Mr Chips, a potato factory in Auckland, New Zealand, has found an unusual potato-shaped item on its conveyor belt.

What employees initially thought was a rock turned out to be a World War II era grenade.

Luckily when the bomb squad were called in, they were able to determine that it’s just a training grenade – so it doesn’t contain explosives.

It turns out the crops are from a farm in Matamata which was once used as an army training ground.

Around 250 tonnes of potatoes are handled every day but Mr Chips factory operations manager Roland Spitaels said this is the first grenade.

“It’s not an uncommon occurrence and the European factories you know, given the two world wars that we fought around it, but yeah, it was really really unusual,” he said.

 

To Markets …

The ASX 200 is up 42.30 points or 0.57% at midday today to 7,485.10.

European stocks closed lower yesterday as investors monitored the Russia-Ukraine conflict and digested the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting minutes.

“Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine don’t appear to be going anywhere in the short term with the Kremlin complaining that the US sending weapons to Ukraine wasn’t helping the talks to progress,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson says.

The Fed minutes outlined plans to shrink the balance sheet by $95B a month with a potential May start date.

“I do think we have to move forthrightly in order to get the policy rate up to the right level to deal with inflation that we’ve got in front of us,” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard told reporters after a speech Thursday.

Investors selling this week were seemingly the last to understand that the Fed is actually changing policy, several analysts said, even though it has been stating its intentions for a long time.

“It’s almost like the market had a sudden epiphany that the Fed is tightening,” said Stifel equity strategist Barry Bannister.

In individual stocks, shares of HP surged 15%, or $5.15, to $40.06 after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed in a filing Wednesday that it has built a stake of more than 11% in the computer-and-printer maker.

The holding was worth more than $4.2 billion, based on HP’s closing price on Wednesday. Berkshire’s Class B shares ticked up 0.5%, or $1.93, to $346.51.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for April 8 [intraday]:

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ESG player K2Fly (ASX:K2F) says its $6.2m placement is being led by strategic investor Maptek – who will become a 13.2% shareholder in the company.

Mapteck dominates the sector globally for mine planning and geological modelling software as well as solutions across a wide span of the mining value chain, with annual revenues in excess of A$120m.

The investment by Maptek make it K2fly’s largest investor and represents a significant validation of the K2fly business and growth outlook by the world’s largest privately held mining software business,” K2F non-executive chair Jenny Cutri said.

In addition to nabbing a stake in the company, Maptek’s chairman, Peter Johnson, will join the K2fly Board as a non-executive director.

And former market darling Andromeda Metals (ASX:ADN) recovered some ground after a poorly received DFS for its Great White kaolin project in South Australia earlier this week sparked a 50% fall in the share price.

The internal rate of return, a measure of the profitability of a project, plummeted from 175% in the prefeasibility study (PFS) to 36% in the DFS – and initial capital expenditure increased from $28m to $93.8m.

In a conference call today MD James Marsh called the negative response a “misunderstanding in the market”.

“The fundamentals of the DFS – these are very strong numbers. In any market for any other company on the ASX in our state of evolution these would’ve been accepted very positively,” he says.

“Our DFS is our stage 1 business plan; it is the starting point for a much bigger business.”

“The approach we have taken is a sound one, very robust, we have very high confidence in what we are saying here.”

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for April 8 [intraday]:

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