Local markets are down around 1.0% at lunchtime. There, I’ve torn the Band-Aid off… today is not going well.

I figured it was going to be a bit of a bleak day – news this morning that the submersible everyone’s been on tenterhooks about has been “found” in lots and lots of little pieces was widely considered to be a huge bummer, and the market’s poor behaviour this morning is just icing on an otherwise horrible cake.

So, I’ve decided to take us all on a gustatorial trip to Japan, a country as famous for its honestly baffling cuisine, as it is for its terrifying “I don’t think that’s quite how babies are made” pornography, and its love of giant fat men in nappies slapping each other on the boobs.

(Those are, I promise, two entirely different things.)

Indeed, two words that strike fear into my staunch, food-loving heart are “Japanese delicacy”, because it usually means I’m about to stare down a plate of something identifiably gross, grossly identifiable or simply so outrageously weird I’m not sure whether it’s food or I’m supposed to be figuring out which end the batteries go in.

But every now and then, something emerges from the kitchens of Japan that speaks to me – and I reckon it’s something that a lot of our Small Caps Enthusiasts will also enjoy, given how much y’all get your cherries in a twist about anything to do with rocks.

Any Australian of a certain vintage will have grown up with “rock cakes” as a staple of schoolyard Mother’s Day cake stalls.

That’s because they are simple to make, and – unlike most treats that require baking – they don’t need to be handled with lambskin-tipped tongs. In fact, when it comes to rock cakes, the uglier they are, the better.

My old mum, bless her, makes rock cakes so brutally ugly, they look like a paparazzi shot of  a post-Madonna Sean Penn on his way home from the Viper Room.

They have no other choice but to taste amazing – and, as an added bonus, I learnt quite early in life that if left in a school lunchbox for 24 hours, they could be used as quite an effective weapon, and the day after that would substitute nicely for chalk to mark out a makeshift handball court.

However, the idea that rock cakes need to look like someone has tried to bake an image of Sean Penn’s face has been turned on its head by Tokyo bakery Usagi no Nedoko, which has produced a batch of rock cakes that genuinely look like semi-precious geological field samples.

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So good, you can break all your teeth on ’em. Pic via Usagi no Nedoko.

The best of them is clearly the amethyst, which looks like it would be equally as happy on a plate as it would be gathering dust on a shelf in a Totally 100% Legit Suburban Psychologist’s treatment room, which stinks in equal measures of cat piss and incense, with a hint of herbal tea.

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Amethyst: Birthstone for Pisces, tastes vaguely like Turkish Delight. Pic via Usagi no Nedoko.

Perversely, it’s the apatite rock cake that looks the least appetising, because it reminds me of the time my childhood dog – a basset hound called Humphrey – got into my sister’s box of costume jewellery and left semi-precious landmines all over the backyard for days.

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Yeah… nah. Looks like someone’s already eaten this one. Pic via Usagi no Nedoko.

This isn’t an ad for these biscuits, by the way. I just figured that given that yesterday’s Lunch Wrap might have been a little too close to the bone, I’d opt for some eyebleach to calm things down.

But you can apparently buy them for ¥2,160 (roughly $24 of our pathetic little Aussie Dollarydoos) – but I’ve got no idea if they ship to Australia, because I cannot read Japanese, and I steadfastly refuse to learn.

And now that you’re nice and relaxed, with thoughts of exotic sweets getting your juices flowing, I feel confident enough to tell you that the market’s are s..tting the bed again this morning.

So I reckon there might be a very solid market for mood-stabilising THC-lithium cookies by the end of the day, if anyone fancies going into business with me and my mum.




At 8:00am Sydney time, the the ASX 200 index futures was pointing down by 0.15%, despite Wall Street enjoying a bump back to the happy side of the ledger overnight.

And lo, how prescient did that Futures Index turn out to be. Yea Verily, it was 100% correct, for precisely 7.5 minutes, for just seven minutes after the ASX opened this morning, that’s where the needle was pointing.

I’m not sure whose turn it was to make sure the park brake was on, though… but whoever it was, they did a terrible job and the benchmark has drooped like an old stripper’s ta-tas, and at lunchtime we’re all 0.9% down.

This time, it’s Energy stocks that are dragging the market down, shedding 3.2% as a number of our biggest players in the sector were heavily sold off throughout the morning.

Woodside (ASX:WDS) is down 3.4%, Santos (ASX:STO) is down 3.9%, New Hope (ASX:NHC) is down 3.3%… and yeah, you get the picture. It’s most likely got something to do with crude prices freefalling again overnight, leaving Brent crude down 3.9%.

Real Estate (-1.5%) and the bloated fat cats in Financials (-1.4%) certainly aren’t helping the cause either.

The best performing sector is Consumer Staples, but at a meagre +0.14% this morning, it’s hardly making a lick of difference.



Overnight, Wall Street staged a mini-rally, while US Fed boss Jerome Powell appeared before Congress to clearly and slowly tell Those Dummies in Washington™ that he believes America’s in for at least one, but possibly two, more rate rises before the end of the year.

“It will be appropriate to raise rates again this year, and perhaps twice, if the economy performs about as expected, even as they’ve been hiked to an appropriately restrictive level,” Powell said

As Earlybird Eddy pointed out this morning, “It’s almost a kiss goodbye for any hopes of an interest rate cut in the second half of 2023 where at the start of Q2, the expectations have been a cut of 75bps to 100bps”.

In US stock news, Tesla shares lifted 2% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock from Overweight to Equal Weight, while raising the price target from US$200 to US$250 because someone there wants a discount CyberTruck (allegedly).

Boeing slipped 3% after workers at its supplier Spirit AeroSystems announced a strike from June 24, declining (quite forcefully) management’s offer of a 34% pay increase, continued health insurance, a 14.7% increase in retirement benefits with a new 401k (same-ish as our superannuation) match, voluntary Sunday overtime, and increased time off.

Spirit AeroSystems manufactures stuff that Boeing would definitely consider critical – little things like fuselages and wings, and – as the company name suggests – the “magical happy thoughts” that keep those monstrous bloody machines in the air because there’s no other explanation for that kind of witchcraft.

All things considered, though, it could be worse for the US (and for Australia as well). We could be in the UK, where the Finance Wizards donned their robes and magicked up a very saucy 50bps rate hike overnight in response to May inflation figures that gave everyone in England a mild heart attack.

All things considered, though, it could be worse for the UK (and for the US and Australia as well). We could be in Turkey, where the new governor of the Türkiye Cumhuriyet Merkez Bankası, Hafize Gaye Erkan, has seen the UK’s rate rise and scoffed (quote strongly, as Turkish Scoffee is traditionally served).

Deciding to show to the world the Might of the Mighty Land of Turkish Might, Erkan then dropped a 650 basis points rise, moving rates from 8.5% to 15% with a stroke of his Mighty Turkish Pen.

Rates in Turkey had been sitting at 8.5% for a couple of years despite inflation hitting 80% in late 2022 – however, central bank bosses in Turkey have been hesitant to lift interest rates because Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan quite famously believes that the two are not linked.

“Those who try to impose on us a link between the benchmark rate and inflation are either illiterates or traitors,” Erdogan said – out loud, in public and everything – in May last year.

The countdown to Türkiye Cumhuriyet Merkez Bankası governor Erkan being shot out of a cannon and into the sun for being an illiterate traitor has, I assume, already begun.

In Japan, news of thousands of children breaking their teeth eating fake imitation gemstones (think it through…) has sent the Nikkei plummeting 1.31%.

Markets in China and Hong Kong, markets are closed for a holiday. Lucky bastards.

In CryptoLand, BTC is up around US$30,000 because BlackRock (the company that owns the whole world) is pushing for a spot BTC ETF. OMG. etc. etc.

Rob “The Lucky Duck” Badman has the details on that and other crypto stuff in Mooners and Shakers this morning, where he’s (for real) crowing about winning a Coinbase-branded “To The Moon” fanny pack, and is now frantically hunting for a fanny to put in it.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for June 23 [intraday]:

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Despite a fresh round of savaging for the ASX, there are some Small Caps doing rather well.

At the top of the ladder this morning are a couple of mining minnows moving sharply on no news, namely Cassius Mining (ASX:CMD) up 35%, and OZZ Resources (ASX:OZZ) up 25%.

Tempest Minerals (ASX:TEM) is up another 23% this morning, continuing its run on yesterday’s announcement that they’re going to fly a helicopter over the company’s 100% owned Yalgoo tenements.

Making actual news this morning is Delta Lithium (ASX:DLI), up 20.5% this morning after hitting intercepts of 33m @ 1.9% Li2O from 218m, and 19m @ 1.6% Li2O from 190m, while drilling at its 505km2 Yinnetharra lithium project in the Gascoyne region of WA.

And Biotech Invex Therapeutics (ASX:IXC) is up 22% on news that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has granted the company’s Exenatide orphan drug designation (ODD) in the treatment of moderate to severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

IXC is focused on the development and commercialisation of Presendin (sustained release Exenatide) for neurological conditions relating to raised intracranial pressure.

This is the second ODD for Exenatide in Europe, with IXC receiving an ODD for Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) in 2017, alongside an ODD from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), also for IIH.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for June 23 [intraday]:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

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