What a solid day it’s been for the ASX today, with the benchmark maintaining a strong run past +1.1% for the afternoon, to finish at +1.18% when the bell finally rang, and the old ladies running the ASX called “pencils down” and everyone got to go home.

It was an afternoon dominated by strong results from ASX engine rooms Financials (+1.45%), Energy (+1.35%) and Materials (+1.16%), but the positive sentiment was running pretty deep, and all sectors were reporting upward movement by the close of play.

It’s been an all-systems-go day prompted by strong results out of New York overnight, as investors there geared up for the US Consumer Price Index figures that are due to land sometime tonight, our time.



A quick lap around Asia reveals that Japan’s Nikkei is set to finish the day flat, just 0.04% higher, while in Shanghai and Hong Kong things have dipped into negative territory, with their major indices down 0.23% and 0.33% respectively.

Markets there are battling their own variation on the Awful Inflation meme. China revealed today that its Consumer Price Index was 1.8 higher for December, compared to the same period the previous year, thanks to “higher food prices”.

And try as we might, it seems that it’s impossible to go even a single day without some stunning revelation about The Great FTX Debacle – but this time, it’s potentially excellent news for everyone who got left holding the baby while SBF screwed the pooch.

Advisors for FTX have apparently finally gotten around to having a look under the couch cushions at SBF’s Bahamas Hideaway Beach House Playset – and, to everyone’s open-mouthed astonishment, discovered about $7 billion worth of crypto and assets that could be sold off to pay back FTX creditors.



Speaking of consumers, there’s some good news in the form of drastically lower shipping costs, according to Our ABC, which reports that the Drewry World Container Index, “a key indicator for the cost of shipping containers used to transport goods”, has fallen 77% since December 2021, with the price to hire a single 40-foot shipping container crashing from $US9,304 to just $US2,135.

Meanwhile, from the World of High Fashion comes news that nepotism is alive and well among the world’s wealthiest people.

The man with the most money out of everyone, and strong candidate for World’s Most Leathery Dude Bernard Arnault has reportedly appointed his daughter Delphine to head up luxury fashion house Dior.

Dior’s previous supremo, Pietro Beccari, has been tapped replace long-time Louis Vuitton chief executive Michael Burke, who himself is being moved into an as-yet undisclosed role reporting directly to Monsier Bernard himself.

Meanwhile, the Bernard family continues to have quantities of material wealth that are ludicrously massive, so no doubt the new head of Dior will be celebrating by bathing in  a swimming pool filled with caviar, or whatever it is rich people do when they’re happy.



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In Small Caps news, not much has changed since lunchtime, in terms of the leader board for the day.

Norwest Minerals (ASX:NWM) has gone gangbusters, flying more than 50% higher after releasing the results from its maiden 33-hole drilling program at its Bali copper project.

“The RC drilling targeted four priority prospects, with many of the holes returning wide copper intercepts grading ≥ 0.2% with 16 individual metres assaying ≥ 3% copper and the highest being 11.2% Copper,” Norwest says, with results shaping up as follows:

  • 52m @ 1.4% Cu from 0m inc. 12m @ 4.4% Cu from 4m in BRC001
  • 17m @ 0.5% Cu from 3m inc. 1m @ 3.7% Cu from 5m in BRC018
  • 13m @ 0.8% Cu from 21m and 17m @ 0.9% Cu from 39m in BRC022
  • 11m @ 1.0% Cu from 17m and 15m @ 0.6% Cu from 32m in BRC033
  • 29m @ 0.7% Cu from 4m inc. 1m @ 5.0% Cu from 28m in BRC025
  • 15m @ 1.0% Cu from 10m inc. 3m @ 3.0% Cu from 13m in BRC027

By lunchtime, some of the excitement around those results appeared to have subsided, with Norwest’s climb easing to around +42.0%, but renewed interest from investors this morning has Norwest on track for a +53% day.

There’s a host of micro-mini cap Materials sector players posting high percentages on thin volume this morning – as you can see in the chart above – but beyond those, Centrex Mining (ASX:CXM) also saw a burst of post-lunch activity, climbing sharply around 1:15pm to be at +21.7% on no fresh news.

And rounding out the Top Three Worth Talking About, Euro Manganese (ASX:EMN) is trading about 12% higher this morning on news that its entered into an offtake term sheet with Verkor, a French low-carbon battery manufacturer based in Grenoble, for the sale of high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) from the EMN’s Chvaletice Manganese Project in the Czech Republic.

Deliveries are to commence from first production, expected to be in 2027, for an initial tenure of eight years with potential for renewal, subject to successful qualification of the EMN’s HPMSM from the Chvaletice Demonstration Plant in Verkor’s supply chain.



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Meanwhile, anyone who’s been left holding shares in ICSGlobal (ASX:ICS) since its suspension in 2021 have been thrown something of a lowballer lifeline, following a bid from DWY (No.1) – a wholly owned subsidiary of NSX listed investment Company Dawney & Co.

DWY is offering shareholders $0.20 a share – a long, looong way south of ICS’ $2.19 per share value at the time it was suspended from the ASX, which has kept shareholders pretty much in limbo and unable to offload ICS shares even if they wanted to.

The off-market cash offer from DWY is subject to conditions, including hitting a minimum 50.1% threshold, and provided that ICS doesn’t either buy or sell anything noteworthy.

DWY pointed out that ICS is currently bleeding money – a net loss after tax of $354,839 in 2022 along with forecast cash corporate costs in the order of  <$375,000 for FY23 – which “equates to $31,250.00, or almost 1% of shareholder capital, per month” – is clearly not a fantastic position.

ICS has already told shareholders that it’s a bad deal, pointing out that the last time it looked in the petty cash tin, the company had approximately $3.35 million, which translates to approximately $0.32 per share.

However, given that there’s been little indication of when ICS will be frollicking on the bourse again, It’ll be an interesting one to watch, if only to see how many ICS investors will take the opportunity to tip out and take whatever losses that incurs, just to get those shares off the ugly side of their portfolio ledger.

Meanwhile, Starpharma (ASX:SPL) has had a bit of back’n’forth with the ASX watchdogs around whether the company had been delinquent in providing material information to the market, in relation to its AZD0466 clinical trial.

There is a lot of info to digest in Starpharma’s reply, but the basic gist of it is that there seems to be some confusion about when information was made public by AstraZeneca about the clinical trial, and what phase of the trial was being talked about – and, indeed, how clinical trial phases like the one being discussed even work.

The short version is that Starpharma believes that it has complied with all the rules, and laid out a comprehensive timeline of what information was available to the company, and to the public, which it says shows quite clearly that material information hadn’t been withheld at any stage.

And a quickie concerning Golden Deeps (ASX:GED), which announced today that Gravity testwork on a bulk sample of the Abenab vanadium-zinc-lead resource in Namibia has produced exceptionally high-grade vanadium-zinc-lead (descloizite) concentrate grades of 15.6% V2O5, 11.2% Zn, 38.2% Pb and 0.8% Cu.

The company says that the results represent “an 18 times upgrade of the representative drill-core composite sample – above the targeted upgrade factor of 15 times – and matching the historical Abenab vanadium concentrate production grades which were the highest in the world.

It’s news the market has received quite well, with GED climbing 20% to $0.012 per share.



Kazia Therapeutics (ASX:KZA) – Halt called pending the release of an announcement about an anticipated financing transaction.