It seems to be a recurring theme, but Monday mornings are becoming problematic – as evidenced by the ASX opening lower this morning after a frightful Friday on US markets.

That said, we should be used to weird things happening Stateside by now, especially if market news isn’t the only thing you regularly keep an eye on, and this past weekend has been no exception.

In US politics, the leaking of a sex tape is usually the beginning of the end of a career, but one congressional candidate from Manhattan has decided to try to turn that particular political trope on its head, by getting his sex tape out the way early, and entirely on purpose.

53-year-old Army cyber operations officer Mike Itkis, who is challenging incumbent Jerry Nadler in Manhattan’s 12th Congressional District, has gone 100% in the opposite direction, releasing his own sex tape as part of his “sex positive” platform.

Itkis starred in a saucy (and decidedly NSFW) performance with “grown up movies” actress Nicole Sage, and put it out there for the world to see – called “Bucket List Bonanza”, it’s 13 minutes long, and it’s… well, it’s definitely a thing.

Itkis says he’s all about legalising sex work, removing the need for fathers to pay child support, and a bunch of other strangely disjointed policy platforms – all of which add up to a picture of a man who’s either quietly unhinged, or an obvious stooge designed to paint one particular political party in a very negative light.

Either way, Itkis was abundantly unclear on precisely why he thought that a sex tape would be the way to win over Manhattan’s voters.

“I’m very much an introvert,” Itkis reportedly said. “I’m kind of a nerd who doesn’t like to be the center of attention if I can avoid it. But I thought the issues I’m trying to address are so important… I wanted to have my issues talked about in some way.”

Two things we can confirm, though: The film most definitely has managed to get at least two tongues wagging – and it’s nice to see someone other than voters getting screwed as part of the political process.



Aussie markets have taken a lead from Wall Street this morning, acting like a tantruming toddler in the lolly aisle at Coles by falling sharply and refusing to move off the floor, no matter how hard we plead with it to stop making a scene.

The benchmark shed 1.4% the moment the bell rang at 10:00am today, and has since dipped a further 0.1% as it lurched towards lunch time.

The Consumer Discretionary (-2.18%), Energy (-2.53%) and Materials (-2.81%) sectors are leading the losses, each down over 2.0% this morning, while the mantle of Least Worst rests upon the shoulders of Real Estate, which has fallen a not-terrible-but-still-unpleasant -0.41% so far today.

Bucking the trend at the top end of town is Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), which has stacked on better than 6.0% this morning on no particular news, taking it out to a 9.0% increase in trading price for the week.

The Big Budget Bureau does have a few names that have taken a hit this morning, though, including Boral (ASX:BLD), which fell 5.8% this morning to see the company down 13.2% overall since hitting a recent high of $2.94 on 05 October.



In the US on Friday, it was not a good day by any stretch of the imagination, as Wall St fell sharply while investors digested the latest corporate earnings and updates on inflation expectations. The Dow Jones lost 1.3%, the S&P 500 dropped 2.4%, and Nasdaq fell by 3.1%.

As Earlybird Eddy reported this morning, the kickoff to earnings season has started as investment banking revenue came in higher than expected.

JP Morgan rose 2% as it topped estimates and delivered more revenue (US$33.49 billion) than expected (US$32.1 billion). Wells Fargo shares also rallied 2% after strong beats with both net interest income and revenue.

Delta Airlines’ earnings were solid (US$695m profit) as the carrier signalled confidence in travel demand for the rest of the year.

Despite the good start, analysts at big investment banks have slashed their expectations for Q3 earnings of big US big companies by a total of US$34 billion this season.

In Asia, markets are currently mixed, but it’s early days yet, with Hong Kong opening down 0.65% and Japan’s Nikkei falling 1.41% so far today. Shanghai has been something of a combo breaker, however, opening 0.28% higher at the bell but easing almost immediately.

In commodities, things are faring a bit better for everyone except the gas crew. Oil is up 0.96% but gas has slumped 2.4% this morning, gold (+0.4%), silver (+1.57%) are higher and copper is flat but not completely flatlining, up a very slim 0.04% so far today.

And in the Clouds of Crypto, Bitcoin’s struggle to hang on to the $20k mark has morphed into Bitcoin’s struggle to hang on at the $19k mark, while the hacker responsible for a recent unscheduled semi-permanent borrowing of other people’s stuff from Mango Markets has fessed up. Mostly.

Look, it’s very complicated – but actually pretty funny. Unless it was your money he pinched.

Of course, Rob “If this fruit hangs any lower it’s officially windfall” Badman has more detail over at Mooners & Shakers, which you should go and read before everyone laughs at you for not knowing what’s up.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for October 17 [intraday]:

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Leading the Small Caps ladder this morning is Strike Resources (ASX:SRK), up 19.8% on no particular news other than its spinoff, $70m market cap Lithium Energy (ASX:LEL), is in a trading halt pending drilling results from Solaroz lithium brine project in Argentina.

Climbing for an actual reason, however, was Australian Rare Earths (ASX:AR3), which added 14.5% this morning on news that it’s signed an MoU for offtake and technical collaboration with global rare earths processor Neo Performance Materials (TSX:NEO) to accelerate AR3’s Koppamurra rare earth project (“Koppamurra”) to first production.

Having a savagely bad Monday, however, is Hawsons Iron (ASX:HIO), which has been dumped and dumped hard. Between 10am and 12.30pm today, HIO lost 59.5% of its trading value after announcing to the market that “escalating global costs and deteriorating economic conditions have necessitated a slowdown” for its bankable feasibility study activities.

Hawson chairman Dave Woodall said the “inflationary impact of the pandemic on the global economy, combined with the interest rate policy responses of central banks around the world and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, had generated strong market headwinds”.

In light of that, the company had decided that discretion was the better part of valour and slowed everything right down to give it time to assess the lay of the land. The market, however, didn’t like that idea at all – and Hawsons appears to have paid the price today.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for October 17 [intraday]:

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