Good morning everyone, and welcome to Tuesday, December 12 – a date on the calendar of massive importance to the World of Art, as today would have been the 160th birthday of Norweigan artist Edward Munch, if he was some kind of superhuman or possibly even immortal.

He’s not, of course – he’s been dead since 1944 – but before he died, he painted a picture that is arguably one of the most famous works of art in existence, called The Scream.

It depicts a figure that has variously been described as a ghost, a sperm, a fetus, a woman or a rough, infantile doodle of a humanesque form, posing like Macauley Culkin on the poster of Home Alone

It is, to be fair, a haunting image – and it is justifiably famous, mostly because it’s just so unnerving. Scandinavian art expert John Bolton Smith described it as “a unique visual image of panic” – but I’m guessing that was before Home Alone was released in 1990.

Munch himself did his best to explain the painting, writing within the frame of an early version he produced: “I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”

That is an undoubtedly deep sentiment (provided you’re 14 years old, and you’ve just discovered black hair dye and mum’s old Morrissey records) – or it could just be the ramblings of a man who was quite fond of drinking industrial quantities of absinthe with the rest of the Parisian post-impressionist wankers.

It was there that Munch learned that to lose one’s mind drinking absinthe is a glorious thing, but Toulouse Letrec is just careless.


One thing is almost certain about The Scream, and that it’s highly likely that it depicts what Munch himself would have looked like, had he been alive in 2012 when the pastel on board version he created in 1895 went under the hammer at Sotheby’s.

Some idiot paid just over $180 million for it – which is enough to make just about anybody scream.

The Scream is not the only work of art kicking around the Stockhead offices this morning, as our writers have been furiously working their collective crayons into busted little nubs, writing up all the info you need to get your day on the market off to a cracking start.

That includes Reuben’s deep dig into what’s a-happenin’ on the Canadian lithium scene this week, and Christian’s frantic ringaround to see what the brokers are saying about their favourite hot picks at the moment.

Plus, below you’ll find all the usual digits and data to get your motor rumbling before the market opens today.



Gold: US$1,981.11 (-1.11%)

Silver: US$22.83 (-0.60%)

Nickel (3mth): US$16,806/t (+1.81%)

Copper (3mth): US$8,448.50/t (+1.28%)

Oil (WTI): US$71.45 (+0.26%)

Oil (Brent): US$76.20 (+0.47%)

Iron 62pc Fe: US$135.16/t (-0.21%)

AUD/USD: 0.6570 (-0.11%)

Bitcoin: US$40,794 (-7.2%)



Always an entertaining read, this week’s episode of Bottom Picker was an absolute cracker – here’s a link if you didn’t manage to catch it over the weekend.




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 Caps highlights were:

Leading the Small Caps winners list – and waaaay out ahead of the rest of the market – was debutante LTR Pharma (ASX:LTP), which made a stunning entrance on the ASX this morning to be up 70% in the space of a couple of hours, and closed out the day by cracking the ton, up 100%.

LTR Pharma’s immediate success can be pinned on the fact that it’s done what a lot of microcap pharmaceutical companies don’t do – and that’s come to the ASX with a developed, patent-protected product that makes immediate sense the moment it’s explained.

The company makes a product called Spontan, which looks like a nasal decongestant spray, but acts on an entirely different part of the male anatomy as a rapid, on-demand fix for erectile dysfunction.

LTR Pharma is in the process of commercialising Spontan, it’s got a successful Phase I human proof of concept study under its belt – which indicates a 6x faster effect compared to  oral administration of tablets like Viagra – and the company says it’s got a clear pathway to market, progressing to bioequivalence study with expedited regulatory filings in the US and Australia within 1-2 years.

The next two on the ladder are slightly curious – West Cobar Metals (ASX:WC1) and Cauldron Energy (ASX:CXU) have both banked better-than +30% gains, despite neither having any recent news that might explain why they’re moving that way today.

For what it’s worth, West Cobar did get a speeding ticket from the ASX, to which it responded with (words to the effect of) “nothing to see here… we’re also mystified” – but Cauldron seems to kjust be puddling along, well out in front of the rest of the small cappers with a big grin on its face.

The next best performer with actual news was Pact Group (ASX:PGH), which went sailing through +22.5% today because it’s the target of an off-market takeover that got very juicy this morning.

Bennamon Industries is the entity behind the bid, and today it announced that it really wants to buy Pact holus bolus – as indicated by Bennamon upping its per share offer from $0.68 cash per Pact share to $0.84 cash.

That’s a chunky 21% push in price, and quite a sizeable step up from Pact’s previous closing price – whether it’s going to be enough to entice the required number of shareholders over the line remains to be seen.

And a couple of short bursts to round out the list: MetalsGrove Mining (ASX:MGA) is up on news that the company has entered into a strategic agreement to acquire six new lithium claims in Zimbabwe, while Grand Gulf Energy (ASX:GGE) rose sharply on news that the Jesse-1A well has unexpectedly flowed significant helium to surface at concentrations consistent with the previous downhole sample of 1% helium.



Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Rimfire Pacific Mining (ASX:RIM) – pending an announcement by the Company to the market regarding a capital raising.

Elixir Energy (ASX:EXR) – pending an announcement by the Company with respect to a capital raising.

Technology Metals Australia (ASX:TMT) – pending an announcement to the market in relation to a merger with Australian Vanadium.

Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL) – See above.

Investigator Resources (ASX:IVR) – pending an announcement by the Company to the market regarding a capital raising.

Sunstone Metals (ASX:STM) – pending an announcement by the Company to the market regarding a capital raising.

PharmAust (ASX:PAA) – pending an announcement by the Company to the market regarding a capital raising.

Infinity Mining (ASX:IMI) – pending an announcement by the Company to the market regarding a capital raising.

Compumedics (ASX:CMP) – pending an announcement about correspondence received from a China-based distributor regarding additional MEG orders.

Talisman Mining (ASX:TLM) – pending an announcement in relation to exploration results at the Company’s Lachlan Copper-Gold Project in NSW.

Sacgasco (ASX:SGC) – pending an announcement to the market in relation to an update by the Company regarding the divestment of its Filipino operations.