CLOSING BELL: ASX closed 0.11% lower, because there was no one around last night to tell us what to do
Well, at least it was an interesting day on the ASX today, after a swathe of public holidays for the major markets we tend to follow left Aussie investors to their own devices for a while.
It didn’t end particularly well, but it was pretty wild out there – a seething yin to yesterday’s snoozefest yang.
To start the day off, tech stocks tanked in early trading, with the XTX All Ords tech index shedding 13 points in a very rapid fashion, bouncing back to break-even nearly as quickly and then climbing in a wobbly manner to be well ahead of the benchmark all afternoon.
It was the Telcos (+0.63%), along with Health Care and Materials pushing forward to keep the market movin’ on up, but their combined efforts weren’t enough to counteract the overarching sour mood on the bourse.
Health Care moved very quickly in the dying hours of the session, after spending most of the day in obvious negative territory, it improved vastly from -0.52% to end the day on a much nicer +0.18%.
Elsewhere, Materials took on a pretty wild trajectory after lunch, plummeting sharply at 1:30pm from +0.5% down to -0.4% then rallying back to +0.5% by 3:00pm… and then easing to just +0.18% at close.
Recent top performer Real Estate gave back some of last week’s gains, phoning in a -0.93% performance, while Energy sank 0.82%.
70s bubblegum pop music sensation Leo Lithium (ASX:LLL) continued this morning’s climb to the top of the charts, up 9.4% today (and past $900m in market cap) after the Austero Network put Leo’s latest hit You Only Love Me For My Lithium, Baby on high rotation across its major capital city / metro stations.
Mader Group (ASX:MAD) – provider of specialised contract labour for maintenance of heavy mobile equipment all round the world – moved sharply on no news this morning to be up 5.0%, but that’s as far as it managed to get.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:
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At the top of the Small Caps list for the day is Micro-X (ASX:MX1), on news that it has successfully completed the first field testing of its Argus IED X-ray camera.
The device has been developed to specifically search for and detect Improvised Explosive Devices (hence, the IED in its name), and pre-production unit testwork delivered “useful, high-definition backscatter images of an IED training aid through a car door”.
“This field testing demonstrates two significant capabilities of Argus – the ability to remotely capture high-definition backscatter images through a solid barrier, together with the ability to capture a high-definition image of a shallow-buried ordnance,” MX1 CCEO Kingsley Hall said.
“We are extremely excited by the way that Argus performed in these realistic scenarios.”
In second place (at the time of writing, so it might change because it’s unlikely to make any more gains today) is Audio Pixels (ASX:AKP), following a two-hour mega-surge that saw the tech company climb 34% today, in the immediate aftermath of the company’s AGM notes from the CEO and the chairman hitting the ASX announcements board.
There wasn’t anything in the announcements that – according to the company – amounted to ‘news’ that the market hadn’t already been made aware of, but the instant the CEO and chairman comments went live, the surge was on.
But… less than 90 minutes after the surge began, the company was put into a trading pause for reasons that haven’t yet been disclosed.
For those unaware of Audio Pixels, the company says it has developed some giant-killing tech that could completely up-end the audio speaker market, replacing large cumbersome devices with 1mm-thick (1 millimetre, just in case you thought I’d made a typo) “panels” that look like they’re about the same as a tiny micro-SD memory card.
And in third place is Wildcat Resources (ASX:WC8), back in the winner’s circle 22.1% on no news, so it’s most likely that the ASX investors’ experiment with unsupervised decision-making didn’t seem to fare too well, so they went back to throwing money at the last thing they remember was doing well.
I jest, of course… but the movement today puts the junior lithium-gold play up to a 250% monthly gain on outsized volumes, largely thanks to a savvy lithium project acquisition.
As Stockhead’s very-own towering monument to ride-on mower masculinity Reuben Adams reports, Wildcat’s recently acquired historical Tabba Tabba tantalum mine and lithium-tantalum project in the Pilbara “includes a bunch of mining leases – important if you want to get into production quickly — large areas of outcropping pegmatites, and a high-grade 318,000t at 950ppm Ta2O5 tantalum deposit.”
And in late mail, which is weird because it wasn’t showing up all day while I had one eye on the tickers, but suddenly it was there when the markets had closed, Berkeley Energia (ASX:BKY) also put in a strong performance today, up around 23% on absolutely no news.
Here are the least best performing ASX small cap stocks:
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A few quickies for this afternoon includes transport and logistics solutions provider K&S Corporation (ASX:KSC), which announced an earnings guidance for the year ending 30 June 2023.
The company says it’s expecting to land somewhere around the $41.9 to $42.9 million mark for its underlying profit before tax, up quite a long way against the previous year’s $23.1 million effort.
Meanwhile, Immuron (ASX:IMC) says it is all prepped for blast off, having been given the go-ahead from the US Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) Office of Human and Animal Research Oversight (OHRO) to proceed with the clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of its Travelan drug to prevent infectious diarrhoea caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli.
The Phase-2 clinical trial is designed to evaluate the safety and protective efficacy of Travelan® compared to a placebo in a controlled human infection model – which is exactly what it sounds like, and definitely involves giving the volunteers a horrendous bout of the squirts.
The trial is set to be conducted by Pharmaron CPC at its FDA inspected Clinical Research Facility Inpatient Unit located in Baltimore, Maryland – just so you know where not to be when the facility becomes – in military parlance – Brown Zero, and we all find out if the drug is effective.
Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) – Halt called ahead of an announcement by Paladin in relation to a recent article which includes purported statements from the Namibian Mines and Energy Minister regarding in country mining and petroleum assets.