Aussie markets have definitely opened this morning, which – according to my sources at the ASX –  is apparently something they do quite regularly, so there’s really no need to be alarmed.

What was a bit concerning, though, was the 0.6% dip that the market took when it opened today, which – again – isn’t all that unusual. It got better for a bit, though… but then it got worse.

But there’s no real need to do anything too drastic. It’ll bounce back – probably – so maybe hold off on doing anything irreversible, in case you get to the end of the day and realise that what you’ve done might not have been the smartest of moves.

Case in point: when it comes to people deciding on a course of action that seems awfully final and maybe a little extreme, we can all learn a lesson from this young man from Bloomington, Indiana, who came up with a novel way to stop people stealing stuff from his car.

Local media reports say that police were called to a car park, where they found 26-year-old Austin Bristoe standing next to a 1998 Buick, which was on fire.

Police say Bristoe confirmed that the vehicle was his, and that he had set it alight “to stop people from stealing items inside of it”. Ahuh.

As police were speaking to Bristoe, the fire in the vehicle grew more fierce, leading to several small explosions, during which time Briscoe told police that he “hoped the explosions would be bigger”.

Bristoe was arrested, because setting fire to stuff – even if it’s your own car – is very illegal, and during the arrest, police allegedly found an array of illegal drugs in the young man’s pockets, because of course they did.

They’re a terrible thing, those illegals drugs. Sure, they might be fun at first, but before too long you’ll find yourself broke, unhappy and setting fire to your 1998 Buick, just to really show those folks who keep stealing your tape deck who’s the boss.



Aussie markets opened lower this morning, racing to a 0.6% fall before bouncing around half an hour later – but that recovery was short lived and as the market barrels towards lunch like the unstoppable beast that it is, we’re nearing -1.0%.

The market is being dragged south by a woeful day among Financial stocks, with the hugely influential sector down by nearly 3.2% this morning, so it’s little wonder the benchmark’s having a sulk.

Consumer Discretionary is the best performer this morning, up 0.95% with Utilities next best on 0.34%, and the rest… well, it’s either no news, or bad news, and neither of those are much fun to write about.

There’s a laundry list of Large Caps in the winner’s circle this morning, most notably Cochlear (ASX:COH), up this morning after handing in a stellar HY23 results report that says “sales revenue has increased 9% to a record $893 million, driven by strong growth in Cochlear and acoustic implant revenue.”

Cochlear says its implant units increased 14%, driven by strong demand for the Cochlear™ Nucleus® 8™ Sound®™ Processor™®®™, which the company launched during the second quarter, and the continuing recovery from COVID surgery delays across the emerging markets.

That, and the announcement that the company’s gunning its way into a stock buyback, has seen it lift 6.4% so far today.

New Hope (ASX:NHC), Stanmore (ASX:SMR) and Paladin (ASX:PDN) are all rising after a boost among Energy stocks this morning, up 5.2%, 6.4% and 4.9% respectively.

And Netwealth (ASX:NWL) and the normally-embattled Magellan (ASX:MFG) have both bucked today’s trend for financial stocks to sag, adding 6.1% and 6.4% despite the rest of their cohort sinking like they’d all been accused of touching up the receptionist.



It was a mixed day on the markets in the US overnight, as fresh inflation figures seemed to confuse a lot of people, leaving Wall Street unsure of which way it should collapse.

As Earlybird Eddy Sunarto reports, inflation in the US rose by 0.5% in January to 6.4% on a yearly basis, a slight drop from 6.5% the previous month – enough to warrant thinking about, but not enough to really inspire the troops.

US stocks went on an inflation rollercoaster when the figure was released, with the S&P 500 ending the day flat, the Dow 0.31% lower, and Nasdaq 0.45% higher.

Amazon’s self-driving car, Zoox, took passengers on Californian public roads for the first time.

Amazon is testing a fleet of Zoox’ robotaxis using employees as passengers, and is reportedly “close to launching the service to the public” – presumably because the deadliest of the kinks have been ironed out during the “employee testing” stage.

Amazon would like to thank all staff taking part in the testing for their service – a 150-second ‘bereavement break’ has been added to Friday’s work schedule in honour of those employees who sacrificed their lives, so that Jeff Bezos could come second in another tech race to Elon Musk.

In Japan, the Nikkei has opened the day looking rather flat, on news that an ex-pat academic has suggested that the answer to Japan’s ageing population problem would be to have all the old people commit mass seppuku – the ritual self-disembowelment that was a huge fad among dishonoured Samurai for a while, before people wised up to how bafflingly stupid it is.

Yusuke Narita, an assistant professor of economics at Yale University, has gained celebrity status among the youth of Japan for his controversial idea, even – according to the New York Times – being booked to appear in an advertisement for energy drinks.

Meanwhile, millions of old people in Japan have stubbornly refused to be swayed by his arguments by quite pointedly leaving their innards inside their bodies, but that will most likely change once Japan’s geriatrics discover TikTok, one oldy botches a home colostomy and #Seppuku starts to trend again, just like in the days of the Samurai.

In China, Shanghai has opened mostly flat, down 0.08% in very early trade, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is following the ASX south, down 0.9% and trending lower as the morning there wears on.

And in Crypto, the overall market cap sits at US$1.08 trillion, up about 3% since this time yesterday while BTC has climbed back over the US$22,000 a coin mark, apparently thanks to the US inflation figures that confused those crusty old traditionalists on Wall Street, because they’re just not hip to what’s happening.

For some far more insightful analysis, head on over to where Rob “So Bullish, I’ve got a new nose ring” Badman has all the details in Mooners & Shakers.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for February 15 [intraday]:

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At the top of the leaderboard among the Small Caps this morning is Omnia Metals (ASX:OM1), rising rapidly by ~28% this morning after revealing that during its due diligence, the company has found an enormous “exciting, high priority target” with extensive “spodumene suite” pegmatite granites outcropping at the Senay 5 target, measuring 2.3km in length and 440m in width.

The mapped pegmatites are highly prospective for lithium based on striking geological similarities with the world class Wabouchi (yes, that Wabouchi!) lithium deposit (36.7Mt @ 1.16% Li2O), which is located 38km along strike from Omnia’s Senay project.

“We are buoyed by the early results of our due diligence process which highlights significant outcropping, prospective pegmatite granites of the Senay Suite,” Omnia Metals executive director, James Warren, said.

“We know the Lac Des Montagnes Project has the right geology to host world-class lithium deposits, so we are excited by the outcomes of the early targeting work that has been completed.”

Also climbing this morning is Legacy Minerals (ASX:LGM), which has been on the rise since February 8, and has a renewed spring in its step on the heels of an announcement this morning that it’s drilling into low-sulphidation epithermal veins has been consistently intersected in diamond drilling across a 1.5km strike of the Mee Mar Prospect including at a newly discovered vein trend.

“This project’s scale is demonstrated by the fact that every diamond drill hole testing the strike of the Mee Mar vein intercepted epithermal veins and breccia – delivering a continuous strike of 1,500m which remains open to the north, south and at depth,” Legacy CEO and managing director, Christopher Byrne said.

LGM Iis trading around 15% higher this morning as a result of the news, easing from a very early peak of nearly 29%.

Meanwhile, Petratherm (ASX:PTR) is up around 20% this morning on news that it’s bitten into some significant REE targets at its Meteor prospect in the Comet Project area of the Northern Gawler Craton of South Australia.

PTR says “drilling has defined a continuous substantial thick blanket of high-grade rare earth mineralisation (> 1000ppm TREO), starting from a very shallow depth” – typically from just 3m depth, and with substantial intersections up to 38m thick, averaging 11.5m thickness over the prospect area.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for February 15 [intraday]:

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