Local markets got off to a pleasantly positive start this morning, jumping 0.9% thanks to a strong finish on Wall Street last week, before easing to 0.6% by lunchtime as the fact that it’s Monday morning sank in.

But before we delve into the rest of the market’s news, it’s time for a quick trip to Nashville to learn a valuable lesson in just how far ‘above and beyond’ hotels are having to go in order to make their guests’ stay a memorable one.

A Texas man visiting Nashville on a business trip will almost certainly have some issues blanking out the memory of his stay at the Hilton Downtown Nashville Hotel, after waking up around 5:00am to find the hotel’s night manager sucking on his toes.

This, obviously, is a suboptimal situation… unless you’re into the kinda thing, which is fine. What consenting adults get up to in the privacy of a Nashville Hilton Hotel room is between them, and the staff who are left to clean up after the event.

But in this instance, the early-morning slobbery assault caused considerable levels of angst for the guest, identified as Peter Brennan, who claims that he woke up to find a number of his toes in the night manager’s mouth.

Recognising the toe-sucker as a hotel employee who had visited his room earlier to help fix his television, Brennan called police who were able to track hotel employee David Neal to his home.

Neal told police he had entered the room to check on the safety of the guest because he could smell smoke, and had then disposed of the keycard he used to unlock the door. The hotel employee was arrested, and Brennan has filed a lawsuit alleging ongoing (and, frankly, completely understandable) psychological harm.

It remains unclear just how many Hilton Rewards Points guests need to amass in order to qualify for the no-knock, unannounced early morning toe-sucking experience, but my best estimate puts it somewhere in between earning a Free Hot Breakfast, and an upgrade to the all-inclusive Get Thrown Off The Hotel Roof package, usually reserved for Platinum Rewards Members with ties to The Kremlin.



Local markets have kicked off the week with a modest but most-welcome jump this morning, following a far better result on Wall Street on Friday that seems to have lifted spirits locally.

The benchmark added 0.9% in the opening minutes of the session, but that quickly eased back to be at +0.6% by lunchtime, because it should be clear by now that we’re not allowed to have nice things.

Please, don’t complain to me about that. You know what you did.

The morning’s wins have been led by strong performances in Energy (+1.74%) and Materials (+1.30%) stocks, with Financials (+0.7%) and InfoTech (+0.66%) not too far behind.

Everything else is either flat or just above water, except for Consumer Staples which has sunk 0.88% so far today.

At the top end of town, Pilbara (ASX:PLS) and Lynas (ASX:LYC) are the best performers, up 5.1% and 9.95% respectively, the latter rising on news that its wholly-owned subsidiary Lynas Malaysia has had its licence to import and process lanthanide concentrate made valid until 1 January, 2024.



On Wall Street, Friday’s session went alarmingly well, ending with the major indices coughing out solid gains.

The Dow closed 1.65% higher, the S&P added 1.85% and the Nasdaq jumped 2.25% as New York had its best single-day results since 6 January this year.

Earlybird Eddy Sunarto reports that there are strong signals that some of the regional bank selling has been overdone, with beleaguered PacWest Bancorp rebounding 82%, and rival Western Alliance Bancorp also bouncing back 49%.

Meanwhile Apple had a better-than-expected third quarter, adding 4.7% to hit a nine-month high.

And news on the regulatory side of things in the US is that the Powers That Be are looking into short-selling practices, in the wake of massive profits being raked in by short sellers from plummeting share prices of regional banks.

While short selling is not illegal, manipulating stock prices is. The SEC defines manipulation as “the intentional or wilful conduct designed to deceive or defraud investors by controlling or artificially affecting stock prices”.

“The pressure on the regional banks appears to have gotten out of hand, and some traders are fearful that we could eventually see a ban on short-selling,” Oanda analyst, Edward Moya, said this morning.

“Europe does it so it doesn’t seem far-fetched for a short-selling ban to get implemented considering all the additional stress that is putting on the economy.”

Over in Japan, the Nikkei has fallen 0.6% this morning after it was revealed that the deadline to claim ownership of 10 million Yen found dumped among the garbage at a collection facility in Sapporo has passed, with no clear owner of the cash coming forward.

The cash, which was discovered by a worker who was sorting recyclable rubbish from other combustible waste at a processing facility, has been officially added to the city’s coffers, three months after it was reported to local authorities.

No fewer than 16 people came forward to claim the cash, but – as they were unable to accurately describe the condition the cash had been found in – ownership of the funds was transferred to the city.

The worker who originally discovered the cash received nothing, proving conclusively that honesty is rarely, if ever, the best policy.

Over on Chinese markets, Shanghai is up 0.66% and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng has inched up just 0.28% in early trade.

Over on the crypto desk, a sense of normality appears to have gripped that market, after the inexplicably popular PEPE frog coin’s assault on common sense and general decency appears (for now) to be over, as Rob “I’m All Meme’d Out” Badman reports in Mooners and Shakers.

But that’s not before it delivered, according to crypto-tweeter Miles Deutscher, something in the order of 375,000x gains for anyone who got in on the ground floor.



Purely out of curiosity, I had a look at the chart to see when The Great PEPE Sell-off began – and it turns out it started on Saturday night (around 3:00am), when the coin’s value hit US$0.00000420, which I refuse to believe is any sort of coincidence at all.

Y’all need Jesus.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for May 8 [intraday]:

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Leading the Small Cap winners this morning is graphite exploration and development company Volt Resources (ASX:VRC), up 20% on news that production – albeit in a curtailed capacity – has recommenced at the company’s Zavalievsky graphite mine and processing plant.

Volt recently came to the conclusion that a one-month-per-quarter production cycle would be optimal for the site, with this round of production kicking off on 11 April 2023. Since then, the company says it has produced over 700 tonnes of graphite concentrate, including a record daily production of 88 tonnes on 26 April 2023.

Average daily production is 54 tonnes, with most of the graphite concentrate produced during the campaign achieving 88-96% purity, and the company plans to complete this current production campaign in mid-May 2023.

In second place, Brookside Energy (ASX:BRK) is up more than 15% on no fresh news since revealing a buy-back on 28 April, but no doubt helped by a modest rise in crude prices after a fairly hectic sequence of falls last week.

And rounding out the top three worth mentioning today is Siren Gold (ASX:SNG), which has climbed 15% after delivering an exploration update following assay results from its first drillhole at the Auld Creek Prospect.

Siren reports that the first drillhole (ACDDH004) at the Auld Creek prospect intersected both the Fraternal and Bonanza Shoots, intersecting 20.8m at 5.9g/t Au, 2.6% Sb for 12.0g/t AuEq from 116.2m, including 4.6m @ 10.7g/t Au, 3.9% Sb for 19.9g/t AuEq from Fraternal, while the Bonanza Shoot intersected 3.5m @ 4.3g/t Au from 53.3m.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for May 8 [intraday]:

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