S&P 500 at record high again

All three US stock market benchmarks were higher on Tuesday, bolstered by the Biden-Xi virtual meeting.

S&P 500 rose by 0.51% and closed at record level again, while the Dow Jones and tech-heavy Nasdaq were up by 0.28% and 0.85% respectively.

Presidents Biden and Xi have agreed to cooperate on a range of issues, although there were no breakthroughs on the issue of Taiwan.

Biden also told reporters he will announce a nominee for Federal Reserve chair in the next four days, casting a doubt whether incumbent Jerome Powell will be re-elected.

US retail sales rose for a third consecutive month in October, up by 1.7% since September, even as inflation is rising at the fastest rate in three decades.

Retailer Home Depot was the biggest gainer in the Dow overnight, jumping by 6% after net sales rose 10% in the quarter, beating estimates. Walmart also reported third-quarter profit and revenue well above estimates.

Meanwhile, employees of Nasdaq-listed video games creator Activision Blizzard said they’re launching a walkout today after a Wall Street Journal article detailed CEO Bobby Kotick’s knowledge of sexual harassment at the company.

In other markets, oil prices were slightly higher by 0.3% while spot iron ore was up 1%.

Bitcoin slumped to US$59,700 at 8am AEDT, down from US$63,800 yesterday.

Hundreds of billions of dollars were wiped off cryptocurrencies in the last few hours, with coins like ethereum, Binance’s BNB, and solana losing up to 10%.

ASX 200 to open higher on Wednesday

The ASX 200 looks set to open higher this morning, with futures markets (December contracts) pointing up by 0.25% at 8:30am AEDT.

Yesterday, the local index finished 0.67% down at 7,420 points. All sectors were down except tech, which gained 0.18%.

Later today, the wage price index is due, and will be the make or break for the Australian market.

On the IPO front, two stocks are set to make their debut on the ASX today.

Kalgoorlie Gold Mining (ASX:KAL), a mineral explorer that raised $12m at 20c.
Lycaon Resources (ASX:LYN), a mineral explorer that raised $20m at 20c.

In large caps news this morning, Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) reported $2.2b cash profit in Q1, up 20% on pcp.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

PharmAust (ASX:PAA)
The biotech company said Phase 1 trials testing the effects of monepantel (MPL) in patients with motor neurone disease (MND) and people affected by COVID-19 are on track. Both trials are expected to start in May 2022.

Plenti (ASX:PLT)
The fintech company has posted record half-year loan originations of $473 million, up 183% on pcp. CEO Daniel Foggo said the company has reached a $1bn loan portfolio, and is the first listed fintech company to do so.

Castillo Copper (ASX:CCZ)
Preliminary findings from the drilling campaign Arya Prospect have identified potentially 200 metres of base metal and graphite mineralisation. This is a major development given the strong prevailing demand for battery related minerals such as copper, cobalt, and graphite – according to CEO, Simon Paull.

Agrimin (ASX:AMN)
The company announced a significant increase to the modelled renewable energy penetration rate for the Mackay Potash Project. Front End Engineering Design (FEED) work has delivered an 84% renewable energy penetration rate, which supports its transition to net zero emissions.

Blackearth Minerals (ASX:BEM)
BEM announced that Razafy Northwest has provided a significant 32% increase in Total Indicated Graphite inventory at its 100% owned Maniry Project. The Razafy NW has an indicated and inferred resource comprising of 2.9Mt @ 9.82%, and total graphitic carbon at a 6% TGC cut-off grade.

At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While PharmAust, Plenti and Blackearth Minerals are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.