• The ASX rebounded from a sluggish start… but wait, it all dipped again as we were heading out the door
  • Local traders were initially shaken this morning after remarks from Fed’s Powell
  • Aussie defence budget to be given a $50bn boost


The stocks rout took a breather after the ASX rebounded from a sluggish start to close the day +0.05% higher. Prior to today, the ASX had closed the last four days in the red.


We had to come back and edit this. Because a (very) last-minute dip has actually seen the ASX 200 close in the red. It finished a little bloody after all: -0.091%. Doh.

Local traders pushed the sell button early this morning after some hawkish remarks from Fed Chair Powell overnight, in which he said that the central bank may delay its rate easing policy due to slower-than-expected inflation. 

“The recent data have clearly not given us greater confidence, and instead indicate that is likely to take longer than expected to achieve that confidence,” Powell said at an event in Washington, adding that if inflation persists, the Fed will keep rates steady for “as long as needed”.

His comments led to a jump in US treasury yields to 2024 highs, with the market now pricing in only 25 to 50 basis point reductions in the Fed cuts this year (from 75bp previously).

The US dollar also promptly jumped, and at the time of writing, the Aussie dollar is trading at a US64.12c.

On the ASX today, the Utilities led the charge as two of the biggest stocks in the sector, Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) and AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) climbed by 2% and 6% respectively.


Source: MarketIndex


Meanwhile, defence minister Richard Marles said Australia’s defence budget will be given an extra $50 billion over the next decade as part of a military shake-up.

“History will judge us not by what we say, but by what we do. And you can only do, if you properly fund,” Marles said.


Elsewhere today…

Middle East developments remained on close watch after Iran threatened an ‘immediate and severe’ response to any retaliation by Israel to its drone and missile attack.

Iran’s foreign minister says his country will respond within “seconds” if Israel retaliates.

Asian LNG prices meanwhile have jumped to the highest level since January as traders wait to see how Israel would respond. 

In Asia today, stock markets diverged as losses in Japan were offset by gains in China. 



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Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) rose +5% after Gina Rinehart bought 6.6 million shares in the company worth around $40m through her private company, Hancock Prospecting. Through that purchase, Rinehart has now lifted its stake in Lynas, the world’s biggest non-China producer of rare earths, to 5.82%.  

Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) jumped +4% after the lender beat half-year earnings forecasts. 




Today’s best performing small cap stocks:

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The big mover on Wednesday was Firebrick Pharma (ASX:FRE), after it announced that its Nasodine nasal spray was being launched in the United States. The company pointed out that the spray will be marketed in the US “for ‘nasal hygiene’ without any therapeutic claims”, bypassing the need for the spray to receive FDA approval. It was up close to +100% in early trade.

Renascor Resources (ASX:RNU) has received some key funding news this week. “Made in Australia?” You know it. And Albo and co are pushing the Future Made in Australia Act hard right now. A whopping $185m loan from the Australian Government to Renascor has now been conditionally approved under the gov’s $4 billion Critical Minerals Facility scheme – confirmed by Export Finance Australia (EFA). The funding is to be utilised to fast track the construction of the upstream portion of the BAM (Battery Anode Material) manufacturing project, which is a graphite concentration operation within the company’s flagship Siviour graphite project.

Next Science (ASX:NXS) rose 10% after releasing preliminary results from two retrospective studies by Dr Ravi K. Bashyal, an orthopaedic surgeon based in Chicago, which found XPERIENCE to be efficacious in preventing periprosthetic joint infection in patients undergoing knee and hip arthroplasties (joint replacement). The XPERIENCE No Rinse Antimicrobial Solution is a surgical irrigation product. It is a clear, colourless solution intended for cleansing and removal of debris, including microorganisms from wounds.

Burley Minerals (ASX:BUR) was moving on up on news of a $1.8m capital raise consists of a combination of a share placement and share purchase plan, consisting of a $1.3m placement at $0.05 per share to existing shareholders representing a 6% premium to the last closing price.

Mighty Kingdom (ASX:MKL) inched up on news that the company has completed the retail shortfall bookbuild for the retail component of its 5 for 1 pro-rata accelerated renounceable entitlement offer, announced on 15 March 2024, with the company revealing that the offer has raised gross proceeds of approximately $6.25 million.

DroneShield (ASX:DRO) was up on news that the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has approved the first Counter-small UAS (C-UAS) procurement framework agreement in NATO history, signed through COBBS BELUX BV, DroneShield’s in-country Belgium and Luxembourg partner for an initial three-year agreement with extension options. Plus, there’s a couple of wars on, apparently.

Kiwi insurer Tower (ASX:TWR) rose on revised guidance that full year underlying NPAT is expected to be greater than $35m, much juicier that the previous advice  that it expected underlying NPAT to be at the top end of or exceeding a range of between $22m and $27m.

Turaco Gold (ASX:TCG) says assays from the initial eight diamond holes drilled at the Jonction and Anuiri deposits along the ‘Afema Shear’ have delivered results, including: Hole 24ANDDM004 (Anuiri): [email protected]/t gold from 94m, and Hole 24ANDDM003 (Anuiri): [email protected]/t gold from 84m.



Today’s best performing small cap stocks:

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Dubber Corp’s (ASX:DUB) woes are continuing this morning, coming out of a voluntary suspension and sinking like a stone. In late February, the company halted trade after discovering that up to $26.6 million was missing after an audit. Dubber MD and CEO Steve McGovern was suspended on 1 March and fired on 09 April, following an investigation, and the company said it was “finalising the structure and terms of an equity capital raising to replenish its balance sheet”. DUB was down more than -70%.



Altech Batteries (ASX:ATC) is looking to raise $5m through a share purchase plan to progress the development of its game-changing CERENERGY® and Silumina battery projects to feed into the European EV market.

Argent Minerals’ (ASX:ARD) rock chip sampling programs have made extensive gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc discoveries that could bolster its already substantial 127.5Moz silver equivalent resource at the Kempfield project in NSW. It is now preparing for follow-up drilling.

BPM Minerals’ (ASX:BPM) aircore drilling at the Claw project in WA has delineated a substantial +1km long, +100ppm gold anomaly, immediately along strike from Capricorn Metals’ 3.24Moz Mt Gibson gold project.

Blue Star Helium (ASX:BNL) is on track to drill the maiden helium development well at its Galactica/Pegasus project in Las Animas County, Colorado, during the current quarter.

Brightstar Resources (ASX:BTR) has increased total resources at its Menzies gold project by 20% after pencilling in a maiden resource of 70,000oz at the Aspacia deposit.

Frontier Energy (ASX:FHE) is looking to raise between $200-$225 million under Phase 2 of the debt financing process for Stage 1 of its Waroona renewable energy project in WA.

Golden Mile Resources (ASX:G88) has started an evaluation of 21 domestic and international project opportunities as well as a comprehensive review of its existing portfolio.

Maronan Metals’ (ASX:MMA) early stage metallurgical test work has successfully achieved excellent recoveries of 95% for lead and 84% for silver using previously untested pyroxene-hosted lead-silver and mixed copper sulphide ore from its namesake project.

Neurotech International’s (ASX:NTI) NTI164 is now the first broad-spectrum cannabinoid drug therapy to show a statistically significant clinical improvement in Rett Syndrome patients following positive top-line Phase 1/2 Rett Syndrome clinical trial results.

Pantera Minerals (ASX:PFE) has acquired an additional 1500 acres of prospective ground over the prolific Smackover lithium brine formation. This takes its total leased acreage up over 18,570 acres, close to its target of 20,000 acres.

Sprintex (ASX:SIX) has hit a key milestone with its G-Series Turbo Blowers receiving certification for sale in all member countries of the European Union as well as those of the European Economic Area.

GCX Metals has changed its name to Terra Metals (ASX:TM1) to reflect its new focus on critical minerals in Canada.

Uvre (ASX:UVA) plans to recommence field activity at its East Canyon uranium project in southeastern Utah next week to follow up on highly encouraging results from mapping and sampling work carried out in 2023. Field activity, which will seek to rank prospects for the next phase of drilling, will focus on the Loya Ray target where 3D interpretation has indicated potential strike prospectivity of up to 3.6km along flat lying stratigraphy close to the regional NE Shay Fault.

Loya Ray also has the largest surface uranium anomalism defined by the company’s radiometric survey, has been the subject of historical small-scale open pit mining, and has recent surface rock chip samples returning grades of up to 0.3% U3O8 and 2.59% vanadium pentoxide. East Canyon has identified 19 prospects and over 30 mapped occurrences of uranium minerals mapped out over +17km of uranium-vanadium prospective strike.



Renascor Resources (ASX:RNU) –  pending an announcement to the market regarding debt financing of the company’s phase one graphite concentrate operation.

Bass Oil (ASX:BAS) – pending an announcement to the market in relation to the outcome of a capital raising.

Tolu Minerals (ASX:TOK) – pending an announcement to be made to the ASX in

relation to an equity raising.

Clean Teq (ASX:CLQ) – pending the release of information to the market relating to a capital raise.

E&P Financial Group (ASX:EP1) – pending the release of an announcement to ASX regarding the Federal Court of Australia settlement approval hearing scheduled for today, 17 April 2024, in relation to the representative proceeding filed by Shine Lawyers against Dixon Advisory & Superannuation Services (Administrators Appointed), EP1, Mr Alan Dixon, and Mr Christopher Brown.


At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Uvre, Altech Batteries, Argent Minerals, BPM Minerals, Blue Star Helium, Brightstar Resources, Frontier Energy, Golden Mile Resources, Maronan Metals, Neurotech International, Pantera Minerals, Sprintex and Terra Metals are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.