Australian markets have opened lower – again – this morning, following another trickle down on Wall Street overnight, with the ASX 200 ticking down 0.4% in preparation for what promises to be another thrilling day on the bourse.

At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 March futures contract was pointing down by 0.10% – but, of course, it’s important to remember that if you’re planning to do something, then you may as well really lean into it.

The benchmark did manage to get within a whisker of Absolute Zero around mid-morning, but as the clock struck Lunch, the big hand was pointing at the 12, and the little hand was pointing at -0.4%.

That’s obviously not great news, but we’re having a better day here than one particular chap whose Carnival experience in Rio de Janeiro has been soured somewhat by his arrest.

For those of you who weren’t aware, the annual Carnival season is in full swing throughout several parts of South America. It’s a time of year for scantily clad people to take to the streets and party in ways that only a continent fuelled by industrial quantities of cocaine could manage.

Naturally, with the heady scents of baby oil, pheromones (and the aforementioned Marching Powder) heavy in the air, there will be some people who take things just a step too far, such as the anti-hero of our story.

Following reports from several women claiming they had been harassed, Rio’s military police set to work finding the culprit – which wasn’t really that difficult, as he was pretty much the only guy in the city running around dressed as a 7-foot-tall pecker.



That look on his face is 100% the best part of this whole amazing story.

No word on precisely what he’s likely to be charged with, but it’s a safe bet police are probably going to want to wait until he’s a bit more sober before dragging him in front of a magistrate… because by the looks of things, there’s very little chance any defence he could mount in that state is unlikely to *ahem* stand up in court.

… It’s fine. I’ll show myself out.



Persistent worries both here and in the US about a looming recession have continued to suck all the joy from the markets today, like a gourmand might suck the marrow from a slow-roasted bone.

For the fourth day this week, the ASX opened lower. Whether it can mount a similarly ill-fated rally as it has the past couple of days remains to be seen.

Encouragingly, the sector outlook is looking healthier than it has throughout the first half of the week. Utilities and Healthcare are on the move, up 0.85% and 0.79% respectively, while the Materials sector is shaping up for yet another crook day, down 1.72% already and being a total wet blanket.

At the top end of town, The Lottery Corporation (ASX:TLC) is up 5.56%, after reporting group revenue is up 7.7% pcp to $1.9 billion, and EBITDA of $409.4m, up 15.8% as more and more Australians line up to take a punt in a bid to meet the skyrocketing mortgage payments.

Either that, or they found a shoebox full of old Scratchies they were able to cash in.

And Medibank (ASX:MPL) is on the mend today, with solid earnings driving a 5.52% lift while the memory of everyone’s highly-private medical info being held hostage by Russian hackers fades like the dying embers of a time when trusting a company with your data was safer than sex.



Wall Street wavered again overnight, following the release of the February US Fed meeting minutes, which laid out in no uncertain terms just how likely those foxy old trendsetters reckon a recession is going to be.

Earlybird Eddy Sunarto reports that the FOMC minutes suggest rates could keep going higher, and that a recession is “a possibility”, as almost all Fed officials favoured a 25-basis-point rate hike during the Feb 1 meeting.

Only “a few” policymakers outright favoured a larger 50 bps increase, a few more reckon the recession risk is “elevated” and all members thought inflation remained the one key factor for future rate outlook.

There was something of a rally among tech stocks overnight (which isn’t much to crow about, considering just how hard they got spanked the night before). Palo Alto Networks popped 12.5% after the cybersecurity company lifted its earnings forecast, but Intel fell 2% after the struggling chipmaker slashed its dividend following an earnings miss.

In Japan, the Nikkei has slumped 1.34% despite news that local authorities have announced further rollbacks of pandemic restrictions by removing a ban on “loud cheering”.

Set to take full advantage of this are fans of Nicky Larson et le parfum de Cupidon, the 2019 live-action remake of ever-so-saucy anime classic City Hunter.



The Shinjuku Piccadilly theatre in Tokyo is billing an upcoming event as a “Boner Cheering Screening” of the film, which is exactly as dumbly weird as it sounds.

Sophisticated cinephiles in attendance will – thanks to the shift in government policy – will once again be able to scream “Boner!” at appropriate junctures throughout the film.

Boner, indeed.

In China, both Shanghai (+0.20%) and the Hang Seng (+0.10%) have edged higher this morning, after the Chinese government took a break from rattling its sabres to tell the Taliban to end its persecution of women.

No, really – that actually happened.

In crypto, the market has reacted to the release of February’s US Fed meeting minutes with an outbreak of stage yawning, over-the-top stretching and… that’s about it.

The majors are suffering similar fates to that of markets around the globe, though. BTC and ETH both dropped around 1.5% over the previous 24 hours.

Rob “Those minutes took me hours to read” Badman has more detail on the Big Fed Nothingburger over at Mooners and Shakers.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for February 23 [intraday]:

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Bangin’ out a belter this morning was Mt Monger Resources (ASX:MTM), up 37.5% on news that it has entered into a binding option agreement to acquire the Pomme REE-Nb project in Quebec, Canada from TSX.V listed Geomega Resources.

The project is a known carbonatite intrusion with exceptional results from limited drilling, showing enrichment in rare earth elements (REE) and niobium (Nb) and is considered an extremely prospective exploration target.

Diamond drilling in 2012 returned exceptionally thick mineralised intersections, including:

  • 508.3m at 0.43% TREO, 413ppm Nb2O5 and 1.48% P2O5, from 73.7m depth; and
  • 478.1m at 0.12% TREO, 340 ppm Nb2O5 and 2.14% P2O5, from 25.9m to EOH.

Pomme is also adjacent to the Montviel REE-Nb deposit (owned by Geomega), which has a defined total indicated and inferred resource of 266 Mt at 1.45% TREO and 0.14% Nb2O5.

Meanwhile, FYI Resources (ASX:FYI) has bounced 28.8% this morning, after a shocking week that saw the company shed more than 70% of its value on news that its high purity alumina project partner Alcoa (NYSE:AA) wanted to get out of the pool and go home.

FYI says that while Alcoa contributed approximately US$5 million for stage one development activities and stated that work completed to date had “demonstrated the merit of FYI’s process to produce high purity alumina”, it had decided not to pursue further HPA development at this time.

And Inca Minerals (ASX:ICG) is on a +24% tear this morning, after announcing assay results of up to 49% Cu, 2,430g/t Ag, 43.3% Pb and 1.33% Zn from field exploration conducted in November-December 2022 at the MaCauley Creek Project, 150km northwest of Townsville in Queensland.

The high-grade mineral occurrences are hosted in the Running River metamorphics and Ewan formations, the same lithologies that host the Mount Moss magnetite, copper, lead, and silver mines, just 1km to the north.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for February 23 [intraday]:

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