Local markets are often to a decent start this morning, tracking Wall Street higher as debt ceiling fears (and possible rate hike wobbles) receded into the distance. For now, anyway.

The ASX 200 jumped 0.3% at open, rising to +0.45% by lunchtime. Noice.

But before I get into all that, there news from Japan, where a stunning environmental breakthrough was recently announced by brewing giant Asahi – the same mob that just shelled out umpteen billion trillion yen to buy Blackmores.

I should note at this point that by “stunning environmental breakthrough”, I mean “outrageous example of poorly-executed corporate greenwashing”, because Asahi’s all excited about tearing the covers off (drumroll, please…) vending machines that actually absorb CO2 from the environment.

I know, right? Amazing Stuff.

The company has been shopping the story around all over town, making all sorts of claims about how great it will be for the environment, and how it will strengthen the population’s drive towards “decarbonising the future”.

Or something like that… I’m not 100% sure because, honestly, I stopped reading pretty much the moment that I twigged (top-shelf pun, that one…) that the miniscule quantity of CO2 each machine is capable of ingesting is about the same as the annual absorption of 20 mature Japanese cedar trees.

Stack that up against the following bits of highly compelling information:

  1. Asahi (globally) makes and sells about 130 litres of beer every second of every day, according to the company’s own sales material.
  2. There are 86,400 seconds in a day, according to the Laws of the Universe.
  3. Making 1 litre of beer produces ~1500g of CO2e, because Chemistry is Fun!
  4. 1500g CO2e x 130 (litres per second) x 86,400 (seconds per day) x 365 (days per year) = 6,149,520,000 kilograms of CO2e produced by Asahi every year, just to make beer.

Given that a mature tree will absorb maybe 20kg of CO2e per year, Asahi is probaby going to need to cover the entire surface of the planet in vending machines to offset its beer production footprint.

But I guess the 30 planet-saving vending machines the company is installing in venues around Japan are a start, right?



Local markets lifted by 0.45% this morning, tracking Wall Street higher for reasons I’ll get to in a minute.

Looking out at the sectors, strong performances by InfoTech (+1.93%) and Financials (+1.7%) are driving the morning’s gains, while Utilities sagged -0.5%, and Energy and Industrials are pretty much dead-calm.

It’s probably worth mentioning here that gold stocks have retreated this morning, with teh ASX All Ords Gold index down by 1.31%.

Up the top end of town, Australia and New Zealand’s largest equity-based insurance broker network AUB Group (ASX:AUB) is up 7.1% this morning after the successful completion of a placement of 6.25 million shares at $24 per share to raise $150 million.

And if anyone can explain to me how $1.98 billion market cap healthcare company Summerset (ASX:SNZ) can be up 6.5% on a total volume of $6,696 please feel free to shoot me an email, because I am 100% stumped.

(That’s not difficult to do, by the way…)



In the US overnight, proof that US debt ceiling negotiations have gone pretty well was delivered when President Joe Biden took off for Japan to attend the G7 meeting.

That led major indexes on Wall Street higher on hopes that the debt ceiling crisis would be resolved as early as this weekend, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy saying talks with Biden on Wednesday had “set the the stage to carry on further conversations.”

Wall Street traders believe lawmakers will ultimately reach a deal, but Treasury will need to scramble to replenish its dwindling cash by issuing huge amounts of Treasury bills, which the Bank of America said would have the same impact as a 25bp rate hike.

Between that and a massive quantity of economic data due out in the coming days, there are rumours building that the US Fed might take a month off from its usual gathering, skipping the huddle slated for 13-14 June to give it time to digest the new info (and, presumably) to see what happens when the money-presses get dialled up to 11.

Overnight, the S&P 500 finished the day up by 0.94%, the Dow Jones by 0.34%, and tech-heavy Nasdaq by 0.34%, Earlybird Eddy Sunarto reports.

Netflix surged 9% after saying its recently launched ad-supported tier had reached 5 million active users per month.

Walmart lifted 1% after reporting Q1 earnings and revenue that beat estimates, and upgrading its full year earnings per share forecast range.

Alibaba shares traded on the NYSE fell 5.5% after reporting mixed results for the quarter. Alibaba also announced that it will be exploring an IPO for its logistics and grocery arms, and a spinoff for its US$12 billion cloud business.

FAANG stocks Netflix, Apple, Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft, and Nvidia all finished higher to their highest levels in a year.

In Japan, the Nikkei is up just over 1% this morning, and I think I’m done writing about Japan for the day – so I’ll move on to China, where Shanghai markets are flatter than Planet Earth at a Global Idiot Convention, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.91% in early trade.

And over in Crypto Corner, BTC has dipped back below US$27k again, ahead of the big Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami, where officials are bracing for unprecedented levels of pungency as the smells of New Money, Fancy Cologne and Crypto Enthusiast battle it out for supremacy.

Rob “I’ve already showered this week” Badman has all the details over at Mooners & Shakers, because he’s quite famously reliable like that.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for May 19 [intraday]:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin


It’s a bit of a slow news day among the Small Caps this morning, with chart toppers hire-to-retire work-life cycle platform WRKR (ASX:WRK) up 47.37%, and Australian Potash (ASX:APC) up 33.3%, both on no news.

Moving for an appreciable reason, however, is Pan Asia Metals (ASX:PAM), up 25% this morning on news of the company signing a Non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with VinES Energy Solutions Joint Stock Company (VinES), to conduct a joint Feasibility Study for a standalone Lithium Conversion Facility in an industrial zone in Vietnam, close to a VinES battery plant.

Kingsland Minerals (ASX:KNG) is continuing its recent run of good form, up 13.5% this morning on no fresh news as well. Ho hum.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for May 19 [intraday]:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin