I think it’s safe to say that there’s something unnerving about dolphins. They’re clearly super-smart and look really friendly – but their penchant for sexual assault is a bit of a stain that’s impossible to overlook.

Which is what makes what should be a quirky little story about interesting research from Shark Bay in Western Australia into a vaguely menacing tale that should strike fear into the hearts of swimmers and fans of demonstrably terrible pop music alike.

The male dolphins at  Shark Bay, scientists say, appear to have discovered a new way to attract the ladies, and – as every screaming One Direction fan can attest – it’s by employing one of the most powerfully magnetic attractive forces in nature.

Researchers from the Shark Bay Dolphin Research Alliance (SBDRA) reckon they’ve observed groups of up to 14 males getting together, clicking out some dolphin songs and ‘dancing’ in synchronised moves.

Those observations can mean only one thing: Shark Bay’s dolphins are forming boy bands to attract females to pave the way for a bit of saucy blowhole action.

So far, the researchers aren’t 100% sure how effective a tactic it is – nor, indeed, where Simon Cowell even found the time to hand-pick this latest undersea song and dance abomination.

And there’s no word on what on what the dolphins have called this girl-baiting supergroup – but the current frontrunners are Furious Flipper 5, The Blowhole Boyz or the clearly J-Pop inspired ‘水生性的暴行の乗組員’.

It appears to be working, because there’s enough dolphins in Shark Bay for it to have its own research centre, which means that there has to be something behind the tactic.

So unless you know, 100%, that you’re immune to the charms, beats and rhythmic moves of boy bands, then swimming in the waters of Shark Bay is just a TMZ segment waiting to happen.

… and with that delightful image in your mind, let’s take a look at what’s happening above sea level.

 

TO MARKETS

Australian markets opened strongly today, jumping 80 points from yesterday’s close and holding pretty steady, heading for a 0.9% gain before lunch.

Looking out across the sectors, and it’s a sea of beautiful green (checks behind for dolphin), with particularly strong showings from Utilities (+1.44%), Real Estate (+2.06%), Industrials (+1.16%) and Energy (+1.12%).

There were no big players at the top of the winners chart this morning – the closest we got was Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW) (~$600m market cap), which has shown massive improvement over the past couple of days, putting on 9.5% this morning to close in on $5.00 a pop.

There were some big name drop-offs, though. BrainChip (ASX:BRN), which has been on a tear since 12 July, gave back a 10.6% chunk of its gains this morning, and it looks like yesterday’s win from PointsBet (ASX:PBH) was part of an unsuccessful multi-leg punt, with the gambling company shedding 7.2% this morning.

There’s some stellar results among the small caps, but we’ll get to them in a moment, because it’s time to grab your passport for a whirlwind tour of the big, wide world.

 

NOT THE ASX

Overnight, Wall Street pushed ahead to a two-month high with all major US indices rising by 1% despite a negative Q2 GDP reading, this time down by 0.90%, following 1.6% in Q1.

It’s the second contraction in a row, which either means that the US has meandered like a wandering geriatric into recession territory, or it’s about to have a baby. And it honestly could be either, because US President Joe Biden is absolutely adamant there’s no recession.

So it’s something of a surprise, then, that Wall Street retained its optimism because a quick look across the US media and you could be forgiven for thinking that the sky was about to fall.

Eddy Sunarto reports that after the closing bell, Apple reported a record revenue for the June quarter of $83 billion, up 2% YoY. Its share price inched up by 0.4%.

Amazon also reported earnings after hours, posting a quarterly loss of US$2 billion, its second in a row after a US$3.8bn loss in the previous quarter. However its share price surged by 10% after the bell.

Asian markets seem largely unfazed by the goings-on in America – or anywhere else, for that matter. Japan’s Nikkei is up 0.2%, Hong Kong ticked up 0.1% and Shanghai is just Shanghai-ing along, hovering near dead flat (but down 0.04% if you’re looking for specifics).

Commodities have climbed for a second straight day, with oil up 0.84% and natural gas wafting higher by 0.27%, while gold inched up 0.11%, silver went up 0.49% and copper climbed 0.33%.

Crypto enjoyed a fabulous evening, with ETH charging along towards its date with Merge destiny – and a surprise mega-jump by WING had everyone talking around the water cooler this morning.

You can catch all the best of the morning’s crypto news here, written by a man who clearly knows his stuff and is super cool, possibly really handsome.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 29 [intraday]:

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

 

Up the top of the charts this morning is Cygnus Gold (ASX:CYG), up a barnstorming 31% on news that it’s struck a binding agreement under which it can earn up to 70% of the Pontax Lithium Project in Quebec, Canada.

Pontax is a juicy-looking project, with completed exploration turning up high grade, shallow intercepts like 9.0m @ 1.7% Li2O from 46.9m and 15.6m @ 1.6% Li2O from 83.9m, just down the road from existing projects James Bay (40Mt @ 1.4% Li2O), Whabouchi (56Mt @ 1.4% Li2O) and Rose (34Mt @ 0.9% Li2O).

Mobile comms platform player Tinybeans (ASX:TNY) has also had a good morning, up 26% on a tiny $9,500 worth of turnover, and contact lens maker Visioneering (ASX:VTI) has jumped about 18%, reversing a recent form slump.

Big time mover this morning was Sezzle (ASX:SZL), which opened with a thumping 30% jump, only to bounce off the ceiling to track a 5% (and falling) gain as the lunch bell rang.

And in the doldrums were Pivotal System (ASX:PVS), down 26% after its quarterly hit the shelves, same as Dubber (ASX:DUB), which dropped its quarterly and 23%.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the least-best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 29 [intraday]:

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