• The ASX 200 ends ever so slightly up, XEC finds 0.4%
  • Gains in consumer discretionary, tech offset big losses for energy, resources, materials.
  • South Korea, Kiwi’s lift rates ahead of tonight’s US CPI read

Investors are facing crunch time ahead of tonight’s mindbogglingly critical US inflation read.

By 11pm Sydenham time everyone will have a better idea of the exact size and shape of the big mack inflation truck bearing down on our little bunny bodies twitching our innocent little noses in the oncoming headlights. It’s a lot to cope with as regional markets might tell you.

I thought we deal with it all pretty poorly today. I mean, there’s volatile trade and then there’s arbitrary misbehaviour.

With about an hour to play, the ASX 200 has crossed last night’s close of 6606.30 about 17 times (by my last count.)

By Wednesday in the arvo, Australian markets have been shaken into a funk so volatile investors are possibly in a stupor. The benchmark ended 0.15% higher, the small caps index 0.4%.

The usual pressures played out in front of mind on Wednesday – war in Ukraine, confidence problems at home and abroad, supply chain holes, energy uncertainty and of course rumours the Liberal Party might want to give Tony Abbott another seat at the silly table.

It’s also possible China’s inconstant success with the fickle, re-emergent and enormous strain on the system we call Omicron is starting to further undermine confidence in the resources companies which make up so very much of our little markets.

Those concerns along with the rout in base metal prices have weighed on the Materials sector too.

China’s GDP is due on Friday.

So, that’s a hell of an important Thursday to sandwich between two of the year’s biggest market moving numbers, but best deal

China’s been the engine of many an economy for most of the millennium. It’s GDP read has grown every single quarter since 2002 , but for one small contraction (which probably didn’t end well for that economist.)

This is why everyone doubts the honesty and/or accuracy of official Chinese data. It’s not just that the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress needs a good number for when Xi Jinping tries for his five-year term as president. It’s that someone always get’s the finger if the number doesn’t fit with everyone’s plans.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s central bank yanked their key rate to 2.25% from 1.75%, following a 25bps rise at the last May meeting – in a familiar refrain – t’was the first time they’d lifted the benchmark rate by 50 basis points – ever. And a few hours ago, the New Zealand (RBNZ) central bank delivered its hat-trick of 50bps raises –  to 2.5%.

Yet these are all but deck chairs on the US inflation read tonight.

Providing additional intrigue a fake CPI image on Twitter was behind last-eve’s late burst of selling on Wall Street.

It even had the US Bureau of Labor Statistics attempting to out-tweet the reaction by trying confirm the tweet was fake and to please stay tuned on Twitter for the real tweet tonight.

 

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 13 [intraday]:

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

First up, Fiji Kava (ASX:FIJ) is killing it today after a very positive update on its US business, The Calmer Co, which it says is growing fast, growing well and now making up more than half of its global revenue. Cool company. Go Fiji. Go Kava.

But the big daddy of today – Arrow Minerals (ASX:AMD) is divesting Strickland copper-gold project to Dreadnought Resources (ASX:DRE) to focus on its West African assets and it’s picking up the Simandou North iron ore project in Guinea.

The Simandou North Iron Project is an exceptional early-stage opportunity, one that provides Arrow with access to the premium iron belt in West Africa at a time where significant infrastructural improvements are underway.

As Stockheader Emma Davies writes, the project lies at the northern end of the Simandou Range and forms an extension of the stratigraphy that hosts one of the largest undeveloped high-grade iron deposits in the world, including Rio Tinto’s (ASX:RIO) Simandou Project with a total measured, indicated and inferred mineral resource estimate of 2 billion tonnes grading 65.5% iron.

“We are excited to be able to provide shareholders with exposure to this extraordinary opportunity,” AMD managing director Hugh Bresser says.

“Global demand for high-grade iron ore continues to grow and the Simandou Range hosts the world’s largest undeveloped high-grade iron deposits.”

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 13 [intraday]:

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

Sezzle (ASX:SZL) fell oh so hard again –  as the fallout from its failed merger with ZIP extended into a second session.

There’s a record low in those numbers for SZL, following the 39% crash on Tuesday.

Shares in the bereft Sezzle, left at the altar after one hell of a wooing and wedding, are now down well over 55% in the past week.

The long-touted merger between the once-glamour, more recently goofy buy now, pay laters (BNPL) couple was nixed yesterday, leaving investors asking what’s possibly next for Sezzle.

 

A FEW THINGS YOU MAY’VE MISSED OUT THERE

 

Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS) says that its partner Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) has now met its expenditure requirement of $1.2m to earn a 51% stake in the South West project and now has the option to spend a further $2.5m over the next two years to increase its stake to 70%.

“The company is very pleased with the results of Chalice’s auger geochemistry program, successfully delivering two new nickel-copper-PGE targets associated with interpreted ultramafic rocks and coincidental with magnetic and airborne electromagnetic highs at Thor,” managing director Andrew Radonjic said.

Some cracking results from Revolver Resources’ (ASX:RRR) Downhole Electromagnetic (DHEM) and Fixed-Loop EM (FLEM) surveys at it’s Dianne Copper Project have picked up an ‘exciting new anomaly’ which the company says bears an identical conductive response to the famously (drill-validated) very high-grade massive sulphide copper lens near surface.

Revolver says the team has identified a major new and potentially significant EM anomaly directly below the existing high-grade massive sulphide copper ore body at its Hodgkinson Province Dianne Copper Project in Far North Queensland.

Finally, Malaysia focused fintech, IOUpay (ASX:IOU), has been awarded Certification of Shariah Compliance by the independent, global Shariah advisory firm, Tawafuq Consultancy.

Its wholly-owned subsidiary IOUpay Asia has also signed a merchant acquiring services agreement with Souqa Fintech Sdn Bhd (trading as PayHalal).

PayHalal is a Shariah-compliant payment gateway, an important and necessary requirement for IOUpay’s myIOU Islamic BNPL service.

The agreement provides for the acquisition of merchants and processing of BNPL transaction payments in accordance with the Shariah principles of Islamic finance.

Elsewhere, the hunt is over for a new CEO for coal producer Cokal (ASX:CKA) which has announced the appointment of director Karan Bangur as its new leader. 

In an announcement to the ASX Cokal said Bangur will retain his directorship and was well qualified for CEO with extensive experience in operating mining and logistics projects in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. 

His knowledge of Indonesian mining should come in handy. Stockhead’s Josh Chiat informed readers last week Cokal is planning to sell its first cargo from the 60% owned Bumi Barito Mineral operation in Indonesia this quarter.

And the Gold Explorer Ora Gold (ASX:OAU) says previous air core and the recent diamond hole have returned encouraging gold intersections at the Kingswood Prospect in WA within the Abernethy Shear Zone, a large 7-kilometre-long mineralised structure incorporating tonalite intrusive.

Studies on core sections of recently drilled diamond hole OGGDD439 has identified electrum (gold). In geotechnical lingo core observations, petrological assessment and systematic XRF data analysis show that the intrusive rocks are differentiated from the same intermediate/mafic source with a felsic leuco-tonalite core. 

And why pray tell is this important?

Because this felsic zone is the most competent and brittle part of the intrusive and therefore likely to host the bulk of gold mineralisation. 

Finally, the client of the century, Colombia’s National Police Force, has renewed its contract with IMEXHS (ASX:IME) for the outsourcing of its radiology  department. 

The contract, which includes CT, MRI and the use of IME’s enterprise imaging platform, awas won in December 2019, when it replaced the 20-year-old incumbent. The radiology contract for X-ray, ultrasound, mammography, interventional radiology, and fluoroscopy was also won from the incumbent in 2020. 

The new deal includes a 15% increase in current prices and is expected to contribute $1.3 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) to IME’s books. 

Scaffolding & paint supplies company Oldfields (ASX:OLH) has reached new heights with two of its products selected as a core supplier to the paint company Dulux trade network. 

The products selected are the Pro Series Brush range and the Pro Series (yellow roller) range.  Oldfields said the selection process is tough with all suppliers desiring a relationship with Dulux and its painting community. 

The roll out for brushes will start in July with the roller range following in two months time. 

TRADING HALTS

Regional Express (ASX:REX) – pending a material announcement.

Matador Mining (ASX:MZZ) – regarding a capital raise.