Small caps have underperformed in the best day for the local bourse in seven weeks as investors looked past the chaos in Washington to bet that Democratic control of the US Congress would lead to further fiscal stimulus.

The Small Ordinaries index closed Thursday up 19.7 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 3,123.4, while the ASX200 gained 104.9 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 6,712.0.

The energy and mining sectors were the biggest gainers, both advancing more than four per cent as the price of iron ore and crude oil both rose.

The action was mostly at the top end of the market however with mining giants BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) setting new all-time highs. The former gained 6.1 per cent to $46.90 while the latter soared 8.6 per cent to $125.66.

Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) rose 5.1 per cent, Santos (ASX:STO) advanced 7.4 per cent and the big four banks were all up sharply, by between 2.0 and 3.8 per cent.

Boart Longyear (ASX:BLY) was one of the biggest gainers, soaring 72.5 per cent to $1.19 after the drilling services company said it had appointed Rothschild & Co to review its options regarding maturing debt. The company had $823 million in net debt as of September 30.

Elsewhere on the ASX:


Zebit (ASX:ZBT) gained 12.6 per cent to $1.07 after the US-based buy now pay later player announced $US44.8 million in fourth-quarter net sales, up 35.2 per cent from a year ago. Registered users at the end of the year increased to 792,000.

Atomos (ASX:AMS) rose 9.7 per cent to $1.075 after the video technology company announced it had achieved first-half sales of $32.6 million, beating its first-half guidance of $28 million released in November. The company makes monitor-recorder devices for DLSR cameras.

Alterity Therapeutics (ASX:ATH) rose 3.2 per cent to 3.2c after the Melbourne biotech announced that company founder Geoffrey Kempler would step down as chief executive, and be replaced by chief medical officer Dr. David Stamler. Stamler will receive a base salary of $US420,000 ($538,000) plus short-term incentives of up to 35 per cent of that, as well as stock options. Kempler will stay on as non-executive chairman.

Bod Australia (ASX:BDA) advanced 9.3 per cent to 47c after the medicinal cannabis company announced it had filled 3,941 MediCallis prescriptions over the last six months of 2020, up 91 per cent from the first half. The CBD oil product is prescribed for a range of conditions, but mostly chronic pain and anxiety.

Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR) rose 0.9 per cent to $3.26 despite the EFTPOS provider announcing its merchant customers have been experiencing an issue with 15 per cent of Tyro’s terminal fleet since Tuesday.

Kazia Therapeutics (ASX:KZA) gained 4.8 per cent to $1.30 after announcing that an international study developing new treatments for the aggressive brain cancer glioblastoma had commenced recruitment for Kazia’s paxalisib arm. The study, one of eight ongoing clinical trials of paxalisib in brain cancer, will recruit up to 200 patients on paxalisib in total.


Trading Halts

The following companies are in trading halts and are expected to exit tomorrow:

Eclipse Metals (ASX:EPM) – announcement of new exploration tenure in Greenland
Prairie Mining (ASXS:PDZ) – responding to a price query
Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) – announcements regarding funding, two company projects and to respond to an ASX price query