ASX Small Caps Lunch Wrap: Who else is feeling the withering gaze of the evil eye this morning?

By Stockhead July 19, 2023 In Markets

I’m not angry – I’ve just got smoke in my eyes. Pic via Getty Images.

Local markets opened higher this morning, on the heels of a pleasant evening on Wall Street which saw US markets rising gently like a well-kneaded dough.

The Aussie benchmark kicked off the day with a 0.5% bump, and that’s where it’s been hanging, like a promotional blimp promising Good Times and Gains over a stadium full of beer-fuelled footy fans.

But before I get into that, a quick hop over to the city of Hong Kong, where local officials are pulling out all the stops in a bid to curb the intensely foul habit of smoking in public places.


The territory’s health minister Professor Lo Chung-mau has called on all residents to join the fight against people who fire up a dart in areas they’re not meant to, by … let me check my notes here to make sure I’ve got this correct … “staring at them disapprovingly”.


“Cigarettes can harm the health of all of us,” Professor Lo told a meeting of the Legislative Council’s health service panel on Friday, as reported by our friends at Sky News.

“When the members of the public see people smoking in non-smoking areas, even if no law enforcement officers can show up immediately, we can stare at the smokers.

“When someone takes out a cigarette at a restaurant, everyone on the premises can stare at that person. I do not believe that person would dare to hit back at everyone at the restaurant as they are simply staring.”

Professor Lo, I dare say, is placing a lot of faith in the possibility of smokers actually giving more than half a damn about someone giving them a sour look when they’re having a gasper.

And I reckon he’d be on a hiding to nothing if he had a crack at exporting his “stare at them to shame them” tactic on smokers here in Australia.

The last time I saw someone light up a smoke on a train here in Sydney, the one insistent do-gooder who flashed our flanno-clad villain a withering look while asking him to extinguish his smoke endured a 25-minute diatribe, delivered in a sustained drunken bellow, that reduced him to tears.

Things might be different in Hong Kong, though – I don’t know, I’ve never been there – but kudos to Professor Lo for at least coming up with a new approach, since the high-tech surveillance systems and the threat of a AUD$240 fine for smokers apparently isn’t doing the trick.


At 8am AEST, the ASX 200 index futures was pointing up by +0.5%, and – wonder upon wonders – that’s precisely what happened. Spooky.

That 0.5% jump has been maintained through most of the morning. Sure, the ASX 200 index has wandered about around that mark, but that’s just the benchmark expressing itself.

But you’ve gotta remember that the ASX 200 is only 23 years old – a mere pup in financial terms – so of course it’s going to get itchy feet from time to time, and feel the need to go off and explore new things.

Fronting the charge at lunchtime today are Energy (+1.87%) and Financials (+1.40%), after an early market-leading surge from the tech sector came and went in the blink of an eye.

Only the Telcos are making hard work of the morning, shedding 0.75% so far today, while the somewhat mercurial Materials sector is also having a bout of the sads this morning, down 0.2%.

That sector needs to go outside, spend some time in the sunshine, I reckon – it can’t be good for it, just moping around inside all day, listening to that dreadful rock music.

Up the belt-busting fat end of town, is up 5.2% this morning on no news, despite the broader goldie market waning – the XGD All Ords Gold Index is down 0.7% this morning, so Coronado’s no-news boost is a bit mystifying.

And is up 4.9% this morning, off the back of a solid quarterly and a recent discovery that the company’s servos can audaciously flog a 2-litre bottle of milk for $7, and still look their customers dead in the eye.


Wall Street had a nice run overnight, which saw the S&P 500 up by +0.7% and tech heavy Nasdaq higher by +1.06%, thanks to a better-than-expected set of results from some of the big names in banking, .

Prime example there was Bank of America, which saw a 4.42% rise on the bank’s earnings and revenue beat for the second quarter, which showed the bank’s profits climbed 19% to US$7.41 billion on an 11% increase in revenue to US$25.33 billion, helped by a 14% jump in net interest income.

Remarkable, really – in an economic environment that’s seen little banks collapsing like privates at Puckapunyal under the scorching Australian sun, the big banks have thrived and built even bigger fortunes while US citizens have had the interest rate yokes screwed ever-tighter around their necks.

No one could have predicted that.

In tech stock news, Microsoft shares popped around 4% to hit an all-time high after the company revealed pricing for its new “Copilot” generative artificial intelligence service.

For the low, low price of US$30 a month, this latest iteration of Clicky the Moronic Anthropomorphic Paperclip is designed to sit over the entire suite of Microsoft Office products, and automate mundane tasks like analysing spreadsheet data, designing PowerPoint decks, and crafting SEO-friendly LinkedIn posts explaining why every single admin assistant in the world will be out of a job by Christmas.

Microsoft is also doing AI stuff with Bing, much to the delight of the 0.06% of internet users who use Bing for anything other than its vastly superior ability to hunt down very specific pornography.

So I’ve been told.

Netflix is set to drop its quarterly results report tonight (our time) in the form of an eight-part docudrama that flows like molasses, is aggravatingly predictable, feels like it was written by ChatGPT but has a rockin’ soundtrack, so we’re gonna lap it up and love it, despite its obvious flaws.

In Japan, the Nikkei’s jumped 1.05% this morning, despite a shocking number of people reporting injuries caused by exploding hand-held fans.

Japan is struggling through a critical heatwave at the moment, with reports of temperatures reaching 35 degrees (pfft… those are rookie numbers…) in more than 195 locations around the country.

Gadget-loving Japanese citizens have turned to using small, hand-held electric fans in a bid to beat the heat – however, more than 45 people have needed treatment for injuries caused by their portable cooling devices exploding, according to the Japan Times.

What a time to be alive. Or not alive.

In China, Shanghai markets are down 0.15% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 1.36%, as the Chinese economy grinds slowly to a halt, despite Beijing’s terrified yanking on every protectionist lever it can find.

It’s at this point that – Josh Chiat has gone digging into the murky and widely unexplored world of germanium, to try to figure out why China’s hoarding it, and how some Aussie diggers stand to make bank as a result.

Seriously, you should read it.

Meanwhile, in the world of crypto, BTC has slipped back under the $30k surface, like a salty old crocodile that’s spotted a feed but isn’t quite hungry enough to risk an all-out attack just yet.

There’s probably a huge number of reasons why, and Rob “I ♥️Technicals” Badman has written up , which I promise I read every word of and now completely understand crypto.

No, really.


Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 19 [intraday]:

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

Leading the Small Caps ladder this morning is , which went soaring this morning until the company hit the emergency brake and called for an immediate trading halt.

PEC climbed 36.3% before 11.30am, when it went into a halt ahead of news regarding “a potential acquisition” – news that, it seems, might have squeaked out the edges somewhere, because Perpetual’s been on the rise since 12 July on zero fresh info on the ASX announcements board.

Next best is which has bounced 25% this morning for no apparent reason, gaining back some of the -28% pounding it took during yesterday’s session.

It seems that the market’s been a little slow to react to announcement on Monday that the company has intersected coarse spodumene rich pegmatites at Jaguar in two initial diamond holes from its maiden drill program at the site.

You can tell it’s coarse spodumene, because it swears like a sailor whenever the drills bite into it. Refined spodumene just mutters quietly to itself, then writes a polite, slightly passive aggressive note to ask the gentlemen with the drill if they could please stop what they’re doing.

Anyhoo… that news broke on Monday, Solis shares dipped on the news, but the market looks like it’s finally got the message and the company’s trading 25% higher so far.

Also worth mentioning are , which has continued its recent solid run, up 22% this morning on the exciting news that drill and blast has commenced at its Frankfort gold mine.

And , (formerly Callabonna Resources, and Callabonna Uranium, and MKY Resources before that, and Mky Corporation, plus Mckinley Company and also Creatable Media) is up $0.003 today, a 17.6% jump to remind us all that it’s still a thing.


Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for July 19 [intraday]:

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

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