Local markets are down this morning. There are a couple of Small Caps absolutely smashing it outta the park. When I typed the word “Hello” into our work communication app this morning, my brain tried to tell me I’d spelled it wrong.

It’s definitely one of those days today. Apparently, Thursdays are the new Tuesdays, and Tuesdays have always been a challenge.

I’ll get to why the market’s being weird shortly, but first, I bear news from the campaign trail in the United States.

Don’t fret – this isn’t about Trump. It’s about independent Presidential candidate, conspiracy whacko and, from what I can tell, sentient baseball mitt Robert F. Kennedy Jr – the son of one of the Kennedy boys that made it a long way in US politics.

 

(Author’s Note: At around 12:20pm today I, Gregor Stronach, made a terrible error by misidentifying RFK Jr as the son of former US Senator Teddy Kennedy. In one sense, I feel that it was an easy mistake to make, because “son” is quite similar to the word “nephew” (provided you squint very heavily, or have recently suffered a catastrophic head injury… and, speaking of heads, I also mistook RFK Jr for being the son of Teddy Kennedy, as they both evidently employed a very serious and methodical approach to the Kennedy family’s non-political, sideline hobby of growing massive craniums that are record-breakingly hefty by weight, and at least two pickaxe handles wide.

I once heard a story that Teddy Kennedy, when he was just a baby, won a blue ribbon at the Massachusetts state fair, when local community leaders mistook his ponderously grotesque bonce for a prize-winning pumpkin, and had to be physically restrained and eventually sedated while trying to fashion him into a jack-o-lantern.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to write in and tell me how stupid I am, and explain to me that there’s a large chunk of the fundamentals of journalism that I was (until they wrote to tell me) blissfully unaware of, despite more than four decades in the industry.

I promise to do better next time, and I unreservedly apologise to anyone whose life I inadvertently sent into a panic-ridden tailspin through such a wantonly slipshod effort to have a laugh at someone else’s expense, because – as you’re about to learn – a worm ate part of his brain and then died inside his frikkin’ head.

It’s still in there, too – which makes this one of the wildest political stories you’re likely to hear in your lifetime and, in my estimation, is the real meat of this story; not my mistake. But, still… you took the time to write to me, and I do appreciate it a lot. It’s just lovely knowing you care.)

 

Some people used to believe that RFK Jr is the son of former US Senator Ted Kennedy, who was famous for being the Kennedy who didn’t get publicly murdered. He’s the one who drove his car off a bridge in the middle of the night on July 18, 1969 – and didn’t tell anyone about it for nearly 11 hours, leaving a 28-year-old woman who was also in the car to drown.

It’s a testament to the political power of the Kennedy family that ever after he clearly caused that young woman’s horrible death, he got to continue his career as a US Senator for Massachusetts for another 40 years, until he was removed from office by a brain tumour.

Anyway – that Kennedy’s son Robert’s campaign may have hit a terminal snag this week, after the New York Times reported that the presidential hopeful might not be the picture of weirdly leathery health that he appears to be.

The age (and apparent mental frailty) of the two frontrunners is very much a feature of this year’s run for the White House. Current US President Joe Biden is about 200 years old and is only barely coherent.

Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate, isn’t quite as old, but anyone who’s ever watched him speak would know that he’s about as mentally acute as a heavily tranquilised bear with its head stuck in a bucket.

But anyone hoping that Kennedy might be a viable option for the job on the basis that he’s probably in better shape than those two is in for a bit of a rude shock, after it was reported that he’s had mental performance issues of his own.

Kennedy admitted during a court deposition in 2012 that he’d experienced “severe memory loss and mental fog”, which his neurologist suggested could have been caused by “a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died”.

He’s also got a dodgy ticker and at some point suffered from mercury poisoning – which is about as far from ideal as things get – but to add the fact that his head is effectively the same as tacky bottle of tourist-grade tequila, complete with a dead worm inside, has undoubtedly cast a shadow over his suitability for the top job.

The wildest US presidential election in history is the gift that keeps on giving.

 

TO MARKETS

The ASX benchmark was sagging this morning, down -0.67% by the middle of the day as the banks and Consumer Discretionary sector weighed heavily.

The sectors looked like this:

 

asx winner (AXN)
Chart via Marketindex.com.au

 

The rest of the market looked like that:

 

asx winner (AXN)
Chart via Marketindex.com.au

 

The bank stock sell-off was led by Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA), after it dropped its third-quarter earnings report with an audible thunk! on the ASX doorstep today.

In it, CBA revealed that its third-quarter cash profit had fallen by a rather alarming -7.0%, with the bank posting a cash net profit after tax of $2.4 billion for the most recent quarter, despite holding the lion’s share of the Great Australian $2 trillion Mortgage Pie.

The folks at CBA very kindly dropped that stinker at some ungodly hour of the morning, which meant investors had a couple of hours to sit around and figure out just how hard they would be kicking the bank’s nards before the market opened at 10:00am.

For those of you too squeamish to watch, those mortgage-heavy love plums have been kicked to the tune of a -1.70% fall so far.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) was also taking a beating this morning – a far worse one than the CBA, by the looks of things. Westpac had surged mightily earlier in the week after it managed to post a better looking quarterly (+5% NPAT of $3.3 billion with a fat, glistening divvy and everything).

But the gloss has been knocked off its share price on Thursday morning, and it’s down 5.34%.

Neuren Pharmaceuticals (ASX:NEU) was similarly down, on news this morning that its partner Acadia Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ACAD) reported Q1 net sales of Daybue  (trofinetide) in the United States of US$75.9 million, just shy of the low end of expectations.

And Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW) has taken a kicking on Thursday morning, despite a fairly cheery trading report showing sales from 01 Jan to 05 May were up 30% vs pcp, and that’s despite the fact that the overall furniture and homewares market is down 4% due to cost-of-living pressures.

 

NOT THE ASX

Much like an absent-minded drug dealer, Wall Street delivered a mixed bag last night.

The S&P 500 ended its three-day winning streak, falling by -0.01%. The blue chips Dow Jones index was up by +0.44%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped by -0.18%.

Earlybird Eddy Sunarto reported this morning that US stocks in general are bouncing back after a tough April, especially in sectors that haven’t been getting much love lately such as Utilities and Consumer Staples.

These sectors usually do well when the economy isn’t doing so great.

In US stock news, Uber fell almost -6% after its forecasts didn’t quite hit the mark. The company swung to a loss last quarter as legal settlements and equity investments dragged down its results.

Shopify took a dive of almost -19%, shaving almost US$20 billion off the company’s value. The Canadian e-commerce company expects its revenue in Q2 to increase by a high-teens, but it’s slower than the growth it’s seen in the past few quarters.

Robinhood rose +4% after hours as the online trading platform topped Wall Street’s estimates for quarterly profits and revenue.

Airbnb meanwhile slid -8.5% post-market after Q1 results were in line with what Wall Street expected. However, its revenue guidance for the June quarter was just a tad below what most analysts were thinking.

In Asia, China’s real estate market is continuing to do a number on iron ore prices.

According to an official of miner Vale, China’s iron ore imports for 2024 will be pretty much the same as last year, around 1.17 to 1.18 billion metric tons, and iron ore fell around -3.0% last night.

Asian markets were rising nicely this morning, with Shanghai up +0.67%, the Hang Seng higher by 0.57% and Japan’s Nikkei had climbed +0.50% despite the ever-present concern that a massive radioactive lizard could emerge from the ocean at any moment, in search of those green tea Kit-Kats that sound horrible but are actually pretty bloody good.

There are a number of international markets closed today. Basically, anyplace where you’d expect viking horns, clogs or unnaturally boxy automobiles, the people there are off celebrating Ascension Day, as portrayed in Pete Docter’s breathtaking 2009 documentary film, Up.

As an aside, I found out today that Pete Docter looks exactly like someone’s drawn a happy face on a thumb.

 

asx winner (AXN)
Animating genius Pete Docter, seen here receiving a trophy for Most Thumblike Human in 2009. Pic via Getty Images.

 

Anyway…

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for 09 May [intraday]:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

 

Way out in front on Thursday morning was Alliance Nickel (ASX:AXN), soaring deep into triple digit growth on news that the Australian Federal Government has granted its 100% owned NiWest nickel cobalt project “Major Project Status”.

As such, the company will get additional support in navigating and coordinating complex Federal and State regulatory approvals for a period of three years, which is nice.

The news comes as nickel prices continue to fluctuate broadly, with prices briefly flirting with US$20,000/tonne towards the end of last month.

Caprice Resources (ASX:CRS) was up this morning on news that it has signed a binding option agreement to acquire 90% of the Bantam project, consisting of four tenements (one granted, three applications) in the West Arunta region of Western Australia.

Caprice said it’s planning on hunting for niobium, rare earths and IOCG mineral deposits, with the site immediately adjacent to WA1 Resources’ (ASX:WA1) West Arunta project and it’s world-class Luni niobium-REE discovery.

And Errawarra Resources (ASX:ERW) was surging rapidly this morning, up more than +50% on no news, but it looks like the ASX has yanked on the handbrake and trading in ERW was suspended shortly after midday. Check Closing Bell this arvo for an explanation, as there’s nothing more about iot from the announcements list as yet.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for 09 May [intraday]:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

 

ICYMI – AM EDITION

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