Image is everything. That’s something we’ve learned from social media, even though social media itself has a bit of an image problem.

The business world is full of examples where, following a PR disaster, the rebranding experts are called in, focus groups are convened, a company gets a new logo and a bill for several million dollars.

In the news today, though, are a couple of entities from the world of nature, which are struggling with names that aren’t exactly palatable.

In the wake of Covid-19 – a virus with a suitable science-fiction sounding name – is the burgeoning issue of the next – *ahem* – viral sensation to sweep the globe: Monkeypox.

According to authorities in New York, where Monkeypox infections are on the cusp of spiralling into “out of control” territory, the virus needs a new name because Monkeypox is kinda racist.

New York officials have asked the World Health Organisation to undertake a corporate rebranding, so that anyone who does catch it won’t have “racist virus name” to deal with, on top of the running sores and other gross things that Monkeypox brings with it.

We reckon there’s a good chance that New York’s going to be listened to, so stand by for the ultra-slick marketing campaign for this year’s must-catch virus, “MXPV”.

It’s a similar quandary facing a certain stinging insect that’s been slowly invading North America over the past few years.

The frighteningly aggressive airborne stinging bastard (the name we suggested, but which was disappointingly knocked back) has two monikers deemed inappropriate.

The Entomological Society of America and the Entomological Society of Canada have adopted a new name for the beast – now known as the Northern Giant Hornet – because “Murder Hornet” was deemed distasteful and its actual former name, Asian giant hornet, was also on the wrong side of racist.

We eagerly await a formal complaint from either Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (the comically large chappy from Game of Thrones) or Manchester City’s latest signing, Erling Haaland (195cm of high-speed footballing genius) – both of whom could likely win a trademark lawsuit, depending on who the hornets could get to represent them.

 

TO MARKETS

Australian markets opened higher and stayed there this morning, on track to head to the pub for a schnitty and chips with a 0.6% climb in its pocket.

Across the sectors, and rising commodity prices, positive quarterlies and a few major miner discoveries have put some pep in the step of Materials (+1.42%), with only Utilities (-0.71%) providing any serious drag against the positive mood of the market.

Big Money winners this morning include Novonix (ASX:NVX), which has piled on more than 10% this morning off the back of a friendly quarterly released yesterday.

And PointsBet (ASX:PBH) has jumped better than 12% today on no particular news, but strong rumours of a hot tip in the second at Bathurst on Saturday persist, despite the track’s new Soft 7 rating after all the rain we’ve had.

Not faring so well in the Big Leagues was toll road specialist Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX), after talks of a 15% buy-in from the IFM Global Infrastructure Fund collapsed, sending ALX shares down more than 6.5%.

We’ll get into the small caps once we’ve looked overseas.

 

NOT THE ASX

US markets reacted to news of the much-vaunted 75 basis point interest rate rise by positively jumping for joy, with the S&P 500 up by 2.6% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq up 4%.

As Our Guy Eddy reported, Fed Chair Jay Powell reiterated his commitment to fight inflation, but believes the US economy is not in a recession.

“I don’t think the US is currently in recession. There are too many areas of the economy that are performing too well.”

Powell said he would not rule out a 75-basis point rate increase for the next meeting, but did say that it will likely be appropriate to slow rate increases at some point.

Asian markets joined the party, albeit in a much more muted fashion. Japan’s Nikkei is up 0.24%, Hong Kong has climbed 0.29% and Shanghai is heading for 0.8% as we decide what we’re having on our sandwiches today.

Commodities are also looking a bit fabulous today, with the exception of Natural Gas, which is unchanged from this time yesterday.

Oil is 1.60% higher, gold is 0.8% shinier, silver is up a trophy-winning 2.58% and copper is up an arresting 1.59%.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 28 [intraday]:

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

 

In small caps, and Laybuy (ASX:LBY) has gone properly berserk this morning, up 62% this morning and climbing fast enough to trip the ASX radar gun.

LBY has responded to the price query with a cheery “All good – nothing to see here”, but has flagged that there will be a potentially market-sensitive announcement between now and 31 July.

Meanwhile, MC Mining (ASX:MCM) has shot up 50% on no immediately visible news, and Kogan (ASX:KGN) has been boosted by a positive July Business Update, and rumours that one of its flat-screen TVs has been successfully delivered without a dead pixel right in the middle of the screen.

Leading the losses today are real estate firm Acumentis Group (ASX:ACU), down 21.8% on no news, and Godolphin Resources (ASX:GRL), down 20.6% after announcing the completion of its strategic placement, which raised $1.6m to keep its highly prospective Narraburra Rare Earth Project going.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 28 [intraday]:

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