CLOSING BELL: The battle to claw back from -0.5% ended in a draw, so we have to come back tomorrow
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After being nobbled by -0.5% in the starting gate by US Fed interest rate news this morning, the ASX 200 has worked harder than a mare with a cast-iron jockey to get so close to finishing flat that I desperately want to claim it as a win.
Local bank stocks took a (richly-deserved) pounding in the wake of US Fed boss Jerome Powell’s quest to completely scuttle Wall Street continued, through a 25 basis points rate hike that the market 100% knew was coming, and had happily priced in.
Wall Street, broadly, began to rise.
But then – and stop me if you’ve heard this one before – Jerome’s loose lips sunk the proverbial ship, when he opened his mouth to explain the Fed’s decision and promptly bummed everyone out.
“We, on the committee, have a view that inflation is going to come down not so quickly, and that it would take some time. And in that world, if that forecast is broadly right, we would not cut rates, and we won’t cut rates,” Powell said.
Evidently it took US investors a few minutes to puzzle out that spaghetti bowl of a statement, but when it finally dawned on them that Powell was still threatening to hit everyone with his walking frame and spray them with the hose, Wall Street briefly lost its mind.
Between that, and JPMorgan’s recent $10.6 billion failed attempt to exorcise America’s Bank Collapse poltergeists, local markets were left with little recourse other than lobbing bricks and unrepeatable insults at our local financial institutions.
The result was a shocker for the Financials sector, which finished the day 2.5% down – which is a huge handicap for the rest of the market to overcome, given how much influence the gross tonnage of market cap that the Money Stocks has on the ASX.
But, I am delighted to report, the rest of the market put up a glorious fight all day.
Lead by an unexpected artillery barrage by the Real Estate sector (+1.98%), with Materials (+1.25%) putting boots on the ground, InfoTech (+1.24%) piloting drone and Utilities (+1.22%) being useful, the benchmark came perilously close to actually winning the day.
But, -0.06% isn’t actually a win – so instead, it’s been declared a draw, and we all have to come back tomorrow to do it all again.
The medal for Most Improved goes, once again, to local gold stocks, after the XGD All Ords Gold Index posted a 1.66% climb – thanks in no small part to pot gold blasting out a +0.7% rise to AUD$3052.18, which (I think) is a record high that also smells like it might be a toe-hold above $3,000, provided we all close our eyes and just believe.
I will readily admit that there was other stuff happening around the place today, however time constraints and my willingness to learn new things at this late stage of a Thursday afternoon mean that I don’t wanna do much more work today.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at the Small Cap heroes, so I can head out to meet friends for our annual Star Wars Day dinner.
(That’s a complete lie, by the way. I’m staying home to see if I can finally get my latest invention “Pizza in a Can” to work, so I can retire with some money in my pocket and a horrifying cholesterol problem).
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
The winner for the day is Greenwing Resources (ASX:GW1), which has had an interesting week so far.
On Monday, the company announced that CEO Craig Lennon had resigned, and will be leaving the company at the end of June this year, after steering the company into a tasty-looking “transformative investment agreement” with Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer NIO.
Then this morning, Greenwing revealed that the drills have started spinning at its San Jorge lithium project located in Catamarca Province, Argentina, just a couple of hundred kilometres (and two large lakes away) from the birthplace of Lionel Messi.
It’s not a big program on the cards – just 3 holes are firmly planned – but that seems like it was enough to juggle the markets mandarins, adding 25.64% today.
Next best is a company I’d not heard of until this afternoon, by the name of Firebrick Pharma (ASX:FRE), climbing as high as +33% mid afternoon before easing to finish at +25%.
That’s despite not releasing any news since Monday, when it announced a $1 million placement led by the company’s senior management team (with support from sophisticated shareholders), and dropped like a stone from $0.183 to $0.140.
So it’s a no-visible-reason bounce back for the company, which is working towards finishing the Phase-3 trials of its Covid-19 drug, Nasodine.
Last winner to mention is Greentech Minerals (ASX:GTM), continued its price run from yesterday, adding 24.3% this morning to take its total rise since Monday morning to about +160%.
That eased off during the afternoon, leaving it trading at $0.220 per share, up 18.9% from yesterday’s closing price and 155.8% higher for the week.
GRE took off spectacularly on Wednesday morning, after revealing that it had drilled into a thicc copper dominant mineralised horizon with significantly increased thickness and grades up to 5.4% Cu, which also sports some happy side piece gold and cobalt action to keep things nice and spicy.
This morning’s stand-out leader, Caspin Resources (ASX:CPN), boomed through a 33.9% gain before lunch after recent assaying of aircore holes at its Duchess project found significant shallow Rare Earth Elements (REE).
However, it came right off the boil once we had some food in our bellies, to finish the day on a creditable +15.25%.
Here are the least best performing ASX small cap stocks:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
NickelSearch (ASX:NIS) has announced that company has launched a $2.43 million rights issue, to further build up its warchest as it continues to live up to the company name, by searching for nickel. And, also, lithium.
The fully underwritten pro-rata non-renounceable entitlement offer is made on the basis of 1 new share for every 3 shares held by eligible shareholders on the Record Date of 11 May 2023, at a price of $0.070 a pop.
Sweetening the pot, NIS says there an additional 1 free attaching option for every new share subscribed for under the offer, with an exercise price of $0.070 and expiry date of 30 November 2023, providing up to an additional $2.43 million if exercised. (Two laps of the oval oughta do it.)
We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything else about this one.
Meanwhile, Heavy Minerals (ASX:HVY) was asked by the ASX to do some tidying up of its recent announcement regarding the final assay results from the maiden Air Core drilling program for its Red Hill prospect, up the coast from Geraldton in WA.
The earlier announcement apparently fell foul of the ASX guidelines for reporting of Exploration Targets, which happens from time to time, but the amended version looks like its good news for Heavy in its search for industrial minerals like garnet, zircon, rutile and ilmenite – at least two of which I’ve heard of before.
A total of 48 holes for 1815 m was completed, and 1815 assays were submitted to Diamantina Laboratories, and the results show that Heavy’s drilled into consistent thick intervals of elevated Total Heavy Mineral (THM) grades at Red Hill, with some greater than 22% THM.
Notable intersections include:
Added bonus for the company is that a lot of the solid assays returned are from surface, or seriously shallow.
That’s all in addition to the company’s existing JORC-compliant MRE from its Port Gregory site, which boasts an Inferred and Indicated Mineral Resource of 135 million tonnes @ 4.0% Total Heavy Minerals, including 4.9 million tonnes of contained Garnet and 220 thousand tonnes of ilmenite.
And that’s in addition to Heavy’s Inhambane Heavy Mineral project in Mozambique which contains a JORC -compliant Inferred Mineral Resource of 90 million tonnes @ 3.0% Total Heavy Mineral.
And Allup Silica (ASX:APS) has told the ASX that its maiden air-core (AC) drilling program at the Pink Bark project in WA is now complete, with a total of 26 holes drilled for 421m at an average depth of 16.5m.
Allup is testing ground in the hunt for silica sand and clay hosted rare earth element (REE) mineralisation, north of Esperance and east of Perth in southern Western Australia.
“We’re thrilled to have completed the Pink Bark Maiden Air-core drilling program, which marks an important step forward in our efforts to explore the mineral potential of the area,” Allup MD Andrew Haythorpe said.
“This program was especially significant given the recent discoveries announced by listed public companies around and next to our tenements. We anticipate the assay results to be available by the end of Q2.”
Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL) – Everyone’s on strike to protest Star Wars Day. Just joking… it’s a capital raise.
H&G High Conviction (ASX:HCF) – Capital raising.
Aerison Group (ASX:AE1) – Halted prior to an announcement about a significant debt that the company is owed by a mystery “iron ore producer in the Pilbara region”, along with an assessment of financing arrangements with Aerison’s principal debt provider.
Kalamazoo Resources (ASX:KZR) – Corporate transaction.
Hamelin Gold (ASX:HMG) – Capital raising.
4DMedical (ASX:4DX) – Capital raising and a new, material commercial arrangement.
MetalsTech (ASX:MTC) – Stand by for a “transformative resource upgrade at the flagship 100%-owned Sturec Gold Mine located in Slovakia”.
Codrus Minerals (ASX:CDR) – Exploration results from its Karloning REE project in Wa.