CLOSING BELL: Despite another charge on gold, the ASX has limped to a -0.08% close
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After an early grimace-inducing 0.5% drop this morning, the ASX managed to finally get some lead in its pencil and hit lunchtime pretty much flat.
There, the benchmark managed to tread water until around 2:00pm, when there was another sudden 0.3% rush for the exits, followed by a rapid bounce back at 3:00pm right around the time that those tracksuit-wearing stay-at-home day-trader types had to throw on their sandals and “walk up the street to collect Caleb from school”.
In their absence, the ship managed to right itself somewhat to shuffle wanly to a -0.08% close, which is better than expected but still pretty disappointing.
It’s honestly been a bit of a struggle to get a bead on what’s driving the market today, but a fair indicator can be found in the fortunes of Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), which fell foul for investors on sinking iron ore prices (Iron ore futures fell ~3% to a touch over US$100/t yesterday), and a bit of bad news from the company’s lithium project.
MinRes also gave itself an uppercut to the tune of -9.2% after telling the market that it’s going to cost more to mine less at its Mt Marion project in Western Australia.
The company says its previous cost guidance of $850-900 per tonne way way off the mark, and will likely be around $1,200 and $1,250 per tonne for the current financial year, and that it will only be delivering at the lower end of its spodumene concentrate guidance of around 160,000 dry metric tonnes.
Plus, March inflation figures came out today (which I’ll get to in a moment), and with a public holiday yesterday the market’s been a bit wonky and unpredictable since the bell rang in the morning.
A look over the sectors reveals a mixed bag, with Energy (+1.0%) and Industrials (+0.9%) way out in front, and Utilities (-0.8%) and Materials (-0.65%) taking up the bottom two rungs, while everything else kinda hung around the middle.
The day’s runaway winner segment, though, was gold-related stocks, which comprehensively outperformed everything in sight – the XGD ASX All Ords Gold index blew up 1.96% as investors once again went looking for value among the ‘safe’ end of the market.
By the end of the session, there wasn’t a “Large Cap” in sight on the winner’s list. The best the market could do was the $466m market cap Pointsbet (ASX:PBH), which was up 7.4% after Aussies ended their once-a-year flirtation with the Anzac Day two-up binge and got back to punting fruitlessly on the footy.
Overseas, Chinese markets looked on track to end the day well, with Shanghai up 0.28% while the normally more volatile Hang Seng piddled in a 1.2% rise. However, Japan’s Nikkei didn’t fare so well, down 0.66% when the local session ended.
The banner headline story of the day was the release of a fresh round of inflation figures by those well-meaning eggheads at the Australian Bureau of Numerology, showing that inflation has fallen from its December quarter peak of 7.8%, to a far more reasonable but still unsettling 7.0%.
As is now customary, debate between economists has turned into Calculators at 20 Paces, with the number nerds divided on what it means for interest rates in Australia.
To wit: Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers has described the data as “moderating”, while his counterpart Shadow Treasurer Agus Taylor has described it as “running rampant”.
But, they’re politicians, so it’s safe to take everything either of them says with a grain (or more) of salt.
The 7.0% figure is not at all a surprise for local investors, with the ABC reporting that “markets have now priced in a 90% chance of the RBA leaving rates unchanged, with 10% speculating there may be a rate hike”.
Which is curious, considering the RBA is aiming to get inflation down to its 2-3% target, and while the 0.8% fall from December highs is substantial, even I – a known idiot when it comes to numbers – can see that 7.0% is a lot higher than 2-3%.
It could be worse, though – we could be living in the UK, where The Bank of England’s top economist Huw “It’s pronounced just like it’s spelled” Pill has taken a leaf from Paris Hilton’s “Stop Being Poor” handbook with his advice to the commoners whose wages aren’t keeping up with inflation.
Pill says Britons need to “just accept that you’re poorer” – no, really… he said that – because if workers ask for big pay rises, that’s only going to keep feeding the Inflation Beast (former UK PM Boris Johnson), leaving the UK in a position to show Australia’s shadow treasurer what “running rampant” inflation really looks like.
The latest UK inflation figures are at 10.1% – not quite Zimbabwe-level inflation (87.6% in March 2023, down from 285% in August 2022) – but still high enough to be putting some very real pressure on household budgets, forcing many pensioners to lower their tea intake to a meagre 16 cups a day.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
|Code||Company||Price||% Today||Volume||Market Cap|
|CCE||Carnegie Cln Energy||0.0015||50%||1,812,734||$15,642,574|
|NTM||Nt Minerals Limited||0.01||25%||3,464,206||$6,405,591|
|YAR||Yari Minerals Ltd||0.022||22%||5,147,115||$8,682,441|
|ICG||Inca Minerals Ltd||0.018||20%||452,919||$7,252,717|
|ADC||Acdc Metals Ltd||0.12||20%||96,718||$4,674,750|
|BRK||Brookside Energy Ltd||0.0155||19%||72,381,387||$65,189,093|
|AGR||Aguia Res Ltd||0.05||19%||435,177||$18,221,879|
|A1G||African Gold Ltd.||0.081||17%||331,605||$11,682,474|
|LLO||Lion One Metals Ltd||1.26||17%||16,619||$13,021,520|
|RMX||Red Mount Min Ltd||0.0035||17%||212,762||$6,815,553|
|GCX||GCX Metals Limited||0.038||15%||1,666||$6,130,697|
There’s been a reshuffle at the top of the ladder this afternoon, as Mt Monger Resources (ASX:MTM) banked a 23% climb, helping it achieve a +130% result since acquiring a Canadian rare earths-niobium exploration project called ‘Pomme’ in February.
Proceeds from the company’s recent $3m raise will be used for a maiden drill campaign and metallurgical testwork at Pomme, which it bought from TSX listed explorer Geomega Resources for ~$1m in cash and shares.
MTM directors tossed in a collective $70,000 as part of the placement.
Meanwhile, lithium minnow Yari Minerals (ASX:YAR) – TCFKA Consolidated Zinc (ASX:CZL) – has reversed a few days of misfortune, climbing 16.7% after falling significantly during a reshuffle in the boardroom.
The management structure changes were revealed a week ago, with now-former managing director Brad Marwood transitioning into a non-executive chairman role, handing the MD reigns over to Anthony Italiano.
The changes come in the wake of Yari selling off its Plomosas Mine in Mexico to Impact Silver, to focus on the company’s exploration for lithium at its Pilbara projects, where – as the company says – “a different set of skills are needed to maximise shareholder returns and manage operations”.
ImpediMed (ASX:IPD) has continued its lengthy ride on the Gains Train today as well, adding another 16% to take its price to around $0.18 a pop, and its climb for the month to more than 200%.
IPD has been on the rise since late March, after it was announced the US National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) released a new set of guidelines, which include the use of bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) as an objective measurement tool to identify early signs of lymphoedema for the first time.
IPD currently holds the only FDA-cleared BIS technology for the assessment of lymphoedema, which managing director and CEO of ImpediMed Richard Valencia said is a “major validating moment for the company”.
“The authors of the NCCN Guidelines are world leaders in global cancer care driven by sound clinical evidence and patients’ best interests. Their recommendations are highly influential for clinicians, patients, policymakers, and insurance companies,” Valencia said.
Here are the least best performing ASX small cap stocks:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
|AXP||AXP Energy Ltd||0.002||-33%||4,081,891||$17,474,042|
|8IH||8I Holdings Ltd||0.045||-32%||8,962||$23,585,495|
|SM1||Synlait Milk Ltd||1.445||-26%||834,352||$428,420,056|
|SIT||Site Group Int Ltd||0.003||-25%||316,667||$5,204,981|
|XTC||Xantippe Res Ltd||0.003||-25%||3,149,761||$42,320,399|
|1ST||1St Group Ltd||0.007||-22%||7,058,936||$12,181,800|
|SIH||Sihayo Gold Limited||0.002||-20%||1,336,665||$15,255,320|
|NXM||Nexus Minerals Ltd||0.14||-18%||15,072,608||$55,327,063|
|MEG||Megado Minerals Ltd||0.04||-17%||1,861,209||$6,866,667|
|PVT||Pivotal Metals Ltd||0.027||-16%||100,000||$15,183,268|
|EMP||Emperor Energy Ltd||0.017||-15%||645,530||$5,377,250|
|FRM||Farm Pride Foods||0.115||-15%||6,470||$19,420,811|
Some big news for online book retailer Booktopia Group (ASX:BKG), which has announced that its search for a new CEO has drawn to a close, with the appointment of David Nenke as the company’s new head honcho.
Australian-born Nenke joins the company with more than 25 years of executive experience in building, scaling, and transforming digital-focused retail businesses, including the past 15 years working in the US for two of the biggest names in online book retailing, Amazon.com (NYSE: AMZN) and Barnes & Noble Education (NYSE: BNED).
Nenke will report to Peter George, chair of the Booktopia board of directors and will commence on 8 May 2023, replacing Geoff Stalley, who has been Booktopia’s Acting CEO since July 2022.
Peter George said the company had undertaken an exhaustive international search to secure the right person to lead Booktopia into the future.
“David was the standout candidate from a very high calibre shortlist,” Mr George said. “He has hands-on knowledge and extensive experience as a leader in technology-driven ecommerce businesses.”
“We are confident Mr Nenke has the experience, capabilities and attributes to ensure Booktopia reaches its full potential.”
Elsewhere, Titanium Sands (ASX:TSL) has announced that it has obtained a facility to borrow up to A$0.7m through agreements with TSL’s two major shareholders, which are (apparently) Willis Holdings and Cuprum Holdings.
These agreements will provide the Company with working capital and the necessary financial flexibility to continue ongoing project development and next stage progression, TSL says, noting that the “terms agreed are considered favourable to existing shareholders and show great support from the funders (the two largest shareholders), given the conversion price is a 130% premium to Monday’s closing share price”.
OAR Resources (ASX:OAR) – Capital raising.
Astral Resources (ASX:AAR) – Capital raising.
The GO2 People (ASX:GO2) – Announcement in respect of a material debt owed Advanced Traffic Management.
Revolver Resources Holdings (ASX:RRR) – Capital raising.
Tyranna Resources (ASX:TYX) – Material funding transaction.
Impact Minerals (ASX:IPT) – Capital raising.
Larvotto Resources (ASX:LRV) – Response to an ASX price query and a further portfolio update.