The ASX 200 index has closed 1% higher on Monday, while the ASX Emerging Companies (XEC) index shed earlier gains to finish down 0.1%.

Disappointing, really. It shoulda been a day for the little guys.

Asia was mixed. Although not the Hong Kong Hang Seng which languishes at a near six-year low as Covid crawls about the mainland and tech firms flop over fears of a further crackdown.

At home, trading was inventive through the session, ignoring a weak close on Wall Street as US traders schemed and planned for this week’s inflation-full Federal Reserve shindig, where the galaxy’s central bank is going to raise interest rates or return the keys to Jackson Hole.

 

Deflatingly pumped

Certainly filling the car has become a deflationary experience of late.

The competition regulator says the average cost of filling up in our five biggest cities topped 182.4 cents per litre by late-February – the highest level since 2014.

The Commonwealth Bank says prices oil could smash $US150 a barrel if the war in Ukraine goes into overdrive or even just drags out – either scenario could have us pouring unleaded petrol into our *Yarii at $2.50 a litre.

Prices have risen further in the first two weeks of March with motorists paying over $2.40 for premium fuels in most parts of the country, while the wholesale petrol price has risen by almost 60 cents – so says the bowser-watchers at the Australian Institute of Petroleum (AIP).

CBA puts the average price of unleaded fuel across Sydney at 216.5 cents. And Nymex crude gained about 3% overnight too, btfw.

Iron ore, meanwhile shed 1.35%, but when it looks so damn comfy above $US150 a tonne, what’s a few basis points between friends?

*Yarii: Yaris, plural (obv).

 

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.

Iron ore and lithium-curious miner Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) has put its hand up for a 5% stake in Global Lithium Resources (ASX:GL1) after joining a ~$30 million capital raise. Min Res is a little better than flat, but GL1 was up 8% by lunch and according to our man in lithium, Josh Chiat, will add the growth to the 500% its already gained since listing this time last year.

And as the world implodes and the federal government invests for war, we’re keeping our eyes in the sky for defence firms on the move – and as mentioned last week – Orbital Corp (ASX:ORB) is among them. The Perth-based manufacturer of advanced spark ignition propulsion systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s or drones), is on the move – climbing again today into double digits.

 

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.

Likewise we’re watching some tumult in the uranium space. The recent ASX uranium market yardrod, Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) is down some 8% on Monday, likewise Elevate Uranium (ASX:EL8) has taken a big backward step to start the week, shedding about 13%, after rising strongly earlier this month after the yellowcake stock – formerly known as Marenica Energy – was, wait for it – ‘elevated’ – to trading on OTCQX – the top tier of OTC Markets in the US.

And after jumping about 18% on Thursday, Live Tiles (ASX:TLV), the digital workplace software that brings the TLV into volatility slid 13% in Monday trade, Citi analysts revving the market with some upbeat talk on the firm’s ARR growth – expected to pick-up as churn events come to an end.

Only, what’d LVT be without some righteous churn?

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Adriatic Metals PLC (ASX:ADT) has appointed former Highfield Resources (ASX:HFR) chief financial officer Mike Norris as its CFO.

Norris will be based out of the Company’s UK office and work with the company at its Vares Silver Project in Bosnia advances towards production in Q2 2023.

Reproductive biotechnology company Memphasys Limited (ASX:MEM) has achieved initial ISO 13485 compliance for medical quality management systems (QMS).

The QMS system enables Memphasys to manage product development, production, product distribution and sales, post market product surveillance and support.

The company says its bio-separation technology deployed in its Felix device can extract viable sperm from poor quality samples, giving couples who might not be able to otherwise conceive because of male infertility the chance to be parents.

And HR-tech IntelliHR (ASX:IHR) has bolstered the board with several senior executive changes with current non-executive director Matt Donovan appointed executive chairman.

Company founder and current managing director Rob Bromage will transition to executive director with a focus on product and strategic partnerships, while current chairman Tony Belly will become an executive director.

IntelliHR Tony Bellas said the company was in a rapid growth phase with a focus on North American and UK markets and the changes will enable Bromage to focus on strategic partnership opportunities with Donovan’s appointment strengthening its capability in growing the business.

Global energy storage tech and services provider Fluence (ASX:FLC) has appointed water industry veteran Tom Pokorsky as CEO and managing director, taking up the role today and coinciding with his appointment: Richard Irving will return as board chairman.

TODAY’S TRADING HALTS

Brightstar Resources (ASX:BTR)  – pending capital raise

Grand Gulf Energy (ASX:GGE) – significant commercial agreement

Helix Resources (ASX:HLX) – material capital raising

Renergen (ASX:RLT) – investment by a strategic global partner

Melbana Energy (ASX:MAY) – equity placement

AustChina Holdings (ASX:AUH) – capital raising