• The ASX is poised to open slightly higher on Friday
  • US jobs data suggest the Fed may have to raise rates again
  • Big Tech layoffs are gaining ground in the US


Aussie shares are expected to open marginally higher on Friday despite another lacklustre performance on Wall Street overnight.

At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 Jan futures contract was pointing up by 0.10%.

US stocks retreated once again after jobs data showing that companies were adding more jobs than expected in December.

American payrolls increased 235,000 in during the month from 182,000 in November, putting pressure on the Fed to hike rates at its February 1st meeting.

All three major indexes, the S&P 500, Nasdaq, and the Dow Jones, fell by more than 1% each overnight.

In company news, Big Tech lay offs are spreading and dampening the mood on Wall Street.

Amazon’s recent layoff announcement will impact around 17,000 employees, while Salesforce will cut 10% of its staff as tech companies continue to scale back their pandemic growth.

Tesla, Netflix, Coinbase, Twitter and Robinhood have all announced layoffs recently.

Meta meanwhile was fined US$414 million by EU regulators after ruling that the company illegally required all Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp users in the continent to opt in to personalised ads.

The Aussie dollar fell 1% at US67.70c as expectations grow that the Fed will increase its rates next month.

Crude prices finally rebounded after falling by almost 9% in the last two days, marking one the worst starts of a year. Last night, Brent crude bounced back by 1% to US$78.80.

“Oil is trying to rally but demand concerns are keeping the gains small,” said OANDA analyst, Edward Moya.

“The Saudis are slashing prices as the short-term crude demand outlook seems like it won’t quite get a major boost from a robust China reopening.”

Europe’s warmest ever winter meanwhile has helped tame oil prices. At least 8 European countries have recorded their hottest January temperatures on record amid a recent heat wave.

Bitcoin is little changed despite a risk-off session on Wall Street. In the last 24 hours, BTC was up 0.25% to US$16,863.

The largest US crypto exchange, Coinbase, has reached a US$100 million settlement with New York regulators for failing to conduct background checks on new customers.

And shares in US-based Silvergate Capital sank 42% after the crypto bank disclosed massive customer withdrawals of US$8 billion during the last quarter.


3 ASX small caps to watch today

Mineral Commodities (ASX: MRC)
CEO Jacob Deysel has resigned for personal reasons. Deysel will remain available in an advisory capacity to continue to support the company to execute on its vision. MRC’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Adam Bick will assume the role of Interim CEO, effective today.

Green Critical Minerals (ASX:GCM)
The company has secured a highly experienced metals and mining professional, Mark Lynch-Staunton, as new CEO to drive development of the McIntosh Graphite project in WA and its REE interests at the North Barkly project in the NT. Lynch-Staunton most recently held senior management positions with NYSE-listed Barrick Gold.

Helios Energy (ASX:HE8)
Drilling of Well 52 #1 at Helios’ Presidio Project is expected to commence on 10 January 2023, subject to the contracted frack crew completing the progress frack job on schedule. To date, three water storage facilities have been completed and filled with water. Frack tanks along with six sand silos are on site, and have also been functionally tested. The sand silos are currently being filled with frack sand proppant.