• The ASX fell today because US data gave Wall Street the willies on Friday
  • A month’s worth of shipping data shows coal shipments to China are on the rise
  • Qantas celebrates last week’s $1bn profit by slashing regional services. Again


Today had bumpy written all over it, from the moment Wall Street took a Friday arvo off to spend the weekend getting wasted on a mate’s speedboat, with Kid Rock’s signature brand of incomprehensible white noise blaring from the stereo.

Hardly surprising, really, after Friday in New York saw the arrival of two data sets that poured a 44-gallon drum of combustible fear onto the glowing coals of interest rates and recession fears – more on that in a moment.

Whatever the cause, something that definitely didn’t help such a perilously perched Aussie market today was an 18-strong list of companies lined up nicer than Japanese tourists in London, cracking open their wallets to shower shareholders with dividends to say thank you for all their hard work.

So what Aussies got this morning was an eyeful of figures that would have looked bad either way – but the double-whammy really put a strain on the faces of investors trying desperately to smile through the pain and hope it would all soon get better.

And that’s the story of how the ASX 200 benchmark finished the day 1.3% lower.

Please note that tomorrow’s quiz has been cancelled, but I do expect you all to read chapters 5, 7, 11 and 13 of your textbook Prime Numbers I Have Eaten and Loved before classes resume in the morning.

The Energy and Utilities sectors both managed to lift a cheek and squeak out a waft of positive news this afternoon, ending the day up 0.28% and 0.08% respectively – but divvies and a lackadaisical effort from the rest of the Materials sector saw it plunge 3.33% for the day.



Ship tracking data is showing that Australian coal exports to China are back on the menu in earnest, lifting to 0.8-0.9Mt in the week ending 17 February 2023 as relations between the two nations incrementally continue to thaw.

China quite famously did-but-didn’t-really ban Australian coal imports because of a lost birthday party invitation or someone left their bins out too long or something – honestly, it’s tiring trying to keep track of it all – but as we’ve just come out of the first four-week block of shipping figure tracking, it’s pretty safe to say that China’s desire to be all butthurt about stuff has been outweighed by its need to burn coal.

China and Australia’s trade ministers FaceTimed each other three weeks ago, the first time they’ve done so since 2019, with Aussie Don Farrel, Trade Minister Extraordinaire reporting back that his Chinese counterpart said “the freeze is over and we’re now moving to a warm spring”.

It’s taken the Australian government three weeks to figure out that it wasn’t just idle meteorological small talk, but there’s little doubt that Aussie coal miners are happy that they’re now able to ramp up exports again.

CBA commodity analyst Vivek Dhar said that “a number of coal miners, including New Hope and Coronado, have confirmed they have received inquiries from China for imports”, but it’s important to understand that “Australia’s coal shipments to China still remain well below levels before China’s unofficial ban went into effect”.

It’s definitely going to make a number of Aussie coal companies happy that things are improving and the boats are once again bobbing between the two nations – because the back-up plan of “digging all the way through to China and just shovelling coal into the hole” was probably just a few short weeks away from being put into action.

Meanwhile, in personal finance news, the Australian ATO has issued its now-familiar plea for Australians to log into the MyGov portal and run a quick, easy (and free!) search to find out if any of the $16 billion in lost and unclaimed superannuation it’s holding belongs to you.

That’s on top of the $10.4 billion of lost and unclaimed super that the funds themselves are hoarding like dragons with a bad case of middle management bloat, because they’re only required to send the ATO funds from lost super accounts that hold $6,000 or less.

And lastly, colour me absolutely-anything-other-than-surprised, after Qantas (ASX:QAN) revealed plans to sink the boot into regional tourism again, slashing services into (and, presumably, out of) central Australia.

The revelation comes about a week after Qantas revealed both a $1 billion-plus half-yearly profit, alongside plans to spend a vast sum of money to buy back more than 1.8 billion shares.

The airline plans to ditch another 30,000 seats during the peak tourism season for a region that has been heavily under-serviced since Burke and Wills quite famously couldn’t find a 24-hour McDonald’s, and died in the middle of nowhere in 1861.

I’ve crunched the numbers and done some forward projections, and figured out that if Qantas continues cutting services at these kinds of rates, by 2041 all Qantas travel will be limited to the inside of a small hangar on the outskirts of Sydney, where CEO Alan Joyce will personally push passengers around in a half-broken Officeworks chair.

Each 30-minute “flight” will cost $150 per person for a 1st Class ticket, which includes a bespoke half sandwich with the crusts cut off from chef Neil Perry, and complementary “airplane noises” from Joyce himself, for as many laps as he’s able to manage without needing to stop for a lie down.



I realise that it’s important for us all to own up to the mistakes that we make, and be forthcoming and forthright when our boo-boos end up having unintended consequences, such as wiping 1.5% off the ASX.

But a lot of the tremors we’ve been feeling today are directly linked to the happenings on Wall Street on Friday, when the market there got well-spooked by the release of the US Fed’s preferred inflation reading, the PCE, which came in scorching hot and prompted a brand new veneer of inflation panic to the already unpleasantly ugly sentiment among US investors.

It also prompted comment from the White House, which said: “Today’s report shows we have made progress on inflation, but we have more work to do” – a sterling effort from the White House media team, which is both mildly informative and a boon for every insomniac on the planet.

So it’s no surprise then that we got more hawkish Fedspeak following the PCE results, and other data that showed US consumer spending increasing by the most in nearly two years in January amid a surge in wage gains.

Meanwhile, closer to home and actually happening today were results from Asian markets, which saw Japan’s Nikkei down 0.21%, the Hang Seng lower by 0.75% and Shanghai moving in its usual mysterious ways, edging 0.12% lower with more action left to come.



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
WBE Whitebark Energy 0.0015 50% 3,594,499 $6,464,886
REM Remsensetechnologies 0.14 40% 100,000 $3,646,157
4DS 4Ds Memory Limited 0.044 33% 80,982,373 $48,832,260
CCE Carnegie Cln Energy 0.002 33% 1,829,833 $23,463,861
GLV Global Oil & Gas 0.002 33% 900,000 $5,143,211
TD1 Tali Digital Limited 0.004 33% 765,025 $8,325,467
SMX Security Matters 0.265 26% 2,519,922 $35,249,462
LME Limeade Inc. 0.3 25% 63,654 $61,551,375
AUK Aumake Limited 0.005 25% 500,393 $3,497,788
CT1 Constellation Tech 0.005 25% 442,151 $5,884,801
NNG Nexion Group 0.036 20% 107,792 $4,569,236
BTE Botalaenergyltd 0.12 20% 10,000 $5,331,667
CGS Cogstate Ltd 1.41 19% 2,545,949 $204,682,798
LSA Lachlan Star Ltd 0.013 18% 1,026,752 $14,509,140
AVH Avita Medical 3.69 17% 1,448,975 $230,752,949
GTI Gratifii 0.014 17% 1,129,944 $12,091,765
MAU Magnetic Resources 0.69 15% 40,431 $137,707,429
ICE Icetana Limited 0.0435 14% 337,527 $7,574,480
CXU Cauldron Energy Ltd 0.008 14% 609,850 $6,520,976
SIX Sprintex Ltd 0.04 14% 53,614 $8,902,401
TG6 Tgmetalslimited 0.125 14% 134,390 $4,300,711
MYE Metarock Group Ltd 0.21 14% 193,944 $24,233,621
TWD Tamawood Limited 2.38 13% 2,000 $74,361,949
SUH Southern Hem Min 0.017 13% 769,364 $7,086,076
AHL Adrad Hldings 1.12 13% 34,675 $79,846,950
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Among the Small Caps leaders today was 4DS Memory (ASX:4DS), which climbed 39% following an announcement that it’s had a turnaround in fortunes since letting the market know last October that testing its tech had gone somewhat poorly.

The good news for 4DS is that the team’s been hard at work since then and has managed to achieve cell operation in a megabit memory array utilising improved test capabilities.

“This allows further exploration of optimised programming conditions with the access transistors and write circuitry of imec’s megabit memory platform,” 4DS says, which indicates that the 4DS Interface Switching ReRAM cells are potentially more likely to be compatible with imec’s megabit memory platform, de-risking a fresh round of testing due to produce results in late Q2 2023.

Rising rapidly since lunchtime was healthcare player Cogstate (ASX:CGS), which bolted to +19% after lunch despite last week’s news that its clinical trials revenue of $17.1m was down 12% on the prior half, but at the upper end of the 10-12% guidance the company issued on 04 November last year.

Security Matters (ASX:SMX) added 23.8% on no fresh news since the company revealed last week that it received overwhelming support from shareholders for a capital reduction which would see all of its issued shares cancelled, and Avita Medical (ASX:AVH) has continued its climb of recent days, putting on another 17% to take its boost since the beginning of 2023 to a very tidy 88%



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
TRM Truscott Mining Corp 0.065 -55% 1,091,795 $24,237,774
OLI Oliver'S Real Food 0.035 -41% 2,154,123 $26,003,183
WCG Webcentral Ltd 0.087 -36% 5,880,442 $44,150,074
AQX Alice Queen Ltd 0.001 -33% 1,000,000 $3,795,431
KEY KEY Petroleum 0.001 -33% 399 $2,951,892
CTN Catalina Resources 0.006 -29% 15,233,220 $10,527,139
GTG Genetic Technologies 0.003 -25% 1,101,980 $46,166,633
PRM Prominence Energy 0.0015 -25% 315,622 $4,849,218
BEX Bikeexchange Ltd 0.009 -25% 2,878,282 $11,182,118
DOW Downer EDI Limited 3.02 -24% 25,566,715 $2,659,431,769
SLX Silex Systems 3.95 -23% 5,308,713 $1,053,245,569
HIL Hills Ltd 0.018 -22% 546,707 $5,335,667
SDG Sunland Group Ltd 1.37 -21% 749,617 $265,604,459
FG1 Flynngold 0.063 -21% 124,900 $8,229,883
MTL Mantle Minerals Ltd 0.002 -20% 839,967 $13,364,013
ROG Red Sky Energy. 0.004 -20% 1,753,802 $26,511,136
XTE Xtek Limited 0.61 -18% 1,984,211 $75,812,469
OCA Oceania Healthc Ltd 0.7 -18% 4 $615,161,780
NWM Norwest Minerals 0.033 -18% 2,256,517 $8,884,295
BBX BBX Minerals Ltd 0.125 -17% 490,333 $73,608,221
MCT Metalicity Limited 0.0025 -17% 528,844 $10,513,618
W2V Way2Vatltd 0.016 -16% 1,214,927 $4,182,886
SVY Stavely Minerals Ltd 0.215 -16% 330,569 $83,167,923
BUR Burleyminerals 0.27 -16% 299,200 $19,652,593
OLY Olympio Metals Ltd 0.135 -16% 73,932 $6,271,443
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Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX) has announced the sale of its US retail generics portfolio to American firm Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, in a move that will see MYX pocket an upfront cash consideration of up to US$90 million (~A$133 million), up to US$15 million in contingent milestone payments and an amount for working capital.

The sale includes all assets of the US retail generics business unit, comprising a portfolio of 85 generic products and 4 generic pipeline products, which generated US$111 million in revenues for the fiscal year ending June 2022.

The company says that following the transaction, its commercial activities will be “solely focused on its US women’s health portfolio, (including the recent exclusive licence of three branded women’s health products and a portfolio of prenatal vitamins from TherapeuticsMD, Inc), US dermatology products and its International business.

Meanwhile, Wellfully (ASX:WFL) has posted an announcement to inform the entire universe that it’s battling a few small issues that are out of the company’s control, on its way to finalising a recently-announced capital raise.

They include, amongst other reasons, “dealings and coordination with overseas investors which unfortunately is contributing to the delay” – however the Company is “working to complete and announce the results of the proposed capital raise as soon as practical”.

The bumpy road has also knocked Wellfully’s plan to report its financial results for the six month period ended 31 December 2022, with that report supposed to have been released by tomorrow, 28 February, 2023.

Wellfully says that’s not gonna happen in time, because it is still waiting to receive “certain of its overseas subsidiaries’ financial information”, without which the half year report preparation and review was impossible.

Wellfully expects to finalise and release this as soon as the work in this regard is completed, which should be on or around 10 March, 2023 – provided the dog doesn’t eat all the homework again.



Hillgrove Resources (ASX:HGO) – Capital raising.

Golden Mile Resources (ASX:G88) – Capital raising.

Energy Technologies (ASX:EGY) – Capital raising.

Nova Eye Medical (ASX:EYE) – Capital raising.

Artemis Resources (ASX:ARV) – Capital raising.

Living Cell Technologies (ASX:LCT) – Capital raising.

Torque Metals (ASX:TOR) – Capital raising.

RBR Group (ASX:RBR) – Equity raising.

Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX) – Material divestment (see above).

Bastion Minerals (ASX:BMO) – Halt called to allow for results clarification.