For everyone who missed out on the indignity of yesterday’s mid-afternoon interest rate panic on the bourse, you’re in luck – because this morning’s encore performance should be enough to give you a taste of what it was like.

The benchmark slumped at open to -1.2%, rallied weakly for a few brief moments before realising it’s probably just not worth the effort, and that was the state of play at lunchtime.

I dunno about you, but I’m about ready to pack it in for the day.

But first, it’s time to travel to Japan, where a war between “public piano enthusiasts” and “anyone with functional hearing” has resulted in local authorities having to remove one of the instruments, because local residents were unable to follow the rules.

Latching onto what alarmingly appears to be a growing international trend, local councillors in Kakogawa (pronounced “加古川市”) installed the piano at the main train station in the city, so that anyone would be able to take a seat and tinkle the ivories – as opposed to most train stations in my hometown of Sydney, where people are only allowed to tinkle.

However, the Kakogawa People’s Piano came with some rules, including mandatory disinfecting of hands before playing, a 10-minute limit per player, and a ban on singing while you play – all three of which are entirely sensible, in a very Japanese way.

Sadly, it wasn’t long before the complaints started rolling in, which is understandable considering that it’s a widely-understood fact that if you give people who cannot play the piano free access to such an instrument, within a matter of seconds it becomes a deeply unpleasant experience for anyone who happens to be within earshot.

Now, there’s no reliable way of knowing what percentage of the world’s population is able to play the piano (in general – not just the one in Kakogawa), and I was fully prepared to pull a number out of my arse to illustrate my point.

Luckily, – the spiritual home of pointless arguments over insanely bad parenting advice – has provided expert and living legend, Professional Pianist and Founder of the Peterson Piano, Jason Peterson, who has done the hard work yanking numbers out of his own backside for us.

“I don’t think there are any strong stats on this, but my gut instinct (which is usually quite good) tells me it’s probably around 1% of the world population,” he writes, with the kind of certainty that only founding a piano academy can bring.

“There are huge swathes of world geography where it’s virtually impossible to find a piano,” he continues, which is a pretty fair (albeit blatantly obvious) assessment, considering 71% of the planet is underwater.

“Hence my relatively low number,” he concludes, long after most people will have stopped reading.

Averaging out what is quite probably a catastrophically incorrect figure, that means there’s about 2,500 people in 加古川市 (pronounced “Kakogawa”) that are technically able to “play the piano”, and it’s probably only a pathetically slim percentage of that number that are able to play one well.

Which is probably why people complained that some budding musicians were accused of playing “the same sounds, over and over, for up to an hour”, and others drew the ire of fellow residents by “continuing to play during station announcements”.

And so, under the enormous volley of complaints, the piano has been removed, which is sad in a lots-of-people-are-happy-about-it kinda way.

Officials have hinted that devotees of annoying people might yet have their chance to do so, saying that the piano is likely to be removed to “a different public location, away from the station loudspeakers”.

I’d suggest the local 加古川市 (pronounced “加古川市”) tip.

… and there you have it, folks – an entire story about Japanese people playing a public piano very poorly, and not a single mention of Chopsticks.

Except for that one.

Anyway – I’m sure the markets are doing far more interesting things, so let’s go take a look at that.



Local markets have picked up where they left off yesterday, kicking off the day’s festivities by falling 1.2% because of course that was going to happen.

Running very true to recent form, things started looking like they might be improving, but the benchmark made it alllll the way back to -0.8% before realising the futility of the idea and wandering back to bed.

When the buzzer went to remind us all to eat some lunch, the ASX 200 was sitting on -1.2%. Again.

Telcos are the day’s only winners so far, but that’s by a paltry +0.12% rise above the water line, with the rest of the segments auditioning for bit parts in Finding Nemo 3: Hint He’s in the Shark.

Energy is the worst performer, down 2.42% already after a 5.0% drop in crude prices overnight, as Financials took their -1.76% lead from a one-two combo of fresh banking sector woes in the US and the aftershocks from yesterday’s surprise rate hike by the RBA.

There are absolutely no prizes for guessing that the only real bright spot on the market today is the XGD All Ords Gold index, which is up 3.3% as investors channel their inner Iron Maiden, and Run to the Hills in search of a safe haven.



(You’re welcome.)



In the US last night, despite CNBC’s recent breathless reporting about how Big, Brave JPMorgan Chase had stepped up to the plate to single-handedly prevent another banking crisis, fresh banking crisis fears developed.

Lingering doubts over the regional banks saw a sell-off on Wall Street, with Western Alliance and PacWest (America’s Shelbyville-style answer to the undisputed Ringo of Australia’s Big Four banks) taking some solid hits throughout the session, to the tune of -15% and -28% respectively.

Between that and pre-US Fed meeting jitters, all three major indices – the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and Nasdaq – were weaker by day’s end, lower by around 1% each, Earlybird Eddy reports.

There was a glimmer of good news, Eddy writes, after last night’s US JOLTS data “provided some optimism that the US labour market is softening, which could allow the Fed to refrain from remaining aggressive.”

Which means all those nights Jerome Powell has recently spent practising a menacing snarl in the bathroom mirror might all have been for nothing.

Meanwhile, in Japan there is nuthin’ much going on today because that market’s closed for Constitution Day, while mainland Chinese markets are closed for Day 3 of the country’s increasingly inaccurately-named Labor Day celebrations.

That leaves Hong Kong’s Hang Seng as the only game in town, and that’s down 1.43% in early trade.

Over in the world of Crypto, total market value went up around 1.8%, BTC went up about 2.0%, that lamentably-stupid PEPE coin thing’s descent into the anals (I know what I wrote) of crypto history began with a 3.0% slump and that’s pretty much where I tuned out.

As is quite often the case, Rob “Pump Me and Dump Me” Badman has all the details over at Mooners & Shakers.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for May 3 [intraday]:

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

Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap
GRE Greentech metals 0.195 179% 9,459,705 $2,260,300
GGX Gas2Grid Limited 0.002 100% 72,034 $4,077,102
BAT Battery Minerals Ltd 0.004 33% 1,261,812 $10,070,827
1CG One Click Group Ltd 0.009 29% 581,739 $4,298,496
HHI Health House Int Ltd 0.005 25% 298,914 $712,898
VR8 Vanadium Resources 0.093 24% 3,462,254 $36,330,928
JPR Jupiter Energy 0.026 24% 34,001 $25,826,853
LDX Lumos Diagnostics 0.028 22% 1,143,184 $6,288,662
ROO Roots Sustainable 0.006 20% 586,746 $644,617
BGT Bio-Gene Technology 0.125 19% 65,000 $18,588,498
SIO Simonds Grp Ltd 0.125 19% 15,000 $37,790,177
PGY Pilot Energy Ltd 0.013 18% 10,442,662 $10,696,704
EEG Empire Energy Ltd 0.165 18% 497,960 $108,236,961
MRD Mount Ridley Mines 0.0035 17% 3,619,154 $23,354,649
OEL Otto Energy Limited 0.014 17% 49,997 $57,540,117
TIG Tigers Realm Coal 0.007 17% 5,555,339 $78,400,214
COD Coda Minerals Ltd 0.35 15% 746,867 $43,248,314
ICN Icon Energy Limited 0.008 14% 290,400 $5,376,096
WWI West Wits Mining Ltd 0.016 14% 839,814 $31,402,241
GTE Great Western Exploration 0.048 14% 105,565 $9,523,421
QML Qmines Limited 0.17 13% 1,813,611 $13,531,355
HVY Heavy Minerals 0.135 13% 7,407 $4,630,230
NET Netlinkz Limited 0.009 13% 2,142,534 $27,946,005
NTM Nt Minerals Limited 0.009 13% 119 $6,405,591
RLG Roolife Group Ltd 0.009 13% 16,666 $5,728,465
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That high-pitched screaming sound you’ve been hearing all morning is GreenTech Metals (ASX:GRE) heading skyward at a considerable rate of knots, climbing 185% (so far) this morning on assay results from its Austin prospect, part of the greater Whundo Cu-Zn project in WA.

The results are absurdly nice,  revealing a copper dominant mineralised horizon with significantly increased thickness and grades up to 5.4% Cu., with one set of numbers that looks like this:

  • 19m @ 0.81% Cu and 0.15% Zn from 225m, including:
    • 15m@ 1% Cu from 226m, including
    • 6m @ 2% Cu from 226m, including
    • 1m @ 5.4% Cu from 226m

If a super-fat copper hit wasn’t enough to get your whiskers wet, the assay results have also returned elevated gold and cobalt intercepts, including:

  • 2m @ 1.35g/t Au from 178m
  • 15m @ 0.04% Co from 226m, including 6m @ 0.073% Co from 226m

GreenTech says the new assays “indicate a threefold thickening of the Austin mineralised zone which is consistent with Austin being a separate mineralising event to the overlying Whundo (East) resource”.

So… happy days.

Next best performer with any appreciable volume (but for no apparent reason) is Pilot Energy (ASX:PGY), which is up 18.2% for the day, bringing it back into parity with where it was prior to dropping its quarterly on 28 April.

In third is Vanadium Resources (ASX:VR8), with a double-barrel set of announcements this morning, including news of a strategic placement and offtake MOU.

VR8 says it’s entered into an agreement with Matrix Resources (Zhejiang) Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Zhejiang Lygend Investment in relation to a strategic investment by Matrix of $5.91 million via a subscription for 53,763,800 shares for an interest of 9.99% in VR8.

Vanadium Resources has also granted Matrix exclusivity for a period of four months to negotiate and enter into an offtake for vanadium products arising from the Steelpoortdrift Vanadium Mine and Concentrator and the Tweefontein Vanadium Salt Roast Leach Plant.

That news comes on the heels of VR8 revealing that it’s set to increase its interest in the Steelpoortdrift project from 73.95% to 86.49%, with the 12.54% slice slated to set VR8 back 22,124,030 share options to acquire VR8 Shares equal to 4.37% of the company’s current issued share capital, and … *checks notes* … about 700 bucks.

I’m as baffled as you are about the $707 thing – but it’s definitely part of the proposed deal, which is subject to shareholder approval, as most things are these days.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for May 3 [intraday]:

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

Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap
CCE Carnegie Cln Energy 0.001 -50% 35,000 $31,285,147
AQX Alice Queen Ltd 0.001 -33% 46,353,499 $3,795,431
VPR Volt Power Group 0.001 -33% 6,716 $16,074,312
AMM Armada Metals 0.031 -30% 100,000 $3,016,995
NGS NGS Ltd 0.012 -29% 107,200 $2,521,227
GLV Global Oil & Gas 0.01 -29% 66,562 $4,800,315
ADR Adherium Ltd 0.003 -25% 150,000 $19,985,753
AJQ Armour Energy Ltd 0.003 -25% 2,213,000 $15,050,431
ARE Argonaut Resources 0.0015 -25% 552,500 $12,723,743
OML Ooh!Media Limited 1.2625 -23% 22,165,677 $926,796,372
ROG Red Sky Energy 0.004 -20% 1,254,621 $26,511,136
TSN Sustainable Nutrtion Group 0.013 -19% 277,429 $2,252,206
AEE Aura Energy 0.19 -17% 483,879 $118,863,432
BYH Bryah Resources Ltd 0.019 -17% 541,337 $6,468,830
LVT Livetiles Limited 0.015 -17% 18,230,708 $18,848,983
PIM Pinnacle Minerals 0.125 -17% 1,371,045 $3,836,250
SRI Sipa Resources Ltd 0.02 -17% 350,000 $5,475,795
TMX Terrain Minerals 0.005 -17% 100,000 $6,499,196
BXN Bioxyne Ltd 0.021 -16% 249,417 $16,641,135
1AD Adalta Limited 0.022 -15% 115,983 $8,199,774
ENT Enterprise Metals 0.006 -14% 177,400 $4,935,565
RR1 Reach Resources Ltd 0.003 -14% 2,305,442 $9,642,677
PAA Pharmaust Limited 0.086 -14% 582,235 $31,691,238
GRL Godolphin Resources 0.065 -13% 321,323 $8,877,709
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