It’s super-easy to hate on Australian banks, especially since griping about your mortgage now sits uncomfortably between cricket and netball as Australia’s national sports.

But even if you’re having a strop because your bank has decided to chance its arm on a rare – and difficult – Front Wedgie manoeuvre by hiking your variable interest rate well past your belly button, spare a thought for how things are going in China at the moment.

China is, frankly, a mess. The economy – as tightly controlled as it is – is beginning to look less like a slick David Copperfield magic show, and more like a game of Three-Card Monty with a dealer that only has two cards, and one arm.

There’s been trouble brewing for some of China’s banks for weeks. Rumours of citizens not being allowed to access their own funds have been swirling for a while, and new footage that purports to be from Henan province is showing tanks on the streets, to protect the banks.



The bare bone narrative behind this ain’t pretty – and in the simplest possible terms, it looks a bit like this:

Chinese citizens act like good citizens and put their money in the bank.  Meanwhile, massive property developers turn to selling junk-level “investment products” to keep their businesses afloat.

When those bonds stop generating the required level of liquidity, the developers start eyeing off the large quantities of cash in the banks… and start taking control of the banks themselves.

Then there’s a little bit of magic wand waving, and hey presto! – those deposits have been magically turned into “investment products”, which can’t be withdrawn. Especially when the tanks move in to stop the unhappy citizens from doing just that.

Some of us are old enough to know that this has all the hallmarks of a tedious franchise reboot – Tiananmen 2: The Tankening – and if Top Gun: Maverick has taught us anything, it’s that while the quality of the footage may be much higher definition, there’s no escaping that it’s just gonna look like a cynical remake of an 80s classic.

But we certainly hope that whoever’s developing the script on this one has a much, much happier ending in mind.

So, yeah. Lunch Wrap is normally a fairly light-hearted beast, but this seemed pretty important to talk about today. We’ll get back to making fun of hapless criminals and weird animals tomorrow, we promise.

But for now, let’s take a look at what’s happening to our money.



Aussie markets have been out on the see-saw this morning, and – like a lazy mate who says he’ll help you move your new fridge up five flights of stairs – it certainly looks like he’s making a lot of effort, but there’s not been much headway to show for it.

The benchmark is heading into lunchtime on a break-even trajectory, with strong-ish showings from InfoTech (+2.42%), Telcos (+0.92%) and the Consumer cousins (Discretionary +0.97%, Staples +1.06%) offset by Yet Another Weak Effort from Energy (-2.46%) and Minerals (-0.92%).

Sipping champagne at Rich People Brunch was Link Administration Holdings (ASX:LNK), which added 12% on news that it’s agreed with Dye & Durham to amend the Scheme Implementation Deed for their Base Scheme Consideration to $4.81 per share, down from $5.50.

Industrials player Kelsian (ASX:KLS) shot up 16% after informing the market it won’t go ahead with the purchase of Go Ahead, Telix Pharma (ASX:TLX) jumped 15% off the back of a positive quarterly and Novonix (ASX:NVX) appears to have applied enough Band-Aids to the Morgan’s downgrade-inflicted wounds of last week, climbing close to 10%.

Big Time Losers this morning were Woodside (ASX:WDS), after it’s BHP-boosted bottom line for Q2 failed to impress, costing the company 4.0%, and it seems that the market is giving new Imugene (ASX:IMU) CEO Mike Tonroe a thoroughly lukewarm welcome, down by around 6.0% since news of his appointment broke.



Looking overseas, where Tesla released its Q2 earnings late in the day, reporting a 32% decline in profit from the record levels in the first quarter, citing supply chain issues.

But the EV maker still impressed with a US$2.26 billion net profit for Q2, compared to US$3.32 billion in Q1, so those layoffs are totally and completely justified, right? Right.

Netflix continued to climb, up 7.something% on possible rumours of a new reality show called Who Wants to be Eaten by a Bear?, and US cruise liners rose from the deep like the corpse of Jack Dawson, with Royal Caribbean and Carnival both adding around 7.1%.

That left the indices looking lovely and Kermit-green, the Dow up 0.15%, the S&P up 0.59% and the Nasdaq up 1.58%.

Asian markets are looking a bit worse for wear, though. Japan’s Nikkei is flat-ish, down 0.08%, Hong Kong shares are down 1.12% and Shanghai is down a completely trustworthy 0.43%.

In commodities, oil prices are flat as a crude slick on an ice rink, while natural gas is down 1.84%. The metal mob is also underperforming today – gold is down 0.56%, silver slid 1.11% and copper crapped out a -1.43% day.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 21 [intraday]:

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To the Small Cap winners and a quick look at the roster reveals that it’s Torque Metals’ (ASX:TOR) turn to behave in an unruly and inexplicable manner, rocketing to a 43% gain on zero news and only slightly higher volume.

It looks like Burgundy Diamond Mines might have made a sizeable sale from its new Maison Mazerea diamond brand in Paris, because there’s nothing else to explain the 32% sparkle in its eye this morning.

And – again, on new clear news – Western Yilgarn (ASX:WYX) has stacked on some 27.0% this morning, taking its YTD gain to 5,400%, which is like a Scandinavian supermodel: completely preposterous, but still beautiful to behold.

Meanwhile, miners Galena (ASX:G1A) and HAZER (ASX:HZR) are down in the basement playing Dungeons and Dragons (since Minecraft doesn’t seem to be much fun at the moment), falling 18% and 17% respectively.



Here are the not-the-best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 21 [intraday]:

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