• ASX is set to open sharply higher today after Friday’s big rally on Wall Street
  • US major banks pass Fed’s “stress test”
  • On the agenda this week includes OPEC+’s meeting

Wall Street leapt higher on Friday, with banks leading the way as they aced the Fed’s ‘stress tests’.

The tests were designed to show they were able to withstand a hypothetical severe recession, and the results were a reassuring sign of the financial strength of the US banking system.

All US stock market indices rallied sharply – the S&P 500 by 3.06%, the Dow by 2.68% and tech heavy Nasdaq by 3.34%.

The rally was also sparked by comments from the usually hawkish Fed policymaker James Bullard, who said he does not expect the US to enter a recession.

But Bullard said an aggressive rate hike is the best way to “nip inflation in the bud before it gets entrenched in the economy.”

”If all goes well, inflation starts coming down to our [2%] target, you won’t need the policy rate to be so so high.

”I actually think we’ll be fine,” Bullard added.

Bitcoin has caught the wave of new sentiment, now trading at US$21,330 at 8.30am AEST.

The commodities market meanwhile, seems to have baked a recession into its prices. Copper, a bellwether for the economy, ended the week 6% lower. Iron ore and oil also declined during the week amid concerns of slower demand.

This week, investors’ eyes will be closely glued to a couple of important events.

First, OPEC+ will meet to talk about its August oil production, while Tesla’s ability to generate end-of-quarter deliveries will be a good indicator of the current state of global supply chain.

On the ASX, local shares are expected to rise sharply this morning, with the July ASX 200 index futures pointing up by 1.60% this morning.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

RPM Global (ASX:RUL)
Total Contracted Value (TCV) derived from software licence sales year-to-date has broken through the $50m barrier, and now sits at $50.3m. This was an increase of $3.2m from RPM’s last announcement to the market two weeks ago of $47.1m.

OptiScan (ASX:OIL)
OptiScan announced a new strategic partnership with China-based Sinsi Technology for the distribution of its ViewnVivo (FIVE2) research and pre-clinical device. OptiScan says Sinsi is a trusted and established Chinese distributor within the science and biotechnology sectors.

EMVision (ASX:EMV)
EMV has successfully achieved a milestone for the company’s First Responder (2nd Gen) device under Australia’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) program, in partnership with the Australian Stroke Alliance (ASA). Achievement of this milestone has resulted in EMVision receiving a $600,000 milestone payment from the ASA under the program.

Imugene (ASX:IMU)
Imugene has reported positive final overall survival data from its Phase 2 study of HER-Vaxx following analysis of safety and efficacy data. The results showed a 41.5% survival benefit for patients treated with HER-Vaxx plus SOC chemotherapy compared to SOC chemotherapy alone.

Many Peaks Gold (ASX:MPG)
Initial soil sampling results received for the Rawlins Project in WA showed extended copper and gold anomalism. Results support the targeting of porphyry style mineralisation similar to that at Cannindah Resources’ adjoining Mt Cannindah Project located 20km to the southeast.