Australian markets opened slightly lower today, dipping 0.1% in the wake of a wildly mixed bag of results from Wall Street overnight which saw tech stocks surging while the Dow really struggled.

However, in the spirit of a very early Easter, the benchmark made a speedy recovery to ride into the lunch break up by 0.4%, rising from the grave in precisely the way the star of this morning’s news item didn’t.

It was a special day in a number of small US and other North American towns overnight – a day that was once immortalised in Harold Ramis’ comedy classic Groundhog Day, about the time Bill Murray was cursed to re-live a single day of his life over and over, until driven to such complete madness that he agreed to spend the rest of his life married to “shampoo the grey away” spokesmodel, Andie MacDowell.

The unwitting star of the film was the titular groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, a large rodent who is dragged from his hibernation burrow at the start of February every year, held aloft like the first-born son of an African Lion King and screamed at by an adoring American public until a fight breaks out and a lot of people get shot.

Because it’s tradition, that’s why…

The tradition dictates that if the groundhog sees its own shadow (because the weather is clear), it says “nope”, goes back into its burrow to get some more sleep, because winter’s still got about six weeks to go. If it’s cloudy, there’s no shadow, winter is over and the inexorable march of time continues.

The tradition of dragging a grumpy marmot from its den to show it what the weather is doing has become a thing in a number of small towns on the North American continent, including in Val-d’Espoir, in Quebec – the weird bit of Canada that reckons it’s French, probably for tax purposes but no one’s really sure.

Anyhoo… a crowd of spectators gathered at Val-d’Espoir for the event, only to have their collective spirits crushed into tiny, salty cubes of grief when event organiser Roberto Blondin appeared on stage to make a terrible announcement

The groundhog, Fred la Marmotte, was dead.

Authorities investigating what at first glance appeared it may have been murder most foul quickly formed the opinion that Fred la Marmotte (it’s French for “Fred the Gross Rodent”) had gone into a state of hyper-relaxed-mega-hibernation (it’s French for “dead”).

The grief at the event was palpable, most notably among the children who had been chosen from among their peers to take part in the event and celebrations.

The youngsters were forced to not only endure the pain of losing such a beloved Squirrelle de Chonk (it’s French for “Groundhog”), but also take Fred’s place – presumably by sending the smallest among them deep into Fred’s burrow, to be hauled screaming into the sunlight and interrogated over the presence of their shadow.

Quebecoise meteorologists quickly gathered to conference over how to interpret the obviously corrupted scientific data in the wake of Fred le Marmotte’s untimely – and hugely inconvenient – demise.

The result: Since Fred was dead, he could not possibly be able to see his own shadow, meaning that winter is now officially over in Quebec… except in the hearts of the children of Val-d’Espoir, where it will likely remain winter, forever.

 

TO MARKETS

Despite a small hiccup at the start of the day, Aussie markets are into positive territory this morning, with the benchmark tickling the dangling undersides of 0.5% on the way to a lunchtime victory lap of the office.

A snapshot of what’s happening in the sector breakdown show that there’s been a breakdown in the Materials lane, with the explorers and diggers down 1.30% and seemingly determined to drag Utilities (-0.06$) down as well.

The market’s gains for the morning are coming via strong performances in Health Care (+1.92%) and Real Estate (+1.87%), and the Financials sector has thrown its vast bulk into a +0.87 gain as well.

In the expensive seats this morning, two large caps are representing the Big Wigs and Fat Cats, including Pinnacle Investment (ASX:PNI) up 10.8% this morning after releasing happy quarterly results info curiously late in the afternoon yesterday.

And tech company Brainchip (ASX:BRN) is up 5.1% so far today, and climbing somewhat steadily since Monday.

Another techy on the move today is Weebit Nano (ASX:WBT), which added 12% this morning and is well on its way to breaching the psychologically-important $1 billion market cap mark, after the company cleared a bit of a legal problem and got reinstated to trading yesterday.

Weebit had to head off to court to plead its case relating to the delayed release of a cleansing notice under section 708A(5)(e) of the Corporations Act in connection with the issue of shares by the company in the days before Christmas last year.

The Federal Court judge found in favour of the company’s assertion that the dog had, in fact, eaten Weebit Nano’s homework, and all is well in the boardroom again.

 

NOT THE ASX

On Wall Street overnight, US stocks rallied once again after Fed Chair Powell’s dovish press conference tone the previous day, with the Nasdaq climbing by another 3%. The S&P tagged along for the ride, adding 1.47% but the cranky old Dow got all old-man-stubborn, harrumphing from its leather chair by the fire into a tattered copy of the Wall Street Journal and sinking 0.11%.

In the UK, The Bank of England (BoE) also raised its rates by 50bp last night, with an accompanying statement saying that UK inflation has peaked.

Across The Channel, the ECB hiked its rate by 50bp and signalled it could do it again in March, and will totally do it if it wants to, and there’s nothing anyone else can do about it, so ner.

Earybird Eddy Sunarto writes that we’re expecting Big Tech stocks to report later today (after US hours), with documents due from Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, and Qualcomm.

In Japan, the Nikkei has risen 0.62% after an internet-famous android woman was forced to clarify that she was not the android woman arrested for stealing a rice ball in the town of Eniwa, in Hokkaido Prefecture, last week.

This is the bafflingly-popular “Android no One-san” in action:

 

 

The one that was arrested last week for pinching a $2.00 onigiri is just some other Japanese weirdo who told police she was a robot in a bid to avoid prison.

Please, Japan – don’t ever change.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Hang Seng has dipped 0.67% and Shanghai is 0.30% lower in very early trade.

In crypto, Rob “The Internal Optimist” Badman reports that Bitcoin is approaching a “golden bullish cross”, a technical signal that may or may not mean that the World’s Oldest Cryptocurrrency is going to either rise or fall or stay static – I’m really not sure.

Rob explains it much better than I do, so head on over to Mooners and Shakers for Badman’s powerful insights into valuable things that don’t really exist.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

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

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

 

I promised myself I wouldn’t do this, but… it’s most definitely a case of Groundhog Day (I am so, so sorry…) for the small caps this morning, because Spacetalk (ASX:SPA) has picked up where it left off yesterday, climbing another 47% and (most likely) severely – and, it’s hard to argue, justifiably – inflating the ego of newly-minted CEO Simon Crowther, whose appointment to the role appears to be the catalyst for SPA’s meteoric  rise from $0.027 to $0.075 over the past two days.

Also making the news this morning is Southern Hemisphere Mining (ASX:SUH), which has risen sharply by 41.2% this morning on the back of results of a rock chip sampling and mapping program at the company’s Llahuin project.

The company says it’s identified some high-grade samples, including 4.12% Cu 0.36g/t Au and 1,495g/t Ag from an outcropping vein at Cerro de Oro and 22LHR000183 located 20m along strike with 2.74% Cu, 0.58g/t Au and 1,045g/t Ag.

Additionally, Southern Hemisphere investigated a North-South striking vein over a 90m strike (where exposed) and returned values of 16.6% Cu, 0.94g/t Au and 1g/t Ag and 16.3% Cu, 1.13g/t Au and 4g/t Ag respectively, located 1km North of Cerro de Oro.

And the endearingly-unusual Pearl Gull Iron (ASX:PLG) is back in the news again as well, up around 30% this morning on no particular news.

PLG – which listed September 2021 at 20c per share — recently raised $2m at $0.02 per share to keep the lights on, which means those investors who took part are now well and truly in the money, with the share price now moving around 0.04 a pop at lunchtime.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

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

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

Wordpress Table Plugin