Closing Bell: This is what it looks like to have a billion dollar target on your back
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It’s been a lukewarm day on the bourse, with the benchmark heaving like a teen at the tail-end of Schoolies Week and coming up empty by the time the bell rang this arvo.
When the clock struck four, the ASX 200 benchmark was down 12 points (-0.16%), proving comprehensively that all of the shouting that your parents did about “working hard” and “putting in the effort” was a colossal lie, designed purely to get you out of the living room so they could watch Sale of the Century in peace.
It’s not been a great day for the ASX, with a few super-heavyweights strung around investors’ necks doing their best to stifle any upward momentum throughout the session.
The benchmark has been mumbling into its whiskers like a ponderous geriatric all day, and as the trading day starts to wind up, the ASX 200 is down 0.1%, thanks to a few big companies dragging their heels.
There have been some absolute pearlers among the quarterlies that have been pumping out of the ASX announcements lists today, though, with a heady performance from Mighty Craft (ASX:MCL) on news that it has pocketed an unaudited group revenue of $31.21 million, up 91% on pcp.
With the government’s super-unpopular beer tax rise on the way and $12 schooners of even the worst of the mass-market amber dross just around the corner (which translates to a highly probable $20+ for a pint of anything lovingly hand-crafted in small batches), that $31m is going to go a long way.
For a better look at who’s in the news for quarterlies, Eddy Sunarto’s wrapped it all up nicely right here.
Sector-wise, it’s been InfoTech (+2.65%) and the Telcos (+1.48%) hacking their way into the winner’s circle today. Consumer Staples (-0.88%) was clearly the worst performer of the day, while the rest of the sectors were basically just being a bit crap.
But it’s Monday, so we’ll forgive them. Just this once.
The schadenfreude is very, very real when it comes to watching people who’ve spent their entire lives amassing and hoarding preposterous amounts of money losing massive chunks of it all in one go.
That’s what’s been happening at chez Adani, where Gautam Adani has seen roughly $8 billion vanish in a matter of hours, following a report by US investment firm Hindenburg, alleging that shady things might be afoot.
That loss saw the Indian mega-mogul slide rather gracelessly down the Forbes Rich List ladder to land at Number 8, with a paltry fortune of just US$92.7 billion left in his pocket – we’ll be whipping the hat round to raise a few bob so he can get some warm tucker and a blanket later this evening.
To make matters worse, Adani’s fortune-shedding all seems to be peaking right in the middle of his company’s wallet-busting $3.5 billion cap raise, which is obviously super-inconvenient timing.
Among the allegations are talk of “a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades” – which Adani, obviously, denies – but it was enough to send investors scrambling for the exits faster than a crowd of horribly disillusioned Red Hot Chilli Peppers fans.
(Honestly, lads… we all like your old stuff better than your new stuff).
Anyhow – Hindenburg’s business model seems to be a curious one – the company has revealed that it’s taken out very large short positions on Adani after spending a few years interviewing employees and coming to its (claimed) conclusion that the Adani fortune is resting on paper-thin foundations.
Those include, the ABC reports, claimed that some Adani companies are massively overvalued, with “shares in seven Adani listed companies [having] an 85 per cent downside” as a result.
For those of you playing at home in Australia, and before you reach the same conclusion I did, it’s important to note that apparently it’s somewhat extremely against several laws to emulate the Hindenburg investment approach by shorting everything attached to a company and then sh-tposting relentlessly about said company until it fails.
So… maybe don’t try this at home.
In other news, mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP) has reportedly informed its workers that the Mount Arthur Coal mine in Muswellbrook, New South Wales, might be shuttered earlier than the company had originally planned.
The ABC is reporting BHP’s vice-president of NSW Energy Coal Adam Lancey told staff – in a letter leaked to journalists – that due to the NSW government’s “unexpected” announcement of its coal reservation scheme, coupled with the coal price cap, BHP management is set to reassess the 2030 plan.
BHP had been looking for a buyer for the mine, touting the site’s 20+ years worth of coal yet to be taken out of the ground – but with no one prepared to come to the table with an offer juicy enough to accept, BHP had said it would bring the mine’s closure forward from the original 2045 to 2030 – with that final date now up for revision.
BHP ended the day down 0.5%.
Elsewhere around the local region, Japan’s Nikkei has fallen over the course of the day to be down 0.1% for the session, while the Hang Seng is down 1.62% and Shanghai is being typically contrarian, up 0.72% so far today.
In crypto, the majors are still firing on all cylinders, with BTC up 2.4%, ETH up 2.8% and BNB up 2.6% over the past 24 hours, with altcoins Mina and Radix both nudging 20% gains since this time yesterday.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:
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In Small Caps news, global semiconductor developer BluGlass (ASX:BLG), has ended the day up 44.44% on news that it has released its first suite of gallium nitride (GaN) laser products for customer purchase at leading industry conference, SPIE Photonics West in the US.
The lasers span a multitude of applications including; 3D printing, quantum sensing and computing, material sensing, and flow cytometry – which is all very exciting, despite the fact that (probably) none of them make any awesome “pew pew” noises and thus will be useless in the war against the robots that are coming to destroy us, according to James Cameron’s groundbreaking 1984 documentary The Terminator.
The wind has been knocked out of the sails of AI’s answer to the question of “how can we write thousands of ‘help wanted’ ads in the shortest time frame possible?”, leaving Hiremi (ASX:HMI) up 18% for the day, a far cry from its +50.0% performance at lunchtime.
There’s been a freakishly huge spike in volume for New World Resources today, considering there’s been no news from the company since 17 January – but with the company showing $1,145,907 worth on a share price of $0.05, and a price bump of nearly 19%, New World is a sure thing for the ASX Speeding Ticket of the Day Award.
And finally, strong quarterly results saw Harvest Technology (ASX:HTG) climb 31.4% to $0.092 a pop. So… hooray for them!
Here are the least best performing ASX small cap stocks:
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This needs to be super-quick because it’s quarterlies season, and that means we’re all a bit strapped for time and brain space.
That said, there’s some good news from dual-listed Alterity Therapeutics (ASX:ATH, NASDAQ:ATH) about its lead clinical asset, ATH434, which the company says is neuroprotective in a genetic model of Parkinson’s disease.
Research by the company looked into the impact of ATH434 on motor and non-motor deficits in mice with genetically induced Parkinson’s disease, and found that ATH434 “prevented a loss of smell in the younger mice and rescued it in older mice”.
“More importantly … ATH434 prevented the development of motor impairment in older animals, which was associated with a reduction in iron levels and preservation of neurons in the substantia nigra, the brain region affected in Parkinson’s,” the company continued.
The results indicate that ATH434 has a beneficial effect on the motor and non-motor symptoms in animal models of Parkinson’s.
Over the ditch, and dual-listed insurance company Tower (NZX/ASX:TWR) has made an announcement in the wake of the massive weather event that rocked Auckland and its surrounding area in New Zealand in recent days, which saw three months’ worth of rain dumped on the city in a matter of hours.
The weather killed at least four people, and caused an enormous tantrum after Elton John’s farewell to the city had to be cancelled because at least 99.9% of the audience don’t have gills.
It also turned the normally mostly-tranquil streets of Auckland into a mad artist’s impression of the canals of Venice.
Auckland bus way swamped pic.twitter.com/9XIcsm2Lrz
— Adam (@CrazyIdeasNZ) January 27, 2023
Tower CEO Blair Turnbull says that approximately 1,900 claims have been lodged as a result”, we assume because of the rain – not the Elton John thing.
Obviously, that means Tower is on the hook for a bunch of hugely expensive things, however the company says that it has “robust reinsurance arrangements with multiple treaties in place”, covering “house, contents and motor losses, in addition to providing $934m of catastrophe cover”.
The catastrophe cover has an excess of $11.85m which is within the $30m Tower has allowed for large events in FY23, and as such earnings guidance for Tower remains unaffected.
And lastly, Vectus Biosystems (ASX:VBS) has responded to an ASX “Yo, Wassup?” over questions about the timing of the Appendix 3Y lodged with the ASX by VBS on 20 January.
Vectus has admitted that The Dog Ate Their Homework, and blamed the late lodgement of the document on “an administrative oversight”, and has solemnly promised to get the rest of their assignments in on time.
Appendix 3Y lodgments are the documents required by the ASX through which companies publicly disclose insider transactions (buying or selling of shares by the company bigwigs) that help investors take the temperature of how those bigwigs are feeling about their company’s future. I know this because I just looked it up.
Strap in… there’s quite a few of them today:
KneoMedia (ASX:KNM) – Capital raise.
Mamba Exploration (ASX:M24) – Halt called pending an announcement regarding a drilling update from the Darling Range project.
Dreadnought Resources (ASX:DRE) – Capital raise.
Regeneus Limited (ASX:RGS) – halt called in relation to the company’s licence and collaboration agreement with Kyocera.
Alice Queen (ASX:AQX) – Capital raise.
Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) – Capital raise.
Simble Solutions (ASX:SIS) – Halt called in respect of a placement to be conducted via sophisticated investors, so dress appropriately.
Great Boulder Resources (ASX:GBR) – Halt called pending the release of a JORC compliant Mineral Resource Estimate for the Side Well gold project.
Omnia Metals (ASX:OM1) – Halt called pending an announcement in relation to potential project acquisition.
TZ (ASX:TZL) – Halt called pending an announcement by the Company to the market in relation to a change in management.
Paterson Resources (ASX:PSL) – Capital raise.
Jayex Technology (ASX:JTL) – Halt called pending an announcement by the Company to the market regarding a proposed investment.