Market highlights and 5 ASX small caps to watch on Monday
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The S&P 500 and Dow Jones both hit fresh new highs on Friday, extending their climb this year.
S&P500 rose by 0.77%, the Dow Jones climbed by 0.89%, while the tech heavy NASDAQ also finished higher by 0.51%.
Tech shares were some of the biggest winners last week, as US treasury yields have eased. The 10-year yield was trading at 1.66% on Friday, after climbing to as high as 1.75% earlier this year.
Earnings season will start this week in the US, with the major banks expected to be first off the block.
In other markets, oil prices were slightly down by 0.2%. Iron ore continues its climb, higher by 0.3% to trade at US$173.54 a tonne.
Bitcoin was trading at US$59,500 level at 8am AEDT. The crypto broke through the $US60k a couple of times on the weekend.
The Morrison government says that its plan to fully vaccinate by October is now up in the air, citing difficulties in getting vaccine supplies.
A new Australia Post CEO is expected to be named today. The previous CEO, Christine Holgate, was forced to step down after it was revealed that she was giving expensive Cartier watches to her staff as a performance reward.
In other CEO news, Synlait Milk (ASX:SMI) CEO, Leon Clement, has decided to step down, after serving in that role since September 2018. During his tenure, he has achieved $1 billion revenue for the company in FY19, the first time a billion dollar revenue was reached. He will continue his role until May 1.
The fintech personal lender reported that NZ$2 billion in total originations was achieved in the quarter ending 31 March. Loans to new customers also increased by 60 per cent to NZ$44.1 million in the quarter. New customer acquisition in Australia was the main growth driver with record new loan originations of $9.4 million.
Another fintech loans company, Plenti, has also provided a quarterly update, saying that it has achieved record quarterly loan originations of $172.4 million, 120 per cent above the prior corresponding period, and 32 per cent above prior quarter. Its total loan portfolio has now increased to $615 million, 61 per cent above prior corresponding period. Plenti also successfully launched its BNPL zero-interest payment plan for renewable energy customers this quarter.
BNPL company Payright has reported a record quarter, with Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) up 38 per cent to $22.2 million. Its total number of customers was also up 52% to circa 47,500. These quarterly results followed a strong half, in which it posted a 38 per cent increase in revenue to $5.8 million for the six months ending 31 December 2020.
Antipa Minerals (ASX:AZY)
The mining company is set to rise this morning, after announcing that its budget for the Citadel JV 2021 Exploration Programme has significantly expanded to $24.5 million from $13.8 million. The programme is a JV with Rio Tinto, and as a result of sole funding in excess of $25 million in exploration expenditure on the project to date, Rio Tinto’s joint venture interest has now increased from 51% to 65%.
Natural gas and helium producer Renergen announced its first helium sales agreement with a global acting, tier-one automotive supplier, in the company’s first direct-to-consumer helium deal. Without naming the customer, Renergen says the landmark transaction will see a substantial volume of helium from Phase 2 placed directly to the customer through the agreement, and is one of the key contracts underpinning Phase 2 development at the Virginia Gas Project.