Welcome to Wednesday the 22nd of February – a day when we gather to celebrate the fact that the ASX is clearly not sleeping well, because this is the third shabby morning it’s had this week.

The benchmark ASX 200 fell 0.8% faster than you could say “Sell everything! Sell it all! Now!”, after Wall Street comprehensively soiled the bed linen overnight, as all three major indices in New York fell by at least 2.0%.

But more on that later, because there’s far more pressing news to discuss.

And that’s because an historical object from Ancient (post-Moses but pre-Jesus) Roman Times has had its status upgraded from “sewing implement” to “sex toy”, by a team of Indiana Jones types at a British university.

As Sky News reports, leading experts originally categorised the find as a “darning implement” – the user would pull the sock over the end of the darning tool, much like one might unroll a rubber Johnny before embarking on a romantic tryst, and stitch up any holes that the sock may have.

Obviously, a hugely important implement for an ancient society that is World Famous for wearing sandals.

That may have been the catalyst for reinvestigating the object, and led to this gem from Dr Rob Collins, senior lecturer in archaeology at Newcastle University: “The question we found ourselves asking is what sort of object shaped like a phallus would have greater wear at both ends than in the middle?”

That’s despite the fact that even the most cursory of glances at the object in question would reveal that it is 110%, absolutely without doubt, a wooden dick:


asx news Toys R US
“Excuse me, madam – I think you may have dropped something.” Pic via Vindolanda Trust, via Sky News.


There’s been no word on whether the archaeologists’ theory has been road-tested at all, but it’s comforting to know that they’re now able to admit that what they’ve presumably been handling throughout their deliberations has probably been inside an astonishing number of people, given how badly worn it is.

Either that, or it’s the implement the market’s been using on investors for the past three days, because there’s an awful lot of companies wandering about the bourse, walking very gingerly indeed.



It was a less-than-ideal start to the day, with the ASX following Wall Street on an impromptu sewer tour that cost the benchmark 0.8%.

But, ever-resiliant, the benchmark has start to recover by lunchtime, hitting -0.5% as we unwrap our sandwiches and showing signs of getting better as the day wears on.

A massive surge in Utilities is leading the rally, with that sector up more than 4.0% so far, supported by Energy (+1.11%) and Staples (+0.93%) as they recover from a two-day battering.

Losing ground, however, has been Consumer Discretionary (-1.81%) as consumers realise that it’s probably time to slow down on the spending, while Health Care (-0.8%) is also licking its wounds.

Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) is leading the Large Caps this morning, up 12.7% because I paid my bill the other week and it was eye-wateringly expensive.

It could also be because the Brookfield Asset Management consortium has upped its bid to a confusing $8.90 cash per share, comprising:

  • $8.90 per share for the first 100,000 shares held by each Origin shareholder; and
  • For shares above that threshold, $4.334 per share plus US$3.194 per share

At the time of writing, Origin was moving at $7.90 per share, but likely to rise fast because it’s unlikely that investors are going to leave $1 per share on the table.



There’s no nice way to put this – Wall Street absolutely screwed the pooch overnight, coming back from a long weekend to deliver some chunky losses right across the board, driving the S&P down 2.0%, the Dow lower by 2.06% and the Nasdaq into the bin on -2.50%.

Shocking effort all round, really… I really expected better, but no.

As Early Mornin’ Eddy Sunarto reported, things went sour in the US after earnings reports from Walmart and Home Depot suggest margin worries are here, and will only get worse if the Fed delivers more tightening.

If Walmart – where gross weirdos gather in their thousands to indulge in horrifying orgies of ludicrous mass-market bargain-basement consumerism – is starting to get all nervous and cranky about spending, then you know the US economy is in truly terrible shape.

Meanwhile, Tesla took a 5.0% knock after one of its self-driving cars allegedly decided that a parked fire truck wasn’t an obvious enough hazard to be avoided on a California freeway, and allegedly murdered its owner in the process.

The car’s passenger and four firefighters were allegedly transported to hospital, one of them (guess which one…) in critical condition. Allegedly.

In Japan, the Nikkei has fallen 1.0% after a mysterious 1.5m metallic sphere washed up on Enshu Beach in Hamamatsu City, about 250km southwest of Tokyo, causing much consternation among excitable locals.



Japanese military officials closed the beach and sent in specialist teams to investigate, citing concerns that a recently-pardoned 18-metre Gundam robot had quietly slipped into the ocean and laid some sort of egg.

When asked for comment, the Gundam robot used high-powered death beams in its eyes to incinerate 16 journalists and two city officials, before laying waste to half of Yokohama. Again. Many people were killed.

X-rays quickly revealed that the object was hollow, and when a bomb disposal expert put his ear up against the side of it and didn’t hear any ticking, it was decided that the object was “not a bomb”, and hence most likely an old iron mooring buoy.

In China, where the markets are still yawning and stretching because it’s still early doors, Shanghai has dipped 0.24% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has dropped 0.56%.

In crypto-world, the majors took a look at Wall Street’s pathetic efforts and took their feet off the gas as well – possibly because of how cool Wall Street was looking by not caring about how much value it was shedding, but more likely because in this analogy, if crypto coins were driving cars, they’d obviously be self-driving Teslas.

Two reasons for that: First, because they’re all high-tech and full of computers and doo-dads and other contraptions, and secondly because coins (even the pretend ones that don’t really exist) don’t have arms or legs.

Rob “Top Gun Autopilot” Badman has all the juicy details over at Mooners and Shakers – but I’m stealing one thing from him because it’s objectively funny.

Proof positive that predicting the crypto market is the digital equivalent of murdering a chicken and ferreting around in its innards for “a sign from the gods” about when the best time to harvest your corn, is this glorious mix of expert knowledge and weasel words.



Rough translation: “These two graphs kinda look the same so Bitcoin is going to the moon”.

A graph representing “the number of people who wished me a happy birthday today” would look the same as “the number of people who I didn’t punch in the face today”. But that doesn’t mean that all of the people that I did punch in the face today took a beating for not wishing me a happy birthday. They took their beating because they deserved it.

Correlation ≠ Causation, people. Honestly, it’s not that hard.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for February 22 [intraday]:

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In Small Caps this morning, beleaguered vendor of childhood distractions Toys’R’Us (ASX:TOY) has gone soaring after a busy couple of days came to a head with an on-market buy-back announcement.

The company signalled its intention to buy back up to 10% of its fully paid ordinary shares, as the board reckons that the company’s price this morning – a measly $0.023 – ”does not accurately reflect the underlying value of the company’s assets”.

Hence, they’ve asked the market to drive the price up – a decision that is 100% not at all related to possible share price-based performance bonuses or anything like that. Allegedly.

Anywho… the market has responded to the news by indulging in an epic price-gouging binge, sending the TOY trading price up more than 60% – roughly the same as the retail mark-up on LEGO, I’m informed. But still down 70% over the past 12 months.

Also performing well this morning is Altamin (ASX:AZI), which has climbed 21% this morning after the market (presumably) turned in an amazingly delayed reaction to eight-day-old news that the zinc miner had hit high-grade intercepts at its Gorno zinc-lead project in Europe.

And Pure Resources (ASX:PR1) is also on a charge (and also on no particular news) this morning, climbing more than 20% on middling volume.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for February 22 [intraday]:

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