Lunchtime ASX small cap wrap: who’s struggling to breathe in a smoky haze today?
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Residents of Sydney and Adelaide haven’t had it easy on the lungs lately, with both cities blanketed by a thick layer of smoke this morning.
The haze is a by-product of recent bushfires burning across NSW and SA. Authorities expect it to linger in Sydney for the next few days while Adelaide should clear later today.
The level of air quality fell to “hazardous” levels in some areas, with smoke pollution in the Sydney CBD and northern suburbs measured at around 10 times the normal average.
Health officials have suggested that people try to stay indoors and reduce their level of physical activity.
With strong winds and high temperatures through Australia’s southern belt today, authorities in Victoria have issued a “code red” catastrophic fire warning for the first time in 10 years.
But the ASX Small Ords certainly wasn’t running hot this morning, as it fell by more than 0.7 per cent to 2,876 points at midday, which puts it on track for its third fall in four days this week.
It was uglier at the top end of town, with the ASX200 down by almost 1 per cent after a 1.35 per cent fall yesterday.
Among the leaders, minerals exploration company MRG Metals (ASX:MRQ) held its gains into midday trade, after a positive drilling update at its fully-owned Koka Massava mineral sands project in Mozambique.
The company said it would continue to report new assay results in due course, and the project “is likely to be another one of Mozambique’s very large and high-grade heavy mineral sands deposits”.
It was a rough morning for Murray River Organics (ASX:MRG), which fell at the opening bell after downgrading its forecast EBITDA loss to $5m-$8m, from previous guidance of $1m-$3m.
The company said its turnaround plan was taking longer than expected due to higher water costs, tougher growing conditions and delays in product launches.