All eyes on the open

ASX futures closed 2% higher on the weekend, after another strong session for US stocks on Friday night.

But that was before another sharp escalation in the fast-moving Russia-Ukraine conflict, which included a historic round of sanctions against Russia that some analysts say could rattle the global financial system.

All three US indices finished strongly on Friday – the S&P 500 by 2.24%, the Dow Jones by 2.51%, and tech heavy Nasdaq by 1.54%.

Along with a freeze on assets held by the Russian Central Bank, a number of other Russian banks were kicked out of the SWIFT network — a global payments settlement system.

In light of that, ASX markets will open ahead of global markets later tonight, when some analysts have forecast huge moves in the Russian ruble and other asset classes as investors adjust to the rapid isolation of Russia.

The situation in Ukraine continues to be tense as Russian forces surround the capital Kyiv this morning, but oil has retreated to below US$100 to US$98.11/barrel.

Oil analysts say that if Kyiv falls, a new round of sanctions could be slapped on Russia which may include oil and gas export sanctions.

Gold prices are back below the $1,900 level as risk appetite returns, and is trading at $US1,888.96/oz.

Meanwhile Bitcoin is trading at US$37,416 at 8.30am AEDT from the US$38k level on Friday.

The crypto market hasn’t been experiencing a great start to 2022, with many cryptos down by double-digits after the selloff in January.

David Angliss says his Apollo’s flagship Capital Fund has been responding by intensifying the firm’s focus on a low-risk strategy involving dollar-pegged stablecoins known as yield farming.

Read all about that here on Coinhead.


ASX 200 to open higher on Monday

Local stocks performed admirably on Friday, closing 0.10% higher, considering a trans-national conflict is in full swing. But for the week, the ASX 200 was down 3%.

The index was helped by the new-look Afterpay, now known as Block Inc (ASX:SQ2), which surged 32% after its US parent released a Q4 trading update that beat analyst expectations on gross transaction volumes and earnings per share.

Later today, we’ll see the Australian Bureau of Statistics releasing its Business Indicators publication for the December quarter and preliminary retail trade update for January.

The RBA meanwhile, will release the Financial Aggregates publication, which includes private sector credit figures for January while the Melbourne Institute issues the February inflation gauge.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Wisr Ltd (ASX:WZR)
H1 FY22 revenue was $26.2m, a 163% increase on the pcp. Wisr has now experienced 22 consecutive quarters of loan growth, with total new loan originations up 84% on pcp to $268m .The company says its path-to-profitability is well on track in this half.

MyDeal (ASX:MYD)
The company delivered record revenue growth for the third consecutive half, with record gross sales of $152.6m, up 20.4% on pcp. MyDeal’s guidance for FY22 gross sales is $270m, and says that it’s on track for $500m of gross sales and positive EBITDA by FY25.

Biome Australia (ASX:BIO)
The vitamins company reported record sales for the half, with revenue up 98.2% to $1.8m on pcp. Underlying operating loss for the period was $1.98m, a 40% reduction compared to the pcp. Biome says its outlook is positive, with revenue growth expected to continue, and two new product launches planned in the second half.

Payright (ASX:PYR)
The BNPL company’s receivables grew to $89.9m, up 64% on pcp, while top line total revenue was $7.9m, up 36% on pcp. Operating loss for the half was $6m, but the company says there is a clear pathway to operating profitability.

Lumos Diagnostics (ASX:LDX)
Brazil’s health regulatory agency, ANVISA, has granted market authorization for Lumos’ FebriDx test. FebriDx is a rapid 10-minute point-of-care test to aid healthcare professionals in detecting and 
differentiating bacterial from viral acute respiratory infections. This approval means that FebriDx is now available to healthcare providers in the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, UAE and Brazil.