ASX Small Caps Lunch Wrap: Who has some serious egg on their face today?
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Local markets opened lower today, after Wall Street struggled to put any meaningful runs on the board, thanks to intense quantities of vague, nebulous uncertainty over the future of the US economy.
It’s definitely a weird time in general for the United States, with deep divisions threatening to turn the entire country in on itself, and leading some observers to suggest that we’re watching the end stages of an empire.
I should preface this with a caveat: I’m not trying to push any agenda here, but it’s difficult to write about this topic without pointing a few fingers here and there.
I look forward to your angry letters.
That said, the rise of outright fascism in US politics is, frankly, alarming – and the most obvious example of how egregious and toxic the culture wars have become is the frantic flurry of the classic Fascist ploy: banning literature that you don’t agree with.
But, as with all things that are completely unreasonable when you stop and take even a second to consider them, that’s turned out to be a bit of an own goal in Utah.
In 2022, Utah’s largest school district banned a list of 52 books from its schools, on the basis that they contained objectionable material – 42% of which are on the list because they have LGBT+ themes, while others deal with issues like school shootings, or are simply coming-of-age stories that also deal with themes of sexuality and gender, and the unrelenting horrors of masturbation and menstruation.
But one parent is leading the charge in the fight against the bans, by campaigning to have a book blacklisted on the grounds that it has “‘no serious values for minors because it is pornographic” under the new definition being used to justify the banning of other titles.
That book? Yep – it’s The Bible.
And it kinda goes without saying that it’s purportedly the favourite tome of most, if not all, of the “Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children” crowd that started the book bans in the first place.
The request by the parent, who hasn’t been named in reports because they probably enjoy not having their letter box blown up, and the windows of their home free of rapidly-moving bricks and bullets, asks for The Bible to be added to the list, because it contains “Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide”.
Which it 100% does, in case The Bible’s not been on your reading list.
It’s a quandary for the school district – either they add The Bible to the list and severely upset the god-fearing voter base, or they admit that the law is a clear example of what happens when you give power to idiots.
Either way, it’s a litmus test for Utah, and the US as a whole… and whichever way it falls, it might be time to start considering that the next 18 months before the next Presidential election is going to be 150% cray-cray.
Speaking of which, let’s take a look at what’s happening on the ASX this morning.
After a delivery of hot mixed nuts from Wall Street overnight, the ASX 200 benchmark opened lower, falling 0.67% in 15 minutes, further proof that the benchmark is a complete bore sometimes, so we really should stop inviting it to parties unless it’s in a good mood.
Early on, it looked like it would be a carbon copy of yesterday – everything sh..tig the bed except for market darling Besra Gold (ASX:BEZ), which has been flying in recent days and managed to add another 36% to its total in the same time it took the rest of the market to come to terms with its morning droop.
But it seems that – for the moment, at least – investors are pretty sure that $0.17 is a hard ceiling for Besra’s trading price. It’s nudged that a couple of times this morning, but on the third strike, the sell-off began.
At the time of writing, BEZ is rocking a $0.14 price tag, making room at the top of the ladder for other companies this morning.
Gold stocks are outperforming everything in sight again, though – that chunk of the market is up 1.41% against the overall drop, as Financials (-1.18%) endures another round of being beaten by thugs armed with hammers and bats in an alley behind the ASX building.
Industrials are also weaker today, down 0.9%, a tranche of other sectors are pretty much just moving with the market, and Energy stocks are down again because oil prices have continued to fall overnight, down around 0.75%.
There are some bright spots, though – Utilities is up 0.6% and Materials is up 0.43%… but we’re heading for a pretty miserable afternoon, unless something dramatic happens.
The red hot story of the morning, though, is Block Inc (ASX:SQ2), which is down 18.9% after short seller Hindenburg dropped a tactical nuke in the US.
So let’s head there to assess the damage.
On Wall St, some boring stuff happened, leaving the Dow up 0.23%, the S&P up 0.30% and the Nasdaq higher by 1.01%.
But there is a hugely juicy story out of the US overnight which I don’t have the time to tell you in any great detail… but, luckily for you (and for me), Eddy “The Numbers Guy” Sunarto has written up an absolute belter of a yarn about it.
It’s okay – this will still be here when you get back.
The rest of the news out of the US is blah blah blah interest rates blah blah blah recession fears. You’ve heard it all before.
In Japan, the Nikkei is down 0.33%, because everyone in Japan is exhausted from celebrating that country’s nail-biting 3-2 win over the United States in the final of the World Baseball Classic in Miami.
The game went right down to the wire, with Japan holding a 3-2 lead over the US at the top of the ninth inning.
The final US batter to step up to the plate was US captain Mike Trout, with Japan’s captain Shohei Ohtani on the pitcher’s mound (which sounds painful, but apparently the pitcher quite enjoys it).
Long story short, Ohtani struck Trout out and Japan went proper mental – because baseball runs a close third on the list of “Most Popular Things in Japan”, second only to … *checks notes* … it says here “Being a Ninja” and “Murdering Whales”, but this data is (hopefully) a bit out of date.
In China, Shanghai’s market is down nearly 0.5% in very early trade, but the Hang Seng is faring a little better, down just -0.04% at the time of writing.
I’ve just looked at the time… and I’m running very late. So… crypto’s gone bananas, BTC has spiked, and Rob “I’ve got all the time in the world” Badman has that sector covered over at Mooners and Shakers.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for March 24 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
With Besra’s sell-off, there was a vacancy at the top of the Small Caps ladder, and it was Coda Minerals (ASX:COD) that rose to the occasion with a 26.8% surge.
Coda is on the rise thanks to yesterday’s report that a positive Scoping Study has highlighted the potential for a long-life mining operation at COD’s Elizabeth Creek project in South Australia capable of producing both copper and cobalt in significant quantities.
Any rumours you’re hearing about COD’s gains today are due to market confusion are unfounded – the release of a new version of Call of Duty (also known as COD) has nothing to do with copper or cobalt.
It’s definitely going to add toxic levels of salt to the global gaming community – but that’s another story altogether.
Moving on… The data I’m looking at says that miner Belararox (ASX:BRX) is up 25% this morning, but that’s on just $900 worth of volume, which doesn’t seem right.
BRX does have positive news for the market, revealing that it has inked an agreement to acquire the Toro-Malambo-Tambo (TMT) base metals and copper-gold porphyry project in Argentina.
The market’s love for goldies is evident in Geopacific Resources’ (ASX:GPR) 25% hike this morning, considering there’s been no news out of its projects in Papua New Guinea, Cambodia or Fiji since Valentine’s Day.
Lastly for this morning, Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL) has put in a solid performance, up 14.3% this morning after revealing that one of its largest investors, Resource Capital Funds, has beefed its stake in the company to 5%.
Today’s rise puts AVL up 29.0% for the month. Just sayin’.
Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for March 24 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort: