Gold and junior resources stocks were some of the only companies to stand out on Friday during a lacklustre session which saw the ASX 200 fall by 1.09%.

The big end of town was outperformed by the microcap Emerging Companies index which edged higher by 0.08%.

It followed a rough session on Wall Street overnight, and US stock futures are trading flat ahead of the Friday open in afternoon Asian trade.

By sector, tech stocks got belted as the ASX 200 IT index fell by almost 4%, with more selling in BNPL bellwether (now Block Inc subsidiary) Afterpay (ASX:APT).

Banks and miners fell along with energy stocks, and even defensive health stocks didn’t escape the selling as the ASX 200 Healthcare index fell by 1.46%.

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP WINNERS

(Stocks highlighted in yellow rose after making announcements during the trading day).

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Junior explorers with market moving announcements held their gains into the closing bell, as Ardea Resources (ASX:ARL) led the market after confirming a big high-grade nickel-copper-PGE sulphide hit at its ‘Emu Lake’ project near Kalgoorlie.

The find is a by-product of ARL’s search efforts in a new exploration space called the Western Ultramafic, around 1km south of where most previous exploration took place in the area. Mineralisation remains open in all directions, with with Ardea controlling 20km of strike on the new target zone.

Lithium-gold play Essential Metals (ASX:ESS) also found a spot on the leaderboard, after providing an update on its Pioneer Dome lithium project where air-core drilling will follow up on “on open or unexplained anomalism generated from the August 2021 drill programme”, the company said.

And fintech company IOUpay (ASX:IOU) made a late rally, climbing by around 17% to 24c after announcing it’s received government approval for an acquisition in Malaysia first announced in January 2021. The finalised acquisition of Sibu Kurnia Marine Sdn Bhd will allow IOUpay to secure a money lending licence in the Malaysian market.

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP LOSERS

(Stocks highlighted in yellow rose after making announcements during the trading day).

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ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Mining group New Hope Corp (ASX:NHC) announced the resignation of its CEO in afternoon trade. Reinhold Schmidt has stepped down following a short period of personal leave, effective immediately. Chief Financial Officer Mr Rob Bishop will step into the acting CEO role. Shares in NHC fell by around 3%.

Diversified mining stock Astro Resources (ASX:ARO) provided a general business update, including plans to spin off its East Kimberly diamond project as part of an ASX IPO which will include other diamond projects both domestically and abroad. The company is also in discussions with Nevada-based Pediment Gold LLC to form a joint venture that would have interests in a number of US-based gold projects.

TRADING HALTS

Asaplus Resources (ASX:AJY) – pending announcement (no details)
Critical Resources (ASX:CRR) – drilling update
Carnavale Resources (ASX:CAV) – assay results
Zuleika Gold (ASX:ZAG) – capital raising