Aussie markets have tumbled again this morning, sinking 1.89% because someone (Trevor…) left the front doors open and all the money blew away.

Either that, or there’s another banking crisis on the way, and everybody’s settled in for a prolonged bout of quiet desperation in the hope that someone, somewhere, knows how to fix it.

We’d love to ask a US expert, but our go to guy appears to be a little bit busy.

In a quiet part of the CNBC Multiverse, Jim Cramer – once described as “the most successful investor in US history who is also a gargoyle” (by me, just now) – has fired up his Twitter-Twatter Machine to post some fantastic photos of himself with superhunk Ryan Reynolds.

I have many questions, starting with “why would you post this?”

 

 

It’s a photo of Ryan Reynolds with a confused old man he found wandering in the middle of a busy Californian freeway, who – when appearing with the movie star at a press conference to talk about this incident – is distressed to learn that he’s forgotten to wear his pee-proof adult nappies, while Reynolds laughs himself sick like the absolute monster he is.

Just kidding. These follow-up images, however, paint a much clearer picture.

 

 

The truth is that Jim Cramer is not a willing participant in this photoshoot. As you can see, Ryan Reynolds has quite obviously broken at least one of Cramer’s legs to force him to pose for the camera with him.

That’s not a smile on Cramer’s face – it’s a gruesome rictus of agony and despair.

Oh wait… that is actually a smile, and Cramer’s just a bow-legged old bastard who should probably get some citrus on board, before that scurvy or rickets or whatever the hell is wrong with him gets any worse.

I do know that he’s at least trying to up his vitamin C intake, thanks to all the lime (I assume) he’s been ingesting while working on getting his own signature line of mezcal off the ground.

That’s right… Jim Cramer has his own line of hardcore liquor, called Fósforo – possibly named for the curiously high phosphorous levels that make it The Most Combustible Mezcal on the Market™.

It puts him in good company with Ryan “Have I mentioned Aviator F$@king Gin in the past 30 seconds?” Reynolds.

Perhaps the pair of them can mix their alcoholic abominations together, douse the NYSE in the result, and burn the whole thing to the ground so we can skip to the fun part of living in a post-apocalyptic world.

The one where we all drive around in stupid gas-guzzling cars and fight over petrol like the utter bleeding morons that future us are doomed to be.

Because this slow march into oblivion is really getting tedious and exhausting.

Speaking of which…

 

TO MARKETS

Australian markets have plunged again today, and boy howdy am I getting tired of writing that phrase.

The benchmark fell 1.9% at open, and within the hour was down by 2.2% – but by lunchtime, it was back at -1.5%, with the Energy sector lined up for yet another turn in the barrel, losing 3.99% – and there are some Big Names on the list of solid losers.

Stanmore (ASX:SMR) is down 5.9%, New Hope (ASX:NHC) is down 4.0%, Worley (ASX:WOR) is down 5.6%, Woodside (ASX:WDS) is down 3.5% – you get the picture – all against the backdrop of plunging crude prices, which were smashed (again), down by around 5% overnight.

Materials is taking a thumping today as well, down more than 2.5% by lunchtime, with InfoTech (-1.61%) and Financials (-1.59%) lower.

Health Care is up 0.54% though, most likely through sheer demand for services while every investor in the country gets on the phone to 000, complaining of chest pains, nausea and severe intestinal distress.

As expected when there’s a crisis looming, investors have rushed into gold, with the ASX All Ordinaries Gold index up 1.84% so far today.

For a taste of the lengths investors are prepared to go to to get into gold when things are grim, Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) is up 3.13% today, after – get this – announcing that its Ernest Henry operation had to be evacuated because of flooding, and won’t be operational for more than a month.

Of course, the panic’s not our fault – it rarely is, I’m told – so let’s take a squiz at who we’re gonna pin the blame on this time…

 

NOT THE ASX

In the US, everyone is losing their minds, because it really does feel like we’re standing on the edge of a cliff here, while American regulators frantically start yanking on all the levers at their disposal in the hope that one of them might be the brakes.

Spoiler alert: there aren’t many levers left to yank, the handle’s come off the one marked “interest rates” and I betcha a lazy pineapple that Jerome Powell is seriously considering retirement right about now.

Today’s round of The Jitters and The Squitters is proudly sponsored by Credit Suisse, the eurobank that has been gasping like an anti-vaxxer on life support for months.

It’s a complicated story, but in a nutshell: Credit Suisse is not exactly flush with cash at the moment, but most people thought “nah, she’s apples” because its major shareholder is Saudi Arabia.

Overnight, a lot of people sussed out that as deep as those oil-soaked Saudi pockets are, it can’t tip any more money in because it owns 9.9% of a bank that it’s only allowed to own 10% of.

… that *squirt* you just heard was the sound of a lot of people sh-tting themselves, all at once.

But there is some bright (and breaking! Look at me go!) news: Credit Suisse is set to borrow AUD$87.38 billion from the Swiss National Bank, which means drinks are on them today.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P finished 0.7% lower, the Dow fell 0.87% and the Nasdaq was flat – but fear is well and truly driving the market there.

The US PPI (Producer Price Index) inflation data dropped overnight, and at 4.6%, it’s substantially lower than the expected 5.4%.

Between that and flat CPI data from earlier in the week, it could be argued that maybe – just maybe – the US Fed’s rate hike bonanza might actually pay off.

Pity about the banking collapse, though… but you can’t win ‘em all, right?

Investor Danny “The Big Short” Moses, who is known for successfully betting against the housing market before its 2008 implosion, reckons that bank failures are just starting, reports Eddy Sunarto this morning.

“You can’t assume that the regulators have any idea what they’re actually dealing with now, considering that they were completely caught off guard… by what just happened at Silicon Valley Bank,” Moses told CNBC. “That should make people nervous.”

And, in the interests of Fair And Balanced Journalism, the real real reason Cramer had his photo taken with Ryan Reynolds is because the Hollywood Hunk owned an “undisclosed, but significant” stake in budget US Telco Mint Mobile, which has just inked a deal that will see T-Moble (the T is for Awful) buy the whole shebang for about AUD$2 billion, making the Deadpool star richer than God, or thereabouts.

In Japan, things are grim as well – so grim, in fact, that the BOJ is doing its very best to stand completely still in the hope that the monster known locally as リッチを食べます won’t see them, break open their heads and feast on the goo inside.

The Nikkei is down 0.77%, but the Topix has slumped 1.62%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng is down 1.75% while, at the time of writing, Shanghai hasn’t opened – and if I were them, I’d probably just stay in bed. Much safer there.

In crypto, where uncertainty is essentially meat and potatoes to investors, concerns over banks and such have got more than a few pretend money enthusiasts feeling pretty chipper.

But that sentiment is mostly contained to the “BTC was always meant to be a decentralised alternative this sort of madness” crowd, and those guys are clearly nuts.

Rob “I’m clearly nuts” Badman has more detail on that over at the always-amazing Mooners and Shakers.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for March 16 [intraday]:

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Moving on to the relative sanity of the Small Caps market, and Dynamic Metals (ASX:DYM) has been richly rewarded by investors on news that it drilled some holes in the ground and found a bunch of important stuff at its Kambalda nickel ore deposit model at Dordie Far West, part of the Widgiemooltha project.

Hole WDR002 returned a 15m intersection grading 1.86% nickel from a down-hole depth of just 27m including 6m at 2.4% nickel while WDR003 struck two zones of 15m at 1.11% nickel from 30m and 12m at 1.58% nickel from 48m including 3m at 2% nickel.

Notably, the thick widths and high-grade tenor encountered compare favourably with historical drilling by Mincor Resources in the late 2000s, which returned results such as 8m at 1.3% nickel from 26m and 2m at 1.9% nickel from 26m.

By lunchtime, DYM was up 60.1%, which is awesome.

A few smaller companies are posting nice gains on limited volume, including GWR (ASX:GWR), which has added another 16% to this week’s run on the back of solid progress at its C3 high grade iron ore deposit.

Fresh news from Ballymore Resources (ASX:BMR) sees it trading 17.8% higher, after the company announced assay results from its Dittmer gold project, near Proserpine in North Queensland.

The assays include intercepts of 3.5m @ 8.89g/t Au & 2.7g/t Ag including 2.75m @ 11.24g/t Au & 3.4g/t Ag, and 0.55m @ 48.82g/t Au & 14.4g/t Ag.

And lastly, Atlantic Lithium (ASX:A11) has continued its recovery after being hit with accusations of bribery and corruption in connection with its lithium play in Ghana a week ago.

Atlantic is up 12.5% today – but its working partner Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL), which was the main subject of those accusations, is not faring so well. It’s down 4.2% this morning, despite encouraging news that it has produced its first saleable, commercial grade lithium concentrate at its North American Lithium operation in Québec, Canada.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for March 16 [intraday]:

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