ASX Small Caps Lunch Wrap: What fresh horror from the deep has science delivered today?
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Local markets are down this morning after a double-dose of ugly news from overseas struck fear into the hearts and minds of Australia’s investor community.
The ASX 200 benchmark fell more than 1.0% at open this morning, and at the time of writing it’s fallen even further, sinking to -1.34% by lunchtime.
I’m not going to lie – it’s looking pretty bleak out there today, so in the interests of helping you all maintain a rosy outlook, I’d like to share with you some eye-bleach from the Wonderful World of Nature.
That was, of course, a lie, because scientists have pretty much found all the happy-looking things in the world already. They’re now left scanning the planet’s oceans for creatures so ugly they’ll make you yearn for a swarm of insects to delve deep into your brain and eat the bits that help you to see, and to remember.
It’s got 20 arms, lives hundreds of metres deep in the frigid oceans off the Antarctic coast, and looks distressingly like some kind of Bone Demon/Alien/Aeroplane Jelly hybrid has escaped from a nether realm and is now searching for souls to feast on.
And thanks to researchers Greg Rouse, Emily McLaughlin and Nerid Wilson, we have photos like this one to help you reach the understandable conclusion that we’re all about to die.
The researchers have named it the “Antarctic strawberry feather star”, which is coincidentally the same name as an acquaintance of mine from the mid 1990s, who earned a respectable living removing her clothes.
It has, of course, a more formal scientific name – Promachocrinus fragarius – which also coincidentally sounds a lot like the fungal infection the Delightful Ms Feather Star gifted me a few days before she departed for Japan, never to be seen again.
But I digress.
To be fair to the poor critter, feather stars are actually quite attractive while they’re in the water, waving their many, many arms about in a slow motion ballet, thanks to the ocean currents working for Menulog deliver the micro-organisms it consumes to stay alive.
It’s only once they’re removed from the ocean and kept on dry land until they die that they start to smell awful and look truly horrifying.
Just like a mermaid.
It’s been a little while since I’ve seen this happen, but every sector’s in the red this morning, from Real Estate (which is almost at break even) down to InfoTech, which is bleeding value all over the nice, new ASX carpets.
InfoTech’s big guns are taking their lumps this morning, including yesterday’s standout Life360 (ASX:360) which has dumped more than 4.2%. Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC) is down 3.7% and Xero (ASX:XRO) has dropped 2.75% as well.
But a couple of the Big Boys are bucking the day’s trend, most notably autoparts and accessories seller Bapcor (ASX:BAP), which picked a hell of a day to drop some phenomenal news on the market.
Bapcor says the company has recorded record revenue of $2.0 billion, up 9.7% on pcp, to help the company the deliver pro-Forma NPAT of $125.3 million, with 2H23 Pro-Forma NPAT of $63.3 million higher than 1H23 of $62.0 million, in line with guidance.
BAP shareholders are in line to pocket a final divvy of $0.115 per share, to take the year’s total to $0.22.
And in a quick follow-up to the announcement yesterday that one of the ASX’s BNPL companies was looking to delist, we’ve had confirmation of that this morning.
SplitIt Payments (ASX:SPT) has revealed that private equity group Motive Partners has signed on to provide $77.5 million in funding, while the company leaves the ASX for warmer climes in the Cayman Islands.
Chief executive Nandan Sheth told our friends at The Australian that the company had been chronically undervalued during it’s time as a publicly traded company, and the move to the Caymans will provide room for “a simplified corporate structure and a more flexible operating environment, as well as improved prospects of accessing future capital”.
Wall St showed its displeasure at the state of affairs in China overnight, staging a bottom-heavy sit-in that saw the S&P 500 tumble by -1.16%, the Nasdaq fall 1.14% and the Dow take a -1.02% hit as well.
As Earlybird Eddy reported this morning, it was China’s data release yesterday which showed July industrial output and retail sales growth coming in below forecasts that’s causing the bulk of the headaches.
China’s PBOC responded by cutting its key rate by 15bp, while authorities halted the release of youth unemployment figures, which were seen by experts as a key indication of the country’s slowdown.
It’s a worrying sign when a major economy has a set of unemployment figures that are (presumably) so appalling that they just get scrubbed from the official data completely, but – as one wag on Chinese social media site Weibo explained – “As long as I don’t announce it, then nobody is unemployed.”
The China issue is, as you’d expect, enormously complicated. Luckily for me (and by extension, you) our very own Christian Edwards is something of an expert on China. Almost suspiciously so… Anyway, he’s put together this explainer to get you up to speed on what’s happening.
You can trust Christian’s knowledge of China, if only because I am 99.9% sure that he’s acted in waaaaay more official, state-sanctioned Chinese TV dramas and children’s shows than you ever have.
someone call ASIO
Skipping back to US news for a moment, Home Depot rose 1% after beating quarterly earnings and revenue estimates, while mega tech stocks like Tesla, Apple and Amazon fell as traders exited risky trades.
Major banks JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo also dipped more than 2% after rating agency Fitch reiterated that it may downgrade larger lenders.
In Japan, the Nikkei is down 1.2% this morning, despite news of a major bath-time breakthrough that allows consumers to feel like they’re soaking in their favourite bowl of ramen.
Shinjuku-based Dreams Co. has developed bath oils that resemble soy sauce and chilli oil, which look (at first glance) indistinguishable from their real-world edible counterparts – with the added bonus of including some ingredients to mimic their supposed effects.
The “chilli oil” contains hot pepper extract to warm the body, and the “soy sauce” contains soybean seed extract to give firmness to the skin – turning your tub into the perfect venue for running a bath and going limp like a noodle at the end of a horror day on the bourse.
Back to China now, where the eyes of the world are watching Shanghai markets magically weather the worst of the storm, down just 0.57% so far today – while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng has fallen 1.23% in early trade.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for 16 August [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
It’s not been all doom and gloom on the markets today, though. Lumos Diagnostics (ASX:LDX) is back in the headlines today, thanks to a 27% jump driven by a double-dose of great news for the local biotech.
For starters, LDX has signed a deal with the Dutch subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed Henry Shein Inc – the world’s largest provider of health care solutions to office-based dental and medical practitioners – to distribute the company’s FebriDx point-of-care test that can tell a bacterial lung infection from a viral one within minutes.
Additionally, LDX has been granted a core patent in Europe and Japan, covering the camera technology used in its rapid diagnostics reader platform.
“These readers have become a critical component of new point-of-care tests as they automate the reading and quantification of results and allow those results to be seamlessly integrated into electronic medical record systems,” the company says.
Meanwhile, Singular Health (ASX:SHG) is up more than 25% this morning, on news of a strategic investment from CG1 Ventures, the venture arm of Singular’s recently appointed master US distributor, CG1 Solutions.
The deal will see CG1 Ventures invest up to $850,000 at $0.055 per share, a 41% premium to the last closing price of $0.039, and the same price as the company’s last capital raise – and this morning’s lift has taken SHG’s trading price to $0.049 as a result.
In third place this morning is AML3D (ASX:AL3), up 24% on news of a fresh $2 million contract from the US Navy to develop and metal 3D print a replacement component used in US Navy submarines.
Obviously, we’re not able to tell you precisely which bits of the submarines are involved, but the company has said that the “non-safety-critical (NSC) components are high demand components made with Nickel-Aluminum-Bronze”.
The contract is due to run for roughly nine months from September this year, with the fee payable up-front and upon meeting contract milestones.
Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for 16 August [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort: