Wall Street gains for second consecutive day

US stocks pushed higher overnight on a slew of upbeat economic data and a positive omicron update.

The US consumer confidence index has improved further in December, while US home sales increased for the third straight month in November. Meanwhile, US GDP increased by 2.3% for the quarter, beating estimates of 2.1%.

All three major US stockmarket indexes rose – the S&P 500 by 1.02%, Dow Jones by 0.74%, and tech heavy Nasdaq by 1.18%.

Stockmarkets in Europe also rallied as a South African study showed that risk of severe disease and hospitalisation is reduced for the omicron variant compared to delta.

Shares in biotech Allakos crashed 90% on the Nasdaq exchange, after its Phase3 clinical trials of lirentelimab did not demonstrate significant improvement in patients with gastrointestinal diseases.

In other markets, Brent crude rose by 1% while the iron ore price dipped by 2.5%.

Bitcoin traded lower by 1% and at 8am AEDT this morning, was changing hands at US$48,955.

Interest in NFTs, metaverse and play-to-earn gaming has increased significantly in 2021.

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Check this out as five crypto identities from leading projects tell Stockhead what’s in the crystal ball.

ASX 200 to open lower on Thursday

Despite the action on Wall Street, the ASX 200 looks set to open lower this morning, with futures markets (January contracts) pointing down by 0.3% at 8:30am AEDT.

Yesterday, the Santa rally continued with the ASX closing higher by 0.13%, despite trading lower for much of the day.

Tech had a solid day gaining 2.6%, while health and telcos also gained 0.78%.

On the IPO front, two new stocks will be making their ASX debut today:

Black Mountain Energy (ASX:BME), a gang looking to get fracking at its Valhalla project in WA’s Canning Basin will list at 1pm AEDT.

And copper, nickel, PGE and zinc explorer Rubix Resources (ASX:RB6), who owns traditional mining exploration projects in Queensland and WA.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR)
The company signed an offtake agreement with Tesla to supply natural graphite anodes from its production facility in Vidalia, US. Tesla will offtake the majority of the production capacity at Vidalia at a fixed price for an initial term of four years. Tesla also has an option to offtake additional volume from Vidalia, subject to Syrah expanding its capacity beyond 10kt per annum.

Black Rock Mining (ASX:BKT)
BKT has signed a deal with POSCO for 100% offtake as well as product prepayment commitments of $10m that will support the development of its Mahenge Graphite Mine in Tanzania.

NeoMetals (ASX:NMT)
Neometals says it has successfully commissioned its pilot plant, and commenced production of a titanium-rich gravity concentrate sample for offtake evaluation trials at its Barrambie project in WA. Approximately 150 tonnes of gravity concentrates will be produced and shipped in Q1 2022, with the majority going to titanium slag producer Jiuxing.

DigitalX (ASX:DCC)
The blockchain tech company has appointed Lisa Wade, former Head of Digital Innovation and Sustainability at National Australia Bank, as its new CEO. Wade has over 30 years’ experience in financial markets, and has a strong background in blockchain project development.

Genex Power (ASX:GNX)
The company has entered into a deal with Powerlink Queensland to allow the connection of GNX’s 50MW/100MWh Bouldercombe Battery Project into the National Electricity Market (NEM) via Powerlink’s network.