Australian markets opened lower this morning, despite having the entire weekend to figure out where US markets went wrong on Friday and trying to come up with a plan to not do the same.

Blame it on basic weekend laziness, or being busy enduring your youngest child’s music school Christmas Talent Show (complete with a gaggle of kids so unprepared for a live performance that two of them were escorted from the stage in tears after murdering Christmas carols on the piano) – or whatever you want… it won’t change the fact that we’re in a slump this morning.

But if you do decide to try to blame this on your staff for ‘not working hard enough’, here’s a timely warning from the US that being a Total Boss and going the ‘tough love’ route with your employees is rarely going to end well.

This tale of workplace woe is brought to you by Olive Garden – a large US Family Eatery chain that serves a rough approximation of Italian food to a nation that should know better, but clearly doesn’t care that they consistently confuse the ideas of “quantity” and “quality”.

The manager of a Kansas Olive Garden outlet found themselves suddenly famous when a rather testy email sent out to employees went viral for all the wrong reasons.

“Our call-offs are occurring at a staggering rate. From now on, if you call off, you might as well go out and look for another job. We are no longer tolerating ANY EXCUSE for calling off,” the manager wrote, clearly fed up with people who are ill deciding it’s probably best not to come to work to serve food to people.

But here’s where it got problematic: “If you’re sick, you need to come prove it to us. If your dog died, you need to bring him in and prove it to us.”

So – if you’re too sick to come to work, you have to come to work to prove that you can’t come to work? Bring your dead dog in?

“Do you know in my 11.5 years at Darden how many days I called off? Zero. I came in sick. I got in a wreck literally on my way to work one time, airbags went off and my car was totaled, but you know what, I made it to work, ON TIME,” the manager wrote.

Olive Garden’s actual management, obviously, wasn’t cool with any of this – and has since announced that the manager in question has been relieved of duty, ground up and used in a bolognese sauce somewhere in Massachusetts. Possibly.

The fact that this is occurring at all is symptomatic of a broad swathe of issues in that particular industry, especially in the US, where ongoing complaints about near-slave wages have left a number of fast food restaurants closed because staff are quitting in droves.

Whether that’s because of the sudden emboldening of HyperKaren management types, or simply because Americans are done working their arses off for $2 an hour (plus tips!) remains to be seen.

But either way, patrons of Olive Garden can rest assured that despite toxic management being removed by Corporate, their favourite toxic menu items are still on the menu. #YouAreWhatYouServe



The ASX 200 hit the ground in a coma this morning, down 0.7% in early trade and struggling to breathe life into the old girl as we meander towards a pre-lunch loss of around 0.5%.

Energy (+0.73%) and Real Estate (+0.10%) are the only two sectors daring to poke their heads above the trenches today – the rest of the crew are lagging down below zero, with Utilities (-3.84%) cowering well behind everything else so far today.

Same as on Friday last week, there’s not a single large cap in the winner’s circle this morning – the big players are doing okay, but not brilliantly – but the Billion Dollar Babies are adequately represented on the losing side this morning.

That includes Origin Energy (ASX:ORG), which despite a positive sector run today is down 7.5% as the Australian Government turns to rolling out an Energy Price Relief Plan in an attempt to make sure we can all run out air conditioners full blast over the Christmas period without going broke, and ensure that Tubby Taylor will get to keep his gig spruiking AC units for another couple of years.

There are a couple of things to consider with that plan that would be driving some of the majors into a bit of a crisis, which include the introduction of a $12 per gigajoule on new wholesale gas sales by east coast producers, and a $125 a tonne cap on coal used for electricity generation, implemented by New South Wales and Queensland Governments.



In the US on Friday, it was tense on its way to the weekend, with the S&P 500 falling by 0.73%, the Dow Jones by 0.90% and Nasdaq by 0.70% by the time the bell rang for them at the end of the week.

As Earlybird Eddy Sunarto writes, there’s a big week looming for US markets – the coming days will feature data on just how poorly the US is tracking in terms of inflation… and on Wednesday (US time), there’s a double whammy on the cards.

Firstly, the US Fed has its interest rate decision to announce. The hot money is on another increase, probably a 50 basis point increase, which will make a nice change compared to the recent 75bps jumps the Fed’s handed down.

Most alarmingly, though, is that US Fed Supremo Jerome Powell is confirmed to be making a speech about it – and given how atrocious heavy everything that man says weighs on the US markets, it could just about be “anything goes” once he’s done talking.

The tiniest hint from him – even just a couple of poorly chosen words – is enough to bring Wall Street to its knees… and given that Powell has form in picking his words carelessly, I’m not holding out any hope at all that he’s going to make it all the way to the end of his TED Talk without tanking the markets completely.

In Asia, Japanese markets have fallen 0.38% after news that an online beef between two idiotic teenagers took an extremely violent turn.

The teens (a 14-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl) got into it online over who was the worse teenage delinquent – which was figured out when the two met to settle the argument and the boy managed to rustle up a larger crew than the girl.

But… it turns out that the girl in question is mates with a local Yakuza member, and reached out to him for assistance – which arrived in the form of about 30 full-on Yakuza members turning up at the 14-year-old boy’s house.

He was promptly abducted, driven to three separate locations, and beaten mercilessly at each one with fists, boots and a metal pipe, leaving him with broken ribs and a host of other terrible injuries.

What a blessing social media has been for the human race.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong has dipped 1.05% in early trade, with Shanghai following in a more ponderous manner, down 0.41% shortly after the bell rang there.

In crypto, some unusual trading on Binance in a handful of altcoins raised some eyebrows over the weekend, but it was determined that 1000%-plus spikes in trading volume on a handful of sub-sub-sub-sub-penny coins is “normal trading activity” warranting no further monitoring.

And a US Senator on a hugely influential Banking committee has publicly revealed how exquisitely unqualified he is to be talking about regulating crypto, which is a sure sign that absolutely no one in charge in America knows what the feck is going on.

Gregor “what do you mean, Rob’s not here again?” Stronach has all details of that, and how the rest of the crypto market is tracking, is over at Mooners & Shakers.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for December 12 [intraday]:

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

Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap
PRM Prominence Energy 0.002 100% 286,941 $2,424,609
FG1 Flynn Gold 0.175 80% 2,914,129 $6,310,922
CLE Cyclone Metals 0.002 33% 342,700 $9,175,105
GES Genesis Resources 0.008 33% 367,550 $4,697,048
GRV Greenvale Energy Ltd 0.17 31% 2,428,696 $54,823,887
AMD Arrow Minerals 0.005 25% 38,116 $8,135,060
NAE New Age Exploration 0.01 25% 5,232,247 $11,487,191
PNX PNX Metals Limited 0.005 25% 7,000 $17,776,231
PXX Polarx Limited 0.01 25% 5,805,632 $8,450,930
PNM Pacific Nickel Mines 0.086 23% 615,788 $25,358,060
AHN Athena Resources 0.012 20% 13,844,513 $8,704,676
TD1 Tali Digital Limited 0.003 20% 66,145 $3,543,813
TKL Traka Resources 0.006 20% 770,584 $3,443,873
EXL Elixinol Wellness 0.027 17% 196,441 $7,274,108
3DA Amaero International 0.081 17% 360,527 $28,526,741
KLI Killiresources 0.17 17% 37,689 $4,868,375
AJQ Armour Energy Ltd 0.007 17% 477,000 $13,991,989
M2R Miramar 0.093 16% 13,416 $5,654,539
MAT Matsa Resources 0.043 16% 30,250 $15,238,621
AHI Adv Human Imag Ltd 0.115 15% 586,756 $18,605,397
ADY Admiralty Resources 0.008 14% 701,611 $9,125,054
AUR Auris Minerals Ltd 0.016 14% 190,415 $6,672,763
INP Incentiapay Ltd 0.008 14% 443,703 $8,855,445
OXX Octanex Ltd 0.008 14% 289,814 $1,812,844
CDX Cardiex Limited 0.44 14% 256,468 $48,714,749
Wordpress Table Plugin

It must be Monday, because there’s another small cap success story that’s seen its trading price nearly double in the space of a few hours today.

This time round, it’s Flynn Gold (ASX:FG1), which has drilled into a bonanza-level intersect at its Trafalgar discovery:

  • 12.3 metres @ 16.8g/t Au and 27.6g/t Ag from
  • 108.7m, including:
    • 4.7m @ 14.6g/t Au and 19.25g/t Ag from 108.7m, including
      • 0.85m @ 72.0g/t Au and 96.1g/t Ag from 111.75m, and
  • 2.0m @ 68.5g/t Au and 123.0g/t Ag from 119.0 to 121.0m, end of hole (EOH), including
    • 1.25m @ 106.6g/t Au and 195.1g/t Ag from 119.75m, which includes
      • 0.7m @ 152.5g/t Au and 277.0g/t Ag from 120.3m to EOH.

It is an absolute thumper of a find, and was richly rewarded by investors this morning, climbing to more than +95.0% before easing to +75.2% at lunch time today.

Also charging this morning is Greenvale Energy (ASX:GRV) has completed a diamond drilling program at its recently acquired 80%-owned Georgina Iron Oxide Copper Gold Project in the Northern Territory.

“Preliminary geological logging of the hole has identified a number of occurrences of strong IOCG-style alteration, copper-bearing minerals and the presence of hematitic ironstone,” the company says.

“The presence of ironstones in the hole is considered highly encouraging, as ironstones represent a geochemical depositional mechanism within which gold and copper may precipitate from ore-forming fluids,” it continues.

In a nutshell, though, what Greenvale is trying to say is that it’s found copper, and lots of it – and it’s currently trading 34.6% higher as a result of that, as well as news that GRV has completed offloading its Knox IOCG project at Georgina Basin to Astro Resources (ASX:ARO), for which Greenvale was granted 46,000,000 ordinary shares.

And, rounding out the top three for the morning, it’s Pacific Nickel Mines (ASX:PNM), which has soared 22.6% so far today on no apparent news, other than Stockhead’s very own Barry FitzGerald declaring that nickel is the new lithium, and using his sheer force of will and piercing gaze to make that opinion an undeniable truth.


Stern, Uncompromising and frankly a bit terrifying… the man, the myth, the Barry.

See? That’s the gaze of a man who can move mountains and destroy his enemies, just by envisioning it in his mind.

Side note: The winners table has Prominence Energy (ASX:PRM) at the top with a 100% rise… and well done to them, but a climb from $0.001 to $0.002 would cost about the same as a decent sandwich, so… it doesn’t really count.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for December 12 [intraday]:

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

Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap
ANL Amani Gold Ltd 0.001 -50% 1,645,580 $47,386,882
CCE Carnegie Cln Energy 0.0015 -25% 819,875 $31,285,147
AQX Alice Queen Ltd 0.002 -20% 690,000 $5,500,625
TYR Tyro Payments 1.21 -19% 10,549,717 $773,665,252
SKF Skyfii Ltd 0.05 -18% 724,045 $25,252,702
CHK Cohiba Min Ltd 0.005 -17% 200,000 $9,765,965
PUA Peak Minerals Ltd 0.005 -17% 2,000,330 $6,248,225
PMT Patriot Battery Metals 0.945 -16% 2,512,393 $7,840,000
GAS State GAS Limited 0.22 -15% 68,883 $58,284,613
CMD Cassius Mining Ltd 0.022 -15% 2,005,503 $10,620,815
AVD Avada Group Limited 0.72 -15% 7,600 $62,278,104
PAT Patriot Lithium 0.305 -15% 1,371,324 $20,866,501
NGS NGS Ltd 0.05 -15% 283,084 $8,750,140
ATU Atrum Coal Ltd 0.006 -14% 24,000 $9,741,894
AUK Aumake Limited 0.003 -14% 40,000 $3,050,064
NGL Nightingale Intel 0.12 -14% 657,794 $13,544,819
W2V Way2Vat 0.024 -14% 292,829 $4,979,637
JXT Jaxsta Limited 0.032 -14% 15 $12,675,393
AU1 The Agency Group Aus 0.033 -13% 2,878 $16,285,910
HFR Highfield Res Ltd 0.6 -13% 1,566,134 $252,146,622
LLI Loyal Lithium Ltd 0.44 -13% 2,052,401 $23,603,700
MQR Marquee Resource Ltd 0.048 -13% 3,705,419 $17,468,967
NAN Nanosonics Limited 4.23 -13% 606,109 $1,461,822,877
EMU EMU NL 0.007 -13% 145,000 $5,498,145
GCR Golden Cross 0.007 -13% 696,633 $8,778,049
Wordpress Table Plugin