Aussie markets have opened higher today, lifting to a 0.6% gain before lunch, despite a false start that saw us back to square one around 11am.

Not precisely the auspicious beginning to a day of frenzied betting on the nags, but it could’ve worked out a whole lot worse.

So it’s time to stop complaining, and instead dig into a topic that is close to the hearts of many dedicated Stockheads – picking a winner.

Today, of course, is Melbourne Cup Day, a boozy festival of tiny people and big animals, all running in circles while completely out of their minds with a mix of fear, exhilaration and a love of the punt.

Plus, there’s a horse race! Magic stuff.

But, as with all good things in life, the gentle art of picking a Good Thing now comes with a warning, this time from a team of neuroscience experts from Griffith University, who have made a terrifying discovery.

Picking your nose could lead to dementia.

It turns out that the nerve that helps you to smell things (it’s called the olfactory nerve – I remember that from nursing school) is able to carry more than just the smell of cheap perfume, champagne and despair from your honker to your thinker.

It’s also a direct path for pathogens to enter your brain. Pathogens like, for instance, Chlamydia pneumoniae, which isn’t quite as gross as it sounds, as it’s a different bacteria from the ‘down there’ chlamydia that you catch from koalas… and from toilet seats, according to everyone’s mum who cautioned you about using a public dunny when you were a kid in the 1970s or ’80s.

This tiny blighter is the one that gives you pneumonia, and all sorts of other vile respiratory illnesses if it gets in your lungs.

It will also, according to the research, climb up along your olfactory nerve and bypass the blood-brain barrier. That’s the gizmo in your head that usually keeps your brain free of things that can hurt it.

When the bacteria gets to your brain, your brain does this whole thing where it goes “Ew. Gross” and starts to defend itself. But because it doesn’t have arms, fists or guns, it starts to deposit amyloid beta, which is currently believed to be the leading cause of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The good news, though, is that it’s only been observed happening in mice… but if we’ve learnt anything at all from the countless billions of mice that we’ve cheerfully murdered in the name of science, it’s that it’s a pretty fair indicator it can happen in humans, too.

So, the advice is simple: if you want to decrease your chances of getting Alzheimer’s, don’t pick your nose.

Also, don’t pick your nose because it’s gross… if someone’s watching.

 

TO MARKETS

Aussie markets have opened with a cough and a sputter, but it’s trending upwards and that’s (almost) all that matters. The ASX opened with a 0.2% rise, and in early trade the chart looks like the lightning bolt scar that’s been left on the forehead of Harry Potter.

All eyes this arvo will – of course – be on Race 7 at Flemington, when the nation stops for the race that stops the nation. Thirty minutes before that, though, the RBA will hand down its call on interest rates for the month.

The shortest odds are on a 25bps rise, reports Steady Eddy Sunarto this morning, but the RBA could surprise a few interested parties with a 50-point hike instead. You never know – stranger things have happened.

Looking at the sector breakdown, the needles are mostly in the green so far today with Utilities taking an early 1.51% lead, followed by Materials (0.92%) and Energy (0.91%) locked in a fierce battle for second. Bringing up the rear are the Telcos, down a not-completely terrible 0.52%, but lagging far enough behind to have the connections looking unhappy.

Among the Large Caps, NextDC (ASX:NXT) has made a remarkable turnaround, after falling sharply from $9.13 on 27 October to a low of $8.32 yesterday. The Aussie data centre tech firm has added a solid 7.3% this morning on no news other than it has had a rough few days and everyone should cut it some slack.

And health tech Imugene (ASX:IMU) got a shot in the arm (heh) this morning, after announcing that the first patient has been dosed in its Phase 1 MAST (metastatic advanced solid tumours) study evaluating the safety of novel cancer-killing virus CF33-hNIS (VAXINIA). IMU’s trading 7.1% higher since breakfast.

Time for a quick look around the neighbourhood to see how everyone else is faring.

 

NOT THE ASX

This morning’s rise on Aussie markets has defied a pretty morbid performance from Wall Street overnight, which saw the major indices drop by varying degrees of severity. The S&P fell 0.75%, the Dow fell 0.39% and US tech stocks wore the worst of it, dipping 1.03%.

Again, we turn to Eddy for a quick explanation of what’s been happening overnight, in the lead up to the US Fed getting its rate rise on.

“The Fed fund’s rate currently sits at the 3%-3.25% range, and most economists are unanimous that it will reach 4.4% by end of this year – which means another jumbo hike of 75bp tomorrow is not too far fetched,” Eddy says.

In Asian markets, things are pretty quiet in Japan with the Nikkei only slightly moving since open, down just -0.11%.

Hong Kong, however, has opened with a 1.50% bang while Shanghai is serving up a much more subdued 0.30% rise for the morning.

At the commodities desk, gas has backed off from yesterday’s price surge, dropping 1.78% with oil falling in behind it, down 0.62%

Shiny things have lost a bit of their lustre this morning as well, with gold down 0.34%, silver flatter than the landscape west of the Silver City itself, up just 0.01% but copper making a modest 0.16% gain.

And in the Cashless Land of Crypto, someone’s having a birthday!

 

  

 

That’s right, the email that started us all down the long and winding road of nebulous concepts and difficult maths was sent on this day, 14 years ago.

To celebrate, BTC and ETH both dropped more than 0.50% in the past 24 hours, neatly punctuating the point that Bitcoin is still just a pimply, hormonal teenager after all.

For more on what’s happening over in crypto, Rob “This isn’t just a phase, daaaaad!” Badman has everything you need in Mooners and Shakers.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for November 1 [intraday]:

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It was always gonna happen – the only real question was who it was gonna be. And pulling the Small Caps equivalent of backing a long-odds billion-leg multi on Melbourne Cup day is tech group Proptech Group (ASX:PTG).

PTG announced late yesterday that it has entered into a scheme implementation deed with BidCo – a wholly owned subsidiary of privately-held, Ohio-based MRI – that will see BidCo gobble up Proptech in its entirety.

And it’s no small deal, either. BidCo is set to stump up a $0.60 cash per share, equating to an implied equity value of approximately $93.4 million on a fully diluted basis, which is waaaaay above (like, a 131% premium) Proptech’s last closing price of $0.27 per share.

There are precisely zero prizes for guessing that Proptech is now trading 111.11% higher, hovering around $0.57 as lunch time grows near.

Elsewhere in Small Caps, market darling WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1) has finally had someone tug on the brakes, after it went sailing through another 46% surge this morning. The pause in trading was called at 12:28pm, so there’s not a whole heap of info as to why just at the moment, but we’ll keep you in the loop later on today once the dust has settled.

But, just to make you weep if you didn’t have anything on WA1 before this all started, here’s a number we’re sure you’re going to hate: WA1 is up 1,359% this week.

… if anyone needs me, I’ll be putting money on some ponies and hoping for better fortunes this afternoon.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for November 1 [intraday]:

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