• ASX gained on the aftermath of Budget
  • Silver stocks on a roll, along with other miners
  • Market newbie Sun Silver hits the ground sprinting on debut

 

The ASX rose +0.5% on Wednesday on the aftermath of the Fed Budget. The local market also tracked the rally on Wall Street overnight, where the Nasdaq hit an all time high. 

Gains today were led by the mining sector after Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced a $7b production tax credit for the critical minerals industry. 

This could see 10% of operating costs for downstream processing in critical minerals like nickel, vanadium, lithium and rare earths returned to miners as a tax credit.

Read more here: Mission Critical: Albanese and Chalmers’ budget delivers $7bn splash for critical minerals refiners

BHP (ASX:BHP) shares also lifted the sector, up 2.5% after its target Anglo American announced a plan to sell its assets to fend off current and future bids from BHP.

Neuren Pharma (ASX:NEU) rose by +5% after releasing an Investor Presentation pack. 

IDP Education (ASX:IEL) meanwhile was up +7% after disclosing that Goldman Sachs has increased its stake in the company by about 1%. 

And this was the state of play on the ASX near the close of Wednesday:

 

Source: MarketIndex

 

Apart from Mining, Healthcare came good today after getting some love from the Budget.

The consumer and property sectors are also likely to benefit from the Budget, which includes a $7.8 billion cost-of-living package. Both sectors rose today. 

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Spreadsheets (ABS) has released the latest Wage Price Index figures, showing the WPI for the March quarter has risen 0.8%, the littlest quarterly bump since December 2022.

Breaking the numbers down, on an annual basis, it’s the Healthcare and social assistance sector that has enjoyed the largest increase at 5.3%, most likely thanks in no small part to the Fair Work Commission’s ruling earlier in the year.

 

China’s bold move

It’s a bit quieter than usual in Asia today as Hong Kong is closed for holidays. 

Overnight, China’s tech giant Tencent jumped 1% after the company reported higher-than-expected revenue. But Alibaba’s shares on NYSE fell -6% due to a significant drop in profits, showing the widening gap between China’s top two internet giants. 

China meanwhile is looking into a plan for local governments to purchase millions of unsold homes. If executed, this would be one of the country’s boldest efforts to rescue its struggling property market.

To tonight’s session, market sentiment on Wall Street will be really focused on the US CPI report.

Experts say that even if inflation came in at a 3-year year low, we’d need a bigger downside surprise to ease concerns about persistent inflation.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Today’s best performing small cap stocks:

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Market newbie Sun Silver (ASX:SS1) hit the ground sprinting on Wednesday morning, arriving on the ASX with a monstrous bang and climbing +125% at the close. The company owns the Maverick Springs silver project in Elko County, Nevada, which boasts an inferred mineral resource of 292Moz AgEq at 72.4g/t Ag.

Silver was definitely on the menu this morning thanks to an announcement from Australian Gold and Copper (ASX:AGC), spruiking silver laden drilling intercepts with numbers so high, the local labs equipment had to stop counting. According to the announcement, AGC has hit thick, super high grade metal at Achilles, including a highlight 5m at 16.9g/t gold, 1,473g/t silver and 15% lead+zinc. “Achilles is producing some exceptional grades in the drill bit,” AGC boss Glen Diemar says. “The first six holes have produced grades including combined lead and zinc to 38%, gold to 45g/t and silver above 3,000g/t.” That’s… high.

Castillo Copper (ASX:CCZ) was also trading higher again this morning, building on the week’s early success – and cracking the $0.01 per share bracket for the first time since August last year – after the company delivered an investor prezzo in London.

The Calmer Co International (ASX:CCO) was up sharply after revealing that Aussies are going bananas for the smooth, natural sedation of kava.

CCO announced that sales of its products through Coles supermarkets are booming, exceeding $150k over the initial launch period and running at over $30k per week – that’s more than 4600 units per week – in week 8 after launch while online sales are also moving sharply, and currently exceed $11,000 per day.

Australian Gold and Copper (ASX:AGC) was bursting up today on… that’s right, you guessed it… silver. The company has announced it’s drilled its way into some thick, super high grade metal at its Achilles target, which is part of the gold and polymetallic project dubbed Cargelligo, located in the Cobar mineral basin of NSW. The high grade silver action includes a highlight of 5m at 16.9g/t gold, 1,473g/t silver and 15% lead+zinc.

Diverse minerals explorer, Cohiba Minerals (ASX:CHK), is back on the rise again after  announcing yesterday that it’s all set to change its name and ticker – to Altair Minerals (ASX:ALR), which will take effect from Friday. The company has actually had some other news of reasonable note in the past week, announcing a strategic review of the Olympic Domain project, which the company says “adjoins one of the biggest IOCG discoveries”, and where it has “confirmed strong prospectivity for IOCG mineralisation, which warrants further investigation”.

Emerging copper-gold explorer/developer, Golden Deeps (ASX:GED), jumped after announcing that drilling is set to commence at the company’s 100%-owned Havilah Project to test a series of priority porphyry/volcanics hosted copper-gold targets. The company notes that an initial 6-10 reverse circulation and diamond holes (up to 2,500m) will be drilled to test large copper-gold sulphide targets associated with strong sub-surface Induced Polarisation (IP) geophysical anomalies.

And.. Argenica Therapeutics (ASX:AGN) says its drug ARG-007 significantly reduced damage to brain cells in a ferret animal model of mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (modTBI), a model that closely resembles the gross anatomy of the human brain. The observed therapeutic effects of ARG-007 in the modTBI model included a significant reduction in the accumulation of key proteins, and a significant reduction in the level of inflammation markers GFAP and Iba1.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Today’s best performing small cap stocks:

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Besra Gold (ASX:BEZ) has secured long-term access to a key land holding required for the construction of the pilot plant’s tailings dam at its Jugan gold project in Sarawak.

The Calmer Co (ASX:CCO) has reported strong sales of its Fiji Kava beverages in April while the launch of new products on the shelves of supermarket giant Coles has been “extremely promising”.

Future Battery Minerals’ (ASX:FBM) drilling has intersected more thick, shallow and high-grade lithium at the Big Red prospect within its Kangaroo Hills lithium project, doubling the strike length of the mineralised system to 900m.

iTech Minerals’ (ASX:ITM) historical review has outlined the gold and copper potential of its Reynolds Range project in the Northern Territory. It drew attention to historical drilling returning up to 17m at 3.93g/t gold at the Sabre project and 20.3% copper in rock chips at the Reward prospect.

Marmota (ASX:MEU) has designed a 114 hole drilling program over the Bridget uranium prospect at its Junction Dam project in South Australia. This will increase the number of wells drilled at the prospect from 43 to 157 and will test two distinct types of palaeochannels – the Namba and Eyre formations.

Gravity, magnetic and soil sample analysis at Norwest Minerals’ (ASX:NWM) West Arunta project has identified multiple critical mineral targets. This includes potential for lithium, rare earth elements (REE), and niobium, with specific focus on IOCG (iron oxide copper-gold) targets.

Oceana Lithium (ASX:OCN) has wrapped up a review of historical exploration results that has enhanced the uranium prospectivity of its Napperby project. This will be combined the company’s database to optimise upcoming field activities in June 2024.

Raiden Resources’ (ASX:RDN) heritage report has confirmed that key lithium targets at its Andover South project are clear of culturally sensitive areas, enabling the company to proceed with its drill plans.

Sovereign Metals (ASX:SVM) has successfully produced spherical purified graphite with world-leading specifications using graphite concentrate sourced from its Kasiya project in Malawi.

Torque Metals (ASX:TOR) has paid $1 for option agreements to acquire an extensive and strategic package of tenements in WA’s Goldfields region that have both gold and lithium potential.

Blue Star Helium (ASX:BNL) has completed site works at the planned State 16 SWSE 3054 development well location at its Galactica helium project in Las Animas county in Colorado. The driller has commenced moving in and rigging up with well spud expected later this week. Galactica already has proven helium potential with four exploration wells having returned strong helium concentrations of 2-6.1% along with gas flow rates of between 125,000 and 412,000 cubic feet per day.

Galan Lithium (ASX:GLN) has used its At-the-Market subscription agreement with Acuity Capital to raise $2.25m through the set-off of 7.95 million previously issued shares at a deemed price of 28.3c each.The set-off reduces the 15 million GLN shares that Acuity Capital would otherwise have been required to return to the company upon termination or maturity of the agreement. Proceeds will be used for further development of its Hombre Muerto West lithium brine project in Argentina.

Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) has finalised planning for drilling at its Lady Grey lithium project that will test recently generated tenement wide soil sample anomalies. This includes the large Godzilla lithium soil anomaly that has a strike length of ~4km and displays similar spatial relationship to potential lithium source granite as Covalent Lithium’s Earl Grey mine. Drilling will also test a >2km long gold anomaly that is coincident with structural flexure plus copper and nickel targets.

Parkway Corporate (ASX:PWN) has received firm commitments local and overseas institutions, professional and sophisticated investors for a $2.25m placement. It has also received cornerstone support from a strategic US investor, an existing substantial shareholder, who has agreed to invest a further $1 million to increase its existing shareholding. Proceeds will be used to advance a range of strategic growth initiatives, including acceleration of the integration and growth of recently acquired Tankweld, as well as enabling the company to secure a suitable working capital facility.

 

TRADING HALTS

Loyal Lithium (ASX:LLI) – pending an announcement regarding a proposed capital raise.

Impact Minerals (ASX:IPT) – pending the release of an announcement in relation to a capital raising.

Power Minerals (ASX:PNN) – pending an announcement in relation to an agreement for the funding and development of the Rincon Lithium Project.

 

At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Blue Star Helium, Galan Lithium, Lanthanein Resources, Parkway Corporate, Besra Gold, The Calmer Co, Future Battery Minerals, iTech Minerals, Marmota, Norwest Minerals, Oceana Lithium, Raiden Resources, Sovereign Metals and Torque Metals are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.