It sounds like the plot of Sister Act 3, but a nun in the US has been jailed after stealing US$800k to fund her gambling habit.

Mary Margaret Kreuper swore to a life of poverty but the 80-year-old Californian nun just couldn’t resist the bright lights of Vegas – diverting US$835,000 of school funds from the Catholic elementary school where she was the principal to pay for gambling jaunts and fancy holidays.

District Judge Otis D Wright II told Kreuper that he had wrestled with what to do with her, and acknowledged she had been a good teacher for many decades, “but somewhere along the line, you just ran completely off the road, and I think you understand that”, he said.

“At least I hope you do.”

The nun was sentenced to 12 months and one day behind bars – but it remains to be seen if Whoopi will come back for a reboot.

To Markets …

The ASX 200 is up 14.20 points or 0.20% at midday today to 7200.90.

In Europe, there’s speculation about the European Central Bank raising interest rates this year and, in the US, the S&P 500 is still down 5.5% in 2022 after selling off in January.

“It just looks like people are very happy sort of buying the dip,” said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer at Northern Trust Wealth Management. “We have very strong markets across the board here.”

With results in from about 60% of S&P 500 companies, analysts expect profits rose 30% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, according to FactSet. That is up from estimates for 21% growth at the end of September.

At the same time, several companies have adopted a wary tone about the path ahead.

As of late last week, 34 companies in the S&P 500 had given earnings guidance for the first quarter that was lower than analysts had been expecting, while 13 companies had issued guidance higher than the average earnings estimate, according to FactSet.

“The guidance we’re hearing from companies is understandably cautious,” said Tom Plumb, president and portfolio manager at Plumb Funds.

“It’s feeding, in some cases, the anxiety people have about political and economic events and Federal Reserve policy.”

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for February 9 [intraday]:

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

 

The biggest small cap winner today was Wooboard (ASX:WOO) up on no news, followed by Rectifier Technology (ASX:RFT) up 84% after receiving ~$US20m in purchase orders from EV unicorn Tritium for the supply of modular power units for high powered EV chargers.

The company says it’s a “significant milestone” for both parties, with the orders scheduled to be delivered before the end of CY22.

Then there’s New Talisman Gold (ASX:NTL), up 33% on no news.

And Caspin Resources (ASX:CPN) was up 26% after announcing it hit a “significant zone of nickel-copper-PGE mineralisation” at Yarawindah Brook.

CEO Greg Miles said it’s a “captivating result”.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to demonstrate continuous PGE mineralisation from surface into the basement rocks at potentially economic levels,” he said.

“The geological setting is also different from what we’ve previously observed within the Central Yarabrook Hill area and is more akin to mineralised settings at Gonneville.

“We’ve opened up a new and exciting exploration front and taken a substantial leap forward on the pathway to discovery.”

Also up on no news was Buxton Resources (ASX:BUX), followed by Greentech Metals (ASX:GRE) up 21% on the intersection of high grade copper and zinc at ‘Whundo’ in WA.

The company is aiming to expand the current indicated resource of 2.7Mt at 1.14% copper and 1.14% zinc (for 30,000t contained copper and 30,000t contained zinc).

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS