Market Highlights and 5 ASX Small Caps to watch on Thursday

  • All major US stock indexes rallied overnight
  • US PPI index at 12 year high
  • Australian unemployment rate ahead

ASX to rise as Wall Street finally rallies

Aussie shares are set to open higher this morning, with the ASX 200 April futures pointing down by 0.84% at 8.30am AEDT.

Overnight, US stocks finally had a winning day this week with all major stock market indexes finishing higher.

The S&P 500 was up 1.12%, the Dow by 1.01%, and tech heavy Nasdaq by 2.03%.

Corporate earnings dominated the newsflow, as giants like JP Morgan and Delta Airlines reported their quarterlies.

JP Morgan’s quarterly profit fell significantly as a result of a US$524 million hit from the Ukraine crisis. CEO Jamie Dimon said he sees significant geopolitical risks still to play out ahead.

Meanwhile, the prices that market pays to US producers (also called the PPI index), leapt by 11% to a 12-year high. The new data could strengthen the case for a faster Fed rate hike.

Major central banks around the world have recently increased their rates to combat runaway inflation.

England’s BoE increased theirs by 0.75% in March, the RBNZ by 0.5% yesterday, and overnight Bank of Canada hiked its rate by 1%.

The RBA meanwhile will be watching two key economic data due for release later today – the Melbourne Institute Inflation Gauge, and the Labour Department’s unemployment rate.

In other markets today, oil has crept up further by another 3%, with Brent now trading at US$108/barrel.

Bitcoin is now back up above US$40k after spending a few days at the US$39k handle. At 8.30am AEDT, BTC was trading at US$41,300.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Develop Global (ASX:DVP)
DVP has been awarded a significant mining contract at Bellevue Gold’s (ASX: BGL)’s Bellevue Gold Mine in WA. The 4-year contract is valued at $400 million, and includes work such as construction, development and production activities at the underground mine.

FlexiRoam (ASX:FRX)
Internet of Things (IoT) specialist FlexiRoam has signed a $135k deal to provide IoT connectivity to US based Lutikey LLC. Under the agreement, Flexiroam will provide IoT connectivity to a minimum of 10,000 LutiBand Smartwatches, for an initial term of 3 years.

Halo Foods (ASX:HLF)
Halo has signed a material milk powder manufacturing and supply agreement with leading NZ national grocer, Foodstuffs. The 2-year agreement is valued at NZ$9.4m, and represents a two-year renewal of the prior contract signed in 2020.

Kelly Partners (ASX:KPG)
The chartered accounting network was chosen by an 80-year old leading accounting firm in regional NSW to become partners. Kelly will pay around $1.49m to $2.14m for a 51% stake in the firm, and expects the partnership to result in an increased revenue of around $3.36m to $4. 2m to Kelly.

Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX)
Blackstone has signed a MoU with Vietnam’s Son La Province to develop the Ta Khoa Nickel Project and Ta Khoa Refinery, both intended to be developed in the Son La Province in northern Vietnam.

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