• The ASX 200 index is set to open cautiously higher after a tech rally on Wall Street
  • Nvidia drove a rush for AI and tech stocks
  • The biggest nuclear plant will stay closed after a bizarre incident


Aussie shares are set to open modestly higher on Friday after US stocks bounced back from yesterday’s selloff. At 8am AEST, the ASX 200 index futures was pointing up by +0.1%.

Overnight, Wall Street rebounded as chipmaker Nvidia ignited a rush for AI and tech stocks. At the close, Nasdaq was +1.7% higher, and the S&P 500 rose +0.88%.

As reported yesterday, Nvidia surged 24% to an all time high as the company’s outlook bolstered bets that AI will be the key to mega-cap tech’s growth story.

Nvidia, market capped now at US$939bn, is poised to become a trillion-dollar company as the chipmaker predicted a substantial sales increase in the second half.

“The days of talking of FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet) have morphed into MATANA (Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, Alphabet, Nvidia, and Amazon),” said Oanda analyst, Edward Moya.

Other AI-related stocks jumped, with Alphabet gaining more than 2% and Microsoft by nearly 4%.

On the economic front, US jobless claims for the week came in lower than expected, with 229,000 claims filed vs 245,000 expected by economists.

“The US economy is showing resilience here, and that should have Fed officials maintaining their hawkish tone,” Moya said.


Bizarre incident at world’s biggest nuclear plant

The world’s biggest nuclear plant will stay closed indefinitely after a bizarre incident involving an employee.

Nikkei listed Tokyo Electric Power, which operates the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Japan’s Niigata prefecture, said an employee placed a stack of documents on top his car, before driving off and losing them.

The company only found out after a local resident found some of the papers and called the company. The 38-page document apparently had information about how to deal with fires and flood.

The nuclear plant had already been shut down since last week after Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority found that it lacked adequate safety measures, and this incident is set to prolong the closure.


In other markets …

Crude prices tumbled by over 3% over night, with WTI now trading at US$71.90 a barrel.

This comes as Russia slashed any Saudi hope of delivering another production cut at the OPEC+ June 4 meeting.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said: “I don’t think that there will be any new steps, because just a month ago certain decisions were made regarding the voluntary reduction of oil production by some countries.”

Gold fell -0.75% to US$1,941.95 an ounce.

Analysts believe that if the debt ceiling drama gets uglier, it could lead to some safe-haven flows for bullion.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin rose +0.4% in the last 24 hours to US$26,463.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Mesoblast (ASX:MSB)
The US FDA has accepted Mesoblast’s filing of the Biologics License Application (BLA) for remestemcel-L, in the treatment of children with steroid-refractory graft versus host disease (SR-aGVHD has set a Pre). The regulator has now set a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) goal date of August 2.

Far East Gold (ASX:FEG)
FEG says recent detailed mapping and surface rock sampling has confirmed the occurrence of high-grade quartz veins south of the Aloe Eumpeuk prospect at the company’s Woyla project. The discovery indicates the potential for the Aloe Eumpeuk prospect area to link up with the Aloe Rek prospect area, which significantly increases the 13km defined strike length of the Woyla project’s vein system.

Viva Leisure (ASX:VVA)
Australia’s second largest health club owner and operator announced its intention to undertake an on-market share buy-back of up to a maximum of 10% of its issued shares over 12 months. Viva said the buyback allows it to take advantage of share price volatility through opportunistic share purchases during periods in which the share price does not reflect the strong cashflow generation and robust outlook for the business.

Minerals 260 (ASX:MI6)
MI6 announced the appointment of experienced mining executive Luke McFadyen as its new CEO effective from 1 July. McFadyen – who was most recently Head of Portfolio Strategy & Economics with OZ Minerals – is a highly accomplished mining executive with over 15 years’ experience working in top tier and global organisations such as BHP, South32, Syrah Resources, KPMG, and OZ Minerals.

High-Tech Metals (ASX:HTM)
HTM has completed successful ground magnetic and electromagnetic surveys at its Werner Lake Cobalt Project to identify high priority electrical conductors and/or magnetic anomalies for follow-up drilling. Results are now being refined for Phase II exploration including mapping and sampling over geophysical targets.