The ASX has opened lower this morning, taking its lead from the boring old Dow in the US, which trickled lower overnight in an act of outright defiance of its two record-setting stablemates – the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq – which hit new record highs.

As we rolled towards lunchtime this morning, the ASX 200 benchmark was at -0.48%, with only the Telcos offering any resistance, helped by a pity-rise among the goldies as well.

I’ll get into the details of that shortly, biut first… there’s a story from the US that warrants some attention, after news broke that a company has taken a major step towards turning two US states into video game maps.

For those of you who don’t spend way too much time on your gaming devices, I’m referring to the FPS, or First Person Shooter genre – think games like Doom, or (God help me) Fortnite, where the player is armed with a gun, and the aim of the game is to shoot anything that moves until it is dead.

One of the difficulties that lie within these games is the question of ammunition. While it’s perfectly sensible to game developers that a player can happily rampage across the landscape carrying 5-6 high-powered weapons of various capacities, they are often restricted in their use by a lack of useable ammunition.

This is solved in-game using things like loot drops, or – in many cases – vending machines that are helpfully scattered around the place for some unfathomable, unexplained reason, which allow the hero to keep their ammo stocked up, and the bullets flying.

Well, the US states of Alabama and Oklahoma have become the first in that country to offer up something similar, that really does seem like it’s just setting the scene for the nation to become a grotesque, real-life FPS.

They’ve done so by allowing the installation of ammunition vending machines inside some grocery stores, put in and maintained by a company called American Rounds.

Did you see how I didn’t make a joke about overweight Americans there? That’s because I’m being nice – and also because that joke just writes itself, so I’ll leave it up to you to think it, and chuckle gently to yourself about how clever you are.

Anyway – the machines are in place, allowing anyone to rock up, show their ID and have their face scanned so that the machine knows they’re not someone who shouldn’t have access to ammunition.

Once that’s done, the only limit on how much ammunition one person can buy is very clear, is how much ammunition is in the machine when they get there.

Here’s the machine in action:

 

 

So… there you have it – a machine that is chock-full of ammo, looks a lot like those wretched self-service ordering machines at McDonald’s, and looks small enough to load onto the back of a supersize American pick-up truck, for when whatever imagined apocalypse is apparently right around the corner.

God Bless ‘Murica.

 

TO MARKETS

Local markets have dipped today, after a weak – but still fruitful – session on Wall Street overnight, which was overshadowed somewhat by a general easing of commodity prices, which always puts the ASX in a bad mood in the morning.

The benchmark fell at open, and shortly after midday, was sitting at -0.41%.

The sectors looked like this:

 

Chart via Marketindex.com.au

 

And the ASX indices looked like this:

 

 

What they show is very simple – the Telcos are having a second strong showing for the week, thanks largely to industry mega-weight Telstra, which has been climbing steadily since announcing that it plans to sting its mobile customers and extra few dollars per month to have their calls drop out if they stand behind a tree.

It wasn’t the only big Telco doing well – Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) was up +1.1% this morning, News Corp (ASX:NWS) (with whom we are associated very closely) was up 1.6% and NZ broadband company Chorus was up 1.0% as well.

The ASX goldies weren’t doing super-well early on in the session, but have improved closer to lunchtime, to be up around +0.15%.

Looking locally (kind of), investors were waiting somewhat impatiently for our cuzzies across the ditch to figure out what they’re doing with interest rates.

But the wait was for nought – the NZRB has channeled it’s inner-RBA and decided to leave rates there on hold at 5.5%.

 

NOT THE ASX

Another session on Wall Street, and another set of record highs for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, which I think we can pretty much put a pin in being excited about for now because I’m getting bored of writing it every day.

As Christian put it this morning, “the trade was tight and possibly even more tepid than Monday – yes the records keep tumbling, but from an increasingly modest height”.

Both the S&P500 and the Nasdaq Composite added around 0.1% to the kitty, while the blue chip Dow Jones has kept trimming slim pickings, down again about 50 points or 0.1%.

The banner headline news was Jerome Powell being a total wet blanket again, doing his best to smother rumours of a rate cut for the US any time soon.

“More good data would strengthen our confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2%,” JPow told a basically-asleep Congressional committee, who were no doubt far more interested in trying to figure out what side of history they want to be on when Trump wins the next election and the US shows North Korea how this sorta thing is really done.

In Asian markets today, there’s not a whole lot going on, and the wins are modest at best. Japan’s Nikkei is up just +0.13%, the Hang Seng is at +0.92% and Shanghai markets are down by -0.10%.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for 10 July [intraday]:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

 

Infini Resources (ASX:I88) was leading the way Tuesday morning on some stunning uranium assays. A while back, the company announced that its uranium assays were too much for the lab to handle, so they sent them somewhere else to get tested. Well… those came back and the numbers are huge, with assays as high as 74,997ppm U3O8.

AXP Energy (ASX:AXP) was up on news that its Pathfinder #2 well is back on production. The flow rate is restricted due to gas disposal restrictions, which are being addressed. The company says the Pathfinder Field oil production is  averaging ~40 barrels per day with growth anticipated as more wells are brought into production and gas-to-power operations scale up.

Mako Gold (ASX:MKG) was up on news that a scout 1,500m reverse circulation drill program has commenced at the Tchaga North prospect, targeting three high-grade zones identified from recent mapping and trenching programs which located values of 4m at 3.97g/t Au, including 1m at 14.80g/t Au; and 4m at 1.79g/t Au, including 1m at 5.34g/t Au.

WhiteHawk (ASX:WHK) was up earlier on news that it has finalised its first contract with an ASX 100 Listed Company, Tabcorp Holdings Limited, for an Essential Cyber Risk Program that will include cyber risk monitoring for three Business Units where analytics are performed to provide an executive, actionable overview, and a quarterly comprehensive Cyber Risk Assessment.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for 10 July [intraday]:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

 

ICYMI – AM EDITION

Brightstar Resources (ASX:BTR) has completed its takeover of Linden Gold Alliance, supporting its goal of becoming a mid-tier gold producer.

In conjunction with the completion of the acquisition, 20 million director incentive performance rights have vested, which will lead to the issue of the same number of shares to managing director Alex Rovira.

These are tied to satisfying conditions for Tranche 2 and 5 of his director incentive performance rights, which include announcing a JORC resource of at least 1.25Moz above 1.3g/t gold and achieving a market capitalisation of more than $50m.

Summit Minerals (ASX:SUM) has raised $2.5m through a heavily oversubscribed placement, which was supported by existing and new, domestic and international institutional and sophisticated investors.

All three of the company’s directors will also participate in the placement, subscribing for $100,000 worth of shares. Proceeds from the placement will be used to accelerate exploration and drilling programs at its Ecuador niobium and tantalum project in Brazil.

 

At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Brightstar Resources and Summit Minerals are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.