• ASX to fall on Friday on the back of strong US jobs report
  • Netflix down 5pc after reporting Q1 results
  • Bitcoin halving to happen today or tomorrow


Aussie shares are set to fall on Friday after the US released another strong jobs report, raising the prospects the Fed will delay its rate cuts. At 8am AEST, the ASX200 futures contract was pointing down by -0.6%.

Overnight, the S&P 500 fell by -0.22%, its fifth straight day of declines. The blue chips Dow Jones index was up slightly by +0.06%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped by -0.52%.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits was unchanged last week from the week before, pointing to continued labor market strength.

“A strong labor market gives the Federal Reserve the room to put off rate cuts until inflation gets back on a sustainable path to 2%,” said Nancy Vanden Houten at Oxford Economics.

New York Fed president John Williams added fuel to fire by saying that he doesn’t see any “urgency” to cut interest rates.

Bond yields spiked as expected, with the benchmark US 10-year treasury yield rising by 4 basis points.

This sent the US dollar to trade higher against major currencies, including the AUD which fell by -0.2% to US 64.24 cents at the time of writing.

To stocks, Netflix reported Q1 earnings after the bell that showed more subscriber growth than expected, but a slightly lower revenue guidance. Neflix’s shares slipped almost -5%.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the chipmaker for Nvidia, also fell -5% after it reported Q1 results above estimates, but lowered its overall projections for semiconductor revenue.

The good news is TSMC also confirmed plans to spend up to US$32bn this year, reassuring investors who are concerned that AI demand is already at peak levels.

Meanwhile, Meta shares climbed +1.5%, while Tesla continued its woeful year, down another -3.5% to take its YTD loss to just under -40%.


Bitcoin halving to happen today or tomorrow

Bitcoin was up +3% in the last 24 hours to US$63,303.

One of the biggest events in the crypto calendar is the Bitcoin halving, which occurs once every four years.

The exact date is difficult to predict as it depends on block height being reached, but it is estimated to happen around today or tomorrow.

This is a significant event where the reward for mining Bitcoin is cut in half, resulting in fewer new Bitcoins generated as a reward for miners.

It’s a key feature that’s built into Bitcoin’s code, and underpins its value proposition as an asset with a predictably growing and fixed maximum supply.

With each halving, the conversation naturally translates into the price predictions for Bitcoin in the short, medium and long term.

“However, I believe it’s more important to use this milestone as a reminder of the progress being made towards global adoption, which currently sits at around 10% or less,” said Jonathon Miller, managing director of Kraken Australia.

“My hope is that by the next Bitcoin halving, scheduled for 2028, crypto adoption will have accelerated so far that even the most stubborn technology laggards will be learning about the halvening process for the first time.”

In Australia, Bitcoin’s popularity is notably high. Around 35% of Australian Kraken users hold Bitcoin, which slightly surpasses the global average.


In other markets …

Gold price rose by +0.5% to US$2,380.30 an ounce.

Oil prices also fell -0.3%,with Brent crude now trading at US$87.05 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield jumped by 4 basis points (bond prices lower) to 4.63% after the US jobs report.

Iron ore price climbed another by +1% to S$116.55 a tonne.

The Aussie dollar fell -0.2% to US64.24 cents.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Paradigm Biopharma (ASX:PAR)
Paradigm announced the submission of key documents to the US FDA for review and agreement on the progression of its Phase 3 clinical program in osteoarthritis. The submission is a response to the Type D meeting held on 10 January. It essentially sets out Paradigm’s results of five nonclinical studies and data from the successful Phase 2 clinical trial, as well as available clinical data from 600 participants dosed in stage 1.

Cooper Energy (ASX:COE)
As a result of improved performance across the Gippsland, Otway and Cooper Basin production assets, COE’s FY24 production guidance has been narrowed to 60.5–64.0 TJe/d. Production expenses have also been reduced and narrowed to $57–63 million. Capital expenditure meanwhile is unchanged at $240–280 million.

DY6 Metals (ASX:DY6)
DY6 has received assay results for the second comprehensive reconnaissance rock chip and soil sampling program completed at Machinga Main Licence Area Anomaly. 305 soil samples taken on a 200mx100m grid returned up to 0.49% TREO. 21% of all soil samples returned >1000ppm (>0.1%) TREO. Assays will assist in refining targets ahead of next phase of drilling at Machinga.

Capricorn Metals (ASX:CMM)
89,543 metres of drilling over the last year at the Mt Gibson Gold Project (MGGP) has delivered an increase to the Ore Reserve Estimate (ORE). Updates to the April 2023 Pre- feasibility study continue to demonstrate MGGP as a compelling second mine growth opportunity for Capricorn. Updated ORE is the following: 61.6 million tonnes at 0.9gt Au for 1.83 million ounces of gold, an increase of 380,000 ounces (26%) from the Maiden ORE announced in April 2023.

INOVIQ announced the successful completion of an analytical validation study for its blood test for ovarian cancer. Overall, the test correctly identified 85% of all samples tested (76% of the cancer samples and 94% of the cancer free samples). The blood test is a simple and affordable combination immunoassay developed by INOVIQ using both a CA125 monoclonal antibody (used by leading diagnostic companies), combined with its SubB2M detection reagent.


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