The S&P/ASX200 is still climbing at the close, with a reassuring word or two from the RBA and strength on Wall Street seemingly doing the trick.

Most sectors in the green, except tech, with the iron ore big guns leading the way for Materials.

Fortescue (ASX:FMG) is up 3.5%, BHP (ASX:BHP)1.9%, and let us not forget Champion Iron (ASX:CIA) ahead some 5% after a wee retreat on Tuesday. Yes, even Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is 2% higher. Rio’s workplace might be toxic, but the profits of digging don’t mind much.

Lowe point: the RBA at the Press Club

I come for the speech, but stay for the Q&A.

On Tuesday the Reserve Bank made its decision – which was great for fans of record low interest rates, but sad for fans of a heroic bond-buying program and people who like houses but don’t have one.

Governor Philip Lowe says the bank will be patient in the face of an uncertain inflation outlook.

This answer from Governor Philip Lowe really captures the current economic outlook precisely:

“It’s certainly a plausible scenario that rates go up later this year, but there are a lot of other scenarios as well. There are a lot of uncertainties both on the supply side and in the labour market.”

So far in 2022 Aussie (global) equities, commodities and bonds have done a very volatile jig comparable to Riverdance at its maddest – as investors just plain guesstimated on where accelerated interest rates will meet driving inflation reads.

Now that’s organised volatility. This is just organised:

 

For now, the central bank’s wait and see has done the trick.

 

Bird on Rio

And the final word on Rio Tinto, even after this excellent one by Stockhead’s Josh Chiat – goes to Helen Bird senior lecturer in governance studies at Swinburne Law School who told Stockhead, small cap investors need to know what’s happening inside the company.

“Where poor culture thrives, so does likely misconduct and illegal activity,” Bird warned.

“The culture problems reported at Rio go from the bottom of the company to the top and requires a clean out of senior management… although this company has not long replaced the current incumbents. Disclosing the dirty laundry to the public is one thing but fixing it is much harder.”

 

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.

It’s all about the might of graphite on Wednesday.

Stockhead’s Reuben Adams likes Renascor Resources (ASX:RNU) — the 2021 punter favourite has been conditionally approved for a $185m government loan to build its Siviour graphite project in South Australia.

The loan — to be provided under the Commonwealth of Australia’s $2 billion Critical Minerals Facility – should cover a huge of chunk of stage 1 start-up capital requirements of ~$200m.

The stock is climbing over 20%.

Elsewhere fellow graphite stock Ecograf (ASX:EGR) and rare earths play Hastings Technology Metals (ASX:HAS) also made gains after being approved for big government loans.

$550m market cap RNU is up 61% year-to-date, and 867% over the past 12 months.

It had $15.4m in the bank at the end of December.

 

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP LOSERS

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

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

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Miner 29Metals (ASX:29M) has announced that 24 workers at its Golden Grove site in Western Australia are in isolation after an underground services contractor on night shift tested positive for COVID-19.

The isolated – likely freaked out – workers comprise of a small number of deemed close contacts, with the balance being workers identified as attending exposure sites. Under WA Health requirements the workers are required to isolate for 14 days.

The Victorian Government will provide a package of support and collaboration with Lumos Diagnostics (ASX:LDX)  to establish manufacturing capability of Rapid Antigen Tests  (RAT) in Victoria.

Subject to meeting several requirements, including Lumos securing approval from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for its COVID-19 RAT test, CoviDx, manufacturing in Victoria could start in early Q2 CY2022.
The Australian Foreign Investment and Review Board (FIRB) has approved the merger of Kirkland Lake Gold (ASX:KLA,TSX:KL,NYSE:KL) and Agnico Eagle Mines (NYSE:AEM).

FIRB approval is the final step before the deal closes around February 8 as Kirkland takes its final breath with its last day of trading on the ASX today.

Under the deal Kirkland shareholders will receive common shares in Agnico Eagle, with listing and trading of those stock on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange.

 

TRADING HALTS

The following companies are in a trading halt on Wednesday

3D Resources (ASX:DDD)  Materials sector, $11.64M mkt cap
Arcadia Minerals (ASX:AM7)  Materials, $8.22 M mkt cap
3D Oil (ASX:TDO)  Energy $12.73M mkt cap
TEG Triangle Energy Global (ASX:TEG) Energy, $18.3M mkt cap