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Good morning everyone, and welcome to 12 February, 2024 – a date on the calendar tinged with historical sadness, because on this day in 1554 that a woman who had once been known as the Queen of England found out what happens to pretenders to the throne.

Lady Jane Grey is mostly famous for the fact that her reign was a short, sharp nine days long – and she only had that job after a panel of King Edward VI‘s closest advisors nominated her to take over, after Edward revived a centuries-old practice of dying very young when he popped his clogs at the age of just 15.

With no direct heir to the throne, Edward’s advisors were in a bit of a pickle. The rift had worsened between the Protestants on Edward’s side of the debate, and the Catholic church and a veritable army of Pope fanciers, desperate to have one of their own perched upon the throne.

The Catholic faction was dead keen on getting Edward’s half-sister installed as monarch, however the Protestants got the jump on proceedings, by plucking the rather homely-looking noblewoman Jane Grey from relative obscurity (she was daughter of the Duke of Suffolk), slapping a crown on her noggin and declaring the whole thing as a done deal.

Mary, as half-sister to the most recent dead king and who had already been Queen in Scotland since she was six years old, had other ideas.

That involved rallying a few troops and stomping into London to give everyone there “a bloody good talking to”, to see if there weren’t a few minds that could do with some changing.

Nine days from when Lady Jane Grey was crowned, Queen Mary muscled her off the throne, no doubt issuing a statement, including something along the lines of “The monarchy would like to thank Lady Jane for her work on throne, and we wish her well in all of her future endeavours.”

Lady Jane was rewarded for her oh-so-brief stint as Queen of England with the kind of outdoor theatre that mid-1500s London (and late 1990s Melbourne) was famed for, when she was beheaded for being a treasonous little scamp.

Just so we’re clear, I’m not suggesting that anyone should be losing their head for any reason whatsoever… unless you’re into that kind of thing. We try not to kink-shame around here, and what an executioner does with the head of a former England queen in the privacy of his own home is not business of mine, or yours.

The kind of business you should be focussing on is what’s on the cards today – and to help you plot where way you’re likely to be leaning today, Josh Chiat has wrangle in The Hoff himself from Canaccord Genuity for some tips on what explorers he trusts most this year.

Plus, here’s some words and numbers to keep you busy while you wait for your 9th cup of coffee for the morning does what it does best, in case you missed how the local markets did on Friday.

 

COMMODITY/FOREX/CRYPTO MARKET PRICES

Gold: US$2,022.90 (-0.51%)

Silver: US$22.3597 (+0.09)

Nickel (3mth): US$15,751.00/t (flat)

Copper (3mth): US$8,091.50/t (-0.46%)

Oil (WTI): US$76.84 (+0.81%)

Oil (Brent): US$81.90 (+0.33%)

Iron 62pc Fe: US$128.00/t (-0.73%)

AUD/USD: 0.6526 (+0.05%)

Bitcoin: US$48,283.50 (+1.09%)

 

WHAT GOT YOU TALKING

I am a huge fan of The Secret Broker, largely because he’s got more war stories than a John Wayne DVD catalogue, but mostly because getting a laugh in the Business Section is enormously difficult – Stockhead’s Secret Broker makes it look like absolutely child’s play.

 

 

FRIDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Friday’s Small Cap Winners included:

Top of the Pops among the small caps on Friday was Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS), up 63% before lunch on news that the company has delivered a record drill hit at its large-scale, clay hosted Jupiter Rare Earths prospect in the Mid-West region of Western Australia, with the intercept measuring in at 48m @ 3,025ppm TREO, alongside assays up to 10,266ppm and 20,538ppm TREO from nearby holes.

Aussie tech minnow AVA Risk Group (ASX:AVA) was also rising nicely on news that it has inked a Telstra Supply Agreement with Telstra Group (of course… duh) that will see the telco putting the company’s risk assessment tech to use.

The deal follows 10 months of collaboration through product trials with Telstra and its customers, including monitoring the urban fibre network in metropolitan Melbourne and the subsea fibre cables in the Port of Darwin.

However, there seems to be some kind of problem with the announcement. AVA was evidently pinged by the ASX over the initial announcement, and trading was paused at 10.45am.

The company issued another announcement with more details at 2:54pm, and was immediately suspended again, “pending the release of a satisfactory response to an ASX Query Letter regarding the announcements it has made today.”

BPH Global (ASX:BP8) got in on the Chinese New Year festivities, up 33% ahead of what is likely to be a productive period for the company.

BPH Global’s wholly-owned subsidiary Foshan Gedishi Biotechnology recently signed a major supply deal with Chinese tobacco company China Tobacco, to supply birds’ nests for distribution and consumption throughout Guangzhou City  and the surrounding Province of Guangdong.

Novonix (ASX:NVX) gained weight in the morning on news that it has signed a binding off-take agreement for high-performance synthetic graphite anode material to be supplied to Panasonic Energy’s North American operations from Novonix’s Riverside facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Theta Gold Mines (ASX:TGM) went screaming for the stratosphere in the middle of the day, and was almost as quickly put into a trading halt before the bell rang, after moving rapidly to +52% on no news – no doubt there will be something on the lists today.

BMG Resources (ASX:BMG) enjoyed a late surge on Friday on the previous day’s news that it had signed a binding option agreement pursuant to which it has the right to acquire a 90% interest in three exploration licences (one granted and two in application) in the West Arunta region of Western Australia, with plans to name the bundle the Dragon Niobium-REE Project.

 

FRIDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

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TRADING HALTS

RStrike Energy (ASX:STX) – pending an announcement to the market regarding well test results at South Erregulla-3.

GreenTech Metals (ASX:GRE) – pending the completion of the analysis of assay results.

AVA Risk Group (ASX:AVA) – Made an announcement, got halted, made a new announcement and then was immediately suspended again, “pending the release of a satisfactory response to an ASX Query Letter regarding the announcements it has made today.”

Artemis Resources (ASX:ARV) – pending the finalising of assay results on recent exploration work.

Theta Gold Mines (ASX:TGM) – speeding ticket.