There’s barely a person in the world who owns functional ears and isn’t aware of the ongoing, years-long horror that is The 12 Days of Christmas, an upbeat dirge that tells the story of a late 1700s simp who apparently didn’t get the memo about the $20 limit on gifts that year, and subsequently unloaded a barrage of impractical gifts on a woman he was trying very hard to impress.

Think this gormless idiot who dropped US$60,000 on an OnlyFans bimbo, except he’s not a creepy lovesick crypto-tragic… but more of a top hats and afternoon tea ‘may I have your daughter’s hand in marriage’ type of fella.

(Slight NSFW warning on that Twitter link, by the way…)

The point is, our 12 Days of Christmas guy spent a s..tload – mostly on birds – which of course has invited many comparisons over the years. But I wanted to know what it would have looked like if he’d applied his gift-giving logic to our beloved world of ASX Small Caps, and invested wisely on her behalf instead.

So… First of all, some ground rules. I am very well aware that the song “stacks” the gifts on a day-to-day basis, but I think it’s pretty clear that old mate wasn’t turning up each day with a new gift, plus another iteration of all of the previous days’ gifts.

So there’s to be no trickery around trying to figure out the total worth of 12 individual partridges plus accompanying pear trees. She gets one of each, and if she doesn’t like it, stiff s..t.

Also, it’s worth noting that the fella’s Christmas list is extremely bird-heavy – so it’s been necessary to draw a couple of unreasonably long bows. If you’re unhappy with the result, kindly refer to my previous comments about receiving only one of each gift.

Let’s begin…


“A partridge in a pear tree”

Leading out is the one everyone remembers, as it’s a clear reference to Tasfoods (ASX:TFL), which – just a week out from Christmas – announced that it had done its best to corner Tasmania’s tree-heavy chicken market with the purchase of “chicken broiler and breeder” (but not necessarily in that order, I assume… and pray) Redbank Poultry.


“Two Turtle Doves”

This one’s a bit of a stretch, but considering the idea that a turtledove is, effectively, some sort of hybrid avian with a hard, protective shell, it makes sense to surmise that AgTech pioneers Avecho (ASX:AVE) are the ones behind this hard-to-kill abomination. At least, I think that’s what the company does. I could be wrong, though… because I frequently make things up because I think they’re funny.


“Three French Hens”

Inghams (ASX:ING), step right up. Known throughout the land as purveyors of some of the best mechanically separated bird meat the Good Lord ever put breath into, of course that’s where the French Hens are gonna come from. As an aside, I went to a fancy Sydney high school with a kid called Ingham – good guy, solid rugby player, folks donated a lot of dead birds to the Latham House chook raffle every year, weirdly enough.


“Four Calling Birds”

Australia’s favourite “Calling Bird” is, without doubt, our world-famous cockatoo, so it’s off to the little-known Cockatoo Island off the Kimberley coast in WA, which is home to the always entertainingly mysterious Pearl Gull Iron (ASX:PLG) – a company that blips on my small caps radar every few months to remind me that it’s reportedly sitting on a bunch of iron ore, but hasn’t managed to glom onto a mate with a big enough boat to move it yet.


“Five Golden Rings” 

The ASX is riddled with goldies, some of which have turned out some enormous gains this year. Obviously, our lovelorn young paramour would want to be spreading the love as far and wide as possible, so let’s chalk each ring up to the five best performing goldies of the year… so let’s call it Besra Gold (ASX:BEZ), Strickland Metals (ASX:STK), Turaco Gold (ASX:TCG), Xanadu Mines (ASX:XAM), and Southern Cross Gold (ASX:SXG) – at least one of which is on the list because it reminds me of learning to rollerskate in the late 1970s.


“Six Geese a-Laying”

It’s not hard to happen upon more than the occasional goose hanging around the ASX, but given this the the “laying” kind of goose – as opposed to the “I’ll need a few more beers than that” kind – then this almost definitely refers to the most egg-related stock on the ASX… Enero Group (ASX:EGG). Baddum-tish.


“Seven Swans a-Swimming”

Day seven, and our boy is still well and truly stuck in bird-land – this time graduating from geese to swans, obviously casting a now-weary eye towards Perth, the spiritual home of the Australian Resources sector and home to more small caps than anyone could reasonably shake a stick at without hurting themselves. For help picking this stock, I turned to the owner of Stockhead’s steeliest gaze, Barry Fitzgerald, who most recently wrote about Ora Gold (ASX:OAU), so… they’re in the mix, too.

I dunno… swans, Perth? C’mon, throw me a fricken’ bone…


“Eight Maids a-Milking”

Here’s where we start to run into a bit of a legal grey area, because – during my research for this story I learned that it’s 100% not okay to buy actual people, even if they’re being used as gifts. That’s according to the Australian Tax Office, and the United Nations. So, in the absence of sinking funds into purchasing eight women, let’s do the next best thing, and buy a swag of Bubs Australia (ASX:BUB), in honour of the milkiest Aussies I know.


“Nine ladies dancing”

In the absence of any actual dancing ladies on the ASX (certain hard-drinking members of the unruly mob at this year’s Diggers conference notwithstanding), a search around the ASX turned up one prime candidate to meet this description… Balkan Mining and Minerals (ASX:BMM), because it’s currently (I hope) the owner of the Tango lithium project in Ontario, Canada, where all the cool kids are looking for lithium.


“10 Lords a-Leaping”

It was hard to nail this one down at first, but then I remembered a press release that landed on my desk earlier this month, that really put the “leap” into the notion of jumping before you get pushed. I don’t know the specifics of why, nor am I going to hazard a guess, but CEO Jimmie Wong’s abrupt departure from Credit Intelligence (ASX:CI1) (and all of its subsidiaries) on 14 December neatly negated the company’s need to hold an extraordinary general meeting to have him removed. The Lord leaps in mysterious ways.


“11 Pipers Piping”

When I think Pipes, I think of the ASX’s gassier members – and the one that immediately springs to mind is the confusingly-named Gold Hydrogen (ASX:GHY), which earns its spot on the Christmas list through the simple expediency of having had a bonkers time on the bourse this year.


“12 Drummers Drumming”

And so we reach the end of our lovesick spendthrift’s ASX shopping list, arriving at the noisiest of the entries. The only person I can think of off the top of my head that is even vaguely related to the ASX – and plays the drums – is former EML Payments (ASX:EML) CEO Tom Cragen, whose LinkedIn bio used to (quite famously) describe him as both a heavy metal fan, and a drummer. It also mentioned he knows Kung Fu, so I’m not going to say too much more, but he seems like a nice enough fella, so hopefully he’s unlikely to want to practice percussion on my face for this.


Here comes the maths

According to those wags over at PNC Financial Services, to buy the actual 12 Days of Christmas list would apparently set you back US$46,729.86 in 2023 money, which sounds like a lot until you remember that – technically – you’re going to end up trafficking at least 50 people, and that kinda caper is not cheap.

That works out to a nice, round $69,504.98 of our puny Australian dollars, which we’re going to have a crack at investing on behalf of the young lady we’re attempting to woo…

Of course, I have no idea what the future holds for any of the companies that made our 12 Days of Christmas list – so, I’m going to cheat and pretend that ol’ mate split the money up into 16 equal portions, and plonked it down on each of those companies at this point in 2022.

Has he banked a tidy sum with which to sweep her off her feet, or has he backed a pack of dogs that will see him in pauper jail by the time we’re all singing Auld Lang Syne?


The 12 Days of ASXmas stocks

Which was better… a bunch of shares or way too many birds?

Code Company Last YTD % Market Cap
ING Inghams Group 3.94 108% $1,464,417,628
GHY Gold Hydrogen 0.925 81% $70,913,296
SXG Southern Cross Gold 1.205 41% $108,517,026
EML EML Payments Ltd 0.825 20% $309,046,870
BEZ Besra Gold 0.135 8% $56,443,622
TCG Turaco Gold Limited 0.12 6% $70,464,000
STK Strickland Metals 0.083 4% $135,394,586
XAM Xanadu Mines Ltd 0.056 3% $95,245,958
PLG Pearl Gull Iron 0.037 1% $7,568,046
OAU Ora Gold Limited 0.006 0% $33,736,928
AVE Avecho Biotech Ltd 0.004 -1% $12,677,188
TFL Tasfoods Ltd 0.026 -2% $11,364,483
CI1 Credit Intelligence 0.185 -3% $16,288,364
BUB Bubs Aust Ltd 0.13 -17% $112,466,125
BMM Balkan Mining and Minerals 0.115 -22% $8,169,659
EGG Enero Group Ltd 1.53 -129% $139,997,428
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Based on that list, and our boy’s initial investment of $4,344 per company, it looks like he would have turned a half-decent profit, if he’d used his noodle (and a time machine) to drop his 12 Days of Christmas money into a portfolio, rather than covering that poor woman’s home in bird shit and bewildered slaves.

That $69,504.98 would have been worth a cool $86,886 and change – representing a solid 22.23% return on his investment, and all but guaranteeing he’d remain her “true love” for at least another month or two.

So… the moral of the story is that it’s far better to speculate on the market, than waste your time buying people and birds in order to impress a girl. The End.