Just when you thought things in Canada couldn’t get more… umm… Canadian, authorities from the nice part of North America have outdone themselves.

Health Canada has issued an urgent recall on several brands of cigarettes, because – let me check my notes here real quick – they’re a “fire hazard”.

No, really.

According to the Canadian health nerds, there are nearly 10 million packets of smokes lurking in the pockets of the populace that pose an unacceptably high risk of setting something on fire – after they’ve been set on fire.

It’s obviously a weird thing to be worried about, given that it’s a product which, by its very nature, is supposed to be something that is consumed by setting it alight, and converting it to heat, ash, smoke and that smooth, mellow cancer flavour that smokers just can’t get enough of.

But, the boffins say, there’s a batch that has failed a safety test – by not self-extinguishing (again… this is by design, people), the cigarettes “do not meet performance standards”, which say only 25% of each packet is allowed to burn its entire length.

The inherent dangers of cigarettes notwithstanding – the whole ‘many, many cancers all at once’ thing is clearly a bit of a bummer, as are the nicotine-stained teeth, hacking phlegm-laden cough and the enormous risk of looking marginally cooler when you’re a teenager – recalling cigarettes because they are flammable is stupid

But if it stops some forgetful moron from going up like a human torch when they accidentally leave a lit lung-buster on the lounge, we guess that’s possibly a win.

 

TO MARKETS

Speaking of lit, have a gander at how the market’s doing this morning! The ASX 200 is up around 1.7% this morning, after Wall Street went completely berserk overnight and posted one of its best set of results so far this year.

More on that later, though – because the view out over the Aussie market sectors is so lovely and positive, it’s almost impossible to look away.

It is green as far as the eye can see, with the stand-out performers coming from InfoTech (+4.3%) and Consumer Discretionary (+2.1%).

Even perennial party-pooper Materials is along for the ride, up more than 2.2% so far, while the worst performer, Consumer Staples (0.2%) valiantly tries to keep its head above water.

The Big Beans are posting some serious numbers this morning – BrainChip Holdings (ASX:BRN) has continued its surge, smashing through the $1.00 mark to add another 10.6% to yesterday’s 7.0% haul.

Network tech company Megaport (ASX:MP1) was the morning’s big winner, up 20% on the back of a really solid quarterly report, showing a Normalised EBITDA QoQ boost of 126%, and a 10% surge in revenue.

Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG) has spiked 7.7% off the back of its news of a leadership change, with David George taking the reins and despite the company’s mixed bag of quarterly results, which show some product sectors producing losses into the -20% range.

But enough about how awesome we are. Let’s look at what’s happening around the rest of the world.

 

NOT THE ASX

US markets had a huge party last night, apparently – Wall Street threw off its inflation fear shackles and put some plump, ripe numbers on the board.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq led the charge, closing out the day with a 3.11% gain, down from a 6.0% surge posted earlier, but still lovely to see. The S&P finished up 2.86% and even the stuffy old Dow kicked up its heels, dancing the night away to the tune of +2.34%.

Of note was a 6% jump for Netflix after reporting that it lost 970k subscribers in the second quarter, which was significantly lower than analysts had predicted, and bodes well for the future of in-home entertainment for the company’s core Serial Killer Shark Nazi genre enthusiast userbase.

Strong quarterly results for oilfield services provider Halliburton and toymaker Hasbro Inc helped those two companies to dramatic climbs as well.

In Asia, and the party’s absolutely bangin’ there as well – Hong Kong is up 1.79%, Japan’s Nikkei has jumped 2.36% and even Shanghai is up off its arse, only by 0.48%, but it’s nice to confirm that it’s still breathing, at least.

Commodities, however, are not looking great, with pretty much all the majors down so far this morning.

Oil has fallen 0.6%, natural gas is down 0.4%, gold and silver are neck and neck on -0.1% – and copper… dear, sweet copper… is up 0.7%.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 20 [intraday]:

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

 

Taking a look at how our Small Caps are going, and holy crap, will you look at Victory Goldfields!?!

News of a major find for Victory Goldfields’ (ASX:1VG) Mafeking and North Stanmore Project, about 15kms from the Cue township in Western Australia has driven Victory’s price on an eardrum-busting, near vertical tear – up 42% this morning and not showing any signs of slowing down.

Highlights of Victory’s Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO) and Heavy Rare Earth Oxides (HREO) find include average HREO of 419ppm, average TREO of 1020ppm, highest TREO concentration of 3,872ppm, intersections of up to 16m (and remain open), highest gold intersection of 0.5 g/t and current strike length extending more than 1km at a width of 200m. You can read more about it here.

Pharma fixer Firebrick (ASX:FRE) seems to have recovered from its US FDA Nasodine knock-back, adding 26% this morning, and Mighty Craft (ASX:MCL) has investors frothing and enjoying a not-even-remotely bitter 25% hop.

At the sorry end of the morning’s spectrum, it looks like the market really has it in for Allegiance Coal (ASX:AHQ),  which has followed up yesterday’s 66.7% beheading with another 25% dive.

And mining minnow Alderan Resources (ASX:AL8) has fallen 25% this morning, even though Princess Leia capitulated and told Grand Mof Tarkin where the rebels were hiding.

(I will never get tired of these jokes, and I look forward to your angry emails about how Alderan isn’t even spelled like it is in the movies)

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the not-the-best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 20 [intraday]:

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