The ASX edged higher in a fairly directionless session in Thursday trade, after US markets comfortably digested the latest round of inflation data overnight.

The iron ore majors led the way with strong demand across the board, with more muted gains in energy and financial stocks.

But there was still plenty of activity at the small end of the market, with stocks from a range of different sectors — from junior explorers to semiconductors to ecommerce — all posting strong gains on market-moving announcements.

 

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP WINNERS

(Stocks highlighted in yellow rose after making announcements during the trading day).

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Nanocap Atlas Pearls (ASX:ATP) roared into the close following a trading update at 3:13pm EST, after upgrading its half-year revenue forecast to $12-$13m amid strong conditions in the international pearl market.

Queensland-based explorer Carnaby Resources (ASX:CBY) is basking in the glory of copper paydirt since confirming a major discovery at its ‘Nil Desperandum’ prospect on December 29.

Additional drill results today brought more good news, and the project is now “shaping up as a major Iron Oxide Copper Gold discovery which is rapidly getting bigger and better at depth,” managing director Rob Watkins said.

Outside of resources, there was a notable move in semiconductor technology company Archer Materials (ASX:AXE), which ramped above $2.50 last year as investors responded to a series of patent announcements.

The stock then slumped back to $1, but climbed back towards $1.40 after providing a research update where AXE said it had addressed “a key nanotech challenge in its biochip development by successfully integrating single atom-thick graphene on a silicon wafer”.

The company said it’s in the process of “developing a biochip that would allow droplets of biological specimens to be analysed and processed using graphene-based sensors”.

Also holding its gains on today’s winners list was online real estate rental platform Rent.com.au (ASX:RNT) following a capital raise announcement.

The company confirmed an oversubscribed share placement to raise $6.5m at 6c per share, with a focus on marketing and building at its platform.

 

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP LOSERS

(Stocks highlighted in yellow fell after making announcements during the trading day).

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The big loser in Thursday trade was Wildcat Resources (ASX:WC8), after providing assay results from an RC drilling program and rock chip sampling at its Wildplay joint venture project in WA’s Eastern Goldfields.

WC8 said the results confirmed a new “priority target zone” for further testing, but investors were looking for more as the stock fell by more than 30%.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Chile-based copper explorer Hot Chili (ASX:HCH) released new drill results at its fully-owned Cortadera copper-gold porphyry deposit which will add to its shallow-resource  estimate. “Further assay results from Cortadera being compiled for release in advance of a major resource upgrade in Q1 this year, following over 46,000m of additional drilling completed in 2021”, HCH said.

Shares in media analytics company Global Traffic Network (ASX:GTN) edged higher following a trading update. The company said EBITDA for the half-year to December is now expected to be $9.75m – $10.25m, up from $7.1m in the prior corresponding period. GTN said revenue in Australia (its largest market) is on track to climb by 24%, with gains in its UK and Brazil markets as well.

 

TRADING HALTS

The following stocks went into halts and are due out over the next few trading days:

Lunnon Metals (ASX:LM8) – exploration update

MRG Metals (ASX:MRQ) – capital raising

Gladiator Resources (ASX:GLA) – capital raising