CLOSING BELL: The ASX dips while we ‘hurry up and wait’ to see what The Budget holds
The ASX has had a fairly mediocre day, dipping 0.17% while the market largely marked time ahead of the Federal Budget reveal this evening.
That’s not to say that everything was quiet – quite the opposite, in fact, for a handful of Small Caps (which I’ll get to in a minute) – but by and large it has been a bit of a slow day across the bourse.
Early in the day, the ASX 200 benchmark was down as low as -0.5% in early trade, thanks to a rather wan lead-in from Wall Street overnight, which saw a mixed set of results from the major indices.
The Dow dipped 0.17%, the S&P edged up 0.05% and the Nasdaq was flat, setting the mood for local markets to sleepwalk the day away.
Financials provided a ray of sunshine across the sectors today, adding 0.5% against some pretty sturdy headwinds, with Industrials hitching a +0.19% ride into second place.
Real Estate took another beating, though, falling 1.31% to book the lowest score for the day, below Health Care (-0.67%) and Consumer Discretionary (-0.60%).
Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) was the best of the big guns, posting a 5.3% gain on no news, summing up the market at the pricey end of town.
But among the Small Caps were some stellar results, including a massive jump on news of a potentially massive lithium find, details of which can be found on the other side of this glorious table of wins:
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:
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That find belongs to Voltaic Strategic Resources (ASX:VSR) wearing the crown for the day after going through the roof for a massive 188% gain.
Just six days after it got the drills spinning at its Ti Tree project in WA, the company says it has completed its first-pass exploration and things are looking very, very nice indeed.
Several thick (up to ~60m) pegmatite bodies have been intercepted from surface and all targets remain open at depth. The company says that confirmation of pegmatite continuity at depth significantly bolsters the Project’s prospectivity where >300 pegmatites have been mapped and <10% of the tenure explored to date.
Next best was recent market darling Besra Gold (ASX:BEZ), up has jumped 88.6% on news that it has signed a binding gold purchase agreement for up to $300 million with major shareholder Quantum Metal Recovery, giving effect to the non-binding term sheet previously announced in late March this year.
The agreement provides up to a US$300m deposit, to be paid over 30 months, against future gold production ounces, enabling Besra to fully fund production at its Bau gold project and the appraisal of other deposits within the Bau goldfield corridor.
It’s an important shift in phase for Besra, which the company says necessitates a reshuffle in management structure as the company moves from exploration towards production.
Hence, Dr Ray Shaw has agreed to step down as CEO and move into the role of chief operating officer to focus on in-country development and exploration activities, while Jocelyn M. Bennett has been appointed to assume the role of Besra’s executive chair.
“This extraordinary funding deal should provide ample funding for the development of Bau and allows us to bring the project into production in a way that is uniquely non-dilutive to our shareholders and to retain exposure to gold price movements, free of hedging or other onerous covenants,” Bennett said.
“Whilst we have several Conditions Precedent yet to fulfil we expect the US$300m Facility to be fully operational by June 30, 2023.”
And in third was takeover target Chesser Resources (ASX:CHZ), which climbed 64.3% on news that it has entered into a binding proposal from TSX listed Fortuna Silver that will see Fortuna acquire 100% of the company.
Under the proposal Chesser shareholders will receive consideration of 0.0248 Fortuna shares per Chesser share, representing an implied value of $0.142 per Chesser share. At closing time today, Chesser was sitting at $0.120 per share.
Here are the least best performing ASX small cap stocks:
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Quantum Graphite (ASX:QGL) has announced that its joint venture with Sunlands Co., Quantum Sunlands Partnership, has acquired the original equipment manufacture rights (OEM) for Sunlands Co.’s TES Graphite Cells.
The name of the joint venture company will be changed to Sunlands Power, recognising its critical role in the delivery of the LDES technology to the market, and the newly-acquired OEM rights are in addition to those previously granted to Sunlands Power to manufacture the Uley 2 flake graphite-based energy storage media.
Under the new arrangement, Sunlands Power will be directly responsible for the manufacture and delivery to Sunlands Co. of the complete TES Graphite Cell facility, including all associated plant and equipment required for connection to conventional thermal power plants.
Importantly, the company says, the OEM rights are not limited to or dependent on the flake graphite being sourced from the Company – and the financial returns from Sunlands Power will be a significant addition to the Quantum’s returns delivered from its Uley 2 Project.
Meanwhile, First Au (ASX:FAU) has announced that diamond drilling at the Haunted Stream gold project has kicked off, aiming to re-explore more than 150 historical workings that produced gold from the 1860’s up until the early 1900’s, extending over 8.5km in strike length with potential to be of significant scale.
The planned drill program is intended to test economic potential beneath historic workings including the 927oz @ 39g/t Au Ernestine and 816oz @ 17g/t Au Hibernia workings, as well as explore and test highly prospective structural target locations.
The drilling is expected to be completed in 6-8 weeks with core samples to be submitted to the labs for assaying after all holes have been drilled.
SensOre (ASX:S3N) – Placement and share purchase plan.
Turaco Gold (ASX:TCG) – Capital raising.
PYC Therapeutics (ASX:PYC) – Capital raising.
Mount Ridley Mines (ASX:MRD) – Release of exploration results
Savannah Goldfields (ASX:SVG) – Capital raising.
Cipherpoint (ASX:CPT) – Material customer contract.
Wildcat Resources (ASX:WC8) – announcement in relation to negotiations status of a proposed conditional, significant transaction.