• ASX to bounce back on Friday, in line with Wall Street
  • Meta jumps 12pc after upbeat forecast
  • Uranium stocks were the most traded stocks by Aussies


The ASX is poised to bounce back from its dismal performance yesterday, in line with Wall Street. At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 index futures contract was pointing up by +0.3%.

Overnight, the S&P 500 rose by +1.25%. The blue chips Dow Jones index was up by +0.97%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq surged by +1.3%.

Tech stocks rebounded ahead of the much anticipated earnings results from Apple and Amazon later today (US time).

Meta Platforms has just released a forecast for revenue growth in the current quarter that beat analysts’ estimates. Shares jumped by 14% in extended trading.

Amongst other movers last night was smartphone processor maker Qualcomm, which fell -5% after saying that it expects a modest recovery for the industry in 2024.

Peloton Interactive, the home fitness equipment maker, plunged -24% after quarterly sales missed estimates.

Pharma stock Merck & Co rose +5% on the back of huge sales for its cancer blockbuster drug Keytruda for the quarter.

Meanwhile, the benchmark 10 year treasury yield has slipped by another 9 basis points ahead of tonight’s key US jobs report.

“Traders are not letting go of the possibility of an earlier-than-expected rate cut. Those expectations could rise further if incoming US data from now on takes a bearish turn,” said  Fawad Razaqzada at City Index.

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, said that cutting Fed rates too early can reverse gains.

“Central banks need to be guided by data, not by exuberant expectations of markets. At this time in the cycle, there is risk of premature loosening,” she told Bloomberg.


Uranium stocks are most traded

Trading platform Superhero has seen some interesting trends emerge around how investors are trading lithium and uranium stocks.

Debutant lithium miner Kali Metals (ASX:KM1) was the most traded Australian stock on Superhero in the middle of January.

The top 5 traded Australian companies are either lithium or uranium miners, specifically, #1 Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), #2 Kali Metals (ASX:KM1), #3 Core Lithium (ASX:CXO), #4 Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) and #5 Boss Energy (ASX:BOE).

Across a portfolio of 17 Australian and US uranium stocks (including ETFs) on Superhero, the platform said it saw 224% increase of trading of these stocks compared to the previous 10 weeks.

“While lithium has been incredibly popular with our investors for the last couple of years, there’s clearly a new resource on the block in uranium,” said Superhero’s head of Data & Analytics, John Rose.

“With uranium at a near record price of $100/lb, both Paladin Energy (PDN) and Boss Energy (BOE) have been of interest to our investors.

“It’s been a busy start to 2024 for uranium and with the news that the US is looking to create a sovereign supply of the element, our investors have seen an opportunity with both PDN and BOE the fourth and fifth (respectively) most traded Australian companies this week (so far).”



In other markets …

Gold price rose by +0.8% US$2,054.11 an ounce.

Oil prices slipped another -2.5%, with Brent now trading at US$78.91 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield tumbled by 9 basis points (bond prices lower) to 3.87%.

Iron ore futures rebounded by +1% to US$131.20 a tonne.

The Aussie dollar was steady at US65.73c.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin was up almost 2% in the last 24 hours to US$43,072.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Althea Group (ASX:AGH)
The cannabis stock said its wholly-owned subsidiary, Peak Processing, has signed a contract manufacturing agreement with Collective Project, a leading cannabis-infused beverage brand in Canada. The contract term is three years, with an estimated volume of at least 700,000 cannabis beverage units per annum with a retail sales value of approximately CAD$6.5 million. Peak estimates that by the end of Q1 2024, it will produce approximately 40% of all cannabis-infused beverages available in Canada.

Chariot Corporation (ASX:CC9)
Black Mountain maiden drill program has delivered strong initial hard rock lithium results, with multiple mineralised lithium intersections from first three holes. Notable results from first three holes include: BMDDH23_01 15.48m @ 1.12% Li2O and 79ppm Ta2O5 from 2.74m, including 4.27m @ 2.46% Li2O and 128 ppm Ta2O5 from 9.94m. Assay results for the subsequent five holes are pending and expected to be announced by April 2024.

Briscoe Group (ASX:BGP)
The NZ homeware and sporting goods company reported record full-year group sales $792 million, beating last year by +0.78%. Expected full-year NPAT is in excess of $83 million, which will represent at least 94% of last year’s record NPAT. Closing inventories will be at least $10 million below last year.

Olympio Metals (ASX:OLY)
OLY has come to an agreement to sell three of the Halls Creek Project tenements in the East Kimberley regions of WA. Under the deal, OLY has sold to prospector Bill Richmond tenements E80/5025 (Dry Creek), E80/5148 (Dry Creek) and E80/5149 (Slinkey Hill), all located in the Halls Creek region, for a cash payment of $220,000. OLY retains three tenements in the Halls Creek Project, where recent drilling intersected a number of anomalous quartz-haematite veins hosting gold mineralisation up to 18.6g/t gold.

Opthea (ASX:OPT)
Opthea has strengthened its team with key clinical and regulatory hires. OPT announced the appointment of Julie Clark, MD, as senior vice president of Clinical Development, and Fang Li, Ph.D. as SVP of Regulatory Affairs. OPT said these experienced executives bring extensive track record in products for retinal and ophthalmology diseases.


At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Chariot Corporation and Olympio Metals are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.