Trading was so fitful on the benchmark Aussie index that at 4pm in Sydney it kinda looks as if the ASX200 was in cardiac arrest for most of Thursday…

Volatile enough for ya?! Via MarketIndex


At 4.15 on Thursday December 21, the S&P/ASX200 was down 34 points, or -0.45 per cent, to 7504.

Via Google

The benchmark backtracked off Wednesday’s 11-month highs following some late profit taking in New York overnight, where the rallying Wall Street majors hit fresh record highs, before traders unwound the good work with a late fire sale.

Up early on Thursday was the tram behind the stock which bares its teeth when required – Pacific Smiles (ASX:PSQ). The board has palmed the offer from Genesis Capital saying it’s “materially undervalued”, offering instead some decent 2024 guidance – with underlying earnings expected to come in between $26mn and $28mn.

Leading thin gains across the board were the Heath Industrial and Utilities sectors aided by relatively decent runs for AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) , Steadfast (ASX:SDF), Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL)  and Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC)

In the heavily weighing resources space Meridian Energy continued its daily balancing up, this time up over 4%, while the lithium lads – Allkem (ASX:AKE) , Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and IGO (ASX:IGO) – with a guest appearance from REE lad Lynas (ASX:LYC) – were driving Mining losses.

ASX Sectors on Thursday

Via MarketIndex


At last, oil pauses

Meanwhile, WTI crude futures fell under US$74 during our session on Thursday, biding adieu to an awful six days of rising prices.


Via Tradingeconomics

Oil traders are all about the Red Sea at the moment, but probably should’ve been looking closer to home, where (fortunately for lovers of Xmas road trips) EIA data-crunchers in the states reckon US crude stockpiles jumped by 2.9 million barrels last week, mocking expectations for a 2.3 million barrel shortfall.

Apparently US crude production also leapt to a record 13.3 million barrels a day last week, up from the previous all-time high of 13.2 million bpd.

That’s taken the sting out of these Iran-backed Yemeni-Houthi attacks on merchant shipping, which has done all sorts of spannering to global trade.

And the latest on that is – aside from being scary – the impact on actual oil supply’s been negligible ‘cos the bulk of Middle East crude finds customers in the other direction, via the Strait of Hormuz.


Any which way but loose…

Trading in mainland China’s been thin, painful and largely pointless for most of the year, and it’s getting harder for punters on both the Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component to make sense, let alone money.

Both were another -0.3 to -0.5% lower after lunchtime on Thursday, headed directly toward the lowest levels of 2023.

As reported by this fine publication on Wednesday, China’s extremely central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) held the equivalent of a standard benchmark lending rate unchanged, disappointing everyone including local miners who’ve been hoping for some stimmy and/or cheaper cash policies to facilitate some action and nudge China’s sonambulant economy.

There’s also reports President Xi Jinping told  his US counterpart Joe Biden during their recent summit in San Francisco that, by the way, China will reunify Taiwan with the mainland, any which way…



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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CPT Global (ASX:CGO) is off on a mission all unto itself on Thursday. Up a casual +70%, no one knows why, least of all CGO, as revealed in this missive to the ASX speeding police this arvo:



An emphatic no, from CGO’s law-talking team.

Elsewhere, friend of the show and niobium hunter WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1) gained 25% after revealing some positive assay results from its West Arunta project in WA.

A few weeks ago, another friend of the show, Emanuel “Tru” Datt from Datt Capital snapped up a 5.03% stake in WA1 for circa $11mn.

Loving lithium in Canada is the minnow Narryer Metals (ASX:NYM) which jumped nicely earlier today.

Fresh news? Nope. For what it’s worth, though, this time exactly a month ago…

The company completed fieldwork for the season across its three project areas – Pontax East and Le Moyne Projects (James Bay, Quebec), and the Hailstone Project, in gorgeous North West Ontario.

NYM reported that all three identified pegmatite intrusives on the ground, although geochemical analysis to determine the full nature of the mineralisation still remains TBD.

No one minds too much.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Peppermint Innovation (ASX:PIL) – Pending an important announcement to be made regarding the acquisition of an Artificial intelligence (AI) and Customer Experience (CX) business by the Company

Tietto Minerals (ASX:TIE) – Pending the removal of an ASX release that was lodged in error

Invictus Energy (ASX:IVZ) – In relation to a capital raising

Australian Pacific Coal (ASX:AQC) – In relation to a capital raising

XPON Technologies (ASX:XPN) – In connection with the proposed disposal of a material business

Mamba Exploration (ASX:M24) pending an announcement regarding an acquisition and capital raising

Frugl Group (ASX:FGL) – Pending an announcement in relation to the outcome of a placement to sophisticated and professional investors