Local stocks lost ground on Thursday as a tone of caution emerged in Asian trade, ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s annual symposium, which is set to kick off on Friday night.

The ASX 200 finished 0.54% lower and in a theme that has held constant throughout the week, it was outpaced by the microcap Emerging Markets index which traded flat.

While the broader market struggled for traction, most of the action centred around Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL) spinoff Kuniko Ltd (ASX:KNI), which followed up its big ASX debut on Tuesday by going absolutely ballistic in Thursday trade.

TODAY’S BIGGEST WINNERS

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Like Vulcan, Kuniko has zero-carbon ambitions to develop its resources projects, which are based in Norway.

After raising pre-IPO funds at 20c, KNI shares closed on Tuesday at 85c for a day-one gain of more than 300%.

Following a lull yesterday, the stock mooned again today on a surge in volume, which saw it briefly climb to more than $3 before going into a trading halt at $1.90 just before 3:30pm AEST.

Early-stage soil sampling — which is what Kuniko is now doing at its Skuterud cobalt project and the Vangrøfta copper project — historically hasn’t been a catalyst for 10-bagger returns within two days of listing.

The surging volumes for KNI shares gave rise to some outsized gains before the ASX put a stop to things just prior to the closing bell.

TODAY’S BIGGEST LOSERS

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ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY’VE MISSED

Printing business Ovato (ASX:OVT) announced the NZ Commerce Commission cleared the sale of its Retail Distribution business in New Zealand. The sale remains on track to be completed by the end of the month.

Victory Mines (ASX:VIC) announced further drilling results from its latest drilling campaign at its Coogee gold project. The company says the results were highly encouraging including 22m at 1.11g/t gold and 0.73% copper and 32m at 1.44g/t gold.

BNPL company Openpay (ASX:OPY) signed a partnership with treasury and payables solution Kyriba to offer Openpay’s B2b platform to Kyriba’s clients. The company said this is the first step to taking its platform into the USA.

IDP Education (ASX:IEL) says it’s no big deal its biggest shareholder was parting ways, at least in a direct sense. Education Australia sold a stake worth 15% of the company and transferred the rest of its shares to its own Australian university shareholders – a step the company says will facilitate continued growth.

Battery metals play Argo Exploration (ASX:AXT) announced it would continue to hold its stake in Pantheon Resources despite the latter company set to be removed for failing to pay annual listing fees. Argo, which itself is facing delisting on February 5 next year for being suspended for 2 years, says it has reviewed several potential new projects but none offered the same upside compared to Pantheon.

TRADING HALTS

Friday:

Viva Leisure (ASX:VVA) – capital raising

Monday

Environmental Clean Technologies (ASX:ECT) – cleansing notice lodging

Barra Resources (ASX:BAR) – capital raising

Nutritional Growth Solutions (ASX:NGS) – capital raising

Ragusa Minerals (ASX:RAS) – lodging prospectus