The ASX Emerging Companies (XEC) index closed 0.7% higher on Wednesday. The ASX 200 managed 0.6%.

Wall Street offered strong leads overnight, the Nasdaq jumping 2%. Crude’s flat, iron ore is weaker and there’s a lot of war out there today.

We’ve got Russia’s war. There’s Australia’s new space war and now Austal’s (ASX:ASB) war. Although… well, its war to retain a big Philippine Naval contract that sank without trace this morning.

 

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.

ASX-listed fintech Plenti Group (ASX:PLT) jumped high today, after announcing its maiden cash profit and a $1bn loan portfolio – shareholders liking the group’s ability to deliver on some big promises.

Medtech Imugene Therapies (ASX:IMU) is up on news it will start a phase 1 clinical trial of its cancer drug candidate Vaxinia in the states.

The US bit of the Phase I trial will be run under the Food and Drug Administration’s investigational new drug  process following FDA clearance in December. Shares are more than 10% stronger in afternoon business.

Over Port Hedland way – Carnarvon Energy (ASX:CVN) has gone upward and onward – rising well over 20% after big oil Santos disclosed a big oil discovery at the Pavo-1 well, north-east of Port Hedland, in which Carnarvon is a handy 30-70 partner. At Santos no one blinked – gaining 0.1% to $7.80.

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.

As mentioned, shares in ship builder Austal (ASX:ASB) fell hard and fast – sank even –  after the company revealed it had been snubbed by the Philippines Navy to construct its offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

Austral, the Australian Government and Philippines Navy had been in negotiations for several years to construct the OPV’s at the company’s Philippines shipyard.  However, the company has been advised that the Philippines navy has now decided to sole-source foreign-built OPVs rather than proceed to purchase Austral-built vessels facilitated through the government to government memorandum of understanding with the Commonwealth of Australia.

“It’s disappointing that after several years of working together with PN to develop an agreed specification and price for this project, at the final stages of negotiations PN elected to pursue an offshore build on different terms,” Austral CEO Paddy Gregg said.

ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Shares in Uniti (ASX:UWL) were up some 11% when trade was nixed, following a fresh takeover bid by Macquarie Asset Management and Canada’s always hungry Public Sector Pension Investment.

Spark Finance, the wholly owned subsidiary of Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) has issued a 6.5 year NZ$100m sustainability-linked bond to institutional investors.

New Zealand’s first sustainability-linked bond will mature on September 29, 2028 and will pay an interest rate of 4.37% per annum. The rates are expected to score an A- rating by S&P.

Aeris Resources (ASX:AIS) has announced construction of its Avoca Tank underground mine is underway, within its 100% owned Tritton tenement package in New South Wales.

The company’s exec chair Andre Labuschagne said production is due to start in Q4 FY23 with an exploration drill program underway targeting extensions to copper mineralisation below mineral resource footprint.

Metgasco (ASX:MEL) has announced the ATP 2021 Jmelhas signed the final sales agreement with AGL Wholesale Gas for sale of all gas produced from the Vali Field from field start-up through to the end of CY2026.

Metagasco is a 25% party to the ATP 2021 agreement with the others being Vintage Energy (ASX:VEN) 50% and Bridgeport (Cooper Basin) Pty Ltd 25%. The total volume is estimated at between 9 PJ and 16 PJ (gross) with pricing agreed at a mix of fixed and variable market rates.

TRADING HALTS

Chimeric Therapeutics Limited (ASX: CHM) – trading halt, pending an announcement in relation to a placement shortfall.

Eagle Mountain Mining Limited (ASX: EM2) –  trading halt, pending an announcement regarding a capital raise.

Mandrake Resources Ltd (ASX: MAN) – trading halt, pending the release of an announcement in relation to an acquisition.

Rafaella Resources Limited (ASX: RFR) – trading halt, RFR says it is aware shareholders have been contacted by letter ‘purporting certain matters regarding the San Finx and Santa Comba projects.’ The Board is seeking a temporary suspension of trading pending a clarifying announcement to the market.

AdRabbit Limited (ASX: RAB) – trading halt, the Company is proposing to make an announcement concerning an application to be removed from the Official List of the ASX.

Bannerman Energy Ltd (ASX: BMN) –  trading halt, pending an announcement regarding a capital raise.