Given that you’re here and spending time with us as part of the Stockhead family, there’s a pretty good chance that you don’t exactly fall into the “risk averse” subset of humanity.

But while there’s a lot to be said for the incredible levels of fun and excitement that come from being the type of person whose last words are highly likely to be “That looks fun – hold my beer…”, there are times when it’s probably a good idea to stop and think about what we’re about to do.

Which brings us to today’s example, which is honestly one of the single most grotesque things we’ve seen in a very long time – a prime example of when science flies in the face of nature, and does something that it really, really shouldn’t.

It all started when a team of boffins at Rice University found a dead spider in their lab, with its legs all curled up in that cutesy way that spiders have of showing the world precisely how bereft of life they are.

Spiders curl up like that because their limbs don’t work the way ours do, with all our fancy bones and muscles and tendons and stuff doing the work.

Instead, spiders work on a system that is, essentially, hydraulically operated. When they’re alive, they use subtle changes in pressure to make their legs do the complicated business of crawling over your face and into your mouth while you’re asleep.

When they’re dead, no pressure in the system means the whole thing folds up into a ball.

Intrigued by what could be achieved by tinkering with this system, the scientists took a whole lot of dead wolf spiders, and rigged up an apparatus that used air pressure to manipulate the limbs of the departed arachnids – and the results are mother-flippin’ horrific.

Hours of work, careful calculations and painstakingly precise surgery on the spider corpses went into creating the world’s most obscenely wrong “arcade claw machine”.

PX1 CBE asx small caps
Image courtesy Preston Innovation Laboratory / Rice University

We congratulate the team on their success in proving, scientifically, that just because you can do something, it really, really doesn’t mean that you should.

And you’re not alone in thinking that there’s a special place in hell for whoever thought this was a good idea – because we’re gonna be having nightmares for weeks over this one.

 

TO MARKETS

Australian markets have kicked off the week with a rise in early trade, hitting a 0.3% lift early, which is a little lower than early-morning predictions but it’s a whole lot better than nothing.

Across the market sectors, and no-one’s been bold enough to break through more than a 1.0% move in either direction, although that’s being tested by Utilities (+0.96%), Materials (+0.75%) and Energy (+0.82%).

The two Consumer categories have had a fight and gone their separate ways, with Staples up (+0.76%) and Discretionary down (-0.52%).

The only one of the Big Tickets making a big swing at the brass ring this morning has been Lake Resources (ASX:LKE), which has continued to stack on value since the middle of last week, adding a further 14.2% in early trade this morning.

Having a terrible Monday, however, is United Malt (ASX:UMG), which has plummeted 12.5% after revising its earnings downward, sending shockwaves through the market as investors feared for the safety of their precious beer and whisky supplies.

Seven West Media(ASX:SWM) has taken a sharp downturn of 5.26%, despite Home and Away officially outliving Neighbours and becoming the only Australian soapie still churning out C- and D-list celebrities to occupy the ladder space still several rungs above “influencers”.

And Aussie Broadband (ASX:ABB) has crashed faster than it’s able to deliver a high-def disaster from Netflix, falling 17.4% despite an upbeat Q4 trading update.

For what’s been happening in the world of crypto, head on over to Crypto Espresso for all the weird and wonderful things (and some actual news) from the land of Bored Apes.

There are some movers and shakers in the Small Caps space, but – because we just looove to tease these things out – here’s what’s been happening over the oceans, and we’ll get to the really juicy stuff at the end.

 

NOT THE ASX

Carrying over from the end of last week, Wall Street had its best month since November 2020, with the S&P 500 closing out July 8% higher after another 1.4% rise on Friday.

Tech-heavy Nasdaq also gained 2% on Friday, taking its July gain to 11.35%, as early-risin’ Eddy Sunarto points out.

That was partly due to Apple, which rose 3% after posting a revenue record of US$83 billion for the June quarter, up 2% year over year. It topped analysts’ expectations of $82.81 billion.

And Amazon jumped 10% after posting US$121 billion in Q2 revenue, beating analysts expectations by more than US$2 billion. For the quarter, it made a loss of US$2 billion, because penis-shaped rocket ships are surprisingly pricey.

In Asian markets, and things are looking a little less rosy so far with Japan’s Nikkei working valiantly to climb, up just 0.2%.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong shares are flat and Shanghai has trickled like drunken wee, ever so slightly dampening our spirits and trousers by 0.15 points.

In commodities, things aren’t great. Oil is down 0.96%, natural gas is down 3.38%, gold is down 0.14% and copper is down 0.99%. So many downs.

Silver was the only positive this morning, up a miniscule 0.04%.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for August 1 [intraday]:

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

 

If you had your money on Plexure (ASX:PX1) this morning, it’s your shout for lunch – the company revealed this morning that its signed a new five-year deal with McDonald’s to keep supplying its digital customer engagement goodies with Big Hamburger.

News of the revised and strengthened contract has sent Plexure through the meat, cheese and pickles and up into the sesame-seeds, climbing 82.4%.

And we’re willing to wager that there are a number of people who thought there was no point jumping into Cobre (ASX:CBE) late last week when it shot through the roof, and who are kicking themselves this morning.

Cobre’s Ngami Copper Project in the Kalahari Copper Belt in Botswana has popped out another project-making find, this time a fresh intersection of copper mineralisation over a 25m interval downhole with a significant increase in chalcocite mineralisation over a 12m interval.

Images of the drill core are a very pretty blue, and Cobre’s price is a very pretty green, up another 59% (and climbing) as we head towards lunch.

Other big movers in the “up” direction are Lindian Resources (ASX:LIN) (+25.9%), Felix Gold (ASX:FXG) (+25%) and Saturn Metals (ASX:STN) (+22%).

It’s three healthcare players that are feeling the pinch this morning, with Kazia Therapeutics (ASX:KZA) leading the spiral, down 47% after the Global Coalition for Adaptive Research (GCAR), the sponsor of Kazia’s paxalisib research study, has pulled the pin after the treatment arm did not meet pre-defined criteria for continuing to a second stage.

Pacific Edge (ASX:PEB) clarified its call for a trading halt last week, after developments in the US after proposed changes to the Medicare Local Coverage Determination that governs the reimbursement of Cxbladder in that market look set to seriously disrupt things for PEB.

It’s not great news, and investors formed a disorderly queue at the door, sending the price down 35%.

And Painchek (ASX:PCK) gave back a ton of last week’s gains, falling 18.5%, while we steadfastly refuse to make any reference to the company “feelin’ the pain”, because that’s just the kind of cheap, lazy journalism that has no place here.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for August 1 [intraday]:

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

Code Company Price % Market Cap
KZA Kazia Therapeutics 0.265 -48% $71,057,660
PEB Pacific Edge 0.425 -36% $534,718,944
AFW Applyflow Limited 0.002 -33% $8,872,824
PRM Prominence Energy 0.002 -33% $7,273,826
CLE Cyclone Metals 0.003 -25% $24,466,948
AHN Athena Resources 0.011 -21% $11,381,546
PCK Painchek Ltd 0.031 -18% $47,111,383
ABB Aussie Broadband 3 -17% $862,572,089
MGG Mogul Games Grp Ltd 0.0025 -17% $9,784,980
ROG Red Sky Energy. 0.005 -17% $31,813,363
SIH Sihayo Gold Limited 0.0025 -17% $18,306,384
XST Xstate Resources 0.0025 -17% $9,645,545
LBY Laybuy Group Holding 0.096 -17% $29,304,208
AAU Antilles Gold Ltd 0.051 -16% $21,557,703
RMI Resource Mining Corp 0.105 -16% $52,271,635
OEC Orbital Corp Limited 0.185 -16% $20,019,273
DW8 DW8 Limited 0.016 -16% $50,255,725
SRX Sierra Rutile 0.27 -16% $135,755,663
GFN Gefen Int 0.11 -15% $8,832,217
AD1 AD1 Holdings Limited 0.017 -15% $13,516,287
MCM Mc Mining Ltd 0.2 -15% $46,448,894
WFL Wellfully Limited 0.035 -15% $11,281,569
IOU Ioupay Limited 0.094 -15% $60,941,327
SHE Stonehorse Energy Lt 0.018 -14% $14,373,137
AVW Avira Resources Ltd 0.003 -14% $7,415,765