• ASX set to open lower despite a rally on Wall Street overnight
  • US Fed Chair Jerome Powell says soft landing may be very challenging

The ASX is set to open 0.40% lower this morning despite a rally on Wall Street overnight.

US stocks continue to be volatile with up and down days over the past week as traders weigh growth outlook.

After falling on Wednesday, all major US indices rose overnight – the S&P 500 by 0.95%, and tech heavy Nasdaq by 1.62%.

Instead of inflation, the market’s main focus seems to be more on the possibility of a recession now.

On the second day of his Congressional hearings overnight, US Fed Chair Jerome Powell says achieving the Fed’s goal of an economic soft landing will be “very challenging”.

But he also said that the US, unlike other countries, has “a very strong economy”, and Fed policymakers “have tools to deal with demand”.

Oil prices fell by around 2% on increasing recession fears, with the benchmark Brent now trading at US$109.80 a barrel.

The US government has overnight delayed the release of the closely watched Weekly Petroleum Status Report, citing electricity issues that caused an unspecified hardware failure.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Navarre Minerals (ASX:NML)
Significant assay results have been received from a recently completed reconnaissance air core (AC) drilling campaign testing new gold targets at Langi Logan in Victoria. Results include: 4 metres at 1.5g/t gold, 3.2g/t silver & 0.1% zinc, and 1 metre at 2.4g/t gold from 76m.

Wide Open Agriculture (ASX:WOA)
WOA announced the grand opening of its pilot production facility located in WA. The pilot facility will produce a ‘breakthrough’, eco-friendly protein called Buntine Protein, that can be used as a key ingredient for plant-based food and beverage products for global markets.

Austal (ASX:ASB)
Austal USA has been awarded a further US$45.2m modification to a previously awarded LCS class design contract in June 2021. This contract modification exercises options for additional Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Class Design Services, and additional support for the US Navy’s Integrated Data Product Model Environment (IDPME).

Lucapa Diamond (ASX:LOM)
Two additional kimberlites have been added to Lucapa’s Angolan Project Lulo priority bulk sampling program, boosting the total kimberlites to be bulk sampled to 20. The company says these additional kimberlites contain an abundance of high-interest diamond indicator minerals.

ChemX Materials (ASX:CMX)
The advanced materials company has completed commissioning of the individual stages of its HPA Micro Plant, and is now undergoing final stage integrated process commissioning. The key objectives from the Micro Plant operation are to optimise the process under continuous operation, and to achieve a 99.99% (4N) purity HPA on a consistent basis.