ASX Small Caps Lunch Wrap: Who else is thinking three moves ahead this morning?
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Australian markets opened a lot lower this morning after a heavy sell-off on Wall Street wiped more than US$1.5 trillion off the books overnight, thanks to far worse than expected CPI figures for August – and it’s precisely as ugly as it sounds.
But first, in other news…
The chess world has been rocked by an apparent cheating scandal, and while details are scant, the prevailing theory doing the rounds is far too salaciously hilarious to ignore.
We’ll quickly set the scene: On the one hand, we have affable 31-year-old chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen – arguably the best chess player who has ever sacrificed a pawn and pushed a few queens around.
On the other is 19-year-old prodigy Hans Niemann, who it would appear has been busted acting less than honourably during competition with Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup at the St Louis Chess Club.
Niemann’s victory over Carlsen in their match-up at the tournament was, to put it mildly, a major upset – one that led to Carlsen withdrawing from the tournament altogether, then posting a cryptic message on Twitter that many believed was a suggestion that Niemann had been cheating.
— Magnus Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen) September 5, 2022
If you’re wondering how on earth it would be possible to cheat at chess, here’s one explanation: a player could – hypothetically speaking – use a wireless device connected to a chess computer, with vibrating pads in their shoes that would communicate the best possible moves.
Moves that would, to an astute observer, seem very unusual had they been made by a human. And, given that the Sinquefield Cup is a top-dollar prize money event, there were *many* astute observers, who concluded that Niemann’s moves weren’t quite above board, or even above the belt.
That was the scuttlebutt doing the rounds, which quickly took on an hilarious spin with a number of observers – including, for some unfathomable reason, Elon Musk – suggesting that Niemann’s was not only using a chess-cheat device, but that his was a set of vibrating anal beads.
If true, it’s one of the weirdest cheating scandals we’ve ever heard of, and one that Netflix is probably already trademarking as it rushes an unlikely R-rated second season of The Queen’s Gambit into production.
Meanwhile, Chess supremos are still working to get to the *ahem* bottom of the issue, and Niemann has been banned from Chess.com and uninvited from the upcoming Chess.com Global Championship, a $1 million event.
We’ll bring you an update if Niemann’s rumoured prostate-pushing chess device ever emerges – but until then, let’s take a look at who’s making moves on the ASX.
Australian markets have opened with a resounding thud this morning, after Wall Street emptied its chamber pots and filled its knickers in response to yet another alarmingly high CPI rise.
All morning, we knew it was coming, but a 2.6% benchmark crunch is not a fun way to start the day, with sector after sector falling victim to the difficulties of trying to stay afloat with Wall Street’s boots on the back of their heads.
By 11:00am, the ASX winners list said it all – the Top 3 consisted of two short-bet hedge funds and a penny stock miner up 17% on $14 turnover.
Hardest hit among the sectors were Real Estate (-3.84%) and InfoTech (-3.60%), with Consumer Discretionary (-2.98%) just pipping Materials (-2.90%) for third–worst place.
Best performers that didn’t burrow down past -2.0% were Utilities (-1.33%) and Energy (-1.94%) – and that last one was a very close call.
In the run up to lunch, however, there were some surprising moves, not least of which was a surprise second season of Who Wants to Control Australian Pacific Coal?
It seems to have been hastily written and the plot is as complicated as it is confusing – but while Reuben Adams is unpacking whatever the hell’s going on over there, AQC is on the rise again, up 40% so far this morning to take it over +520% for the month as the struggle for control continues.
Aside from that, there’s only one Large Cap winning today, and that’s Liberty Financial (ASX:LFG), which added about 4.0% on whisper-thin volume of just $840. #TheRock’sRaisedEyebrow.
The reason things are hectic and weird can all be traced back to the US results – so let’s have a look at what’s happened overseas.
As mentioned, Wall Street put on a brutal display overnight, dropping in value like a spanking-new Lambo being driven off the showroom floor.
It was the worst single-day performance for US stocks since June 2020, and it’s all being blamed on the release of America’s August inflation data report, which revealed two things:
Firstly, US Core CPI had climbed by twice as much as analysts predicted. Completely the opposite of excellent.
Secondly, the report revealed that if we were still living in the Bronze Age, US economic analysts would have been lined up and put to the sword for being unable to accurately predict anything more taxing than “I think it’s going to get dark soon” as the sun was already setting.
And so, with Big Bad News comes gruesome results, as Stockhead’s answer to the question “What do you reckon would happen if we feed that garden gnome too much cheese?” the short but attractive Christian Edwards, reports.
“The now very, very average Dow Jones industrial took a plunge of more than 1,200 points or a whisker away from 4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell from an even greater height and at a more impressive velocity, diving 5.2%. The purely tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 dropped 5.5%. The S&P 500 collapsed 4.3% and the Russell 2000, 3.9%,” Chedwards says.
Asia has reacted poorly to Wall Street as well this morning, with all major indices down.
Japan’s Nikkei has dropped -2.23%, neck and neck with Hong Kong (-2.25%) and Shanghai is sporting a fresh new coat of Communist Red as well, down just -0.64% because massive losses are for decadent westerners who can’t control their markets.
The Commodities desk is less chaotic, offering at least a glimmer of green after oil (+0.19%) and gas (+1.77%) prices climbed.
However gold, usually a safe haven when there’s smoke pouring out of the market’s ears, is down –0.41%, silver’s down -1.01% and copper has taken a 0.53% hit this morning as well.
In Crypto Corner, where the naughty coins have to sit for 10 minutes and think about what they’ve done, the US CPI data has done a number on the big coins as well, and the overall crypto market cap sunk about 7.0% but stayed above the US$1 trillion mark.
There’s tons to analyse in that market, but thankfully Rob “No, it’s Badman… with a D” Bdadmand has it all covered over at Mooners and Shakers.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for September 14 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
Obviously there aren’t too many on the winner’s list this morning, but worth a mention was a significant chunk of Peter Warren Automotive (ASX:PWR) changing hands, with Quadrant Private Equity disposing of a $50 million block and SMA Motors, probably better known to Sydneysiders as Suttons (among other things), picking up an equally large $50 million parcel.
It represents a 9.1% bite of PWR, and while there’s no word yet on what kind of used-share warranty Peter Warren might be offering, it’s prompted a handy 11.4% bump on a day when green lights have been hard to come by on the ASX.
Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for September 14 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort: