In December, the All Ords index – made up of the 500 largest companies on the ASX — rose 1.6 per cent.

It finished the craziest year on record* up 0.7 per cent. Remarkable.

In December, there were an incredible 29 IPOs.

Just 22 companies listed in the first nine months of the year total. All but 9 of those 29 companies have made gains on their listing price, led by Desert Metals (ASXD:DM1) – up +250 per cent.

In December, iron ore continued to blow price and demand forecasts out of the water.

And in December, forgotten sectors stirred.

Weed, crypto and battery metals – which had breakout years in 2017 but have faded badly since – are back in the hearts and minds of investors heading into 2021.

It was also a pivotal month for the re-emerging uranium sector, which hasn’t been this mainstream cool since ~2007.

 

HERE’S THE TOP 50 SMALL CAPS FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER >>>

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort. 

CODE COMPANY DECEMBER RETURN % PRICE MARKET CAP SECTOR
LCY Legacy Iron Ore 650 0.045 $ 281,125,733.27 Resources
CPH Creso Pharma 300 0.18 $ 126,903,315.06 Health
SHN Sunshine Gold 265 0.062 $ 22,116,120.32 Resources
AGE Alligator Energy 144 0.011 $ 25,893,922.56 Energy
PNN PepinNini Minerals 136 0.39 $ 14,416,856.22 Resources
CVV Caravel Minerals 133 0.2 $ 57,475,982.60 Resources
GWR GWR Group 126 0.44 $ 132,753,487.68 Resources
BMN Bannerman Resources 124 0.094 $ 101,036,093.83 Energy
AVE Avecho Biotech 123 0.029 $ 46,367,945.72 Health
VMY Vimy Resources 116 0.082 $ 63,850,699.66 Energy
ERA Energy Resources 113 0.33 $ 1,218,156,455.34 Energy
SI6 SI6 Metals 107 0.028 $ 36,614,055.32 Resources
BCK Brockman Mining 103 0.059 $ 547,474,695.73 Resources
ACS Accent Resources 100 0.02 $ 9,320,545.66 Resources
AMT Allegra Orthopaedics 100 0.35 $ 36,560,721.05 Health
LER Leaf Resources 97 0.044 $ 37,318,903.51 Resources
CXO Core Lithium 93 0.145 $ 144,685,396.55 Resources
CBE Cobre 87 0.28 $ 18,986,447.48 Resources
AJJ Asian Amer Medical 86 0.064 $ 22,603,929.01 Health
COB Cobalt Blue 84 0.18 $ 43,779,932.46 Resources
MEY Marenica Energy 82 0.155 $ 31,092,099.61 Energy
AVZ AVZ Minerals 81 0.17 $ 487,474,746.36 Resources
KTE K2 Energy 80 0.036 $ 10,823,657.44 Tech
ABR American Pacific Borates 78 1.51 $ 482,697,953.69 Resources
OMH OM Holdings 77 0.585 $ 432,094,652.15 Resources
NMR Native Mineral Resources 77 0.425 $ 12,245,737.50 Resources
NES Nelson Resources 72 0.1 $ 11,480,214.20 Resources
RCW Rightcrowd 72 0.395 $ 87,755,722.47 Tech
ASM Australian Strategic Materials 68 6.41 $ 763,109,076.98 Resources
LITCF Lithium Australia 67 0.01 $ 1,288,610.41 Resources
SHH Shree Minerals 67 0.02 $ 16,184,737.84 Resources
XPE Xped 67 0.0025 $ 4,482,155.06 Tech
LIO Lion Energy 67 0.025 $ 5,185,044.75 Energy
PDN Paladin Energy 67 0.25 $ 510,799,409.00 Energy
DNA Donaco International 66 0.068 $ 84,006,477.98 Consumer
HPP Health Plant Protein 64 0.27 $ 33,161,599.26 Consumer
BDG Black Dragon Gold 63 0.13 $ 17,465,969.56 Resources
IHR intelliHR 62 0.485 $ 134,624,178.13 Tech
BLU Blue Energy 61 0.087 $ 115,612,778.63 Energy
BIQ Buildingiq 60 0.016 $ 16,719,372.51 Tech
TLT Tilt Renewables 60 6 $ 2,261,003,304.00 Utilities
SNS Sensen Networks 59 0.175 $ 80,667,690.60 Tech
MLX Metals X 59 0.14 $ 127,017,249.38 Resources
MSM MSM Corporation 59 0.065 $ 54,756,863.59 Tech
EX1 Exopharm 58 0.57 $ 79,465,790.19 Health
PM8 Pensana Rare Earths 58 1.94 $ 248,170,263.04 Resources
AKM Aspire Mining 58 0.115 $ 58,378,253.28 Resources
OEQ Orion Equities 56 0.125 $ 2,226,798.63 Financial
RHY Rhythm Biosciences 56 0.875 $ 176,308,834.63 Health
VRX VRX Silica 55 0.365 $ 183,253,772.09 Resources

 

Battery metals (trail)blazing

Pundits expect this new EV boom to be long and lucrative for raw materials like nickel, cobalt, lithium and graphite.

But the majority of battery metals stocks on the ASX fell away in 2019-2020 as investor sentiment soured.

It’s the ones that remain which are now in a very good position heading into 2021. A number of these stocks had a great December.

Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) has spiked +110 per cent over the past five trading days on no news (although there are rumours. DYOR pls).

The stock is now at its highest point since 2012.

When AVZ spiked in 2017/2018 it was pure investor speculation, a play on the hype surrounding the emerging, but still relatively non-existent, electric vehicle sector thematic.

This time, AVZ’s share price increase is underpinned by fundamentals. The EV industry is growing, and AVZ’s Manono project has just snared its first offtake partner.

At 16.5c per share, the stock is now at its highest point since May 2018.

Cobalt Blue (ASX:COB), one of the last remaining pure play cobalt explorers on the ASX, is planning pilot plant production for Q1 next year.

The company says it is currently working with 15 global partners who have expressed interest in receiving cobalt samples, including LG International, Mitsubishi Corporation and Sojitz Corporation.

 

The nuclear option

A uranium boom is well overdue, if you believe the experts.

Stockhead’s Guy Le Page predicted uranium would “be one to watch because it’s had about 13 years in the doldrums”.

The list of ASX-listed uranium explorers and miners is very short. Most of them enjoyed a big month in December.

Check out these gains:

Alligator Energy (ASX:AGE) +144%

Bannerman Resources (ASX:BMN) +124%

Vimy Resources (ASX:VMY) +116%

Energy Resources (ASX:ERA) +113%

Marenica Energy (ASX:MEY) +82%

Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) +67%

Many of these companies can ostensibly get into production quickly once prices improve to a certain level.

Bannerman’s Etango-8 project in Namibia has been ‘reimagined’ as smaller scale mine initially, but with the ability to ramp up production as demand improves.

Vimy’s main game is Mulga Rock, Australia’s largest near term uranium project.

And Paladin is a former producer at the Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia, which has been on care and maintenance but is ready to relaunch.

The company’s timetable envisages a restart of production by mid-2021, with a fairly modest capital outlay of around $80m.

 

Cannabis stocks: no smoke without fire

After the long (cold) cannabis winter of 2019, cannabis reform at the global level appeared to provide a huge tailwind for the ASX cannabis sector at the start of December.

The big news came from the United Nations, which formally removed cannabis from its Schedule IV classification where it had been grouped in with drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

Local markets reacted to the decision, as nine ASX cannabis stocks posted double-digit daily gains on the day of the announcement.

The sector got another boost after the US House of Representatives voted to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act — effectively decriminalising cannabis at the federal level.

The bill is unlikely to get through the Republican-controlled Senate, but that didn’t stop cannabis companies from outperforming the market with more big gains.

Standout performances included Creso Pharma (ASX:CPH), which soared 300 per cent, and Avecho Biotech (ASX AVH), up 123 per cent.

 

Severe iron deficiency

Iron ore price are at nine-year highs, and it looks like the run might continue for a while longer.

Punters are scrambling to get into any stock with a whiff of iron ore exposure. There are five of them in our Top 50, led by a probably very confused Legacy Iron Ore (ASX:LCY).

Legacy — which is ostensibly gold focussed — ran hard on big volumes last month for no apparent reason.

Why? With iron ore prices hitting record highs, punters may be speculating that the explorer will dust off its Mt Bevan project in WA.

Mt Bevan – besides a large, low grade magnetite resource – includes a decent chunk of Jupiter Mines’ (ASX:JMS) neighbouring high grade iron ore deposit.

Other big gainers included GWR Group (ASX:GWR), Brockman Mining (ASX:BCK), Shree Minerals (ASX:SHH) and Accent Resources (ASX:ACS).

 

*probs