It’s been another positive day on the ASX in the wake of Democrats gaining control of the US Senate – but small caps have once again underperformed their larger peers.

The Small Ordinaries index of 200 small-cap companies closed Friday up 10.2 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 3,133.6. The ASX200 in contrast was up 0.68 per cent, to 6,757.9.

For the week the Small Ords was up 1.43 per cent, while the ASX200 gained 2.59 per cent.

Eight of the ASX’s 11 official sectors were up, while mining, utility and property trusts fell, by between 0.6 and 0.8 per cent.

Tech companies were collectively the biggest gainers, rising 2.45 per cent as a whole as Afterpay (ASX:APT) advanced 6.6 per cent to $116.

The big miners fell after yesterday’s strong gains, but the big four banks were up for a second day. CBA (ASX:CBA), Westpac (ASX:WBC) and NAB (ASX:NAB) climbed by between 1.2 and 1.5 per cent, while ANZ (ASX:ANZ) gained 0.9 per cent.

The biggest gainer (in percentage terms) was Coppermoly (ASX:COY), which rose 108.3 per cent to 2.5c.

In response to an ASX price query, the Papua New Guinea-focused, Queensland-based junior copper-gold explorer said it had no explanation for the price spike.


Silex Systems (ASX:SLX) soared 31.0 per cent to $1.52 after the laser enrichment technology company announced progress on its proposed purchase of a majority stake in a GE-Hitachi Laser Enrichment facility that uses Silex technology for uranium enrichment. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has granted the facility clearance to operate under foreign ownership, Silex said, adding that it hopes to have full US government approval for the transaction in coming weeks.

Cann Group (ASX:CAN) dropped 4.5 per cent to 63.5c after the medicinal marijuana company announced it had received a $3.2 million research and development tax incentive refund. Chief executive Peter Crock said that the company was conducting a “close review” of its R&D programs to ensure the company would keep seeing meaningful outcomes from those activities.

Micro-X (ASX:MX1) and PainChek (ASX:PCK) also announced they had received R&D tax incentive refunds. Micro-X received $1.95 million, while PainChek got $979,621. MX1 shares fell 2.6 per cent to 37c, while PCK shares dropped 1.2 per cent to 8.2c.

AusCann (ASX:AC8) fell 7.1 per cent to 19.5c after the medicinal marijuana company announced that after it acquires CannPal Animal Therapeutics (ASX:CP1), CannPal’s founder and managing director Layton Mills will lead the combined entity. AusCann CEO Nick Woolf will stay on as interim CEO until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition. CP1 shares rose 8.3 per cent to 19.5c.

PharmAust (ASX:PAA) was flat at 11c after the clinical-stage oncology company announced that it was working with Dr Martijn van Hemert at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands to increase the solubility of monepantel, its lead drug candidate, so it can be tested for use against coronavirus. LUMC researchers are working to overcome challenges associated with a very strict COVID-19 lockdown in the Netherlands, PharmAust said.

Energy Resources of Australia (ASX:ERA) dropped 3.2 per cent to 30.5c after the uranium miner announced it had produced 390 tonnes of uranium oxide in the December quarter. Uranium oxide processing at ERA’s Ranger mine concludes today as part of its shutdown timeline.

Trading halts


Celsius Resources (ASX:CLA) – mineral resource estimate
Helix Resources (ASX:HLX)response to ASX price query
PolarX (ASX:PXX)announcement of proposed acquisition of exploration project