• The ASX 200 is set to open higher today, after a mixed session in New York
  • Wall Street looked to Fedspeak for direction
  • Commodities were broadly weaker overnight


Aussie shares are set to open modestly higher this morning after a mixed session in New York. At 8am AEST, the ASX 200 index was pointing up +0.1%.

Overnight, Wall Street was mixed as President Biden and Republican leader Kevin McCarthy were set to meet after the markets closed. The S&P 500 finished flat, the Dow Jones was lower by -0.42%, while tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed +0.5%.

Traders instead looked to comments from Fed Reserve members for direction.

Noted hawk St Louis President James Bullard said he expects the central bank will hike rates twice more this year.

“I’m thinking two more moves this year – exactly where those would be this year I don’t know – but I’ve often advocated sooner rather than later,” Bullard said.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari meanwhile said a pause in rate hikes doesn’t mean the central bank is done with hiking.

“If we were to skip in June that does not mean we’re done with our tightening cycle, it means to me we’re getting more information. Do we then start raising again in July, potentially?” he said.

In stock news, US big tech stocks lifted the Nasdaq, with Alphabet rising 2% and Meta up 1%.

“As debt ceiling drama intensifies, mega-cap tech stocks have become Wall Street’s new favourite defensive trade,” said Oanda analyst, Edward Moya.

Chip maker Micron Technology fell  2% after being slapped a ban by China which said the company posed “serious network security risks”.

Small cap investment bank Greenhill & Co surged by 116% after Mizuho said it will acquire the bank.

Pfizer surged over 5% after its diabetes drug resulted in similar weight loss level to that of Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic’s drug.

Pfizer’s pill could also be taken as an oral treatment option rather than a frequent injection.

Hollywood celebrities, influencers and even Elon Musk have reportedly used popular weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.


In other markets …

Overnight, commodities were broadly weaker, with iron ore futures dropping on signs of disappointing steel demand.

Crude prices were higher half a per cent, with WTI trading at US$72.15 a barrel.

Chevron’s US$6.3bn acquisition of driller PDC Energy helped market sentiment, but the oil price is generally still looking for direction.

“Crude prices are in no man’s land as energy traders look to see what happens with both debt ceiling talks, and with US and China tensions,” said Moya.

Gold price was down -0.20% to US$1,972.15 an ounce.

“Gold will likely remain a choppy trade as we head towards the X-date, but if Washington is able to get a deal done early this week, that could lead to a decent selloff for bullion towards the $1,950 region,” Moya said.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin rose +0.5% in the last 24 hours to US$26,889.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Turners Automotive (ASX:TRA)
Turners has delivered record FY23 earnings, with revenue of $389.6m, up +13% on pcp. NPAT was $32.6m, up +4% on pcp, and final FY23 dividend was declared at 7 cps, bringing FY23 dividend to 23 cps. The company said it generated record earnings in Auto Retail and Insurance divisions, which more than offset finance headwinds. “We see macro headwinds with economic uncertainty likely to intensify in the short term,” said Turners.

Nuix (ASX:NXL)
Nuix said it will acquire all the shares in Rampiva, a workflow automation and job scheduling software provider. The initial cost of the acquisition is approximately US$2 million in cash and US$2 million in Nuix newly issued shares. Up to a further US$3 million in Nuix shares will be issued if Rampiva achieves ACV growth and cost management milestones in the three years post acquisition. Rampiva is a long-term Nuix technology partner founded in 2016.

Technology One (ASX:TNE)
The enterprise Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company reported its 14th year of record first half profit, with Profit After Tax of $41.3m, up 24% on pcp. Interim dividend was 4.62cps, up 10% on pcp. TNE expects strong growth for the full year FY23, and the company sees significant growth opportunities in the coming years.

Firetail Resources (ASX:FTL)
The battery minerals explorer said detailed mapping has confirmed continuation of fertile pegmatites along strike to northwest of Johnson Well lepidolite mine. Lithium-Caesium-Tantalum mineralisation has been confirmed by mapping and rock chip sampling of the pegmatites with assay results up to 0.54% Li2O and >1% Rb.

Black Dragon Gold (ASX:BDG)
A maiden drilling programme is now underway at Padbury Gold Project in the North Yilgarn Craton. A planned 10 x 100m reverse circulation holes will be drilled into select prospective targets. This drill campaign follows a successful geochemistry soil sampling exploration programme in Q4-CY22.