• ASX to snap winning streak today after Nasdaq tumbles overnight
  • Microsoft and Alphabet reported after the bell, with the latter falling -4pc
  • What to expect in today’s Aussie Q4 CPI report


Aussie shares are poised to snap its winning streak on Wednesday. At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 index futures contract was pointing down by -0.1%.

Overnight, the S&P 500 slipped modestly by -0.06%. The blue chips Dow Jones index was up +0.35%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by -0.76%.

Equities struggled as traders sifted through a batch of economic data ahead of the Fed rates decision.

Microsoft rose slightly after the bell as the tech giant beat expectations on both top and bottom lines for Q2.

Alphabet (Google) fell -4%, also after the bell, as its Q2 ad revenue missed expectations. This comes as Google laid off hundreds of its employees across multiple divisions a few weeks ago.

Paypal was little changed after announcing a cut of around 2,500 jobs, or 9% of its workforce.

United Parcel Service (UPS) fell -8% after reporting  weak revenue guidance for this year.

General Motors surged +8% after the automaker reported beats in both top and bottom lines for Q4.

Apple, Amazon and Meta are next on the earnings docket, while Aussie giant Atlassian will report theirs early Friday morning.


What to expect in today’s CPI report

Meanwhile back home, the ASX200 touched record levels yesterday before retreating slightly.

The ASX has climbed by more than 12% since its recent low in October 2023, led in that time by the Healthcare, Real Estate and Financial sectors as rate cuts get closer to reality.

Today’s Q4 CPI data will be the next big data point for the Reserve Bank, but recent economics data have probably done enough to convince the RBA board that it’s done with hiking rates.

Expectations for today’s Q4 CPI reading is 4.2%, down from 5.4% in Q3.

“A reading under expectations, after today’s dismal retail print, will see the rate cut expectations brought forward, which could be the catalyst the local market needs to take out that record-high close,” said eToro markets analyst, Josh Gilbert.

“In the US, we’re not going to see any changes when the Federal Reserve meets. Instead, we’ll hear the Central Bank reiterate that they will be patient when looking to cut rates.

“With inflation continuing to move in the right direction, it will be hard for Jerome Powell to push back on rate cuts, but he certainly won’t be declaring victory anytime soon.

“Market expectations for cuts have been pushed back since the start of the year, but rate cuts in the US are a question of when, not if – and that’s why we’re seeing US stocks trading at record highs.”


In other markets …

Gold price rose by +0.22% to US$2,036.15 an ounce.

Oil prices bounced back by +1.5%, with Brent now trading at US$82.55 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield fell another 5 basis points (bond prices higher) to 4.03%.

Iron ore futures tumbled by -1.7% to US$133.15 a tonne.

The Aussie dollar slipped by -0.1% to US66.02c.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin was up +1.2% in the last 24 hours to US$43,631.

As January draws to a close, BTC is on course to gain for its fifth straight month, the longest winning streak since the pandemic-era rally.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Select Harvests (ASX:SHV)
The 2024 crop is in the final stages of the growing cycle and harvest is expected to commence next week – some two weeks earlier than normal. The current weather forecast for the harvest period is favourable, and the crop is forecast to exceed 30,000MT and return to a quality profile in line with long-term averages. The company says production costs are well controlled and expected to be in line with or below the 2023 crop cost.

iCetana (ASX:ICE)
iCetana has received a US$168,000 (~$250,000), five-year order for its AI software solution from Canadian reseller Delco Security. This is the expansion of an existing contract due for renewal in April 2024. Deployment in the coming months will see the existing end user’s site upgraded to iCetana’s latest version software. The SaaS order also includes a hardware component required to upgrade the end user’s infrastructure.

Sheffield Resources (ASX:SFX)
SFX said that Kimberley Mineral Sands (KMS) has completed a further shipment of approximately 5,100 metric tonnes of bagged non-magnetic (zircon) concentrate from its Thunderbird Mineral Sands Mine in Western Australia. The shipment of bags placed directly in the hold of a bulk vessel from the Port of Broome is bound for existing overseas offtake customers, with revenue from the shipment to be received during February.

Activeport (ASX:ATV)
Revenue from operations was up 7% to $3.73m in Q2, and operating cash flow was positive $1.30m following receipt of an R&D refund for FY23, taking net cash and equivalents up in the quarter from $1.66m at the end of Q1 to $2.58m at the end of Q2. Software sales for the quarter were exceptional with contracts totalling $6.8m closed, of which $4.5m is due for payment in calendar year 2024.

Pointsbet Holdings (ASX:PBH)
In Q2, total net win in Australia was $59.5m, up 3% vs the pcp a record quarter. Pointsbet reported its first ever quarter of positive operating cash flows in the company’s history of $0.1m. The company expects total operating cash flows for H2 FY24 to be positive.