Bearish sentiment is still gripping the local markets, but the ASX managed to pull into itself into positive territory in the last 30 minutes of trading.

The benchmark would have slumped more today had it been not for the Mining sector, which rallied more than 3% and offset losses in other sectors.

Miners were buoyed by the rally in the spot iron ore price, which picked up overnight to trade just above $US130 a tonne.

The Energy sector was the only other sector in the green, up 0.7%, boosted by the continuing rise in LNG and oil prices.

Oil rallied by another 1% overnight with Brent crude now trading at $US88.11 a barrel and hitting a 7-year high. A drone attack by Yemeni Houthi rebels in the UAE that blew up three fuel tankers overnight has further created uncertainties on the supply side.

BNPL play Zip Co (ASZ:Z1P) slipped 1.3% today after announcing a record quarterly revenues of $167.4m on total transaction volume (TTV) of $2.6bn.

That marks a lift of 22.4% from the September quarter, where it booked revenues of $136.8m on TTV of $1.9bn.

Zip’s biggest rival Afterpay (ASX:APT) was finally delisted from the ASX today, following its new parent Block Inc (ASX:SQ2)’s listing. The Block stock price is expected to mirror the movements of NYSE-listed stock, SQ.

 

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP WINNERS

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

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New battery metals play NiCo Resources (ASX:NC1) continued its red-hot start to listed life, surging higher again following a successful IPO yesterday where the stock almost doubled on debut.

At just under 60c this morning NC1 is now up almost 200% from its IPO price inside 48, as excited investors back the company to develop its Wingellina nickel/cobalt project.

Lunnon Metals (ASX:LM8) provided an update on the status of its exploration programme at the Baker Shoot at its Kambalda Nickel Project. Assay results are back for the second complete line of RC holes include: 10m @ 6.82% Ni from 160m downhole and 3m @ 7.88% Ni from 180m downhole.

Verification sampling carried out by Critical Resources (ASX:CRR) has confirmed the high-grade nature of its Mavis Lake lithium project, returning assays of up to 3.06% lithium oxide.

WA-based gold player Rox Resources (ASX:RXL) announced a 1.34 million-ounce increase to its mineral resources to 3Moz.

Shares in fertility company Virtus Health (ASX:VRT) have jumped more than 8% to $7.24 today after the company announced it had received a takeover bid from equity house CapVest Partners.

With a market cap of ~$570 million, CapVest has offered to acquire 100% of Virtus at $7.60 per share.

Elsewhere, data centre company DXN Ltd (ASX:DXN) ripped higher on no news, jumping by 50% in morning trade to 9c.

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP LOSERS

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

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Lithium Power International’s (ASX:LPI) advanced definitive feasibility study (DFS) into the ‘Maricunga’ lithium brine project has been punished by investors.

Iceni Gold (ASX:ICL) led the laggards, after providing assay results from a diamond drilling program at its Deep Well prospect within its 14 Mile Well tenement package.

ICL said while the drilling “identified a large hydrothermal alteration system”, it “did not intersect economic gold mineralisation at these specific locations”.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

GreenTech (ASX:GRE) has announced it’s started maiden drilling at Whundo copper mine in Western Australia.

The Artemis Resources (ASX:ARV) spinout listed on the ASX on January 11 and is planning a ~3000m initial RC program at the adjacent Whundo and West Whundo open pits. Initial drilling is expected to be completed by the end of February.

Latin American next-generation medical imaging company IMEXHS (ASX:IME) has announced approval for its PACS technology HIRUKO Essential Software Suite from the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

TRADING HALTS

Triangle Energy (ASX:TEG) — ASX price query
DXN Ltd (ASX:DXN) – ASX price query
Alice Queen (ASX: AQX) – cap raise
BlackEarth Minerals (ASX:BEM) – cap raise
Arovella Therapeutics (ASX: ALA) – cap raise
Askari Metals Limited (ASX: AS2) – acquisition and cap raise
Argonaut Resources (ASX: ARE) – announcement on Zambian assets
Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX: TLX) – cap raise