The entirely British PM Boris Johnson says working from home doesn’t work. For the man who led the UK out of Europe and into Covid, Johnson says he tried but failed to WFH, becoming distracted by making coffee and eating cheese.

In his renewed call for Britain to return to the office, Johnson said staff are “more productive, more energetic, more full of ideas” when in the workplace with colleagues.

“My experience of working from home is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing,” Johnson said.

Such dedication.

To markets….

Where investors may want to put the wine and cheese on hold to celebrate the ASX starting the week in the green. Aussie shares extend their Friday gains in early morning trade on Monday following a Friday rally on Wall Street.

But by 12.30pm  (AEST) the ASX 200 was starting to lose ground, gaining 9.10 points or 0.13% to  7084.20 points, slipping following seriously weaker than expected economic data out of China.

China’s April retail sales nose-dove 11.1% on the year, almost twice the drop expected, while industrial output dropped 2.9%.The risks had been to the downside given new bank lending in China hit the lowest in nearly four and half years in April.

China’s central bank also disappointed those hoping for some stimulative rate easing, but, on the upside, Beijing did allow for a further cut in mortgage loan interest rates for a portion of home buyers.

The ASX Emerging Companies (XEC) index was up ~1.64%.

Industrials led the sector gainers and was up ~2.47%, while tech which has been heavily sold-off in recent market volatility was up ~1.81%. Materials led the laggards, down ~0.84%, while health care fell ~0.33%, were in the green.

The Aussie tech rally follows Friday’s gains on the tech-heavy Nasdaq which rose by 3.82% and had its best day since November 2020, after US Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said he would stick to the 50 basis points hike script and leave the 75bp off the table for now.

Iron ore was down 1.22% to US$124.50 per dry metric tonne. Oil was mixed with Brent down 1.24% to US$109.84 per barrel and WTI  up 0.69% to US$110.96.

Gold was up 0.06% to US$1,780.69  The Australian dollar fell 0.5% to buy 69.03 US cents, while Bitcoin regained some lost ground up 1.98% to US$30,515 at 12.35pm (AEST).

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for April 29 [intraday]:

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

Shares in cobalt and nickel explorer Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL) have soared ~29% this morning to ~70 cents after news  regular rich lister and small cap mining investor Mark Creasy had topped up his holding. Creasy ponied up for 3m at 58c per share and now owns 26.35% of Galileo.

Higher education tech company OpenLearning (ASX:OLL) saw its share price rally ~29% today to 4.5 cents after announcing a strategic review of its business “after being approached by interested parties”.

OpenLearning has appointed investment and corporate finance advisory business IBIS Capital to undertake the review. The company said it wants to “ensure that all shareholders are equally informed” but didn’t go into detail about any potential deals.

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Bamboo fibre underwear retailer Step One Clothing (ASX:STP) has seen its shares dive today announcing it would miss its sales and profits forecasts.

The “no chafe” underwear company, which listed on the ASX in November, said it expects sales revenue growth to be 15-20%, compared to previous guidance of 21-25%. Expected proforma EBITDA is revised downwards to $7-$8 million from $15 million.