• ASX to open the day lower following Wall Street’s retreat
  • Investors are concerned about the rise in oil, with Brent now trading nearing US$124 a barrel
  • Ethereum is close to its much anticipated “merger”

Local shares are set to open lower this morning, with the ASX 200 June futures index pointing down by 0.75% at 8am AEST.

Overnight, Wall Street retreated from a two-day rally with all three major indexes falling by around 1% each.

Investors were concerned about the relentless rise in the price of oil, which has fulled worries that inflation could march out of control.

The benchmark Brent crude jumped 3% to US$123.80 a barrel overnight, despite US commercial crude oil inventories rising unexpectedly last week.

“Refining margins globally suggest that demand for petrol and diesel remain in heavy demand, with the refining logjam in refined products backstopping crude prices,” said Oanda market analyst, Jeff Halley.

“The reopening of China is also supportive of oil prices,” he added.

Friday’s US CPI data is also weighing heavily on the market, with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen already telling senators earlier this week that she expected inflation to remain high.

Closer to home, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand said it will begin selling bonds bought as part of the pandemic buy-back program at a rate of $NZ5 billion per fiscal year.

In the US, the Fed has also laid out a plan to buy back its bonds at a rate of up to US$60bn a month.

But in Australia, the RBA currently has no plans to sell bonds from its portfolio, preferring instead to tighten the economy through a hawkish monetary policy.

In the crypto market, Bitcoin has lost 3% in the last 24 hours, trading now at US$30,300.

Ethereum’s highly anticipated “Merge” – a transition from its current proof-of-work (PoW) mechanism to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm – is reportedly moving a step closer in just a few hours.

Read all about that here on Coinhead.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Panoramic Resources (ASX:PAN)
PAN has completed its fourth shipment of nickel-copper-cobalt concentrate since the restart of operations at the company’s Savannah Nickel Project. The shipment contained total of 10,489t of nickel-copper-cobalt concentrate is being delivered to offtake partner Jinchuan, and will now be heading for the Port of Lianyungang in China. Provisional invoice of US$18.1m has been submitted, with payment expected next week.

Metals Australia (ASX:MLS)
Metals Australia has produced a substantial intersection in drill hole MNRC071 at its Manindi Project in WA. Results include: 82m @ 0.30% V2O5, 27.5% Fe, >2% Ti*, 0.02% Ni, 0.03% Cu, 147 ppm Co from 48m.

Recharge Metals (ASX:REC)
Recharge has reported further significant copper intersections from the RC drilling program at the Brandy Hill South Project. Results include: [email protected]% Cu from 63m, and 14m @ 0.72% Cu from 64m.

Triangle Energy (ASX:TEG)
Activities will begin on the CH-10 Workover well after it was shut down in September 2021 due to a downhole electrical fault. Triangle will now restore and commence production from the Cliff Head 10 well, and expects to increase production by 130 barrels of oil per day.

RLF has expanded and executed a long-term distribution agreement in Cambodia, with a minimum first phase sales commitment of US$1.7 million over five years. The deal was signed with Total Agree (Cambodia) Co. Ltd, for the distribution of RLF plant nutrition products in Cambodia.