• A slow start to the week with the ASX 200 down 0.45% today
  • Small cap index falls 0.59% and 7 out 11 sectors finish lower
  • CBA says consumer sentiment could be in deeply pessimistic territory for some time


The local bourse had a flaccid start to the week, dropping 0.45% on lower than normal volume, and the ASX Emerging Companies (XEC) index was 0.059% lower.

A total of 7 out of 11 sectors were lower, led by Utilities, which lost 4.27% and big names like Origin (ASX:ORG) which lost a whopping 7.82%.

The greenest sector was Energy, up 1.22% and Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) saw a nice 2.69% lift for the day – but that paled in comparison to small cap Melbana Energy (ASX:MAY) which jumped 22.64% on no news. 

It was certainly slow on the news front today as the ASX limps its way towards Christmas, but there are a few data drops still on the way this week.

The CBA Household Spending Intentions (HSI) report for November which is due tomorrow and ANZ and Roy Morgan are set to issue to weekly consumer sentiment index.

And ahead of Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Confidence data being released for December, CBA senior economist Belinda Allen says the index currently sits at a level of pessimism similar to April 2020. 

“Consumers are clearly well aware that high inflation and rising interest rates are eating into their disposable income and that budgets will be further stretched in 2023,” she said. 

“Whether consumer sentiment can move materially lower from here is uncertain, but it will stay in deeply pessimistic territory for some time.” 



In US economic data, stocks edged lower after producer-price data came in hotter than expected, disappointing investors who had hoped for signs of easing inflation before the Federal Reserve’s meeting next week.

The producer price index (PPI) rose by 0.3% in November, the annual growth rate of the PPI fell from 8.1% to 7.4% in November and the core PPI (ex-food and energy) was up 0.4% in November.

The Fed will make its next interest rate decision on Wednesday, and the PPI data — combined with consumer-price data Tuesday — are expected to factor heavily into the trajectory of interest rates over the coming months.

Eric Sterner, chief investment officer at Apollon Wealth Management, said he expects markets could retest their recent lows in the first and second quarter of next year.

“We’re stuck in this rut right now waiting for inflation to normalize and it may take all of next year for that to happen,” he said.

In Europe however, stocks rose as investors stayed upbeat after US PPI data.
“While US factory-gate inflation points towards the need for still more rate rises, stocks can now scent the potential for a rally into the end of the month,” IG analyst Chris Beauchamp writes. 

“The PPI data failed to have much of a negative impact, although it does set us up for another hot CPI figure and hawkish Fed next week, which might be much harder for markets to navigate successfully.”



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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The biggest winner was Argonaut Resources (ASX:ARE) who announced their uranium spin-out Orpheus Minerals (ASX:ORP) has been pulled after it did not meet the Minimum Subscription condition – so ORP didn’t list today.

And it’s not the only IPO jumping ship. Zenith Minerals (ASX:ZNC) spin out Mackerel Metals (ASX:MKM) was supposed to list on Friday with its 25% share of the Earaheedy lead-zinc discovery in WA primarily owned by Rumble Resources (ASX:RTR) and other gold and base metal prospects.

The idea was for Zenith to focus on lithium, but they’ve since said the offer for shares in Mackerel Metals has been negatively impacted by current market conditions and has therefore been withdrawn. 

That means gold and base metal projects will remain within the Zenith portfolio, and the company will “pursue the active exploration programs envisaged under Mackerel.”

“Zenith has sufficient capital to deliver on the planned programmes of work for its gold and base metals projects as well as implementing its lithium strategy,” the company says.

Flynn Gold (ASX:FG1) has delivered another “very exciting” high-grade gold intersection at the Trafalgar prospect, part of the Golden Ridge project in northeast Tasmania of 12.3m at 16.8 g/t gold and 27.6 g/t silver from 108.7m.

FG1 hit the boards last year with a focus on under-explored northeast Tassie, where the company believes there are ‘Fosterville-style’ gold deposits to be found.

“This result demonstrates to us that we have made a significant new gold discovery,” FG1 CEO Neil Marston says.

“The most pleasing aspect of this latest result is that we now have high-grade gold mineralisation confirmed in at least two vein zones over a strike length exceeding 200 metres in a generally east-west corridor.

“High-grade silver was also detected in this intercept which is new for this system and something we will pursue further.”

Marston adds the company will undertake further drilling to test for extensions to the high-grade gold veins identified.



Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Investigator Resources (ASX:IVR) – capital raising.

Genesis Minerals (ASX:GMD) – capital raising.

St Barbara (ASX:SBM) – acquisition including an associated capital raising.

Genmin (ASX:GEN) – capital raising.

DW8 (ASX:DW8) – capital raising.

Mayfield Childcare (ASX:MFD) – announcement pending in relation to the Non‐Binding Indicative Proposal previously announced by the Company on 1 December.

Frugl Group (ASX:FGL) – announcement pending in connection with a strategic partnership and capital raising.

Pursuit Minerals (ASX:PUR) – acquisition and a capital raising.

Terrain Minerals (ASX:TMX) – Clarification after the initial trading halt request from 09 December was signed off by Justin Virgin from European Lithium, instead of Terrain Minerals.