals (ASX:RWD) has entered into an exclusivity period with receivers working on behalf of Kalium Lakes (ASX:KLL), advising the market that it looks like a deal’s been struck that will see Reward pick up KLL’s subsidiaries, Kalium Lakes Potash and Kalium Lakes Infrastructure.

Oceana Lithium (ASX:OCN) was also flying high, on fresh news that the company has identified a gaggle of high priority targets at its Monaro lithium project, following successful fieldwork at the James Bay site.

175 rock samples have been submitted to ALS Laboratories in Val-d’Or, Québec for whole-rock analysis, with results due sometime in December – but in the meantime, the company says that the fieldwork revealed “Elevated levels of Rubidium (Rb) and low Potassium (K) to Rubidium ratios coincident with favourable geology and magnetic signatures”, which have helped pinpoint where Oceana is going to point the drills next time around.

And ENRG Elements (ASX:EEL) posted a significant bump on news that the sale of 90% of its Ghanzi West Copper-Silver Project has been completed.

Kavango Resources has emerged as the buyer, snagging 90% of the issued capital of the company’s wholly owned subsidiaries Icon Trading Company and Ashmead Holdings for a cool $2.5 million.

 

Friday 17 November, 2023

The Stockhead collective Spidey-sense was left tingling on Friday regarding the absolutely flying share price of the Aussie regtech play Identitii (ASX:ID8), which – while not exactly in crisis – has no idea who or why or how it’s surged so nicely late on Friday in the arvo.

Ah. I’m not the only – the ASX speeding cops have issued (at 3.35pm) a price query… A quick peek under the hood shows there wasn’t much official happening in the life of ID8, but a bunch of well-directed hack attacks (which we’ve been watching of late) could quickly change all that for this security software provider.

Also on Friday, we’re enjoying the adventures of Aussie edu-SaaS play, KNeoMedia (ASX:KNM) which booked a +50% rocket this morning.

KNM says it’s in receipt of a 2nd tranche of cash, paid out by the New York Department of Education, which is deploying KNM’s ‘Connect All Kids’ education initiative.

The $700k from New York is part 2 of a 3 part series.

KNeoMedia says that it is in talks with the New York DOE around expanding its current offering, both through growing existing usage of the company’s tech and through the development of other complementary products, and as such it anticipates further payments from the US in due course.

Tasfoods (ASX:TFL)  meanwhile, has received ACCC approval to sell its Betta Milk and Meander Valley Dairy businesses to Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA), for a cool $11 million.

It’s a sweet deal for both sides – Tasfoods pockets the cash, Bega gets the businesses as well as a perpetual, royalty free licence to use the Pyengana Dairy brand for milk and cream products in Australia.

Now with the offiicial ACCC nod, TFL  expects all the paperwork and glad-handing to be done by the end of the calendar year.

Among the diggers, MinRex Resources (ASX:MRR) is surging +33% moments from the close of trade.

It’s on the hunt up near Global Lithium Resources’ (ASX:GL1) renowned spod-bearing-pegmatite-swarming Archer deposit.

Rising like the price of magnetite in late trade, Magnetite Mines (ASX:MGT) on Wednesday signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pacific Partnerships, which is a subsidiary of the giant CIMIC Group

MGT says the MoU is to support the development, and – potentially – financing of the Razorback Iron Ore Project, and to establish a foundation for Early Contractor
Involvement

“The MoU contemplates a consortium-based approach to the development of green iron hubs in the Upper Spencer Gulf in line with emerging South Australian  Government strategy,” the company added.

Finally, up circa 15% after lunch Friday, another local Conspiring-in-Canada lithium stock – Battery Age Minerals (ASX:BM8) – says it’s been green lit by Ontario’s Ministry of Mines to continue Phase 2 exploration drilling across the entire 5km prospective corridor at its Falcon Lake lithium project.

Earlier drilling in said spot returned an intercept of 19.1m at 1.34% Li2O – and there’s more than 30 new targets identified through its summer field work program.

Formerly the company known as Pathfinder Resources (ASX:PF1), BM8 is smack bang in the heart of another of Canada’s prime lithium exploration spots (Green Technology Metals (ASX:GT1) is a neighbour), the company says Falcon Lake is  a consistently prospective lithium address.

 

IPOs this week

Not that I’m aware of, but there’s a good shot that I might be wrong – I’ve been flat on my back and leaking guts all over the place after surgery a few weeks ago, and only got back to work on Wednesday.

If there was something and I’ve missed it, I promise I’ll make it up to you next week.*

 

* I almost definitely won’t. Just so we’re all on the same page.