It wasn’t exactly a red-letter day for the market as a whole, though – the ASX adding less than 0.5%, in spite of a beckoning smile from Wall Street overnight.

Aussie markets opened to the news that The Nasdaq had posted a 1.62% gain, followed by the S&P (up 0.95%) and the Dow (up 0.64%).

Perhaps it was sheer end-of-week exhaustion that stopped local shares from getting on board the gravy train completely, and the gains made throughout the day by Info Tech (+5.1%) and Telcos (+2.2%) were capped by ongoing Energy and Materials woes.

Top gainers from among the companies still stocking three-ply paper in the bathrooms this morning were Block Inc (ASX:SQ2), which jumped about 10.0% after Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation fund topped up its holding.

Latitude Group (ASX:LFS) also climbed this morning, clawing back some of the value it lost over the course of the Great Humm Fiasco of 2022. Latitude hit a low-water mark of $1.08 at close yesterday, rising ~18.0% to close in on the $1.28 mark as bargain hunters swooped in.

But the story of the week is undoubtedly the Tale of Two Lithies – specifically Vulcan Energy’s (ASX:VUL) 27.0% blast through the ceiling, just hours after much-vaunted Leo Lithium’s (ASX:LLL) IPO flubbed.

Lithium had been on the whiffy side for a few days leading up to Leo’s launch, so it was only a mild surprise when it didn’t manage to grab the – *ahem* – lion’s share of investor attention.

In fact, there’s a fairly solid argument to make that it was global ‘clean, green’ automaker Stellantis’ decision to sink a thunderous $76m-for-8.0% equity play into Vulcan’s back pocket that helped get lithium back into the sights of investors.

Vulcan shareholders will no doubt be highly excited to head into the weekend knowing that their little bits of the business are now up by close to 30.0% – as would anyone holding another lithium newbie Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) (and to a lesser extent Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA)), which had both been having weeks well worth forgetting about until Vulcan went bang.

There’s lots more to know about the week that Lithium’s had – Josh Chiat spells it out for us here.

 

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.

Moving away from lithium (finally!), there was one other small cap making news today – among them LiveHire (ASX:LVH) after announcing the signing of a Master Services Agreement with ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions – granting the locals a solid toehold in the US market.

Reuben picked it early – because Reubs just loves to pick things – and it was rising through 37.0% while the rest of us were still busy trying to figure out where to take the kids for dinner tonight.

 

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.

Finishing the week on a sour note (without dipping into the penny stocks, because Mother Christian says that’s “cheating”), Bell Financial Group (ASX:BFG) took a pasting thanks to a less than stellar earnings guidance issued this afternoon.

The only thing about BFG out-falling its price (down ~12.0%) was the earnings guidance itself, which is set to collapse by a heart-breakingly crypto-esque 45.0% for 1H2022.

But the story of woe for the day comes via Melbourne-based pharma group Hexima (ASX:HXL), which imploded on news that its phase II clinical study of pezadeftide for the treatment of onychomycosis was a lamentable bust.

The results mean that the roughly 10% of the population that suffer from the targeted fungal infection may need to learn to live without their toenails for a while, in much the same way Hexima will need to learn to live without 82.0% of its share price for a while.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY’VE MISSED

Some late-Friday afternoon intrigue: The Chairman of 1414 Degrees Limited (ASX:14D) has written to the shareholders, urging them not to act on the advice of Dr Moriarty. It sounds like there’s a stoush brewing, and we don’t want to get in the middle of anything – but we should tell you there’s an Extraordinary General Meeting called for 28 June (capes, top hats and twirlable moustaches optional).

Aerometrex (ASX:AMX) says it’s popping the champagne corks after signing its largest-ever off-the-shelf data set sale to an unnamed Australian federal government agency, to provide a suite of its Australian geospatial data. The deal – worth a sweet, sweet $2.5m – is a corker for AMX’s bottom line, and we suspect the data being sold may be used by the government to try to see if there are any tiny pockets of the country remaining that don’t already have a gigantic pork barrel on top of them.

 

TRADING HALTS

Centrepoint Alliance Limited (ASX:CAF) – There’s a non-binding indicative offer from Diverger Limited (ASX:DVR) to acquire all Centrepoint shares.

Orthocell Limited (ASX:OCC) – Announcement about a global exclusive license and manufacturing agreement for its Striate+™ product pending.

BWX Limited (ASX:BWX) – Trading update pending.