• ASX climbed as high as +1.3%, easing slightly to close up 0.9%.
  • XEC Emerging Companies and Goldies duke it out to see who can close flattest.
  • Investors are set to pocket $35 billion in dividends between now and EOFY.


Do Not Adjust Your Televisions… the market has ended up on happy, positive ground (mostly) today, snapping a string of terrible performances and partially easing the Great National Indigestion that has been giving Australia a severe case of Gurgle Gut for more than a week.

The benchmark has cruised to a leisurely 0.9% close, down from a 1.3% high earlier in the day, led higher by a strong showing from the resources and banking sectors, which added 1.07% and 0.98% respectively.

Among the big kids winning today are three top-tier resources mobs, namely Stanmore (ASX:SMR) up 5.18%, Whitehaven (ASX:WHC) up 4.16% and New Hope (ASX:NHC) up a very lucky 8.88%.

The main anchor today was the Utilities sector, which slumped 1.10% – there will be an angry mob convened later this evening to decide what to do about it.

BYO grog, torches and pitchforks.



Some great news for investors in companies that are handing out the divvies this year – Commsec’s chief economist Craig “I’m Weirdly Muscular” James and Ryan “I’m Quite the Opposite” Felsman have busted out the spreadsheet to tally up how much moolah is going to end up in the pockets of shareholders after reporting season ground every market journo in the country to a pulp.

Spoiler alert: It’s… a lot.

According to Muscles and The Wonk, Australian companies will be paying out more than $35 billion in dividends between now and the end of the financial year.

It’s actually a decrease from previous returns – down 17% from the $42 billion paid in the August 2022 reporting period, and 3% lower than the same period last year.

Top of the divvy pops (that are yet to be paid) is Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC), which is set to shovel $2.934 fully-franked dollary-doos out the door in the middle of next week, and best performer in terms of yield goes to Horizon Oil (ASX:HZN), which is putting $0.015 a pop into shareholders’ wallets, for a yield of 9.68%.

Meanwhile, the RBA has been dropping hints as subtle as leaving a Mother’s Day catalogue open at a particular page on the coffee table for several weeks, talking up the probability of the board hitting pause on rate rises when it gathers to stick its collective nose in the trough early next month.

“Members agreed to reconsider the case for a pause at the following meeting, recognising that pausing would allow additional time to reassess the outlook for the economy,” read the minutes from the last time the board tweaked Australia’s ding.

“At what point it will be appropriate to pause will be determined by the data and the Board’s assessment of the outlook.”

The crucial part of the minutes was the revelation that the board looked at the important parts of the data from the previous month – wages, inflation, GDP, blah blah blah – and still put the rate up, despite the data being observably softer than expected, which itself is probably an happenstance they’d already be well familiar with.

If they try the old “this has never happened to me before” line, they’re lying.

And lastly, some news via Eddy Sunarto: Fake nickel has been discovered in the London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel contracts owned by JPMorgan Chase.

According to Bloomberg, the contracts turned out to be backed by bags of stones rather than nickel.

Last week, the LME cancelled nine nickel contracts worth about $US1.3 million after discovering “irregularities” at a warehouse owned by Access World.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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There’s not been much change at the top of the ladder since lunchtime today… mostly it’s just the numbers have eased a little, along with the rest of the market.

There was a late bolter this afternoon, though – MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX:MXC) has rocketed 85.7% today on news that the company is set to expand its addressable market in the US after ArtemiC was listed as an over-the-counter (OTC) status on the FDA’s National Drug Code Database (NDC).

The OTC status means that ArtemiC, MGC’s proprietary clinically tested COVID-19 treatment, could now be sold through the US Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) networks starting in April.

The successful NDC listing was facilitated by MGC’s supply and distribution partner, AMC Pharma.

Besra Gold (ASX:BEZ), went soaring with a 55.0% leap on news that it’s inked an (up to) US$300m gold pre-purchase and offtake non-binding drawdown funding facility term sheet with major shareholder Quantum Metal Recovery.

Besra says the company believes it to be one of the largest deals of its kind signed by an ASX listed junior, with the money to flow in over 30 months against future production ounces, enabling Besra to fully fund production at Bau and the appraisal of other deposits within the Bau goldfield corridor.

Meanwhile, Mincor Resources (ASX:MCR) is surging on news of a takeover offer from The Wyloo Group, for the whole Mincor kit and kaboodle on market at $1.40 cash per share.

Wyloo, for those not in the know, is Twiggy Forrest’s private investment vehicle – which is why (as the Mighty Josh Chiat reports) Mincor has told shareholders to take no action, warning they will miss the upside of any future bidding action if they buy into the offer now.

Sternship Advisors, Gilbert and Tobin and Barrenjoey are in the defence team.

Wyloo is already Mincor’s major shareholder, with 19.9% of the company in its pocket, and is prepared to dig deep to make the buy.

The $1.40 bid per share implies an equity value for Mincor of roughly $760 million on a fully diluted basis,  and represents a 35% premium to the closing price of Mincor shares on March 20, 2023 – the last trading day prior to this announcement – of $1.04 per share.

It’s currently at $1.47 per share, a rise of 41.1% for the day.

Also charging hard today is Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL), on news that it’s drilled into a monster 72m intercept at the Callisto palladium-nickel discovery within GAL’s 100% owned Norseman project in Western Australia.

The intercept is juicy: 72m @ 1.16g/t 3E1 (0.95g/t Pd, 0.16g/t Pt, 0.05g/t Au), 0.20% Cu & 0.24% Ni from 498m, which includes a handsomely higher-grade interval of 39m @ 1.46g/t 3E (1.19g/t Pd, 0.20g/t Pt, 0.06g/t Au), 0.26% Cu & 0.28% Ni from 503m.

Galileo says that the result supports its geological interpretation that the 5km of untested strike length to the north of Callisto is highly prospective for further discoveries, which has really excited investors. GAL is trading 30.5% higher today.

And lastly, market minnow Renegade Exploration (ASX:RNX) is up 30% this morning on news that its recent RC drilling program has hit large copper sulphide zones at the company’s Mongoose project.

Renegade director, Robert Kirtlan, says assay results will be forthcoming in 2-3 weeks, and it’s an exciting time for the company.

“Within two months of assuming control of Mongoose we have completed a maiden RC program and it has all the hallmarks of being very successful,” Kirtlan said.

“Multiple large zones of visible copper mineralisation have been hit in the drilling program.

“One such zone is located underneath the appropriately named ‘Malachite Hill’ which has not been tested by prior drilling and has a potential strike of over 200m and remains open to the south, east and at depth.”



Here are the least best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Breathing a sigh of relief today is DUG Technology (ASX:DUG), which has revealed that it’s not going to be on the hook for any losses in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank’s spectacular implosion last week.

Per the DUG announcement, “The Federal Reserve Board in the USA have provided assurance to SVB customers that bank deposits are secure. HBSC Bank have acquired the UK subsidiary of SVB and are also guaranteeing customer deposits.”

“As of 21 March 2023, the Company can now direct its funds from SVB accounts to international payees and completed transfers to DUG’s Commonwealth Bank of Australia accounts.”

Great news for DUG, but this little cherry on the top is pure gold: “The Company is reviewing its banking relationships in light of this event.”

Not quite as chirpy, however, is news that “Australia’s leading class action law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers” is hitting pause on chasing ambulances to file a class action against Downer EDI (ASX:DOW), on behalf of investors who took a bath when Downer’s price plunged horribly. Twice, in fact.

The dreaded Accounting Irregularity Gremlins were reportedly hard at work at Downer, and as the numbers started to not stack up, things got pretty grim, including revelations of an overstatement of pre-tax earnings between $30 million and $40 million.

When that came to light on December 8, 2022, Downer EDI’s share price plummeted by approximately 20.4%.

It got worse in February this year, as more “irregularities” spooked investors, and there was another intraday plunge, this time by 23.7%.

According to Maurice Blackburn, “the company’s disclosures regarding the impact of a loss-making contract appeared to have shocked the market”.

“It is vitally important that companies disclose to the market problems as soon as they arise and that investors can be confident that earnings forecasts are based on robust financial information, not accounting irregularities,” Maurice Blackburn Principal Miranda Nagy said.

“The market can only operate properly if investors know what they are buying. In this case Downer EDI investors have borne the brunt of what appears to be a significant accounting error, for which the company has given only limited explanation so far, notwithstanding that the Chair, CEO and CFO have all recently departed the company.”

If you bought Downer shares between August 12, 2020 and February 26, 2023, you could be part of the class action, should you so desire.



Coda Minerals (ASX:COD) – Elizabeth Creek Copper-Cobalt Project scoping study is about to drop.

MoneyMe (ASX: MME) – Capital raising and finalisation of negotiations on corporate debt facility.