• The ASX is set to end its four-day winning streak today
  • The World Economic Forum began overnight
  • Bitcoin keeps climbing to pre-FTX levels


Aussie shares are set to drift lower on Tuesday, ending a four-day winning streak. At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 Jan futures contract was pointing down by 0.25%.

The US was closed for Martin Luther King Jr’s day, but the pan-European STOXX 600 closed 0.5% higher.

The STOXX 600 index has risen by almost 7% in 2023 as investors become more optimistic that runaway inflation is behind them.

Still in Europe, the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting opened in Davos, with corporate chiefs warning of a global recession.

Nearly 40% of CEOs surveyed by PwC before the WEF event don’t believe their organisations will be economically viable in 10 years if they do not transform.

Inflation, macroeconomic volatility and geopolitical conflict top CEOs’ concerns, and will be the headline topics in this year’s WEF conference.

Børge Brende, WEF President said: “So much is at stake, we really need to find solutions on the wars and conflicts. We also have to ensure that we don’t go into recession and have 10 years of low growth as we had in the 1970s.”

Cryptocurrency regulation will also be one of the main topics at WEF following the FTX debacle and its aftermath.

“The time for endless platitudes on greater regulatory scrutiny is over. Action is required,” said deVere Consulting CEO, Nigel Green.

“Should those in attendance at the WEF not advance the agenda of crypto regulation as a result of the 2023 summit, they will have spectacularly failed.”

Meanwhile, earnings will be the focus for markets over the next couple of weeks.

Companies have until now been reluctant to let staff go, which has kept the labour market tight even as certain economic indicators weaken.

“The question now is whether earnings season will enhance that new sense of hope, or spoil the party before it really gets going,” said OANDA analyst, Craig Erlam.

“A bad earnings season could undermine hopes of a soft landing that looks more possible now than it has for many months.”

In other markets, oil prices have been on a good run since beginning of the year, but have pulled back in the last couple of sessions with Brent trading now at US$83.97 a barrel.

Gold was also marginally lower, trading at US$1,914,30 an ounce.

Bitcoin meanwhile is making a comeback with BTC climbing by another 1.6% in the last 24 hours to US$21,224. Over the past seven days, BTC has risen by well over 23%.

Now read: Solana, Aptos, Decentraland and The Sandbox have been pumping. Here’s why

Looking ahead to today’s session on the ASX, Australia’s consumer confidence will be released along with China’s GDP figures.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Plenti Group (ASX:PLT)
Plenti’s loan portfolio increased to $1.67 billion, 51% above pcp and 8% above prior quarter. The fintech company registered strong quarterly loan originations of $297 million, up 10% on prior quarter. Revenue for the quarter was $37.4 million with positive cash NPAT, and the company says it remains on-track to meet 2H23 objectives.

Morella Corporation (ASX:1MC)
A soil sampling program completed at North Big Smoky Lithium Project in September has identified a large zone of elevated lithium grades across the central part of the project area. These results highlight the prospectivity of North Big Smoky from surface. Follow-up seismic surveys have now been commissioned to test depth and extent of these prospects.

Noxopharm (ASX:NOX)
Noxopharm announced that DARRT-2 Safety Steering Committee has reviewed safety data from the third cohort of patients in the DARRT-2 trial, and has found that Veyonda dose is safe at 1600mg. The trial is evaluating Noxopharm’s clinical drug candidate Veyonda to treat cancer. The company says the DARRT-2 efficacy phase (Part 2) will begin in late Q1/early Q2 2023.

Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE)
A 3,414m drill program has been completed, testing both uranium and lithium targets. Geophysical logging results for uranium included 34.1m @ 610ppm eU3O8 from 151m. The remaining chemical assays are expected to be completed by month-end.

Hastings Technology Metals (ASX:HAS)
The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has increased its financial support for HAS to $220 million with a 12.5-year tenor, subject to pre-completion conditions. NAIF’s support of the Yangibana Rare Earths Project reaffirms the Australian Government’s commitment for developing the growing critical minerals sector.


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