ASX Small Caps Lunch Wrap: Who’s having trust issues with financial advisers today?
Local markets are off to a flying start this morning, with the benchmark climbing 0.8% early on before easing to +0.56%, clearly invigorated after a quiet weekend at home, snuggled up with its family and possibly making plans to maybe go skiing this winter, if it can wrangle a few days off once the snow season starts.
Or possibly because Wall Street closed around 0.8% higher on Friday. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one’s most likely.
But first, to the murky world of Financial Advisers, an industry which has come under some pretty serious scrutiny in recent years, leading to the release of Michelle Levy’s Quality of Advice Review (QAR) Final Report to the federal government just before Christmas last year.
The report, which was spawned by the 2017 Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, contained some 22 recommendations and is currently the subject of parliamentary debate, because certain sections of our government representatives are currently pushing for (you guessed it…) deregulation of the industry.
This is all of little-to-no comfort for anyone whose had a financial adviser rob them blind – which happens alarmingly often – but possibly some comfort to a group of students from James Cook University, who have decided to launch legal action against the university.
It turns out that the Bachelor of Commerce (Financial Advising) degree that “dozens” of students had been studying towards contained a fundamental course which wasn’t accredited – making it entirely useless for getting a job in that industry upon graduation.
Two of the students – Sam Boon and the improbably-named Blade Stark – have appeared on A Current Affair to air their complaints, because that’s the logical place to go public with these sorts of allegations, where they’ll be happily sandwiched between stories about dodgy plumbers rorting the dole system, and celebrities endorsing weight loss products so potent that they have caused several people to literally disappear.
The university has responded by arguing that while it did (allegedly) advertise the Financial Advising course as accredited when it actually wasn’t, it’s since had it accredited (years after the students started their studies), so everything’s (allegedly) fine.
There’s a lesson in there somewhere about fudging important paperwork – which is just the thing for any budding young financial adviser to learn. Allegedly.
Speaking of which, it’s time to take a look at what the local markets are doing, before I manage to wrack up an alarming number of lawsuits myself…
Early gains for the benchmark this morning were outpacing the ASX 200 May futures contract was pointing up by 0.75%, hitting 0.8% at open before doing its best to hold onto what is likely to be an unfamiliar sense of momentum, following a pretty dismal time last week.
The gains eased a little throughout the morning, leaving the benchmark at a comfy +0.56% by the time the tradies who are digging up the gutters outside my place for a record-breaking fifth time this year downed tools for midday smoko, the noisy pricks.
Oh, how I pray for it to rain every weekday for the rest of the year… otherwise I’ll have to actually go into the office.
A quick look at the sectors has most of them well into the green today, with Energy stocks enjoying a long-overdue pump at +1.4%, just ahead of Health Care (+1.37%) and Utilities (+1.36%).
InfoTech is giving up a sliver of its recent gains, down by 0.18% this morning, while Materials is second worst on -0.05%.
At the top end of town, $15 billion Health Care giant ResMed (ASX:RMD) is up 6.2% off the back of its quarterly results reporting, which saw the company claim a revenue increae of 29% to $1,116.9 million, up 31% on a constant currency basis.
For those of you playing at home, a “constant currency basis” is a way of measuring year-on-year performance without including fluctuations of various currency values – I looked that up so that you didn’t have to, so… you’re welcome.
Resmed also dropped its FORM 10Q this morning – a 46-page monster with more numbers in it than the Yellow Pages – which probably has some detail in it that’s helping to drive the company’s price up today.
But, seriously… 46 pages? Nope. You’re on your own with that one.
Wall Street finished its week on a high note, after a mixed round of economic data locked expectations for the Fed to deliver just one more rate hike this week, Earlybird Eddy reports.
The Fed Reserve’s favoured measure of inflation, the PCE, slowed substantially to 4.6% (from 5.1% the previous month), but was still higher than the consensus forecast of 4.5%, which Eddy writes “provides relief to the US central bank as it mulls another rate hike, with the market now comfortably pricing in a 25bp rate hike for the May 3 meeting”.
Elsewhere in US finance, it looks like it’s going to be JPMorgan Chase stepping up to take its turn sticking its finger in the dike, after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FIDC) called for bids for the flailing First Republic Bank, and JP tossed in an offer.
In case you’d missed the news, First Republic has suffered a catastrophic loss of market cap in a matter of days, and is currently down 97% (Not a typo. That’s ninety seven percent).
So, with a value of just $US650 million, the lender is ripe for a simple buyout, rather than the drawn-out auction process that took place after Silicon Valley Bank and the other one I can’t remember right now failed in March.
Meanwhile, oil giant ExxonMobil has reported a doubling in profits for the first three months of this year.
The US energy firm said “cost-cutting measures” contributed to its record US$11.4bn profit in Q1, up from US$5.5bn a year earlier.
Surprisingly, “price-gouging measures” didn’t warrant a mention at all. Go figure.
In Japan, the Nikkei has risen 0.7%, a muted effort caused by the deeply baffling news that Idol pop supergroup AKB48 (pronounced A.K.B. Forty-Eight) is set to abolish the “team system” under which it has been operating for more than two decades.
AKB48 is currently made up of five individual “teams” – Team A, Team K, etc etc – with each team having a “captain” at the helm, who leads their team’s segments of every performance of the group.
There are currently 85 members of the group, and here they are in all of their highly-bewildering Japanese glory…
For some obscure reason, that team structure is set to be abandoned, as revealed by Team A captain Mion Mukaichi, who also holds the position of “General Manager” of AKB48, during a concert on Saturday.
The group will continue to operate, with the number of performers on stage at the group’s permanent theatre (I know, right?) in Tokyo set to be doubled from 8 to 16, after each of the five teams holds a “sayonara concert”.
Meanwhile, the same four chumps are still in Coldplay. What a time to be alive.
In China, Shanghai has climbed 1.14% because it is unburned by an unnecessarily complex pop music industry, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng is up just 0.27%.
In CryptoLand, meme coin $PEPE – based on (but not necessarily officially connected to) a frog character created by cartoonist/animator Matt Furie, is surging again, up a memetastic 69%, according to Rob “… nice.” Badman.
You can read all about it, and some other riveting stuff, in this morning’s Mooners & Shakers.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for May 1 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
In Small Caps, this morning’s winner is Alliance Nickel (ASX:AXN), which has spiked 26.2% (easing from larger earlier 30%+ gains) after the company revealed that it has signed a binding offtake and share subscription agreement with carmaker Stellantis relating to future offtake from the NiWest nickel cobalt project in WA.
The deal is for ~40% of future production for an initial 5-year term, and will see the car maker also subscribe for $15m worth of shares at $0.18 per share, giving it a 11.5% stake in the company.
Next best (for the moment – I reckon it’ll be in top spot by the end of the day) is WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1), up… hold on.
Okay – in the time it took me to write that sentence, WA1 has risen to top of the leaderboard on +33.5%, after the company released the first assay results from the 2023 drilling program at the 100% owned West Arunta Project in Western Australia.
The results are from the first three of the Luni carbonatite drillholes, and they’re pretty bloody good, revealing “significant high-grade niobium mineralisation” including:
At the time of writing, the gains today for WA1 have it showing a 990.91% gain over the past 12 months – apparently not a record, but still massively impressive.
And last one to register on the radar for this morning is Lithium Energy (ASX:LEL), up 22.4% on news that initial assays show that it’s hit outstanding lithium brine concentrations of up to 508 mg/L across massive intersections of up to ~400m in two holes at its Solaroz lithium project.
LEL says final brine depth is yet to be reached in both holes, but initial results show Hole 4 highlights to date include a massive total of 401.5 metres of conductive brines across the upper and lower aquifer with assays returning up to 508mg/L lithium.
Meanwhile, Hole 5 highlights to date include a significant total of 369.5 metres of conductive brines across the upper and lower aquifers with assays returning up to 479mg/L lithium.
Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for May 1 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort: