ASX to fall, US inflation highest in 40 years

US inflation soared to 7.9% in the past year, outpacing the 7.5% year-on-year recorded last month as it hits a new 40-year high.

The high CPI is expected to keep the Fed’s plan to hike rates, slated for next week, well on track.

As war in the Ukraine continues, economists predict inflation will climb even higher in the months ahead as a surge in food and gas prices is expected.

All three major US equities indexes fell overnight – the S&P 500 by 0.43%, the Dow by 0.34%, and tech heavy Nasdaq by 0.95%.

Over the Atlantic, the European Central Bank (ECB) has just increased its inflation forecast, predicting the Eurozone inflation will remain higher for longer than previously expected.

Meanwhile, we’ve entered Day 15 of the war in Ukraine, where an estimated 13k people have been killed on both sides, 2.3 million displaced, and at least US$100b incurred in property damage (according to data from Reuters).

Oil prices have eased a little, with Brent crude now trading at US$109.30 a barrel after reaching US$140 just a few days ago. The spot gold price is now back below US$2k at US$1996 an ounce.

But we should expect more pain ahead according to Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets, Bjørnar Tonhaugen, who predicted that oil prices could hit US$240 per barrel this summer in the worst-case scenario.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin is trading below US$40k this morning, after losing ground by 6% and is currently changing hands at US$39,600 at 8.25am AEDT.

Read our roundup of crypto moves here on Coinhead.


ASX 200 to open lower on Friday

The ASX 200 is set to open lower this morning, with the March futures pointing down by 0.60% at 8.30am AEDT.

Yesterday, local shares extended their rally by over 1% – as Tech, Discretionary, Healthcare and Financials gained more than 2%.

Amongst the best winners yesterday was Paladin (ASX:PDN), which rose by 12% as spot uranium prices touched US$60/lb for the first time in around a decade.

This morning, Reserve Bank Governor will participate in a panel discussion at the Banking 2022 Conference in Sydney at 9.15am AEDT.

Later today, China data on new vehicle sales are expected to be released and, in the US, preliminary reading of consumer sentiment for March is expected with the monthly budget statement.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Turners Automotive (ASX:TRA)
Turners now expects Net Profit Before Tax (NPBT) for FY22 to be between $42m and $43m, ahead of its earlier guidance of $40m – 42m. The company anticipates another record result, and expects record full year dividends of at least 23 cents per share fully imputed (previously 22c).

Ardea Resources (ASX:ARL)
Two Groundwater Licences for the annual abstraction of 3.5Gl of water resources within Ardea’s Goongarrie Hub mining leases have been granted by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. This will allow Ardea to abstract saline water for processing and mine dewatering within its Kalgoorlie Nickel Project in the Goongarrie Hub.

Neuroscientific Biopharma (ASX:NSB)
Study indicated that NSB’s lead drug candidate, EmtinB, reduces key drivers of chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. The company is now in the final stages of preparations for submission of its safety data package for approval to commence a first-in-human Phase I study.

Bailador Tech Investments (ASX:BTI)
Bailador will sell all of its stake in Standard Media Index (SMI) for approximately $20m in cash. The sale price represents an uplift of approximately 67% to the current carrying value. The agreement is subject to certain conditions to closing, including foreign investment regulatory approval.

Peak Minerals (ASX:PUA)
Phase 2 of the Green Rocks air core drill program has commenced. The drill program is designed to test geochemical and geophysical anomalies at Tal Val and Target B, which are interpreted to be magmatic intrusions.