• The ASX is set to open flattish on Monday ahead of a short week due to ANZAC day
  • Chile plans to nationalise its lithium industry
  • Aussie CPI report on Wednesday to headline the week


The ASX is poised to open lower on Monday ahead of a shortened week. At 8am AEST, the ASX 200 May futures contract was pointing down by 0.1%.

On Friday, all major US stock indexes were flattish, up by just around 0.1%.

Procter & Gamble shares rose 3.5% after boosting its sales forecast and Q3 margins.

US retailer Bed Bath & Beyond finally filed for bankruptcy on Sunday after a long struggle to stay afloat.

Chemical manufacturer Albemarle Corp plunged 10% after Chile plans to nationalise the country’s lithium industry, and said that contracts with Abemarle would not be renewed under a new public-private partnership model.

Chile, along with Australia and China are the top 3 lithium producers and under the new policy, the government would nationalise the country’s lithium supply where private companies will be forced to partner with the state to develop the local industry.

Now read: It could be a bad day for fans of ASX lithium stocks

Meanwhile, some 180 US S&P 500 companies are scheduled to report results for their Q1 this week, including mega tech stocks Alphabet and Microsoft on Wednesday AEST, and Amazon on Friday AEST.


Iron ore plunges 6pc

Iron ore plunged 6.3% to $US108.10 a tonne, a 4-month low.

Prices fell sharply on Friday as subdued buying interest from steel mills and an increase in port inventories undermined sentiment.

“Mills’ buying interest (in spot iron ore cargoes) ahead of the upcoming (May 1-3) holiday is weaker than expected, weighing on spot prices and sending pressure to futures markets as well,” said Yu Chen, an analyst at Mysteel.

WTO crude price fell 0.25% to US$77.70 a barrel.

The oil market has basically been caught between two competing themes this year: global recession, and the promise of China’s rebound.

Gold was flat at US$1,982.86.

Bulls have struggled to keep the yellow metal above US$2k as traders focus on a potential Fed pause in May.

Gold also fell as the US manufacturing PMI rose to 50.4, up from March’s reading of 49.2, while the service sector was also more robust than expected, rising further into expansion territory to 53.7.

Readings above 50 are seen as a sign of economic growth and vice-versa.



Crucial CPI data this week

Back home, the monthly CPI report on Wednesday is expected to top domestic headlines.

Expectations are for a reading of 7%, with a focus on services inflation as overseas migration swells.

“After plenty of scrutiny over the last week, Philip Lowe and the RBA board’s next move will be more important than ever, and the latest reading on inflation will be the focus for investors this week,” said Josh Gilbert, a market analyst at eToro.

However, Gilbert warns the pause in interest rates by the RBA earlier this month may be short-lived if the CPI reading comes in hotter than the market expects, as it did in Q4 2022 at 7.8%.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Thor Energy (ASX:THR)
Assay results for Thor’s 100% owned Wedding Bell and Radium Mountain uranium and vanadium projects in Colorado have validated downhole gamma readings for uranium, and confirmed broader enriched vanadium mineralisation. Vanadium assay results include: 1.5m @ 2660ppm (0.27%) V2O5 from 83.8m (22WB012A), and 1.5m @ 1776ppm (0.18%) V2O5 from 59.4m (22WB014).

Astral Resources (ASX:AAR)
Diamond drilling (DD) recorded one of the best holes to date at the Theia deposit within the Mandilla Gold Project, with best results including: 38 metres at 0.62g/t Au from 73 metres; and 6 metres at 3.18g/t Au from 156 metres.

Midway (ASX:MWY)
Woodfibre exporter Midway said its headline FOB export price for E. globulus woodfibre from Victoria in the 2023 calendar year has been settled with Japanese pulp mills at US$198.75 per bone dry metric tonne (BDMT), 10.4% higher than the previous calendar year. The headline FOB price for E. nitens woodfibre from Tasmania for the 2023 calendar year has also been confirmed at US$189 per BDMT, approximately a 15% increase from the previous calendar year.

Boss Energy (ASX:BOE)
Boss announced that it is well on track to be Australia’s next uranium producer, with strong progress on all fronts at its Honeymoon project. Boss also said that it remains fully funded through to production, with cash on hand of $103m, and a strategic uranium stockpile valued at $96m (US$63.13m) based on current spot prices. The company has no long-term debt.

Forrestania Resources (ASX:FRS)
High-grade lithium and tantalum grades have been returned from the Giant Pegmatite; Results include: [email protected]% Li2O from 74m,including 2m @ 2.64% Li2O from 75m, and 4m @ 1,106 ppm Ta from 45m, with 1m at 2,870ppm Ta from 46m.