• Wall Street inspires strong Asian market gains
  • Bubs leads quarterly numbers at home
  • Victory Goldfields becomes Victory REE for Wednesday

Let’s start big and go little today.

The S&P500 closed 2.6% higher early this morning – best session since June 24 – but who can stop and admire, when the Nasdaq climbed 3%.

A mix – let us call it a confluence of factors at play here – on the continent, where the word is Russian gas into the EU is back on via Nord Stream 1. Better-than-expected consumer sentiment, inflation expectations and retail sales data forearmed traders for the positive Q2 earnings drops which have assuaged recession banter for the moment.

While a tamer view of inflation has sparked a burst of buying across regional markets, the respite may be brief. UK prices and The Bank of England come into play tonight, Sydenham time. In the meantime hay = sunshine around the Asia-Pac – Japan’s Nikkei is 2% higher, the Chinese mainland Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Component are both circa 0.6% for the better, as the People’s Bank kept rates on hold.

Korea’s KOPSI is 1% up.

The ‘Guv Bailey warned overnight that a 50bps rise is ‘on the table’, adding a landmark tightening could be the only play to turn the UK’s 40-year-high inflation back on course toward the BoE’s 2% target.

Then there’s the European Central Bank’s policy meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday, Christine Lagarde has been telling everyone with an ear and a pen that she’s in an impossible situ, while policymakers have been telegraphing the first hike at the ECB in more than a decade.

There is, however lower prices at the gas and petrol pumps. There’s the Financial Times talking up the possibility of an end to Russia’s gridlock on Ukraine’s grain exports, although in my opinion, what’s the point of trusting in the safety of ports when the farms themselves are reportedly being targeted?

But anything that lessens the looming global food crisis is welcome. If the raging bushfires leave us anything.

Closer to home, China has kept a lid on its benchmark lending rates, leaving the one-year loan prime rate (LPR) at 3.70%, and the five-year LPR was unchanged at 4.45%, in line with market expectations. Chinese policymakers are tiptoeing their way through a difficult run and as per are weaving a cautious path through creeping COVID numbers, an awful property drama and global rate rises which may yet scupper the RMB.

In US company news, the Netflix exodus was less than expected – the home of Stranger Things provided Q3 guidance, saying it expects circa 1 million net new subscribers. And while Netflix shares jumped on the news, it closed near US$200 – after spending most of last year loitering near US$700.

At home, tech is driving rich gains, the All Ords is up almost 2.6%. The benchmark ASX 200 is at 1.6% and the Emerging Markets (XEC) index is 1.8% and climbing at 3.45pm AEDT.

Nadine McGrath has a close eye on all the quarterlies that matter to us. Her round up just dropped and it’s a snappy, bite-size Chicken McNugget with sweet and sour sauce of a read.

Up in BrisVegas, McGrath has also been prying open the infant formula tins to see what makes Bubs Australia (ASX:BUB) tick and found the infant formula maker has done incredibly well out of the infant formula crisis in the US – so no surprise it’s just announced a record quarter, she says.

Bubs topped Q4 gross revenue of $48m, up 278% previous corresponding period (pcp) and up 174% QoQ, delivering the fourth consecutive quarter of growth on prior year. FY22 gross revenue was $104.2m, up 123% pcp and more than double last year.

Bubs said it had achieved sustained growth momentum across all key product segments (A2 Beta-Casein, Organic Grass-fed, and Easy-digest Goat infant formula), along with all key markets Australia, China, and the US.

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 20 [intraday]:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

It’s all about Victory Goldfields’ (ASX:1VG) and the discoveries at its 100% owned Mafeking and North Stanmore Projects in Western Australia  – up 50%  or so last time I checked.

Victory’s recent 4400m air core drilling program confirmed significant values of both heavy rare earth oxides (HREO) and light rare earth oxides (LREO).

Yttrium, lanthanum and cerium were originally identified, leading Victory to commission REE specialists and geochemists who subsequently reported an average Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO) grade of 1020ppm and a Heavy Rare Earth Oxide (HREO)of 419ppm, with the highest TREO  concentration reaching 3872ppm.

“This incredible exploration success from our recent drilling program (represents) high TREO grades that are  comparable to several global saprolite (ionic clay) deposits that also contain the critical metal scandium,” a delighted executive director Brendan Clark said, describing the discoveries as a significant moment for Victory and its shareholders.

Scandium is a critical component of military aircraft, aerospace industry and hydrogen fuel cells, and it is present at significant concentrations, up to 94ppm (Sc2O3).

You can read more about it here via Jessica Cummins.

Firebrick (ASX:FRE)  has recovered from its US FDA Nasodine knock-back, adding 26% this morning, and Mighty Craft (ASX:MCL) has investors frothing and enjoying a not-even-remotely bitter 25% hop.

In a little more tech triumph today, even Megaport (ASX:MP1) has jumped well over 20% after a quarterly of joy across the entire business.

MP1 celebrates its maiden EBITDA turnaorund for Q4, its Japan and Canada markets turning profitable for the first time driven by customer and revenue growth.

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 20 [intraday]:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

As Gregor notes with neither scorn nor sympathy – Allegiance Coal (ASX:AHQ) remains ‘at the sorry end’ of the market spectrum, following up yesterday’s 66.7% beheading with another 25% cut to both legs.

The mining minnow with the name which makes you want to blow things up – Alderan Resources (ASX:AL8) – is down sharply, possibly on word  Princess Leia capitulated and told Grand Mof Tarkin where the rebels were hiding.

No, that’s not the last Alderaan joke we make about AL8, either. Give us some joy in our days.

WHAT YOU MAY’VE MISSED

Lots of noise around the market today, so you might have missed that Vimy Resources (ASX:VMY) has got the old crew together for a bit of a chinwag, and it’s been decided to merge with Deep Yellow (ASX:DYL).

The vote was a Putin-esque 96.57% (without any of the “Really Vlad? That many?” shenanigans, of course!) of Vimy Shareholders present and voting at the meeting in favour of the plan, which now goes before a WA court to make sure everything’s completely cool, before papers are lodged on 27 July.  

There’s another new CEO announcement, this time from Armour Energy (ASX:AJQ), which has welcomed Christian Lange to the hot seat. Lange is coming to the gig with three decades of knowledge packed into his brain, most recently from an 18-year stretch with global oil and gasfield services provider Schlumberger, which took him all around the world. 

Anyone who’s been watching Triton Minerals (ASX:TON) today and wondering WTF’s been going on with its sky-rocketing price, rest assured that you’re not alone. We can’t explain it, and – apparently – neither can Triton. The ASX fired off a postcard to find out why the price went through the roof today, and Triton wrote back a very simple “we really don’t know, either”. 

So, as we near the end of the day, Triton’s price is still almost 50% higher than it was as dawn broke this morning, for absolutely no reason at all other than it just is – which could remain one of the Great Unsolved Mysteries of the modern era. 

 

TRADING HALTS

Wiluna Mining Corporation (ASX: WMC) – Wiluna is reviewing its financial position, which sounds a bit serious.