• The ASX is poised to open more than 1% higher on Monday
  • Wall Street rallied over 2% on Friday after softening hourly wages data
  • US and Australia CPI data are due for release later this week


Aussie shares are expected to open much higher this morning, extending its 1% gain last week. At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 Jan futures contract was pointing up by 1%.

On Friday, major indexes on Wall Street rallied by over 2% after US jobs data eased the likelihood of another jumbo hike in February.

Despite the hot non-farm payroll numbers and unemployment declining to the lowest level since the 1960s at 3.5%, the average hourly earnings data came in softer than expected.

“From the market’s perspective, the main thing they’re responding to is the softer average hourly earnings number,” said market strategist at MetLife Investment, Drew Matus.

“The unemployment rate doesn’t matter much if average hourly earnings continue to soften.”

Later this week, the US CPI will be released, adding another data point for the Fed to use in their meeting on February 1st.

Australia will also release CPI data this week, with the RBA convening for their first meeting of the year on February 7th.

In stock news, Bed Bath & Beyond slid 16% in New York after a report in Reuters suggested the company was preparing to seek bankruptcy protection in coming weeks.

China has finally opened its borders, meaning that arrivals to the country no longer require to quarantine.

This comes as a new Covid variant, named the XBB.1.5 or kraken variant, was detected in South Africa and has spread through at least 28 other countries.

After losing 9% in two days, Brent crude stabilised on Friday, trading flat at US$78.57 a barrel.

Crude prices will be impacted this week by a slew of data including the US inflation report, China releases on CPI and trade data, and the EIA releasing their short-term crude outlook.

“The primary focus however remains on China as energy traders will keep a close eye on their handling of this Covid surge,” said OANDA analyst, Edward Moya.

Gold got a boost, up by 2% to US$1,865.80 an once, after the job numbers.

Iron ore price also continued to climb, up by another 1.5% on Friday to US$116.57 a tonne, despite China saying that it will ramp up efforts to crack down on iron ore speculators.

NOW READ: Will China’s emergence from lockdown be a blessing or a curse for iron ore stocks in 2023?

To cryptos where Bitcoin was up 0.15% in the last 24 hours to US$16,977.95.

The crypto market has been shaken once again by news that another crypto outfit, Digital Currency Group or better known as DCG, is currently under investigation by US authorities.

According to a report by Bloomberg, US prosecutors in New York are assessing possible illegal transfers between DCG and and its crypto lending arm, Genesis Global Capital.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Volpara Health (ASX:VHT)
Volpara has signed five 5-year contracts worth over US$7.8 million in Total Contract Value. The new contracts include some of the US’s leading healthcare providers: Bon Secours Mercy Health, Northside Hospital, Adventist Health, Duly Health and Care, and Onsite Women’s Health. Volpara says these agreements validate its focus on “elephant-sized” industry leaders for recurring revenue growth.

The welding tech company has received a Euro €385k purchase order from Ireland based Brewery Chemical & Dairy Engineering for its Linear Precision Grow Line Circumferential Welding System. This welding system will be installed in BCD Engineering’s plant, and will be delivered later this fiscal year following its manufacture in the UK and Australia.

Baston Minerals (ASX:BMO)
Following a review of its corporate overheads, initiatives have been implemented that will see Board remuneration and recurring company costs significantly reduced, effective 1 January 2023. The reduction in these recurring costs is expected to result in an annualised saving of approximately $700k.

Sabre Resources (ASX:SBR)
The latest drilling intersections and new electromagnetic (EM) results have demonstrated potential for a significant upgrade to the existing nickel sulphide resource. New surface EM survey at Sherlock Bay has detected a strong conductor extending for 1km at the western end of the current nickel sulphide resource, representing a major target for the discovery of further massive/matrix breccia sulphide mineralisation.

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN)
Further assays have reaffirmed a lithium discovery at Faraday. Highlights include 16m @ 0.77% Li2O from surface, and 7m @ 0.73% Li2O from 0m. Widgie says lithium exploration activities will be advanced across the entire Widgie tenure to identify further drill targets, in parallel with ongoing nickel programs.