• ASX retreats on Tuesday ahead of Fed Budget and US PPI/CPI
  • Copper stocks up after the metal hit highest level since 2022
  • GUD jumps 11pc after strong FY24 update

 

The ASX dipped by -0.4% on Tuesday ahead of the Federal Budget and a key PPI report out of the US later tonight. 

The dip follows a lacklustre session on Wall Street with traders staying mostly on the sidelines as they prepared for the report. 

“The key risk is a hotter CPI print,” said Andrew Tyler at JPMorgan Chase. 

On the Budget front, Jim Chalmers is expected to deliver a $9.3 billion surplus tonight, marking the first consecutive surpluses since the 2007-08 global financial crisis following last year’s $22 billion surplus. 

On the ASX today, Real Estate and Tech sectors once again dragged the bourse lower, while Discretionary and Healthcare led. 

Source: MarketIndex

 

At the large end of town, vehicles aftermarket retailer GUD Holdings (ASX:GUD) rose by +11% after reporting that its FY24 underlying EBITA is in line with expectations, and is forecast to be at least $193.5m.

GUD said automotive  continues to trade well across all its key business units, reflecting ongoing execution of the diversification strategy and resilience of the aftermarket. 

Another performer today was Neuren Pharma (ASX:NEU), which was up almost +7% on no specific news. 

Fletcher Building (ASX:FBU) continued its slide,  dropped another -4% today after reporting a disappointing earnings forecast for fiscal 2024 yesterday.  The company cited significant slowdown in house sales in New Zealand, and the weak Aussie property market for its problems. 

BHP (ASX:BHP)  meanwhile inched -0.5% lower after Anglo American rejected a second takeover bid from BHP, which valued the London-listed mining company at $64.4 billion. 

BHP said Anglo’s board did not engage with the latest proposal, which followed an initial $60 billion offer that was also rejected last month.

 

Copper touches 2-year high

In Asian markets today, tech stocks in Hong Kong got a boost as positive corporate earnings overshadowed worries about China’s slow economic recovery.

The Hang Seng Tech Index went up by as much as 2.5% ahead of results from tech giants Tencent and Alibaba later today. 

“As two of the largest stocks in MSCI China and the Hang Seng Index, their results will drive sentiment for the major indexes,” said Marvin Chen, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Copper meanwhile just hit its highest level since 2022, now trading at at US$10,205 a ton in Shanghai, after climbing 0.5% to a two-year high of US$10,239.

Since January, copper prices have jumped nearly 20%, going against the usual indicators of weak demand, especially in China. This is partly because investors anticipate a tight mine supply leading to a global shortage of the metal as early as this year.

Now read: $12,000 copper: Why Anglo’s red metal assets make the rest of it worthwhile

 

ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Today’s best performing small cap stocks:

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TechGen Metals (ASX:TG1) was up on news that the company has expanded its portfolio to include “a highly prospective copper and gold project in Western Australia”. Techgen has snapped up the Blue Devil project, located 45km east northeast of Halls Creek in Western Australia and accessible through station and exploration tracks, for “minimal outlay”, after previous exploration at the site by Spartan Exploration returned some promising rock chip samples, above 1% Cu with a peak of 50.5% Cu.

It’s a timely purchase, as copper prices ticked back over US$10,000 a tonne overnight – which was also great news for Castillo Copper (ASX:CCZ) , which was up on news of plans to develop its Big One deposit in the Mt Isa copper belt. Located within CCZ’s prime NWQ Copper Project, the Big One Deposit has a JORC compliant Mineral Resource Estimate of 2.1Mt @ 1.1% Cu for 21,886t contained metal2, including 40m @ 1.64% from surface incl: 11m @ 4.40% from 24m, 5m @ 7.34% from 28m & 1m @ 16.65% from 29m, and 44m @ 1.19% Cu from surface incl: 14m @ 3.55% from 27m, 3m @ 10.88% from 37m & 1m @ 12.6% from 37m.

In more copper news, Stavely Minerals (ASX:SVY) was up this morning after announcing that re-interpretation of historic and more recent drilling at the company’s Junction prospect has identified an immediate shallow discovery opportunity. Stavely says copper-gold-silver lode-style mineralisation intersected previously at Junction includes chalcopyrite, bornite and covellite and is very similar to the mineralisation at its 9.3Mt at 1.23% Cu, 0.23g/t Au, 7g/t Ag Cayley Lode.

Rincon Resources (ASX:RCR) was on the rise again after dramatically peaking and selling off about a week or so ago. The critical metals (REEs, niobium, copper, gold) junior was up today after revealing that a Heritage clearance survey over its high-priority ‘Avalon’ Nb-REE/IOCG target has now been completed. The survey encompassed the Avalon, Sheoak, K1 and K2 target areas, with 32 drilling traverses surveyed, allowing Rincon to fast-track additional drilling programs in the event of early success. These targets are located at the company’s wider West Arunta project area. The final survey report is expected in four to five weeks, and if all goes according to plan drilling will happen some time just beyond that. Last week, Rincon announced that it was successful in its application under Round 29 of the Western Australian Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) for a co-funding grant of up to $180,000.

Junior gold explorer, First Au (ASX:FAU), has made a solid gain today  amid high trading volume. Something’s going on – investors might know, but here’s what we know. It’s a management/boardroom shuffle situation. Why that’s got investors frothing, though, is as yet not entirely clear. The company has announced the resignation of its current CEO and MD Ryan Skeen, which will take effect at the conclusion of FAU’s AGM on Thursday this week.

Another gold ‘n’ copper-hunting junior, Antipa Minerals (ASX:AZY), made sweet gains today on the back of its assay results for the first six GEO-01 RC holes at its 100%-owned Minyari Dome gold-copper project in WA have returned some solid results. It’s talking thick zones of near surface, potentially open pittable, high-grade gold mineralisation. Intersections include: 66m at 1.4g/t gold and 0.04% copper, and 26m at 1.3g/t gold from 37m down hole.

Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) jumped after sharing the results from recent preclinical studies conducted at Oncolines B.V. in the Netherlands. In these studies, bisantrene (Race’s lead drug) was tested in combination with decitabine to enhance anticancer activity. Results showed that bisantrene and decitabine used together have significantly improved cancer cell-killing across 143 tumour cell lines, than either drug used alone. Combining these two drugs at clinical doses significantly boosted cancer cell-killing, with 92% (131 out of 143) of the cell lines showing improvement. These results suggest that the combination could be a promising treatment for various cancers, including solid tumors like lung, prostate, pancreas, breast, and head and neck cancer.

In a first of its kind in South Africa, Kinetiko Energy (ASX:KKO) has successfully demonstrated power production from a gas well at Amersfoort, in cooperation with FFS Refiners. A fully compliant gas train was constructed on-site to feed a 1.2MW gas generator. Gas was produced from one existing gas well, which forms parts of a 5 well cluster near Amersfoort which is located in ER271.

Pantera Minerals (ASX:PFE) will collaborate with NYSE-listed energy technology company, SLB, to leverage its advanced subsurface technology and expertise. The goal is to advance the already identified leads and multiple re-entry wells into drill-ready prospects. SLB will complete a subsurface 3D Static Geological Model to identify optimal well locations for PFE for future well planning and designs. The model will also be used by PFE for resource estimation ahead of the Pantara’s maiden lithium drilling program in the Arkansas Smackover.

Shares in the Aussie weather-tech company Aeeris (ASX:AER) jumped 20% today amid news of a partnership with Tomorrow.io, the ‘world’s leading provider of advanced weather forecasting’ which, AER says will set a new standard for weather forecasting and risk mitigation in Australia.

AER just became the sole re-seller of tomorrow’s tech in Australia and just signed its first customer for the tech. It’s a game changer for Australian businesses, particularly those in regional and rural areas where there are no rain gauges or radars.

Aeeris is the parent company of Early Warning Network (EWN) which, as the label suggests, operates an early warning and notification system used by some of Australia’s biggest insurers and councils. It fields a 24×7 monitoring team backed by proprietary technology which utilises data from remote throughout Australia.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Today’s best performing small cap stocks:

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Corella Resources (ASX:CR9) is planning to carry out a target-focussed airborne magnetics and radiometric survey over the northern part of the Tampu kaolin project in WA’s Wheatbelt region where interpreted pegmatites with multiple outcropping targets have been identified.

Culpeo Minerals’ (ASX:CPO) reconnaissance drilling has returned near surface, high-grade copper mineralisation grading up to 2.19% at the Vaca Muerta and El Quillay North prospects within its Fortuna project in Chile.

First Lithium (ASX:FL1) is carrying out metallurgical test work ahead of defining a maiden lithium resource for its Blakala project. The company is also expecting final assays from Phase 1 drilling within the coming week.

Impact Minerals (ASX:IPT) has completed baseline environmental surveys that indicated that there are no threatened or priority species of flora and fauna on the Lake Hope salt pan, paving the way for a mining lease application.

James Bay Minerals (ASX:JBY) is preparing to launch its summer 2024 field program that will focus on high-priority pegmatite targets generated across the Joule, Aero, Aqua properties and the recently acquired La Grande East – all part of the greater La Grande project.

Mako Gold (ASX:MKG) has completed mechanical trenching at its high-grade Tchaga North gold prospect that will help formulate a drill plan at the Napié project in Côte d’Ivoire.

Pantera Minerals (ASX:PFE) has engaged world leading subsurface technology company SLB to identify the potential of its Smackover lithium brine project ahead of drilling the first well.

Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) has achieved a key milestone with the potential of its lead drug Bisantrene showing improved efficacy with standard of care drug decitabine in a broad range of cancers, opening partnering opportunities.

Renegade Exploration (ASX:RNX) will drill the Mongoose Deeps prospect at its Cloncurry project next week after a high-resolution gravity geophysical survey returned a dense gravity anomaly that is of a similar magnitude as the Ernest Henry gravity anomaly and directly overlaps the core of the magnetic anomaly.

Scorpion Minerals (ASX:SCN) will follow-up on historical high-grade copper drilling hits at the Mt Mulcahy prospect in WA’s Murchison region. The prospect already has an existing resource of 647,000t grading 2.4% copper, 1.8% zinc, 0.1% cobalt and

20g/t silver at the South Limb Pod zone of mineralisation.

Tesoro Gold’s (ASX:TSO) surface channel sampling has confirmed that its Buzzard prospect is a compelling drill target after returning a result of 20m at 0.52g/t gold.

Victory Metals (ASX:VTM) has carried out metallurgical test work at its North Stanmore project that demonstrated ‘outstanding’ recoveries of 93% for high value magnet rare earths.

Fatfish Group (ASX:FFG) has completed its due diligence of AI Gaming Co. (AIGC) and has progressed towards executing a share subscription agreement that confirms its intention to invest in AIGC.The agreement envisages a series of investments by FFG of up to $2.8m to secure a 51% interest in AIGC. AIGC is a start-up harnessing advanced AI to forge immersive, dynamic gaming experiences.

Impact Minerals (ASX:IPT) baseline environmental surveys have found that there are no threatened or priority species of flora and fauna on the Lake Hope salt pan that hosts its high purity alumina project of the same name. This paves the way for the company to proceed with securing a mining lease application.

Spartan Resources (ASX:SPR) has completed the retail component of its 1-for-17 fully underwritten pro rata non-renounceable entitlement offer, raising $4m after receiving applications for ~7.4 million shares priced at 58c each. The remaining 12 million shares totalling $7m will be issued to the underwriters of the offer. Proceeds will be combined with the earlier placement that raised ~$47m to underpin a significantly expanded exploration campaign at Dalgaranga in 2024/25.

And EZZ Life Science (ASX:EZZ) rose almost +16% on no specific news, but the company announced last week that it was handing out interim half year divvies to shareholders to the tune of $0.015 per share fully franked.

 

TRADING HALTS

Maronan Metals (ASX:MMA)pending an announcement regarding a capital raising.

AML3D (ASX:AL3) – pending an announcement regarding a capital raising.

 

At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Fatfish Group, Spartan Resources, Corella Resources, Culpeo Minerals, First Lithium, Impact Minerals, James Bay Minerals, Mako Gold, Pantera Minerals, Race Oncology, Renegade Exploration, Scorpion Minerals, Tesoro Gold and Victory Metals are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.