ASX Small Caps Lunch Wrap: Who’s up for having their balls smashed for science today?
The ASX has enjoyed a positive start to the day, climbing 0.6% when the doors flew open for business at 10am, before easing to around +0.3% by the end of the early session.
It’s all down to good news out of the InfoTech and Industrials sectors, and – surprisingly – a positive result from the Energy sector, because based on today’s news lead, we’ve got some grim news for folks who like to dig coal out of the ground.
That’s because scientists at the excitingly-named National Ignition Laboratory claimed to have run the first ever energy-positive nuclear fission test.
Nuclear fusion is the messy, dirty one that blows up sometimes causing widespread destruction and children born with 19 kidneys but no toes. Fission is the ‘good’ one, which (we assume) only causes miniature supernovas that spawn new galaxies when things go horribly wrong, which are perfect for decorating your child’s bedroom or giving your bathroom a makeover, by replacing your bog with a black hole. #InterdimensionalPoop
Anyhow – that an energy-positive test has been successful is, undeniably, huge if true – because the boffins at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California said, according to the Financial Times (a normally quite reputable publication), that they have essentially used a massive laser beam to make a tiny little sun.
This is something that they’ve been able to do for quite some time already, but the difference this time round is that the team used 2.1MJ of energy to start the thing up, which then pumped out 2.5MJ of energy – a net gain of 0.4MJ.
Now, that might sound like a lot, but it’s really, really not. An average 70kg man uses about 7MJ of energy per day, just doing stuff like going to work, raging on Twitter about how no one will date him and shouting at the telly when the news is on. You know… normal stuff.
For those of you more familiar with the energy usage metric of kilowatt hours – the one the energy company helpfully puts on your bill to distract you while they pick your pockets clean – 0.4MJ works out to about 0.1kWh, which is almost enough to make a cup of tea, provided you’re not factoring in the energy used to keep the milk from going off beforehand.
The process is deceptively simple, but the actual explanation is hugely scientific and hard to understand – so here it is in layman’s terms, with an experiment that you might be able to perform at home, provided you don’t mind going to prison for quite a long time.
For this, you will need 1 x adult human male, an extremely large cigarette lighter, and a pair of high quality heat-proof gloves. Eye protection goggles are optional, but recommended.
To start the reaction, simply heat the test subject’s two testicles up until they pass ~100 million degrees Celsius, and then – using your heat proof gloves, smoosh them together as violently as you can.
As the two testicles merge into one, far more dense testicle, the scrotum will become substantially larger and heavier, and vast amounts of energy in the form of swearing, screaming and possible physical violence will be emitted by your human test subject.
For a marginally more scientific approach, simply swap out the testicles for two small atoms and repeat the process outlined above.
Now that you know how it works, the implications of fusion energy can’t be ignored. Long considered a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream (alongside things like perpetual motion machines and a rational WA government), fusion energy could well be the way forward for an unlimited supply of energy, without the leftovers we get from our current power generating projects, such as CO2 emissions, spent nuclear fuel rods and – we’re told – literally billions of dead birds piling up at the foot of wind turbines.
As with a lot of science stuff, the current technology limits the size of the experiment to things that are at the “pretty much useless” end of the scale – so the next challenges are to refine the process so that it’s self-sustaining, and then figure out where we’re going to keep the new sun that we’ve made, because the one we’ve already got seems pretty happy where it is.
Speaking of high energy (oh my goodness, what a segue… I think someone deserves a raise), let’s take a look at what the Aussie markets have been up to today.
Kicking things off for this Tuesday, as we head into the lunch break, the ASX 200 benchmark is up by around 0.6%, after leaping to that level when the bell went this morning, before easing and climbing again.
Overall, it’s almost a direct inverse of where we were at, this time yesterday – there’s a bunch of sectors doing quite well, and only a couple moping about with a case of the Tuesday Grumpies, like they’ve “been out dancing” all weekend and their serotonin levels have crashed completely.
Leading things into Happy Land this morning, though, are InfoTech (+1.75%) and Industrials (+1.65%), with Financials (+1.55%) rounding out the Top Three for now.
However, the Materials sector is out on strike again today, phoning in a less-than-stellar -0.56% for the morning, while Health Care is threatening to flatline at a paltry -0.06% so far today.
Up the pricy end of the spectrum, Bendigo Bank (ASX:BEN) is in the news and up 7.1% after releasing a trading update this morning that is chockers with heartwarming stuff, like unaudited cash earnings (after tax) year-to-date of approximately $245m, up 22% on PCP.
(That’s the ‘prior corresponding period’ PCP, just so we’re clear – we’re not suggesting that everyone at Bendigo Bank is out of their minds on a powerful hallucinogen. At least, not all at the same time, anyway…).
Bendigo’s also built up its loan book 5.2% over the last 12 months, and has flagged its own forecast of expected further interest rate rises in FY23 to a terminal cash rate of between 3.5% and 4.0%. Great for the bank, not so great for the rest of us.
Also rising this morning is Brainchip Holdings (ASX:BRN), which has climbed 6.43% on news that product testing among several groups of shambling undead have identified the two most profitable flavours (“Freshly Cracked Head” and “Sun Dried”) the company will bring to market, when the zombie apocalypse really gets going in April or March of next year.
Time, perhaps, to look overseas – to see what the markets are doing, and possibly to find somewhere safe to hide before the zombies arrive, or someone from BrainChip gets mad and sends me a tersely-worded email.
Crossing first to the United States, where Wall St began its week in a positive mood as investors await the all-crucial Fed’s monetary decision. At the close of Monday, the S&P 500 was up by 1.43%, the Dow Jones by 1.58%, and Nasdaq by 1.26%, Eddy “Up Earlier than Everyone Esle” Eddy Sunarto reports.
While the Fed will be the headline act this week, there’s also an abundance of central bank meetings including the ECB, BoE, and SNB (Swiss National Bank), among others.
Not to mention some big-hitting economic releases like the US CPI on Tuesday (US time), which will lay the groundwork for the rate decision and, more importantly, the forecasts.
The market is expecting another inflation decline for November, with headline CPI estimated at 7.3% and core CPI at 6%.
“This week will set the scene for 2023, which in itself will no doubt have plenty of surprises in store, and hopefully leave everyone with a slightly better idea of how much worse things will get,” said OANDA analyst Craig Erlam.
To Asia now, and Japan’s Nikkei has started the day on a positive note, up 0.62% on news that a Japanese space startup launched a spacecraft to the moon on Sunday, aiming to deliver a rover to the lunar surface, and gather Nintendo toys to deliver to all the good little girls and boys at Christmas.
It’s actually a remarkable achievement for the private company, which – if successful – will mark the inevitable march towards The Moon becoming an enormous billboard for Coca Cola sometime in the next 20 years.
Elsewhere in Asia, the Hang Seng is up a reasonably cheerful 0.49%, however in Shanghai, the market’s so flat you could wrap it round a piece of delicious barbecued duck and serve it 1,100km away in Peking.
In crypto news, it’s all about the long arm of the law which is (allegedly) reaching into the business of Binance CEO C “CZ” Z, who Reuters says is about to feel the heat of the US Department of Justice.
Binance has since said ‘lol. No.’ to that suggestion, claiming that Reuters has it all wrong, because – you know – it’s Reuters.
Reuters has it wrong again.
Now they’re attacking our incredible law enforcement team. A team that we’re incredibly proud of – they’ve made crypto more secure for all of us.
Here’s the full statement we sent the reporter and a blog about our remarkable law enforcement team.
— Binance (@binance) December 12, 2022
Give it a few days, and someone’s going to have egg on their face (betcha $10 it’s not Reuters.)
Also, mop-topped MegaWonk Sam Bankman-Fried has finally been arrested, after he spent the past couple of weeks since his FTX empire collapsed appearing on as many podcasts as he possibly could to patiently explain to listeners how egregiously he broke as many laws as humanly possible, while protesting his innocence.
You can get all those details over at Rob “Lock Him Up!” Badman’s Mooners & Shakers.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for December 13 [intraday]:
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There are a couple of decent winners among the small caps this morning, most notably Doctor Care Anywhere (ASX:DOC), which has climbed 35.2% this morning on news it’s received a hot cash injection in the form of a £10 million ($18.2 million) guaranteed loan from AXA PPP Healthcare Group in the UK accessible as a series of three payments as required.
“AXA is Doctor Care Anywhere’s major partner and its primary source of revenue, and has provided DCA with strong support over time. Today’s announcement is further evidence of its belief in the Doctor Care Anywhere service as an important benefit to its members,” DOC chairman Richard Dammery said.
“The agreements announced today obviously increase DCA’s dependence on AXA, and enhance AXA’s rights in relation to the company, but they also ensure that the company can continue to develop innovative healthcare pathways into 2023 and beyond.”
Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for December 13 [intraday]:
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