Local markets are on the up this morning, rising by 0.16% early in the session thanks to a leg-up from Wall Street overnight. And that’s come about because those wags at the US Fed are back to being minxes and rate-teasers, talking up the possibility of interest rate cuts later this year.

That’s got US investors feelin’ kinda sporty, and pushed Wall Street higher overnight – and so, here we are.

I’ll get into the details of that shortly, but first there’s news from the outer reaches of space – and it’s not happy news, I’m afraid.

The venerable Voyager I space probe – launched way back in 1977 and sent on a mission to get as far into space as possible, appears to have developed some kind of intergalactic dementia, and has stopped making any sense at all in its communications back to Earth.

According to the team of space nerds that are still running the Voyager show, the probe is meant to be sending back packets of data explaining what kind of environment it is travelling through – kind of like having a dog hanging its head out the window of your station wagon, and ducking back in a couple of times each kilometre to let you know what it can smell outside.

“Cows… cows… more cows… MCDONALD’S… sheep… cows… dead wombat” – except it’s more space-related, and there aren’t any wombats, because I made that bit up.

But imagine if space wombats were a thing… ugly, brutish comet-pocked beasts that come rumbling angrily out of black holes when anything gets too close, leaving vast cube-shaped space turds hundreds of light years wide wherever they go.

… but I digress.

The astonishing thing is that the space probe was still functioning up until very recently – it was launched in 1977, back when owning a pocket calculator meant you were at the cutting edge of consumer technology, blessed with the ability to find the square root of something without popping an aneurysm and going blind in one eye.

As the Voyager team themselves explain it, there’s more computing power in the key fob that your neighbour uses to unlock that fancy car he’s constantly parking across your driveway just to show you he earns way more money than you and that he could, whenever he wants, take your wife and family from you with just a “doop-doop” of his remote car lock voodoo magic.

They’re trying every trick they have to try to get the lonely little probe to start making sense again – but with limited tech to work with, which is currently about 15 billion miles away, even the simplest of commands has a day-long trip in either direction before they know what’s happening.

Which could well be the cruisiest gig in space exploration at the moment – send a message to the probe first thing Monday morning, and then it’s nothing but cubicle cricket for 48 hours until you hear back from the probe to learn that whatever you told it to do hasn’t worked.

There’s always the chance that whatever instructions you do send might be misinterpreted, and the results could be calamitous – meaning that the first contact we have with our alien neighbours could be the galactic equivalent of us tossing a bag of rubbish over the fence the moment we moved in next door.

If it turns out that they’re space wombats, we’re toast.



At 12:30pm on Thursday March 7, the benchmark ASX200 (XJO) was up 31.6 points or 0.41% higher at 7,765.10.


asx winner (IMC)
Chart via Marketindex.com.au


The Australian share market moved with zest from the open on Thursday, tracking its global peers after US Treasuries fell on the promise of lower interest rates.

That said, we have two stonking monsters going ex-div today – in the magnum opus of mining – BHP (ASX:BHP), close frenemy Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and nearby wannabes South32 (ASX:S32) and Woodside Energy Group (ASX:WDS). That is going to be a lot of points left on the field for the ASX200.

The January trade balance dropped at 11:30am….

We’re also waiting on trade balance data out of China and then the spotlight will fall on the ECB policy meet tonight.

Elsewhere global oil prices have risen on weaker American crude inventories and the excitement over the positive pace of interest rate cuts later this year, likely to drive demand.

Bitcoin has rebounded from its steep losses after it hit a new record price to currently trade above US$67,000.


Here’s a look at the sector landscape this morning:


ASX Sectors at 12pm on Thursday

asx winner (IMC)
Chart via Marketindex.com.au

Most of the market’s doing well this morning, with only the Energy sector lacking in the gains department. At a more granular level, the goldies are doing particularly well today, out in front of the market on +0.98%, while InfoTech and Industrials are enjoying some well-earned time in the sun as well.


I’m going Ex-Dividend (so are these stocks)…

Auswide Bank (ASX:ABA) is paying 11 cents fully franked
Australian Financial Group (ASX:AFG) is paying 4 cents fully franked
Air New Zealand (ASX:AIZ) is paying 1.6017 cents unfranked
AmberTech (ASX:AMO) is paying 1.2 cents fully franked
Atlas Pearls (ASX:ATP) is paying 1.5 cents 37.33% franked
Bapcor (ASX:BAP) is paying 9.5 cents fully franked
BHP (ASX:BHP) is paying 110.0244 cents fully franked
ClearView (ASX:CVW) is paying 1.5 cents fully franked
Freightways Group Lt (ASX:FRW) is paying 16.8397 cents unfranked
FSA Group (ASX:FSA) is paying 3.5 cents fully franked
G8 Education (ASX:GEM) is paying 3 cents fully franked
Globe International (ASX:GLB) is paying 9 cents fully franked
Global Traffic Network (ASX:GTN) is paying 1.1 cents unfranked
Helia Group (ASX:HLI) is paying 15 cents 33.33% franked
Helloworld Travel (ASX:HLO) is paying 5 cents fully franked
IDP Education (ASX:IEL) is paying 25 cents 77% franked
MAAS Group Holdings (ASX:MGH) is paying 3 cents fully franked
Michael Hill (ASX:MHJ) is paying 1.75 cents unfranked
McMillan Shakespeare Group (ASX:MMS) is paying 76 cents fully franked
Monash IVF Group (ASX:MVF) is paying 2.5 cents fully franked
NIB Holdings (ASX:NHF) is paying 15 cents fully franked
New Zealand Media and Entertainment (ASX:NZM) is paying 5.6407 cents unfranked
Platinum Asset Management (ASX:PTM) is paying 1.5 cents fully franked
Pinnacle Investment (ASX:PNI) is paying 15.6 cents fully franked
Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU) is paying 1.25 cents unfranked
Qualitas (ASX:QAL) is paying 2.25 cents fully franked
Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is paying 392.78 cents fully franked
South32 (ASX:S32) is paying 0.6188 cents fully franked
Schaffer Corporation (ASX:SFC) is paying 45 cents fully franked
Shine Justice (ASX:SHJ) is paying 1.5 cents unfranked
Sky Network Television (ASX:SKT) is paying 6.5951 cents unfranked
Universal Store Holdings (ASX:UNI) is paying 16.5 cents fully franked
Viva Energy (ASX:VEA) is paying 7.1 cents fully franked
Woodside Energy Group (ASX:WDS) is paying 91.5053 cents fully franked



Wall Street were positive as investor sentiment was fuelled by comments by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell who said rate cuts can be expected this year if the economy evolves as expected.

Nvidia was  once again the catalyst, rising happily above among megacap growth stocks while Tesla extended its losses for the third straight session.

The S&P 500 rose Wednesday as investors attempted to turn a corner following back-to-back losing sessions on Wall Street.

The S&P 500 added 0.51 per cent to 5,104.76, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.58 per cent to 16,031.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded higher by 75.86 points, or 0.2 per cent, to close at 38,661.05. The blue-chip average was weighed down by a drop of more than 2 per cent in Disney.

While the Nasdaq saw gains Wednesday, some major tech names sat out of the rally. Apple fell for its sixth straight trading day and has now lost $352 billion this year, even as mega-cap darling Nvidia climbed more than 3 per cent. Alphabet and Tesla also both traded lower in the session.

Despite Wednesday’s action, the three major indexes were still down on the week.

Regional bank stocks swung between gains and losses in the session after New York Community Bancorp announced a $1 billion capital raise. The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) ended the session slightly lower after trading down by more than 2 per cent during the day.

Shares of NYCB rose about 7.5 per cent after tumbling more than 40 per cent earlier in the session. Trading in the stock was halted several times throughout the day.

Traders kept an eye on the first of two Capitol Hill appearances from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this week, who said on Wednesday in prepared remarks that the central bank could lower interest rates this year. However, the Fed chief said the bank is not immediately ready to cut the cost of borrowing money.

Powell stated, “We believe that our policy rate is likely at its peak for this tightening cycle…If the economy evolves broadly as expected, it will likely be appropriate to begin dialing back policy restraint at some point this year.”

Powell noted that the central bank would like to see more data when questioned by the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. He’s also slated to appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.

Turning to commodities, oil prices surged over 1 per cent following further comments from Jerome Powell about increasing gasoline demand. The West Texas Intermediate contract for April settled up 1.25 per cent, while May Brent futures rose by 1.12 per cent.

Powell mentioned to the House Financial Services Committee the likelihood of rate adjustments later this year pending further data, alongside observations of declining US gasoline stockpiles, signaling a growing demand.

This week saw yet another milestone in the gold market as prices surged beyond $2,100 per ounce.

However, major names like Newmont haven’t enjoyed parallel success. This disconnect twixt the roaring value of the precious metal and the performance of mining companies could be the trigger for some heated M & A within the sector.

Of the US sectors, all 11 were higher but for Comms Services and Consumer Discretionary. Utilities was the MVP.

In Asia this morning, Japan’s Nikkei has edged forward 0.52%, hitting a new record high at open as the region settles in to wait for trade data from China and Australia.

We’re still waiting for Chinese markets to open, but I’d be willing to bet that things there are going to be highly unsettled today, if only for the fact that Starbucks has launched a “braised pork latte beverage” into that market, which is every single bit as utterly horrifying as it sounds.

And for those of you who like your markets a little more ‘exotic’ than most, you should note the following:

  1. Kazakhstan has a stock exchange.
  2. It will be closed for a holiday tomorrow.
  3. The holiday is for “women’s day”.

Those three things are 100% true. What a time to be alive.

Update: Chinese markets have opened. Shanghai is basically flat, and the Hang Seng is down a teensy 0.12% in early trade.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for 7 March [intraday]:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin


Medtech mania continues unabated across the smaller end of the ASX on Thursday. The dual listed Immuron (ASX:IMC), a Melbourne-based, Nasdaq-dwelling “globally integrated” biopharma, shared this morning that interim topline results are confirming that “a single daily dose of Travelan is effective in prevention of moderate to severe diarrhoea.”

Has IMC cured the runs? I just don’t know. But IMM-124E (that’s Travelan) will be the first product developed with Immuron’s platform technology to proceed into Phase 3 clinical trials.

The background is Immuron was awarded near $5m in US Department of Defense  funding back in January 2022 to perform a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled Phase 2 controlled human infection model (CHIM) study – largely to help with evaluating a dosing regimen most suited to deployed US troops visiting developing countries.

Volunteers got dosed and today’s interim analysis summarises the data for a total of 60 subjects who have completed the inpatient challenge component of this current clinical study.

In as short as humanly possible: “Travelan demonstrated clinical efficacy” in preventing enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC)-attributable diarrhoea in two previous CHIM studies.

According to IMC, “the underlying nature of Immuron’s platform technology enables the development of medicines across a large range of infectious diseases.

“The platform can be used to block viruses or bacteria at mucosal surfaces such as the Gastrointestinal tract and neutralise the toxins they produce,” the company continued.

Make no mistake – if the projected uses the company is touting pan out, this is Very Big News for the infectious disease community – which is pretty much why the company is closing in on a +100% day already.

Elsewhere, Heavy Minerals (ASX:HVY) has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with ABSS for the future sales of a minimum of 15,000 tonnes per annum of garnet to be produced at its Port Gregory Project for an initial three-year period. This offtake will account for approximately 10% of the Company’s annual future Garnet production at its Port Gregory Project and will be sold into the Australian and New Zealand sand blasting and water jet cutting markets by ABSS.

Also moving on positive news this morning was Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) after delivering a report to market that its Mt Edwards project has benefited from the Federal Government’s call to put nickel on the critical list, as that has propelled the project into feasible, standalone territory. Widgie says a fresh scoping study shows that it’s good for an 800ktpa  standalone nickel concentrator producing 103,000tpa @ 10.1% Ni concentrate for 10,380 tonnes of contained nickel per year.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for 7 March [intraday]:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin



Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS) has received a $1.05 million refund from the ATO from “significant R&D expenditure” on metallurgical testwork and studies at its Mount Lindsay tin-tungsten project in Tasmania during the previous financial year.

The monies were returned to the company under the ATO’s R&D Tax Incentive Scheme and will be put towards fast-tracked resource drilling and metallurgical testwork at the emerging Jupiter clay-hosted rare earths discovery in WA.

Venture plans to continuing working on R&D activities concerning the tin-rich borates at Mount Lindsay via its partnership with Perth’s Curtin University.


At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Venture Minerals is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.