ASX Small Caps Lunch Wrap: Who set fire to the building ‘because they took away your stapler’ today?
If you squint a bit and maybe tilt your head at an odd angle, it will look like local markets have sold us all a glorious dummy, falling 0.06% at open before bouncing like a Twitter Corp rent cheque to be 0.13% higher 30 minutes into the day.
Things have gone south since then, which we’ll get to in a minute.
But first, there’s some Big Bizness Business to report, and Bizness don’t come much Bigger than Alphabet, parent company to Google and current frontrunner for the headline role in the upcoming 2057 documentary Dear Future Humans: Learn from our Mistakes.
Google’s finance chief Ruth Porat recently sent out an all-staff email outlining a new efficiency drive for the company, which included some fairly onerous new policies designed to steer the company to a kind of corporate Queer Eye makeover, by “trimming some fat” and “tidying up the bottom line”.
The main thrust of the Comms from On High is this: Google is set to cut back on office supplies for its employees – because, as it turns out, firing 12,000 people wasn’t quite enough to get the books in better shape.
Which means that the 6 or 7 people left at Google who don’t have a key to the executive bathroom are staring down the barrel of cutbacks in areas such as “fitness classes, staplers, tape and the frequency of laptop replacements”, according to CNBC.
Meanwhile, at Google HQ:
Now, I understand that the company is probably wasting money on fitness classes, for several reasons… but most notably because it’s not like “how to get fit” is a difficult thing to search for on the internet.
But the buying freeze on staplers and tape is genuinely raising more questions than I have time to go too far into today – except to ask, “who, at Google, is still using staplers and tape?”
It would take someone horribly cynical to suggest that this is the kind of move you would expect from a company in severe financial trouble.
But it would be someone super-cynical to suggest that maybe… just maybe… this is the kind of stunt an executive – say, a Chief Financial Officer or something like that – would do to get the company capex spreadsheet in sufficient shape to make sure they hit their performance bonus target for the year.
Because nothing quite says Outrageous C-Suite Greed like saving the company $250,000 on office supplies to make sure your pay gets bumped up over the magic US$30 million mark.
In completely unrelated news, Google’s share price is up around 3.5% since the news broke.
The ASX opened lower this morning, momentarily able to peer myopically at its own -0.06% freckle before rallying to a peak at at mid-morning high of +0.19%.
Sadly, the benchmark is now slumped in its chair at -0.1% like a drunk Russian general, as the market braces for what we’re all suspecting will be another round of weirdly-aggressive nard-fondling by the RBA later this arvo.
The Energy sector is leading gains this morning, up 1.36% with Telcos (+0.80%) and InfoTech (0.44%) doing their darndest to keep up, while the Materials sector is once again on the ropes, down 0.60%.
It was a mixed bag of results on Wall Street overnight, which saw the major indices close out the session with the traditional indices higher – the S&P 500 closed 0.37% higher, the Dow rose by 0.98% – while tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 0.27%.
The big news for sports fans is the merger between Endeavor Group (NYSE:EDR) – parent company of the UFC – with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to form a new listed company that will trade under the ticker “TKO”.
The deal will either confirm long-held suspicions at UFC fights are fixed, or could actually legitimise Pro Wrestling… and I honestly don’t know which of those outcomes is the worst of them.
Either way, UFC boss Dana White will have a lot more money to splash around while he’s punching his wife in the face in nightclubs around Las Vegas, because he’s a real class act.
In Japan, the Nikkei is up 0.20% despite news that Alpine F1 driver Yuki Tsunoda suffered a catastrophic injury in the wake of the Australian Grand Prix on the weekend.
Early – unconfirmed – reports indicate that he was dared to sing “Roll out the Barrel” in a Melbourne karaoke bar, and his head exploded.
In China, things are mixed – Shanghai markets are up around 0.2% while the Hang Seng is down 0.95% in very early trade.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for April 4 [intraday]:
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The big mover in Small Caps today is Li-S Energy (ASX:LIS), after the battery maker came out of its trading halt this morning with huge news that it’s achieved a 45% increase in volumetric energy density with its newly-developed 20-layer semi-solid state lithium sulphur battery.
The cells have been produced in LIS’s semi-automated Phase-2 facility in Geelong, Victoria with test cell production capacity anticipated later in the year when the company’s new Phase-3 facility is completed.
LIS is trading 35.2% higher at lunchtime, but major LIS stakeholder PPK (ASX:PPK) is down 4.0% this morning, after it had a 29.6% power surge yesterday when LIS was in its pre-announcement trading halt and investors realised that PPK was a something of a backdoor into the LIS gains on the table.
Meanwhile, Besra Gold (ASX:BEZ) is back in the winner’s circle today on news that the ‘Initial Payment’ of US$2m from Quantum Metal Recovery Inc has arrived in Australia, and is being held in trust pending satisfaction of the Conditions Precedent as set out in the non-binding Term Sheet for a US$300m Offtake Funding Facility announced on 21 March 2023.
Today’s climb is a 24% shot in the arm, taking BEZ back towards the recent $0.16 high and up over 250% for the month again.
And last one for now is Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM), up 23.8% after revealing that the company has inked a deal with some German suppliers, who are visiting Australia on a
junket trade delegation trip.
QPM has signed a Collaboration Agreement with Plinke GmbH, Andritz Separation GmbH and Siemens Ltd regarding supply of capital equipment for the TECH Project – there is a lot to unpack in the announcement, so make sure you tune in for Closing Bell at the end of the day for more details.
Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for April 4 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort: