Local markets opened marginally higher this morning, climbing steadily through 0.5% (and still rising), in the absence of a lead-in from Wall Street, because they were all enjoying the Juneteenth long weekend and didn’t have to show up for work.

I’ll get to all that in a moment, but first we’re taking a quick trip to the United States, where a couple of people have been a little busy dealing with a surprisingly large number of coins.

Our first story is a tale of revenge that took a hilariously satisfying turn, after an employee’s efforts to get their former boss to deliver a final pay cheque they were owed resulted in the funds being hand-delivered.

Andreas Flaten, a mechanic from Peachtree City, Georgia, told local media that his former boss Miles Walker was withholding his final paycheque, a total of US$915 he was owed that Walker was refusing to pay.

So, he called the US Department of Labor, a move that evidently caused his former boss an undue level of angst – but it did get the ball rolling on the payment.

Walker reportedly coughed up the cash, paying Flaten’s $915 by dumping more than 90,000 copper pennies on his driveway, covering them in oil and dropping a payslip with a single expletive written on it on top, like a rude little cherry.

Obviously, this was a less-than-ideal situation for Flaten, who said he was left with no choice but to get back on the phone with the Department of Labor again – who kicked off a very thorough investigation into Walker’s business.

The end result: Walker’s on the hook for more than $39,934 in back wages and liquidated damages to nine employees, including Flaten.

Even the pennies were able to find a new home, after Flaten was helped out by a Washington-based coin-cashing business called Coinstar, which sent a truck round to his house to pick up the coins, handing the former worker $1,000 in folding money for his troubles.

That company would no doubt be in line for a considerable quantity of business for the subject of our second little story today – a thief who broke into a truck and took off with US$100,000 worth of dimes (US$0.10 coins).

According to police in Philadelphia, a truck driver picked up a load of dimes from the US mint – $750,000 worth, to be precise – which were supposed to be delivered to Florida.

However, not wanting to drive through the night, the truckie parked his rig up outside a local Walmart and buggered off home for the night.

Using bolt cutters, the obviously-in-the-know thief broke into the trailer and presumably spent hours unloading $100,000 worth of the coins – which, for those of you too lazy to run the maths, is at least 1 million coins.

Because I like doing basic maths (it’s the only kind of maths that I’m capable of), it pleases me greatly to inform you that the thief made off with 2.3 tonnes of coins from the heist.

Which itself raises more questions than I’ve got time to try to answer, but $100k is $100k, so whoever pinched it is probably feeling pretty happy with themselves, even if they probably did destroy the getaway car’s suspension trying to haul the coins away.



Local markets are up 0.43% at lunchtime, operating entirely free of the usual constraints that come with having whatever Wall Street got up to overnight, because they were all on holidays yesterday, the lucky sods.

And so, left to our own devices, everyone kicked the day off with a smile and a whistle – and up the ASX 200 benchmark went.

The gains this morning are being led by Energy stocks, with that sector climbing nicely by 1.2%, despite slight falls in commodity prices overnight.

Crude oil prices were down by 1.5% as Saudi Arabia’s oil exports slumped to 7.32 million barrels per day in April, the lowest level in five months, and coal prices edged lower by 0.1% as well.

However, massive Energy player Woodside (ASX:WDS) has posted a 1.46% gain this morning on news of an eye-wateringly massive US$7.2 billion investment in the high-quality Trion resource in Mexico.

Despite the massive money-drop, Woodside says it’s crunched the numbers and expects the whole lot to be paid back in about four years, through the development of the estimated 479 MMboe of Best Estimate (2C) Contingent Resource (100%) of oil and gas at the project.

Real Estate is also doing well (+1.06%), along with Financials (+0.62%) and Materials (+0.61%).

Meanwhile, Health Care has fallen back below zero again, dropping 0.15% this morning while Industrials are also down 0.29% before lunch.

Up the Lamborghini end of town, 1970s pop sensation Leo Lithium (ASX:LLL) is (sorry…. was) up 9.3% this morning, after Apple licensed his signature tune “Recharge My Love For You” to market some overpriced but ultimately useless piece of tech that millions of people will probably buy because “Apple”.

Between writing that and this story being published, LLL’s price has crashed 8.3% in an hour… I’ll look into that and let you know in Closing Bell this afternoon.



Wall Street was closed, so for something to put in here, I have to turn to European markets for news.

Sadly, it’s not been all sunshine and rainbows on the fancy side of the Atlantic, with the Stoxx 50 closing 0.74% lower, the UK FTSE down by 0.71% and French CAC retreating by 1.01%.

Analysts are suggesting that’s most likely due to a perceived delay in the Chinese stimulus package that loads of people are talking about but China has neither confirmed nor denied.

It’s also probably why most Asian markets are lower this morning, with China’s Shanghai markets 0.3% lower, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 1.11% as well.

In Japan, the Nikkei is 0.6% lower, as investors are too busy reeling from the latest abomination to emerge from local adult beverage giant Suntory – a “premium highball” featuring the normally epically tasty Hakushu single malt.

For some brains-pankingly terrible reason, Suntory has decided that this increasingly hard to find single malt might be more enjoyable if they mixed it with soda water and sold it in a can – because nothing quite says “Premium” like watering down a single malt to the point of near extinction and putting it in a tin.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for June 20 [intraday]:

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In Small Caps this morning, Brightstar Resources (ASX:BTR) is leading the race to be Best Little Guy of the Day, up 30% this morning after announcing that its journey to becoming the nation’s newest gold producer is one large step closer to completion.

BTR says that mining personnel and equipment supplied by its partner BML Ventures will be mobilising in late July to its Menzies project in WA, marking the kick-off of production with an expected 30,000t of ore at a head grade of more than 6 grams per tonne (g/t) gold from within the Selkirk open pit mine in August.

Koonenberry Gold (ASX:KNB) has managed to climb 25.8% on razor-thin volume and no news, but that’s been outdone by one of the more unusual Small Caps on the ASX called Shekel Brainweigh (ASX:SBW).

Shekel Brainweigh, which “aims to improve everyday life, by providing smart weighing-based systems, shifting data to valuable information to support customer needs” is up 25% on a total volume of one solitary dollar.

Make of that what you will, because I for one have no idea what it’s all about.

Making much more sense is Southern Cross Media (ASX:SXL), up 23% this morning on news that ARN Media (ASX:A1N) has bought a 14.8% stake in the company, for a cool $38.3 million equity position which ARN says is an “attractive value for ARN Media’s shareholders”.

The 14.8% stake falls just short of the 15% stake threshold that would push ARN in breach of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, which covers the number of media outlets a company is allowed to control in Australia.

And lastly, Xanadu Mining (ASX:XAM) is continuing its mysterious climb, up another 22.2% this morning in spite of a Please Explain from the ASX.

The company’s issued no material news since 07 June, but has told the ASX that it is in continuous receipt of assay results from its Kharmagtai copper-gold project in Mongolia.

“We confirm there are no specific results requiring immediate release due to their material nature,” the company said.

“Xanadu will continue to disclose assay results on a regular basis and in logical groupings to explain how its projects are evolving and improving. Our next such announcement is expected to take place within 1-2 weeks.”



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for June 20 [intraday]:

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