• Benchmark sags as Materials sector delivers even more tedious disappointment
  • Coal miners hand back yesterday’s gains as investors tire of Chinese whispers
  • Cannabis offers relief for investors and health stocks climb as well.

The ASX has ended the week with a performance approaching ‘Meatloaf at the Grand Final’ levels of terrible, thanks largely to a Materials sector which spent the entire day punching itself in the face as penance for being all smug about doing pretty well on Thursday.

It was mostly due to commodities lurching around like extras on the set of a George A. Romero zombie flick, leaving investors unsure of which way to jump – which usually means heading for the exits and milling about outside, to see who else gets out alive.

Across the sectors it was a mixed bag, with the aforementioned chronic disappointment that is Materials sinking around 3.0%, while clinging to the legs of Energy (-0.5%), Financials (-0.5%) and, for good measure, Telcos (-0.6%) – probably just to stop anyone from calling for help.

There was some good news, though – Health Care was up 1.0% after good news from the market’s weed guys, Consumer Staples added 1.0% and Real Estate added a few more bricks to the top of the wall, up 0.7%.

Coal miners, meanwhile, spent the day furiously giving back the gains they made yesterday. New Hope Corp (ASX:NHC) dropped 1.6%, Coronado (ASX:CRN) dropped 4.6% and Terracom (ASX:TER) was down 4.03%.

In the “my yacht’s bigger than your yacht” crowd, there were no huge winners – apparently,  when you’re rich, you don’t have to show for work on a Friday, because working on Friday is for chumps.

There were, however, a few big name casualties in the final pages of this week’s issue of “Mystery of the Melting Materials”, including Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) (-6.7%), IGO (ASX:IGO) (-6.6%), and Nickel Industries (-5.5%).

And investment managers Pendal Group (ASX:PDL) issued a two-pager to the ASX with loads of words and a few charts on it, which was a fancy way of saying “people took their money out this quarter”.

Investors responded by – yup, you guessed it – taking their money out. About $4 billion, in fact. Pendal was down nearly 9.0% by the end of the day.

Overseas, and there was a freakin’ enormous slab of semi-impenetrable economic data out of China in the middle of the day. Lucky for you, you probably didn’t have to read it because that stuff’s harder to read than a poker pro.

Even luckier for you, our man Christian Edwards did, and because he’s smart, he says it means this:

“A shadow of its former greatness, for a few months anyway – China’s economy has managed a fascinating 0.4% Y-o-Y expansion for Q2 – as the reality of what happens when you shut down everything for an impossible goal became too evident to hide.

“Shanghai and other city lockdowns made this China’s weakest quarter of the millenium – aside from that COVID-quarter back in 2020, when the economy contracted 6.9% as China battled an early outbreak of the coronavirus, first detected in the city of Wuhan.

“The latest numbers are well below median economist forecasts and worse than the disappointment of the 4.8% Y-o-Y growth of the first quarter.”

Here’s who’s making some money at our end of the food chain.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 15 [intraday]:

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

 

Thumbing their noses at the rest of the Materials sector were a couple of stand-out performances in the Small Caps arena, including chart-topper Riedel Resources (ASX:RIE), up a walloping 60% after assays from the Tintic zone at its Kingman gold project in Arizona, USA, returned high-grade gold and silver results, including 1.5m at 27.5g/t Au and 37g/t Ag from 13.7m.

Chairman Michael Bohm said the blanket of high-grade gold and silver sits just below the surface at Tintic, which means that drilling toward a future resource estimation and developing a conceptual mine plan, could be simple, cost effective and quick to achieve.

Falcon Metals (ASX:FAL) was up close to 46% for the day after it flagged aircore results of 40m at 2.81g/t gold from 50m at the Ironbark East prospect – part of its Pyramid Hill project in Victoria.

“These results are indicative of the quality of our ground position and targets, and the potential of the Bendigo Zone to host high-grade gold mineralisation,” MD Tim Markwell said, during a brief lull in the money-fight taking place in the Falcon boardroom.

Labyrinth Resources (ASX:LRL) will also be heading into the weekend on a bit of a giddy high, up around 20% after Materials sector junkies saw an opportunity to get their fix on the back of some hefty-looking drilling assay results at the company’s Canadian gold project.

The results include some decent core assays, such as 2.75m @ 7.25g/t from 239m and 3.65m @ 5.41g/t from 30m, including a couple of fantastically rich short burst of golden excitement, to the tune of 1.0m @ 18.43g/t with a dragon-pleasing 0.3m @ 43.06g/t hit as the jewel in the crown.

Medicinal cannabis stocks also did well today, with Zelira Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD) resuming what looks like a relentless march into the Big Time, up another 19% to end the week up more than 170%, which is kind of a lot. Obviously.

Althea Group (ASX:AGH) was on the gravy boat with Zelira, up 30% for the day to round out the week’s effort with 63% on the scoreboard.

Those sterling results are reportedly more than enough for both companies to qualify as Wildcard entries for their choice of any of the cannabis-related events at next week’s 2022 X Games in southern California.

On the wrong end of the stick for the day, and it’s no surprise that it’s mostly little-guy miners losing their shirts. There are too many to list, so just take a look at our handy chart below.

But I can’t resist the opportunity to mention that while Western Yilgarn (ASX:WYX) may have dropped 17% today, it’s still up by totally-not-a-typo 4,556.67% for the year – so, really, anyone who got in at the bottom of that one probably won’t be crying too much.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the least-best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 15 [intraday]:

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

 

WHAT YOU MAY’VE MISSED

Battery minerals company Morella Corporation (ASX:1MC) announced that it has hit its first year earn-in milestone with the imaginatively-named Lithium Corporation, ahead of schedule at Fish Valley Lithium Project. Morella needed to spend $200,000 to meet its target, which I reckoned sounded like a super-easy prospect, until someone told me that no, I wouldn’t have been allowed to include paying for an Uber to and from the project each day in the total… not even if it’s in a hybrid.

Meanwhile, PolarX (ASX:PXX) has revealed a bit of a cabinet reshuffle in the wake of its discovery of high-grade (9.1m @ 124g/t Au) gold mineralisation in Nevada.

Dr Jason Berton has transitioned to managing director and will take the leading role in advancing the geological and technical aspects of PolarX’s Nevada and Alaskan assets, Dr Frazer Tabeart moves to a non-executive director role to provide specialist technical input as required, while Mark Bojanjac, current executive chairman, takes on the company’s marketing and capital raising activities in Australia and overseas.

Meanwhile, Critical Resources (ASX:CRR) has parted ways with Alex Biggs, who has left his position as managing director and CEO effective immediately, by mutual agreement.

And final piece of news for the week, I feel that it’s high time someone spoke up and said what we’re all thinking: the word “webinar” is stupid and should be scrubed from our collective lexicon forever.

 

TRADING HALTS

Southern Hemisphere Mining (ASX:SUH) – Capital raise.

Spectur (ASX:SP3) – Capital raise.

Arizona Lithium (ASX:AZL) – Capital raise.

Asra Minerals (ASX:ASR) – Capital raise.

Meeka Gold (ASX: MEK) – Not a capital raise. Meeka’s got material results from exploration activities on the way.