• ASX 200 to open slightly lower on Wednesday
  • Wall Street closed higher, driven by speculation of Fed rate cuts
  • Northern Minerals announces cyber attack after Treasurer directs Chinese investors to divest shares


The ASX 200 is poised to fall slightly when the market opens on Wednesday. At 8am AEST, the ASX200 futures contract was pointing down by -0.1%.

Despite an initial decline, Wall Street managed to close higher overnight. This positive turn was fueled by the release of the latest US jobs data, known as JOLTS, which hinted at a potential slowdown in the US economy, possibly prompting future rate cuts by the Fed.

The S&P 500 finished by +0.15% higher, the blue chips Dow Jones index was up by +0.36%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lifted by +0.17%.

The US bond market saw additional gains (yields slumping), following the release of the JOLTS report. This follows the big rally yesterday driven by soft manufacturing data.

“The evidence is accumulating that the Fed should begin easing,” said Ronald Templ at Lazard.

Crude oil prices continued to decline, trading at their lowest level in four months now, after OPEC+ announced plans to relax production limits which deepened the negative sentiment in the oil market.

Additionally, the price of copper dipped below the US$10,000 mark.

To stocks, Nvidia gained +1.25% after announcing that it was still in the process of certifying Samsung’s high-bandwidth memory chips, which is the last step needed before Samsung can start providing a crucial component for training AI systems.

Bitcoin miner Core Scientific rose +40% after reportedly receiving a buyout offer of around US$1 billion from CoreWeave Inc., a privately owned cloud computing provider.

Back home and later today, the ABS will release the quarterly GDP figures, where analysts anticipate a 0.2% increase.

Additionally, RBA governor Michele Bullock is scheduled to testify before the Senate.


Northern Minerals the victim of cyberattack

Rare earths producer Northern Minerals (ASX:NTU) issued a statement after the bell yesterday, saying that it was the victim of a cyber attack.

The incident came after Treasurer Jim Chalmers directed Chinese investors, including Yuxio Fund, to sell their shares in Northern Minerals, which operates the Browns Range mine in Western Australia.

The mine aims to be a significant producer of dysprosium, crucial for electric vehicles, outside China.

Read later: Argonaut makes bullish call on Northern Minerals despite rare earths price slump. Here’s why

A notorious ransomware hacker going by the name BianLian has posted and leaked information about the incident in the dark web.

The group claimed to have taken operational, strategic, financial, and personal employee information, as well as corporate email archives and data on shareholders and potential investors.

NTU’s release last evening read:

“The breach has not had a material impact on the company’s operations or broader systems. Since the breach, the company has reviewed its processes and implemented actions to further strengthen its systems.

“Northern Minerals will provide further updates as and when appropriate.”


In other markets …

Gold price slumped by -1% to US$2,327.80 an ounce.

Oil prices retreated further by -1.5%, with Brent crude now trading at US$77.19 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield was down a further 6 basis points (bond prices higher) to 4.34% on weak JOLTS data.

The Aussie dollar fell by -0.6% to 66.50 cents.

The iron ore price dropped another -2% to US$107.65 a tonne.

Bitcoin meanwhile rose by +2% in the last 24 hours to US$70,603, while Ethereum was also up around +1% to US$3,817.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Jade Gas (ASX:JGH)
Jade is swiftly moving into the resource development phase after achieving success in its gas field, which spans over 45km in the South Gobi region of Mongolia. This rapid progression is fuelled by the high demand for gas in customer markets, and it’s anticipated to facilitate the conversion of gas sale opportunities in the near future. A drilling contractor has been chosen for the gas production program, which is set to begin in the upcoming weeks. This strategic move is backed by the remaining $7.9m available from UBM.

MTM Critical Metals (ASX:MTM)
MTM has partnered with Murdoch University to investigate research collaborations for metal extraction using Flash Joule Heating (FJH) technology. Murdoch’s expertise in extractive metallurgy complements research conducted by Rice University, where FJH technology was invented and developed by Professor James Tour. Together, MTM and Murdoch aim to advance FJH technology by establishing research programs and infrastructure at Murdoch for testing waste streams and developing new mineral processing solutions for primary ores. Additionally, they plan to seek joint funding from various sources, including grants from Australian, US, and industry sources.

Anson Resources (ASX:ASN)
Anson says high-grade gallium (Ga) and barium (Ba) have been discovered in historic drill holes at two new prospect areas, 8km north of recent drilling at Ethel Maude & Surprise. Gallium assays reached up to 34.4g/t, with indium (In) and germanium (Ge) not previously assayed. Continuous mineralised intersections were found from surface to 170 meters deep, correlating with government-funded geochemical sampling records. These critical minerals are associated with Zn-Pb-Ag mineralization in the project area, suggesting potential for numerous deposits across Ajana Project. Some minerals can be enriched 5 to 10-fold during zinc ore processing. Extensions of mineralised zones have been identified for further drilling programs.

Sky Metals (ASX:SKY)
Sky says initial assay results from the ongoing drilling program at the Tallebung Tin Project have been received. Among these results is the discovery of high-grade tin mineralization in the southernmost drillhole. This particular drillhole, TBRC078, marks a significant expansion beyond the previous extent of drilling, yielding promising results: 11m at 1.02% tin, 77.9g/t silver, and 0.13% tungsten from 64m depth. This discovery substantially enlarges the Tallebung tin deposit, particularly along its southern strike, offering potential for further discoveries.

Tempus Resources (ASX:TMR)
A large airborne geophysical survey has kicked off at the Prescott Project in Nunavut, Canada. This survey involves a gravity gradiometric and magnetic assessment covering the entire project area. All necessary permits for the 2024 geophysical and geochemical exploration campaigns have been secured. Notably, the Prescott Project sits just 100km away from American West Metals’ Storm Project, which boasts an Indicated & Inferred resource of 17.5 Mt @ 1.2% Cu and 3.4g/t Ag.


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