Local markets were supposed to open higher this morning, but – true to recent form – didn’t.

A slight dip to start the day, and a handful of wild swings saw the benchmark land at a piss poor +0.05%, which is hardly worth all the bother, really.

I’m not angry, just disappointed… and also a bit angry, because that’s just how I roll: Disappointingly angrily.

And speaking of getting angry, despite ongoing, desperate pleas from The Chief to “stop writing about Tesla, you idiot”… there’s news about Tesla. And, it’s not great.

(I’m not smirking. Honest.)

A whistleblower has reportedly dropped a 100 gigabyte (the most muscular, handsome kind of bytes) tranche of internal Tesla documents that don’t paint the company in a particularly pleasant light.

According to German website Handelsblatt – which does not, despite its name, sell “bathroom stability devices for ‘dodgy kebab’ enthusiasts” – the documents contain details of more than 1,000 accidents involving alleged technical failures, mostly centred around Tesla’s much-vaunted self driving and other automation features.

The site says “more than 2,400 self-acceleration complaints and more than 1,500 braking function problems, including 139 cases of unintentional emergency braking and 383 reported phantom stops resulting from false collision warnings”.

Which is, quite clearly, a lot. The total number of incident reports from Tesla owners is more than 3,000, dating from as far back as 2015, through to March 2022.

Now, the laundry list of public moaning from drivers complaining that “my Tesla crashed on its own”, “my Tesla robbed a bank and now I’m being charged with the crime” or “my neighbours think I’m a dickhead because I own a Tesla” is not really news.

The more interesting side of this yarn is the peek into the internal workings of the company, and how its processes for handling serious complaints are built.

According to Hasslehoff or whatever it’s called, the complaints resolution rubric appears to have a component that insists that employees basically do everything they can to not leave a paper trail.

“Each entry also contains a note in bold type that information, if at all, may only be passed on ‘VERBALLY to the customer’”, HäagenDazs says.

That doesn’t sound shady at all, right? …Right?

Just in case it’s not 100% clear, the instructions continue: “Do not copy and paste the report below into an email, text message, or leave it in a voicemail to the customer.”

It’s little wonder that Tesla’s corporate reputation has suffered what amounts to four kidney punches, a liver shot and several self-driven uppercuts in the past 12 months.

It’s not entirely clear how much further into the burning dumpster Tesla’s reputation could sink, but this latest round of info is pretty damning.

And, for what it’s worth, Hufflepuff did reach out to Tesla for comment… but, unfortunately, it looks like company policy prevented anyone from replying to the outlet’s emails.

Go figure.

 

TO MARKETS

The ASX is really struggling to build up a head of steam today, dipping 0.1% at open before bouncing around like a cordial-fuelled toddler, either side of break-even.

At lunch time, the needle was pointing to a maybe-okay-to-drive +0.05%, and showing some signs of continued improvement.

But – let’s be honest – it’s Friday afternoon, and after the week we’ve all had, I don’t see anyone’s enthusiasm lasting much beyond 2:00pm today.

As expected, InfoTech is cranking again, up 1.21% because everyone’s hungrier than a flock of squawking seagulls for chipmakers today, and the rest of the InfoTech sector is bulging along for the ride.

Consumer Discretionary (+0.48%) and Utilities (+0.45%) are also on the rise.

Weighing things down, however, are Real Estate (-0.75%), Consumer Staples (-0.58%) and HealthCare (-0.57%).

Up the top end of town, APM Human Services (ASX:APM) – purveyors of somewhat-useful assistance for anyone seeking meaningful, gainful employment – is up 6.8% after landing a five-year contract to provide “Functional Assessment Services” in Britain’s London, South-East and East Anglia regions.

 

NOT THE ASX

It was a far more pleasant session on Wall Street overnight, as US investors caught AI fever on the back of chipmaker Nvidia’s astronomically massive surge after the end of the previous days’ trade.

Wall Street rebounded from a fairly murky week, leaving the Nasdaq +1.7% higher, and the S&P 500 up +0.88%. The Dow, however, was still being a sulky little baby, all scared of the debt ceiling crisis, so it dropped 0.11%.

What a loser.

Nvidia’s surge has taken the company oh-so-close to the magic Trillion Dollar Baby mark, meaning the days of FAANG – which stands (I think) for “Fmeta, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Galphabet” – are set to be overtaken by a new, longer acronym MATANA.

That’s Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, Alphabet, Nvidia, and Amazon, picking up the chipmaker (because AI) and beleaguered (because AI) battery-operated car company, while ditching Meta (thanks to its CEO, Cyborg McGee, setting fire to enormous piles of Metaverse money) and Netflix (thanks to the crackdown on password sharing, and a global slowdown in Nazi Shark documentary production).

Meanwhile in Japan, the Nikkei has jumped 0.9% this morning, thanks to an idiot from the country’s nuclear plant.

An employee from Nikkei listed Tokyo Electric Power, which operates the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Japan’s Niigata prefecture, reportedly printed out a super-important 38-page document to take home, but drove out of the parking lot with the papers still on the roof of his car.

While the nuclear plant now has to remain closed for a while because of the security risks the documents pose, there is a bit of a silver lining to the incident.

The document outlined how the plant operators are supposed to deal with a major emergency stemming from a fires, or a flood – so now everyone knows what to do if the plant is inadvertently set on fire, or disappears beneath the waves.

I’m baffled as to how it could possibly take 38 pages to say “ドラゴンの翼の下で風のように走りますが、セクシーなタコの触手に注意してください”, though.

In China, Shanghai markets are down 0.51%, and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng has fallen 1.93%, and can’t get up.

In CryptoLand, the Nvidia-led tech boom on Wall Street was mutedly reflected with an itty-bitty ketamine-esque bump for Bitcoin – enough to help Digi-Dollar enthusiasts feel nice, but not enough to really turn into a party.

Rob “Contains No Artificial Colours or Intelligence” Badman has all the deets about what’s happening over at Mooners & Shakers.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for May 26 [intraday]:

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

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In Small Caps this morning, it was BLAZE Minerals’ (ASX:BLZ) turn to pack on a few kilos, up 120% on news that it has entered into a Heads of Agreement with Exiro Minerals to acquire 100% of the North Spirit lithium project in Ontario, Canada.

North Spirit is made up of 1,698 claims over roughly 340km2, located 30km along strike to the southeast from Frontier Lithium’s world class PAK and Spark lithium project, which is why everyone’s all excited about it.

Next best is WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1), back in the news again despite having no fresh news of its own. I can’t explain why, but it’s up 22% this morning, continuing its climb towards $5.00 per share.

For anyone keeping score, today’s rise puts WA1 up +2,616.67% over the past 12 months.

And in third place today, Ark Mines (ASX:AHK) is up 16.7% this morning, in what looks a little bit like a delayed reaction to the company’s news on Monday that the drills have started spinning at Sandy Mitchell, the company’s fully-owned advanced Rare Earths project in North Queensland.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for May 26 [intraday]:

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

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