Local markets opened lower this morning, amid fresh wobbles in the US over the debt ceiling negotiations.

The benchmark slid to 0.4%, despite a fair quantity of ups and downs in the early stages of the morning, with strange movements among tech stocks causing a lot of waves.

Speaking of waves, I’m afraid that I have some absolutely terrifying news – a bunch of orcas in Europe have started attacking boats, in a never before seen change in behaviour that marks the next phase of the gradual end for all humanity.

Orcas are known for their vast intelligence, especially when it comes to hunting behaviour.

For example, when an orca spots a plump, tasty seal – Mother Nature’s best attempt at constructing what it essentially a waterborne (but slightly too fatty) sausage with fins – sitting atop an ice floe, you’d think it would be safely out of reach of the orca’s mighty jaws.

But, no… and here to explain it is a lady from the BBC, whose breathlessly bloodthirsty tale of watching orcas relentlessly murdering hapless sea-sausages is morbidly fascinating to behold.

 

 

Then there’s those two monsters off the coast of South Africa, whose idea of a fun day out is hunting 19 Great White Sharks in a day… just to eat their livers.

So reports of orcas deliberately targeting and attacking boats in Europe is genuinely ghastly, as it means that a super-smart aquatic mammal that sits well and truly at the top of the oceanic food chain has finally realised that humans do not belong anywhere near the sea.

Researcher Alfredo López Fernandez, a biologist at the University of Aveiro in Portugal, says that it all likely started with one orca – known to researchers as White Gladis (but her orca mates call her “Click Click Whistle-Whistle”) – who appears to be leading the hunt.

Fernandez theorise that White Gladis has, at some point “endured a critical moment of agony”, such as being hit by a boat or becoming entangled in a net, which has sent her into what appears to be an undying quest for revenge on all humans.

She has taught the rest of her pod of fiendishly intelligent killing machines to attack boats, aiming for the rudders to disable them before ramming them repeatedly until they sink.

In one attack on May 4, three killer whales were ramming a yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar, with two larger orcas teaching a smaller one the correct way to ram the vessel in order to break it, according to skipper Werner Schaufelberger.

His yacht, the Swiss-registered Champagne, was on a training trip with a four-person crew from Tenerife via Malaga to Palma when the orcas attacked, damaging the boat so badly that its occupants were forced to abandon it.

“We were running under the engine and mainsail in a wind from behind of 7 to 8 knots when there was suddenly a loud rumble. At first I thought we had hit something. But then I quickly realised that it was orcas attacking the ship,” Schaufelberger reported to sailing website Yacht, after (presumably) taking the opportunity to change out of his obviously soiled underpants.

The crew were rescued by the Portuguese coastguard, and the ship later succumbed to its injuries, disappearing beneath the waves.

No one has been eaten… so far. But it is only a matter of time before they realise that the long, pink seals that like to zoom around on boats are not only just as tasty as seals, but they’re far healthier to eat, thanks to the much lower fat content.

And given the capacity for orcas to teach each other how to hunt, it surely can’t be too long before every so-called killer whale on the planet will know how to sink boats, and feast upon the humans inside.

Between this, and the Great Monkey Uprising I warned you about in March, we’re rapidly running out of places to hide.

And on that note, it might be time to go see what the market’s doing, and check if a Survivalist Bunker company has listed on the ASX yet.

 

TO MARKETS

Local markets are lower this morning, but curiously so. The benchmark has been whipping about wildly since open, shifting rapidly either side of -0.15% after an initial drop to -0.1%.

Some of the early losses can be attributed to the tech sector – the XTX All Ords Tech index plummeted nearly 20 points in the opening 15 minutes of the day, but has since wobbled its way back.

The rest of the dragging is due to Financials (-0.55%), Real Estate (-0.50%), Consumer Discretionary (-0.47%) and Telcos (-0.43%) all falling in early trade.

Behaving well, however, are Energy stocks – up 1.0% this morning.

Among the Rich Kids today is BrainChip Holdings (ASX:BRN), up 6.4% on no news. The rest of the Large Caps are performing so feebly that they haven’t made a dent in the winner’s list.

 

NOT THE ASX

US markets finished last week with a whimper, with the major US indices lower by less than half a per cent on uncertainty over the US debt ceiling.

President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy will resume their talks today (US time), and without a deal, the US could default on its US$31.4 trillion debt, Earlybird Eddy reports.

“We have got 11 days to go,” McCarthy said on Sunday, as he urged Biden and Democrats to be “sensible about this.”

McCarthy, meanwhile, is leading the charge to “sensibly” gut things like health care, housing programs, and incentives for green energy initiatives that are adding to the amount the US is spending, after his party voted three times under the former president to raise the debt ceiling in order to fund a massive US$2 trillion raft of tax cuts for ultra-wealthy Americans.

It doesn’t get more sensible than that.

The two largest holders of that debt that the US is on the brink of defaulting on is owned by Japan (a bit over US$1 trillion worth), with China a close second, holding about $855 billion worth of US Treasuries, just in case you were wondering.

That said, a default would obviously plunge the world into financial chaos (for real), and so that’s why the brinksmanship is giving the US market a severe case of the deep-down willies.

Adding to market uncertainty this week is the upcoming release of the US Fed minutes from its last meeting, which will reveal whether the board leans towards easing or tightening.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell, speaking alongside former Fed Chair Bernanke on Friday, noted the Fed may not have to raise rates as much if tighter credit conditions continue to weigh.

Meanwhile in Japan, the Nikkei is pretty much flat at -0.01%, thanks to a market-wide outbreak of confusion caused by a toy company’s flagrant disregard for the nation’s time-honoured practice of sexualising every gross thing ever.

At the heart of the issue is a creature known as the Naked Mole Rat, which is utter nightmare fuel, thanks to the fact that it looks like an ambulatory penis with teeth.

And here’s a picture!

 

ASX winner WSR
Nibble nibble nibble, went Mr Peenie. Pic via Getty Images.

 

You. Are. Welcome.

Anyway, toymaker Kitan Club has turned the tables on the truly disgusting critter and tried to sanitise its image with a makeover. For kids.

 

 

If you’d like to own a wandering wrinkly dick in a T-shirt, it’ll set you back a grand total of 400 yen – $4.30 or thereabouts – a perfect gift for that special child in your life that you’d like to scar for life when they hit up Google to find out what a real one looks like.

Meanwhile in China, Shanghai markets are up 0.40% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.44%.

In CryptoLand, there are reports that crypto is starting to become a Presidential issue, after Joe Biden lumped crypto owners in with tax cheats.

In a statement that has caused a splendid mix of furrowed brows and outright mirth among observers, Biden “slammed crypto traders at the G7 forum in Japan”, Badman reports.

Amid banging on about the differences of opinions of current Republicans and Democrats, Biden, using his favoured well-worn, stale, go-to phrase, said:

“Let me be clear… I’m not going to agree to… a deal that protects wealthy tax cheats and crypto traders while putting food assistance at risk for nearly 1 million Americans.”

And oh, how we laughed at a billion-year-old man being confused about something he 100% has no idea about. Bless him.

Rob “Sit Down, Gramps” Badman has that news, and more, over at Mooners and Shakers. Read it, or don’t be cool… it’s your call.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

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

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In Small Caps this morning, after a sharp sell off last week Westar Resources (ASX:WSR) is booming again, this time on no news. It’s up 28% so far for the day, and closing in on its recent 15 May high of $0.052 per share.

Meanwhile, Adavale Resources (ASX:ADD) is up 22.2% on news that it has – through a wholly-owned subsidiary – been granted a “geologically significant” prospecting licence covering a 3.74km2 area it’s calling Luhuma Central.

The new prospecting area is surrounded by Adavale’s existing 65% owned (with rights to own 100%) Luhuma Prospecting Licence, within the broader 15km Luhuma trend that has historically returned an intercept of 1.14% Ni over 8.4m in massive sulphides.

And in third place for the morning, Wildcat Resources (ASX:WC8) has resumed its effort to reach interstellar space this morning, up 19% to take its gains for the month past 120% after announcing that it had entered into a conditional, binding agreement to acquire 100% of the Tabba Tabba Tantalum Mine and Lithium-Tantalum Project, 50km from Port Hedland in the Pilbara, WA.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

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

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