Aussie markets have opened lower again today, sinking like a tarnished copper penny tossed carelessly into a fountain that’s been cursed to bring nothing but bad luck to anyone who’s parked their money in the Real Estate sector, instead of actual real estate.

We’ve no one to blame for this one but ourselves, really – US markets were closed for President’s Day and Euro markets barely moved the needle while most of us were mumbling in our sleep and drooling onto our pillows.

At lunchtime, the ASX 200 benchmark is down 0.7%, so now’s probably as good a time as any to take that “lunch hour” that we’re all meant to get but hardly any of us take these days… go sit in the park, take in the fresh air, have a seagull or pigeon crap in your hair and come back to work feeling relaxed, and refreshed.

Go on… because it’s really not much of a picnic on the ASX this morning, much like it’s not at all picnic living in the United States right now.

Political divisions are running white hot across the country, mass shootings are at all-time high, the skies are riddled with unidentified flying objects that everyone is obsessed with shooting down, and it’s proving quite difficult for US transport companies to stop their trains from becoming fed up with life on the railroads and spilling staggering volumes of incredibly toxic chemicals everywhere.

But for US residents up near the northern border, the latest existential crisis – and the one that I am 100% sure will be the end of American civilization as we know it – is set to emerge grunting from the forest and lay waste to entire communities.

The Canadian “Super Pigs” are coming.

Described by The Guardian as “giant, incredibly intelligent, highly elusive beasts capable of surviving cold climates by tunnelling under snow”, the animals are the result of Canadian idiots cross-breeding domesticated pigs with wild boars.

Researchers have known for quite some time that pigs are actually very intelligent animals, as George Miller’s thought-provoking 1995 documentary Babe proved when it wowed audiences and delighted children around the world.

It would have had even more of an impact had Babe been portrayed on screen as a Canadian Super Pig – 200+ kilograms of unstoppable sex-crazed, hungry porcine fury.

This all came about because the ’80s was a unique decade in the history of humankind, where every idea – no matter how observably and demonstrably stupid – was immediately actioned without a moment’s thought for the consequences.

So what started back then as a way to liven up the lives of Canada’s sedentary sows by bringing in a handful of Eurotrash boars, with their long tusks, hairy chests and gold medallions clinking in the wind for a bit of pig-on-pig action, turned out to be a disaster.

Within months, it became apparent that these highly-prized Catalonian gigilos (or Pigilos, as they prefer to be known) were quite content to sire an army of bastard offspring, paying little heed to the kind of parenting such brutish broods would require.

What the farmers hadn’t counted on was just how destructive this new type of pig would be, despite the release of another thought-provoking robbed-at-the Oscars classic, Razorback. It turns out they inherited a vast appetite from their domesticated mothers, and penchant for either murdering or rooting everything they find from their fathers.

But the end result is, apparently, a sizeable population of extremely dangerous animals, blessed with god-like prowess for moving at pace through the rugged North American landscape and scant regard for pesky human things, like requiring a passport to travel into the US from Canada.

Residents of the US have been warned to be on the lookout for Canadian Super Pigs, and have been urged by the government to ignore the long-running, pro-pig propaganda series Peppa Pig, on the basis that the BBC4Kids Channel has “no business meddling in the domestic affairs of the United States”.

Wars have been fought for much less…



The ASX has fallen again today, but we’re all just kinda used to that happening now, so really, it’s probably no big deal.

“The ASX? Yeah – it just does that sometimes,” said one market analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity because I just made him up. “Roll it over a bit so it can breathe, and come have another drink.”

So far, the benchmark is down around 0.7%, and just about every single sector has plunged into the red.

Real Estate is back on the chopping block today, leading the laggards on -1.12%, with Telcos (-0.98%) and Consumer Staples (-0.86%) in hot pursuit to be the absolute worst.

Materials is down just 0.16%, Health Care has flatlined at -0.07% and the Energy sector has recorded a barely visible +0.05% gain, so it’s okay to drive, but only just.

There’s a veritable pile up of Large Caps doing well today, including Johns Lyng Group (ASX:JLG) which is up 15.7% on news of an 11.2% forecast revenue upgrade and a 5.5% EBITDA upgrade for FY23 – +14.9% and +12.9% respectively excluding Commercial Construction – after delivering strong earnings growth for 1H23.

Arafura Rare Earths (ASX:ARU) is up more than 9.0% at lunchtime on no fresh news, and in there, swingin’ like a heavily stained safari suit as always, is Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA). It’s up 6.1% because that’s just the way it is.



Wall Street was closed overnight for pest control fumigation and President’s Day, so there’s no market news, but there was a massive announcement from Tesla with some huge implications for Aussie battery metals player Magnis Energy Technologies (ASX:MSN).



Magnis came out of a trading halt this morning to confirm the rumour, announcing that it has inked a deal with Tesla which will see the world’s most famous EV maker purchase “a minimum of 17,500tpa starting from February 2025 with a maximum of 35,000tpa for a minimum 3-year term at a fixed price”.

The agreement is “conditional on Magnis securing a final location for its commercial AAM facility by 30 June 2023, producing AAM from a pilot plant by 31 March 2024, commencing production from the commercial AAM facility by 1 February 2025, and customer qualification”, so there’s some hoops for MNS to jump through – but it’s a real coup, whichever way you slice it.

Surprisingly, the investor pile-on that you’d reckon would follow an announcement like this has only kind-of emerged – MNS is trading 8.0% higher this morning, outside of Top 20 climbers for the day.

In Asian market news, Japan’s Nikkei is down 0.21% on news that a 16 metre tall “life-size” Gundam robot in Yokohama that was scheduled to be destroyed because of the clear and present danger it presented to the planet has survived the latest efforts to kill it.



Officials in Yokohama have decided to keep the statue in place, and functional, on the basis that Covid-19 restricted the number of children who were brought to the site, to be ritually terrified as part of what the Japanese government assures me is “a perfectly normal, traditional Japanese upbringing”.

When asked for comment, the Gundam statue laid waste to half of Yokohama. Many people were killed. Truly horrifying stuff.

In China, the markets are still rubbing the sleep from their eyes, but in early-early trade, Shanghai is up 0.17%, the Hang Seng is down 0.27% and Bao Fan is still missing.

In Crypto, Bitcoin is knocking on the door of US$25,000 more insistently than those nice young men who wake me up most Saturday mornings to angrily demand to know why I haven’t heard the word of God yet.

Rob “Mr Technicals” Badman says the reason Bitcoin hasn’t moved past there is resistance caused by the coin’s 200-week simple moving average.

There’s probably more to it than that, but I’m pressed for time – Rob’s got you covered in Mooners and Shakers, though.

Go read it when you’re done here, because it’ll make him – and you – happy.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for February 21 [intraday]:

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In Small Caps Land, the clear standout this morning has been tech mob Connexion Telematics (ASX:CXZ), which has raced to a 70% gain on news that its “cornerstone OEM customer” General Motors has extended its contract with CXZ.

Connexion Telematics is the developer of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions for the global automotive industry, most notably (and relevantly to this story) its OnTRAC and CXZTRAC platforms, with the former used used by GM to manage the largest Courtesy Transportation Program (CTP) in the US.

Also soaring this morning is New Century Resources (ASX:NCZ), after an unsolicited takeover bid by South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater at $1.10 per share.

Sibanye-Stillwater already holds a 19.9% stake in NCZ after taking part in an equity capital raising that was completed in December 2021, so the takeover bid isn’t exactly out-of-the-blue – but it did put a lot of wind into New Century’s sails this morning.

The result has been an enormous volume of trade (more than $33 million worth between brekky and lunch), and NCZ’s price has – predictably – climbed 42.8% to… $1.10 a pop.

But you’d already guessed that, hadn’t you?

There’s a bunch of rando penny stocks showing large percentage gains on super-slim volume, among them Tasfoods (ASX:TFL) which is up 35.7% to $0.038, and Metarock (formerly Mastermyne) Group (ASX:MYE) is up 33.3% to $0.180.

And that’s about it. Ho-hum.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for February 21 [intraday]:

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