For two very brief minutes this morning, local markets were up. It was only by six points, but for a moment there, this morning was looking like a winner.

Now, it’s lunchtime, the benchmark is recovering slowly from dropping 45 points and there’s only really one major highlight threatening to put any kind of gloss on the day.

I’ll get to that in a moment, because – as is tradition – there’s other news that is worth taking a look at today.

Today, it’s good news – a 40-year-old speeloispelligo … cave explorer has been hauled out of what looked to be the world’s deepest grave this morning, more than a week after he got super-crook while rooting around in a Turkish hole in the ground.

American researcher Mark Dickey had travelled to Turkiye’s Morca cave, in Mersin province’s Taurus mountains, to map a portion of the cave when – as the ABC puts it – “he began suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding at a depth of 1,040 metres”, despite not being a giant.

Dickey, himself an experienced cave rescuer – he’s credited with rescuing at least 16 caves during his storied career – fell ill on 02 September.

The cause of his “severe gastrointestinal pain” remains unclear, but if he’s been eating the same kind of Turkish food that I had about six weeks ago, I reckon I could hazard a guess. After an iffy kebab from a caravan out the front of a servo in the wee hours of the morning, I experienced about 36 hours of hell and my neighbours won’t look me in the eye any more.

AnYwAY… rescue efforts were hampered by communication issues with Dickey. It took between 5-7 hours for messages to pass from Dickey to a medical team above ground, as a team of ‘runners’ had to climb from where he was trapped to an underground telephone line that had been set up.

So “How are you feeling?” → “I’m okay” → “Just okay?” → “Yeah” = a solid day’s work.

It’s great news for Dickey, and – despite not being anywhere near as engaging as that time Elon Musk threatened to build a submarine to rescue an Under-10s soccer team from a cave before accusing one of the rescuers of being a pedophile for some reason – it’s another win in the ongoing battle between humanity, and deep holes in the ground.



As noted, the ASX reached lunchtime down by about 0.15%, with the Materials and Health Care sectors the only parts of the market in decent working order this morning.

The Energy sector, however, is underperforming to the tune of about -1.3%, while the Telcos, Real Estate and Financials are also in the doldrums.


asx winner NIS
Chart via


Up the top end of town, Neuren Pharmaceuticals (ASX:NEU) is the only billionaire on the winner’s list, banking a 5.6% gain this morning on no readily available news.

On the wrong side of the ledger this morning, a couple of the year’s high-flyers are sinking rapidly today – namely recent winner Odessa Minerals (ASX:ODE) which has fallen 21.8% this morning after making a massive leap on Thursday.

Wildcat Resources (ASX:WC8) is also retreating rapidly today, dropping more than 21% this morning as well – on no news – leaving it at a paltry +879.17% since the start of 2023.

In lithium news, Australia’s richest humanoid Gina Rheinhardt has reportedly increased her stake in Liontown (ASX:LTR), and there are rumours swirling that Hancock Prospecting is after a seat on the board.

Liontown’s takeover by Albemarle looks pretty much set in stone – the only recent question mark over the deal was the outside possibility of a rival bid from Hancock, but the increased stake looks like it’s put that rumour to bed.

In data news, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey of consumer sentiment fell by 1.5%  to 79.7 in September, down from 81 in August, while the National Australia Bank says that, despite the slowing economy, business conditions held up last month, while business confidence remains below average, even though it edged up 2 index points.



Looking overseas, and Wall Street had a win overnight that looked like it was going to set local markets up for a positive day.

The S&P 500 rose by +0.67%, the blue chips Dow Jones was up by +0.25%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq by +1.14%.

Earlybird Eddy reports that Tesla surged 10% or around US$80bn in market cap after Morgan Stanley changed its rating for the stock from Hold to Buy, and upped the price target from US$250 to US$400.

MS said the main reason for the upgrade was its optimism for Tesla’s Dojo supercomputer, which it predicts could add US$500bn to the enterprise value of Tesla.

In other stocks, Meta rose 4% after a report suggested the company was working on a new, more powerful AI platform.

Chipmaker Qualcomm also jumped 4% after signing a deal with Apple to supply 5G chips until at least 2026.

US investors are bracing for the fallout from Apple’s highly-anticipated iPhone 15 launch later tonight (our time), with the gadget company posting a cautious 0.7% gain ahead of the new phone’s grand unveiling.

In Japan, the Nikkei is up 0.61%, while both Shanghai and Hong Kong markets are flat, 0.03% either side of breakeven today.

The region is holding its breath at the moment, after it became apparent that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has hopped on a slow train to Moscow to meet with Russia’s Vladimir Putin for talks of an undisclosed nature.

Rumour has it that the pair might be sitting down to talk about a potential arms deal, with North Korea offering up 150,000 units of “malnourished cannon fodder” in exchange for some missiles with accuracy capabilities allowing them to hit a target smaller than “the ocean”.

It’s not entirely clear how long it will be before Dear Leader “falls out a window”, but we all know it’s coming.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for 12 September [intraday]:

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

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There’s a very clear winner in the small caps race this morning, and that’s Nickelsearch (ASX:NIS), up more than 116% so far today on news of a technical collaboration with Allkem (ASX:AKE), owner and operator of the Mt Cattlin lithium mine, 10km from the Carlingup Nickel Project.

Under the terms of the collab, Allkem will review the lithium-related data for Carlingup and advise on target generation and prioritisation.

“The arrangement is not yet at the level of a formal lithium joint venture and there is no guarantee that the technical collaboration will lead to a formal agreement in the future,” Nickelsearch says.

Next best is Odin Metals (ASX:ODM), up 31.5% this morning on relatively unremarkable boardroom news.

Odin says that Martin Donohue, founder and former CEO of Kidman Resources (since de-listed and operating as Australian Light Minerals), is now non-executive chairman of the company, effective immediately.

Simon Peters will assume the role of CEO/managing director as a result of this appointment, Odin says.

And in third place, market newbie James Bay Minerals (ASX:JBY) has hit the ground running on its first day on market, rising to $0.25 after listing at $0.20.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for 12 September [intraday]:

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

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