News out of the US today has brought us an absolute, Deliverance-level backwoods gem – a classic buck-toothed, dungaree-clad Oklahoma whodunnit, with the added bonus of a motive for murder that is almost as dumb as the crime itself.

NBC local news outlet has reported on a murder that’s allegedly taken place on the banks of the South Canadian River (which gets its name from being in the US of A, and nowhere near Canada at all).  A gruesome, up-close-and-personal, utterly mystifying in its gross stupidity, murder.

A fisherman, who we’ll call Larry because that’s his name, has reportedly confessed to murdering his fishing pal, over fears he was going to be eaten by Big Foot.

According to investigators, the pair had gone “noodling” together, which is when grown men wrestle catfish with their bare hands, and is not – despite how it sounds – a euphemism for bare men wrestling, with or without catfish, because who are we to judge?

Anyhow – at some point in this episode of Grab ‘em by the Whiskers,  it became apparent to Larry that he was about to be abandoned in the wilderness, to become a snack for a Sasquatch.

Larry told officials that when Jimmy attempted to leave him behind as a Bigfoot breakfast, the pair exchanged harsh words. Things got heated, Larry hit Jimmy with a stick, the pair fought and Larry came out the winner.

It’s a win that will go down in history as one that is particularly contrary, after Jimmy’s death literally fulfilled Larry’s horrifying premonition of being left alone in a remote area that’s absolutely teeming with giant hairy ape-men.

Except for the being eaten by Bigfoot part, of course. That bit didn’t happen. This time.

 

TO MARKETS

The ASX 200 got off to a stuttering start this morning, dipping slightly at open. But after just 15 minutes of being miserable in the dirt, things started looking up after a solid bump out of the Materials sector helped everyone renew their vim and vigour for life.

Materials climbed better than 1.6% in early trade, with other sectors making weird faces like they were doing stuff, but with very little to show for it.

Except for Real Estate, though. It’s been the worst-performing sector this morning, with Charter Hall leading the sector’s drop, down by around 2.0% on no particular news.

Leading the charge at the top end of town was a gaggle of coal miners, which went soaring up the charts after coal prices smashed through US$400.

Yancoal (ASX:YAL) (+5.0%), Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) (+4.6%), New Hope (ASX:NHC) (+5.7%) and Stanmore Resources (ASX:SMR) (+4.9%) all had bangers for brekky as a result.

Leading the big money losers were Viva Energy (ASX:VEA), after the market met news of an “exceptional” quarterly result with a gigantic -3.6% raspberry.

And Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) lost its baggage over Brisbane, falling 3.9% after rumours swept the market that the guy on the company’s TV commercials isn’t even a real pilot.

We’ll talk about the Small Caps movers in a bit, but before then let’s try our best to boost Flight Centre’s fortunes with a quick trip around the world to look at what’s happening elsewhere.

 

NOT THE ASX

Looking overseas, and headlines out of the US are all about the simply enormous annual consumer prices spike, with gains so big they’d make Arnie gasp, incredulously.

US consumer prices soared 9.1% in June, the largest jump in more than 40 years, pouring fuel on the fire of recession fears.

US President Joe Biden tried applying a tourniquet by claiming the data was out of date, because when he shook his Magic 8 Ball, it said “falling gas prices” – which went down about as well as you’d expect such a bafflingly poor defence of the situation would go.

The increase flies in the face of the US Fed’s attempts to rein things in, with talks of a 75 – or even a 100 – basis point interest rate rise on the cards in the US. The Fed’s “Beige Book” raised more fears of a looming recession, with inflation set to last at least through the end of the year.

Christian Edwards has a far more comprehensive look at the issue here – well worth the read.

Wall Street closed lower, with the Dow down 0.67%, the S&P falling 0.45% and the Nasdaq ticking down 0.15%, with US markets holding their breath ahead of bank earnings due out.

Asian markets reacted poorly to the US data, falling or staying flat throughout the morning.

Japan’s Nikkei bore the brunt of it all, dipping 0.3%, while Hong Kong and Shanghai shares remained stable.

In commodities, there’s not whole heap of great news there, either; oil prices were stable, up just 0.04%, however gas fell 0.9%. Gold and silver both fell, down 0.5% and 0.8% respectively, and copper inched down 0.3% as well.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 14 [intraday]:

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

 

Top of the Small Caps pops was Panther Metals (ASX:PNT), with the explorer smashing out a bonanza-grade gold find at its Burtville East prospect.

Investors just about broke their backs piling on board Panther, which leapt an entirely justifiable 29%, thanks to visible gold being panned out of one hole at the prospect, and gob-smacking results like 15m at 53.94g/t gold from 27m, including:

  • 1m at 79.90g/t gold from 27m,
  • 1m at 478.00g/t gold from 28m,
  • 1m at 125.50g/t gold from 34m, and
  • 1m at 43.80g/t gold from 35m

Also having a corker this morning were Australian Pacific Coal (ASX:AQC), up 19% on soaring coal prices.

And Zelira Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD) keeps on rocketing (up 34%) after its product approval news from German regulatory authority BfArM (The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte), now that it’s all been squared away with the ASX as well.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for July 14 [intraday]:

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