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ASX Small Cap Winners Jan 8-12

Investors piled back into the market last week after the break – and Aussie small caps were at the top of the shopping list.

Explorer Diatreme Resources was among the week’s small cap winners, jumping 80 per cent from 1.5c to 2.7c.

The shares surged as high as 3.5c on Thursday after signing up with a Chinese mining services firm to help advance its Cyclone zircon project.

Diatreme had just $325,000 in the kitty at the end of September.

China ENFI Engineering will complete a definitive feasibility study for the Cyclone project in Western Australia.

Zircon is used in engines, electronics, spacecraft and the ceramics industry.

“The agreements with ENFI represent the final push forward for our Cyclone project, with the potential for first production by the end of the decade,” chief Neil McIntyre told investors.

Colorado cannabis play Elixinol Global has enjoyed a stellar start to life on the ASX after floating last week.

Elixinol (ASX:EXL) which raised $20 million selling shares at $1 apiece, closed the week up 81 per cent at $1.81.

Elixinol joined forces with Hemp Foods Australia to “provide investors with access to global markets in the emerging sectors of hemp-based dietary supplements and skin care, hemp food products and medical cannabis products.

“With global exports of Australian medical marijuana now approved, the world will soon have single-source access to best in class medical marijuana and hemp products from Elixinol, one of the world’s most trusted brands,” founder and chief Paul Benhaim told investors.

Metals Australia was on the boil this week. Its shares doubled despite a lack of news.

The share price spike prompted a “please explain” from the ASX.

In the past, Metals Australia (ASX:MLS) was largely focused on uranium exploration, but after acquiring some lithium and graphite-prospective tenements in Canada, it appears to have found favour again with investors.

Shares clawed their way up from 0.5c at the start of the week to 1c on Friday — a 100 per cent gain.

Investors bought back into biotech BARD1 Life Sciences this week after the biotech re-proved its cancer diagnostics technology. A rushed study in 2017 had delivered disappointing results.

The new study tested its ovarian cancer detection technology and algorithm on 400 blood samples — and the company said they had high rates of accuracy.

The company’s stock (ASX:BD1) gained 57 per cent this week, to 1.1c.

BARD1’s technology uses a biomarker to detect the body’s autoantibodies which attack abnormal proteins produced by cancerous tumours. The results are fed through an algorithm which provides a “cancer score”.

The score had an 82 per cent sensitivity – that is, the number of patients correctly identified as having cancer – and 79 per cent specificity, the number of people correctly identified as not having cancer.

Zinc miner Symbol jumped 72 per cent this week after telling investors it was on track to “transition into production to provide early cash flow” after restarting drilling at its “Imperial” project in Nigeria.

Symbol (ASX:SL1) hopes to upgrade the quality of the project’s Macy deposit after drilling in January. Production is planned for the second quarter.

The stock finished the week at 6.2c, up from 3.6c the previous Friday.

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for Jan 8-12:

 ASX Small Cap Losers Dec 4-8

Chain food exports is one of the hottest sectors on the stockmarket.

But gold explorer Dampier has backed out of plans to enter the market, deciding to sell its subsidiary, Aurigin Foods to two of its directors after encountering difficulties with listing rules.

Shareholders were disappointed, selling down the shares 25 per cent this week from 5.2c to 3.9c.

Dampier’s (ASX:DAU) company secretary Michael Higginson told Stockhead: “We’re a gold exploration company, not an import-export company.

“We had no choice but to exit that transaction and do something else.

“The company has always been in gold exploration and under the listing rules we would have had to de-list and re-comply if we were to go further.

Aurigin is going ahead with a plan to set up a franchise-based retail chain in China to sell quality Australian produce.

Dampier told investors there was “considerable start-up risk and capital requirements to effectively establish the Aurigin business and this would be a substantial drain on Dampier’s financial resources and not consistent with Dampier’s core business of gold exploration and development”.

Dampier will retain a stake in the business.

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for Jan 8-12: