Sport. It’s as Aussie as meat pies, Mad Max and cheap toys that are made in Vietnam that your kids choke on before you’re halfway out of the drive-thru lane… and it dominates our collective weekends, often whether we like it or not.

But, love it or hate it, sport highlights how human beings are highly competitive animals at heart, genetically predisposed to want nothing more than having more than the person next to us.

That, or being the best at something pointless – we’re really not sure which is the more apt metaphor here.

But if you’re like us and enjoyed some quality time away from the workstation this past weekend, there’s a solid chance you spent at least a portion of your weekend enjoying the spectacle of grown men of whatever flavour of footy you prefer, acting like a pack of pigs around a melon to ensure that football was – and shall always remain – the winner on the day.

Or, if you’re even more like us, there’s the possibility that you spent most of your weekend aimlessly flicking through the preponderance of streaming services you’re subscribed to, desperately searching for something – anything – to grab your interest long enough to give you an excuse not to venture outside at all.

Which is precisely how we accidentally stumbled upon a sport that manages to tick every box on a “WTF?!?” bingo card, while being the sporting equivalent of Kim Kardashian’s career – a stomach-churning blend of weirdly compelling and utterly horrifying that proves that we, as a species, are clearly doomed.

This testosterone-fuelled monument to profound stupidity is called Arm Boxing, and while it currently seems like it’s been contained to its home country Russia, there’s every chance it’s going to spread.

Like all great sports, the premise is very simple: Two men are chained to a table, their left hands are gaffer taped together, and they then pound each other in the head as ferociously as they can until one of them is no longer conscious.

If the spectacle of two rail-thin Russkis in a determined attempt to permanently disable each other while being unable to run away sounds like something you’re keen to see, here’s a video – which comes with the warning that it’s mildly confronting in a Punch’n’Judy kinda way, and is highly likely to make you dumber for having watched it.

The mere existence of Arm Boxing is not only an assault on the senses, but also a stark reminder that any evolution of combat sports is, in its very essence, precisely the same as a garlic and chilli-laden kebab.

Just because it might seem like a good idea at three in the morning with a gutful of vodka, it might not necessarily be an idea worth pursuing, unless you’ve got the stomach for it.

 

TO MARKETS

Australian markets had a strong open this morning, surging 32 points to 7,074 after Wall Street had a winner on Friday, and is looking like hitting lunchtime up around 0.5% for the morning.

InfoTech (+1.76%), Materials (+1.68%), Real Estate (+1.55%) and Consumer Discretionary (+1.16%) are all throwing haymakers while the sun shines (or however that saying goes) this morning, thanks to the boost from Wall Street and a few strong performances locally.

Financials (-0.48%) was the weakest performing sector this morning, with Energy (-0.28%) and Health Care (-0.10%) letting the claret flow this morning as well.

Among the heavyweights today, it’s Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) punching its way to an all-time high, up 10.8% this morning – and +81.0% for the month – following a positive exploration activities update this morning, which has “Find Lithium” at the top of the list.

Also punching on this morning is Pointsbet (ASX:PBH), which is on a see-saw upswing this morning, adding 7.0% to replace what it lost on Friday, which it had gained on Thursday to replace what it lost on Wednesday and you get the picture.

Reeling from a bit of a body blow this morning was Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), after the market took a disliking to its annual report that showed a substantial drop in production.

It’s time to see how things are going around the rest of the world, and then we can gossip about some Small Caps.

 

NOT THE ASX

Wall Street’s Fabulous Friday was in stark contrast to our own weak effort.

As Earlybird Eddy Sunarto reports, optimism is back in the US as investors grow more convinced the Fed can achieve a soft landing and the US economy can avoid a recession.

After a lower than expected headline CPI of 8.5% last week, there’s also a sense of relief now that inflation might have peaked in the US, leaving some to predict that the Fed might finally pivot its policy following back-to-back 75bp increases in the last two months.

Meanwhile, data released on Friday showed US consumer sentiment has risen to a three-month high on more optimistic expectations about the economy and personal finances.

The all-important VIX index, sometimes called the ‘fear index’, retreated back from the June highs to its long term average of 20 points. VIX indicates the level of implied volatility in options contracts, and measures the level of risk, fear, or stress in the market.

Asian markets are also performing well this morning, with the Nikkei leading the charge, adding 1.03%. Hong Kong has edged up 0.27% and Shanghai has squeaked out a sneaky 0.22%.

It can’t all be good news, on account of it being Monday and Mondays always make some people grumpy – for instance, every single major index over at the commodities desk.

Oil has dropped 0.68% and natural gas has slipped 1.64%, while gold inched down 0.18% and copper fell 0.98%. Only silver has managed to buck the downward trend, but it’s not by very much, adding a miniature 0.08% this morning.

In crypto, all the majors are having a bit of a strop today, with the exception of BTC, up 0.10% / 24hrs.

ETH (-1.05%), BNB (-2.25%), ADA (-2.06%), XRP (-0.72%) and SOL (-2.15%) are all down for the past 24 hours.

Biggest leap has been Shiba Inu, up 32.74% and the chunkiest slump belongs to NEXO (-5.91%).

For a far more in-depth look at how crypto’s performing this morning, check out Rob Badman’s Mooners & Shakers right here.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for August 15 [intraday]:

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Getting ready to claim the winner’s belt for the morning is a fresh-faced youngster, fighting out of Subiaco, Western Australia, Sarytogan Graphite (ASX:SGA), which has celebrated its one-month anniversary of listing on the ASX with some great results.

Sarytogan says drill results from its operation in Central Kazakhstan have exceeded expectations, returning thick high-grade graphite intercepts from the first 7 diamond drill holes from the Central Graphite Zone:

  • 62.0m @ 27.5% TGC from surface incl. 5.7m @ 40.1% TGC in ST-60
  • 30.5m @ 34.1% TGC from surface incl. 20.0m @ 36.0% TGC, and
    • 68.7m @ 27.5% TGC from 34.7m incl. 4.0m @ 39.0% TGC, and
    • 10.4m @ 17.5%TGC from 109.1m in ST-61
  • 77.5m @ 28.8% TGC from 5.2m incl. 4.0m @ 41.5%TGC in ST-63
  • 25.7m @ 28.1% TGC from 18.2m, and
    • 38.5m @ 31.7% TGC from 67.5m incl. 18.2m @ 41.0% TGC, and
    • 7.2m @ 19.9% TGC from 114.2m in ST-64
  • 7.3m @ 27.5% TGC from surface, and
    • 20.9m @ 16.5% TGC from 13.1 m, and
    • 20.5m @ 27.6% TGC from 59.5 incl. 7.5m @ 36.5% TGC in ST-66

This is obviously making investors happy, as they’ve piled in to push Sarytogan’s price up 30.0% since the bell rang this morning.

Meanwhile, Nearmap (ASX:NEA) has hit the market with a well-timed one-two combination, revealing a firm, fat financial position update alongside an equally fat buy-out offer from Thoma Bravo.

The offer on the table is for 100% of the shares in Nearmap for $2.10 cash per share, which represents an 83% premium to Nearmap’s closing price of $1.15 on Tuesday 5 July 2022 (the day the proposal arrived), and $0.59c per share higher than this morning’s price at open.

Predictably, Nearmap’s price has surged 27% so far to reach $1.91, so there’s probably still some climbing left to go before the dust settles.

Health minnow Artrya (ASX:RYA) has jumped 21.5% on low value volume and no news, and Ragusa Minerals (ASX:RAS) has regained its losses from Friday, adding 21.4% as we head towards our midday meal.

Leading the losses is Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals (ASX:PAR), which had been on an enormous positive run from $1.03 on 27 July to $2.14 on 09 August, before halting trade on 11 August.

It came out of its trading halt with a $66 million capital raise launch, and promptly fell 26.8%.

Investors have likewise turned their backs on Ozaurum Resources (ASX:OZM), whose long, slow descent from its 20 May high of $0.205 accelerated this morning, dropping 18.5% on no news.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for August 15 [intraday]:

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