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Good morning everyone, and welcome to 07 May, 2024 – an important date in the history of being bored to death by tales of someone else’s holiday, as it was on this day in 1253 that Flemish friar William of Rubruck set off on a journey to try and figure out WTF the Mongols were all about.

The man who sponsored the trip, French king Louis IX, had apparently specifically requested “a postcard home from time to time, just so we know you’re okay”, and boy howdy did Friar William deliver.

We know this because his “letter home” starts thusly:

“O the most excellent lord and most Christian Louis, by the grace of God illustrious King of the French, from Friar William of Rubruck, the meanest in the order of Minor Friars, greetings, and may he always triumph in Christ. It is written in Ecclesiasticus of the wise man: “He shall go through the land of foreign peoples, and shall try the good and evil in all things.” This, my lord King, have I done, and may it have been as a wise man and not as a fool; for many do what the wise man doth, though not wisely, but most foolishly; of this number I fear I may be. Nevertheless in whatever way I may have done, since you commanded me when I took my leave of you that I should write you whatever I should see among the Tartars, and you did also admonish me not to fear writing a long letter, so I do what you enjoined on me, with fear, however, and diffidence, for the proper words that I should write to so great a monarch do not suggest themselves to me.”

That set the tone for the rest of the letter home, which totals more than 53,000 words, and ends – as all good travel letters home do – by saying “it would’ve been even better but I ran out of money” … or words to that effect.

Luckily for you, you won’t ever need to read the drivel Friar William sent home – nor will you need to chew through 50,000 words to find out what’s happening on the market this morning (mostly because I didn’t write any of it, and everyone else who works here knows how to write short things that make sense, whereas I have absolutely zero self-control when it comes to sticking to a word limit.)

This morning’s great reads at Stockhead include Eddy Sunarto’s deep dive into why SciDev (ASX:SDV) could be the answer in the fight against “forever chemicals” PFAS, and some words of wisdom from market watcher Grady Wulff, as told to Christian Edwards, because he’s a sucker for a pretty face.

Plus, as usual, I’ve slaved away all afternoon (ho ho ho) to bring you all the data and digits and highlights listed below to help prep you for Tuesday – which, as everyone who’s had a massive weekend out will tell you, is the single worst day of the week, hands down.

 

COMMODITY/FOREX/CRYPTO MARKET PRICES

Gold: US$2,312.22 (+0.46%)

Silver: US$26.94 (+1.46%)

Nickel (3mth): US$18,756.10/t (+1.92%)

Copper (3mth): US$9,870.23/t (+1.37%)

Oil (WTI): US$78.60 (+0.63%)

Oil (Brent): US$83.45 (+0.59%)

Iron 62pc Fe: US$118.03/t (-0.01%)

AUD/USD: 0.6618 (+0.14%)

Bitcoin: US$64,204.40 (+0.55%)

 

WHAT GOT YOU TALKING

Pick of the crop from yesterday is undoubtedly Rob Badman’s Resources Top 5 – the greatest story about our resources sector featuring a bearded man gleefully soiling himself that you’re ever likely to see.

 

YESTERDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

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Yesterday’s Small Cap Winners included:

Gold minnow Prodigy Gold (ASX:PRX) enjoyed a bump on Monday morning after announcing an update from its 100% owned Hyperion deposit in the Tanami region of the Northern Territory.

The company said that  metallurgical testwork on material from the Hyperion deposit “reinforces potential for excellent gold recoveries through a conventional Carbon In Leach (CIL) plant”.

“A significant reduction in sodium cyanide consumption compared to the initial testwork did not negatively impact the overall 48-hour gold recovery, with recovery levels remaining between 96.8% and 98.0% at a P80 150μm grind size for the oxide, transitional and fresh sample material,” Prodigy said, adding that it did need to add just a touch of lime to the process to really get things cooking.

Meanwhile, security-focused tech company IXUP (ASX:IXU) was moving on Monday morning on news that “discussions regarding the secure cloud deployment of the IXUP platform in a project involving several of the country’s largest companies, and government / educational organisations have now progressed to the commercial negotiation phase”.

The company has been developing its platform to allow for the secure sharing and analysis of sensitive information using advanced encryption technology, so the move to a commercial negotiation phase is a big step forward in bringing the tech to market.

And mineral exploration and development company Mantle Minerals (ASX:MTL) was up this morning on news that its gold exploration drilling program is about to commence on the recently granted tenements at Mt Berghaus.

This is quite newsworthy as the Mt Berghaus tenement covers an 84km2 patch of ground immediately north of De Grey’s monstrous Hemi discovery. Mantle has 122 aircore drillholes planned, which the company says “will be drilled to refusal”, which sounds needlessly aggressive but I’m told that just how the mining industry does things.

Lumos Diagnostics (ASX:LDX) has completed the first phase of its Development Agreement to develop a new foetal fibronectin (fFN) test for leading women’s health company, Hologic, Inc. (NASDAQ: HOLX). Lumos has completed the first of three phases, meaning that it is now due to receive $0.4 million, with half of it recognised in Q3 FY24 and the rest in Q4 FY24. Lumos’ agreement with Hologic aims to  improve Hologic’s existing product for pre-term birth diagnosis, making it even better and more user-friendly.

IDT Australia (ASX: IDT) meanwhile has just received a grant from the Victoria State Government to help set up Australia’s first manufacturing facility for Antibody-Drug-Conjugates (ADCs), which are a special type of cancer treatment. This grant, from the Victorian Industry Investment Fund, will support IDT’s new $3.8 million facility in Boronia, Victoria.

Gold, copper, nickel, uranium, lithium play TechGen Metals (ASX:TG1) made the announcement of some new exploration opportunities it’s pursuing as it aims to expand its portfolio further into  copper-nickel-uranium territories in WA. The new operations are: Copper Springs (Cu); Springvale (Cu-Ni-PGE); and two uranium projects dubbed Ponton and Myroodah.

Rimfire Pacific Mining (ASX:RIM) was enthused today about its recent 100-hole air core drilling program that’s successfully defined thick zones of strong scandium anomalism from surface, across multiple locations at the Murga scandium prospect, which is on Rimfire’s Fifield project, about 70km northwest of Parkes, NSW. It’s talking thick, strong zones of the stuff, defined from surface across multiple locations throughout the 20km2 Murga intrusive, including: 22m at 232ppm Sc, with 12m at 305ppm Sc; 22m at 156ppm Sc from 2m, with 4m at 220ppm Sc, and more.

Mandrake Resources (ASX:MAN) was up on news that Rio Tinto-backed Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) and refining company ElectraLith have successfully produced 99.9% pure battery-grade Lithium Hydroxide from Mandrake’s 100%-owned Utah Lithium Project using its cutting-edge DLE-R process. Mandrake and ElectraLith are currently progressing a Strategic Partnership Agreement to facilitate the construction of a DLE-R pilot facility at the Utah Lithium Project.

Finder Energy (ASX:FDR)  announced that it has received offer letters from the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), notifying that it has been successful in winning two licences in the final tranche of awards in the 33rd UK Offshore Licensing Round. The first licence is located in the Ettrick Sub-basin between Finder’s P2528 and P2527 licences, and is adjacent to the giant Buzzard and Golden Eagle oil fields. The second licence is located to the north on the South Halibut Shelf, where Finder will hold a 100% interest.

Pioneer Credit (ASX:PNC) advised that it is upgrading its FY24 Purchase Debt Portfolio (PDP) investment guidance from $85m to circa $95m. This represents a ~12% increase on prior investment guidance, and marks the company’s second investment upgrade in FY24. At the outset of FY24, the company forecast PDP investment of $60m.

And MTM Critical Metals (ASX:MTM)’s Flash Joule Heating (FJH) prototype testing has produced significant increases in the acid leachability of Rare Earth Elements (REE) and target Critical Metals from Coal Fly Ash (CFA) samples. CFA samples treated by the FJH prototype have delivered a +50% increase in the recovery of REE and Critical Metals.

 

YESTERDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

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TRADING HALTS 

Caprice Resources (ASX:CRS) – ending an announcement regarding an acquisition and a capital raising.

Firebird Metals (ASX:FRB) – pending release of an announcement in relation to the results of the Company’s Battery Grade Manganese Sulphate Feasibility Study.

Hartshead Resources (ASX:HHR) – pending an announcement in relation to the 33rd Offshore Licensing Round Tranche 3 Awards.