Local markets are putting on a decent show to kickstart a new week, led by some fun action for the big name miners and lithium punters.

At around 12.30pm on Monday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 is up by 71.7 points or 0.95% to 7,639.00, after the benchmark logged a new 20-day low on Friday.




Markets local and across the region found some of the old bouyancy on Monday, still dripping as we are following the total bath everyone took in the wake of the sharp selloff last week driven by renewed worries the US Fed will hold off on rate cuts and fresh outlandish attacks across the Middle East.

Fans of this show will be painfully aware that the Aussie sharemarket has had a rotten run of about 10 sessions, so with both the miners and the healthcare companies picking up the scent, almost all the other sectors have found some early form.

The top performing big name stocks so far today are South32 (ASX:S32) and Pexa (ASX:PXA) up 6.1% and 5.2% respectively.

It always helps when the blood plasma biotech monster CSL (ASX:CSL) jumpes by well over 2% as well.

After this morning’s hustle and bustle, the ASX200 has lost 1.9% over the last five days, making it all but virtually unchanged over the last year to date.

All sectors except energy were happily trading in the green near lunch.


Despite the strength of the greenback lately, the AUD rose 0.3% overnight. It was fetching 64.39 US cents shortly after the opening bell.

The problem for Energy stocks has been the significant fall across global oil markets.

WTI crude futures fell to around $US81.5 per barrel on Monday, sliding toward four-week lows as geopolitical problems between Iran and Israel couldn’t be mollified by the apparently gentle riposte out of Jerusalem after Tehran lobbed a bunch of explosive things at Israel last week.

Iran is the third largest producer in OPEC which exports most of its oil to China and other countries outside the US financial system.

On the demand side, global economic uncertainties and fears that the US Federal Reserve will keep interest rates higher for longer weighed on the outlook. Fresh US data also suggests US crude inventories jumped by 2.7 million barrels, nearly double what was expected by analysts.

Both the Small Ords (XSO) and the XEC Emerging Companies indices were higher at lunchtime.

ASX Indices at lunch on Monday



On Friday, the tech-obese Nasdaq index toppled by about 320 points, or 2.1%, to close at 15,282.01kgs.

The gargantuan US techy-index got pantsed by the 10% pantsing of chubby chipmaker Nvidia and the 9% decline in Netflix (NFLX) body fat.

With the waistline of both tech giants tightening quickly, the broader S&P 500 also struggled to hold its elastic up, losing 45 points, or about 0.9%.

Both big American indices have sweated out 6 straight losing sessions, with the S&P 500 dipping below 5,000 on Friday.

In this time the “Magnificent 7” lost a combined $US1 trillion of market value within a Wall Street trimming of almost 4.5%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, however, managed a 0.4% gain, adding 211.02 points, or 0.56%, thanks to American Express’s (AXP) post-earnings rise of over 5%.

For the week, the S&P 500 lost more than 3%, netting its worst weekly performance since March 2023. As it stands, the S&P 500, which as posted three straight weekly losses.

The S&P 500 is now more than 5% off its 52-week high, part of a market pullback that has been largely driven by tempered expectations for rate cuts amid sticky prices. Economists and strategists now see the Federal Reserve waiting until at least September to lower the cost of borrowing money.

The Nasdaq Composite fell 5.5% for the week, logging its fourth straight down week and its longest negative streak in more than two years. For the week, the Dow gained 0.01%, with the blue-chip index posting its first positive week of the last three weeks.

So on the Mag 7 front, Netflix fell more than 9% even after quarterly earnings beat on the top and bottom lines. Subscriber numbers jumped 16 per cent year on year. The streamer also said it would no longer report paid memberships starting in 2025.

Nvidia lost nearly 10% and Super Micro Computer (SMC) plunged more than 23%.

Those moves come as the S&P 500 posted its worst weekly performance since March 2023 amid growing fears around the path of inflation and monetary policy.

Around the hood, China’s central bank held its 1-year and 5-year loan prime rates steady at 3.45% and 3.95%, respectively, amid stronger-than-expected first quarter GDP figures and efforts to stabilise the RMB.

Hong Kong stocks led the rebound with a more than 2% bounce, while shares in Japan, South Korea and the mainland Chinese indices all gained handsomely.




Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for 22 April [intraday]:

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Absolutely circling the ASX from orbit on Monday is local critical mineral digger Base Resources (ASX:BSE) which has revealed a proposed 100% acquisition by NYSE-listed uranium and critical minerals producer, Energy Fuels.

The Americans will acquire 100% of BSE’s issued shares, with the aim to create a global leader in critical minerals.


Next up, Orion Minerals (ASX:ORN) says initial results from diamond drilling at Flat Mine East, part of the Okiep Copper Project in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, are showing the highest-grade drill intercept ever recorded in the area and confirm high-grade copper intercepts returned from drilling completed in 1995 by the previous owners, Goldfields.

Orion’s MD and CEO, Errol Smart, says the “standout intercept” is one of the highest-grade intercepts reported in South Africa for the past 40 years.

Take it away, Errol:

“While it is always exciting to drill such spectacular intersections, they are not unexpected at Okiep. The high-grade copper zones confirmed by our drilling are an important, known feature in the district and at Flat Mines. Our Okiep Mine is reported to have milled 907,000 tonnes grading 21% copper from hand-sorted ore.”

But, do go on:

“For me as a geologist, this underscores the huge potential of Orion’s 641km² mineral right holdings which contain literally hundreds of mapped, outcropping mineralised bodies. Previous owners Newmont and Goldfields, intersected strong copper mineralisation in dozens of bodies with scout drilling but never completed drilling out
the discoveries, due to low copper prices at the time, which resulted in management decisions to curtail exploration.”

Lightning Minerals (ASX:L1M) has inked a binding deal to acquire Bengal Mining Pty Ltd which holds, via its wholly-owned subsidiary Tigre Mineracao Ltda (Tigre), option agreements over two lithium projects, Caraíbas and Sidrônio  in Brazil’s lithium Valley district in the state of Minas Gerais.

Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR)  says a new large lithium soil anomaly with a strike of ~4km has been identified in the recently completed soil sampling program at Lady Grey Project including a peak result of 454ppm Li2O, with a total of 527 samples returning ≥150ppm Li2O.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for 22 April [intraday]:

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Taiton Resources (ASX:T88) is starting a reconnaissance Ultrafine soil sampling program at its Challenger West gold project to uncover its gold potential.

Anson Resources (ASX:ASN) has successfully completed the Green River exploration program after drilling the Leadville Formation to a depth of 11,210 ft at the Bosydaba#1 well.

The dig is located on its just bought Green River Lithium Project in the Paradox Basin, in Utah, US of A.

Drilling intersected the limestone units at a depth of 3,191.26m (10,470ft).

ASN reports that drilling was stopped before penetrating through the Leadville Formation indicating Leadville Formation, Mississippian Unit is likely to continue deeper than the recorded depth of 3,416.81m (11,210 feet).

Thickness, Anson says, is important as it is one of the factors in calculating brine volume used for JORC Resource estimates.

Meanwhile, Viridis Mining and Minerals (ASX:VMM) says it’s received firm commitments in a heavily oversubscribed placement to raise A$8mn via an equity issue of 6.4 million shares at $1.25 per new share to institutional and high net worth investors.

The company says funds raised via the placement will be used to accelerate work at the Colossus Project, including expanded drilling programs, resource definition and scoping studies.

CEO, Rafael Moreno says the very high interest reaffirms the excellent results from the Colossus Ionic Adsorption Clay REE Project to date, and the rapid progress made by the Viridis team.

“Our bolstered financial position will allow Viridis to meet our ambitious development schedule effectively, including maiden resource definition, expanded drilling, optimised metallurgical work, preliminary engineering definition and flowsheet testing associated with the scoping study and commencement of downstream technology development.”

The placement was undertaken following the receipt of initial widespread bulk test work results at Colossus, performed under unoptimised conditions, which Moreno says “were incredibly encouraging.”

Moreno adds that the next key focus will be the Northern Concessions, not only the site of initial production facilities, but where recent testing achieved “a remarkable average of 65% recovery for Dysprosium and Terbium.”

“Viridis is now well capitalised to continue on its accelerated development timeline at Colossus, and is excited to deliver the results from key activities over the coming weeks and months.”

Lithium Energy (ASX:LEL) has more time to complete its acquisition of Novonix’s (ASX:NVX) Mt Dromedary graphite project, adjacent to LEL’s Burke deposit in Queensland.

The Dromedary project is a high-grade natural flake graphite deposit with a 14.3Mt at 13.3% total graphite carbon (TGC) resource.

LEL and NVX will spin-out the consolidated graphite assets via an Initial Public Offering (IPO) by Axon Graphite to form a vertically integrated battery anode material (BOM) business in QLD.

The spin-out and ($15 Million to $25 Million) IPO of Axon Graphite is advancing parallel to the due diligence process.

At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Taiton Resources, Anson Resources, Viridis Mining and Minerals and Lithium Energy are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.