• The ASX is poised to open higher on Thursday following a rally on Wall Street
  • All three major US indices rose ~1.5%, while European markets also gained
  • Rally follows  rise in US consumer confidence in December to eight month high


Markets in Australia are set to rise after US consumer confidence hit an eight-month high in December as inflation eased and the labour market remained strong.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 108.3 in December, which is the highest reading since April and up from 101.4 in November.

At 8am (AEDT) ASX 200 futures are pointing upwards to 0.6% higher.

US markets finished up, with the Dow Jones putting on 1.60%, the tech heavy NASDAQ  up 1.54%, and the S&P 500 gaining 1.49%.

In Europe stocks were also enjoying some Christmas optimism, with the FTSE 100 up 1.72%, Euronext 100 rising 1.84% and the DAX rallying 1.54%.

The price of gold has fallen back 0.18%,  while industrial metals rose. Nickel was up 3.23%, zinc rose 2.02%, tin was up 0.37%, aluminium rose 0.61% and iron ore was also up 0.27%. The price of oil was also back up with Brent crude putting on 3.30%, WTI up 3.16%, while natural gas also rose 2.58%.

Bitcoin has fallen back overnight and was down 0.74% to ~US$16,775, while the Aussie dollar put on 0.45% to be trading at US67 cents.

The Japanese yen continued its big run after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) joined the hawk party on Tuesday, up 0.49% to US/JPY 132.29.

Japan’s central bank said it will expand the range of 10-year Japan government bond yield fluctuations from its current +/- 0.25 percentage points to +/- 0.5 percentage points.

Japan has been the developed world’s last country to hold out on raising ultra low interest rates but its announcement is a signal that its central bank is getting nervy and may change its policy course.


5 ASX small caps to watch on the ASX today

SILK Laser (ASX: SLA) has announce it has entered into a deal to buy Eden Laser Clinics Pty Ltd, which is a network of full-service aesthetic clinics established 11 years ago, offering laser hair removal, skin treatments, tattoo removal, body sculpting, and injectable treatments.

Eden Laser Clinics operates 10 cosmetic clinics with 9 in NSW and one in the ACT. SLA said the  network is highly complementary to its current operations with many of its clinics in key centres throughout the Sydney region, and a client database of over 130,000 people.

Post acquisition, SILK will have a network of 141 clinics across Australia and New Zealand.

NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH) has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Golding Contractors (Golding) has entered into a 5-year Mining Services Agreement with Jellinbah Mining Pty Ltd at the Jellinbah East Mine in Central Queensland.

The scope includes mining pre-strip overburden, operating and maintaining an existing 600 tonne excavator and 220 tonne rear dump truck fleet.

The agreement is valued at approximately $230M and will start in January.

Thor Mining (ASX:THR) has provided an update on uranium drilling results from the recently completed drilling program at its 100%-owned Wedding Bell and Radium Mountain projects in Colorado.

Highlights include:

• 2.1m @ 0.036% eU3O8 from 85m (22WBRA012A), including
0.3m @ 0.14% eU3O8
• 1.2m @ 0.034% eU3O8 from 78m (22WBRA013), including
0.5m @ 0.5% eU3O8
Rim Rock
• 0.3m @ 0.072% eU3O8 from 59.7m (22WBRA014)
Section 23
• 0.5m @ 0.051% eU3O8 from 102.6m (22WBRA002)
• 0.6m @ 0.021% eU3O8 from 92.4 m (22WBRA011), and
• 0.5m @ 0.03% eU3O8 from 100m

“As the first company to access and drill test this highly prospective area, the intersection of uranium bearing reduced sandstones at the newly tested Section 23 prospect is exciting to see, as is the continuity of high-grades along strike of historic workings at both at Rim Rock and Groundhog,” THR managing director Nicole Galloway Warland said.

Dedicated database of official music credits Jaxta (ASX:JXT) has announced it has completed a small share placement to sophisticated investors raising ~ $37k.

The company said the placement of 12,431,667 fully paid ordinary shares was priced at 3 cents, representing a 14% discount to the closing price of Jaxsta shares on December 21.

Saturn Metals Limited (ASX:STN) said it is has identified significant gold intersections in step out diamond drilling at the Apollo Hill Deposit, part of its 100% owned, 1,000km2 Apollo Hill Gold Project, 60km south-east of Leonora in the Western Australian Goldfields.

Drilling successfully targeted down dip extensions to the Apollo Hill Deposit with a bold step out from the current mineral resource model.

Several zones of significant mineralisation were intersected over a 400- metre downhole width in pre-collar and diamond tail drilling.

In addition to results listed above other significant intersections include 1m @ 7.31g/t Au from 255m and 1m @ 4.98g/t Au from 299m in hole AHRCDD0017.