• The ASX is set to track Wall Street higher on Friday
  • US PPI softens, signalling easing in inflation
  • The EU sets up taskforce to deal with ChatGPT


The ASX is set to open higher on Friday following a rally in New York. At 7.30am AEST, the ASX 200 April futures contract was pointing up by 0.25%.

Overnight on Wall Street, all three major indices climbed – the S&P 500 index by 1.3%, the Dow Jones by 1.14% and tech heavy Nasdaq by 2%.

Netflix shares jumped 4.5% after Wedbush Securities says Netflix is likely to beat earnings guidance.

Delta Airlines slipped 1% after delivering soft first quarter results, but its outlook for the second quarter was rather surprising, forecasting robust EPS growth between US$2.00-2.25, vs US$1.61 analysts’ expectations.

Groupon lifted 4% on the appointment of new CFO, while Harley Davidson Inc dropped 3% after its CFO tendered her resignation.

US stocks also lifted after a report shows that US producer prices fell in March by the most since the start of the pandemic, signalling an easing in inflation.

The producer index or PPI rose by just 2.7% from a year ago, the smallest gain in more than two years.

The US dollar slid against all major currencies after the PPI report, with the AUD lifting near to US68c.

Investors also got a look at the latest US jobless claims report, which came in stronger at 239k for the week vs forecast of 232k.


Elsewhere …

The FBI arrested a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira in connection with the leak of highly classified documents relating to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Teixeira serves as a cyber specialist for the US Air Force National Guard.

Bernard Arnault, the world’s richest person, saw his fortune soar by US$12 billion on Thursday to almost US$210 billion after LVMH shares in Paris rose by 5.5% following its quarterly results. Elon Musk is in second place with a net worth of US$180 billion.

The EU has set up a taskforce to deal with the popular AI chatbot ChatGPT, ramping up the pressure on its US creator OpenAI. US regulators are also assessing actions, while Italy has banned the program temporarily over allegations of privacy laws breaches.


In other markets …

Crude price softened around 1%, with WTI trading at US$82.57 a barrel.

“The oil market looks like it will remain tight, but if this profit-taking selloff is gaining steam, prices could still have more to give as this rally started from the mid-$60s,” said Oanda analyst, Edward Moya.

Spot gold rose 1.25% to US$2,040.18.

“Gold is a hop, skip and a jump from record territory, and it might take a major retail sales drop and disappointing start to bank earnings for it to get there,” said Moya.

Now read: Build Your Own Portfolio: How 2 expert investors would spread $10k across ASX oil and gas stocks

Bitcoin was up 1.4% in the last 24 hours to US$30,347.

Here’s a report by Stockhead’s Rob Badman on why Bernstein Research, Larry Lepard, Bank of America and Robert F. Kennedy Jr are all bullish on Bitcoin.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Incannex Healthcare (ASX:IHL)
The medicinal cannabis specialist has appointed Quest Pharmaceutical Services to (QPS) to provide regulatory advice and manage clinical trials for the development of CannQuit and ReneCann products for addiction and immune-disordered skin diseases. QPS is currently drafting pre-investigational new drug submissions for both the European Medicines Agency and the US FDA for both products.

Vection Technologies (ASX:VR1)
Vection says it has increased its FY23 Total Contract Value (TCV) to ~$16 million. The TCV has increased by ~60% compared to the TCV metric announced on 31 January. Vection has now guided the market to full year FY23 revenue of between $24 to $26 million.

Euro Manganese (ASX:EMN)
EMN confirmed that it has produced high-purity electrolytic manganese metal (HPEMM) from its demonstration plant at the Chvaletice Project in the Czech Republic. An external laboratory has confirmed the first HPEMM sent for testing has met the demonstration plant target specifications, and was at 99.9% Mn metal purity. High-purity manganese sulphate is now under production in the final module, and will be sent for external laboratory testing in due course.

Best & Less Group (ASX:BST)
BST has announced the appointment of Erica Berchtold as CEO, effective 4 September 2023. Berchtold has over 20 years retail industry experience, and joins from THE ICONIC, Australia’s largest online-only fashion and lifestyle retailer, where she has been CEO since 2019 and has grown the business to over $700 million in net annual revenues.

Cyclone Metals (ASX:CLE)
Cyclone has also restructured its board to align with the future direction of the company, appointing Paul Berend as executive director and CEO with effect from 1 May 2023. Berend has over 20 years of experience in the iron ore and steel industry acquired in blue chip as well as junior mining companies worldwide. His previous corporate roles include GM Business Development for Rio Tinto Iron Ore, and GM Corporate Strategy for ArcelorMittal.


At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Incannex Healthcare and Cyclone Metals are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.