• The ASX extended the week’s losses by falling 0.4% today
  • Star Entertainment Group posted a loss so large it almost defies description
  • Mt Monger has had a fantastic day, up 46.6% after joining the Great Canadian REE Rush


The ASX has fallen again today, which is a very strong indication that it might be time to take away its car keys and start finding it a comfortable nursing home before it topples over in the laundry, this time for good.

The benchmark has put in a decidedly sub-par performance from the moment the market opened, down 0.4% in early trade. A lunch time rally was organised, but no one bothered to show up, so -0.4% looks pretty much where we’re going to land.

That’s despite both Health Care (+1.27%) and Utilities (+1.04%) putting in a pretty solid effort today, the bulk of which was simultaneously undone by Materials sinking 1.51%, with Staples (-1.15%) and Energy (-0.75%) egging it on.

More earnings rolled in today, and there were a few CEOs stepping up to (or, in Alan Joyce’s case, standing behind) the podium to deliver news about how awesome they are.

Let’s start with the big one, by which I mean the $1 billion in profit that The Flying Kangaroo (ASX:QAN) has managed to bank over the past 6 months, which had Mr Joyce smiling so broadly, I’m astonished the top of his head didn’t pop off.

It’s a big jump from the $456 million uppercut the airline gave itself over the same period 12 months ago, and – as one wag put it – a ringing endorsement of what you can achieve by owning an airline when “half the planes never get off the ground”.

Speculation that Qantas may have been helping its bottom line by operating pop-up op shops around the country to flog off “missing” luggage are yet to be (and will likely never be) confirmed.

However the airline has managed this win, it’s big enough to have prompted Qantas to announce an un-capped buy-back, with Macquarie Securities, J.P. Morgan Securities Australia and Jarden Australia the people to talk to if you fancy offloading any that you own.

But it wasn’t big enough to get investors ready to get back on board for a tedious flight with their knees around their ears – this afternoon, Qantas is trading 6.6% lower.

Meanwhile, Medibank Private (ASX:MPL) has revealed that it was a series of small bungles that allowed hackers to gain access to the company’s data, potentially exposing customers’ secret medical info and sending them storming the exits.

Medibank says that the whole thing kicked off when the miscreant got their hands on a purloined system login, normally used by a third-party vendor – basically the keys to the front door, but not the keys to any of the filing cabinets.

Problem was, the keys to the filing cabinets were essentially sitting in a large box with “KEYZ” written on the side in crayon, which allowed the breach to develop from “there’s someone loitering in reception” to “there’s a man in here watching me pee”.

Medibank lost an army of customers over the breach, but still managed to pluck out a 6.2% rise today after coming clean about how it all went down. The company’s 5.9% increase in half-year profits to $233 million might have helped as well.

And lastly in this section comes a result that I don’t think anyone thought was even possible – Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR), operators of Australia’s finest in ethically-dubious casinos, has posted a loss that is staggeringly huge.

The beleaguered company went into a trading halt yesterday ahead of the announcement that $1.264 billion walked out of the company’s coffers in the past six months.

… just gonna let that number stew there with you for a minute or so.

If you’ve been rendered speechless by just how profoundly terrible that loss is, blink twice if you need medical assistance.

Granted, the vast majority of that loss falls into the “Significant Actions/Matters” section of the earnings report, which is the bit where companies lay the blame for all the bad stuff on whatever factors they reckon investors are likely to accept.

But the loss is in part explained by the fact that the company has been hammered with fines for not so much “breaking the rules”, as obliterating them into their constituent molecules.

As mentioned, Star has been in a trading halt since yesterday – but the announcement came out at 10:22am this morning. It’s currently 3:30pm, and the trading halt hasn’t been lifted.

The deadline for that to happen is currently tomorrow, 24 February – so if you were planning on living dangerously tomorrow, I strongly recommend standing directly beneath SGR’s share price for a 99.9% chance of being driven into the ground like a tack.



In science news, researchers at University of Colorado have announced a curious discovery, after a team of astrophysics nerds went hunting through data collected by the James Webb telescope.

According to the team, they’ve discovered a handful of super-ancient galaxies dating back to around 500-700 million years after the Big Bang, which according to the currently-accepted  Rules of the Universe, shouldn’t technically be able to exist.

“It’s bananas,” said Erica Nelson, co-author of the new research and assistant professor of astrophysics at CU Boulder, prompting an immediate check for recent head injuries because they’re galaxies, not fruit.

Meanwhile, architects in Saudi Arabia have unveiled plans for yet another monstrously dystopian construction project – a 400m tall cube-shaped skyscraper super-city called “Mukaab”.

The 19km2 structure will be, according to designers, the “new face of Ryadh”, and is sure to be the delight of every Minecraft enthusiast and the dismay of anyone else with functional eyes.

In way more relevant news, the Australian Bureau of Counting Things has birthed another data set about wages today, outlining the average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults.

That data, I assume, doesn’t include people like yours truly, as I am a part-time adult at best – and even that’s the topic of frequent, heated debate.

But what the numbers show is that wage earnings climbed 3.4% to $1,808 in the 12 months to November 2022, seasonally adjusted.

I think that means “more pepper, less salt”, but don’t quote me, because I’m only 6 years old.

Bjorn Jarvis, the ABS head of labour statistics, says that’s “the highest it has been since May 2020, when low paid jobs were particularly impacted during the lockdowns early in the pandemic.”

“Prior to the pandemic, the last time it increased by more than that during a year, was in May 2013, when it increased by 5.3 per cent,” Jarvis said. “The rise in average earnings reflects strong wage growth, particularly in skilled occupations.”

You don’t get a prize for knowing (or even guessing) that its miner’s who are making the most money, with an average $2,812 per week for full-time employees – streets ahead of workers in Finance, or Media & Comms, with Hospo and Accomodation workers at the lowest end of the spectrum.



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
PRM Prominence Energy 0.002 100% 1,117,929 $2,424,609
PVS Pivotal Systems 0.043 79% 1,622,929 $3,828,090
MTM Mtmongerresources 0.11 47% 21,127,603 $4,276,817
DTR Dateline Resources 0.036 38% 2,800,627 $14,694,797
ROO Roots Sustainable 0.002 33% 500,250 $1,558,829
ICG Inca Minerals Ltd 0.028 33% 9,763,285 $10,139,921
FYI FYI Resources Ltd 0.076 29% 16,792,461 $21,612,738
OCA Oceania Healthc Ltd 0.895 26% 5,000 $513,841,016
FTL Firetail Resources 0.16 23% 297,980 $8,450,000
DLT Delta Drone Intl Ltd 0.011 22% 19,530,010 $4,604,444
Z2U Zoom2Utechnologies 0.085 21% 133,118 $9,799,277
ACE Acusensus Limited 3.89 21% 2,939 $80,619,134
BPP Babylon Pump & Power 0.006 20% 1,854,760 $12,288,857
CAV Carnavale Resources 0.003 20% 10,932,420 $6,833,879
PIL Peppermint Inv Ltd 0.006 20% 4,503,724 $10,189,284
IG6 Internationalgraphit 0.285 19% 1,307,747 $21,117,146
ALM Alma Metals Ltd 0.013 18% 12,390,416 $10,054,009
SGC Sacgasco Ltd 0.013 18% 1,152,500 $6,747,976
ADD Adavale Resource Ltd 0.021 17% 321,365 $9,351,470
AJQ Armour Energy Ltd 0.007 17% 91,306 $13,991,989
ETR Entyr Limited 0.023 15% 5,747,345 $30,154,022
WC1 Westcobarmetals 0.155 15% 120,268 $11,661,805
FAU First Au Ltd 0.004 14% 3,231,667 $3,831,741
KNM Kneomedia Limited 0.008 14% 1,967,499 $10,533,497
MEM Memphasys Ltd 0.016 14% 1,011,078 $13,433,285
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As the day winds to a close, the ladder is showing Pivotal Systems (ASX:PVS) at the Number 1 spot, against the backdrop of the company’s request last week that will see it de-list from the ASX later this year, subject to shareholder approval.

PVS said yesterday that it needed to amend the timetable for de-listing and the associated buy-back, with the buy-back offer period slated to begin on 23 March. In the meantime, the company’s trading 79% higher for the day.

Mt Monger Resources (ASX:MTM) has finished 46.6% higher on news that it has entered into a binding option agreement to acquire the Pomme REE-Nb project in Quebec, Canada from TSX.V listed Geomega Resources.

The project is a known carbonatite intrusion with exceptional results from limited drilling, showing enrichment in rare earth elements (REE) and niobium (Nb) and is considered an extremely prospective exploration target.

Diamond drilling in 2012 returned exceptionally thick mineralised intersections, including:

  • 508.3m at 0.43% TREO, 413ppm Nb2O5 and 1.48% P2O5, from 73.7m depth; and
  • 478.1m at 0.12% TREO, 340 ppm Nb2O5 and 2.14% P2O5, from 25.9m to EOH.

Pomme is also adjacent to the Montviel REE-Nb deposit (owned by Geomega), which has a defined total indicated and inferred resource of 266 Mt at 1.45% TREO and 0.14% Nb2O5.

Inca Minerals (ASX:ICG) climbed 33.33% after announcing assay results of up to 49% Cu, 2,430g/t Ag, 43.3% Pb and 1.33% Zn from field exploration conducted in November-December 2022 at the MaCauley Creek Project, 150km northwest of Townsville in Queensland.

The high-grade mineral occurrences are hosted in the Running River metamorphics and Ewan formations, the same lithologies that host the Mount Moss magnetite, copper, lead, and silver mines, just 1km to the north.

And finally, FYI Resources (ASX:FYI) has bounced 28.8% today after a shocking week that saw the company shed more than 70% of its value on news that its high purity alumina project partner Alcoa (NYSE:AA) wanted to get out of the pool and go home.

FYI says that while Alcoa contributed approximately US$5 million for stage one development activities and stated that work completed to date had “demonstrated the merit of FYI’s process to produce high purity alumina”, it had decided not to pursue further HPA development at this time.



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
GLV Global Oil & Gas 0.001 -33% 316,835 $5,143,205
MCM Mc Mining Ltd 0.18 -27% 67,892 $97,431,989
PNT Panthermetalsltd 0.14 -26% 36,557 $5,842,500
EMU EMU NL 0.003 -25% 1,045,964 $2,749,072
RED Red 5 Limited 0.135 -23% 58,414,115 $488,742,925
NNG Nexion Group 0.028 -22% 10,000 $5,483,083
XF1 Xref Limited 0.22 -21% 307,311 $52,129,361
SHJ Shine Justice Ltd 0.72 -21% 1,049,454 $158,534,558
ROG Red Sky Energy. 0.004 -20% 1,762,281 $26,511,136
TD1 Tali Digital Limited 0.002 -20% 8,000,000 $6,937,889
NWM Norwest Minerals 0.037 -20% 3,577,858 $10,216,940
CVR Cavalierresources 0.125 -17% 16,529 $4,560,608
DUN Dundasminerals 0.125 -17% 388,799 $7,116,638
T88 Taitonresources 0.175 -17% 126,470 $10,820,154
AMD Arrow Minerals 0.005 -17% 53,561 $15,202,591
ATU Atrum Coal Ltd 0.005 -17% 167,908 $8,350,195
INP Incentiapay Ltd 0.005 -17% 609,100 $7,590,382
MCT Metalicity Limited 0.0025 -17% 2,137,713 $10,476,118
SIO Simonds Grp Ltd 0.096 -17% 149,000 $41,389,242
PTM Platinum Asset 1.905 -16% 7,431,169 $1,337,627,892
TOY Toys R Us 0.031 -16% 2,646,617 $31,934,207
ALO Alloggio Group 0.195 -15% 1,575,823 $27,225,159
TLG Talga Group Ltd 1.6 -14% 4,248,949 $625,192,836
TEG Triangle Energy Ltd 0.018 -14% 11,784,297 $28,235,334
AL8 Alderan Resource Ltd 0.006 -14% 2,852,932 $4,047,863
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Nitro Software (ASX:NTO) has responded to Potentia Capital’s ninth Supplementary Bidder’s Statement, as the latter has yet another stab at making its offer juicy enough to get people to bite.

Potentia has increased the cash consideration under the offer by A$0.17 to A$2.17 cash per Nitro Share.

The other option for Nitro shareholders is to take up an all-scrip offer that will grant them HoldCo (Oak Ridge Software) scrip for 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of their Nitro Shares accepted into the offer.

But wait, there’s more – Potentia’s other carrot-on-a-stick is its intention to further increase the consideration to A$2.20 per share if during the offer period Potentia obtains a relevant interest in at least 75.0% of Nitro.

That will climb to $2.25 per Share if, during the Offer Period Potentia obtains a relevant interest in at least 75.0% of Nitro and if at the end of the offer period, the elections by accepting Nitro shareholders to receive scrip consideration represent in aggregate at least 25.0% of the total number of Nitro shares accepted into the takeover offer.

The sub-committee of the Nitro board established to oversee Nitro’s response has determined that the Potentia offer is superior to the offer on the table from Alludo at A$2.15 cash per share – which, at the time it was put forward, was declared by Alludo to be a “Best and Final” offer, so cannot be legally increased.

Potentia’s offer is also tagged “Best and Final”, so with a bit of luck this is the last set of these we’re gonna need to unpack here for a while.

Meanwhile, Norwood Systems (ASX:NOR) has shrugged off a query from the ASX about what could be behind a sharp increase in volume and price today which saw NOR climb from $0.029 at the close of trading on 22 February 2023 to a high of $0.034.

And Titomic (ASX:TTT) has announced that it’s received a $2.2 million strategic investment payment from Repkon Makina ve Kalip, part of the $5.1 million the company secured through a share placement at $0.16 per share.



DC Two (ASX:DC2) – Asset sale announcement.

Los Cerros (ASX:LCL) – Capital raising.

S2 Resources (ASX:S2R) – Capital raising.

Medlab Clinical (ASX:MDC) – Capital raising.

American West Metals (ASX:AW1) – Capital raising.

Catalyst Metals (ASX:CYL) – Material acquisition.

Norfolk Metals (ASX:NFL) – Exploration results from its Orroroo Project.

Way2Vat (ASX:W2V) – Announcement in relation to the Endeavor Group Holdings arrangement.

Silex Systems (ASX:SLX) – Capital raising.

Conico (ASX:CNJ) – Capital raising.

EML Payments (ASX:EML) – News about a letter that EML’s Irish subsidiary, PFS Card Services, got from the Central Bank of Ireland.

Great Boulder Resources (ASX:GBR) – Drilling results incoming.

Delta Drone International (ASX:DLT) – ASX Speeding ticket.