• RBA Board kicks the nation in the goolies again, demanding another 25 basis points
  • Investors seemingly caught by surprise, tanking the market in a matter of minutes
  • Pinnacle Minerals let off the leash by the ASX, but still ahead of the game by 55%

 

It’s the first Tuesday of the month, and you know what that means…

That’s right! It’s time for the RBA Board to get their noses out of the trough for a few moments in order to tank the market and tighten the nation’s nipple clamps so they can listen to the nation’s borrowers howling into their couch cushions and casually sip a few hundred post-lunch leading into pre-dinner martinis and wonder aloud about “what the poor people are doing today…”

I will freely admit that – for just a few brief moments – I forgot that meeting was on the agenda today, and while I took my contractually obligated lunchtime stroll from my desk to the kitchen for a bowl of gruel and a piss-weak cuppa, I took my eye off the benchmark.

Which is why I had a mild panic attack when I looked at my charts and noticed a precipitous sh-tting of the bed had taken place.

Here’s what I saw – see if you can spot the moment that Lowe and Co tweaked the country’s ding for the 11th time in the past 12 months.

 

asx winner PIM
Heart attack via the RBA. Chart via Google.

 

To suggest that this hike, which takes the country’s cash rate from 3.6% to 3.85% caught the market by surprise is something of an understatement. The last time we saw rates this high was when they were on the way down in May 2012.

Make no mistake – we’ve been pantsed, egregiously and aggressively.

I look forward to trying to make sense of The Board’s reasoning, once they’re done wiping the lobster gravy from their chins and pushed poor old Philip “Keepin’ it on the Down” Lowe out into the media scrum to take the heat for it.

He’s already mentioned that “some further tightening of monetary policy may be required” – so unless something astonishing happens in the next few weeks, it’s probable we should all start deciding which of the household’s kids needs to be sold off for medical experiments so the mortgage gets paid this month.

Ol’ Phil will be fine, though – there’s little doubt at all that he’s already got one foot out the door, since his 7-year hitch at the helm of the RBA runs out in September.

But the end result is that the market took a major hit at 2:30pm, right around the time most of us were thinking “It’s all a bit crap, but it could be worse…”.

And then it was. The already-iffy benchmark crashed 0.7% in the blink of an eye, and then continued to sink like a punctured toad, to finish the day on a cruel -0.92%, thanks to a late but concerted effort to salvage the day.

Great job, lads. Stellar performance. Same time next month? Bewdy.

 

TO MARKETS

As you might have noticed, the ASX boat was rocked a little this afternoon, leaving the landscape a little bleak by the time the bell rang to close out the session.

When the dust had settled and the RBA Board had scuttled back into their cages under Martin Place, the benchmark had hit bottom at -1.1% around 3:15pm before a late rally eased the pain a little to bring it back up to close at -0.92%.

The short, sharp bloodbath this afternoon left a solitary market segment in the green pasture of gains, and that was InfoTech, which weaselled out a pathetically slim +0.02% win while the rest of the market sank like their floaties had been slashed by a cackling maniac wearing only speedos and a hockey mask.

It wasn’t Tony Abbott, (he says, adding a punchline to the most subtle gag he’s written in quite some time).

Anyhoo… the rest of the market had a distinct whiff of rot and fatigue, like a middle-aged foot that’s been trapped in a moon boot for the past six weeks and looks for all the world like it belongs on the floor of a zombie film set.

Real Estate took the hardest of the canings today, finishing down 2.12%, with Telcos (-1.82%), Energy (-1.52%), Industrials (-1.42%) and Materials (-1.01%) all feeling the pain of the RBA’s earnest search for our prostates, and falling more than 1.0% for the day.

The Large Cap winner of the day is (very coincidentally) Pinnacle Investment (ASX:PNI), which climbed 6.1% today – and I’m not sure if that’s because of its top-shelf Powerpoint prezzo to the Macquarie Australia Conference today, or because a barrage of numbskulls aped in when it was the only thing called Pinnacle that wasn’t in a trading halt for a few hours around lunchtime.

That will make sense in a few seconds, so please… read on.

TODAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

 

It’s been a bumpy, bumpy day for the Small Caps today – and the sector’s early leader, Pinnacle Minerals (ASX:PIM) is probably feeling more than a little bit miffed at how the day unravelled.

PIM announced early in the day that the company was all et to get the drills back to its Disruptor prospect on 15 May, where the company has been poking around and turned up some pretty chunky-looking rock chip samples that it  reported to the market on 19 April, suggesting that the company’s onto a fairly major find.

In the space of around 90 minutes, investors piled in like it was Black Friday at a Wisconsin Walmart, sending PIM’s trading price skyward by 80% until the ASX noticed it was moving pretty quickly, and slammed on the emergency brakes with a trading pause and a speeding ticket.

PIM reacted pretty quickly – as you would expect – replying to the ASX just before 1:00pm with a “nothing to see here… can we go out and play now, please?” that was deemed satisfactory by the Gains Police.

Trading resumed at 1:06pm, but the ferver had waned and a big slice of the company’s gains had evaporated.

However, a late-arvo surge saw the PIM end up +55% for the day – still well out in front of the Small Caps pack, but probably wondering what might have been.

Global Oil & Gas (ASX:GLV) had a low-volume mystery bubble today, ending the session up 50% on half-a-handul of volume, ahead of Coolabah Metals (ASX:CBH) pocketing a very tidy 30.2% gain on the back of recent purchase news.

CBH has inked a deal to acquire 113km2 of lithium exploration claims located within 20km of Patriot Battery Metals’ (Patriot) Corvette property in the James Bay region of Quebec and a 70km2 project in Northwestern Ontario near Frontier Lithium’s (Frontier) PAK and Spark properties.

Lithium hunting in Canada is clearly still The Next Big Thing for investors, and the news has prompted a solid boost for Coolabah.

And a late runner into third spot on today’s worth-mentioning winners list is recent high-flyer 4DMedical (ASX:4DX), which added another 22% to its already impressive tally, taking its monthly climb to +264.5%, which I think we can all agree is actually pretty big.

4DX jumped after announcing the successful completion of the company’s first commercial XV LVAS scan within the VA, conducted at Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital in Colombia, Missouri – which is not, I learned today, named after that weird Jim Carrey movie.

The VA referred to here is the United States Veterans Health Administration, which is a massive network of health providers set up to assist the unfathomably massive numbers of former military personnel in the US.

The scan using the XV LVAS system is a four-dimensional scan (hence the name of the company, so top marks if you’d already sussed that out), which in layman’s terms is “just like a regular 3D scan, except it’s a movie not a photograph”.

4DX says the company has been “applying a dual strategy for VA engagement of simultaneous bottom-up and top-down engagement” – and, because it’s late and deadline is looming, I have thought of about 900 jokes to go with that statement, and not a single one of them is fit to publish.

Hmph.

 

TODAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Here are the least best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

 

LAST ORDERS

While everyone’s head has been spinning, there’s a few bits of interesting mail that may have slipped under your radar today, including the news that Melbourne-based high-tech health care firm Opyl (ASX:OPL) has brought a shiny new expert aboard.

Opyl has appointed “global clinical trial expert and eminent business leader in the health technology sector’, Dr. Hugo Stephenson, as an advisor to the board, as the company takes its next steps in accelerating the growth of Opin and monetising the TrialKey technology platform.

Dr. Stephenson has quite the CV, as a medical doctor, technologist, biotech services entrepreneur and founder of a number of successful businesses in the international clinical trials industry, including:

  • DrugDev, a leading provider of e-clinical technologies and clinical trial payment
  • services;
  • MediGuard, the largest online medication monitoring service;
  • Health Research Solutions (HRS), a late phase contract research organisation; and
  • MedSeed, a pioneer of hospital and GP decision support software.

How he found the time is beyond me, but he’s now lending all that expertise to help Opyl bring its tech to the healthcare sphere.

Next up is Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS), which has announced that its $3.0 million Share Purchase Plan is taking shape, following the appointment of Canaccord as Lead Manager for the operation.

Under the terms of the engagement, Canaccord has the right to place any shortfall shares under the SPP at the issue price per share of $0.018.

The money VMS is aiming for is set to go towards ongoing exploration and to advance metallurgical testwork at the Mount Lindsay Tin-Tungsten Project, and to undertake drilling and exploration programs at the Company’s Rare Earth Projects in Western Australia including the Vulcan, Kulin North and Kulin South REE targets and the Bandy and Brothers REE Projects, and some other project generation and general working capital purposes.

Under the plan, eligible shareholders will also receive 1 free attaching listed option for every 3 new shares subscribed for, each free Attaching Option with an exercise price of $0.036 and an expiry date of 2 years from the date of issue.

VMS points out that the offer of the Attaching Options is a separate offer that will be made under a prospectus to list the options and will be subject to shareholder approval.

Meanwhile, Helloworld Travel (ASX:HLO) today announced it had agreed to acquire a 40% stake in Adelaide based retail travel agency business, Phil Hoffmann Travel (PHT).

Founded by Phil Hoffmann in 1990, PHT operates in the retail leisure and corporate travel sectors in South Australia from nine locations with over 150 personnel, and is one of the most successful retail travel operations in Australia and has received the Best Retail Travel Agency Award 12 times at the National Tourism Industry Awards since first winning in 1994.

That’s a lotta fancy trophies.

“The consideration for the acquisition will be funded from HLO’s existing cash reserves,” the company says.

“HLO will be acquiring 40% of the business from Phil Hoffmann together with an option to acquire the remaining 10% of Mr Hoffmann’s shareholding in the next three years while CEO and Director Peter Williams will retain his shareholding in the business.”

Sounds like Mr Hoffman’s cashing out after a long stint selling Kontiki cruises to South Australians wanting to see the world and catch a horrifying disease from a Hungarian backpacker somewhere between Fiji and Samoa – which is (I’m told) a very difficult spot to apply the ointment.

And last but not least, Revolver Resources (ASX:RRR) is grinning like a winner today, announcing that its received firm commitments to raise gross proceeds of approximately A$5 million via an equity placement and convertible loan facility to institutional and sophisticated investors.

Why the proceeds are gross when everyone’s meant to be so sophisticated is anyone’s guess, but it’s still a solid boost for RRR, with the money earmarked for drilling of high-priority copper targets at Revolver’s Osprey and Dianne Projects in northern Queensland.

Drilling of the first targets is set to commence in June at both Project Osprey and Dianne, who I assume has been informed of what she’s in for.

 

TRADING HALTS

Synertec Corporation (ASX:SOP) – Equity raising.

Redstone Resources (ASX:RDS) – Capital raising and a transaction, which is like a Trans Am but nowhere near as epically cool.

Auteco Minerals (ASX:AUT) – Mineral Resource Estimate update.

GBM Resources (ASX:GBZ) – Capital raising.