ASX Small Caps Lunch Wrap: What the hell does China want with 100,000 Sri Lankan monkeys this week?
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Aussie markets opened slightly lower this morning, dropping 0.1% at open – and despite looking for all the world like it was going to improve, poking its nose above the waterline around 11am, as we roll into lunchtime the benchmark is down and trending downer, at -0.3%.
But before we get down to business, it’s time for a short burst of monkey news.
Because… monkeys, that’s why.
The Agriculture Ministry of Sri Lanka has been left a tad confused, following a request from a “group of Chinese representatives” that landed on their desk, asking for 100,000 monkeys.
According to local reports, the alarmingly massive number of toque monkeys – the brand that China has asked for by name – are needed to populate “zoological gardens”, which honestly raises more questions than any reasonable human being could ponder in the short amount of time and space I have here.
Sri Lankan officials are in the process of debating the legalities of sending such a massive number of monkeys overseas, but it’s not like it couldn’t spare them. Current estimates place the toque monkey population there at more than 3 million.
Still, 100,000 is a preposterous request – the task of rounding them up would take forever, the only way to get them to China would be by boat, and last time I looked, every Fairstar the Fun Ship cruise in that region has been booked out for months.
I, like the rest of you, would dearly love to know the real reason why China wants 100,000 Sri Lankan monkeys, because the “We… erm… we want them for… zoos! Yes, for zoos. 100%. Please send them urgently, as our zoos are currently monkey-less” just isn’t ringing true.
It’s not like they’re handsome little beasts, either. Toque monkeys are pretty much the meth-heads of the simian world… terrible haircut, constant 1,000-yard “been awake for days, man” stares and prone to bursts of violent rage and petty theft at a moment’s notice.
Just the ticket for a fun day out at the zoo, right?
If anyone from China’s monkey-free zoos wants to drop me a line to explain it to me, please do… because I’m not going to sleep well until I know the answer, and the last thing I need is to start looking even more like a toque than I already do.
Local markets are doing it a little tough today, with the benchmark at -0.3 at lunchtime, tracking losses on Wall Street overnight.
Consumer Staples is the sector taking the biggest hit this morning, down 1.3%, while Health Care and Consumer Discretionary are also going the wrong way, falling 0.7% and 0.69% respectively.
The sole gleam of visible hope lies with the Energy sector, up 0.57% off the back of a 2% jump in crude prices overnight to the highest level so far this year.
There’s also a solitary Large Cap in the winner’s circle this morning – Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) has surged 10.4% on news that it’s snagged the UK Home Office’s Bridging Accommodation & Travel Services contract.
The contract is freakin’ massive, worth close to $3 billion – which is, coincidentally, CTD’s current market cap – over two years for CTD, with an option for a one-year extension “in line with on-going demand requirements.”
On Wall Street overnight, inflation data came in for March at 5% (from 6% in Feb), the lowest since 2021 when it first began to climb, as Earlybird Eddy Sunarto reports.
However… core inflation, which is closely watched by the Fed (and is a leading cause of heart disease and diabetes), which does not include volatile energy and food prices, rose 0.4% from the prior month.
Wall Street, being Wall Street, focussed on the bad news rather than the positive, leaving the three major New York indices to crumble a bit.
The unstoppable Christan Edwards has a deep dive into those numbers (the inflation ones, not the index ones) here, which he wrote last night from the confines of his cheesy, cheddary bunker in the mountains of France.
After the inflation report, the Fed’s Tom Barkin said there is more to do to get core inflation down.
“I’m waiting for inflation to crack … It’s moving in the right direction,” he said, deftly side-stepping the notion that he’s one of The Chosen Few who actually has his hands on the levers in America.
Probably because he knew that the Fed’s March meeting minutes were also going to drop last night, which suggest that FOMC (which is pronounced “FOM KEY”, if you’re aiming to sound smart and impress someone at the pub this weekend) members are projecting a “mild recession” in the US.
Nevermind that the rest of the planet has been screaming “US recession!” since late last year… but it’s good to know that The Fed’s top people are on the ball with this kinda thing.
In Japan, the Nikkei is as flat as its host nation’s mood, on news that the population figures have fallen again, for the 12th year in a row.
According to Japan Times, the number of Japanese nationals is “down 750,000 to 122,031,000, the largest margin of decline since comparable data were made available in 1950”.
Japanese officials remain uncertain what’s causing it, and I’m certainly flummoxed – pretty much every bit of Japanese cinema I watch shows that they certainly understand the basic mechanics of how babies are made.
As always, that leaves the tiny island nation facing a shrinking workforce and a rapidly-greying population – but, luckily, in the comments section of that news report, a reader called ‘badmoonrising’ has a plan.
“I like the idea of shrinking humans and things like wolves and bears coming back more,” they write, possibly hoping to inspire Japanese scientists to stop making giant lizards and start making bite-sized people instead.
But more likely because they fell in the shower and hit their head before deciding that saying something dumb on the internet was absolutely the best use of their time today.
In China, where there are so many people they could possibly spare a few million working-age draftees without batting an eyelid, Shanghai’s markets are up 0.15% in early trade, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.82%.
In crypto news, I don’t know how they’ve done it, but the banner headline today is that FTX has managed to find $7.3 billion of the money that was previously listed as MIA, probably KIA.
The highlight from that news (other than the idea of people possibly getting more of their money back than previously imagined) says pretty much everything you need to know about the crypto mind-set.
Rumour has it that FTX is considering going back into business – still nearly $3 billion deep on the “we owe this to some very angry people” side of the ledger – and its exchange token (FTT) has climbed more than 78% in the past 24 hours.
I genuinely don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
There’s more to the story (there always is…) – and we’re blessed to have Rob “Did ya miss me?” Badman back from holidays to explain it with infinitely less cynicism than I can, over at Mooners and Shakers.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for April 13 [intraday]:
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Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap ELE Elmore Ltd 0.017 55% 6,690,589 $15,393,222 ARE Argonaut Resources 0.0015 50% 1,000,000 $6,361,871 CLZ Classic Min Ltd 0.0015 50% 92,045,281 $3,093,095 VPR Volt Power Group 0.0015 50% 13,793 $10,716,208 OMA Omega Oil & Gas 0.285 46% 14,366,843 $29,820,207 YPB YPB Group Ltd 0.004 33% 250,000 $1,857,747 DUN Dundas Minerals 0.18 33% 246,526 $6,404,974 SI6 SI6 Metals Limited 0.006 33% 2,800,000 $6,729,276 TIG Tigers Realm Coal 0.013 30% 1,120,001 $130,667,024 MHK Metalhawk. 0.155 29% 43,018 $7,792,247 EG1 Evergreen Lithium 0.41 26% 1,549,082 $18,274,750 REZ Resources & Energy Group 0.016 23% 412,500 $6,497,475 FBM Future Battery 0.098 23% 10,927,035 $34,227,611 ADC Acdc Metals Ltd 0.12 21% 82,500 $4,628,003 ADS Adslot Ltd. 0.006 20% 1,050,000 $11,021,742 TSL Titanium Sands Ltd 0.013 18% 8,076 $15,470,376 DGR DGR Global Ltd 0.053 18% 218,500 $46,966,207 AKN Auking Mining Ltd 0.07 17% 57,000 $11,980,477 KNM Kneomedia Limited 0.007 17% 67,894 $9,028,712 PIL Peppermint Inv Ltd 0.007 17% 420,000 $12,227,141 ERD Eroad Limited 0.59 16% 5,173 $57,588,733 WYX Western Yilgarn NL 0.11 15% 54,339 $3,953,520 ADR Adherium Ltd 0.004 14% 101,119 $17,487,534 ATH Alterity Therap Ltd 0.008 14% 13,125 $17,079,283 CYQ Cycliq Group Ltd 0.008 14% 1,165,821 $2,432,617
This morning’s standout Small Caps winner is Elmore (ASX:ELE), which came out of an ASX-enforced suspension yesterday and has gone bounding up the ladder with a 50% surge this morning.
Elmore got bounced from the trading floor mid-March because it was late with its homework, but was allowed back onto the field after filing its Appendix 4D and Half Year Report for the period ended 31 December 2022.
Between being benched in March and returning today, Elmore kept itself busy by acquiring the Peko project in the Northern Territory and “all of the companies related to the project held by the previous owners”.
Next best is Omega Oil & Gas (OMA), which has added 45.6% this morning on news that the company’s Canyon-2 well has intersected 293m of gas shows within the Kianga Formation and upper Back Creek Group.
“Encouraging gas shows continued into the upper Back Creek Group, therefore a decision was made to deepen the TD of the well to drill through the upper Back Creek Group,” the company says.
The upper Back Creek Group was intersected at a depth of 3588m, and is now a “potential additional reservoir, with significant gas peaks being recorded while drilling over an interval of 72m”.
And in third this morning is Evergreen Lithium (ASX:EG1), a market newbie which listed on 11 April after an IPO at $0.30 a pop, and has roared up in value by 27.6% today to bring its rise since listing to a very tidy 66.0%.
Evergreen went public with a $7m initial public offering and three projects on the books – Bynoe and Fortune in the Northern Territory and Kenny in Western Australia.
Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for April 13 [intraday]:
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Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap IS3 I Synergy Group Ltd 0.016 -24% 6 $6,070,688 MCT Metalicity Limited 0.002 -20% 130,000 $8,761,348 AXP AXP Energy Ltd 0.0025 -17% 36 $17,474,042 CTO Citigold Corp Ltd 0.005 -17% 5,000 $17,241,955 EDE Eden Inv Ltd 0.005 -17% 137,812 $17,588,666 JTL Jayex Technology Ltd 0.01 -17% 278,657 $3,375,342 SKN Skin Elements Ltd 0.012 -15% 35,000 $6,603,267 AVW Avira Resources Ltd 0.003 -14% 34,857,769 $7,468,265 NUH Nuheara Limited 0.13 -13% 47,100 $25,724,123 IRD Iron Road Ltd 0.105 -13% 55,854 $96,412,363 AGR Aguia Res Ltd 0.0255 -12% 2,790,681 $12,581,773 IGN Ignite Ltd 0.071 -11% 25,568 $7,166,574 GRV Greenvale Energy Ltd 0.12 -11% 64,750 $57,506,862 M24 Mamba Exploration 0.12 -11% 16,255 $8,232,751 THR Thor Energy PLC 0.004 -11% 500,000 $6,642,508 1CG One Click Group Ltd 0.01 -9% 500,000 $6,754,780 ASR Asra Minerals Ltd 0.01 -9% 808,500 $16,138,305 OSL Oncosil Medical 0.01 -9% 218,182 $10,936,665 SIS Simble Solutions 0.01 -9% 2,650,000 $6,632,458 TG6 Tgmetalslimited 0.1 -9% 12,197 $4,433,170 4DX 4Dmedical Limited 0.68 -9% 1,886,661 $219,396,419 DES Desoto Resources 0.105 -9% 5,201 $6,325,173 HZN Horizon Oil Limited 0.165 -8% 476,469 $288,259,733 ESR Estrella Res Ltd 0.011 -8% 251,555 $17,802,862 LSA Lachlan Star Ltd 0.011 -8% 1,084,990 $15,828,153