New York’s high court is considering whether or not Happy the Asian elephant from the Bronx Zoo can be considered a person.

The advocates at the Nonhuman Rights Project say Happy is an autonomous, cognitively complex elephant worthy of the right reserved in law for “a person”.

The group said that in 2005, Happy became the first elephant to pass a self-awareness indicator test, repeatedly touching a white “X” on her forehead as she looked into a large mirror.

“She has an interest in exercising her choices and deciding who she wants to be with, and where to go, and what to do, and what to eat,” Nonhuman Rights Project attorney Monica Miller told The Associated Press.

“And the zoo is prohibiting her from making any of those choices herself.”

But the Bronx Zoo argues that Happy is neither illegally imprisoned nor a person, but a well-cared-for elephant “respected as the magnificent creature she is”.

Lower courts have already ruled against the group, who’ve failed in previous cases – like that of Tommy the chimpanzee.

 

To Markets …

The ASX 200 is up a mildly self-aware 14.60 points or 0.20% at midday today to 7,163.50.

Hong Kong stocks ended lower yesterday, as the market followed its China counterpart to retreat from a rebound Friday that was driven by Beijing’s rate cut.

Japanese stocks ended higher, retaking gains notched near the opening bell thanks to gains in insurance companies that posted strong results despite economic uncertainty over higher operations costs.

Investors are also paying attention to President Biden’s visit to Japan as well as movements in the prices of crude and other commodities.

 

EU rate rise flagged for July

European shares rose amid market talk about potential European Central Bank interest-rate rises and following an upbeat start to trading on Wall Street.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600, French CAC 40 and German DAX all gained more than 1%.

“ECB President Christine Lagarde indicated rate rises would start in July, helping to lift the share prices of German and European banks and push the euro to its highest level in nearly four weeks against the US dollar,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson says.

 

Investors looking for rock bottom

US stocks rose, led by the financial sector, as the S&P 500 pushed away from bear-market territory after flirting with such levels in a volatile trading session Friday.

While a 20% selloff generally defines a bear market, what a bear market defines is just a change in the business cycle from expansion to contraction, said Shawn Snyder, head of investment strategy at Citi Personal Wealth Management.

For investors, he said, that means the next important key is the sign that a bottom has been hit.

While the bottom likely hasn’t come yet, Snyder said investors are already looking for it. On average, the market takes 132 trading days to go from a high to the start of a bear market, and 213 trading days to hit the low, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Monday was the 97th trading day from the S&P 500’s peak, so investors may have some way to go.

“This is one of those times you turn your screens off and go on vacation and hope it looks better when you return,” Snyder said.

 

Gas prices in record territory

While global demand for crude continues to outpace supply, failure of the European Union to agree to a ban on Russian oil crimped price gains.

At the same time, the US White House is considering tapping the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.

US crude prices rose less than 0.1% to $110.29 a barrel. Gas prices at the pump remained in record territory over the weekend, averaging about $4.59 a gallon nationwide.

Ahead in Australia, the ‘flash’ S&P Global purchasing managers index (PMI) will be released with weekly consumer confidence.

In the US, the S&P Global PMI is released with new home sales and the Richmond Federal Reserve index. The Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell is set to speak.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

 

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for May 24 [intraday]:

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

 

 

Income Asset Management Group (ASX:IAM) has been awarded a mandate to provide execution services for $160 million in bond holdings for a large Not-For-Profit organisation.

The group says this increases its assets under administration by 24% to over $800 million.

“IAM believes the Not-For Profit sector represents a significant opportunity for IAM going forward,” CEO Jon Lechte said.

“There are many Not-For-Profits self-managing significant amounts of fixed income assets, and our depth of experience in deposits and fixed income, positions us well to provide specialist support to the managers of this money.

“With interest rates rising across the globe and growing demand for fixed income products as a hedge for volatility and inflation, IAM’s debt market focus positions the Group strongly for the future.”

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

 

Failed hemp farmer Croplogic has been reskinned and relisted as WA gold and lithium explorer Olympio Metals (ASX:OLY), which raised $6m at 20c per share.

Tabcorp Holdings (ASX:TAH) is demerging its lucrative Lotteries and Keno business into The Lottery Corporation (ASX:TLC), which raked in massive EBITDA of $611m in FY21.

TLC is due to list at 11am AEST today.