Local markets are down this morning, so please – give them a call and see if you can’t cheer them up a bit. I know it’s a hassle, but it would really mean the world to them to hear your voice.

The ASX 200 fell 32 points in early trading, and as my loud neighbour across the street opens her second bottle of chardy for the morning and dials Dancing Queen up well beyond the pain threshold of human hearing, the benchmark has wobbled (much like my neighbour) to -0.46%.

I’ll have more detail for you shortly (about the market… not my neighbour), but first, it’s that magical time of the year again, when media outlet Axios and something called Harris get together and poll a bunch of Americans to find out which companies they love (and hate) the most.

It’s a chance for a tiny fraction of the population to have their say. In this year’s effort, some 16,310 Americans “from a nationally representative sample” are asked a few questions about the companies that they love, or love to hate.

The process needs some explaining, because the ladder of results is somewhat confusing unless you understand how some companies ended up on the list at all.

In the first round of questions, participants are asked to list whichever companies are “top of mind”, for better or worse – which is why the list is made up companies that are considered amazing, and those that suck.

Then, once there’s a reliable-looking list of companies to rank, participants are asked if each company is good, or bad, or just plain ol’ ugly across a variety of metrics.

The metrics include stuff like “Character”, “Ethics” and “Citizenship”, the latter of which is – quite surprisingly – not (quite) as racist as it sounds.

I’ll start with the top of the list, where the No. 1 spot is occupied by Patagonia, which the internet tells me is “a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of South America, governed by Argentina and Chile”.

Nevertheless, for some reason Americans think it’s a clothing company of some sort, which sells adventure and outdoor clothing for rich people to wear to the mall, or while watching their spoiled little shits play Little League baseball.

Costco is in second place, probably because a short time after the Great Depression, Americans got the ideas of “quality” and “quantity” confused, meaning they will now eagerly line up to purchase things like a 44-gallon drum of kalamata olives, or nasty two-ply poo tickets by the pallet.

Third place belongs to John Deere, the tractor manufacturer that recently moved to a business model that forces farmers to pay subscription fees to keep the software governing their huge, deadly vehicles harvesting soy bean crops, instead of livestock. Allegedly.

… this all bodes really well for anyone near the bottom of the list, then.

The banner headline from the list’s publication is the fact that Tesla – the car manufacturer that made Elon Musk a household name – has plummeted 50 places in the annual poll, largely because Elon Musk is now a household name.

Tesla took a reputational hammering in the poll, scoring pitifully low on Character, Trust and Citizenship.

Surprisingly, it did quite well in both the “Vision” and “Trajectory” elements of the poll, but I reckon that’s probably because the “vision” employed by the self-driving function of the company’s products has been accused of sending some Teslas into very interesting trajectories indeed.

Like, into the back of a parked fire truck, and over the top of pedestrians. Allegedly.

Tesla sitting in the No. 62 spot on the list puts it reputationally below companies like Chipotle, a fast food chain that is as famous for its food as it is for its delivery of severe intestinal E Coli-based distress on its customers. Allegedly.

It also puts it lower than Nestle – a company that is arguably most infamous for its egregiously aggressive campaigns to sell unnecessary baby formula in regions where the drinking water is appallingly dangerous for infants, and a laundry list of environmental vandalism accusations that is far too long to dig into here. Allegedly.

So… yeah. Tesla’s in a spot of reputational bother, it’s safe to say.

But who, pray tell, could be at the bottom of a list like this one? Which company is considered the most famously s..t outfit in the whole of America?

I’ve got three little letters for you: FTX.

The scandal-plagued Crapto Exchange helmed by the (allegedly) dumbest criminal mastermind in crypto history, who (allegedly) made off with billions of monies that belonged to investors, and lived (allegedly) like an absolute king before his sensational arrest last year, sparking the near-total collapse of the company.

So it makes 100% complete sense that FTX would be considered so reputationally toxic.

Also – FTX isn’t actually the worst company on the list.

It’s sitting at No. 99… one spot higher than the Trump Organisation.



The benchmark fell 0.4% in early trade today, led lower by a shuddering Wall Street, where debt ceiling negotiations continue while the deadline for Congress to sort its s..t out looms like a Gold Coast bouncer on a muggy summer’s night.

It didn’t get any better by lunchtime, landing at -0.46% by the time the nation’s growling tummies were all clamouring to be filled.

The only two sectors making positive progress this morning are Energy (+0.46%) and Utilities (+0.24%). The rest of the market’s all a bit crap, if I’m being honest.

Worst hit is the Materials sector, taking yet another drubbing on -0.92%, with Health Care (-0.82%), Real Estate (-0.63%) and Consumer Discretionary (-0.61%) all getting in on the pity party this morning.

Over at the Clubhouse this morning, Leo Lithium (ASX:LLL) – that’s a company, not some rando ’70s popstar with a funny made-up name – is up 5.6% thanks to more strong assay results received from Danaya and the Northeast Domains at the Goulamina lithium project.

LLL reports that its gotten into some “significant” intercepts, including 92m at 2.01% Li2O, from 132m including 36m at 3.00% Li2O, from 132m, and 112.7m at 1.43% Li2O, from 83.2m.



Wall Street took a knock to the knee overnight, as the outward lack of progress towards a solution to the debt ceiling crisis had investors dialling up the Nerve-o-Meter.

At the end of the closed-doors talk, Republican House speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly said that “we are nowhere near a deal yet”, just hours after saying “I think, at the end of the day, we can find common ground”, Earlybird Eddy Sunarto reports.

Good to see McCarthy’s really got a handle on what’s happening, because the consequences of a deal not being reached (and the US defaulting on its debt) are Dire.

US public broadcaster PBS took a break from making Sesame Street to have leading analysts from Grover, Bird and Grouch Associates come up with this summation:

“US economic growth would sink, 7.8 million American jobs would vanish, borrowing rates would jump, the unemployment rate would soar from the current 3.4% to 8% and a stock-market plunge would erase $10 trillion in household wealth,” a GB&G spokesmuppet said.

In stock news, Zoom Video Communications fell more than 7% despite beating forecasts for Q1 and raising its guidance, and Yelp Inc rose 5% after activist investor TCS Capital confirmed its stake in the company.

Meanwhile, Netflix fell 2% after saying that it was cracking down on password sharing. Users in Australia looking to share their passwords are also being asked to pay more, which I would be happy to do if those bastards would stop cancelling all the shows that I like.

In Japan, the Nikkei is down 0.77% this morning as the nation deals with a crippling wave of loneliness.

That’s despite the recent opening of Nagoya’a Ramen & Bar Kanisuta – a noodle shop where young women will come and sit with you, and chat to you while you eat – for a fee.

Customers are required to order at least one item per hour – be it a bowl of soup, or a drink from the bar – and pay, per hour, a surcharge of 800 yen (AUD$8.75) to have young ladies come and pretend to be interested in whatever obscure Hentai sub-genre is tickling your pickle this week.

The best part of this place is the decor – like someone has opened a West Coast Motorcycles workshop inside a state-sanctioned heroin injecting room.


asx winner Rubix
If you ever find me in a place like this, you have my permission to drown me in a bucket of my own tears. Pic via Getty Images.


No wonder the Nikkei’s down, because that is just horribly depressing.

Meanwhile in China, where unhappiness doesn’t officially exist, Shanghai’s market is down 0.77% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is lower by 0.73%.

In CryptoLand, a comically terrible mis-step by cold wallet manufacturer Ledger has made the company the laughing stock among pretend money collectors around the world.

Ledger announced that it was about to launch a new product that would allow customers to recover forgotten wallet passphrases, which as Rob “It’s On An Old USB Somewhere” Badman explains, “flies in the face of the very idea for purchasing a Ledger wallet in the first place”.

There’s more where that came from, over at Mooners & Shakers.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for May 24 [intraday]:

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It’s a reasonably close race for top spot on the Small Caps ladder this morning, with Rubix Resources (ASX:RB6) gleaming the cube to the tune of +44.4% this morning, on news that it’s entered into a binding agreement to acquire 100% of the Ceiling Lithium Project in the James Bay Region of Quebec, Canada.

That’s the bit of Canada where all the cool kids, like Patriot Battery Metals (ASX:PMT) and Allkem (ASX:AKE) are hanging out for the winter, hunting for lithium. And moose.

Close behind Rubix is BMG Resources (ASX:BMG), up 42.4% on news that its 20-hole RC drilling program at the Bullabulling Project in WA has bitten into some juicy pegmatite.

The results show confirmation of pegmatites in multiple holes, including 28m of pegmatite from 2m at the Ubini prospect, as well as multiple intercepts of pegmatites and felsic intrusives along the line at Purple Panda.

And in third place, carbon fibre wheel manufacturer Carbon Revolution (ASX:CBR) has jumped 28% on news that the company has established a new US$60 million debt program.

CBR says the loan will be put towards “new funding for further Mega-line automation and capacity expansion, general corporate and other working capital purposes of up to US$37.0 million”, while ensuring that it is fully-funded up-to and beyond the proposed merger with Twin Ridge Capital Acquisition Corp, slated for August this year.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for May 24 [intraday]:

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