Good morning everyone, and welcome to 09 January, 2024 – an important date in the history of optometry, as it was on this day in 1493 that famed explorer Christopher Columbus saw “three mermaids” in the waters off the coast of the Dominican Republic.

So excited was the Italian, that he made a note of the sighting in his diary, although it was a rather muted entry as Columbus thought that the mermaids he’d spotted were “not half as beautiful as they are painted” – the earliest recorded example of a man having a strop over the fact that his Tinder date looks nothing at all like her profile pics.

That’s because they were almost definitely manatees, and not a cruel prank played by the gods to deposit naked ladies in the waters of the world to titillate sailors, but with half their good bits missing.

And even taking into account that mid-1400s beauty standards tended more toward the “Reubenesque”– tall, beardy and definitely not someone to get into a scrap with up the pub – Columbus’ disappointment at how unsexy the mermaids were will forever be amusing.

Just picture the range of emotions running across his face – excitement, then confusion, followed by outrage before settling into resigned disappointment – and suddenly Sebastiano del Piombo’s portrait of Columbus begins to make sense.

asx open Kali
Christopher Columbus, pictured here sad because of his tiny head, massive hands and inability to bed a manatee after six lonely months at sea.


However, the mystery of whether del Piombo’s sense of perspective was fundamentally broken, or if Columbus really did have gigantic hands (or that his head was genuinely just the size of a grape) remains.

Either way, 531 years ago – after six months at sea – the explorer’s soul-shattering disappointment at finally spotting actual mermaids and realising that they were too ugly to bonk was documented, and it’s still one of the funniest stories I know.

Speaking of great stories, the team here has been hard at work bringing you some fantastic Tales of ASX Wonder, including Eddy Sunarto’s deep dive into what the market’s analysts are saying, and Reuben’s look at Firefly, which – at this precise moment in time – remains shrouded in mystery from where I’m sitting.

Plus, down below, there’s all the data and digits that the number nerds seem to love, because Rise and Shine would be significantly quicker to write if they weren’t included, and around here we earn our handful of kauri shells each day.


Gold: US$2,027.91 (-0.86%)

Silver: US$23.09 (-0.27%)

Nickel (3mth): US$16,372/t (+1.92%)

Copper (3mth): US$8,463/t (-0.04%)

Oil (WTI): US$70.79 (-4.11%)

Oil (Brent): US$76.39 (-3.01%)

Iron 62pc Fe: US$140.87/t (-0.41%)

AUD/USD: 0.6712 (+0.02%)

Bitcoin: US$47,131 (+6.5%)


Who doesn’t love a good news story, especially one that involves shiny gold and a set of suspiciously luscious green lips?



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Culpeo Minerals (ASX:CPO) continued its climb on last week’s news of a decent-looking copper-gold porphyry rock-sampling report from its La Florida Prospect, in the Fortuna Project in Chile.

In fact, by the looks of things, almost the entire winners list yesterday was made up of companies being driven by external forces such as commodity prices, or their gains are simply carry-overs from newsworthy announcements that hit the market last week.

Nova Eye Medical (ASX:EYE) – which also had happy news out last week – was riding that momentum, with a helpful boost this morning from news that the company has managed to grow its US sales revenue up 65% to US$5.1 million for the six months ended 31 December 2023, compared to the same period last year.

And then, like magic at 12pm, Kali Metals (ASX:KM1) made its market debut, and finished its first session on the bourse with a 78% gain under its belt and, I’m guessing, no shortage of high-fives around the table in the boardroom.

By the time the Closing Bell rang, the rest of the afternoon’s success stories looked a lot like the morning’s – big moves on little news from the likes of Gladiator Resources (ASX:GLA), Yandal Resources (ASX:YRL), Matsa Resources (ASX:MAT) and BMG Resources (ASX:BMG), as investors went bananas piling into a swathe of junior goldies, despite the precious metal dipping 0.5% throughout the day.



Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Frugl Group (ASX:FGL) – pending an announcement in relation to the proposed acquisition of a South East Asian based technology business.

European Lithium (ASX:EUR) – pending an announcement in connection with an update on the Nasdaq merger transaction.