• Local markets end Friday (and the week) ahead circa 0.4pc
  • IT sector booms 1.5pc
  • Small caps led by WhiteHawk

 

The ASX200 has kept its head and ended Friday higher thanks to a boost from local tech stocks.

At 4.15pm on Friday February 23, the S&P/ASX200 was up 32 points or 0.43% to 7,643.6…

asx close
Via Google

 

Local tech stocks took off this morning at the open, inflamed by the massive wins on Wall Street overnight.

Right up there on the tech winners block is the Buy Now AfterPay Later-owner Block, (formerly Square) after a neat beat on quarterly sales.

Stocks across the broader benchmark have failed to fire and even the local tech sector’s pulled its head in.

Australian markets were up 0.4% or 32 points at about 3pm in Sydney, with traders keeping their eyes on the road despite some spectacular back-seat fanfare from New York where Nvidia’s astonishing profits catapulted the tech heavy Nasdaq ahead by 3%.

This is what the tech sector did at the open (vs the ASX200 and All Ords)…

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… You can see (above) that somewhere near 10.30am, ASX traders remembered that the local bourse has nothing on its books remotely like Nvidia or the other six members of its maligned magnificent 7 cohort, and the sector’s been gently paring its triumph ever since.

Early beneficiaries were our version of IT blue chips – Xero was 3.7% ahead at 10.45am, WiseTech has been steadily higher than 1%, while the loopiness focused in on NextDC (ASX:NXT), which clocked an intraday record high of $15.34 just before 10.20am.

No shame though in losing it a little bit over this Nvidia business in New York. Investor frenzy over AI in the States has seen NVDA stock far more than just triple over the past 12 months – Thursday’s belter numbers added a decent $US277 bn onto the chipmaker’s market value and cannoned NVDA to another record high in what was reportedly the single biggest intra-session increase in market cap in Wall Street history.

Those numbers make a mockery of any other single-session gains – they’re even beta than Meta’s ridiculous $US200bn gain just at the end of last month.

At lunchtime things were still a little loose – 10 of 11 ASX sectors were doing business in the green. Utilities the only sector trading in the red, dragged down by Origin, AGL and APA Group.

But there were winners out there – Aussie Broadband is all about the records.

The upstart Aussie telco’s been patiently waiting for frustrated internet users to jump ship from the main players and has been keeping a steady pair of hands these last six months. ABB reported improvements across all major metrics – sales, home internet subscribers, revenue and profit.

Shares were at 12.3% near 2.30pm.

In some delicious timing, ABB’s strong numbers dropped pretty much the same time as Optus parent SingTel delivered a quarterly update from Singapore.

The focus for keen readers of public humiliation was the impact in $$ terms of Optus’ nationwide outage at the end of last year. That disgrace (and currency fluctuations) have been blamed for SingTel’s awful numbers.

The city-state telco said the Optus outage and subsequent fall out cost the giant well over $60mn.

By that stage the early arvo the buzz was wearing off and the trimming began in earnest.

The XSO Small Ords was ahead at the close, while the XEC Emerging markets index fell by a substantial amount. Again.

ASX Sectors on Friday

asx close

asx close

 

It’s been a week to remember – and more than likely regret – for the local IT sector. After all, this is a sector that makes the Vix (CBOE Volatility Index) look like a flat wicket in Hyderabad.

 

ASX200 IT (XIJ) Index gains/losses (one month)

 

ASX Sectors this Week

 

Via MarketIndex

 

US Markets…

Overnight, it was the S&P500’s best session in 14 months. The Nasdaq’s best in 13. The Dow meanwhile crossed the 39,000 mark for the first time.

Nvidia’s higher-than-contemplated earnings and some forthright, nay, bullish guidance lifted the main US indices to to new highs.

Nasdaq Composite jumped 3% to 16,042.

S&P 500 gained 2.1% to 5,087 – it’s best day in and the Dow Jones found 1.2% to 39,069.

The US chip maker is churning out chips almost as fast as demand is growing and is right at the epicentre of the global boom in whatever looks like AI. NVDA ended the NYSE session ahead by 16%.

Naturally anyone nearby slapped on the boardies and rode the wave. Chip-making brethren jumped almost as much, AMD gained 14%.

Meta and Amazon gained about 4%, while Microsoft and Netflix found 2%.

Elsewhere, drug maker Moderna rose 11% on better-than-expected quarterly revenue and forward guidance.

And Newmont, the world’s top gold producer, is seeking to sell six mines and two projects as part of an effort to generate $3.1 billion in cash. Among the assets to be sold are the Telfer and Havieron mines in WA.

US Futures

Via Fox

 

ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Today’s best performing small cap stocks:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

 

There were lots of little small caps moving rapidly without news on Friday morning, with cybersecurity minnow WhiteHawk (ASX:WHK) waaaay out in front on close to +70% being the best of them.

This is what WHK says about WHK:

WhiteHawk is a cloud-based cyber security exchange platform that delivers Artificial Intelligence based Cyber Risk Profile’s, interactive online maturity models, tailored Cyber Risk Scorecard reports, matching to innovative products, solutions and best practices, all via an intuitive virtual consult.

The platform enables customers to leverage their tailored Security Story to find affordable and impactful cyber tools, non-technical context, and relevant services through our algorithms, online customer journey and accessible expertise.

This is what WHK says when the ASX gives it a parking ticket and demands to know why its stock is so stonkingly high… (the cool logo comes free of charge)

Via ASX

 

In terms of other newsworthy climbs, The Calmer Co International (ASX:CCO) has scored a huge retail win, after US giant Walmart agreed to stock the company’s Fiji Kava Instant Kava 150mg product on its shelves.

Word on the street is that Walmart approached the company after noticing how popular the product had been on Amazon.com, and – never one to miss out on getting aboard a bandwagon – Walmart wanted in on that action as well.

Gold Mountain (ASX:GMN) is getting its neurology on, announcing to the market that it has managed to secure 20 new tenements with a total area of 388.18 km2 for niobium and REE in the Araxá region of Minas Gerais, located about 450 km north of Sao Paulo.

BSA (ASX:BSA) climbed through the day after releasing its half-year report, showing revenue of $121.4 million that led the company to an EBITDA of $10.1 million.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Today’s best performing small cap stocks:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

ICYMI – PM Edition

SPORTPASS, a subsidiary of the prominent and ever-growing Web3-focused Animoca Brands – which focuses on gaming, entertainment, digital property rights and the open metaverse – is now collaborating with Euroleague Basketball (EB) to help reinforce the latter’s digital gamification strategy.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has given another sign of its willingness to back Vulcan Energy’s (ASX:VUL) Zero Carbon Lithium project by flagging up to €500 million (~A$825 million) of project financing.

South Harz Potash (ASX:SHP) has entered into non-binding MOU with Euroports which will see SHP and Euroports advancing commercial discussions towards a long-term agreement for the storage and export of potash product.

Infill termite mound sampling has added yet another uranium anomaly to Haranga Resources’ (ASX:HAR) inventory of targets at the Saraya project in Senegal.

Conrad Asia Energy (ASX:CRD) can now finalise gas sales agreements for its Mako gas field in the West Natuna Sea offshore Indonesia after the Minister for Energy and Natural Resources approved the gas price and volume allocation.

iTech Minerals (ASX:ITM) has inked an agreement to buy Prodigy Gold’s tenements in the highly prospective Reynolds Range district in the Northern Territory, adding further exposure to the company’s critical minerals portfolio, including copper, rare earths and lithium – with gold to boot.

Targeting is under way for a 2024 field program at Recharge Metals’ (ASX:REC) Wapistan project in the prolific James Bay lithium district in Québec, Canada, after sampling results confirmed the presence of highly-fractionated LCT pegmatites with potential to host lithium mineralisation.

 

TRADING HALTS

Top End Energy (ASX:TEE)  pending an announcement regarding a project acquisition and capital raising activities.

Trinex Minerals Limited (ASX: TX3) – pending an announcement regarding a proposed acquisition and capital raising. Todd River Resources (ASX:TRT)

Freehill Mining (ASX:FHS) – pending an announcement in connection with material purchase orders received regarding Yerbas Buenas magnetite and associated materials.

PolarX (ASX:PXX) – pending the release of an announcement in relation to a capital raising.

Odessa Minerals (ASX:ODE) – pending the response to a price query letter and the release of an announcement in relation to airmag survey results.