Good morning everyone, and welcome to 1 February, 2024 – a day of utmost importance to fans of the English language, as it was on this day in 1884 that the first portion of what would become the venerated Oxford English Dictionary was published.

The initial fascicle was a weighty 352 pages, and covered every conceivable word that existed in English that fell between “A” and “ant” – but as important as it was, it really didn’t gain all that much traction in the marketplace.

It might have been the cumbersome, overly flowery original title of the tome, A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society that proved to be a barrier to entry.

Or it might simply have been that readers, who were already familiar with purchasing their books piecemeal and putting them together later, cottoned on to the plot quite quickly and denounced the publication as ‘lacking clear narrative arc’ and ‘completely and alphabetically predictable’.

Or, it could also have been because the vast majority of people in 1884 couldn’t read to save their lives, and had about as much use for a dictionary as a dog has for a trombone.

Whatever the cause of the woeful performance, it wasn’t a trend that would continue. Rebadged as the now familiar Oxford English Dictionary, it went on to become an essential part of any burgeoning library, and then a must-have among schoolchildren when smaller, more portable versions that could fit in a schoolbag were slapped together.

I fondly remember whiling away idle classroom hours, scouring my own copy for potentially rude words – and then, once discovered, I would shout them out at the top of my lungs, much to the disdain of a certain Mr Parsons, my first high school English teacher.

For the most part, he was a lovely old gent – but pushed beyond breaking point by my overly-dramatic expletives, I learned the hard way that he had a particular love for the cruellest punishment imaginable for an ADHD-addled 12-year-old boy.

Parsons would nominate two numbers between 50 and 200 – the more outrageous the crime, the further apart those two numbers would be.

They represented the start and finish page of his favoured lunchtime detention activity, and I can still hear his words ringing in my ears, nearly 40 years later.

“Page 70 to page 105 – I want you to take a red pen, and colour in every instance of the letter ‘O’ that appears on every one of those pages… and so help me, Stronach, if I find any you’ve missed, I will take great delight in thrashing you senseless in front of the whole class in the morning.”

That threat turned out to be an empty one, though – just minutes into the task, I happened upon the word “Fart”, screamed it as loud as I possibly could… and I feared Parsons, now purple-faced with apopleptic rage, was going to burst several blood vessels in his head as his mouth formed silent words while he struggled to figure out what horrible names to call me.

20 seconds later, and he was in desperate need of a lie down in the teacher’s lounge, and I – screaming “F#$K!” at an ear-splitting volume, as it was the next dirty word I could find – saw an opportunity to make my escape, so I did.

They really were some of the best days of my life.

Hopefully, today is set to be one of the best days of yours, and to help you on your quest to accumulate obscene quantities of wealth while barely breaking a sweat, the Stockhead team has put together some genuinely awesome stories.

They include Eddy Sunarto’s wrap of which health stocks went big and which ones went home in January, and whatever general madness Christian Edwards has turned his considerable talents and lamentably short attention span towards overnight.

Plus, there’s the usual line up of facts, figures and fantasy below to help you wrap your noggin around the state of the market before it opens today.

 

COMMODITY/FOREX/CRYPTO MARKET PRICES

Gold: US$2,033.96 (-0.15%)

Silver: US$23.06 (-0.65%)

Nickel (3mth): US$16,126.00/t (-0.96%)

Copper (3mth): US$8,461.50/t (+0.49%)

Oil (WTI): US$77.61 (-0.24%)

Oil (Brent): US$82.64 (-0.13%)

Iron 62pc Fe: US$136.00/t (-1.81%)

AUD/USD: 0.6566 (-0.43%)

Bitcoin: US$42,986.30 (+0.10%)

 

WHAT GOT YOU TALKING

The team got hot’n’steamy with Steam Resources MD Josh Puckridge, who says that the time is definitely right for geothermal energy to be front and centre in future-proofing Australia.

 

YESTERDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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Yesterday’s Small Cap Winners included:

Yesterday’s Small Caps winners list had Mako Gold (ASX:MKG) at the top of the ladder, after posting an activities report and balance sheets to the market that investors decided was all really good news.

The short version is that things are progressing well for the company, particularly at its flagship Napié Gold Project in Côte d’Ivoire, where low-cost exploration work is continuing.

Meanwhile, the company has progressed its due diligence ahead of a proposed accretive transaction with Goldridge, that would see Mako consolidate its holdings and create a district scale gold play in the area.

There were, as always it seems, a couple of small caps making big moves for mysterious reasons – and that included both Iris Metals (ASX:IR1) (+22.7%) and Cleo Diagnostics (ASX:COV) (+21.4%), with neither of them having fresh news to pin it on.

Delorean (ASX:DEL) made headway after the company handed in its report card for the quarter, with news that its focus on project delivery is enabling it to “return to growth and profitability” – plus, it’s got close to $5 million smackers in the bank, and investors like that kind of thing a lot.

And last but not least, game makers Playside Studios (ASX:PLY) has reported record quarterly revenue of $20.7 million, a 106% jump on PCP, and well ahead of the prior quarterly total of $15.5 million.

The company also reported a record Original IP revenue of $11.1 million, +245% against the same period last year, and a 41% jump to another record, this time in Work for Hire revenue totalling $9.6 million.

Investors were mashing their controllers as fast as their crusty old thumbs could manage, and Playside was up 20% before lunch.

ActivePort Group (ASX:ATV) rose on the back of a solid quarterly, which reported the company had managed to boost revenue from operations by 7% to $3.73 million from Q1, and is boasting positive operating cashflow up $1.30 million, after the company accepted its R&D refund for FY23, taking net cash and equivalents up in the quarter from $1.66 million at the end of Q1 to $2.58 million at the end of Q2.

 

YESTERDAY’S ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

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TRADING HALTS

Imricor Medical Systems (ASX:IMR) – pending an announcement in relation to a proposed capital raising.

Conrad Asia Energy (ASX:CRD) – pending an announcement to the market in relation to a capital raising.

Vertex Minerals (ASX:VTX) – pending release of an announcement by the Company in relation to a proposed capital raising.

Singular Health Group (ASX:SHG) – pending an announcement in respect of a material purchase order received.

Centrex Metals (ASX:CXM) – ending the release of an announcement regarding a capital raising.