Aussie markets are having another great morning today, jumping nearly 0.8% at open after a solid session on Wall Street overnight.

There are a number of small caps really hitting the high notes this morning – not quite into the “moonshot” category, but Norwest Minerals (ASX:NWM) has come pretty close.

And, continuing our grand tradition of tenuous segues, today’s news story comes to us via NASA – famous for several moonshots that actually hit their target what seems like 1,000 years ago – because the space boffins say they’ve found “an earth-like planet” somewhere out there in the vast, mostly-empty void of the universe.

According to CBS News, the scienticians at NASA have discovered “a world that is likely rocky and 95% of the size of Earth”, which they’ve given the very catchy name “TOI 700 e”.

What’s interesting about TOI 700 e is that its within its sun’s so-called Goldilocks Zone (which means that it’s in an orbit that is “juuust right”) named in honour of the last recorded words of a pre-teen runaway who broke into the home of three bears, and was brutally murdered under the Fairytale State’s controversial Stand Your Ground laws.

However, for anyone reading this whose thoughts immediately turned to the idea of whether TOI 700 e represents an opportunity for humans to leave Earth and colonise another habitable planet, there’s a minor hitch: it’s roughly 100 light years away.

That roughly translates to 946,100,000,000,000km – which, at a constant highway speed in a base model 2018 Mazda3 hatchback would use around 66,227,000,000,000 litres of E10 unleaded fuel ($2,338,969,444,444 worth at today’s horrendous prices) and take roughly 984,536,297 years to get there, provided you had a couple of other people with you to share the driving.

Remember: Stop. Revive. Survive.



As the lunch whistle sounds, the ASX 200 is lurking around 1.1% higher, thanks to tough performances in Materials (+1.53%), Energy (+1.14%) and the cumbersome and influential Financials (+1.09%) sectors.

The only laggard this morning is the Utilities sector, failing spectacularly to live up to its name, dropping 0.42% as the morning wore on.

It’s the middleweights down to flyweights doing all the heavy lifting today – there’s nary a billion dollar baby to be seen in either the winners or losers charts today.

So we’ll move straight on to what’s happening overseas. Huzzah!



The sentiment on Wall Street was bullish throughout the session last night, ahead of the release of US CPI figures (due sometime this evening, local time).

Earlybird Eddy Sunarto reports that the Nasdaq has notched up its fourth consecutive days of gains as bond yields pulled back ahead of the report.

“Right now might be the calm before the inflation storm as we are not seeing major positioning ahead of this US CPI report,” said OANDA analyst, Edward Moya.

The Dow added 0.80%,  the S&P climbed 1.28% and the Nasdaq jumped 1.76%.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, however, as airline stocks got battered when flights across the US were grounded for a couple of hours, following a key failure of the FAA’s pilot notification system.

The FAA issued a statement at the time, say it was “experiencing an outage that is impacting the update of NOTAMS. All flights are unable to be released at this time.”

The NOTAMS system is essential for safety as it provides pilots with real-time flight hazards and restrictions.  United Airlines and other airlines announced they are temporarily delaying all domestic flights until they learn more from the FAA.

And following Goldman Sach’s decision to lay off 3,200 staff, Blackrock has said it will make 500 staff, or 2.5% of its workforce, redundant.

“The uncertainty around us makes it more important than ever that we stay ahead of changes in the market and focus on delivering for our clients,” Larry Fink, Blackrock CEO, told Bloomberg.

Tesla meanwhile is close to sealing a deal to open a manufacturing facility for its EVs in Indonesia. The factory is expected to produce as many as 1 million vehicles a year.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei has trickled -0.08% in early trade, as investors turned to far more important matter: trying to figure out WTAF is going on in this promotional video for the city of Kagoshima.



You’re welcome to email me your theory on what whoever made this is trying to tell us – best answer wins absolutely nothing.

Meanwhile in China, locals are reportedly furious after a well-known egg tart outlet was busted selling plastic pastries instead of real ones… for the third time.

Apparently staff at Andrew’s Eggtart, have repeatedly been having trouble telling their fake tarts, used as display pieces in the front window to attract customers, from the real ones, continuing the long and glorious history of counterfeit food in China.

Shanghai markets are 0.20% despite the controversy, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng has taken EggTartGate in its stride, climbing 0.90% in early trade.

There’s lots happening in crypto – including a massive surge mid-morning that has completely derailed my workday and pushed me well over deadline, but also saw the entire crypto market cap smash through the $900 billion market cap milestone this morning.

You can get all the details, plus some other crypto news, over at Mooners and Shakers… authorship of which will soon be passed back to Rob “Hurry Back Please, Mate” Badman, significantly lowering my blood pressure in the process.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for January 12 [intraday]:

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In Small Caps news, Norwest Minerals has gone gangbusters this morning, flying more than 50% higher after releasing the results from its maiden 33-hole drilling program at its Bali copper project.

“The RC drilling targeted four priority prospects, with many of the holes returning wide copper intercepts grading ≥ 0.2% with 16 individual metres assaying ≥ 3% copper and the highest being 11.2% Copper,” Norwest says, with results shaping up as follows:

  • 52m @ 1.4% Cu from 0m inc. 12m @ 4.4% Cu from 4m in BRC001
  • 17m @ 0.5% Cu from 3m inc. 1m @ 3.7% Cu from 5m in BRC018
  • 13m @ 0.8% Cu from 21m and 17m @ 0.9% Cu from 39m in BRC022
  • 11m @ 1.0% Cu from 17m and 15m @ 0.6% Cu from 32m in BRC033
  • 29m @ 0.7% Cu from 4m inc. 1m @ 5.0% Cu from 28m in BRC025
  • 15m @ 1.0% Cu from 10m inc. 3m @ 3.0% Cu from 13m in BRC027

At the time of writing, some of the excitement around those results appears to have subsided, with Norwest’s climb easing to around +42.0%.

There’s a host of micro-mini cap Materials sector players posting high percentages on thin volume this morning – as you can see in the chart above – but beyond those, natural skin and hair care product maker BWX (ASX:BWX) has stacked on some all-natural value this morning.

BWX is up 17.5% on no fresh news, as it climbs back out of the hole it found itself in following reinstatement to quotation shortly before Christmas.

And rounding out the Top Three Worth Talking About this morning, Euro Manganese (ASX:EMN) is trading about 12% higher this morning on news that its entered into an offtake term sheet with Verkor, a French low-carbon battery manufacturer based in Grenoble, for the sale of high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) from the EMN’s Chvaletice Manganese Project in the Czech Republic.

Deliveries are to commence from first production, expected to be in 2027, for an initial tenure of eight years with potential for renewal, subject to successful qualification of the EMN’s HPMSM from the Chvaletice Demonstration Plant in Verkor’s supply chain.



Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for January 12 [intraday]:

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

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