• Early 1.37% benchmark jump slides slowly to land at +0.88%
  • Real Estate leads on +1.89%, with Consumer Discretionary in last, down 0.59%
  • Signs of lithium-bearing pegmatites at Kirup boost Kula Gold by 42.6%


Well, it’s that time of the day again, and so here I am, bobbing up like a bloated corpse to give you all the goss from a day of high drama… not from the ASX, though. It’s been a bit dull around here, if I’m being honest.

The market certainly kicked the day off on a high, adding 1.37% at open thanks to US officials revealing an “in principle agreement” that will (if it works) stave off any immediate financial crisis in the US, while at the same time kicking the debt ceiling can down the road for a couple of years.

However the real drama today appears to be stemming from the fact that there’s an awful lot of departures in the news, including the shock resignation of WA state leader Mark McGowan (not to be confused with Donegal County’s best left cornerback of the modern Gaelic football era) because he’s “tired”.

The list also includes Channel Seven’s flagship finance nerd, David Koch (not to be confused with the billionaire industrialist co-credited with financing the US slide into its current state as a capitalist kleptocratic dystopia), who is stepping down from hosting Sunrise after 20 highly aggravating years.

From his impressive battle to permanently ruin the musical Rent by playing the same snippet of its most popular song in his quest to create a mega-choir, to his utterly shameful clamber into the back of an ambulance with two survivors of a mine collapse in Tasmania, he won’t ever be forgotten. Or forgiven.

Kochie says he’s going to be able to spend more time working on his beloved Port Adelaide AFL team – news that is sure to send the squad deep into unbackable favourite territory to win the wooden spoon.

And the list is capped with 9 (count ‘em… NINE!) partners at PwC shuffled off the team roster for their role in the misuse of privileged government tax policy information to help out certain corporate clients.

So far, PwC is refusing to name them (or, indeed, anyone whose names were redacted from a tranche of emails that blew the lid off the whole sordid affair) – but I reckon a 20-minute search on LinkedIn a week from now will show you who’s still in the office, and who’s on a beach in The Bahamas.



In far more relevant news, local markets have done pretty well today compared to last week – but it wasn’t exactly a high bar that needed beating today.

The ASX opened 1.37%, and – through a combination of a lot of hard work, serious due diligence and some very careful positioning – investors managed to reduce that to +0.88% by the time anyone realised they’d been left unsupervised again.

The reason for the early spike today was significant headway in the US that has vastly reduced the likelihood of the US breaching its debt ceiling, defaulting on its debt and causing all money as we know it to burst into flames.

Sector-wise, Real Estate did best today with a 1.89% gain, alongside Financials (+1.22%), Materials (+1.10%) in the day’s 1%er Club.

InfoTech walked back a sliver of last week’s stellar performance, crapping the bed after lunch to close 0.36% lower, while Consumer Discretionary took the trophy for Worst in Show on -0.59% for the day.

Leo Lithium (ASX:LLL) had a belter, up more than 16% on news that it’s inked a deal with Chinese lithium player Ganfeng Lithium, to raise $106 million in capital for LLL and and see the two companies cooperate on a project in Mali.

And AMP (ASX:AMP) added a welcome 1.5% on news that it’s going to have a top-end reshuffle that includes dissolving its Australian wealth arm, almost 20 years to the day after the company got done dissolving most of its shareholders’ wealth.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Top of the Pops in Small Caps today is Kula Gold (ASX:KGD), up 42.6% on news of progress on potential lithium-bearing pegmatites at the company’s recently acquired Kirup Project, 20km west of the world’s largest hard rock lithium mine, Greenbushes Lithium Mine in Western Australia.

Chief executive officer Ric Dawson said the company is progressing to drill programs on these new prospects.

“These new Mustang and Cobra Prospects with evident spodumene, potential LCT suite mineralisation are an encouraging development from some regional work to add to our advancing lithium portfolio of projects.

Next best is The Market Herald (ASX:TMH), up 24% today on news that its wholly owned subsidiary Gumtree has finalised a Facility Agreement and other long-form documentation with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to refinance a vendor loan note with Adevinta Oak Holdings, after listing the debt as up for grabs in “Near New Condition” with “slight cosmetic damage but otherwise in perfect working order”.

And in third place this arvo is… Westar Resources (ASX:WSR). WSR added 23.2% today, while the only news was the results of a bunch of shareholder votes from a General Meeting, pushing through approvals on ratification of issue of placement shares and other boring stuff.



Here are the least best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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It’s not often there’s some top-shelf uplifting news in Last Orders, but I’m delighted to note that Evion Group (ASX:EVG) has completed a major milestone: the construction of a 100-student primary school in the town of Maniry, Madagascar.

The school will service the town – which is also home to EVN’s Maniry graphite project – with all operating costs, including teacher salaries and maintenance, being met by the company.

The company also recently gave another 5 tonnes of food to local communities, taking the total quantity of supplies given out by the company to 30Mt, according to today’s announcement.

There’s also some good news for investors who like gold, after VanEck Australia announced that it’s dropping the management fee on its NUGG gold bullion EFT to 0.25% per annum, which company Arian Neiron says was already “the most cost-effective physically backed gold ETF on ASX”.

Aside from the lower fee, VanEck says another major point of difference NUGG has over other competitors is that it’s physically backed by gold bullion sourced only from Australian gold producers – and investors can convert their ETF holdings into physical gold at The Perth Mint, provided they’re strong enough to carry it home.



Zelira Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD) – Results are on the way from the company’s IRB-approved “multi-arm head-to-head study” of its proprietary diabetic nerve pain drug. I assume the next phase will see the drug tested on recipients who aren’t Hindu gods, but don’t quote me on that.

Carbonxt Group (ASX:CG1) – Finalisation of a joint venture agreement and commencement of construction of the activated carbon plant in Kentucky, USA.

Solis Minerals (ASX:SLM) – Acquisition announcement.

Cazaly Resources (ASX:CAZ) – Asset acquisition announcement.

Mindax (ASX:MDX) – Update about the Mt Forrest iron project joint venture shareholders agreement.

Calima Energy (ASX:CE1) – Halt requested for the purposes of a sale.

Please do not adjust your monitors, because today’s list of Trading Halts doesn’t have a single Capital Raise among them… I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s one of the seven signs of the apocalypse.