Local markets are up this morning, largely off the back of US investors dragging their thumbs outta their butts overnight and banking a solid session on Wall Street.

Same as yesterday, there’s a lot of small cap movement and not a whole lot of ASX news to go with it – so bear with me while I pick the eyes out of the chaos as we head towards lunch.

Before that, though, there’s the small matter from New Zealand to attend to, where a man – who is most likely extremely happy that he  hasn’t been identified by name – is having a strop over an insurance payout after his home burnt down.

The house, as you’ll see shortly, is quite clearly damaged beyond any hope of salvation, and the gentleman’s insurance company had offered to come to the party with a cheque for NZ$418,000 (enough for two meat pies and a cold chocolate milk in Aussie dollars), which realistically should have been the end of it.

However, it turns out that it’s going to cost a lot more than the  pre-fire value of the home to have the smouldering wreckage knocked down and another laughably flimsy fibro shack put up in its place.

 

asx winner Rincon
Yup… she’s definitely cooked. Pic via NewsHub.

 

So, old mate has stuck his hand out for another NZ$200k, in a display of breathtaking audacity, considering that it is 100% his fault that his home turned into a raging inferno – and it’s genuinely astonishing that his insurance company has come to the party in any way, shape or form.

According to local media reports, the fella was home one evening when he developed a hankering for a feed of steak and chips. So far, so good and everything is perfectly normal.

However, the evening took a slightly concerning turn when our protagonist decided that the best way to prepare his steak involved neither a frying pan, nor a barbecue – instead, he slid his slice of animal flesh into a toaster.

Evidently born without the benefit of the kind of alarm bells that ring in someone’s head when they’re doing something potentially catastrophically stupid, he turned the toaster on.

While that was no doubt busily firing highly flammable gobs of red hot animal fat directly onto the glowing elements in the toaster, our guy figured that he’d better nip down to the shops to grab the hot chips he needed to complete his Masterchef-inspired creation.

The house was well on fire by the time he got back – leaving Captain Big Brain to munch his hot chips in the street, while most likely bemoaning the fact that his steak is going to a long way past “well done” by the time the fire was put out.

Final word of the story goes to New Zealand Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens, who had this pearl of wisdom to share.

“Please, use your appliances for the purpose for which they were designed. Toasters are for toast.”

I really feel like that’s something that didn’t need to be said.

 

TO MARKETS

The ASX is having a better morning today than the one we watched unfold with tedious inevitability yesterday, firing on almost all cylinders to power the benchmark beyond +1.10% before lunch.

There’s no rocket science behind the gains – local markets are just copying whatever Wall Street does again, after US investors went on a buying frenzy and shocked the New York exchange out of a pretty severe case of the doldrums.

Locally, it’s the InfoTech sector that is leading the charge, with a well-overdue clamber back into the good books after a very rough start to the year – the sector has managed to claw back more than 2.3% today, with Big Kids like Wisetech and Xero both more than 2.0% better off.

You can see what the rest of the sectors are doing by looking at this handy chart, because I am running late today so you’ll need to use your eyes, and look at the pretty colours.

 

asx winner Rincon
Chart via Marketindex.com.au

 

There’s some unhappy news out of WA this morning that needs to be addressed – and that is US mining giant Alcoa is saying that one of its three alumina refineries is going to be mothballed, leaving about 750 Aussies out of work.

Alcoa says that it has made the decision to stop production at its plant on the Kwinana industrial strip, south of Perth, at an unspecified date “later this year”, blaming everything but themselves for the closure.

Executive vice president Matt Reed has pointed to the operating costs and age of the facility as major motivators for the decision, along with the usual noises and vague hand gestures about “current market conditions”.

Announcement of the closure comes just days after Core Lithium pulled the pin on its operations in the NT, and given the nature of our Resources sector and just how much everyone loves to jump into the Next Big Fad, today’s news is fuelling concern that this is just the beginning of a significant downsizing sector-wide.

In slightly happier news, there are a swag of Billion-Dollar market cappers on the winners list this morning, including Resmed, Elders and Polynovo – all of which have packed on significant gains this morning, but – like a lot of the Small Caps movers – not due to anything company specific in the headlines.

The entire market seems to be moving independently of any clear narrative this morning, which is enormously frustrating for me, as I should probably know why it’s happening, but I don’t.

I’m blaming that on the fact that I was either asleep in Economics class when whatever the market’s currently doing was explained, or the lesson was delivered in the immediate aftermath of Mr Moore “gently pounding” my teenage skull with the cricket bat he wielded in class, for the crime of being asleep in Economics class.

Those are days that I will always remember fondly – and while I may not be able to coherently explain the vagaries of macroeconomic gibberish, all of those blows to the head have gifted me the ability to smell colours.

And in data news, the Australian Bureau of Assigning Numbers to Things dropped some retail sales data from November in our laps earlier today, showing a 2.0% jump in retail turnover for the month.

The analysts I spoke with this morning all agreed with my assessment that’s a pretty groovy number, but warned that because that month is host to the Black Friday sales, the data is likely to be volatile… so, don’t smoke while you’re reading it, I guess.

 

NOT THE ASX

As previously mentioned, Wall Street hiked up its skirts and took off at a brisk pace towards Profitland last night, shipping a very strong session that saw the S&P 500 rise by +1.41%, the blue chips Dow Jones index up by +0.58%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq surging by +2.20%.

Hefty, is what that is. Hefty.

Boeing surprised absolutely no one by having a terrible day, shedding 8% in a single session because of some nonsense about its new planes falling apart mid-air or whatever.

News of that near catastrophe was compounded by revelations from United Airlines that inspections of that company’s new Boeing Max aircraft ended with staff finding “loose bolt and other parts” on at least five other planes.

This is – and I cannot stress this enough – altogether far too much sloppy bolt work on a commercial airliner, and Boeing is looking likely to be in some very hot water as investigations continue.

In more positive news, US tech stocks rose across the board, with Nvdia, which was up by 6.5%, pacing the Magnificent Seven, Earlybird Eddy reported this morning.

Apple, which accounts for a significant percentage of the benchmark S&P 500 index, also jumped 2.4% after announcing it will release the new Vision Pro headset in the US on 02 February.

Australian consumers are set to miss out on the initial round of Vision Pro headset sales, and it’s likely they will have to wait weeks, if not months, before they can drop US$3,500 (tell ‘em they’re dreamin’, son) on the worst migraine headache they are ever likely to experience.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

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

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

 

As I mentioned before, there are lots of small caps moving briskly around the market without the usual niceties of telling us why – and there are genuinely far too many of them to list every single one… but a quick glance suggests that most of them are little goldies, making hay while spot prices remain above US$2,000/oz.

Up near the top of the list with a 17% spike is Rincon, which last had news for the ASX on 03 January when the company announced that drilling had confirmed wide zones of mineralisation at its Westin Prospect in WA.

At the not-awesome end of the scale, however, is Talisman – it lost 14% before lunch after delivering news of further assay results from additional RC drillholes completed at the Durnings Prospect, part of the company’s 100%-owned Lachlan Project in NSW, which appear to have underwhelmed investors.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

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

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

Wordpress Table Plugin