The ASX started flat and closed flat as local markets struggled for direction in Thursday trade.

By flat we mean almost literally, as the ASX 200 closed 0.02% higher on the day.

Modest gains in financials and tech stocks were offset by the ASX 200 Energy index, which has cooled off a bit this week after running hot over the past month.

There were few major catalysts in Asian trade, although embattled Chinese property developer Evergrande recommenced trading in Hong Kong following a two-week suspension.

Shares in Evergrande promptly slumped by over 10%, after the company announced it had been unable to close a deal for the sale of its property services division.

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP WINNERS

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

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

Shares in Centrex Metals (ASX:CXM) mooned higher after its subsidiary Agriflex scored a major phosphate off-take agreement with global fertiliser trading house Samsung C&T.

Subject to a few things (Centrex needs to get project financing locked in), the deal will cover the first three years of production from Agriflex’s planned $78m, 800,000tpa ‘Ardmore’ phosphate project in Queensland. Read more here.

Also at the top of the winner’s list was ASX newbie Lykos Metals (ASX:LYK), which became the latest explorer to post a strong debut after raising $12m from investors at 20c per share.

Lykos will deploy the capital to hunt for minerals at three polymetallic project sites – Sockovac, Sinjakovo, and Cajnice — in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

For the scoop, read Stockhead’s interview with Lykos managing director Mladen Stevanovic here.

And rounding out a strong day for small cap resources, WA-based rare earths explorer PVW Resources (ASX:PVW) ripped higher by more than 50% in afternoon trade on no news.

Shares in PVW have climbed strongly for eight straight days, since the company announced it had picked up rocks containing up to 12.45% total rare earths (TREO) at its ‘Tanami’ project in WA.

There were also plenty of wins across the tech sector in Thursday trade as Dropsuite (ASX:DSE), Elmo Software (ASX:ELO) and EP&T Global (ASX:EPX) also posted strong gains on market-moving announcements.

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP LOSERS

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

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

AML3D (ASX:AL3) sold one of its Arcemy 3D precision welding units to the University of Queensland. The company says the sale will net $400,000 and could potentially lead to future R&D collaboration.

Seek (ASX:SEK) CEO Andrew Bassat sold over $40 million in shares in a trade the company said was to fund investment into Seek’s growth fund. The company said he remained a long term shareholder still owning over $400 million in shares.

Restaurant Brands (ASX:RBD) reported its quarterly results in which it made $243.6 million, an increase of 1.6%. While the company was hit by lockdowns in New Zealand, its stores in California fully offset those losses.

A2 Milk (ASX:A2M) commented on a second class action being launched against the company alleging breaches in disclosure obligations. The company said it had complied and would vigorously defend any proceedings.

Avecho (ASX:AVE) announced a collaboration with cannabinoid therapeutics research group the Lambert Initiative. The pair obtained ethics approval for a study to examine the use of a topical CBD gel for the management of pain associated with arthritis of the hand.

TRADING HALTS

Friday

Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) – collection and supply contract
Thomson Resources (ASX:TMZ) – capital raising
De Grey Mining (ASX:DEG) – capital raising
Ambertech (ASX:AMO) – capital raising
Top Shelf Holdings (ASX:TSI) – capital raising
ALE Property Group (ASX:LEP) – court judgement

Monday

Avenira (ASX:AEV) – price and volume query
Moho Resources (ASX:MOH) – capital raising and acquisition
Critical Resources (ASX:CRR) – capital raising
Sprintex (ASX:SIX) – procurement and co-operation agreement
Flexiroam (ASX:FRX) – capital raising
Japara Healthcare (ASX:JHC) – change of control decision