We’re ignoring today’s big news in favour of a story from China, a country where industrial workers come up with clever solutions to workplace challenges, and “occupational health and safety” is an intolerable concept from a decadent, untrustworthy West.

Regardless of where you are in the world, though, there is a universal truth among workers – in the absence of direct orders not to do something, if someone dreams up an easier way to get through their working day, you can bet a fraction of the fatcat CEO’s bulging pay packet that they’re going to give it a go.

Which brings us to the hero of today’s story – a Chinese fella, identified only as “Hu”, who has a tedious, menial back-breaking job molesting pine trees for their nuts to help feed the world’s insatiable and growing greed for pesto, pignoli and that Chicken with Pine Nuts recipe that looks delicious on the website but tastes like Colonel Sanders wants you dead.

While working in a forest park in Heilongjiang province in northeastern China, Hu and a work colleague had struggled to reach the tallest parts of the trees. We assume that a ladder of sufficient length was neither portable, nor supplied by his employer.

So Hu and his mate opted for a different solution; One that is simple, practical and not-at-all made entirely of moral peril.

They got a huge helium balloon large enough to lift both of them off the ground, tethered it to the earth, then ascend to the tops of the trees, where the views were glorious and the nuts abundant and sweet.

In a testament to China’s approach to the idea of OH&S standards, a few days ago while Hu and his buddy were living the dream in China’s Worker’s Paradise™, that tether snapped (because of course it did).

Slowly, the pair began to rise, freed from the shackles of earth to laugh in the face of gravity itself. Clearly, not great.

When Hu’s mate panicked and bailed out the side of the balloon, it was even-more-not- great, for two reasons.

First, it was quite a drop to the ground, leaving Hu’s work buddy with god knows what sort of horrendous injuries.

But secondly, as everyone who has studied physics could tell you,  Einstein’s Seventh Law of Balloon Etiquette states: When half the Chinese Worker’s jump out, the vertical acceleration will increase by quite a bit.

And so it was that our pine nut collecting hero, the brave and mighty Hu, spent two entire days floating through the skies over China.

That was until someone thought to call him on his cellphone to remind him that if you let the helium out slowly, the balloon will come back to earth.

There’s obviously a great joke in there about the importance of remembering that getting high at work is never a good idea, but we’re waaay to classy to close out a story on such a pathetic pun.

… Anyway, let’s look at the markets.

 

TO MARKETS

The Aussie markets woke up with a +0.2% jolt this morning, like it was waking up after a big night out and there’s an unexpected extra (and upsettingly hairy) pair of feet sticking out from the far end of the doona.

Since then it’s been a gentle Friday morning for the most part, and we’re cruising off to a lunch date with abut +0.5% more to stash in the tip jar, provided Mr “Hi, my name is Trevor and I’ll be your waiter today” can remember what we ordered, and put it on the table and not in our lap, like last time. Idiot.

Looking out over the sectors, and things are as mixed as an Aussie Republican’s emotions today, with Consumer Staples (-1.31%) and Real Estate (-0.84%) throwing every anchor they can find over the side.

But showing them a gigantic, metallic middle digit is the Materials sector, stacking on a majestic +2.41% as it drops a powerful burnout in the parking lot and peels out into the street, racing off for a champagne lunch in a high-end convertible at clearly irresponsible speeds.

Among the billionaires breaking out the bubbly are a couple of big miners – Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) has sprung up 12.6% this morning, despite (or possibly because) MinRes has tried to hose down media speculation that its about to list its lithium bizzo on the ASX.

It seems that even the rich kids have found that you’ve gotta have a side hustle to keep the air-con running in these tough economic times.

Also leaping like they’re trapped in a Toyota commercial, market darlings De Grey (ASX:DEG) has climbed 12.9% today, after releasing a Prefeasability Study results document yesterday that is somewhere between “Dostoyeski Novel” and “How Fat’s Our Gold Mine!” in size.

It’s 97 pages long. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Luckily the investor prezzo was a scant 47 pages in length. We read it. It says De Grey has loads of money, and loads more gold it can dig up whenever it wants to.

It’s now time for us all to pile aboard a hot air balloon for a trapped Chinese worker’s eye view of what’s happening on the international markets.

 

NOT THE ASX

First up is the report from Early Morning Eddy Sunarto, who has surprised more than a few people by announcing the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The passing of the monarch means everything in the UK will be closed for quite some time.

In the US, where they care not for our weird English traditions, all three major stock market indices rose by 0.60% each following a late surge that was not connected at all to the death of Her Majesty.

US Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has, disappointingly, failed to keep his mouth shut after sending the market into a spin with his 8 minute emasculation of US economy at Jacksons Hole.

This time, he’s doubled down on fighting inflation at the Cato Institute’s Monetary Conference in Washington, like a geriatric Batman whose commitment to fighting the enemy is matched only by his commitment to trying not to have a fall and break a hip.

In Asia, the message is as buoyant as the workforce at a pine nut plantation.

Hong Kong is absolutely caning it up front (+2.22%), Shanghai playing ‘nice’ (+0.69) and Japan’s Nikkei trailing behind, up just +0.55% on rumours that some of the most famous  footage of Godzilla grinding Tokyo into dust was actually special effects. Shameful.

In commodities, things are greener than former Senator Bob Brown’s big green heart. He would be very pleased to know that almost everything he hates is now more expensive.

Oil is up +0.48%, gas is up +1.63% and precious metals gold, silver and copper have climbed +0.56%, +1.62% and +2.21% respectively.

Down in Crpyto Creek, where the canoes are as tangible and the tokens are fungible, and there isn’t a paddle in sight, there’s been a rush to mint our generation’s version of commemorative china plates, now that the toes of QEII’s slippers are forever pointing skyward.

There’s other news there, of course, and Rob “I met the Queen once but she had me arrested” Badman has all the details in Mooners & Shakers. Try it – you’ll like it.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for September 9 [intraday]:

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So, two big things happened today. The Queen died, and Classic Minerals (ASX:CLZ) broke the spirit and destroyed the will to live of everyone who didn’t have skin in their game.

The “Little Miner that Could” absolutely has – when we last checked the board it was up 256% on news that it’s secured a $10 millon in non-recourse funding to hit the “GO!” button at Kat Gap and start processing the ~90,000oz gold resource it’s sitting on.

We just had another look – it’s at +294% and not slowing down – and at this rate, its price could climb allll the way to 10c a pop.

The money’s coming from Goldvalley, which has agreed to provide funding for the extraction and processing of ore in sequential parcels of 100,000 tonnes, presumably until the gold runs out or everyone’s so rich they stop coming to work.

Outside the Penny Pushers, Black Rock Mining (ASX:BKT) is up 21.7% after signing a conditional framework thingy with Urbix, and NUIX (ASX:NXL) is up 18.9% on some wildly speculative media reports (just kidding, guys – we love ya…) of a possible offer from Reveal which NUIX has flatly denied.

Someone has probably dropped their bundle today, but the buzzer has beaten us – we’ll tell you who it was a little later in the day.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for September 9 [intraday]:

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