The ASX has fallen this morning, following a mixed bag on Wall Street after US manufacturing took a hit that was big enough to knock inflationary easing off the top spot in the headlines.

And speaking of taking hits, a story from far-flung Mongolia today has put a new spin on one of the most glorious hypothetical questions ever posed: Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized dinosaurs, or 1 dinosaur-sized duck?

Because according to researchers, whatever nightmares you had about prehistoric times are about to get tons worse, thanks to Natovenator polydontus – a new species of dinosaur that will 100% be appearing in a horror movie near you.

The feisty little biter is – essentially – a duck-sized version of the velociraptors that helped soil millions of pairs of undies in the Jurassic Park film series, with the added undies-packing ability to swim.

Hence the name, which translates to “swimming hunter with many teeth” – the kind of moniker you’d expect on a shark, except that these guys have legs, so you wouldn’t even be safe on the beach.

Luckily, though, the fossil that the researchers have based the announcement on suggests that it mostly likely survived on a diet of fish – but that’s probably only because “backpackers who don’t understand the ocean very well” hadn’t been invented yet.

Still, what a fascinating time it would have been to be alive in, for the entire 10 seconds that a human would have been able to survive.

 

TO MARKETS

Aussie markets opened lower today, slumping as low as -0.7% down before rallying on the way to lunch.

Despite an urgent telehealth appointment that saw Telcos and Health Care boosted by 0.80% and 0.78% respectively, the market’s symptoms of low Energy (-1.80%) and a lack of in-home care options (Real Estate -1.54%) all point to a clear-cut case of financial depression.

We probably just need to eat better and do some exercise… maybe catch up with some friends over the weekend, and we’ll feel better by Monday. Maybe.

There aren’t any Billion Dollar Babies in the winner’s circle today, but Charter Hall Group (ASX:CHC) is most definitely on the other side of the ledger this morning, down 3.55% on no immediate news, but probs just along for the ride as the Real Estate sector slides this morning.

Likewise seemingly being taken down by broader sector sell-offs are Stanmore (ASX:SMR) and Genesis Energy (ASX:GNE), down around 4.3% each, again on no particular market-moving news.

The big news among the big players, though, is that the The War for Warrego (ASX:WGO) looks like it’s going to be a very bloody affair, after Kerry Stokes’ Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) lobbed a 25¢ a share offer into the fray, in an attempt to trump an unexpected 23c offer from Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting.

Both of the combatants are not short of a quid, so this could turn into something of a spectacle – and the idea of a Super-Heavyweight moneyfight is always a juicy prospect.

Meanwhile, Warrego must be entirely delighted by all this, because the board had already recommended Beach’s original offer at 20c a share, so everything from here on in is essentially gravy. #ThickAndRich.

Let’s take a quick look overseas… before I say something we’re all going to regret.

 

NOT THE ASX

In the US, the good news is that inflation seems to be easing. Earlybird Eddy Sunarto reports that the PCE index (the one the Fed likes to pin its decisions on) grew by just 5% from a year ago, confirming the recent trend of weakening price increases.

However, that news was slightly overshadowed by a dip in US manufacturing data, which set Wall Street on a collision course with indecision, and the result was a mixed bag by the end of play last night.

The S&P 500 fell by 0.1%, the Dow Jones by 0.54%, but the Nasdaq rose 0.13% – the latter lifted by Atlassian (+6.5%) and Netflix (+4%).

Salesforce, however, took a gut-punch on news that recently-installed co-CEO Bret Taylor has decided to jump ship, which was not a popular decision according to investors, with the company taking a 10% dive when it was announced.

In Japan, the Nikkei has slumped 1.54% despite news that authorities in Saitama Prefecture have arrested a local man who, it seems, had something of an issue with the local police.

According to reports, the man called his local police station 2,060 times between 30 September and 8 October, to yell at the cops for being “big stupid arseholes” and “tax thieves”.

That works out to an average of one call every seven minutes over the nine-day campaign, and totalled 27 hours of time on the phone. No one does dedication like the Japanese.

Meanwhile, in China, there are more than a billion people assuming the brace position ahead of the government releasing new Covid guidelines, in the wake of massively disruptive protests around the country.

The markets in the region are doing their best to not get noticed, opening slightly lower this morning – but not by too much, because the last thing they need is draw attention to themselves.

The Hang Seng is down 0.26% and Shanghai is lower by 0.09% in very early trade.

In Crypto, things are “probably needs to eat more fibre” sluggish, with BTC and ETH both dipping overnight and the US has gone Red Alert on signalling it wants to step in and regulate crypto (again) in the wake of the FTX detonation.

As always (well… for today, anyway…), Gregor “The Shameless Self-Promoter” Stronach has all the details over at Mooners & Shakers.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for December 2 [intraday]:

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There’s nobody headed for the Moon this morning, but there’s still plenty to cheer about for Mayfield Childcare (ASX:MFD), which has shot up 27.4% after announcing that it’s received an unsolicited, indicative, conditional and non-binding proposal from Genius Education Holdings for an outright purchase at $1.28 cash per share.

Mayfield says it’s been swatting away potential beaus for a while now, but the offer from Genius “represented the highest offer price from the Proposals received and had the least conditions attached to completion”.

“As such, the Mayfield Board determined that, given the current share price and market conditions, it is in the best interests of Mayfield shareholders to allow Genius to proceed with its due diligence investigations and for the Board to engage further with Genius on an exclusive basis to progress the Genius Proposal,” the company says.

Prior to the announcement, Mayfield was at $0.965 – so the Genius play is at a significant premium. At least, it was – Mayfield’s at $1.24 already so far since the announcement was made.

Also making waves this morning (outside of the Penny Dreadfuls) is Dubber (ASX:DUB), which has had a difficult time of things of late, including some disastrous financial reporting that saw more than $18 million in revenue effectively written off in October, sending its price into the gutter.

However, Dubber announced a couple of days ago that Ernst & Young will be taking care of the company’s auditing from here on in – which might have been decided independent of the October cashtastrophe – but it’s got investors back on board to the tune of a 19.4%.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for December 2 [intraday]:

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