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Good morning everyone, and welcome to 02 April, 2024 – an important day in the history of the relatively obscure field of financial typography, as it was on this day in 1778 that a fella in New Orleans called Oliver Pollock created this: $

That’s right – it was a New Orleans businessman who created one of the most widely recognised symbols in the history of the world, and you’ll no doubt be feeling a similar sense of schadenfreude that he not only did so by mistake rather than by design, but… well… you’ll see.

The legend goes that Pollock’s terrible handwriting is to blame for the symbol – at the time, Pollock was doing all of his business in Pesos, as the city – formerly the capital of the French settlement in the area – was at that point under the control of the Spanish, having been sold by Napoleon as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

His habit of shortening Pesos to PS – and then melding the two together because his handwriting was like a drunken spider vomiting weird symbols onto the page – Pollock’s business dealings were all recorded in $.

The practice caught on, other merchants began to copy this cool new symbol and Pollock went down in typographical history. Sort of.

Sadly for Pollock, had he thought ahead far enough, he would’ve also invented the “™” symbol, trademarked them both and died fantastically wealthy. But he didn’t – instead squandering his enormous fortune on silly things like bourbon, and financing the American Revolution to the tune of more than $1 billion in today’s money. What a goofball.

He was broke when he died – the only $ to his name was the symbol that no doubt haunted his tired and hungry dreams.

A sad end to a dumb story, no doubt – but to help you ensure that you’ve got more than a couple of Pollock’s inventions in your bank account, the Stockhead team has a crackerjack line up of stories for you today.

Stories like – five big mining theme picks from Argonaut’s David Frankyln, the trading strategy that ‘works phenomenally’, and one about how even Zuckerberg’s hoarding gold.

And – as always – there’s words and numbers down below for you to sink your teeth into, so you’re prepared with all the data you need to not look quite as silly as Oliver Pollock – who invented a symbol to tell him exactly how poor he was when he died.

 

COMMODITY/FOREX/CRYPTO MARKET PRICES

Gold: US$2,256.55 (+1.06%)

Silver: US$25.11 (+0.28%)

Nickel (3mth): US$16,526.50/t (+1.24%)

Copper (3mth): US$8,766.36/t (+0.25%)

Oil (WTI): US$83.44 (+0.37%)

Oil (Brent): US$87.21 (-0.32%)

Iron 62pc Fe: US$109.53/t (-0.28%)

AUD/USD: 0.6522 (-0.02%)

Bitcoin: US$70,875.30 (-0.53%)

 

WHAT GOT YOU TALKING

The bean counters in Canberra have been slashing their forecasts for critical minerals –  how’s that going to play out for ASX-listed miners and explorers? Josh Chiat explains…

 

 

THURSDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Allup Silica (ASX:APS) rocketed forward on news that the silica it’s sitting on in southern WA is really high quality stuff – >99.5% SiO2 and <100 ppm Fe2O3 – which essentially means that it’s ready to rock in applications such as photovoltaic cells without requiring much work to purify, such as magnetic separation.

Argenica Therapeutics (ASX:AGN) jumped almost 20% this morning after announcing that the first patient in its Phase 2 clinical trial in acute ischaemic stroke patients has been successfully dosed. The patient walked in to the Royal Melbourne Hospital emergency department and enrolled into the trial following a confirmed diagnosis of an acute ischaemic stoke caused by a large vessel occlusion (LVO). The trial is designed to test how safe ARG-007 is in acute ischaemic stroke (AIS) patients, with safety being a significant regulatory hurdle in neurology drug development.

Euro Manganese (ASX:EMN) has announced it has received approval of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the Chvaletice Manganese Project from the Czech Ministry of Environment. Additionally, the company has appointed Tim Kindred, an experienced, large-scale project delivery professional, as project director for Chvaletice as well.

AIC Mines (ASX:A1M) reported an updated Ore Reserve estimate for its 100% owned Jericho Copper Deposit, located 4km south of the Company’s Eloise Copper Mine. It now boasts 3.2Mt grading 1.9% Cu and 0.4g/t Au containing 61,100 tonnes of copper and 37,000 ounces of gold, representing an 86% increase in contained copper; and an 86% increase in contained gold.

WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1) reported more assays, telling the market assays from broad-spaced diamond and RC drilling in the central and eastern zones further extends and demonstrates continuity of the shallow high-grade blanket of niobium mineralisation at Luni, within the company’s West Arunta Project in Western Australia.

In the larger end of town, Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) rose after announcing that it was undertaking a comprehensive strategic review which aims to re-set the base business and drive efficiency. The first stage of the strategic review has been completed with a new asset-based organisational structure to be implemented by 8 April 2024. Several of the current executive team will be leaving Beach over the coming months. A targeted headcount reduction of 30% will be delivered across the business.

 

THURSDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

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TRADING HALTS

Regis Resources (ASX: RRL) – pending an announcement regarding an update on the progress of the McPhillamys DFS.

Perpetual Resources (ASX: PEC) – pending an announcement regarding a proposed material acquisition.

Terra Uranium (ASX: T92) – pending an announcement of a capital raise via a placement to sophisticated and institutional investors.

Many Peaks Minerals (ASX: MPK) – pending an announcement to be made by the Company to the market in relation to a proposed capital raising.

Challenger Gold (ASX: CEL) – pending a material announcement in relation to a placement to a strategic investor.

Synlait Milk (ASX:SM1) – pending the release of SM1’s half-year results for the six months ended 31 January 2024 (which will include information in relation to the outcome of discussions with its banking syndicate and Bright Dairy).