There’s tipping your hat, and then there’s really, really tipping it.

Just ask the self-published romance novelist from Portland, Oregon – the spiritual home of terrible life choices – who wrote an essay titled How to Murder Your Husband.

Bad news for 71-year-old Nancy Brophy is that she’s just been convicted of doing precisely that, after her husband was killed in 2018 – seven years after his missus wrote her article about committing an untraceable murder.

The essay made it pretty clear that the author had given this a lot of thought – even outlining several reasons why she might have to do the grisly deed, with an emphasis on making sure she didn’t end up in the slammer once it was done.

“If the murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend any time in jail,” Brophy wrote.

The lesson here today could not be any more obvious or clear – sometimes it really is best to keep your mouth shut.

But yeah, more about Appen later.

 

To Markets …

The S&P/ASX 200 index has ticked up ~0.9% this morning, with the seers and sothsayers all pointing to a decently strong end to the week for the index.

The big news of the morning was a real head-scratcher, as whatever was ‘appending’ at Appen led to a bizarre rise and fall.

Yesterday, we told you all about what looked like a great gain for Appen investors, with a takeover offer launching Appen share’s skyward.

Regrettably, Telus International’s enthusiastic offer of $9.50 a share evaporated this morning, and word on the street is that someone forgot that loose lips sink ships – and an extremely unfortunate leak from Appen to the media on Wednesday about the Canadians’ offer was enough to see Telus walking out the door.

Even more unfortunate was the timing, with Appen’s AGM scheduled for today. Shareholders were told that Appen “sought to reach out to Telus through their advisers but have not been able to establish contact” – a brutal (and rather rude) “new phone, who dis” moment piled on top of Appen’s share price diving sharply by ~24%.

Around the region, Asian markets are travelling in the green, with Hong Kong stocks leading the charge thanks to tech giants Alibaba and Baidu exceeding forecasts for first quarter revenues.

The region can – fingers crossed – look to a brighter future after Chinese leaders sat down to let the government’s feelings known about the jelly-like economy. What followed was clearly a wait-and-see response, with investors exercising caution because talk is cheap, but a fix to a slowing economy actually requires doing something.

Stateside, markets had a good day, with the Dow climbing 1.61%, outdone by both the S&P (1.99%) and the Nasdaq (2.68%).

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for May 26 [intraday]:

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

Arguably the small cap Win of the Morning trophy is headed to the boardroom at Oklo Resources (ASX:OKU), which soared after news that the board has unanimously agreed to a fantastic takeover offer from Canada’s B2Gold, that values it at $90m, or 17.25c per share.

You can get more details of the deal here, but it looks like a pretty sweet ride, considering Oklo’s shares had been in a steady, seemingly inexorable decline since mid-2020.

Today’s other small cap climbers include a mighty jump for Mighty Kingdom (ASX:MKL) after it announced a partnership deal with Google, while defence specialist Xtek (ASX:XTE) had investors racing for the Buy Button after announcing a $46.8 million purchase order (!) through its HighCom Armour Solutions business, from a very mysterious-sounding “undisclosed international customer”.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS