ASX Small Caps Lunch Wrap: Who’s been grounded for dropping food on a New York town this week?
Local markets are up at lunchtime today, but only just – the ASX 200 benchmark is sitting at +0.1%, held back by the Health Care sector which is down 2.8% this morning while the rest of the martket’s having a far more moderate day.
I’ll get into why that’s happening the way it is, but first there’s news from New York, where a 65-year-old pilot has been grounded after taking stalking to a whole new level.
The Boston Globe reports that Michael Arnold has been stalking a woman from Schuylerville, New York, for approximately four years, mostly from the air – leading to the woman living in fear that he would eventually fly his plane into her home.
The stalking included low-level flights over the town and, in at least one incident, lobbing tomatoes out the window of a 1976 Cessna 180 single-engine plane at the woman’s home.
Defending his actions, Arnold allegedly told police that he often flies over the small town of Schuylerville “to take pictures for their Facebook community page”, which – as far as I can tell – isn’t called “Throwing Tomatoes at Schuylerville”, so it remains unclear how the errant flying fruit is involved.
Anyway – the pilot’s been slapped with a range of very serious charges, most likely because when he was interviewed by police he told them “he has had no contact with the woman and that if he wanted to harm her he could have very easily, but he never did”.
Which isn’t horrifyingly threatening at all.
He’s since been ordered to not contact her and to refrain from harassing, intimidating, threatening or otherwise interfering with her, her family or household members and witnesses to the alleged offence.
Plus he’s been banned from flying until the end of November, leaving the residents of Schuylerville safe from rapidly descending foodstuffs for at least the next six weeks.
Aussie markets are treading water today, with the benchmark holding steady with one nostril above the water line, largely due to two major influences moving in opposite directions today.
On the positive side of things, gold is moving higher and taking the Goldies with it – the price for safe haven gold is oozing towards US$1,900 an ounce because (let’s be honest) everything’s a bit shit at the moment – especially in the regions where it’s raining bullets and bombs.
The XGD All Ords Gold index is pointing more than 1.1% higher at the moment, and the banks and infotech stocks are also moving pretty solidly as well past 1.0% since the market opened.
Holding everything back, however, is the Health Care sector, which is down 2.8% for the day – and the blame for that relative catastrophe can be placed squarely on the shoulders of one company: CSL (ASX:CSL).
The behemoth of the health sector is down around 3.6% this morning for no immediately identifiable reason – but given that, on its own, CSL is worth about $7 billion more than the rest of the Health Care sector combined, it’s always going to have an outsized effect on the sector as a whole.
For what it’s worth, though, CSL dove through a 4-year low, and has been falling sharply since mid-June, when the company blamed “foreign currency headwinds” for a blowout.
The most recent news was the result of the company’s AGM – nothing special to report there, aside from a change in auditors. There is talk, however, that it’s become the latest victim of global juggernaut stock sniper Ozempic, whse maker overnight hinted that it might help reduce kidney disease.
And yes, CSL is involved in the kidney biz, having acquired Vifor in 2022 for 18 or so billion.
This is currently A Thing, by the way. See ResMed’s recent share price run (also falling 5pc today) for details on how “paying $150 a month for two Ozempic needles” equates to “nobody’s ever going to need a CPAP ever again”.
People take Ozempic > People look better > People want to be seen > People stop tinting their windows
Guys, this was OBVIOUS. I've been short since yesterday. pic.twitter.com/Klsto4ZTsT
— futureformer.brk.b.bti.schd.kof (@futureformerJD) October 11, 2023
Up the fancy end of town, Breville (ASX:BRG) is up 4.7% on news that all of the cheese and tomato toasties Australians made to stave off the cold winter weather are now safe to eat, having finally cooled to the point that they are no longer the same internal temperature as the surface of the sun.
Wall Street delivered a mixed bag overnight, as the S&P 500 rose by +0.43%, the blue chips Dow Jones index was up by +0.19%, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by -0.42%.
Earlybird Eddy explains it thusly: “Traders parsed through the Fed Reserve board’s minutes which suggest rates have now peaked. However the minutes also noted that rates won’t come down until policymakers are convinced inflation is heading back to 2%.”
In stock news, the long-awaited IPO from sandalmaker Birkenstock turned out to be as welcome as a pair of socks inside the company’s signature product, leaving the stock 12% at the end of its first day on the market.
Drugmakers Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly jumped over 4% after Novo – as mentioned above – said its diabetes (and weight-loss) drug, Ozempic, could delay the progression of chronic kidney disease. Eli also has a similar drug called Mounjaro.
Meanwhile, Ozempic is still in short supply locally since there’s apparently large swathes of the population worried about looking tubby in a swimsuit using the drug off-label, making it difficult for people living with diabetes to do stuff like not die.
In US data news, traders shrugged off hotter-than-estimated inflation reading (PPI), which rose 0.5% in September (versus survey of +0.3%). Bond yields rose modestly after the release.
More crucial data are expected tonight in the US, including the consumer price index (CPI) and jobless claims figures.
In Japan, the Nikkei is up 1.3% – a hugely surprising result considering the news that international rugby coach Eddie Jones, fresh from leading the Wallabies into the jaws of death, has decided to leave his Australian post to go and ruin international rugby for Japan. Again.
In China, Shanghai markets are up 0.8% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 1.8% in early trade.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for 12 October [intraday]:
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Top of the Small Caps charts this morning is Redbubble (ASX:RBL) – the online marketplace connecting independent artists with customers that we don’t often hear from, but which dropped news of a remarkable turnaround this morning and popped +27% this morning.
According to the company, it has managed to deliver positive underlying cash flow of $0.7 million, up $16.9 million on prior corresponding period (pcp) and up $5.5 million on the fourth quarter of FY23.
That’s allowed the company to build its cash balance to $39.9m, up $4.2m from 30 June 2023, which the company has attributed to “a number of recently-implemented initiatives, including the introduction of artist account tiers on the Redbubble and TeePublic marketplaces and a dynamic order routing system for the Redbubble marketplace in the US, as well as further optimisation of paid marketing spend”.
Lithium Power International (ASX:LPI) has also been climbing this morning, up 18.5% in very short order on no news – which was enough to have the ASX push it into a trading pause just minutes after the market opened, and then into a complete halt literally as I was writing this at 1:00pm.
BUT… Rob Badman might have sniffed out something takeover elated. You should read it.
Amaero International (ASX:3DA) has been climbing since late September on very little news, and is up another 12% today, a couple of days after announcing that it’s closing its Aussie operations to focus on its flagship US business.
Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for 12 October [intraday]:
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