Apparently, the prop stealth plane in the new Top Gun movie looked so real that China reportedly moved a spy satellite to get a better look at it.

Now this could just be a PR stunt for the film, but producer Jerry ‘Blockbuster’ Bruckheimer says the US Navy told him a Chinese satellite turned and headed on a different route to photograph the plane.

The SR-72, if you believe official sources, doesn’t exist… yet. OR DOES IT?

It’s supposed to be the successor to the legendary Blackbird, which still holds the record as the world’s fastest air-breathing manned aircraft, a record it set in 1976.

Yes, aeronautical fanboi NERDS have literally been born and have died while holding out for a new hypersonic Blackbird that can counter the threat of hypersonic missiles.

The best Lockheed can give them though is repeated statements that a prototype may be in the air by 2025. OR WILL IT?

“They thought it was real. That’s how real it looks,” Bruckheimer said.

The fictional next-generation fighter dubbed “Darkstar” is actually pretty realistic because Lockheed Martin Corporation’s Skunk Works advanced projects division collaborated with the filmmakers to design and create a full-scale mock-up of the hypersonic jet.

 

To Markets …

Also flying high is the ASX 200, up 56 points or 0.79% at midday today to 7,168.50.

Today in Australia, data on wages growth (March quarter) is due while key jobs data is due on Thursday. Both will be watched closely for rate hike forecasts.

Ahead of the data, Bloomberg is currently pricing in a ~32bps lift in the cash rate in June.

 

Week retail sales in China make a dent

China stocks ended lower yesterday, as investors digested weak April retail sales data, a proxy for the country’s overall consumption. The metric fell 11% in the past month, marking its worst drop since March 2020.

Shanghai also recorded three straight days with no new COVID-19 cases outside quarantine zones yesterday – and European sharemarkets were firmer on hopes for an easing of Covid restrictions in China.

“After an early dip prompted by a sharp slowdown in Chinese retail sales in April, European markets have recovered to some extent from their intraday lows,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson says in a note.

“Sentiment remains cautious, with the DAX sliding as it becomes ever more apparent that the Chinese economy is likely to stay in the doldrums for a while yet.”

 

US stock market’s longest losing streak since 2011

Even after rallying Friday, the S&P 500 has dropped for six consecutive weeks, its longest weekly losing streak since June 2011. The index is down 16% this year.

Speaking at a Wall Street Journal event, US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said: “What we need to see is inflation coming down in a clear and convincing way and we’re going to keep pushing until we see that.”

Investors are grappling with so many issues — the Russia-Ukraine war, Federal Reserve policy, inflation, China’s economic slowdown — it is hard for them to justify holding any assets for too long, said City Index market analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

Most fundamentally, he said, investor confidence has been badly shaken by the selloff.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

 

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for May 18 [intraday]:

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

 

 

Analytica (ASX:ALT) has nabbed patents for its PeriCoach pelvic floor exercise system in Europe and India.

The system is for women who suffer Stress Urinary Incontinence – which affects 1 in 3 women worldwide and is mostly caused by trauma to the pelvic floor muscles as a result of pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.

PeriCoach comprises a device which evaluates activity in pelvic floor muscles. This information is then transmitted to a smartphone app and can be loaded to a cloud database where physicians can monitor patient progress remotely via web portal.

This invention has also previously been granted patent protection in Australia, USA, China and Japan – and is patent pending in Brazil.

Then there’s Riversgold (ASX:RGL) which has acquired another tenement prospective for lithium in the Pilbara which CEO Julian Ford says is a “very important milestone for the advancement of our new lithium discovery objectives at Riversgold.”

“Our initial results at Tambourah have been impressive to date with lithium grades in pegmatite outcrop up to 2% Li2O, and we look forward to accelerating our exploration efforts here with the aim of drilling our key targets as soon as possible,” he said.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS