Long week?

School holidays starting?

Then it’s totally acceptable to not want to head home straight after work just yet.

You will have to, eventually, though. Just remember that the next two weeks are short ones, and one involves drinking rum at dawn and feeling thankful for your lot.

If you’ve been scrambling to prep for all that, you might have missed these 10 most popular stories this week.

We’re here for you.

1 – Cobalt stocks guide: Here’s everything you need to know

Learnings. Stockhead readers can’t get enough education.

This week, it was all about cobalt, the battery metal darling just a year ago.

It hit a record $US95,000 ($133,877) a tonne before starting its steep descent to a bottom of $US29,000 a tonne in February. That’s close enough to a 70 per cent wipeout in a year.

You could probably blame Elon Musk for a lot of that, after saying Tesla wanted to eventually stop using cobalt in its batteries altogether.

But battery metal price analyst Benchmark Mineral Intelligence predicts Tesla will not be able to further reduce the use of cobalt in its NCA technology.

And cobalt is on its way back. Here’s everything you need to know about it right now.

2 – Which ASX small caps could help make a lithium battery in Bill Shorten’s battery factory?

It was probably the most undersold remark in would-be PM Bill Shorten’s budget reply:

“Here’s the remarkable thing, we already have every single resource to make a lithium battery right here in Australia,” Shorten said.

“So instead of the usual trope of shipping the minerals overseas and buying back the finished product at largely inflated prices, let’s make the batteries here and let’s do this with electric vehicles and charging equipment and stations too.”

Australia, actually keeping its resources in the country and turning them into a more valuable product?


If that actually happens, here are all the ASX small caps that could help. And we even made a movie version, if reading’s not your thing.


3 – As the vanadium price heads for a new ‘normal’, small caps are feeling the pinch

There’s a theme developing here.

In the last few years vanadium fever has really taken off thanks to being lumped into the battery metals basket.

But actually, most vanadium is used in steel-making. More than 90 per cent of it is added to steel to make it stronger.

And as with cobalt, vanadium prices peaked last year but have slid nearly 60 per cent since.

There are 43 ASX stocks with exposure to vanadium, and 30 have lost between 4 and 92 per cent of their value since November last year.

So what ASX small caps are feeling the pinch? We’re glad you asked.


4 – Klaus Eckhof just told us about his new role as Amani Gold’s chair and making a bigger play in the DRC

Klaus Eckhof is what you’d call a “well-known mining personality”.

He’s probably best known as the former chairman of DRC-focused explorer AVZ Minerals (ASX:AVZ) — very much a market darling during the lithium run. If you’d got out when he did, mid-last year, you’d love him. If you didn’t… not so much.

But he does turn companies around. In 2003, Eckhof helped build Moto Goldmines up to 11 million ounces and then sold the company to Randgold Resources for $485m.

So what does he see in penny stock Amani Gold (ASX:ANL)? Enough to agree to be its chairman. And he spoke to Angela East about why he jumped in.


5 – The unknown microcap with cashflow growth of 58 per cent

Listed financial services provider N1 Holdings (ASX: N1H) dropped in to our office this week for a chat and casually dropped a small detail.

It reported cash receipts in the March quarter of $1.209 million, up from $757,000 in the prior-year comparative period.

That marks an annualised quarterly increase of 58.9 per cent. With a market cap below $10m, and little to no trading activity over recent months, that’s not bad.

We had to know more. Here’s where lending is such a big deal right now.

And here’s a random picture of an office worker with a rocket strapped to their back:

Getty Images


6 – Worried you’ve missed the buy-now-pay-later bandwagon? Meet Sezzle

Also in kind-of-a-big-deal-right-now stocks are BNPLs.

That’s “buy now, pay later” payment platforms. You’ll know them as AfterPay, Zip and Splitit, which listed in January and immediately rose from 20c to $2 before settling around the $1.30 mark.

Worried you’ve missed the boat? Don’t — there are many, many different ways to offer a BNPL service, and US-based Sezzle thinks it’s a bit unique.

And it’s chosen the ASX for a listing in coming months. Because Australians get it, apparently.


7 – IPO Watch: Biofilm bug fighter Next Science shut its IPO after raising $35 million in three days

Psst. Wanna buy a biotech?

Next Science is set to list on the ASX next week and is deep in the red — about $20.7 million. Gah.

But really, that’s mostly because it’s expanding like mad, adding 44 new employees, most of them in sales to help push no less than four new products it now has with regulatory approval for sales and marketing in the United States.

It raised the $35 million it needed to IPO in just three days and has chairman George Savvides, who took health insurance heavyweight Medibank public in 2014, on board.

It’s developed technology called “Xbio”, which basically fights bacteria when they team up to fight antibiotics, like this:

Next Science’s technology is a little more complicated than this.

Here’s how it works.


8 – Kim Kardashian is having a CBD baby shower. Has cannabis peaked?

The famous-for-being-famous superstar is throwing a cannabidiol (CBD) themed baby shower to stop her from “freaking out” over the birth of her fourth child.

Please note, KK isn’t actually the one giving birth. But we get that it’s still nerve-wracking.

What is important is whether you’re still on the pot bandwagon now that is has those very wobbly wheels attached.

Botanix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:BOT) director Matt Callahan is. He says a reckoning would be great news for legitimate products, as is Kardashian’s high-profile backing of the industry.

Here’s all the other big news in cannabis this week. And here’s Zelda’s CEO Richard Hopkins telling us why he’s running a cannabis biotech that doesn’t make drugs and doesn’t really want to.


9 – Tim Treadgold: With a rising EV market for nickel, is Panoramic set to sail on a second wind?

The share price of Panoramic Resources fell by 25 per cent to 37c early last month when it was forced into an emergency capital raising after hitting problems with the redevelopment of its Savannah nickel mine in WA.

That was unfortunate. Morgans, in a pre-Christmas note reported by Stockhead, had forecast a doubling in Panoramic’s price which was trading back then at 35c with 70c the target.

But Tim Treadgold says the second nickel wind is coming, and despite the hiccup, this time could be different for Panoramic.


10 – The Secret Broker: A short lesson in valuing small cap stocks

This week, The Secret Broker wants to teach everyone a simple lesson in valuing stocks.

But first you’ll have to hear how his dad set the age-old trap involving a tonne of feathers and a tonne of coal for him as a kid.

And how one of his first bosses tried to help him realise his Gordon Gekko dreams.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’ll change your life. Maybe.


Captain’s Call – Energy: Buru hopes it’s hit a gas horde in WA

Yes, it’s a very interesting story about gas. But it’s also a great chance to run a search for “farts” on our pic database.

You won’t regret clicking, promise.

That’s it. Have a great weekend before the short working weeks begin.

Thank, as always, for being a Stockhead.