Aussie markets have opened with a bang, after investors rolled the stone away from the entrance to the cave, only to discover they’d gotten the venue wrong and were at Aladdin’s place, not the Easter one.

At 8am AEST, the ASX 200 April futures contract was pointing up by 0.1% – but rules were made to be broken, and the April futures contract can suck it, because right out of the gate, the ASX 200 benchmark was up 1.2%.

That’s probably because we’ve had to endure a four-day run of not being able to invest in anything, aside from time with the family, which doesn’t really count.

But first, to a small experiment with AI, which I undertook for a few different reasons – partially boredom, partially because of Deadline Horrors, partially because AI seems to be stuck in the headlines today, and 100% not because I was cynically trying to game Google’s SEO algo.

I would never, ever do that. Because I have a system of morals and ethics that I call “Methics”, which involves solving all of my complicated life quandaries by staying awake as long as humanly possible, and waiting for the right answer to emerge from the madness of smoking ice for 9 days straight.

I, like a number of writers, am concerned that ChatGPT – or something similar – will destroy my livelihood. So I asked ChatGPT to write me a quick story about a few things that are usually top-of-mind (or what’s left of it)… namely, lithium, Bitcoin and – of course – monkeys.

And here’s what it did:

“Once upon a time, in a lush jungle far, far away, there was a tribe of monkeys who loved to experiment with new things. They were always eager to try out new fruits, new ways of swinging through the trees, and new ways of making noise to scare their enemies.

One day, a wise old monkey named Bongo came up with a brilliant idea. He had heard of a rare mineral called lithium that was in high demand among humans for use in their electronic devices. Bongo knew that if his tribe could get their hands on some lithium, they could trade it with humans for all sorts of tasty treats, including bananas.

So Bongo led a group of brave monkeys deep into the mountains, where they found a rich deposit of lithium. The monkeys quickly set to work, mining the mineral and hauling it back to their jungle village. But soon they realized that they needed a way to protect their precious lithium from other animals who might try to steal it.

That’s when Bongo came up with another brilliant idea. He had heard of a digital currency called Bitcoin that humans were investing in. Bongo figured that if his tribe could invest in Bitcoin, they could use it to buy weapons and other tools to protect their lithium.

So the monkeys started investing in Bitcoin, using bananas as their currency. They bought motorcycles to patrol the jungle, and even built a stock market to keep track of their investments. And everything was going well… until the price of Bitcoin suddenly plummeted.

The monkeys were devastated. They had lost all their investments, and they didn’t know what to do. And then, they got violent. They started throwing bananas at each other, and then they set fire to important buildings in their village. The other animals in the jungle were terrified.

But Bongo wasn’t giving up. He knew that the monkeys had to find a way to bounce back. So he led a team of monkeys on a wild ride through the jungle, riding their motorcycles and gathering all the bananas they could find.

With their bananas, the monkeys were able to start trading again, and they eventually made enough money to buy back their lost investments in Bitcoin. And this time, they were smarter. They didn’t panic when the price of Bitcoin went down, and they didn’t get violent. They simply rode through the jungle on their motorcycles, enjoying their newfound wealth and the sweet taste of bananas.

And so the monkeys continued to thrive in their jungle village, mining lithium and investing in Bitcoin, always looking for new ways to make their mark on the world. They may have been wild and unpredictable, but they were also smart and resourceful. And in the end, that’s what made them great.”

3/10, ChatGPT – see me after class.



The ASX soared this morning, like a rising Messiah on his way to see his dad after a four-day weekend in Stepdad Steve’s cave, without so much as an Xbox to break the monotony.

The market climbed 1.2% at open, then kept trending higher to be at 1.3% mid-morning, led by a long-overdue surge by the Materials sector, which is leading the pack at +2.1%.

The rest of the sectors are all in the money this morning as well, with Consumer Discretionary up 1.6% in the wake of an orgy of chocolate purchases last week, while the Utilities sector is playing tail-end Charlie today, bottom of the table on +0.5%.

There’s a solitary Large Cap in the winner’s circle this morning, and that’s Arafura Rare Earths (ASX:ARU), which has boomed 8.9% on news that it’s inked an offtake deal with global wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy A/S for neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) from its Nolans project in the NT.

Nolans’ NdPr will be used in the manufacture of permanent magnets used in offshore wind turbines assembled at Siemens Gamesa’s Cuxhaven production facility in Germany, with annual contract quantities of NdPr metal set at 200 tonnes per annum (tpa) commencing in 2026, increasing to 360tpa in year two and 400tpa (an NdPr Oxide equivalent of 520 tpa) in years three to five to align with ramp up of the project.

The offtake agreement has a five-year term which may be extended for a further two years by mutual agreement.



You can tell what kind of morning I’m having, because I wasn’t going to bother looking for US overnight data, on the basis that The Greatest Emerging Christian Theocracy on Earth would most definitely be closed on one of the holiest days of the calendar.

But, luckily I did, because it turns out that Wall Street is (apparently) staffed entirely by Godless Heathens, whose only remotely-spiritual allegiance is to The Almighty Dollar – so markets there were open for Easter Monday.

I am both shocked, and appalled. Have they no shame? Jesus would be rolling in his grave if he knew.

That said, things were pretty sedate last night in New York, leaving the S&P 500 up 0.1%, while the Dow Jones index lifted 0.3% while tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.03%, Earlybird Eddy Sunarto reports.

In Japan, the Nikkei is up 1.38% following a surge in tourism on the somewhat difficult to get to town of Shibetsu located in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture – and home to the Shibetsu Salmon Museum.

The highlight of any trip to the Shibetsu Salmon Museum – aside from the eye-wateringly abysmal odour – is the opportunity for visitors to stick their hand in a tank full of sturgeon, where the ravenous, bloodthirsty fish will attempt to eat each and every finger they can see.



Please, Japan… never change.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng has risen 0.71%, while the markets in Shanghai have drooped 0.15% in very early trade, so it might just need to wake up a bit more before it’s properly on the ball.

In crypto, the big news is that Bitcoin broke through US$30,000 this morning – the highest it’s been since June 2022 – which is pretty exciting… unless you don’t own any and think the whole thing’s daft, in which case it’s baffling.

You can read more about it here in Crypto Espresso, because Rob “Hi. I Can’t Come to the Phone Right Now” Badman is on holidays, so we’ve had to drag some idiot out of a bin in the park to throw a few words together on the topic.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for April 11 [intraday]:

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Another week, and another Small Caps moonshot is underway, with Rare Earths minnow Prospech (ASX:PRS) screaming out past the stratosphere on news that the company’s uncovered high-grade rare earth oxides and hafnium over 4km strike at its recently-acquired Jokikangas project in Finland.

This one’s a banger, with the best of the results including:

  • KA02: 0.20m @ 24,448 ppm TREO and 4,700 ppm Niobium from 74.2m
  • KA03: 0.15m @ 15,346 ppm TREO and 2,980 ppm Niobium from 9.2m
  • KA03: 0.17m @ 8,690 ppm TREO and 2,030 ppm Niobium from 57.3m

Those are the sorts of numbers that really get investors’ attention – and the market has reacted accordingly, with PRS more than 200% (no… that’s not a typo) higher at lunch time.

Next highest on the ladder is Australian Rare Earths (ASX:AR3), which went zooming 83% this morning on absolutely no news, before being thrust unceremoniously into an otherwise-unexplained trading halt less than an hour after the market opened.

And a winner from last week is back in the news, with 4D Medical (ASX:4DX) adding another 32.4% to last week’s win, which was prompted by the company’s freshly-inked deal with Tampa Bay University to provide software that helps doctors look inside people for stuff.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for April 11 [intraday]:

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