Local markets opened lower this morning, dipping 0.5% before rallying to hit the lunch break flat.

That’s mostly down to another surge among the goldies, which are outpacing the rest of the market by quite a large margin, ahead of inflation data which dropped just before the lunch bell rang.

But before we get into that, we’ve got a strange and brutal tale of woe, which has – sadly, of course – ended with the death of an 82-year-old man in India.

The story takes place in the city of Alwar, in India’s northern state of Rajasthan, which a cursory Google search reveals has a population of nearly 500,000 people, and just five public toilets.

This meant that Mr Shivdayal Sharma had little choice but to find somewhere immediately convenient to relieve his swollen bladder, and trotted to the nearby railway tracks to do so.

Being a former railway employee, Mr Sharma knew that standing on the tracks to piddle was obviously a no-no, so he – and a companion – took up positions far enough away so that they’d not be hit by any trains.

But, as it turns out, it’s unlikely that Mr Sharma could possibly have planned for what happened next – an express train, making its way into the city, collided with an errant cow that had wandered onto the tracks a considerable distance away.

The hapless bovine was launched “30 metres into the air” by the collision, and – presumably – was travelling at a relatively quick clip for a cow, when its dead body hit Mr Sharma, killing him instantly.

It just goes to show that even though someone may think that they’ve come up with a fool-proof plan, and considered every possibility and scenario imaginable before deciding on a course of action, that things can (sometimes literally) come off the rails entirely and really put a dampener on your day.

Speaking of which, let’s take a look at what’s happening on the local markets today.



As mentioned, Australian markets opened lower this morning, tracking Wall Street which landed with a soft thud overnight despite some solid results from a couple of America’s big techies.

The benchmark fell as low as -0.5% in early trade, with about 60% of the ASX’s listed companies dipping into the red in early trade.

Things slowly recovered over the course of the morning with investors flocking to the goldies again while we all struggle to make sense of what’s happening with the local economy.

The Australian Bureau of Spreadsheets did an inflation data reveal mid-morning, showing  that inflation has dropped since December, but is still miles away from the 2-3% target the Reserve Bank says that it’s aiming for.

The data shows annual price increases of 7.0% for the year to March, down from 7.8% and well within market expectations, so it’s likely that this information had already been priced in well before this morning’s announcement.

Looking at the market sectors, Energy is performing best on +1.21%, leading a very mixed 6-up, 5-down list. Industrials is second best on +0.74%, with Consumer Staples nearby on +0.58%.

Languishing (again) is the Materials sector, down 0.63% so far today, with InfoTech and Utilities duking it out for not-quite-worst on -0.52% and -0.48% respectively.

At the top end of town, Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) is the best performer among the Large Caps, up 5.85% and throwing a lot of weight behind the XGD All Ords Gold index’s 2.65% climb today.

Having a shocker, though, is lithium miner Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), which has given itself an uppercut to the tune of -9.2% after telling the market that it’s going to cost more to mine less at its Mt Marion project in Western Australia.

MIN says its previous outlook of $850-900 per tonne way way off the mark, and will likely be around $1,200 and $1,250 per tonne for the current financial year, and that it will only be delivering at the lower end of its spodumene concentrate guidance of around 160,000 dry metric tonnes.



In the US overnight, the headline business news is a real mixed bag, after both Alphabet and Microsoft delivered strong Q1 results after the bell.

Earlybird Eddy reports that Alphabet rose 2% after announcing soaring revenues in Q1 of US$69.8bn, versus forecast of US$68.9bn. CEO Sundar Pichai noted Alphabet is continuing to invest in search capabilities, including in the use of artificial intelligence.

And Microsoft surged 8% after the bell on US$52.9 billion in sales and US$2.45 earnings per share (EPS) for Q1 that surpassed analyst estimates of US$51 billion and US$2.24 EPS respectively.

But it’s grim news for First Republic Bank, after its shares plunged 50% when the bank revealed that it lost 40% or US$70bn of customer deposits in Q1, following the SVB collapse.

The news dragged other US regional banks’ shares down on Tuesday, as well.

Overall, Wall Street finished the day weaker, with the S&P 500 down 1.58%, the Dow Jones slipping 1.02% and tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbling almost 2%.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei is down 0.4% this morning, as the nation reacts to the resumption of a centuries-old and adorably sadistic traditional Nakizumo “Crying Baby” festival, after it had been put on hold because of Covid.

The babies, each wearing ceremonial sumo aprons, were carried into a sumo ring at Tokyo’s Sensoji Temple, to face off against each other in a battle of will – while staff, wearing hideously frightening demon masks, capered and growled in an attempt to terrorise the children into crying.

First child to cry wins, on the basis that a loud cry from a baby will ward off evil spirits, much to the delight of their parents until they realise that they will now have a heavily soiled nappy to deal with.



The event is also a way for parents to test the physical health of their children, based on the strength of their bawling, apparently at the expense of the child’s long-term mental health, which doesn’t seem to get much consideration.

“We can tell a baby’s health condition by listening to the way they cry,” Hisae Watanabe, mother of an eight-month-old and front-runner for Lunatic Mother of the Year, told reporters. “Today she may get nervous and not cry so much, but I want to hear her healthy crying.”

In China, Shanghai’s market has dropped 0.21%, while the Hang Seng has inched up 0.12%.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for April 26 [intraday]:

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Top of the Small Caps ladder so far this morning is oil minnow Brookside Energy (ASX:BRK), which has climbed 27% after revealing a solid independent reserves certification for its SWISH Area of Interest in Oklahoma.

According to the company, the estimate now sits at 11.9 million Barrels of Oil Equivalent (BOE) Proved and Probable Reserves (2P) net for Brookside’s Working Interest and net of royalties.

Meanwhile, the good news just keeps rolling in for Polymetals Resources (ASX:POL), which has been soaring over the past month or so, and now has another 21.5% jump to bring its monthly gain to more than 116%.

POL announced that five of the 22 holes drilled at its newly acquired Endeavor Ag-Zn-Pb Mine in NSW were allocated to exploring the South Lode at the project, and the results show a high-grade intercept of 71m at 11.02% zinc equivalent.

And last one of note this morning is Mt Monger Resources (ASX:MTM), which has jumped 15.4% on Monday’s news that the company has completed a $3 million placement, to help fund continued exploration.

The Placement was completed in two tranches, the second of which was subject to shareholder approval which was received at the Company’s General Meeting held on 20 April.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for April 26 [intraday]:

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