CLOSING BELL: First we were soaring, then we were snoring as the benchmark runs out of puff post-lunch
The market’s had a bit of the joy sucked out of it since lunchtime’s +1.1% high, and we’re blaming it on having a lunch that was too heavy on carbs, and way too light on gains.
By mid-afternoon, things had eased more than somewhat, sinking as low as +0.4% as Utilities, Health Care and InfoTech slumped down below zero (or further beyond zero, in the Tech Dept’s instance).
By the time the bell rang to tell everyone it was time to go home because there’s no more action, the benchmark had come to a weary – but still positive – +0.6%, which isn’t bad for a Monday.
Here’s what’s been happening here, there, and over behind the change sheds today.
Speaking of complete non-sequiturs and massive companies losing senior execs at an alarming rate, the scuttlebutt from Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) is that Twiggy’s lost another big gun from the C-Suite.
The Australian is reporting that long-time CFO Ian Wells is “set to leave the company at the end of January, ahead of the delivery of the company’s half-year financial results” – and you can’t help but wonder if the timing of that departure isn’t just a teeeeensy bit on the ominous side.
Wells joins a laundry list of senior execs on the wrong side of the revolving door at FMG over the past few years.
“With human resources boss Linda O’Farrell also believed to have handed in her notice last year, only two of the 11 senior executives listed in Fortescue’s 2021 annual report now still with the company – general counsel Peter Huston and former Fortescue Future Industries chief executive Julie Shuttleworth, now in a different role with the company’s hydrogen arm,” The Australian says.
And from Canberra, news that former Chief Scientist of The Whole of Australia, Ian Chubb, has finished his report into whether or not carbon credit scheme whistleblower Andrew Macintosh’s sensational claims that a majority of credits issued by the Clean Energy Regulator were “flawed”, which is a quaint way of saying “made entirely out of bullsh-t”.
Chubb, who was appointed by Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen in 2022 to have a look under the bonnet of the scheme to see what’s what, has concluded that the scheme is officially “not a rort”. Phew.
“In recent times, the integrity of the scheme has been called into question – it has been argued that the level of abatement has been overstated, that ACCUs are therefore not what they are meant to be, so that the policy is not effective,” the report said.
“The Panel does not share this view. While the Panel was provided with some evidence supporting that position (wait… what?), it was also provided with evidence to the contrary.”
Anyhow… despite the apparent lack of any fundamental integrity issues, Chubb says the scheme could be improved, according to a report by our mates at The Australian.
“The former chief scientist has suggested breaking up the powers currently managed by the Clean Energy Regulator in order to boost the effectiveness of the scheme with separation of governance, ACCU purchasing and method development functions,” The Australian says.
Market newbie VHM (ASX:VHM), a rare earths and mineral sands developer from WA backed by Perth-based billionaire Chris Ellison, has had a bumpy ol’ welcome to the bourse today, listing at $1.50 and sinking more than 15% as the afternoon wore on.
That’s despite coming to market with a signed Memorandum of Understanding with Shenghe Resources, China’s biggest importer of rare earths concentrate, inked in 2022.
Elsewhere, the market’s afternoon swinging adventures saw $2.22 billion market cap Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) push to the front of the queue among the larger caps this afternoon, adding 9.6% by 2:30pm on no fresh news, before easing into the afternoon slump.
This morning’s big cap leader, Imugene (ASX:IMU) – which had a solid run this morning to add 6.25% on news that the company has received Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approval to commence a Phase I clinical trial of its oncolytic virotherapy candidate, VAXINIA in Australia – had been pushed out of the Big Gainer’s list by a number of smaller companies adding considerably to their bottom line.
Trouble is, the big movers were all rather small companies – and the three-pronged sector slump was more than enough to overwhelm any late-in-the-day gains – but we’ll get to them in a minute.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:
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There’s been a bit of movement near the top of the ladder since lunchtime – however, this morning’s clear winner looks set to finish the day still out in front.
Tempus Resources (ASX:TMR is up a barnstorming 48.15% on news that it drilled into bonanza level gold at its Elizabeth Gold Project in Southern British Columbia.
The numbers Tempus is reporting are positively eye-popping, and include the following highlights, presented in bullet-point form for your gold-porn viewing pleasure:
Tempus is reporting that “strike continuity of the wide high-grade gold zone associated with the No. 9 Vein has been extended to approximately 150m with open target areas to the south and south-west of the current drilling”, which means there is potential for even more in this single deposit.
Likewise, Essential Metals (ASX:ESS), on news that Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia Pty Ltd (TLEA), a lithium joint venture entity owned by Tianqi Lithium Corporation (TLC) (51%) and IGO (49%) has entered into a Scheme Implementation Agreement (SIA) to acquire 100% of Essential Metals at $0.50/share, payable in cash.
That’s a massive 36.3% premium on Essential’s 30-day VWAP and values ESS’s equity at A$136 million on a fully diluted basis – and ESS is up (you guessed it) by a similar percentage today… 38.15% to be precise.
K-Tig (ASX:KTG) has enjoyed a bump this afternoon, after Ireland based Brewery Chemical & Dairy Engineering Limited placed a $600,000 order for the company to supply a K-TIG Linear Precision Grow Line Circumferential Welding System.
I don’t know what a Linear Precision Grow Line Circumferential Welding System is – I’m guessing it might weld things in a circle – but considering it’s a $600,000 thinga-ma-jig, selling one was bound to help improve KTG’s price once it was announced.
And that’s precisely what’s happened, pumping KTG’s trading price 22.7% on thin volume.
Here are the worst best performing ASX small cap stocks:
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Another day, and another flubbed announcement to the ASX. This time it’s Sabre Resources (ASX:SBR), which has been forced to retract a few slabs of info from the announcement it put out this morning about the recently completed surface moving-loop electromagnetic (MLEM) survey at Sherlock Bay.
That announcement went out shortly after 8:15am today, but by 2:00pm the company had issued the retraction of two segments of it’s morning news, on the basis that the release contained contained forward looking statements “that refer to cash-flow potential and the economics of the Sherlock Bay nickel-copper-cobalt project being enhanced.”
The company acknowledged that the statements needed to be withdrawn “as there is no reasonable basis upon which to make such statements given that the modifying factors such as cost inputs have not been updated since the 27 January 2022 Scoping Study release”.
However – in the hours between the announcement and the retraction, Sabre’s trading price bounced 21.4%… so we can probably safely assume that the company is also seeking logistical support from anyone with proven experience (and positive outcomes) in the Gentle Art of Putting the Toothpaste Back into the Tube.
Meanwhile, Bass Oil (ASX:BAS) has replied to an ASX query into what possible reason could have been the cause of a spike in volume and price between 6 January and today, in light of the fact that despite nary a murmur to the market about anything at all, Bass has climbed 31.8% in the past week.
In it’s reply to the ASX issuing the standard “Fellas… really… WTF?” correspondence, Bass said that there’s no news that could have leaked, and that investors are probably just reacting to its most recent bit of news – from 16 November last year.
Makes perfect sense. No, really… (not really).
And last but not least, Tourism Holdings (ASX:THL) has enjoyed a very modest bump, on news that it’s completed the sale and leaseback of Apollo’s properties in Canada for a total purchase price of CAD$51 million ($55 million of our puny Vegemite Dollary-Doos).
THL is – according to THL – “the largest commercial RV rental operator in the world”, and recently merged with Apollo Tourism & Leisure, creating “a multi-national, vertically integrated RV manufacturing, rental, and retail business spanning motorhomes, campervans and caravans”.
The terms of the lease deal provide THL with rights to the properties for up to 20 years (inclusive of rights of renewal) at a starting annual base rent of approximately $3 million – but the overall deal generates pre-tax net cash proceeds (after the repayment of associated debt and closing costs) of approximately $29 million.
Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS) – Azure went into a halt this morning ahead of news of a substantial corporate investment in the company.