The ASX posted steady gains to start the week on Monday, with investors preferences leaning towards tech/consumer stocks and gold (unusual bedfellows) at the expense of the big banks and iron ore majors.

Companies that specialise in the precious yellow metal — a popular inflation hedge — outperformed the broader commodities complex.

Meanwhile, financial stocks traded flat and there were bigger gains at the small end of town, as the microcap Emerging Companies index rose by around 0.6% (compared to ~-0.3% for the ASX 200.

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP WINNERS

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

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Clean energy company Environmental Clean Technologies (ASX:ECT) is officially mooning, following up four straight days of double-digit percentage gains with another ~50% surge today.

The Monday surge followed an announcement this morning where ECT said its advancing the development of a commercial-scale net-zero emission hydrogen refinery in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

ECT said its ‘Coldry’ technology — which facilitates low-cost, zero-emission dewatering and drying of incoming lignite and biomass streams – “will form the core of the raw material processing system, acting as the gateway enabler for an integrated operating plant”.

Also rising strongly was Korab Resources (ASX:KOR), which shot higher in afternoon trade following a Heads of Agreement (HoA) announcement just before 2pm EST.

KOR struck a deal with the operator and manager of Darwin Port “for the export of up to 30,000 tonnes per annum of magnesium metal”, from its Winchester magnesium carbonate deposit at Batchelor in the Northern Territory.

Elsewhere, Eastern Iron (ASX:EFE) held its gains from morning trade, after consolidating its pivot to lithium by inking a deal with Yahua — one of China’s largest lithium chemical producers — to find and develop local lithium projects.

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP LOSERS

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

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ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY’VE MISSED

Healthia (ASX:HLA) announced it was buying another three allied health businesses – one is occupational therapy business Scar Care and the others physio businesses Eyre Sports Physio and Physioworks. Together these make up 7 clinics, which are expected to contribute $4.3 million in revenue to Healthia.

In a touch of irony being one of the greatest winners of the shift of business to the digital world, telehealth booking service 1st Group (ASX:1ST) has decided to hold its AGM next week physically. The company said it considered the cost of its original plan hybrid meeting was too much.

Cimic (ASX:CMC) confirmed to shareholders it still expects a profit between $400 and $430 million. It also updated shareholders of the Ventia spin off telling shareholders it would net $30 million after costs but retail a 32.8% stake in the company.

Woodside (ASX:WPL) agreed to sell a 49% stake in its Pluto Train Joint Venture – which forms part of its Scarborough LNG development – to private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners. GIP will fund at least US$835 million in construction capital expenditure.

Today Regional Express (ASX:REX) relaunched its Sydney to Melbourne flights and took the opportunity to announce flights between Melbourne and Brisbane. These flights will begin on December 17 and special fares from $79 are available.

TRADING HALTS

Tuesday

Mont Royal Resources (ASX:MRZ) – capital raising
Murray Cod Australia (ASX:MCA) – capital raising
Dreadnought Resources (ASX:DRE) – exploration results
Invion (ASX:IVX) – capital raising

Wednesday

Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS) – capital raising
PlaySide Studios (ASX:PLY) – capital raising
Aumake (ASX:AUK) – capital raising
Leaf Resources (ASX:LER) – chemical plant incident
Nexion (ASX:NNG) – capital raising
Raiden Resources (ASX:RDN) – re-interpretation modelling results
West Wits Mining (ASX:WWI) – capital raising
Globe Metals and Mining (ASX:GBE) – organisational change
PYC Therapeutics (ASX:PYC) – NHP safety results
Lion Energy (ASX:LIO) – capital raising
Wildcat Resources (ASX:WC8) – capital raising
Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) – government grant
AuKing Mining (ASX:AKN) – capital raising
MinRex Resources (ASX:MRR) – acquisition