ASX to fall sharply as Nasdaq sinks

Aussie shares are set to open much lower this morning, with the ASX 200 June futures pointing down by 1.51% at 8am AEDT.

Overnight, US stocks got smashed as the Fed continues to loom large.

With the ongoing prospect of faster rate hikes, the tech heavy Nasdaq index by dropped 4% while the blue-chip S&P500 index slumped by almost 3%.

Market darling Tesla wiped off more than US$100bn off its market cap, or around 12%, just one day after Elon Musk flagged plans to use some of his Tesla shares as collateral to fund a debt-based acquisition of Twitter.

Energy was the only sector that got a boost, as crude oil prices rebounded by 3% on news that China’s central bank might step in to shore up the economy following recent lockdowns.

Back on home turf, Aussie investors are anxiously waiting for the latest inflation data from the ABS, which is due out later today.

The consensus is for a 4.6% headline CPI, a huge increase from the 3.5% YoY reading in the last quarter.

Experts agree that today’s CPI data will dictate whether the RBA will raise its rates in May or June, and by how much.

In cryptos, Bitcoin has fallen below US$40k again, trading at US$38,400 at 8.30am AEDT.

US Securities and Exchange Commission boss Gary Gensler labelled crypto the “Wild West” of finance late last year. But largely unregulated as it has been for a long time, does it do the industry a huge disservice to tar it as one big gambling den?

Read all about that story here on Coinhead.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Prospa (ASX:PGL)
Prospa released its quarterly update today. The fintech reported third-quarter originations of $172 million (up 42% on pcp), and a record quarterly revenue of $45.9 million (up 61% on pcp). Prospa said investment in technology has underpinned the growth.

Harmoney Corp (ASX:HMY)
Harmoney’s group loan book reached NZ$627 million in the quarter, up 29% on pcp. Australian new customer originations were up 218% on pcp to $63.8 million. Harmoney says Australian originations have now materially surpassed NZ originations, proving the success of its consumer-direct model in the Aussie market.

Lodestar Minerals (ASX:LSR)
Preliminary metallurgical testwork has confirmed nickel recoveries of between 85% to 97%. Saleable nickel concentrate grades (>13% Ni) were also achieved for all three composite samples.

Stavely Minerals (ASX:SVY)
Stavely reported high-grade zones grading of up to 7.17% copper, 30.6g/t gold and 52g/t silver in the deepest intercepts on the Cayley Lode. Initial Mineral Resource figures are due later this quarter.

HITIQ has established a Scientific and Medical Advisory Council comprised of world leading experts in the field of concussion. The panel aims to provide scientific and clinical guidance to bolster both client outcomes and corporate capability as part of the company’s growth plan.