• ASX lumbers to a 0.7% loss after a mournful day at the markets.
  • Political donations by Hancock under the microscope after not being disclosed
  • Arovella and Imugene celebrate success from their solid tumour research collab

 

The ASX has stumbled today, shedding 0.7% after a day that saw investors having to work quite hard to find meaningful value.

The sector outlook was pretty brutal, with Consumer Staples providing the only ray of sunlight by improving steadily throughout the day to add 1.1%.

The worst performers were InfoTech (-1.95%) and Energy (-1.60%), with Telcos and Utilities pretty much tied for third-worst, down around 1.4% each.

There was some hope around town, though – medical researcher Imugene (ASX:IMU) added a handsome 9.3% after hitting paydirt in a solid tumour research collaboration with Arovella Therapeutics (ASX:ALA).

A clearly massively excited Imugene CEO and MD, Leslie Chong, said: “The data from the initial studies looks promising. We look forward to capturing the data from the next phase of testing.”

So… party at Leslie’s place, by the sounds of things.

Boss Energy (ASX:BOE) also did pretty well today, adding 6.0% for no apparent reason whatsoever.

 

FROM THE HEADLINES

Lots of interesting news around the place today, so it’s some short, sharp bites to get you up to speed.

In an apparent “world first”, the board of directors at oil giant Shell are the direct targets of a lawsuit after being personally sued over their alleged failure to take appropriate action to manage risks associated with the global climate crisis.

Environmental law charity ClientEarth says the British oil giant’s 11 directors have “breached their legal duties under the UK’s Companies Act by failing to bring their climate strategy in line with the Paris Agreement”.

“Shell may be making record profits now due to the turmoil of the global energy market, but the writing is on the wall for fossil fuels long term,” says Paul Benson, a senior lawyer at ClientEarth. “The shift to a low-carbon economy is not just inevitable, it’s already happening.”

It’s been a big 24 hours for Everyone’s Favourite Dude called Elon, starting with an apparent slip-up at Twitter that saw users locked out of their accounts for “reaching their daily limit” for posting.

It looks and smells an awful lot like an accidental leak of a new “feature” for the social media platform, and hints at the possibility of Twitter moving to a “Pay-to-Say” revenue model, in a bid to try to claw back some of the ridiculous number of billions he overpaid when he bought it.

Spoiler alert: Twitter is not going to like that, not even a little bit.

Meanwhile, Musk’s ultra-high-altitude taxi service SpaceX has celebrated the maiden static test firing of its 31-engine Super Heavy Booster 7 – and it was glorious.

 

 

However, Musk’s Neuralink company has found itself the target of yet another investigation, this time over allegations that the probes they’ve been pulling out of the heads of dead monkeys at the lab might have been mishandled during transport, potentially exposing humankind to all manner of weird monkey brain diseases.

In political news, the ABC is reporting that Gina Rinehart’s company, Hancock Prospecting, was “behind a $150,000 payment to the Liberal Party, transferred via a third party, and not declared by the mining giant by the November 17, 2022 deadline”.

According to the ABC, the funds were channelled through the Sydney Mining Club (SMC), in an alleged deal between Hancock chief financial officer Jabez Huang and SMC chairman Julian Malnic.

Hancock reportedly spent $190,000 on a sponsorship deal with the Sydney Mining Club, which kept $40,000 and sent the remaining $150,000 to the Liberal Party, without being properly declared.

And from the US, beleaguered Republican representative George Santos’ reputation has suffered yet another massive blow, following revelations that he was charged with theft for stealing puppies from an Amish dog breeder in 2017.

Honestly, you couldn’t make this up if you tried.

Santos is already in hot water after a laundry list of scandals emerged, including:

  • Alleged lies about both his high school and university education.
  • Claims that his mother died in the 9/11 terror attack (spoiler alert: she didn’t)
  • Allegations he fudged his campaign finance records to hide spending.
  • Questions over the source of US$700,000 he lent to his own campaign.
  • An investigation into a securities firm Santos worked at before becoming entering politics.
  • Allegedly fabricated claims that he worked for both Goldman and Citigroup (spoiler alert: he didn’t).
  • Allegedly fabricated claims he ran what turned out to be an unregistered animal charity.
  • Claims he demanded a fundraising cheque for that charity to be made out to him personally.
  • Reportedly false claims that he is married to his boyfriend, who no one has seen him with in public.
  • False claims that his grandmother was a holocaust victim
  • Are you bored yet? Because this list actually keeps on going from here.

Santos has been under mounting pressure to resign, but so far – like a stubborn understain on a well-worn pair of Bonds grundies – he’s refusing to budge.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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

Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap
ALT Analytica Limited 0.0015 50% 698,055 $4,613,801
MTL Mantle Minerals Ltd 0.003 50% 7,400,033 $10,691,210
VPR Volt Power Group 0.0015 50% 326,503 $10,716,208
OZZ OZZ Resources 0.105 40% 1,693,017 $3,519,340
MGT Magnetite Mines 0.8175 39% 1,378,790 $44,744,543
DCX Discovex Res Ltd 0.004 33% 11,471,265 $9,907,704
CZL Cons Zinc Ltd 0.022 29% 30,663,297 $8,200,083
OLL Openlearning 0.025 25% 100,000 $5,357,382
EMU EMU NL 0.005 25% 6,141,863 $2,749,072
LNU Linius Tech Limited 0.0025 25% 12,711,811 $5,958,826
MKL Mighty Kingdom Ltd 0.05 22% 772,312 $13,375,003
RGS Regeneus Ltd 0.017 21% 604,767 $4,290,117
IEC Intra Energy Corp 0.006 20% 190,000 $3,528,908
THR Thor Energy PLC 0.006 20% 1,850,834 $7,378,064
XTC Xantippe Res Ltd 0.006 20% 7,117,455 $51,725,174
IND Industria Minerals 0.38 19% 102,285 $9,552,000
SNX Sierra Nevada Gold 0.285 19% 65,831 $9,990,688
ICN Icon Energy Limited 0.013 18% 824,659 $8,448,150
AGD Austral Gold 0.056 17% 9,080 $29,390,945
CXU Cauldron Energy Ltd 0.007 17% 814,422 $5,589,408
MRQ Mrg Metals Limited 0.0035 17% 3,040,012 $5,957,756
NZS New Zealand Coastal 0.0035 17% 400,120 $3,381,015
PEC Perpetual Res Ltd 0.028 17% 2,039,488 $13,091,615
ALA Arovella Therapeutic 0.037 16% 8,681,941 $24,129,110
ADX ADX Energy Ltd 0.008 14% 16,182,568 $24,631,875
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Closing out the day in top spot is Magnetite Mines (ASX:MGT), up 33.9% on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that the Iron Peak mineral resource has been significantly upgraded at the company’s flagship Razorback Iron Ore project.

The company reported that mass recovery significantly has increased from 16.8% to 19.4%, while tonnage rose from 419 Mt to 503 Mt.

“MGT has systematically increased the scale of its flagship Razorback Iron Ore Project over recent years, creating the long-life, large-scale mine plan needed to support investment in opening South Australia’s massive but undeveloped Braemar iron province,” Magnetite CEO Tim Dobson said.

“Now we have turned our eye to improved product quality to not only enhance early-year project economics, but to also target the production of premium-grade DR products increasingly in demand by the decarbonising iron and steel sector.”

This morning’s leader, Consolidated Zinc (ASX:CZL) is a close second, up 29.4% after lobbing an extremely newsworthy announcement about its now-infamous Plomosas project near Chihuahua, Mexico.

The Plomosas project is most widely known due to a major security incident in late 2021, when a group of actual Mexican bandits backed a truck up to the gates, locked workers and security staff in a shipping container and made off with 90 tonnes of zinc and lead concentrate, valued at around US$90,000.

This time, however, it’s much better news – CZL has sold the project in its entirety to Canadian miner Impact Silver for US$6 million – $3 million in Impact Silver shares and the other $3 million in cold, hard cash.

And there’s been a spike in interest around Arovella Therapeutics (ASX:ALA) this afternoon, which saw its trading price rise 15.6% on news that its collaborative research project with Imugene (ASX:IMU) has achieved a successful outcome from their initial in vitro experiments.

The positive results show that the combination of Arovella’s CAR19-iNKT cell therapy (ALA-101) and Imugene’s onCARlytics therapy (CF33-CD19) kills solid tumour cells in vitro, providing enough basis for the trial to progress to the next stage.

“We are pleased by the first set of data and delighted to continue the partnership with Imugene and its onCARlytics platform,” Arovella CEO and MD, Dr Michael Bake said.

“Combining the two platforms made sense scientifically and seeing this play out in practise is exciting, given the impact this combination of therapeutics could have in solid tumours.”

 

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:

Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap
AO1 Asset Owl 0.001 -33% 44,436,581 $2,358,195
AQX Alice Queen Ltd 0.0015 -25% 1,500,000 $4,400,500
CCE Carnegie Cln Energy 0.0015 -25% 8,308,083 $31,285,147
AFL Af Legal Group Ltd 0.1 -20% 1,125,749 $9,820,177
CLE Cyclone Metals 0.002 -20% 138,058 $15,441,842
XST Xstate Resources 0.002 -20% 51,752,074 $8,037,954
MCM Mc Mining Ltd 0.21 -17% 91,063 $100,414,601
RFA Rare Foods Australia 0.075 -17% 101,073 $18,176,112
TD1 Tali Digital Limited 0.0025 -17% 120,000 $8,325,467
WYX Western Yilgarn NL 0.092 -16% 118,886 $4,530,075
LER Leaf Res Ltd 0.016 -16% 1,714,777 $34,390,739
SVL Silver Mines Limited 0.165 -15% 29,118,671 $251,907,268
NTL New Talisman Gold 0.017 -15% 1,637,612 $6,396,145
ADS Adslot Ltd. 0.009 -14% 2,127,301 $23,145,658
AXP AXP Energy Ltd 0.003 -14% 9,734,190 $20,386,382
CLZ Classic Min Ltd 0.006 -14% 4,683,147 $7,293,594
PNX PNX Metals Limited 0.003 -14% 3,500 $15,554,202
AL3 Aml3D 0.099 -14% 2,218,893 $21,627,294
SPA Spacetalk Ltd 0.082 -14% 25,624,177 $25,383,937
ST1 Spirit Technology 0.065 -13% 458,385 $49,854,268
IXU Ixup Limited 0.026 -13% 536,592 $30,887,159
ADR Adherium Ltd 0.0035 -13% 138,421 $19,985,753
NES Nelson Resources 0.007 -13% 3,492,948 $4,708,755
MPA Mad Paws 0.14 -13% 1,195,630 $48,001,208
BEX Bikeexchange Ltd 0.0105 -13% 1,113,652 $9,631,613
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LAST ORDERS

PropTech Group (ASX:PTG) has announced that the Australian Federal Court has approved the scheme of arrangement for Rockend Technology to acquire PropTech.

With all of its ducks now in a row, anyone holding PropTech shares as at 7:00pm Sydney time on on 15 February 2023 will receive $0.60 a pop for them, in a deal delivering an implied equity value of approximately A$93.4 million.

Auric Mining (ASX:AWJ) has announced that it’s kicked off its drilling program, and will start poking long holes in the ground at its Chalice West project before driving the drill rig over to its Miitel South Gold prospect to have a poke around there, too.

This round of drilling comes after Auric’s recent aircore drilling that turned up “gold anomalism in a setting analogous with the nearby Chalice gold deposit, together with distinct nickel anomalism and widespread, elevated REE concentrations in clays”, the company says.

Annnnnd Kaiser Reef (ASX:KAU) reports that it’s been granted Exploration Licence (EL 7029) for an initial 5-year period, giving the explorer the chance to re-explore the historic Nuggety Reef Mine, which produced 301,000 oz @ 187g/t gold in its heyday.

The licence unlocks the prospect for Kaiser to sink its teeth into a mineral resource estimate of 1.2 Mt at 4.4 g/t gold (Inferred) for 186,656 ounces of gold, with an exploration target of 1.75 to 2.7Mt at between 3 g/t gold and 4 g/t gold for between 165,000 and 345,000 ounces of gold.

 

TRADING HALTS

Cannindah Resources (ASX:CAE) – Significant drilling result and capital raising.

Victory Metals (ASX:VTM) – Exploration results.

Nimy Resources (ASX:NIM) – Capital raising.

Aurora Labs (ASX:A3D) – Capital raising.

White Energy Company (ASX: WEC) – Legal hassles in Singapore.

Jindalee Resources (ASX: JRL) – News in relation to a memorandum of understanding for joint research regarding the company’s US McDermitt lithium project.

Falcon Metals (ASX:FAL) – Exploration results are incoming from its Pyramid Hill Gold Project.