• ASX lower with small caps down 3.64% in the past five days tracking broader market
  • Omnia Metals rallies after identifying promising lithium target during due diligence
  • Biotech Exopharm seems shares tumble following bid to raise $2.1 million 


By close on Friday the S&P/ASX Emerging Companies index  (XEC) – a benchmark for Australia’s micro-cap companies – was down 3.64% for the past five days.

The Benchmark S&P/ASX 200 –home to the the top 200 ASX listed companies by float-adjusted market cap – was down 1.87% for the past five days.

It was a mixed result for the week for the 11 sectors on the ASX. Communication Services led the gainers, up 2.72% followed by consumer discretionary which rose 1.22% and utilities which put on 1.11%.

Financials lead the losses down 4.13%, followed by the energy sector down 1.82% and materials down 0.44%.


Weekly economic overview

All eyes were on the US this week with some key economic data coming out to give investors signs of just which way the world’s biggest economy is heading.

US Inflation rose by 0.5% in January to 6.4% on a yearly basis, a slight drop from 6.5% the previous month. The marginal drop showed inflation in the US remains sticky.

US retail sales also jumped the most in two years in January with spending in all 13 basket categories surveyed rising, led by motor vehicles sales, furniture and restaurants.

In addition to the strong retail sales, US factories output also rose 1% in January, the most in nearly a year with US Treasury yields rising after the data was released as traders put on more bets that US Federal Reserve will keep hiking rates.

Back home, unemployment rose to 3.7% in January from 3.5% in the previous month according to ABS data released on Thursday.

And RBA boss Phil Lowe will be glad it’s Friday today after feeling the heat at the Senate Estimates this week, before his address to Federal Parliament today.

The RBA Governor was hawkish on rates flagging further rises but remaining noncommittal on just how many will be need bring inflation back to the central banks 2-3% target.

“I don’t think we’re at the peak yet, but how far we have to go up I don’t know,” Lowe said.


ASX IPOs this week

There were no companies listing on the ASX this week.


ASX Small cap winners:

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for February 13-17:

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Leading the winners table this week is e-Cargo Holdings (ASX:ECG) and Revasum (ASX:RVS) for in the words of Stockhead’s Gregor Stronach “absolutely no reason at all.”

ECG is a retail and eCommerce partner for brands looking to grow in the Asia market, while Revasum specialises in designing and manufacturing of capital equipment used in the semiconductor device manufacturing process.

Also among the winners this week was Omnia Metals (ASX:OM1) which has shown due diligence can pay off. OM1 identified an early-stage lithium target at the soon-to-be-acquired 540sqkm Lac des Montagnes tenement package in Quebec, Canada.

As Stockhead’s Emma Davies reported during the due diligence process the explorer has stumbled upon a 2.3km long, 440m wide spodumene target called Senay 5.

All up, +40 pegmatite granites have been mapped within the project area, seven of which have been identified by the Quebec Govt as a “high priority and highly prospective to be spodumene hosting”.


ASX Small cap losers:

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for February 13-17:

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Genetic medicine and exosome-based drug-delivery company Exopharm (ASX:EXO) saw its shares fall following a bid to raise $2.1 million.

EXO signed a mandate with Alto Capital and Canary Capital on February 12 to secure the funds via a combination of a $600,000 convertible note, an entitlement issue to eligible shareholders, and a placement of any shortfall by the brokers.

The company said it is also undertaking a strategic review of the business with the view to further improve cashflow and realise value from its portfolio of intellectual property.

EXO recently announced a cut in its monthly spend and said its present monthly spend rate is now reduced to ~$400k per month – whilst continuing core operations.