It’s the second-last day of trading for 2022, and if you were holding out hope that we’d have a Millenium Falcon-esque rally swooping in to save the day in the closing minutes of the year, you are – pardon my French – Merde pas de chance.

The benchmark sagged 0.5% before we’d even had time to knock the foam off our cappuccinos, and it’s been drooping like your grandpa’s severely overworked undies ever since.

It’s all about as funny as the news that former convicted date rapist Bill Cosby is talking about a return to the comedy circuit next year – news that is set to put the adage that “comedy = tragedy + time” to one of its toughest tests yet.

Cosby was once one of the biggest comedy stars on the planet, right up until news emerged that he had a penchant for slipping ladies a mickey and being a mega-gross groper while they were unconscious.

He spent a couple of years in jail after being convicted of drugging and raping a woman, but was released after that conviction was overturned on a technicality.

And now that he’s a free man, who clearly doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong despite a list of accusers that makes Harvey Weinstein look like a slightly-creepy uncle, Cosby reckons he’s done his time in the Entertainment Wilderness and wants to get back out on the road to do stand-up (or, more likely, sit-down) again.

Whether that happens remains to be seen – but if that’s the kind of thing we have in store for us in 2023, maybe we should be taking the time to try to make the next couple of days last as long as we possibly can.

However, even the most cursory of glances at how the market’s doing today might make the idea of spending an evening listening to Cosby’s incomprehensible droning seem like something of a reprieve.

 

TO MARKETS

The benchmark reflects a market that has evidently taken its foot off the gas as the end of the year approaches – tomorrow’s pretty much a half-day anyway, and most of us have at least one eye and both ears on what’s happening at the MCG.

At lunchtime, the ASX 200 is down 1.0%, thanks largely to pretty much every sector wallowing in the red like a lush with a stash of fine Merlot.

Energy is taking the heaviest losses, down 2.99% so far this morning, with the big guns like Woodside (ASX:WDS) and Whitehaven (ASX:WHC) down between 3.0% and 4.0%.

Real Estate and Utilities are both down close to 2.0%, Industrials by 1.5% and Materials more than 1.0%.

In short, it’s all a bit crap.

Up the top end of town, there are a couple of trend buckers. Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) is up 5.32% on no news, and Sayona (ASX:SYA) is up 10-something percent because it just is, and I defy anyone to offer an explanation as to why that company, as large a market cap as it has, lurches around so violently all the time.

Honestly, it’s baffling. Often times it doesn’t matter one iota what the rest of the market is doing – like a hyperactive child, Sayona will be off in it’s own little corner of the playground, screaming and leaping around while everyone else lines up to go back into the classroom after lunch.

Dropping today are the aforementioned Energy big guys, Real Estate mob Dexus (ASX:DXS) is down 4.4% after going ex-div, as is Centuria Capital (ASX:CNI), down a similar amount for the exact same reason.

 

NOT THE ASX

It’s very easy to pin the woes of the Aussie market on how Wall Street performed the night before… so I will. Because it was grim.

“How grim?” I hear you ask… let’s just say that Wall Street did a passable impression of the ten pin bowling megastar that the Australian government hired to demonise a generation of AIDS patients in the 1980s.

And that looked like this:

 

… yeah, really. I still don’t know what they were thinking. I mean, maybe that kid had it coming, but the rest of them seemed like decent enough people.

Anyhoo… the point is that Wall Street fell last heavily last night, leaving the NASDAQ down 1.35%, the Dow Jones 1.10% lower and the S&P nestled in between them like a sweaty slice of devon in a gross Glad-Wrapped sandwich on -1.2%.

In Asia this morning, Japan’s Nikkei is down 1.12%, after local residents found a portal to the underworld and everyone lost their minds.

 

 

Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng went Bing Bong and fell 1.26%, and Covid-riddled Shanghai put in a 0.35% dip, despite news that China’s plans to ramp up exports of both manufactured goods and deadly disease are on track.

To wit: Italian authorities have start waving some Very Very Serious red flags about the upcoming influx of Lunar New Year holiday makers from China, after it began a mandatory screening process for air passengers arriving from The Mysterious Orient.

Sky News reports that – hugely very alarmingly – the first plane to arrive at Milan had 92 passengers on board, 35 (38%) of whom tested positive.

The next plane had 120 passengers on board, and 62 (52%) of them had Covid.

Perhaps we all misunderstood the intricacies of Beijing’s Zero-COVID policy, and missed the part where it said that anyone who was sick would simply be flown out of the country.

But what’s more likely is that China’s relaxing of its stance on the disease will mean that, once again, we’re all doomed. Only time will tell.

In crypto land, the majors are all handling the impending New Years Eve celebrations quite well, and holding steady – with the exception of Solana, which is bleeding like a rolled dog in Sydney’s outer-inner-west.

There’s a few other super-interesting headlines that I’ve covered off in Mooners and Shakers, so you can go there and read it because I don’t wanna type it out twice.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for December 29 [intraday]:

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

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The Big Winner this morning is Strategic Elements (ASX:SOR), after the tech company told the world that it’s had a major win in its development of “a revolutionary new power source that generates electrical energy from moisture in the air”.

SOR put its “extremely thin, flexible, environmentally friendly Energy Ink battery” up against the baseline power that its consumed by a leading glucose-monitoring skin patch, which many diabetics wear to keep track of their blood sugar levels, instead of sticking needles in their fingers up to 4 times a day.

The company says that its Energy Ink battery put out more than 200% of the required energy to keep that skin patch ticking over – and it’s hard to overstate what a profoundly massive market SOR’s tech could be about to significantly bite into once it’s ready to start producing its batteries at commercial scale.

Investors like magic things that are both sexy and enviro-friendly – and the idea of getting into a US$10 billion market with something that isn’t a horrible planet-breaker is both of those things. SOR is trading 37.7% higher today as a result.

Also up this morning is Stellar Resources (ASX:SRZ), possibly because Barry “Steely Gaze” FitzGerald popped it on his BBQ Stopper list this morning, which he did because he reckons it’s been flying under the radar for a while now, despite sitting on the world’s third-largest highest grade undeveloped tin project, down in Tasmania.

And Codrus Minerals (ASX:CDR) is banging around the place again this morning, up 17.3% on reasonable volume while the market continues to try to digest its high-grade niobium-rich REE find at its recently-secured Karloning Rare Earth Element (REE) Project, located in WA’s Wheatbelt, 260km north-east of Perth.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for December 29 [intraday]:

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

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