• Audiences outraged over the benchmark’s “lacklustre, mediocre performance” today
  • Standout winner Riedel Resources ends the day up by 50% on awesome assays
  • FTX team drowning in irony as ‘hackers’ make off with more than $500 million

 

The bell has rung, and the books are all but closed on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 – a day that the critics have described as “Terribly Mediocre”, “Postively Underwhelming” and “The most baffling interpretation of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie that this reviewer has ever seen”.

The benchmark is flat, in precisely the same way that the Andes and the Himalayas are not.

Yes, there was plenty happening here and there, but as the shutters come down at the ASX, the history books will say that on this day, the benchmark may as well have stayed in bed.

The numbers have changed, but the landscape is roughly the same across the sectors this afternoon, with InfoTech (+1.64%) and Health Care (+0.86%) providing as much forward momentum as they could.

However, the combined weight of Materials (-0.89%) and Utilities (-0.84%) dragging their raggedy, dusty behinds through the dirt put paid to any notion of a positive note on the ledger for the market overall.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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There were, of course, a couple of stand-out performances, most notably from Riedel Resources (ASX:RIE) after it dropped an announcement that sent its trading price soaring, up around +100% early doors, before settling down to a still-fantastic +50% at close.

It all went bonkers there for a while, though, after Riedel revealed the first assays from its diamond drill program from Kingman Gold Project, USA – and the news is good.

Multiple high-grade gold results seen in shallow holes have confirmed earlier RC drilling results, and that Reidel is sitting on a chunky gold deposit, within arm’s reach of surface.

And there was a late and completely inexplicable surge in volume and price from Magmatic Resources (ASX:MAG), which was nowhere to be seen on the charts this morning, but is set to finish the day more than 30% up.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Here are the least best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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On the wrong side of the coin, though, was art marketplace Redbubble (ASX:RBL), which has behaved true to form by announcing its quarterly results and shedding a big bronze statue’s (or a fraction of a Banksy’s) worth of value the moment the numbers went live.

It’s down 11.8% despite a 3% increase in Marketplace Revenue.

 

FROM THE HEADLINES

Japan has sprung yet another surprise on the rest of the world, after the BoJ decided to keep its yield curve control program unchanged, sending the Yen plummeting again, down 2.3% against the USD at the time of writing.

The decision by Japan is, frankly, hugely confusing considering that just about everyone with a vested interest in what the BoJ was planning to do had bet strongly that its yield curve control policy would be dead as a dodo by close of play today, or the target rate on 10-year bonds would be lifted above 0%, or that rates would be given more room to move by widening the 0.5% range.

None of those things happened and the yen has joined Japan’s traditional pearl diving industry on a quick trip to the bottom of the sea.

 

Also making news today is a bold claim by collapsed crypto outfit FTX’s team of weasels, who are now telling creditors, journalists, judges and anyone else who will listen that more than half a billion dollars worth of Magic Money has been “mysteriously hacked” from the company’s wallets in the wake of the company’s total and utter failure.

According to FTX, $US415 million ($594 million) worth of assets have been swiped since November, which of course takes a huge bite out of whatever funds are still kicking around in the company coffers to pay back the people who are owed enormous sums of money.

But at this point, nothing coming out of that mess should really be that much of a surprise, even though ongoing thefts of that magnitude really do raise some very serious questions about operational security at FTX – and begs the Big Question: “Who still has keys to the kingdom?”

 

Another question on our lips this afternoon: Has it been a month already?

Because the regularly-scheduled round of lithium-ion battery fear-mongering has gone live today, after Fire and Rescue New South Wales revealed that there’s been an uptick in the number of fires being caused by faulty batteries in e-bikes and e-scooters.

The NSW Firies say they’ve been called out to more than 180 lithium-ion battery-related fires in the past 12 months, while Victoria reported 120 in the year to July, and Queensland recorded 72 since 2021.

It’s a solid win for New South Wales, and we look forward to bringing you next month’s instalment of the Lithium-ion Battery Fire State of Origin Series, sponsored by Shoddy Chinese Manufacturing Standards Co, Pty Ltd.

 

And speaking of China, there are reports doing the rounds today that are about as surprising as waking up in the morning to discover that you haven’t broken both your legs while you were asleep.

Six doctors at public hospitals across China have reportedly told Reuters that they are being actively discouraged not to list Covid-19 as a cause of death on medical certificates and in reports, with several hospitals allegedly building in layers of bureaucracy to make any mention of the virus a difficult task.

The reports also say that family members of people who have arrived at hospital with classic respiratory symptoms aren’t even being tested for Covid at all – because, obviously, you can’t die from it if you don’t know you have it – and that in instances where it was known to be either the cause or a contributing factor in a patient’s death, the medical reports don’t mention the virus at all.

While it seems as if China might be jumping through all these hoops to try to fool themselves and the rest of the world into believing that there isn’t a Covid problem within its borders, there’s an outside chance that it’s actually a super-brainy 4-D Chess manoeuvre by Chinese authorities.

Because it’s gotta be super-duper difficult to catch an airborne virus like Covid when the government’s urging everyone to bury their heads in the sand.

 

LAST ORDERS

In case you were relaxing over the Christmas period, and thinking to yourself “Hmmm… I wonder who it is that has to work over through the holidays this year”, I reckon “everyone who works in assaying labs” would be a safe bet.

Because it’s raining assay results today, and Golden Mile (ASX:G88) is in on the action, announcing results from its 100% owned Quicksilver clay hosted Nickel-Cobalt Project.

G88 says the results “demonstrate significant REE mineralisation potential at Quicksilver”, and the best results include 1m @ 1.06% TREO from 57m and 1m @ 0.67% TREO from 8m.

A further 99 samples have been submitted for REE analysis to continue the assessment of the REE potential of Quicksilver, and – depending on how those turn out – G88’s got even more additional resource drilling pulps currently in storage and ready to submit for REE analysis as well.

Meanwhile, fast-moving Fatfish Group (ASX:FFG) – which has gone gangbusters for no apparent reason over the past couple of days – has replied to the ASX’s Plz Explain letter.

The query from the watchdog was a run-of-the-mill “What’s with the volume surge and price spike, my dudes?”, to which Fatfish was all “No idea, bro. Nobody’s blabbing any secrets or anything like that… so we’re as mystified as you are.”

“Ummm… we should probs mention that Asean Fintech Group, which is a subsidiary of ours, is currently on a roadshow to promote its business to investors and strategic partners – so maybe that was it?”

Perhaps this is yet another Small Caps Price and Volume Mystery, to be placed gingerly atop the pile of other such queries, never to be spoken of again.

And last cab off the tank today is… another set of assay results, this time from Demetallica (ASX:DRM), calling in some numbers from its maiden drilling program at the Peake and Denison project, located 150 kilometres northeast of the Prominent Hill Mine, South Australia.

The results are… not excellent. At the Wills target, anomalous copper sulphide mineralisation associated with intense alteration,typical of IOCG-style deposits, was intersected:

  • 27m grading 0.08% Cu from 449m
  • 1m grading 0.15% Cu from 542m
  • 10m grading 0.21% Cu from 572m
  • 2m grading 0.17% Cu from 680m

And at the Mawson target, anomalous copper mineralisation, associated with IOCG-style alteration, was also intersected, thusly:

  • 2.1 m grading 0.13% Cu from 356.9m
  • 6m grading 0.11% Cu from 384m

Demetallica looks like it’s going to press on with the exploration, saying simply that “both targets warrant further drilling”.

 

TRADING HALTS

Nickel Industries (ASX:NIC) – Material acquisition and capital raising.

Bio-Gene Technology (ASX:BGT) – BGT needs some time to finalise, and prepare an appropriate announcement regarding, a new commercial arrangement.

Imdex (ASX:IMD) – Capital raising

Sunshine Gold (ASX:SHN) – Announcement to the market incoming about a farm-in and joint venture agreement on a new project.

Mayfield Childcare (ASX:MFD) – Halt called pending the release of an announcement concerning a Non‐Binding Indicative Proposal previously received by the Company.