It’s been a bumpy ride on the ASX this morning, with the benchmark bouncing like a pair of two-up pennies on a wooden RSL floor, lurching between flat and -0.3% for a while before heading into lunch up by just 0.1%.

It’s the usual tale of woe for Materials and Energy stocks, and the now-familiar surge from InfoTech driving the market’s indecision about whether it wants to make any money today – so how the afternoon is set to play out is anyone’s guess.

But first, a quick news story from Canada to whet your lunchtime appetite, because authorities in British Columbia have been forced to launch a new public awareness campaign in an attempt to combat a soaring rise in sexually transmitted disease among the area’s senior citizens.

Jane Johanson, a spokesperson for the education campaign, says that in the past decade, STI rates for seniors over 65 have risen by 267% for chlamydia, 340% for syphilis and 388% for gonorrhoea across Canada.

First of all, ew.

Second of all, it’s kind of understandable – if you’ve ever been to an old folks’ assisted living facility, then you’d know that they are deep wells of sadness and boredom, which smell like pureed food and stale piss, and sound like the wails of the damned from the depths of hell, punctuated only by overly-cheery bingo callers bellowing numbers for hours on end.

But what you probably don’t know is that the advent of boner pills has exacerbated the unspoken phenomenon of old folks’ homes being hotbeds of sexual activity, with the oldies bumping uglies almost at will, even as they teeter on the brink of extinction.

And, given that they’re highly unlikely to be overly concerned about getting themselves knocked-up at the tender age of 70+, they’re equally as unlikely to be overly concerned about wearing a proverbial raincoat when the action gets hot and heavy.

In the spirit of the dreaded Public Awareness Campaign playbook, Canadian authorities are digging fairly deep into their bag of tricks to help spread the message – including by handing out lollies with wrappers featuring slogans including “Why did Grandpa get an STI test?”.

(Answer: to get to the other side).

Speaking of which, let’s go take a look at how the market’s been doing since we woke up this morning…



Local markets have opened lower this morning, falling 0.3% when the bell rang before rallying hard to get very close to break-even.

Then, around 11.30, the benchmark went full-on international football mode, diving like Didier Drogba to -0.2%, only to magically recover and – perfectly fine with no sign of any actual injury – bounce back by lunchtime to be up 0.1%.



Incredible scenes. I do hope he’s okay.

Anyway, in what (by now) should be a familiar refrain for 2023, it’s Materials and Energy that are holding the local market back this morning, down 1.9% and 0.5% respectively.

But adding value today, and our winner by a clear margin is InfoTech, which leapt at open and remained buoyant, thanks to some solid gains by Gefen International (ASX:GFN), up 25% on slim volume, and Pivotal Systems Corporation (ASX:PVS), up 17.6%.

Bucking the Materials sag at the top end of town, Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) has added a very solid 5.6% this morning on no ASX-related news.



Local markets didn’t get much of a lead from Wall Street’s flat finish on Friday, where everything levelled out around 0.1% higher before the weekend.

Earlybird Eddy reports that the big news out of the US is that someone has finally pulled the plug on the badly beleaguered Bed, Bath and Beyond, admitting defeat and filing for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, chemical manufacturer Albemarle Corp plunged 10% after Chile plans to nationalise the country’s lithium industry, and said that contracts with Albemarle would not be renewed under a new public-private partnership model.

Chile, along with Australia and China, are in the top 3 lithium producers and under the new policy, the government would nationalise the country’s lithium supply where private companies will be forced to partner with the state to develop the local industry.

In Japan, the Nikkei is up 0.3% on news that famously cute’n’cuddly Tokyo theme park Sanrio Puroland – home to the ironically saccharine-sweet and super-twee Hello Kitty stable of characters – is set to be temporarily turned into a nightmarish hellscape for a couple of days in June.



Best part about the promotion is that the theme park is trying to sweeten the pot a little for any families who might be on the fence about dragging their tiny tots into a venue full of aggressively Japanese zombies by admitting children under the age of 2 for free.

So, if you’re searching for a mid-year family holiday that will deliver oodles of culture, noodles of flavour and will 100% scar your infant children for life, Tokyo should be top of your list.

Meanwhile in China, Shanghai has dipped 0.25%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.63%.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for April 13 [intraday]:

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Leading the charts this morning is Mamba Exploration (ASX:M24), up 23.3% and continuing a no-news hot streak that has seen the small clay rare earths explorer surge 75% over the past five trading days, and +200% from lows of 7c/sh late March.

Also climbing on no fresh news is Charger Metals (ASX:CHR), up 22.9% this morning because it wanted to (apparently), while HSC Technologies (ASX:HSC) has added 20% after a sudden rush of interest ahead of the company’s up-coming AGM.

Last one before lunch: Eildon Capital (ASX:EDC) has jumped 17.7% to $0.93 a share, following news that Samuel Terry Asset Management has launched an off-market takeover offer to acquire all of the stapled (and, I assume, any in the folder being held in with paperclips) securities in EDC.

No prizes for guessing that the offer is for $0.93 a pop, which represents a 17.7% premium – or it did, before the market priced it in… I’ll dig into the offer a little more in Closing Bell later on this afternoon.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for April 13 [intraday]:

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