• ASX to rise after the S&P 500 breaks new highs again
  • Short seller Hindenburg targets Swiss company
  • Why has Jeff Bezos been selling Amazon shares?


The ASX is poised to rise again on Friday after gains on Wall Street. At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 index futures contract was pointing up by +0.9%.

Overnight, the S&P 500 rose by +0.58%. The blue chips Dow Jones index was up by +0.91%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed by +0.3%.

The S&P 500 hit another all time high, after the drop in US retail sales data helped soothe the market’s concern over an overheating economy.

The US dollar softened, pushing commodity prices like oil, gold and iron ore higher.

To stocks, chipmaker Nvidia revealed that it has a stake in the other hot chipmaker, Arm Holdings, worth around US$147 million.

Nvidia also holds stakes in speech recognition stocks, SoundHound AI, and biotech company Recursion Pharmaceuticals. All three stocks popped on the news.

Alphabet fell -2% after a report suggested OpenAI could be planning to launch its own web search tool.

Meanwhile, short seller Hindernburg is at it again, this time targeting Swiss software company Temenos, alleging accounting irregularities. Hindenburg cited interviews with former employees, concluding that Temenos secretly funded the purchase of its own software. The Swiss listed Temenos has refuted the claims, but its shares were down -28% on the news.

Looking ahead, the market’s focus now turns to the US PPI data later tonight to gauge where inflation is.


What’s going on at Amazon?

Should investors be concerned about their holdings in Amazon?

Founder Jeff Bezos has been selling almost 24 million shares in Amazon worth more than US$4bn since the start of February.

Bezos, who holds the firm’s executive chair, last sold Amazon shares back in 2021.

Last November however, Amazon disclosed an agreement that would let him sell up to 50 million shares by 2025.

He has not clarified the reasons for the sale, but analysts reckon it has to do with tax.

Bezos moved to Miami in Florida from Seattle in Washington last year, and as a result, could save around US$280m in tax on the $4bn worth of stock he has sold.

This is because gains above $250k from the sale of shares are taxed at 7% in Washington state. Florida meanwhile does not have state taxes on incomes or capital gains.


In other markets …

Gold price rose by +0.6% to US$2,004.10 an ounce.

Oil prices were up almost +2%, with Brent now trading at US$82.90 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield lifted by 2.5 basis points (bond prices lower) to 4.24%.

Iron ore futures lifted slightly by +0.3% US$129.45 a tonne.

The Aussie dollar jumped by +0.5% to US65.25c as USD softened.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin rose by +0.5% in the last 24 hours to US$51,702, after touching US$52k earlier.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR)
Tyro has entered into a settlement deed with Kounta ahead of the hearing of Kounta’s appeal after a court ruled in Tyro’s favour on 16 November. The parties have agreed to settle on the basis that: Kounta’s appeal be dismissed; and Kounta pay Tyro $10 million in damages. Earlier, the lower court ruled that Kounta breached its obligations to Tyro by offering a competing product in Lightspeed Payments to Tyro merchants.

AFT Pharmaceuticals (ASX:AFP)
AFT announced an update to its guidance for the full year of FY24. AFT now expects FY24 operating profit to range between $23 million to $25 million. AFT’s earlier guidance was $22 million to $24 million. The company says it continues to expect to declare a dividend for FY24.

Bluglass (ASX:BLG)
The semiconductor developer has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with leading advanced defence and dual-use photonics company, Applied Energetics (OTCQB: AERG). The two companies will collaborate on next-generation military and commercial applications, leveraging BluGlass’ high-performance GaN distributed feedback (DFB) lasers.

A2B Australia (ASX:A2B)
The transport company reported revenue of $81.3 million for H1, up 12.5% on pcp. Underlying EBITDA was up 48.4% to $13.8 million. The company has reaffirmed its guidance for an underlying EBITDA of $22 million in FY24.

NewPeak Metals (ASX:NPM)
NewPeak announced that it has entered into contractual agreements to sell its remaining 25% interest in its New Zealand Gold mineral permits; Garibaldi and Raggedy Range, to Canadian listed KO Gold (KOG). These sales form a part of the company’s strategic rejuvenation plan as previously reported to the market. NewPeak will receive a total of CAD$125k in three KOG share issue tranches.