• ASX closed higher on Friday as energy stocks lifted
  • Oil prices up as Middle East conflict intensifies
  • US to impose new tariffs on China – covering electric vehicles, batteries, and solar cells 


Aussie shares were on the up on Friday, closing +0.5% higher, taking cues from a good run on Wall Street. For the week, the benchmark ASX200 index was up around +1.7%.

Strong US jobless claims data released overnight kept hopes alive for a near-term Fed rate cut, pushing US stock indices higher. 

Back home, traders are parsing through news that China’s looking to tighten the reins on its booming lithium battery industry.

The the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is apparently tossing around some draft regulations, wanting to get the public’s take on them. A bunch of issues will be tackled, from lopsided growth in different regions to skewed supply and demand in the market. 

On the ASX today, the Energy sector was the front runner by a long margin, while Mining was the laggard.


Source: MarketIndex


Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) was up 4.5%, while Santos (ASX:STO) and Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) gained around 2% each. 

This comes as oil prices spiked up in Asian trading today, thanks to the upbeat data on China’s exports/imports and a softer US dollar.  

Also boosting oil prices this afternoon was reports that the Middle East war is getting even more tense. 

Israeli forces continued to hit parts of Rafah with airstrikes, while President Joe Biden said he might hold back on sending weapons to Israel if they keep up the assault.

The Energy sector also rose thanks to Resources Minister Madeleine King unveiling her plans for an expansion of the Aussie gas industry, part of the Federal Government’s long overdue pipe dream to defibrillate Australia’s manufacturing sector.

Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) meanwhile rose 1% today after a court tossed out a class action that alleged the CBA had kept investors in the dark about problems with its internal anti-money laundering and terrorism financing rules.


China’s EVs, batteries targeted as US slaps new tariff

Meanwhile, word on the street is that President Biden is gearing up to drop some big news on China tariffs, likely coming out next week. 

From what insiders are saying, he’s looking to aim at specific strategic tariffs instead of blanket ones. Stuff like electric vehicles, batteries, and solar cells could be on the radar.

Across the region today, most Asian stock markets advanced but Chinese shares retreated after the US tariff news.

Japan’s Softbank Vision Fund has apparently been offloading and downgrading a ton of its publicly traded stocks lately. 

Founder Masayoshi Son seems to be steering away from his old Venture Cap craze, and focusing more on strategic bets in trends like semiconductors and AI.

And over in the US tonight, we’re expecting the initial May consumer sentiment reading from the University of Michigan. 

Plus, keep an eye out for updates on the April US national budget, as well as comments from three Fed Reserve officials.



Today’s best performing small cap stocks:

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Macro Metals (ASX:M4M) maintained its upward trend this morning, adding another +22.6% to take its tally for the week to +245%, and push it well through the +1,100% mark for the year to date.

TMK Energy (ASX:TMK) was up this morning, on the back of yesterday’s news that the company has raised $623,589 through a share purchase plan that provided eligible shareholders with the opportunity to subscribe for up to $30,000 worth of fully paid ordinary shares at $0.004 a pop.

State Gas (ASX:GAS) was up on news that the company has been awarded $5.5 million of exploration grant funding through the Queensland Government’s Frontier Gas Exploration Program.

IPB Petroleum (ASX:IPB) was showing a gain this morning on news that it has received firm subscriptions for a placement to professional and sophisticated investors of approximately 141.3 million new ordinary shares at an issue price of 0.7 cents per share to raise about $0.988 million before costs.

St Barbara (ASX:SBM) revealed its 10-year outlook for the Simberi mine in PNG. The company’s crystal balling is the result of a recent ‘Expansion Concept Study’ it conducted that considered as many as six different options/outcomes.

Takeaways for investors (assuming, that is, a 3.7Mtpa throughput rate):
• Total gold production of 2Moz
• Average annual gold production rising from 70,000 to 75,000oz in FY25 to FY27 to 230,000oz through to 2034; and,
• All-in Sustaining Costs decreasing to US$1,000-$1,200/oz from FY28 to FY34.

Everest Metals (ASX:EMC)’s Phase 1 resource drilling at the Mt Edon Critical Mineral Project has commenced with a ~1,400m RC program. Drilling to follow up pegmatite formation with previous results delivering 80m of Rubidium at 0.32%, from surface. The drilling will result in the conversion of the current Exploration Target to a Mineral Resource Estimate in 2024.

And, engineering company  Civmec (ASX:CVL) said in Q3 FY24, revenue came in at $258.3 million, a 37.6% compared to the pcp. NPAT reached $17.1 million, showing a solid increase of 16.9% on pcp. Furthermore, earnings per share (EPS) rose to 3.4 cents, up from 2.9 cents in the pcp. Finally, the company’s net cash balance saw a significant increase of a$52.6 million from the pcp, reaching a total of $35.9 million.



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Alvo Minerals (ASX:ALV) has started a 5000m diamond drilling program to test three high-priority targets at its Palma project that were defined by multi-disciplinary exploration.

De Grey Mining (ASX:DEG) has raised $514m through a placement of shares to fund development of its +10Moz Hemi gold deposit in the Pilbara. The company is raising another $85.6m through an offer of shares to retail investors.

Everest Metals Corporation (ASX:EMC) has started Phase 1 drilling to define an inferred rubidium resource at its Mt Edon critical minerals project in Western Australia’s Mid-West region.

Hot Chili (ASX:HCH) has completed its $24.9m private placement to accelerate development of its 798Mt Costa Fuego copper-gold project in Chile. It has now secured full underwriting for the accompanying $5m share purchase plan, ensuring that the company will raise the full $29.9m. Proceeds will be used to complete the Costa Fuego PFS, advance the water supply study and create a new water company, and start a bankable feasibility study over the next 18 months.

Drilling at Magnetic Resources’ (ASX:MAU) ~950,000oz Lady Julie North 4 deposit has returned yet more thick gold intersections within a 750m-long mineralised target.

Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM) has received a $3m grant from the Queensland state government for a trial program of new gas wells targeting the Fort Cooper Coal Measures that could increase production at its Moranbah gas project while reducing carbon emissions from the Bowen Basin.

RareX (ASX:REE) has completed all critical environmental baseline studies for its Cummins Range rare earth and phosphate project. It will now move to secure a heritage agreement and complete the pre-feasibility study.



Nothing to see here. Move along.


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At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Alvo Minerals, De Grey Mining, Hot Chili, Everest Metals Corporation, Magnetic Resources, Queensland Pacific Metals and RareX are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.