First, we’re off to Michigan City in the United States, where a story of mateship and bonding among a team of fast food workers has come spectacularly undone.

Ten people, most of them employees at a Hardees burger joint, have been arrested after hatching a cunning plan to get their mates out of prison without having to spend a dime.

According to local authorities, during August and September this year, prison officials noticed that “large sums of money were being placed onto the inmates’ communication system — called Securus — accounts from a source outside the jail”.

Those inmates were then using that money to post bond, allowing them to walk free from jail “almost immediately”.

There was no obvious pattern to where the suspicious funds were coming from at first, but after a ring around to the source of the funds, authorities soon figured out a common thread – the “donors” all been through the drive through for a gross, nasty burger shortly before sending the funds to the prisoners.

Sure enough, it turned out that the burger-flippers working the drive-through window were snapping photos of customer credit cards as their purchases were processed, and then using them to send money to their mates banged up in jail.

All up, they made off with more than US$14,700 in fraudulent charges before police swooped, returning the inmates who’d used the stolen money to free themselves back to the slammer.

The good news: they’re not going to be lonely back in prison. There’s another 10 people, most of them from the burger joint, joining them in jail for company.

 

TO MARKETS

Local markets have fallen this morning, following a CPI-driven droop on Wall Street overnight that has analysts (and investors) clutching their pearls about interest rates again.

It’s pretty laughable that they’re called “interest rates”, to be honest – because I am monumentally bored of writing about them, leaving my personal rate of interest at close to 0.01%.

But anyway – the poor performance in America has put downward pressure on local markets, leaving the benchmark down 0.4% for the day thus far, with Real Estate and Industrials taking the worst of the pantsing.

 

asx winner FTZ
Chart via Marketindex.com.au

 

A more granular look at the market via the “official” ASX indices puts the ASX 200 XJR Resources index out in front at the moment, up just 0.13%, while the recent upward trajectory among the goldies has slowed today, with the XGD All Ords Gold index dipping nearly 0.7% so far.

In large cap news, Health giant CSL (ASX:CSL) was looking worse for wear again this morning, falling another 1.83% in early trade to go with the almost 7% shellacking it took yesterday, thanks to the labyrinthine goings on with drugmaker Novo Nordisk’s Amazing Cure for Everything™, Ozempic.

Novo says its diabetes and weight-loss drug could also delay the progression of chronic kidney disease – which is great news for everyone with chronic kidney disease, but demonstrably unhappy news for CSL, as its own Swiss subsidiary Vifor has been sinking a lot of effort and money into that area of medicine.

However, CSL bounced this morning and is currently up 1.45%. Whether that’s a reprieve from generalised market jitters, or bargain hunters picking the bottom, is yet to be determined.

 

NOT THE ASX

In US news, the S&P 500 fell by -0.62%, the blue chips Dow Jones index was down by -0.51%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled by -0.68% after Wall Street got mugged by a slightly worse than expected headline CPI figure – up 0.4% for September, 0.1% higher than the market was expecting, apparently.

US markets weren’t the only casualty, either. Our pissweak Aussie dollar copped a hammering in the wake of the data release, falling 1.6% to US$0.6313.

Earlybird Eddy reports that US bond yields also surged after the release, with the 10-year rising by 11bp and the 2-year by 6bp, giving deVere CEO Nigel Green reason to expect interest rates to remain higher for longer.

“Taking into account the latest US CPI data, and the minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting, we expect there to be one last 25 basis point hike at its two-day meeting beginning October 31,” he said.

To US stock news, Ford Motor fell 2% after the United Auto Workers union expanded its strike at the company’s biggest plant in Kentucky, in response to Ford refusing to move further in contract negotiations.

Cinema chain company AMC Entertainment rose 6% ahead of the “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” movie debut later today, US time.

In Japan, the Nikkei is down 0.22% after a local man live-streaming his evening to the world got on the sauce, passed out drunk and was promptly robbed – all of it broadcast to the world.

The man, whose name hasn’t been released, was out for a drink after watching local baseball team the Baystars defeat the visiting Dragons from Nagoya in a 4-0 victory at Yokohama earlier that day.

But, having indulged in a little too much of the ol’ baseball beer, he passed out with his phone streaming, which in turn captured the moment that someone pinched his wallet.

Not content with that, the thief then returned to steal the man’s phone as well – accidentally recording not just the crime, but a lengthy conversation with a criminal associate in a nearby hotel room as well.

 

 

What a time to be alive, if not awake.

In China, Shanghai markets are down 0.51% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 1.7% in early trade.

And the Thailand Stock Exchange is closed for the King’s Birthday, but I’m not going to make a joke about that, because Thailand takes the “crime” of lèse-majesté extremely seriously, and I don’t fancy a lengthy stay in the Bangkok Hilton for hurting the king’s feelings.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for 13 October [intraday]:

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

Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap
MXC MGC Pharmaceuticals 0.002 100% 1,995,000 $4,427,968
CLE Cyclone Metals 0.0015 50% 16,399,211 $10,264,505
FTZ Fertoz Ltd 0.099 48% 757,354 $17,274,933
SWF Selfwealth 0.175 25% 906,908 $32,971,340
DDT DataDot Technology 0.005 25% 8,057,736 $4,843,811
MHC Manhattan Corp Ltd 0.005 25% 1,602,237 $11,747,919
NAG Nagambie Resources 0.022 22% 257,272 $10,471,074
PKD Parkd Ltd 0.03 20% 28,014 $2,545,458
RIM Rimfire Pacific 0.006 20% 2,000,000 $10,526,224
NGY Nuenergy Gas Ltd 0.038 19% 80,500 $47,390,576
STK Strickland Metals 0.105 17% 23,619,199 $144,066,690
TGH Terragen 0.029 16% 90,000 $9,227,028
FIN FIN Resources Ltd 0.022 16% 14,711,390 $11,799,672
MEG Megado Minerals Ltd 0.037 16% 105,124 $8,142,578
EVR Ev Resources Ltd 0.015 15% 1,001,948 $12,167,793
G6M Group 6 Metals Ltd 0.094 15% 350,477 $82,280,827
GCM Green Critical Minerals 0.008 14% 100,000 $7,956,095
NC1 Nico Resources 0.4 14% 105,639 $30,773,751
ATV Active Port Group 0.125 14% 37,388 $22,006,317
PPY Papyrus Australia 0.025 14% 132,556 $10,836,487
RHY Rhythm Biosciences 0.21 14% 937,708 $40,911,379
HOR Horseshoe Metals Ltd 0.009 13% 633,489 $5,147,829
PAB Patrys Limited 0.009 13% 60,658 $16,459,579
SFG Seafarms Group Ltd 0.0045 13% 621,101 $19,346,397
JGH Jade Gas Holdings 0.037 12% 21,856 $52,035,528
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On the winner’s list today is Fertoz (ASX:FTZ), climbing 40.3% on yesterday’s news that its Fertify NPKS plant in Montana, USA has achieved nameplate capacity of 40,000 tons per annum after two months of operation.

Fertoz has reached the milestone with the facility working at double-shift capacity, but says that 50,000 tons per year is “achievable with triple shift operation”, as it ramps up production of its regenerative and organic all-in-one NPKS pellets to farmers in time for Spring in the US.

Meanwhile, peer-to-peer investing solution provider SelfWealth (ASX:SWF) is up 25% this morning after acknowledging there’s some truth behind recent media speculation of a potential transaction with Stakeshop.

“In recent weeks Selfwealth received a confidential, non-binding, indicative proposal from Stake to acquire the Company by way of scheme of arrangement at a cash price of 17.5c a share,” the company says.

However, that offer has been knocked back in short order by Selfwealth as it “did not offer appropriate value to Selfwealth shareholders”, and as such there’s been very little in the way of negotiation on the topic thus far.

Nagambie Resources (ASX:NAG) is up 22.2% this morning on the heels of an update from the Nagambie antimony-gold mine in Victoria, which the company says now boasts an “average antimony stope grade of 5.6% Sb”, making the Nagambie Mine discovery “the highest-grade antimony mineralisation in Australia”.

Nagambie says highlights include 13.4g/t AuEq (3.7% Sb plus 6.3g/t Au) over 1.2m EHT in hole NAD019; and 16.5g/t AuEq (7.9% Sb plus 1.3g/t Au) over 1.2m EHT in hole NAD044 – but it’s probably worth noting that mineralisation is 209m and 330m below surface in those holes respectively.

Meanwhile, Fin Resources (ASX:FIN) has resumed its recent climb, up 15.8% this morning (+100% for the week) on Monday’s news about abundant spodumene crystals within a broad pegmatite outcrop at Cancet West, 45km west of Winsome Resources’ (ASX:WR1) Cancet lithium deposit and 100km west of Patriot Battery Metals’ (ASX:PMT) Corvette Lithium Deposit.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for 13 October [intraday]:

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

Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap
PVS Pivotal Systems 0.003 -25% 140,976 $3,073,517
AVJ AVJennings Limited 0.265 -23% 1,309,768 $140,334,142
88E 88 Energy Ltd 0.0055 -21% 124,736,391 $154,830,585
MRQ MRG Metals Limited 0.002 -20% 219,360 $5,514,797
BGE Bridge SaaS 0.032 -18% 66,460 $1,538,004
SRI Sipa Resources Ltd 0.019 -17% 12,396 $5,247,637
X2M X2M Connect Limited 0.035 -17% 190,000 $6,669,237
ANR Anatara Ls Ltd 0.025 -17% 102,490 $3,597,720
AHN Athena Resources 0.005 -17% 2,822,627 $6,422,805
IPT Impact Minerals 0.01 -17% 3,888,740 $34,376,447
RNO Rhinomed Ltd 0.035 -15% 20,140 $11,714,507
PUA Peak Minerals Ltd 0.003 -14% 1,000 $3,644,818
TAS Tasman Resources Ltd 0.006 -14% 402,000 $4,988,685
VN8 Vonex Limited. 0.019 -14% 50,260 $7,960,230
ENV Enova Mining Limited 0.007 -13% 3,384,651 $3,909,293
ETR Entyr Limited 0.007 -13% 4,343,482 $15,864,831
IBX Imagion Biosys Ltd 0.014 -13% 5,549,518 $20,892,265
LNR Lanthanein Resources 0.007 -13% 730,106 $8,972,605
NET Netlinkz Limited 0.007 -13% 3,035,941 $28,484,227
RDS Redstone Resources 0.007 -13% 20,000 $6,971,028
VMC Venus Metals Cor Ltd 0.105 -13% 24,000 $22,767,442
SHO Sportshero Ltd 0.021 -13% 293,267 $13,800,026
VMT Vmoto Limited 0.145 -12% 454,226 $47,889,648
1CG One Click Group Ltd 0.015 -12% 766,071 $10,456,670
AQI Alicanto Min Ltd 0.046 -12% 204,334 $31,867,514
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