Good morning everyone, and welcome to 04 January, 2024 – a notorious date on the calendar, as it was on this day in 1903 that a bunch of people electrocuted an elephant at Coney Island in New York.

The elephant’s name was Topsy, and there are a variety of theories doing the rounds as to precisely why she was condemned to die horribly – the leading theory being that it was all part of the Great Current War that had been raging between Nicolai Tesla and Thomas Edison.

Edison was on hand to film Topsy’s death, part of his ongoing battle to prove how lethal Tesla’s alternating current invention was – and this was just one of many such demonstrations that Edison had committed to film, because he was quite clearly a monstrous arsehole in many, many ways.

However, one dissenting opinion comes from Michael Daly, the author of Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison.

Daly argues that it was part of a series of one-upmanship performances by PT Barnum, who was engaged in his own long-running battle with other circus promoters to be the pre-eminent carny in the United States.

Either way, Topsy the elephant was zapped to death in front of a curious crowd of onlookers, and people are still wringing their hands and clutching their pearls about it.

But what a lot of people don’t know is that Topsy was condemned to death for killing a man called Fielding Blount in an unfortunate incident that took place in nearby Brooklyn.

The wildest part of the story is that Topsy was originally sentenced to be hanged for the crime of murder – but the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stepped in to put a stop to it, before agreeing that getting plugged directly into the mains was a far better way for the murderous pachyderm to go.

And so it was that Topsy met a gruesome end on this day in 1903, paving the way for hundreds of other American murderers to meet a similarly electrified end for decades to come.

But that’s neither here nor there for us this morning, because we’ve got far more interesting things for you to be reading about on the site this morning.

That includes Rob Badman’s insensitively-named High Voltage reporttoo soon, Rob… too soon – and Nadine McGrath’s look at which Aussie stocks got shorted big time over the last month of 2023.

Also, down below, there’s all the data and digits that the number nerds seem to love, because Rise and Shine just wouldn’t be the same without it.

 

COMMODITY/FOREX/CRYPTO MARKET PRICES

Gold: US$2,065.31 (+0.31%)

Silver: US$23.66 (+0.06%)

Nickel (3mth): US$16,337.00/t (-0.23%)

Copper (3mth): US$8,440.33/t (-0.41%)

Oil (WTI): US$70.04 (-0.5%)

Oil (Brent): US$75.84 (-0.05%)

Iron 62pc Fe: US$144.50/t (+1.40%)

AUD/USD: 0.6765 (+0.00%)

Bitcoin: US$45,253.90 (+0.63%)

 

WHAT GOT YOU TALKING

Rob Badman has blown the cobwebs off his favourite Coinhead costume for this chat with Aussie Binance supremo, Ben Rose. Here’s what he had to say. (Ben, that is… not Rob.)

 

 

YESTERDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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

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Yesterday’s Small Caps highlights were:

The Small Caps winners for the day included Pan Asia Metals (ASX:PAM), which is continuing to surge on yesterday’s news that it has put pen to formal papers to acquire 100% interest in the massive Tama Atacama Chilean lithium brine asset, which comprises some 1,200km2 of “Tier 1” ground.

PAM had been eyeing off full control of Tama Atacama for good reason – the project is one of the largest lithium brine projects in South America, representing roughly 13% of the highly prized Pampa del Tamarugal Basin in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

It also boasts super high-grade lithium in surface assays up to 2,200ppm Li, averaging 700ppm Li extending over 160km north to south – so, naturally, everyone’s a bit excited about the new deal.

Meanwhile, Viridis Mining and Minerals (ASX:VMM) was making waves on news that a third set of assays from Viridis Mining and Minerals’ Colossus REE project in Brazil, have returned an average grade of 3,002ppm TREO across 113 drill holes.

Colossus is starting to stack up as a world-class REE project, and those assays make perfect sense when you consider that it lies within Brazil’s pro-mining state of Minas Gerais and directly adjacent to Meteoric Resources’ (ASX:MEI) Caldeira project.

MEI’s Caldeira has a monster existing resource of 409Mt @ 2,626 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides (TREO) – the highest grade for any Ionic Adsorption Clay (IAC) project known.

Aside from those two, the winner’s list early in the day was dominated by a number of little companies moving sharply despite the absence of fresh news, including Genetic Technologies (ASX:GTG), NickelX (ASX:NKL) and Taruga Minerals (ASX:TAR).

Later in the day, it was a safe bet that something’s afoot at Cufe this week, after a news-less 35% surge throughout the session ended with the company calling a pause in trading a bit over an hour before the market closed.

Orion Equities (ASX:OEQ) also lifted late in the day, after announcing that its subsidiary CXM Pty Ltd stands to pocket about $5 million in a royalty payment from Miracle Iron Holdings, after Miracle moved to acquire the Paulsens East Iron Ore Project located in the Pilbara, Western Australia from Strike Resources (ASX:SRK).

Strike was, naturally, also up nicely, banking a better-than 26% boost for the session.

 

YESTERDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

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TRADING HALTS

You’re not going to believe this, but there were no Trading Halts called yesterday.

But tune in tomorrow, because I’ll happily wager there’s going to be more than a couple before the market closes on Thursday arvo.