ASX Small Caps Lunch Wrap: Whose manure-to-methane scheme turned out to be total BS this week?
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Local markets have hit lunchtime up 0.2%, after nudging +0.3% a couple of times since the action began.
Wall Street didn’t give us much to work with, though, so anyone expecting a repeat of yesterday’s ASX fireworks would do well to keep their powder dry, because investors have a stack of moving parts to consider this morning.
But before I dig into all that guff, there’s news out of Canberra that has no doubt sent chills down the spine of a few ne’er-do-wells, who might potentially be dudding Australia and Mother Earth by not keeping up with their environmental offset obligations.
Environment minister Tanya Plibersek has announced a full audit of 1,000 environmental offset sites, and she’s ready and raring to go handing out tickets to anyone whose tree-planting or frog-relocating isn’t up to code.
“I’ve been told of a carpark being built where trees were meant to be planted to provide habitat for threatened species, and of unauthorised clearing of a site that was not properly protected,” Plibersek said.
“Approval holders should consider themselves on notice – deliver on your obligations for nature, or face penalties.”
One fella who’s learning the hard way that governments around the world are taking fake enviro-credentials very seriously is 66-year-old Ray Brewer of Porterville, California.
Ol’ mate Ray’s staring into the eyes of a 6.5 year stretch, after his 5-year career of turning cow manure into marketable methane turned out to be – pardon the pun – complete bulls..t.
A California judge has found that Ray’s been bringing investors on board for years, bilking them out of a total of US$8.75 million along the way, after promising them that he had the perfect solution for generating methane from cow poop.
According to Ray’s sales pitch, his company was using microorganisms known as anaerobic digesters to “break down biodegradable material and turn it into methane” that can be sold and that also provide the producers with renewable energy credits for producing green energy.
Investors were promised 66% of net profits, coupled with government enviro-friendly tax incentives, if they bought into the scheme.
Of course, it all came unravelled when investors – some of whom had been taken on tours of dairies where Ray allegedly planned to build the digesters, and were told he’d already raised millions to do so – figured out that he was a lying sack of cowpats.
The court found that he “forged lease agreements with dairy owners, faked loan agreements with banks, phony contracts with multinational companies and bogus pictures of the machines under construction”, according to the Associated Press.
When investors asked for their money back, Ray doubled-down on bringing new ones on board, to cover the costs of returning some of the funds – and when the jig was clearly up, he changed his name and moved to a remote part of Montana… only to be found and arrested for fraud.
Local markets have given a giant golden middle finger to the ASX 200 Futures Index, which was refusing to commit this morning, so it’s been dumped in favour of some fresh, plump gains.
After a tiny hiccup when investors were spooked by the bell going off at the ASX this morning – you’d think they’d be used to it by now – the benchmark climbed as high a +0.3% this morning.
It did it twice, actually, which tells you what kind of morning we’re having – but it’s nice to be back in positive territory again. FeelsGoodMan.jpg.
The broader market’s being held back a little by base metal and iron ore prices falling overnight, and that’s because things aren’t going so well in China.
According to analysts from the CBA, industrial profits in China fell by 12.6% for the past 12 months to May, confirming suspicions that the Chinese economy is retreating faster than a pack of Parisian riot police.
The CBA says that the decrease in industrial profits from January to May of -18.8% for the year is reminiscent of the highly painful -19.3% per year backslide during the same period in 2020, when the government was too busy boarding people up in their homes to focus on buying goodies from deep within the Australian landscape.
There is a lotta data from the Great Australian Bean-counting Society (ABS) today that, if the headings on the reports are to be believed, sound like they might be important for investors.
I’ll be honest with you – it’s going to take me a while to make sense of any of it, so you’ll have to wait until Closing Bell for details on that.
Sector-wise on the ASX, InfoTech’s gone chasing its unattainable dreamgirl again, following Wall Street’s Nasdaq into positive territory and adding 1.6% this morning.
Next best – but very pedestrian by comparison – are Financials (+0.7%), Consumer Staples (+0.5%) and the Telcos (+0.5%).
Real Estate has given up a chunk of its gains from earlier in the week, falling 0.6% and Utilities is continuing to lose ground, down more than 1.0% as the looming Power Bill Apocalypse of 01 July rattles every Australian who enjoys being able to see things in their home after the sun goes down.
That said, uranium digger Energy Resources of Australia has put on a very solid 10.7% this morning on zero ASX news.
Perhaps investors are banking on nuclear power becoming a far more attractive option, once everyone’s utility bills jump by up to 40% in a few weeks’ time, and we all figure out that we’d rather glow in the dark and have money to spend on toilet paper, rather than getting aggressively mugged by gas farters and coal burners every time we put the kettle on.
Wall Street couldn’t get its story straight last night, barfing out a mixed bag of results despite our local markets showing them how it’s done during yesterday’s session.
The lacklustre display by investors in New York left the Dow lower by 0.22%, the S&P flat and the Nasdaq slightly higher on +0.27%, according to some loud-mouth know-it-all who looked those numbers up this morning.
Once again, it’s the cruise liner stocks that are featuring up the sharp end of the results table, with Carnival adding +8.88% and Norwegian Cruise Line steaming in right behind it on +7.5%.
That’s most likely down to the weather getting warmer as the US rolls bulbously towards its annual 4th of July Carnival of Gunfire, so the smart money is being as far away from land as possible before the whole thing kicks off.
That, alongside recent breakthroughs in anti-poop medicine – those on-ship buffets are basically just giant petri dishes with obviously ineffective sneeze guards on top – has travellers primed and ready to spend seven days at sea… four of them gripping the toilet bowl and praying for death.
Tech stocks were also doing well again in New York. There were no screaming barnstormers among them, but Lucid Motors led the table on a 5.2% gain off the back of its recent deal with Aston Martin to provide EV batteries and drivetrain tech.
And Sirius XM has climbed 4.3% on news that it’s set to shut down its popular Stitcher podcast app, to move customers and consumers over to its “official” SXM app instead.
European stocks were broadly positive overnight, with the FTSE up 0.5%, the DAX up 0.64% and the CAC higher by 0.98%.
In Japan, the Nikkei is up a surprisingly high 0.72%, as the nation deals with the shame of making a major faux pas at a G7 conference in the Japanese city of Nikko on the weekend.
The G7 Ministerial Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment included female participants from France, Germany, Italy, Canada (for some absurd reason), the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as the European Union.
The only fly in the ointment was host nation Japan, who sent along the obviously very male Masanobu Ogura, who was not just the only bloke on deck, but also there to chair the meeting.
Japan’s gender disparity issues are already widely-known – only 11.4% of executives in publicly listed Japanese companies are women, and the Japanese porn industry is still suffering a terrifying shortage of male participants.
Recent figures show that there are only about 70 male actors for every 10,000 women in the industry, which – now that I think about it – explains a lot of the highly questionable tentacle-related material that country insists on producing.
So… the answer to Japan’s gender equality fight is right there in those numbers: More porn in the boardrooms.
In China, Shanghai markets are glum, down 0.2% because the economy there is being stubbornly grouchy, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng has fallen 1.2% in early trade.
And in Crypto, the price of BTC is threatening to fall below that magic $30,000 mark, barely clinging on at $30,170 earlier this morning.
Rob “I couldn’t hold onto $30k if I tried” Badman has all the details over at Mooners and Shakers, despite staying up all night watching the cricket, like the Howard-esque tragic he is.
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for June 29 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
It’s happened a day later than I thought it was going to, but Western Yilgarn (ASX:WYX) is flying high this morning, up 75.5% on yesterday’s announcement that the company has conducted a “desktop review” on its recently-renamed Julimar West project, which has come up with some interesting nearological conclusions.
Chief among them is that the company is confident it’s caught a bit of the nearby Gonneville Intrusion that’s powering Chalice Mining’s (ASX: CHN) fabulous Julimar project, home to the 3Mt NiEq Gonneville Resource that put CHN on the map earlier this year.
Western Yilgarn is champing at the bit to get moving on the site, which it expects to get the greenlight on by the end of June 2023 (which is tomorrow…), after an FNA from the application area for its EL 70/5111 exploration application was removed.
EP&T Global (ASX:EPX) is showing a 57% gain this morning, but that’s on thin margin and no news for a month, so I’m marking the reason for that movement as “unusual, probably ghost-related” and leaving it there for someone braver than me to figure out.
Parkway Corporate (ASX:PWN) has seen a massive increase in volume – from a four-week average of 2.8 million to around 41 million today, driving a 27.7% gain despite nothing new on the ASX announcements list.
However, recent rumblings from Independent Investment Research (IIR) has flagged the company as a potential 50-bagger, saying its innovative tech for treatment of coal seam gas (CSG) brine could become best available technology with a solid financial uptick for shareholders.
And lastly, archTIS (ASX:AR9) has stacked on a 21.7% jump this morning, on news that it’s signed a $4.06 million deal with the Australian Department of Defence for software licences and services to conduct a proof of concept (PoC) to modernise their workplace environment.
ArchTIS specialises in providing “innovative software solutions for the secure collaboration of sensitive information” – so the deal looks set to do away with Australia’s vast network of heavily-armed carrier pigeons, which currently cost Australian taxpayers about $8.4 billion in statue-cleaning costs alone every year.
Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for June 29 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort: