As the COVID-19 crisis deepens, markets are increasingly on the lookout for major decisions from policy makers to guide the next round of price action.

Over the weekend, the US Federal Reserve canned its policy meeting (scheduled for tonight) and pulled the trigger on an emergency rate cut of 100 basis points, along with some associated quantitative easing measures.

US stocks promptly crashed to start the week — a clear sign markets believe monetary policy alone won’t be enough to arrest such a rapid decline in economic growth.

Next up on the wish-list; fiscal firepower. And it arrived in spades overnight, as the Trump administration announced plans for a $US1 trillion stimulus package that will include direct payments to American citizens.

Some in the financial landscape have described the proposed cash blitz as “helicopter money”. And with desperate times calling for increasingly desperate measures, there’s probably more heavy spending measures in the works from governments across the world.

Stocks appeared to prefer the fiscal response, as the S&P500 closed almost 6 per cent higher. But as with any entrenched bear market, volatility is the order of the day.

And heading into midday trade, the ASX200 was down another 3.9 per cent to 5,087.40 points. The Small Ords index fell 2.65 per cent to 2,123.30 points.

 

WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Wednesday March 18:

Swipe or scroll to reveal the full table. Click headings to sort.

CODE COMPANY PRICE % CHANGE MARKET CAP
WNB Wellness Beauty Solutions 0.006 200.00% $6.0M
VMG Vdm Group 0.002 100.00% $13.9M
RAN Range International 0.014 40.00% $5.1M
AEI Aeris Environmental Ltd 0.545 39.74% $116.6M
CZL Consolidated Zinc 0.004 33.33% $6.9M
CE1 Calima Energy 0.004 33.33% $8.6M
AIS Aeris Resources Ltd 0.04 33.33% $18.2M
LNY Laneway Resources Ltd 0.004 33.33% $11.2M
OSL Oncosil Medical Ltd 0.12 30.43% $75.7M
VRS Veris 0.035 29.63% $13.1M
RES Resource Generation 0.06 25.00% $33.1M
FRM Farm Pride Foods Ltd 0.21 23.53% $11.6M
ZIM Zimplats Holdings 8.99 23.15% $967.7M
CWX Carawine Resources 0.17 21.43% $13.1M
NSB Neuroscientific Biopharma 0.175 20.69% $13.7M
ZMI Zinc Ireland 0.054 20.00% $6.6M
MEB Medibio Ltd 0.006 20.00% $5.0M
TOE Toro Energy 0.006 20.00% $15.7M
OLL Openlearning 0.22 18.92% $30.7M
FBR Fastbrick Robotics 0.019 18.75% $33.5M

 

Wellness and Beauty Solutions (ASX: WNB)

There’s no doubt COVID-19 taketh away, but it also giveth (for now) — to companies with any positive news flow around virus prevention.

The $2m market-cap minnow today announced the launch of its fully-owned antibacterial hand sanitiser range. Wellness and Beauty Solutions said it’s already received an order from Chemist Warehouse, and is “currently negotiating further retail partners in Asia”.

Aeris Environmental Ltd (ASX:AEI)

Aeris Environmental shares found demand after the company, which manufactures clean-air systems and hygiene products, said it achieved strong anti-COVID-19 results with its Aeris Active biocide system, and is now trying to respond to “unprecedented demand”.

The company said Aeris Active achieved a kill rate of 99.99 per cent “after just 60-second contact time against Murine hepatitis virus ATCC ® VR-261™, a member of the Coronavirus family that has been used as a surrogate for Coronavirus in published disinfectant studies”.

 

LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Wednesday March 18:

Swipe or scroll to reveal the full table. Click headings to sort.

CODE COMPANY PRICE % CHANGE MARKET CAP
IDZ Indoor Skydive AUS Group 0.002 -50.00% $673.4K
QFY Quantify Tech 0.001 -50.00% $1.9M
VAL Valor Resources 0.001 -50.00% $3.8M
CBR Carbon Revolution 1.4 -44.42% $319.6M
VAR Variscan Mines Ltd 0.014 -36.36% $4.5M
MME Moneyme 0.7 -22.22% $152.5M
REX Regional Express Holdings 0.645 -22.29% $91.4M
AQC Australian Pacific Coal 0.12 -20.00% $6.1M
SI6 Six Sigma Metals 0.002 -20.00% $1.3M
SMX Security Matters 0.275 -19.12% $34.3M
ECX Eclipx Group Ltd 0.7 -18.13% $217.4M
LSR Lodestar Minerals Ltd 0.005 -16.67% $4.3M
CHZ Chesser Resources 0.05 -16.67% $14.3M
ANA Ansila Energy NL 0.005 -16.67% $2.5M
TPP Tempo Australia Ltd 0.031 -16.22% $9.3M
LNU Linius Technologies 0.011 -15.38% $13.0M
HMX Hammer Metals Ltd 0.011 -15.38% $8.6M
SXL Southern Cross Media 0.375 -14.77% $280.7M
KMD Kathmandu 1.45 -14.71% $501.6M
CCX City Chic Collective 1.635 -13.95% $380.8M
RHY Rhythm Biosciences 0.05 -13.79% $5.8M