• The ASX is set to bounce back on Thursday
  • US retail sales came in strong, giving the Fed more lever to hike rates
  • Travel stocks, Bitcoin rally strongly


The ASX 200 is poised to bounce back on Thursday. At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 Feb futures contract was pointing up by 0.40% after a disappointing 1% fall yesterday.

Overnight, Wall Street finished slightly higher with the S&P 500 up by 0.14% and Nasdaq by 0.68%.

Instead of a recession, it looks like the US economy will have a solid first quarter as retail sales jumped the most in two years in January.

Spending in all 13 basket categories surveyed rose, led by motor vehicles sales, furniture and restaurants.

In addition to the strong retail sales, US factories output also rose 1% in January, the most in nearly a year.

US Treasury yields rose after the data came out as traders put on more bets that the Fed will take rates even higher.

“The data-dependent Fed is seeing its case for more ongoing rate increases get bolstered after both inflation accelerated, and as retail sales rebound sharply in January,” said Oanda analyst, Edward Moya.

In company news, travel related stocks led the US bourse last night.

Airbnb surged by 13% after earnings and revenue beats. Tripadvisor also lifted as much as 10% after revenue came in at $354m vs $344m expected.

As travel rebounds, Air India has placed an order for 250 Airbus and 220 Boeing jets – the largest commercial aircraft deal in history.

Privately held Subway meanwhile said it was exploring a sale, and analysts said the price tag could be more than $10 billion.

To commodities, where iron ore rose +0.8% to $US123.45 a tonne.

Oil prices lost 0.75%, while gold was down 1% to US$1838.24 an ounce.

Correction in gold seems to be accelerating after the US inflation report on Tuesday. Higher interest rates don’t bode well for the yellow metal.

Bitcoin meanwhile has rallied by 8.5% in the last 24 hours to US$24,065.86.

The crypto market looks resilient despite a steady flow of negative regulatory headlines.

“It seems crypto regulation is about to get clearer, and guidelines for qualified custodians will require being a registered-broker dealer, futures commission merchant, or trust financial institution,” said Moya.

Now read: Kiyosaki predicts $500k Bitcoin; ARK Invest buys more COIN; DOGE up after Musk tweet

To the ASX where earnings season continues. Today we’ll get results from the likes of NAB, Telstra, Whitehaven, and Newcrest.

On the data front, the crucial Australian unemployment figure will be released.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Nuheara (ASX:NUH)
Nuheara says it expects first shipment of its HP Hearing PRO hearing aids prior to the end of this month, having commenced the mass production phase for this hearing aid. The HP Hearing PRO has achieved US FDA clearance for the world’s first self-fit over-the-counter hearing aid.

RMA Global (ASX:RMY)
The real estate agents ranking platform announced a partnership with the second biggest US real estate listings website, Realtor.com. The deal will see RMY tap into over 100 million additional users. At the same time, RMY has been growing other US partnerships with MLS and major brokerages, so that it now gets data feeds for over 1.1 million agents.

Quickfee (ASX:QFE)
Revenue for the half was up 47% to $6.9m versus $4.7m in the pcp, driven by increased transaction volumes across all products. The company reported continued record lending and payments volumes in the US and strong recovery in Australia. Quickfee says it is now on track to achieve run-rate profitability by the end of FY23.

Ridley Corp (ASX:RIC)
The animal nutrition company saw its EBITDA growing by 13% YoY to $44.1m for the first half. NPAT grew by 20% YoY to $21m. The company has commenced an on-market buy-back ($2.9m @ $1.92 per share), and declared an 18% increase in interim dividend.

Critical Resources (ASX:CRR)
Step-out drilling of newly permitted drill pads has intersected significant spodumene-bearing pegmatites, approximately 300m south of the Main Zone. Highlights include: 6.8m of spodumene-bearing pegmatite from 72.4m down hole; and 9.45m of spodumene-bearing pegmatite from 111.85m down hole.