Are we nearing the COVID-19 peak? Share markets have responded positively to stimulus efforts and signs that global efforts to slow the spread of the virus are working.

US markets rose Wednesday after Trump said the world’s #1 economy might be flattening the COVID-19 infection ‘curve’.

Democrats in US Congress also agreed to back the Trump administration’s request for an additional $US250bn ($400bn) in small business support.

Major US health insurers went for a run after democratic candidate Bernie Sanders — who was campaigning on a Medicare-like ‘health care for all’ platform — dropped out of the presidential race.

Here’s more good news; global oil prices rose on Wednesday after Russia said it was ready to cut crude production by 1.6 million barrels a day at the OPEC meeting on Thursday.

And in Australia, where the rate of new COVID-19 cases continues to fall, federal parliament has approved the government’s $130bn JobKeeper legislation.

This will ostensibly provide a $1,500 per fortnight wage subsidy for about 6 million workers.

Over 730,000 businesses have already registered with the Australian Taxation Office for access to the scheme, the single largest chunk of government spending in Aussie history.

“The JobKeeper payment is critical to the survival of small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says.

“We know that there’s never been a tougher time to be in business, but the JobKeeper package provides the practical financial support and the hope small businesses need as we wait for this health crisis to pass.”

The local bourse has recovered slightly (at least temporarily) since that precipitous drop in late March.

The performance of the ASX 200 (orange) and All Ords (white) year-to-date.

The ASX 200 (+1.49 per cent today) and Small Ords Index (+1.78 per cent today) are now up 16.2 per cent and 21.7 per cent respectively since March 23.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Thursday April 9:

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SDX Sienna Cancer Diagnostics 0.055 103.70% $10.7M
AYR Alloy Resources 0.002 50.00% $2.3M
ICG Inca Minerals 0.002 100.00% $4.1M
ADV Ardiden 0.003 50.00% $3.6M
GRV Greenvale Energy 0.017 41.67% $1.3M
MTC Metalstech 0.17 36.00% $11.9M
PMY Pacifico Minerals 0.004 33.33% $8.7M
IDT IDT Australia 0.16 33.33% $28.7M
ESH Esports Mogul Asia Pacific 0.009 28.57% $14.3M
AMA AMA Group 0.45 26.76% $259.7M
CZN Corazon Mining 0.003 50.00% $4.8M
HWK Hawkstone Mining 0.005 25.00% $4.1M
2BE Tubi 0.1 23.46% $19.7M
AKP Audio Pixels 12.92 23.28% $296.6M
INP Incentiapay 0.011 22.22% $5.9M
LOV Lovisa Holdings 6.4 22.14% $563.1M
DCL Domacom Australia 0.03 20.00% $6.1M
ESR Estrella Resources 0.006 20.00% $2.7M
WBE Whitebark Energy 0.006 20.00% $15.2M
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Cancer diagnostics players Sienna (ASX:SDX) and Bard1 (ASX:BD1) will merge to create a ~$45m company.

The deal, which sees Bard1 buying Sienna, has put a rocket under the latter’s shares which opened 107 per cent higher on Thursday morning at 5.6c.

Andrew Chapman of Merchant Group, a major shareholder in both companies, says the merger will create a company with a $13.7m war chest and cost savings of at least $1m a year.

“It’s a great time to do a deal like this,” he said, as companies across the ASX struggle for money and are looking for ways to save cash.

Aussie pharmaceutical manufacturer IDT (ASX:IDT) has been asked to assist with “certain COVID‐ 19 response activities” by the Australian government.

“To this end IDT’s GMP pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities and laboratory remain fully operational and business operations continue without disruption,” the company told investors.

“The company continues to closely manage costs and our revenues are presently tracking in line with budget as we push towards profitability.”

The stock was up +40 per cent in morning trade.

READ: This is what being on a ‘war footing’ against COVID-19 looks like

Also flying were gold hopefuls Ardiden (ASX:ADV) and MetalsTech (ASX:MTC).

Ardiden picked up some extra ground around its Pickle Lake gold project in Canada, which is now “comparable in size to that of the 30-million-ounce Red Lake producing district next door”, says managing director Rob Longley. Whether Pickle Lake holds 30moz remains to be seen.

MetalsTech was up 36 per cent after announcing a +1 million ounce gold, ~8 million ounce silver resource at its Sturec project in Slovakia. yesterday. Chairman Russell Moran calls this “a great start”.

READ: MetalsTech forced to go cyanide-free at its 1.1moz Sturec project



Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Thursday April 9:

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MCT Metalicity 0.003 -25.00% $2.9M
DCX Disoverex Resources 0.004 -20.00% $3.8M
SPQ Superior Resources 0.002 -20.00% $1.5M
ERL Empire Resources 0.008 -20.00% $6.2M
EX1 Exopharm 0.17 -19.05% $16.2M
KP2 Kore Potash DRC 0.009 -18.18% $17.0M
VRC Volt Resources 0.005 -16.67% $10.4M
OSP Osprey Medical 0.011 -15.38% $5.6M
LCT Living Cell Technologies 0.011 -15.38% $7.4M
TRL Tanga Resources 0.012 -14.29% $1.3M
RIM Rimfire Pacific Mining 0.003 -14.29% $4.5M
HNR Hannans Reward 0.006 -14.29% $13.9M
NCR Nucoal Resources 0.006 -14.29% $5.4M
VML Vital Metals 0.007 -12.50% $17.1M
NSX Nsx 0.105 -12.50% $26.9M
88E 88 Energy 0.007 -12.50% $56.9M
DVL dorsaVi 0.015 -11.76% $3.9M
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