Afternoon. Let’s talk about pest control.

Not just so we have an excuse to use an excellent headline/pic combination for your Friday entertainment, either.

On both coasts of the US, a grand experiment is about to take place – the largest release of modified insects in world history.

If that sounds terrifying, it kind of is. The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved dropping giant clouds of mosquitoes made by UK biotech firm Oxitec which will mate with a pesky new breed that popped up in 2013.

Oxitec’s mozzies are all male, don’t bite, and when they mate with a female, will pass on a gene that kills their kids before they mature.

Nobody like mosquitoes, but there is a reason for why everything exists, even lunatic despots. File this one under Cool, But Feeling a Bit Queasy.

The markets story of the day, still, is nickel. This week, Chinese investor Big Shot joined Evergrande and Bill Hwang to form a Holy Trinity of epic gamblers who in the past 12 months have done their best to punch holes in the global economy.

Actually, on a global scale, Big Shot – aka Xiang Guangda, founder of Tsinghan – is more the equivalent of those hollow pens you spat tiny bits of paper out of at girls you liked in high school.

But he’s also a big holder of ASX listed Nickel Mines and as such, both have been caught up in the massive short squeeze on the hot commodity. So massive the LME suspended trading on it to take the unprecedented step of allowing Xiang to put up a rumoured US$200m in margin.

Trading begins again on Tuesday, but there’s a lot more going on here, so let’s do what proper journos do on a Friday – get a pro to explain it.

Very excellent.

And here’s The Secret Broker on why Big Shot’s ‘Green Mountain’ is looking more like Big Shot’s ‘Brown Mountain’ for the moment.

Oh yeah, and US inflation dropped in to say hi:

Courtesy Bank of Canada

That 7.9% rise through February is the fastest pace of annual inflation in 40 years, and mostly due to rising food and rent prices, which sounds familiar.

The Dow didn’t make it into positive territory, at all.

The S&P/ASX200 has so far followed its lead today, dropping 26.90 points or 0.38% to 7,103.90.

It hasn’t actually been a terrible week, virtually unchanged in fact, but is down 4.58% for the last year to date.

Could be worse. Most likely will be…

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for March 11 [intraday]:

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

The S&P/ASX 200 Resources [XJR] index – the benchmark for ASX resources companies — was a standout performer in early trade Friday. There’s more on that here, along with a very tight copper meme with Ahnuld in it.

Most of the top stocks were metallic. Siren hit visible gold at Alexander River in the rich Reefton gold district on the South Island of New Zealand, and Firebird had another big day out as investors soaked up yesterday’s manganese update.

Emma Davies has the best five resources performers laid out for you here.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Flipside: It’s not been a good week for nantech stock Anteotech, which has seen its share price plunge by 45% on no news. So bad it led to an enquiry by the ASX.

In its response today, ADO said it wasn’t aware of any material information that could affect the share price.

That seems harsh.