CLOSING BELL: ASX sags to a 0.56pc drop, the precise opposite of this morning’s early gains
Link copied to
For 10 fantastic minutes this morning, local investors had something to grin about, after the benchmark scoffed at the ASX 200 Futures Index and surged 0.6% when the bell rang to open play.
From there, it was a long, tedious grind into negative territory, as – one by one – the sectors that were above the line in the morning fell by the wayside, leaving InfoTech to stand as alone as the allegorical cheese, while the farmer hit Tinder to find himself a wife.
By the end of the day, tech stocks were up just 0.21%, while the rest of the sectors were disappointments, from Financials (basically flat) down to Consumer Staples on -1.0% or thereabouts.
Not a huge day in BigBizness by any stretch of the imagination, but the economic highlight was the release of new figures from the Australian Bureau of Assigning Numbers to Things.
Monthly business turnover figures for May showed turnover increasing in 11 of the 13 industries, with the largest increase happening in electricity, gas, water and waste services – and that’s even before the much-vaunted power-apocalypso-palooza that’s due to lay waste to household spending this coming month.
Languishing, however, was turnover for the mining sector in Australia, which “fell 6% in May, following a 12.1% fall in April, as demand and prices for commodities such as iron ore and coal come off recent highs,” according to the ABS head of business indicators, Robert Ewing.
Spending on more frivolous things like accommodation and food also fell in the same period, but with Taylor Swift due to land in Australia and grin impishly while laying waste to any hope of a more-dormant round of CPI behaviour, that’s likely to change down the track.
Either that, or everyone’s just going to keep holidaying in Toukley, or – dare I even suggest it – Canberra and things will be back to mid-pandemic level trauma for that industry sector as well.
In other finance news, the short list of people who are possibilities to unthrone King Phillip the Lowe as monarch of the RBA has grown one name shorter, after Reserve Bank assistant governor of economics Luci Ellis revealed that she’s legging it over to Westpac, sliding into the bank’s chief economist role.
Ellis is replacing industry stalwart Bill Evans, who is moving into senior economic adviser position at the bank – a well-earned semi-respite after more than 30 gruelling years with Westpac.
Still no inkling from the RBA, though, on whether Phillip Lowe is going to reapply for the top job again, or if he’s going to step aside to let someone else have a crack at the near-incessant lever pulling that has made him a household name.
I still miss Bernie Fraser, to be honest – he looked like a goofball, and sounded exactly like Triple J’s slow-talking absurdist Steve “The Sandman” Abbott.
Here’s Bernie Fraser offering sage advice on being a good flatmate…
and The Sandman delivering an address on the macroeconomic landscape and monetary policy at the University of Western Sydney in an era when television broadcasts were still square.
Keep your eyes closed – I defy you to tell them apart.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
The clear standout Small Caps winner today is Heavy Minerals (ASX:HVY), which jumped 200% at the open on news of an updated JORC Mineral Resource from its Port Gregory garnet project.
Heavy Minerals is reporting that it’s sitting on 5.9Mt of contained garnet, with 5.4Mt of that in the Measured and Indicated JORC category, a 23% increase on previously released figures.
Heavy Minerals says that’s enough garnet to feed the planet’s current requirements for about five years.
The company’s jump this morning has eased somewhat – along with the rest of the market – leaving HVY up just over 90% for the day.
Australasian Metals (ASX:A8G) climbed into second place on the ladder today, on news of high grade titanium in rock chip samples from the company’s May Queen South bauxite project in central Queensland.
A8G is reporting that the geological fertility of the project for bauxite and titanium was confirmed by the identification of several high grade surface samples with TiO2 of between 3.36 % to 17.55%.
Investors seemed to like that news, and it’s trading 42.8% higher as a result.
And in third place, it’s Alexium International (ASX:AJX), up 38.5% today after dropping a quarterly results announcement showing that sales for the quarter at US$2.0m were up US$0.2m versus prior quarter ending the year at US$7.2m, despite the continuance of soft market conditions.
The company also says that cash receipts for the period were US$1.9m with revenue of US$1.8m, down US$0.1m from the previous quarter.
Here are the least best performing ASX small cap stocks:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
Gotta move quickly through these, but there’s a couple of stories worth mentioning today.
First of all, Patriot Battery Metals (ASX:PMT) has gone into a trading halt today for a three-barrelled reason, which includes results from its winter 2023 drilling campaign.
Far juicier though, is the company’s request for time to put together a response to media reporting on an “activist short-selling report”, which landed last week and – evidently – the company has taken some umbrage against.
The report, from Night Market Research is very long – way too long to go into too much detail here – but cites a number of issues that the company sees with Patriot, including a section headlined “Multiple Pivots and Heavily Promoted by an Obscure Entity Associated with Psychedelic Mushrooms Out of a Suburban House”.
PMT says, as part of the trading halt request today, that the report “contains a number of claims that are wrong and misleading and further contain substantial factual inaccuracies” – and once I’ve had a chance to digest the report, and PMT’s response, I (or more likely, Rob Badman) will let y’all know what the fuss is all about.
Elsewhere, one of this morning’s hard-chargers ClearVue Technologies (ASX:CPV) has responded to an ASX speeding ticket with a hearty “We don’t know either”, after the company went roaring up the ladder on no news at all.
The only reasoning it could offer is that it recently announced a couple of board changes – Gerd Hoenicke and Charles Mowrey were added to the board, while the company announced a new CEO in Martin Deil – and a recent $2 million WA state government grant, but none of that is new info at all.
Patriot Battery Metals (ASX:PMT) – Results from the winter 2023 drilling program at the Corvette Property, and a response to an AFR article from 09 July, and a response to an activist short-selling report.
HeraMED (ASX:HMD) – Capital raising.
Lindian Resources (ASX:LIN) – Capital raising.
Tivan (ASX:TVN) – Capital raising.
AuKing Mining (ASX:AKN) – Halted on request for more information from this morning’s announcement entitled “Promising initial XRF analysis from Itigi Uranium Project drilling”.
PharmAust (ASX:PAA) – Announcement of urinary biomarker results from its Motor Neurone Disease Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial.
Summit Minerals (ASX:SUM) – Project acquisition and a capital raising.
IRIS Metals (ASX:IR1) – Update on exploration results in respect of its Beecher Project.