Local markets are down this morning.
“How far down?” I hear you ask – well, let’s just say the markets downer than the nation’s sentiment around former opposition leader Alexander Downer when he ‘said the quiet bit out loud’ and made a domestic violence joke, in public, and tanked his political career.
The benchmark is around 1.2% lower, every sector’s in the red and pretty much the only rump of stocks making headway are the goldies today.
It’s enough to make a tired and grumpy old man say “meh” and want desperately to head back to bed.
But I won’t, because the inexorable hunger for human effort and words of a website like this never ends. It’s a machine. It needs no sleep, and it’s only true appetite is a cruel desire to mindlessly consume the time and energy of everyone around it.
I’m clearly in an excellent mood… perhaps I need to go fishing.
Anyway, as sour as my mood is this morning, it’s probably nowhere near as bad as a certain landscaper is feeling in North Carolina today, after news broke that he’s made a terrible blunder at work.
The landscaper, whose name hasn’t yet been released to the public, was working at a home in a small town called China Grove when he came across a Halloween decoration lying in the yard.
Not wanting to upset the homeowners, he mowed around the decoration, finished up for the day and went home.
A day or so later, with the decoration now in plain view thanks to the newly-mown lawns, somebody thought to call the police, who arrived to find the dead body of 34-year-old Robert Owens lying face down in the grass.
Usually this kind of story goes the other way round, after a befuddled neighbour calls the police because some hyper-realistic Halloween prop spooked them into believing that the nice people next door had gone on a wild killing spree.
It’s not exactly the happiest of news, I know, but it’s suitably creepy in the run-up to Halloween… so, by way of apology, here’s a little musical earworm that immediately sprang to mind the moment I saw the name of the town where this sad turn of events unfolded.
Ah, the Doobie Brothers… so terrible, they’re excellent – just like the ASX on days like today.
Things are in a bit of a sorry state on the ASX this morning, with the market down more than 1.2% around lunchtime and all of the market’s sector needles in the red to varying degrees.
Least-bad is the Telcos sector, hovering around the -0.5% mark, but broad selling across the spectrum of the ASX-listers has dragged the whole place down quite profoundly.
Real Estate, Financials and Materials in particular are dragging today, and it should come as no surprise that there’s a lone sliver of the market showing any positive signs.
That is, of course, the XGD All Ords Gold index, which is pointing 1.15% higher, like a radiant pimple of good news on a bottom so red, you’d swear it’s been freshly spanked.
Up the fancy end of town, there are a couple of heavy hitters making headway – and, again, it’s not really surprising that they’re both in the uranium game.
NOT THE ASX
In the US overnight the S&P 500 tumbled by -1.34%, the blue chips Dow Jones was down by -0.98%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq crashed by -1.62% – a fairly hefty round of sell-offs as investors were spooked by fears that the war in the Middle East is on the verge of turning into something completely catastrophic.
Iran – which is famously not exactly level-headed when it comes to outgoing political rhetoric – is making some very ominous noises about joining in with the fighting, slamming Israel for a deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital in recent days.
If Iran does get fully involved in the conflict, the risk of it becoming a hugely destructive regional conflict skyrockets, and would likely drag Syria, Iraq and Lebanon in as well.
It doesn’t take a huge amount of imagination to figure out what that scenario looks like, and Wall Street investors are behaving in the expected manner: dump things quickly, put your money into gold, and hide under the bed until this whole thing blows over.
In the short term, though, it’s sent 10-year US treasury yields surging by 6bp (pushing bond prices down), as traders scrambled for the safe haven of gold and cash, says Earlybird Eddy this morning.
In stocks news, Tesla was down -5% but rallied +1.5% after the bell despite reporting Q3 earnings of US66 cents per share, versus US73 cents expected. The company’s total operating margin came in at 7.6%, down significantly from the pcp’s figure of 17.2%.
Netflix jumped +12% after the bell after announcing it had added 8.76 million customers in the last quarter, the best growth in years. Netflix also said it was raising prices for some customers in the US, UK and France.
Meanwhile Morgan Stanley plunged -7%, the most since 2020, after sluggish performances from its investment bank and wealth management units.
United Airlines also slipped -10% after saying flights to Tel Aviv could be suspended through October or even through year-end.
Giant lithium miner Albemarle was also down -10% after getting a downgrade from BofA analysts to ‘underperform’ due to concerns about the outlook for the lithium market.
In Japan, the Nikkei is down 1.6% this morning, as the nation grapples with a massive slowdown at automaker Toyota’s assembly plants, following a disastrous explosion at a supplier that makes heavy duty springs, that has crippled production.
I’ve got some footage of the actual explosion and aftermath here…
As you can see, terrible scenes – so, anyone waiting on their new HiLux or LandCruiser, you’re going to need to wait until the plumber has rescued the princess before production will be able to get back to normal volumes.
In China, Shanghai markets are 0.81% lower, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng is also down, losing 1.5% in early trade.
ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS
Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for 19 October [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:
Topping the charts this morning is Whitebark Energy (ASX:WBE) up more than 100% and soaring after announcing that the company’s Wizard Lake oil and gas field has returned to production.
The company reports that workovers at Rex-4 and Rex-1 have been completed, and the field has returned to production effective October 18 with Rex-1, Rex-2 and Rex-4 collectively producing 50 bopd and 300 mcf/d (100 boe/d).
Tesoro Resources (ASX:TSO) has added a tidy 27% this morning, on news that the company has delineated a new large outcropping gold anomaly which has never been drilled at Drone Hill, with wide outcropping intersections of up to 47m.
The newly-discovered surface mineralisation is confirmed to extend at least 750m west and 380m south of the Ternera Gold Deposit in Chile, and assay results for initial eight (8) scout holes at Kitsune returned prospective lithology and alteration with a similar geological setting to Ternera.
Aquirian (ASX:AQN) has climbed more than 22% this morning on news that it has has entered into a binding agreement to acquire the assets and land comprising the Wubin Ammonium Nitrate Emulsion Plant from Hanwha, which is production-ready, with licensing to produce 110kt of ammonium nitrate emulsion per year.
The facility itself is relatively new, commissioned and built in 2020 before being placed into care and maintenance in 2021 as part of Hanwha’s strategic decision to exit the bulk explosives market in Australia.
ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS
Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for 19 October [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort: