From Peru comes a fascinating tale of the latest battle between social conservatives and anyone who needs to use the toilet, after the Peruvian congress threw the future of an upcoming, super-important high level international government conference into disarray.

The issue: whether or not Peru, as the host nation, is prepared to provide a gender-neutral dunny at the next the Organization of American States (OAS) meeting – where the theme, oh-so ironically, is meant to be “Together against inequality and discrimination”.

As an explainer, the OAS meeting is pretty much the same as Australia’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting, but with a lot more talk about international drug cartels, and (allegedly) a bit less talk about the shockingly-poor quality of cocaine in Australia.

Anyhow, the conservative majority on the Peruvian congress is apparently completely appalled at the idea of there being a bathroom that could be shared by people of any gender.

The gist of the argument against having one gender neutral bathroom at the conference is that it could “introduce the existence of trans bathrooms and neutral bathrooms and common bathrooms in Peru’s internal law”.

The anti-gender-neutral bathroom stance has been labelled a joke by the more liberal elements of Peru’s governing body, but it could be enough to have Peru lose its hosting rights to the prestigious event.

Much like Brexit and the perennial arguments about how much time children should be allowed to spend playing video games with their dad (ahem), it’s a pointlessly dumb battle for a hill that really isn’t going to be worth dying on.

Dumb as it is, the fight does actually prove one thing: it doesn’t take much of a pi$$ing contest to completely bog down progress, and if the issue isn’t sorted soon, then the politicians attending the meeting will really be full of s..t.

Anyway… enough of the potty talk. Let’s get down to doing our business.

 

TO MARKETS

The Australian markets have opened higher today… but you’re gonna have to squint real hard to see the improvement.

Much like a ute-punishing tradie making an appearance on Channel Nine’s epically hilarious RBT reality show, the ASX 200 is on track to blow an almost-okay-to-drive 0.05% rise as we head into lunch.

Across the market sectors, and it’s an all-star battle of tug’o’war, with the Red Team  featuring Consumer Discretionary (-1.97%), Health Care (-1.21%), and InfoTech (-1.34%) against the Green Team heavyweights, Materials (+1.68%) and (+2.01%).

The only Big Money winner on the list for this morning is open hotel commerce platform Siteminder (ASX:SDR), which has shot up 7.5% because – *checks notes* – someone at the Sydney Hilton opened a packet of peanuts from the minibar, valued at $9 million, maybe.

On the not-winning side of things, and we’d very much not like to be incoming Iress (ASX:IRE) CEO Marcus Price this morning.

An announcement from the company concerning Price’s ultra-slow transition into the captain’s seat at Iress has been met with an ego-sapping 11.2% plunge – although the not-excellent unaudited quarterly results might also have had a hand in that as well.

Likewise, iron ore movers Grange Resources (ASX:GRR) released its quarterly today, and fell into the abyss by 10.5%. Grrrr, indeed.

 

NOT THE ASX

In the US, and Wall Street had a mixed session overnight, leaving the S&P 500 up by 0.13% and the Nasdaq down 0.43%, as traders await the upcoming FOMC meeting which is widely tipped to to bring about a 75bp rate hike, with a 100bp leap still on the table as well.

In Asia this morning, it’s looking mostly positive. Hong Kong is leading the charge with a 1.27% gain, Shanghai’s along for the ride at +0.61%, but the Nikkei is proving to be willful and stubborn, slamming the door shut on its room and refusing to move (-0.06%).

Commodities were, for once, all into the positives. Oil is up 1.5%, natural gas is up 1.35%, while gold, silver and copper are also on the rise, up 0.29%, 0.69% and 2.18% respectively.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

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

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

 

Among or beloved small caps, and there’s a colossal list of companies bolting into the winners circle with >20% climbs – far too many to mention by name, so have a scroll through the table and look for yourself.

King of the Hill, though, is Polymetals Resources (ASX:POL), which has shot up 44.44% on zero news and low volume – a phenomenon we’ve seen quite a bit of lately, and which is no doubt causing consternation among certain elements of the ASX regulators.

Semiconductor processing equipment firm Revasum (ASX:RVS) would be feeling good about its new appointment, after news of Scott Jewler joining the company as president and CEO seems to have contributed to a 28.5% spike.

And Dart Mining (ASX:DTM) has spiked 27.5% on news that it’s entered into an earn-in with SQM Australia’s wholly-owned subsidiary Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile, giving SQM the right (but not the obligation) to sole fund exploration expenditure totalling $12 million over the next six years at the Dorchap Lithium Project.

Running out of boost, however, was Nitro Software (ASX:NTO), which has gone into the tyre barrier extremely hard, shedding 27% off the back of what appears to be a positive quarterly. We’ll look deeper into what’s happened there and bring you that news in Closing Bell this arvo.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the least-excellent ASX small cap performances for July 26 [intraday]:

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

Code Company Price % Market Cap
NTO Nitro Software Ltd 1.2 -26% 397,463,686
CLE Cyclone Metals 0.003 -25% 24,416,948
RCR Rincon 0.105 -22% 5,707,604
W2V Way2Vatltd 0.038 -21% 7,648,119
LAM Laramide Res Ltd 0.5 -17% 726,455
WBE Whitebark Energy 0.0025 -17% 16,944,658
AR9 Archtis Limited 0.195 -15% 60,674,738
RML Resolution Minerals 0.009 -14% 8,740,043
AVW Avira Resources Ltd 0.003 -14% 7,415,765
CL8 Carly Holdings Ltd 0.03 -14% 4,071,269
DDT DataDot Technology 0.006 -14% 8,707,086
GMN Gold Mountain Ltd 0.006 -14% 8,352,044
SPA Spacetalk Ltd 0.06 -14% 15,232,402
TML Timah Resources Ltd 0.07 -14% 7,427,236
G50 Gold50Limited 0.13 -13% 8,402,700
ASR Asra Minerals Ltd 0.02 -13% 30,819,444
AUK Aumake Limited 0.0035 -13% 3,085,788
CAV Carnavale Resources 0.007 -13% 21,748,414
RBR RBR Group Ltd 0.0035 -13% 5,150,481
RDN Raiden Resources Ltd 0.007 -13% 11,339,537
SI6 SI6 Metals Limited 0.007 -13% 11,905,513
CLZ Classic Min Ltd 0.035 -13% 8,273,151
IPD Impedimed Limited 0.05 -12% 101,459,108
IRE IRESS Limited 10.36 -12% 2,204,011,855
MGL Magontec Limited 0.35 -11% 30,308,038