Local stocks look set to start the week on a flat note, with futures markets drifting sideways ahead of the opening bell on Monday.

It followed another lacklustre session on Wall Street on Friday, where the S&P500 edged lower while the tech-focused Nasdaq fell more than 1%.

US jobs data on Friday night showed the economy only added 199,000 jobs in December (forecast: 422,000), although a decline in labour force participation saw the unemployment rate fall to 3.9%.

In other markets, Brent crude oil prices climbed back above US$80/barrel last week after OPEC chose not to increase its current supply output.

After briefly threatening to fall below US$40,000, Bitcoin bounced off its lows over the weekend and was holding above US$42,000 in early Monday trade.

ASX — the day ahead

There’s no clear direction from futures markets this morning, after a volatile week to start the year which included the ASX’s biggest one-day drop since September 2020 on Thursday.

On the IPO front, healthcare tech solutions provider Careteq Limited (ASX:CTQ) is set to list this morning after raising $6m from investors at 20c per share.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

NickelSearch (ASX:NIS)
The company announced the completion of a high‐resolution ‘Xcite’ helicopter EM and magnetic survey over its nickel project in Carlingup, WA. “Modern time‐domain airborne EM systems like Xcite are not just anomaly hunters, they are also sophisticated 3D mapping tools and can map out alteration as well as important geological variations,” the company said.

Magnetic Resources (ASX:MAU)
The company said its recent infill and extension drill programme had revealed thick and high-grade zones starting from surface at its Lady Julie gold project. “These promising anomalous gold zones are still open to the SE as shown up by MLJRC448 with an intersection of 88m at 1.3g/t from 68m,” MAU said.

Douugh (ASX:DOU)
The fintech provided a trading update where it said its US customer base had increased to 27,560, up 104% from the previous quarter. Platform revenue was tracking at an annualised run rate of $754,000, up 161% q/q, Douugh said.

Allegiance Coal (ASX:AHQ)
AHQ said its completed the first round of testing for a blended coal product from its Mary Lee and Blue Creek operations in the US. The test “delivered a CSR result of 61% making it comparable with high vol A hard coking coals from the US”, AHQ said. “Two additional carbonisation tests will be undertaken on each of the Mary Lee and Blue Creek seams individually purely for coal quality data purposes.”

FYI Resources (ASX:FYI)
The high-purity alumina (HPA) company provided an update on production trials as part of its joint venture project with global partner Alcoa. “An average purity of 99.9978% was achieved during the week-long campaign,” the company said. The samples were sent to EAG Laboratories in New York for analysis “using high level Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry (GDMS) to provide independent, high accuracy confirmation of the HPA grades”, FYI said.