The ASX 200 lifted by 1% on Friday to a record high, tracking the rally on Wall Street overnight. For the week, the index was up over 1%.

All 11 ASX sectors closed in the green today, with Financials and Energy leading other sectors.

Big four bank stocks all rose, as Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) surged by 30% after revealing that there is a suitor in the form of Nationwide (see more below).

Helping the local markets along on Friday was what might almost be called a dovish twitch from ECB boss Christine Lagarde, who permitted rates to remain on hold overnight.

Fed boss Jerome Powell also gave a testimony to Congress for the second day last night, reiterating the central bank’s intentions on rate cuts, “provided inflation data continues to show continued cooling”.

Tech stocks were also leading gains – the majors like NextDC (ASX:NXT), Xero (ASX:XRO) and WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) all finding support.

This came as AI bellwether Nvidia soared by a further 4% a record high overnight, as the company’s $US2.3 trillion market cap edges closer to Apple’s market cap of US$2.6 trillion.

At the other end of fortune, the ASX Mining sector is dragging its feet on Friday as iron ore remains a worry and China is the cause of it. Gold stocks also slipped on profit taking after some rather terrific gains this week.


All eyes on tonight’s US jobs data

Elsewhere, Asian stocks across the region were also on the rise on Friday.

The world’s biggest chipmaker ,Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC), rose 3% to an all-time high in Taiwan stock market.,  TSMC’s chips are used by some of the world’s most advanced AI processors.

Oil advanced in Asian hours  after services were briefly briefly suspended at the Keystone, a crucial pipeline carrying Canadian crude to the US.

All eyes are now tonight’s key US employment data. 

“Friday’s jobs data could be a wild one,”  Andrew Brenner at Natalliance Securities told Bloomberg, adding that bond yields could swing dramatically.


Stocks that went ex-dividends today include:

Copper Strike (ASX:CSE) is paying 0.6 cents fully franked
Finexia Financial Group (ASX:FNX) is paying 0.5 cents fully franked
Insignia Financial (ASX:IFL) ) is paying 9.3 cents unfranked
Meridian (ASX:MEZ) is paying 5.6172 cents unfranked
Nine Entertainment Company (ASX:NEC) is paying 4 cents fully franked
Summerset Group (ASX:SNZ) is paying 10.5879 cents unfranked
US Masters Residential Property Fund (ASX:URF) is paying 1 cent unfranked
WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) is paying 7.7 cents fully franked



Today’s best performing small cap stocks:

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Magmatic Resources (ASX:MAG) says a farm-in and Joint Venture Agreement has been executed with Fortescue (ASX:FMG) at the Myall Project. Fortescue will spend up to $14m over six years to earn up to 75% joint venture interest in the project. Fortescue will also subscribe for 75,946,151 shares in MAG shares at a price of $0.04884 per share  to hold a 19.9% stake in the company.

OpenLearning (ASX:OLL) says it’s signed a three-year platform SaaS and content licence deal with the Asia Pacific International College. OLL says the minimum value is $1.07 million. APIC is a higher education institution with campuses in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses to over 4,000 students per year.

Imricor Medical Systems (ASX:IMR) says the Ethics Committee at Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) has approved its VISABL-AFL clinical trial. This is the first of two approvals required for CHUV to join the trial. The final approval required is from Swissmedic, the competent authority in Switzerland. VISABL-AFL is the global trial to support US FDA approval of Imricor’s products.

Australian Bond Exchange (ASX:ABE), a fintech and services company, dropped its H1 FY24 numbers to the ASX. CEO Bradley McCosker says,” “Our business continues to grow with active client numbers up 12% over the half-year and total client holdings increasing 23%. In addition to secondary market trading activity, we continued to see growth in our popular market-linked securities with $38,000,000 of additional products being sold.” ABE uses its proprietary tech to “provide Australian Investors with direct access to the best of the fixed income asset class in Australia and internationally.”

Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) says Nationwide Building Society is proposing to acquire VUK for £2.20-cash-per-share under a proposed agreement. VUK has secured approval also to pay a planned 2c-per-share dividend. Should the merger settle, the combined group would hold ~£283.5 billion worth of assets.

Pointerra (ASX:3DP) has been awarded a contract from U.S. energy utility customer worth US$1.9 million ($2.9 million). The company’s AI driven analytics platform will be used to extract information and insight from 3D LiDAR and imagery data. Pointerra  expects to complete contract deliverables this year.




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Juno Minerals’ (ASX:JNO) Phase 2 Priority 1 drill program has been completed with all assay results now being received. From the assay results reported, low levels of lithium, tantalum and tin were recorded, with no significant intersections of lithium encountered. The lithium pathfinder element data from the assay results will now be modelled to inform the next exploration phase on the Mount Ida Lithium Prospect.



Emerging rare earths explorer Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS) has produced another stunning intersection of 5,056ppm of pure neodymium and praseodymium oxides at its Jupiter prospect, following up from last month’s eye-watering hit which is believed to be the highest clay-hosted REE intercept ever for an Australian project.

Also in WA’s Mid-West, Phase 2 drilling by Krakatoa Resources (ASX:KTA) at its King Tamba lithium project confirmed several discrete zones of LCT mineralisation – with some hints of rubidium – are present below a 1.3km by 500m lithium-rich soil anomaly.

Taiton Resources (ASX:T88) has been granted an exploration licence for the historical Kingsgate molybdenum and quartz mine in New South Wales, adding another bow to the company’s specialty metals portfolio which already includes the Highway molybdenum project in South Australia.

And Belararox (ASX:BRX) has raised $4 million from a placement from new and existing investors to fund ongoing exploration at its TMT copper-gold project in Argentina.



Nothing today.



At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Belararox, Krakatoa Resources, Taiton Resources and Venture Minerals are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.