Wall Street gains for third consecutive day

US stocks staged a pre-Christmas rally as omicron fears eased, with the S&P 500 nearing its record high.

All three major US stockmarket indexes rose overnight – the S&P 500 by 0.62%, Dow Jones by 0.55%, and tech heavy Nasdaq by 0.85%.

US health regulators have authorised Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 pill, while Moderna said a third jab of its vaccine could protect against the omicron variant.

On the economic front, the US job market keeps improving, with 205k jobless claims this week compared to 206k last week.

The NYSE-listed shares of BHP rose by more than 1%, as spot iron ore rallied 2.5% overnight.

Bitcoin has inched back over the US$50k level again, and at 8am AEDT this morning, was trading at US$50,800.

Fred Schebesta, the founder of global fintech Finder and co-founder and advisor of NFT gaming platform Balthazar, isn’t afraid to offer a price prediction for the volatile coin.

“I forecast Bitcoin will crack the US$100,000 mark by February 2022, and hit up to US$105,000, then it will re-correct down to as low as US$12,000 as people rush to sell in the peak,” he says.

Read the rest of that story right here on Coinhead.

ASX 200 to open higher on Friday

The ASX 200 looks set for a Santa rally this morning, with futures markets (January contracts) pointing up by 0.3% at 8:30am AEDT.

Yesterday, the local benchmark index rose 0.31% to close at 7,388 points, which puts it up 1.26% in the past week and 2.1% in the month of December.

NSW and Victoria have now mandated mask rules for indoors, as new omicron cases in the two states raged in the past 24 hours.

On the IPO front, two new stocks will be making their ASX debut today:

Ark Mines (ASX:AHK), which is relisting two years after heading into administration at 10am AEDT. The previously NT-focused company raised $4.7 million to rejoin the ASX boards with a handful of projects around regional Queensland.

And listing at 11am AEDT will be Solis Minerals (ASX:SLM), which is looking for copper in Chile and Peru.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Spectur Ltd (ASX:SP3)
The security and surveillance tech company has signed a supply agreement with Australia Tower Network (ATN), allowing ATN to issue new orders with Spectur. The contract involves Spectur supplying its solar powered security hardware and field and monitoring services.

Neuroscientific Biopharma (ASX:NSB)
The company released positive results from the recently completed safety assessment of lead drug candidate, EmtinB. A drug that’s used to treat neurogenerative condition, EmtinB is now set to commence Phase 1 clinical trial in the first half of 2022.

OreCorp (ASX:ORR)
The company has made its final payment of US$8.05 million to acquire an 84% interest in Nyanzaga Gold Project in Tanzania through its JV company, Sotta Mining. OreCorp says it’s now ready to work with the Tanzanian government, who owns 16% of the project, to mine large scale gold.

Tombador Iron (ASX:TI1)
The company has released an updated JORC mineral resource estimate. It includes 8.92Mt of high-grade DSO hematite, and 39.24Mt of itabirites and talus.

The company announced that the final consideration paid for the acquisition of a 50.1% controlling interest in Go-To Skincare, after having completed the customary post completion working capital adjustments, is $89.49m.