• ASX to fall slightly as S&P 500 touches 5,000 for first time
  • Arm Holdings rockets by 48pc, Walt Disney by 11pc
  • Eli Lily unseats Tesla in market cap


Aussie shares are poised to open lower on Friday, despite a modest rally in New York. At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 index futures contract was pointing down by -0.1%.

Overnight, the S&P 500 closed higher by +0.05% to 4,997, after briefly hitting 5,000 for the very first time. The blue chips Dow Jones index was up by +0.13%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lifted by +0.24%.

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond president, Thomas Barkin, became the latest Fed member to say that policymakers should bide their time in cutting rates.

“No one wants inflation to reemerge. And given robust demand and a historically strong labor market, we have time to build that confidence before we begin the process of toggling rates down,” Barkin said.

To stocks,  Arm Holdings rocketed by +48% after the chipmaker reported Q3 earnings that beat estimates, and provided a strong profit guidance for the current quarter.

Walt Disney spiked by +11% after CEO Bob Iger said the company would enter the gaming industry with a US$1.5 billion stake in Epic Games, the maker of blockbuster Fortnite. Disney also it will stream an exclusive version of musician Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour movie on Disney+.

Paypal meanwhile crumbled by -11% despite Q4 results beating analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines. However investors were disappointed with its FY24 guidance.


Eli Lily unseats Tesla

Meanwhile, US pharma company Eli Lilly has quietly eclipsed Tesla in terms of market cap, closing at US$700bn vs Tesla’s US$593bn.

America’s biggest drugmaker reported huge revenue gains for Q4 courtesy of its obesity and diabetes drugs.

Demand for its blockbuster drugs Mounjaro and Zepbound, which hit the market after gaining FDA approval in November,  helped the company to massive quarterly sales.

The pharma giant took in US$9.35 billion in Q4 revenue, with quarterly profit up 13% from the previous year.

WSJ  noted that Eli Lilly’s shares are priced like a glitzy fast-growing tech company’s.

JP Morgan meanwhile says the market for obesity drugs, or what’s called the GLP-1 market, will exceed US$100 billion by 2030, driven equally by diabetes and obesity usage.

Total GLP-1 users in the US alone may number 30 million by 2030 — or around 9% of the overall population, says the bank.


In other markets …

Gold price was flat at US$2,033.75 an ounce.

Oil prices lifted another +3%, with Brent now trading at US$81.80 a barrel – amid doubts over a potential ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield was up 4 basis points (bond prices lower) to 4.15%.

Iron ore futures jumped +2% to US$127.80 a tonne.

The Aussie dollar slipped almost -0.5% to US64.92c.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin was up +2.5% in the last 24 hours to US$45,439.

“Technically speaking, Bitcoin has broken out of a range and could be looking for a push to a fresh yearly high through $50,000,” LMAX Digital said in a note.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR)
Syrah has commenced Active Anode Material (AAM) production at its 11.25ktpa Vidalia facility in Louisiana, USA. Vidalia is the first vertically integrated natural graphite AAM supplier outside China, processing natural graphite from Syrah’s Balama Graphite Operation in Mozambique. The US Department of Energy is currently undertaking due diligence for an additional loan for the Vidalia’s further expansion.

Mandrake Resources (ASX:MAN)
A permit has been received from the Bureau of Land Management for the re-entry of two wells to sample lithium-rich brines at the 100%-owned, large-scale, Utah Lithium Project. The permit allows for the perforation and isolation of individual potentially lithium-rich reservoirs – crucial when targeting high grade lithium.

Black Cat Syndicate (ASX:BC8)
Black Cat has commenced refurbishment works on the Paulsens processing facility. The BC8 team has been systematically working through the processing plant conducting maintenance work as well as setting detailed plans for future refurbishment works. BC8 says work to date has been extremely productive, with significant upside identified, particularly in the crushing circuit.

Kin Mining (ASX:KIN)
KIN says that it has completed the sale of selected gold deposits within its Cardinia Gold Project in WA to Genesis Minerals (ASX: GMD), as announced on 14 December. Following the sale, KIN says it is well-placed to pursue strategic growth options with cash and liquid assets totalling $80m.

SI6 Metals (ASX:SI6)
The acquisition of 50% interest in Brazilian Exploration portfolio from Foxfire Metals has been completed. Projects include 10 exploration licences comprising ~17,000 hectares in prime Brazilian exploration locations hosting REE Ionic Adsorption Clay deposits and significant lithium spodumene resources. The transaction also includes access to Foxfire’s highly experienced in-house technical team.