At this stage of a super-busy week, the very notion of a couple of weeks soaking up the sunshine in Spain is a hugely attractive one – unless you’re Spanish, or an easily-enraged bull.

Because taking a break is important, as is seeing the world, meeting new people and bringing home a few souvenirs. Little totems or mementos, to remind you of that time you ate gelato in Rome, or had your pocket expertly-picked while gazing at the Eiffel Tower.

But today, we’d like you to spare a thought for one Italian man who has arrived home from a quick jaunt to Spain to discover that the souvenirs he brought with him probably aren’t the kind type you’d want to be keeping. We’re talking worse than a plastic Elvis from Vegas or a Balinese wooden monkey sporting a preposterously massive erection.

Health officials (two words in and you already know this isn’t going to end well) in Italy have reported that a 36-year-old man has returned home with the Unholy Global Pandemic Trinity, having contracted COVID-19, monkeypox and HIV, all in one trip.

News of the man returning home with everything except a T-shirt that reads “I took a Spanish holiday and all I got was this horrifying viral load” would, under normal circumstances, make him one of the unluckiest travellers in recent weeks.

But that title, we’re far more happy to reveal, goes to the rightfully maligned British personality, Television’s Piers Morgan, who caused mirth among the schadenfruede set by revealing he had spent buckets of money to fly from LA to London to attend a cricket match that had already finished.

Oh dear. What a shame. How sad.

(Ed: If you liked that, there’s more unfortunate travel hilarity for you at the bottom.)



After the briefest of false starts this morning, Aussie markets have climbed steadily like careful koalas, intent upon reaching the juiciest gum leaves and a nice branch to perch on, get stoned and wait out the afternoon until Millionaire comes on.

At the time of writing, the benchmark is up nearly +0.8%, with Energy (+1.95%), Real Estate (+1.74%), InfoTech (+1.06%) and Materials (+1.18%) all punching out highly-satisfying returns.

All of the negative energy harshing everyone’s mellow seems to be concentrated in Consumer Staples (-1.82%) and Utilities (-0.71%), which are both in for a bloody rude shock if they’re expecting to get invited back again tomorrow.

In the Billionaire’s Lounge, there are eight heavyweights heaving their bulk around like pro-wrestlers in a field of magic mushrooms.

Topping that list is Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN), which has added 11.5% on news Japan’s dusted off that Fukushima blip and is getting back into uranium, and Judo Capital Holdings (ASX:JDO) has grabbed a its recent poor performance in technically-proficient FY22 results headlock, up 7.6% today and heading out for a succulent Chinese meal to celebrate.

Topping the losers by losing its toppings is Domino’s, which has handed back 7.0% of yesterday’s gains after informing the ASX it intends to continue to make pizza.

We’re almost scared to head overseas, but we’re going to, so you don’t have to worry about what you might catch while you’re there.



Wall Street snapped out of its spell of the murky dismals overnight, as the market took strength from the act of grasping its own ankles firmly and bracing for the unstoppable onslaught of whimsy that Jerome Powell is likely to fire out of Jackson’s Hole on Friday.

Early Eddy Sunarto reports that all three major US stock market indices – the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq – rose by around 0.3% each, while Minneapolis Fed Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari made sounds from his mouth to promote tighter monetary policy.

“With inflation this high for me, I’m in the mode of wanting to err on making sure we’re getting inflation down, and only relax when we see compelling evidence that inflation is well on its way back down to 2%,” he said.

As if to prove him wrong even as he spoke, it was cruise liner companies that performed best in the US overnight.

In Asia this morning, Japan’s Nikkei has enjoyed a warm reception from investors, up 0.6% – however, in both Hong Kong and Shanghai, the markets are colder than the cashiers smile at Coles, flat and flatter respectively.

Commodities are mixed because of course they are. Oil is up +0.64%, while gas is down -0.59%, gold has done well (+0.37%), silver’s done better (+0.95%), but copper’s been referred to internal affairs, down -0.14%.

And on Planet Crypto, where the cows go Bong! and the bored apes all say Boo!, market sentiment is deep into Fear Country again as a whole bunch of number crunchers tipped their data into a bowl and pulled a mud pie out of the oven.

For more on that, there is – as always – the Delightful Mr Badman’s Mooners & Shakers to digest once you’re done reading here.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for August 25 [intraday]:

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In Small Caps, it was Variscan’s (ASX:VAR) turn on the throne this morning, climbing this morning on news of some sunburn-busting zinc finds at its San Jose mine in northern Spain.

After an initial rush first thing in the morning, Variscan has eased to “only” be up 53% at lunchtime, narrowly edging out nearest Fast Climber rival Anson Resources (ASX:ASN), which has been on a rapid 40.5% rise on the back of news it is partnering with global DLE leader Sunresin to develop a full-scale commercial lithium plant at Paradox Lithium Project.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for August 25 [intraday]:

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