• Dow Jones and Stoxx 600 hit new highs
  • Buffett’s Berkshire’s cash pile jumps to a record high as opportunity dries
  • Why Google could lose its search dominance


The ASX is poised to open higher on Monday after the Dow Jones and Europe’s Stoxx 600 surged to all-time highs on Friday.

The S&P 500 closed flat, the blue chips Dow Jones index was up by +0.16% to a new record high, tech-heavy Nasdaq lifted by +0.36%, while the Stoxx 600 climbed +0.43% to a new high.

The market has continued to push higher after the Nvidia-mania on Thursday, and analysts are now looking at the chances of a US interest rate cut as the next catalyst.

Berskshire Hathaway rose by +0.5% after reporting its Q4 results. Berkshire’s cash pile jumped to a record at US$167.6 billion as Warren Buffett said a lack of meaningful deals means the company would not have a shot at “eye-popping performance”.

“There remain only a handful of companies in this country capable of truly moving the needle at Berkshire, and they have been endlessly picked over by us and by others,” said Buffett in his annual shareholder letter.

Warner Bros. Discovery plummeted by 10% after reporting Q4 results that missed analyst estimates, due partly to the impacts of the Hollywood strikes.

Walmart rose modestly after confirming a 3:1 stock split.

Carvana, online used car retailer, rocketed by +32% after posting a much better than expected net income of US$150 million for the full year of 2023.

Meanwhile, inflation will be in focus this week as Australia, Europe, Japan, and the US report their latest CPI figures.

Australia expects inflation to come in at 3.5% for January, up from the 3.4% for December.


Is Google’s search dominance over?

Google announced on Friday that it was deepening its partnership with Reddit, a company that has filed for an IPO listing.

But recent research suggests that people are getting more frustrated with Google, as its search results are increasingly filled with paid ads and product-peddling spam sites.

Google currently commands over 90% of the world’s search market, but some experts believe that dominance may soon come to an end.

A fresh crop of AI-powered tools threatens to challenge Google’s status as the go-to search tool.

OpenAI, the ChatGPT-maker, is building its own new AI-powered search product, as is Microsoft’s Bing.

Jeff Bezos-backed AI bot Perplexity is also one of the new search contenders, after being valued at US$520 million in the latest funding round.

Google for its part has rolled out its own AI chatbot Bard (now Gemini), and has reportedly been working with TikTok to embed its search results into the TikTok app.

Some believe Google will be hard to topple.

“On the search front, it’s still all Google all the way. And even if OpenAI popularised the generative AI craze, the company has a long way to go if it hopes to take down the search giant,” said Daniel Howley, a tech expert.


Other markets …

Gold price rose by +0.5% to US$2,035.30 an ounce.

Oil prices were down over -2%, with Brent now trading at US$81.68 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield fell around 8 basis points (bond prices higher) to 4.25%.

Iron ore futures fell by around +0.75% to US$126.85 a tonne.

The Aussie dollar was up slightly by +0.15% to US65.71c.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin rose by +0.4% in the last 24 hours to US$51,708.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Hot Chili (ASX:HCH)
Hot Chili has completed a water supply concept study for the Huasco valley region of Chile, confirming the potential for a large, multi-user, desalination water supply network. Hot Chili holds the only granted maritime water concession and most necessary permits to provide critical water access to the Huasco valley region, following over a decade of permitting advance for the company’s Costa Fuego copper-gold project.

Kogan.com (ASX:KGN)
Revenue for H1 grew 25.6% on the pcp, driven by Kogan Mobile Australia, Kogan Mobile New Zealand, Kogan Insurance, and Kogan Internet. Inventory was reduced by 30.6% on the pcp. Gross Profit was $89.5 million, which increased by 42.2% on the pcp. Cash totalled $83.3 million with no external debt at 31 December 2023.

OAR Resources (ASX:OAR)
OAR provided results from testing of samples taken from the company’s 100%-owned Oar Graphite Project in South Australia. Samples from the project have been sent to a tier 1 research facility in China for metallurgical evaluation to produce a saleable product. Preliminary test work using bespoke commercialised processing flowsheet produced premium product, with a fixed carbon content of 95.6%.

Delorean Corporation (ASX:DEL)
Delorean’s 100% owned subsidiary, Delorean Energy, has been awarded a $5 million grant under the Queensland Government’s Resource Recovery Industry Development Program. The Department of State Development and Infrastructure grant is to be applied towards the construction, commissioning and operation of Delorean’s QLD 1 bioenergy facility project.

Tamboran Resources (ASX:TBN)
Tamboran has booked its first estimate of contingent gas over the Shenandoah South region across EP 98 and 117 in the Beetaloo Basin, following a successful 30-day initial production (IP30) flow test of the Shenandoah South 1H (SS-1H) well. The gas resources increased by 33 billion cubic feet(Bcf) to 284 Bcf, and unrisked net 2C contingent gas resources increased by 152 Bcf to 1.2 trillion cubic feet (Tcf).


At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Hot Chili is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.