• The ASX is set to open higher on Thursday, tracking Wall Street and Europe
  • Banking turmoil fears have eased as banking stocks rallied
  • Bitcoin also rallied by over 4pc


Aussie shares are set to rally, tracking stocks across Europe and Wall Street as concerns about stress in the banking sector eased further. At 7.30am AEDT, the April futures contract was pointing up by 0.7%.

Overnight, the S&P 500 rose by 1.42%, the Nasdaq by 1.7%, while stock markets across Europe rallied by around 1.5%.

Pretty much all US regional bank stocks climbed, and rate-sensitive tech stocks like Amazon and Apple led the session.

The CBOE volatility index, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge which measures the short term expected volatility in the stock market, fell to its lowest level in the last 3 weeks.

Among other advancers were Alibaba, which rose a further 1.7% a day after announcing its plan to break up the company and seek five potential IPOs.

Experts have heralded the move as the start of a wave of “enormous opportunities” in China for global investors because in the last couple of years, there have been a slew of investors shunning the country.

“One of the main reasons for that has been Beijing’s unpredictable, full-throttle regulatory crackdowns,” notes Nigel Green, CEO of de Vere Consulting.

“So this news is hugely significant, not only because Alibaba is an organisation that has huge influence over the world’s second largest economy, but because we also expect it to represent the end of Beijing-led regulatory crackdowns on various sectors, including tech.”

Over in Europe, Sergio Ermotti, UBS CEO from 2011 to 2020, has returned to the role to replace Ralph Hamers following the Credit Suisse acquisition.

Reports however are circulating that whistleblowers are working with the US government to uncover facts surrounding rumours that Credit Suisse offered a safe haven for affluent American customers to conceal assets from the IRS.


In other markets…

Crude prices fell half a per cent overnight despite the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reporting a relatively modest inventory build of 1.1 million barrels for the previous week.

At 473.7 million barrels, the EIA said crude oil inventories are still 6% above the five-year average for this time of the year.

Iron ore was up +1.5% to $US124.40 a tonne, while gold slipped 0.5% to US$1,964.31.

Given how turbulent and uncertain the market is right now, Katana’s portfolio manager Romano Sala Tenna says the resources sector is where he is finding shelter from the storm, particularly in the gold and lithium space.

The Perth-based boutique investment funds firm usually holds between 55 to 65 stocks, but right now they are sitting at 42.

Read the rest of that story here: MoneyTalks: Why Romano Sala Tenna sees value in gold and lithium stocks

Bitcoin meanwhile rallied by over 4% in the last 24 hours to US$28,487.

According to a recent survey, Bitcoin remains the favourite crypto asset among Australians.

“Looking ahead, we believe the top-down macro outlook remains the main crypto driver for now, with the lower inflation and interest rate outlook supportive,” said Josh Gilbert, market analyst at eToro.

“The asset class remains one of the positive wild cards of 2023 after being the worst performing asset in 2022.

“However, there is still continued uncertainty in wider capital markets, meaning it may not all be one way for Bitcoin and crypto assets this year.”


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Halo Food (ASX:HLF)
Halo announced its 100% owned subsidiary The Healthy Mummy has been successful in increasing its ranging in Woolworths. THM recently participated in the Woolworths Vitamins range review, and has been awarded three products to go into store from late June 2023. The sales value of the products to Halo is forecast to be approximately $1 million in the first year. This sales value is in addition to the THM powder smoothie products presently ranged in Woolworths.

EZZ Life Science (ASX:EZZ)
EZZ announced the launch of its Amazon online store in Australia, along with the release of three new EZZ branded products. The company has selected an initial range of 29 key products to be distributed through Amazon, with further products to be added in coming months. Fifteen of these products are EZZ branded products and 14 are EAORON branded products.

AIC Mines (ASX:A1M)
Exploration and resource definition drilling completed at Eloise over the six months since the previous MROR estimate has significantly increased both mineral resources and ore reserves. Mineral resources have increased to 137,200 tonnes of contained copper and 118,800 ounces of contained gold, representing a 19% increase in copper and a 19% increase in gold net of mining depletion. Ore reserves have increased to 52,600 tonnes of contained copper and 43,100 ounces of contained gold, representing a 46% increase in copper and a 32% increase in gold net of mining depletion.

Patriot Battery Metals (ASX:PMT)
Results from the extension drilling of the high-grade Nova Zone eastwardly by 400m in Quebec include: 83.7m at 3.13% Li2O (222.7m to 306.4m), including 19.8m at 5.28% Li2O and 5.1m at 5.17% Li2O (CV23-105), and 132.2m at 1.22% Li2O (274.1m to 406.3m), including 11.2m at 2.99% Li2O and 6.0m at 2.92% Li2O (CV23-106).

Orbital Corporation (ASX:OEC)
OEC has signed a continuation contract worth $2.08 million with its major Singapore customer. The ‘exercise of option’ falls under the principal engine development contract signed in July 2022, and will take the design & development and verification & validation phase of the program through to its completion. The company says the engine development program for the customer maintains its scheduled plan towards start of production in 2023.


At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While EZZ Life Science is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.