The year 2021 is almost three-parts done and that was… quite a week in the end.

Things looked shaky on Monday, as the ASX 200 posted its worst session in seven months, and the microcap Emerging Companies index fell by over 4% for the first time since April 2020.

The falls preceded around 48 hours of furious speculation surrounding embattled Chinese property developer Evergrande (more fun if pronounced like Ariana Grande).

After 48 hours, Evergrande’s debt problems didn’t go away, but markets assessed that the risk of broader contagion had reduced (for now).

That all happened before the US Federal Reserve took centre stage on Wednesday night, holding steady with plans to cut back on bond purchases and keeping the prospect of a 2022 rate hike in play.

Analyst consensus was that the Fed’s commentary leaned hawkish, but markets happily digested the update.

So after some nerves and wobbles, stocks have largely moved on from the prospect of tighter monetary policy and debt-ridden Chinese property developers.

Momentum flowed through to another strong session on Wall Street overnight, but this time local markets were unable to pick up the lead.

At the big end of town, money moved into energy stocks as the ASX 200 Energy index posted four straight winning sessions following the Monday selloff.
 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for September 17 – September 24 [intraday]:

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In percentage terms, the standout leader this week was Aura Energy (ASX:AEE) although the stock’s gain arose out of unusual circumstances.

AEE recommenced trading on Wednesday following a long suspension. While suspended, it raised $4.2m from investors in a share placement at 2.6c to develop its ‘Tiris’ uranium project in Mauritania.

Those participants were rewarded with a 10x gain when AEE stormed the boards with a push towards 30c (with some possible interest from pump & dump groups).

AEE’s current trading price is still around 5x higher than its pre-suspension close, making it the latest uranium-adjacent rocket-ship to sail into orbit.

Aura said a recent DFS shows its indicative all-in production costs are estimated at US$29.81/lb, which is comfortably below current market prices.

Also putting in a big week was Genesis Minerals (ASX:GMD), which back in May unveiled a visible gold intercept of 5m at 60.7 grams per tonne (g/t) from 265m at its 1.6Moz Ulysses project.

This week, news broke that leading resources identity Raleigh Finlayson will cornerstone a $20.8m funding package for GMD to advance ongoing exploration.

Other heavy-hitters from the mining sector, including ex-FMG chieftain Nev Power, will join the board. And with all that cash and expertise, investors decided GMD is now worth double what it was last week (up 100% to 15c).

Outside of resources, one of the best performers this week was clean-tech Papyrus Australia (ASX:PPY).

A longtime ASX minnow, PPY develops technology that converts the waste trunk of the banana palm into products that are used in the packaging, furniture, and construction industries.

This week, the company said it was able to successfully produce commercial quantities of biodegradable moulded food packaging in a conventional moulding machine.

“We are confident that we can now harness the unique advantages banana fibre has to optimise the end product or to achieve products other fibres are unable to produce,” managing director Ramy Abraham Azer said.
 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for September 17 – September 24 [intraday]:

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

Mining services group Boart Longyear (ASX:BLY) dipped after announcing the succesful completion of a capital restructure.

The creditor’s scheme, approved in the NSW Supreme Court on September 16, will see the cancellation of approximately US$830 million of debt and accrued interest costs by a group of creditors, in exchange for company equity.

Another laggard was home delivery technology platform Zoom2u Technologies (ASX:Z2U), which surged higher in the wake of its IPO last week after raising $8m at 20c per share.

The company operates the Zoom2u platform, an online marketplace connecting customers to local delivery drivers with operations Australia-wide.

It also owns Locate2u, a B2B delivery management system. While shares in the company cooled off this week, at around 50c in Friday afternoon trade the stock has still consolidated with a gain of more than 100% for pre-IPO investors.

Jupiter Energy (ASX:JPR) also came back down to earth, following a huge jump last week when it announced it had struck a legally binding agreement with a Kazakh-registered company to co-develop three oilfields in Kazakhstan towards gas utilisation.