With Tuesday trade in the casket, the ASX Emerging Companies (XEC) index has closed about 1% lower, while the ASX 200 (XJO) benchmark index is down 0.5%,

Everywhere markets fell, but for Paris, which has breathed a rich, garlic-scented merde of relief now that Marie Le Pen isn’t La President, yet.

There’s so much out there for investors to worry about, but I’m going with the fire sale in US government bonds as anxiety-of-the-day. The Fed continues to talk up the looming showdown between rising interest rates and the new rising inflation data, which even the White House says is going to be a biggie.

 

Meanwhile, in China…

Fears – and tears – have been brewing over the length and breadth of COVID-19 lockdowns and the chunks they’re starting to take out of key commodity demand.

Iron ore futures are down in Dalian, although still above the US$150 barrier.

In the wonderful, sprawling cantonese metro of Guangzhou schools are closing and whole manufacturing hub could be next as cases climb, while in Shanghai the Shanghainese cling to sanity by nightly sing-a-longs as new cases soar to record highs.

In the States, West Texas and Nymex fell sharply overnight.

It’s not my business – it’s not even my beat – but I do feel compelled to tell someone “I told you so” after Block (formerly Square) reported its new toy Afterpay lost around $350 million for the half-year ended December 31. That’s a factor of four times worse than the already unwelcome $79 million loss for the same time a year earlier.

Buy Now Pay Later sounds like it makes sense, but it might not. It might be nonsense. Just saying now, meaning later.

 

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP WINNERS

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

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

I guess now we know why they went with the name Krakatoa Resources (ASX:KTA). Shares more than doubled after the company announced it had made a major clay hosted ionic rare earths discovery at its Mt Clere project in Western Australia’s Gascoyne region.

KTA CEO Mark Major said geochemical analysis of reconnaissance drilling results out of its Tower prospect have hit pay earth with ‘significant and widespread’ clay hosted rare earth elements (REEs) abounding.

“These results have now confirmed that widespread clay hosted, ready soluble REEs exist at significant concentrations within the thick saprolite regolith of the Mt Clere project,” CEO Mark Major said. “This discovery has come at a great time for the company and our shareholders. Demand for these magnetic and critical REEs are expected to increase over the next 10 years, as the world embarks on the electric revolution.”

Ragnar Metals’ (ASX:RAG) share price went ballistic today after the explorer announced some mega assay resultsfeaturing a 146.3-metre wide zone of intrusion-related magmatic nickel-copper-cobalt bearing sulphide mineralisation.

Chairman Steve Formica saying the modelling and interpretation to date, “show this to be an extensive system with the potential to host significant tonnage of nickel-copper-cobalt metals.”

“The mineralisation within the Granmuren gabbroic intrusion starts from the surface and continues down to 400m vertical depth,” he says.

“It is open and increasing in size and grade with depth, similar to Anglo American’s Sakatti deposit in Finland which Ragnar continues to form its geological modelling around.”

Another big hit, this time from nickel-copper project developer Anax Metals (ASX:ANX). Shares are up some 20% after diamond drilling intersected ‘massive’ (high-grade) copper and zinc sulphide mineralisation over ‘true widths’ up to 15m at the ‘Evelyn’ deposit and massive to semi-massive sulphides at the ‘Salt Creek’ deposit, both part of the ‘Whim Creek’ project in the Pilbara.

“Both Evelyn and Salt Creek are very high-grade deposits,” ANX boss Geoff Laing says. “Metallurgical test work is due to commence shortly and is expected to confirm visual estimates of compatibility with existing processing design engineering work.”

Assay results are still pending.

Ikwezi Mining (ASX:IKW) is today’s Charlie Sheen stock (winning for no reason), sortof. Coal prices in general are going mental, and so is this small South African producer.

IKW is now up 150% in 2022 and 675% over the past year as it looks to ramp up its ‘Emoyeni’ wash plant throughput to 90,000t a month in the March quarter. Wash plants improve product value.

Coal production would also be increased to 100,000 tonnes a month through production from both ‘Kliprand’ and ‘Goedehoep’ pits.

Finally, lets get the hell out of the dirt and into the comforting environs of biopharma. Up ~20% is Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:PAR) after the biomed secured US FDA fast-track for its phase three osteoarthritis program.

PAR is an Aussie biopharmaceutical firm that specialises in drug repurposing to cure illnesses related to degenerative osteoarthritis, bone marrow edema lesions, respiratory, alphavirus, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“Paradigm believes Zilosul would represent an important medical advance in the treatment of debilitating osteoarthritis pain for patients who do not experience adequate pain relief or cannot tolerate currently available pain medications,” the company’s chief medical officer said in an announcement this morning,

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP LOSERS

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

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Exploration company Jindalee Resources (ASX:JRL) climbed by around 10%, after it flagged an asset split which will see the company reposition itself as a “pure-play US lithium developer, focussing on the McDermitt Lithium Project in Oregon”.

To execute the split, JRL plans to separate out its Australian assets into a separate listed entity. Along with McDermitt, the company’s portfolio includes multiple projects in WA spanning gold, lithium and iron ore, as well as a magnesite joint venture in Tasmania.

Eligible Jindalee shareholders will be entitled to receive a pro rata distribution (on a basis to be determined) of shares in the new company at a later date.

And shortly before 2:30pm EST, smart device company TZ Ltd (ASX:TZL) flagged a deal with the NSW government to upgrade some of its existing lockers to the TZ smart locker system.

Under the terms of the deal, TZ will “retrofit around 3,000 existing day lockers with their patented smart locking devices, controlled by TZ’s centralised enterprise locker management cloud platform”, the company said.

Along with a $1.34m upfront hardware payment, TZ also flagged a five-year Service as a Software (SaaS) contract between itself and the NSW Government (commercial terms undisclosed). Shares in TZ were unchanged at 12c in afternoon trade.

TRADING HALTS

EVZ Limited (ASX:EVZ) – trading halt to facilitate a proposed capital raising to be undertaken as an institutional placement

Lunnon Metals Limited (ASX:LM8) – trading halt, pending AN announcement in relation to a capital raising

Latin Resources Limited (ASX:LRS) – trading halt, pending the release of an announcement in relation to a capital raising

Emmerson Resources Limited (ASX:ERM) – trading halt, pending the release of an announcement in relation to a capital raising

Pacgold Ltd (ASX: PGO) – trading halt as it expects to make an announcement to the ASX in connection with a capital raising

Sabre Resources Ltd (ASX:SBR) – trading halt, pending the release of an announcement in relation to a capital raising

Megado Gold (ASX:MEG) – trading halt, pending an announcement in relation to a proposed acquisition