• The ASX will start the day higher on Monday
  • On Friday, Wall Street was shocked by the latest US jobs report
  • Elon Musk wins court case


The ASX is on track to extend last week’s gains and at 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 Feb futures contract was pointing up by 0.10%.

On Friday, Wall Street slipped after the shocking, stronger than expected US job numbers gave investors concern the Fed could keep hiking rates.

US employers added 517,000 jobs in December, compared to 260,000 in December.

And despite the seemingly endless announcements of Big Tech mass layoffs, Americans haven’t been this employed in more than half a century. The unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, the lowest since 1969.

“Everyone was expecting the economy to start to feel the impact of those earlier rate increases, but right now that doesn’t seem to be the case,” said OANDA analyst, Edward Moya.

Stocks began to dip after the data were released, with the S&P 500 eventually closing lower by 1% and tech-heavy Nasdaq by 1.6%.

For the S&P 500, it was its fourth weekly gain in five weeks as investors recalibrated their positions for a peak inflation world.

Some experts believe that investors who expect the Fed will cut rates at the end of the year could be in for a rude awakening after this jobless report.

Apple followed other Big Tech companies to also report disappointing results. Apple’s iPhone sales for the quarter fell 5%, the biggest decline since 2019 and worse than expected.

Despite the miss, Apple’s share price was up 2.5% as investors rationalised that the slump was mainly due to China’s temporary slowing demand and supply constraints that will pick up later this year.

Elon Musk is off the hook once again after a jury in San Francisco cleared him of wrongdoing when tweeting about Tesla in 2018, where he claimed that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private.

The Tesla share price rose 1% after the verdict.

Oil prices crumbled by more than 3% as the strong US labour market could complicate what the Fed might do in March.

In Japan, a new Bank of Japan Governor could be elected soon after the Japanese government approached current BoJ deputy  governor Masayoshi Amamiya, according to sources.

In other markets, iron ore slipped half a per cent, while Bitcoin was also down 2% in the last 24 hours to US$22,908.

Looking ahead to today’s session on the ASX, Australia retail trade data for Q4 is due for release.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Acusensus (ASX:ACE)
The AI tech company signed a five-plus year contract with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads to supply speed enforcement across the state using trailer-based Acusensus Harmony solutions. The contract is worth $11.7m over the initial five-year term.

PeopleIN (ASX:PPE)
PeopleIN and TAFE Queensland have entered into a MoU to explore mutually beneficial opportunities to address critical labour shortage. The collaboration will enable PeopleIN to provide employment placement services to TAFE Queensland’s 125,000 graduates, and TAFE Queensland to provide upskilling opportunities to PeopleIN’s 55,000 strong on-hire workforce.

Askari Metals (ASX:AS2)
Phase 1 reconnaissance sampling completed during the due diligence phase on EPL 8535, part of the Uis Lithium Project in Namibia, returns sample results as high as: 3.3% lithium oxide (Li2O), 3.2% Tin (Sn), 4,280ppm tantalum (Ta) and 7,980ppm rubidium (Rb). The pegmatites found on EPL 8535 are spodumene dominant of the LCT-type.

Duketon Mining (ASX:DKM)
Assay results have now been received for the diamond drilling completed late last year at Rosie, part of the Duketon Nickel Project. Individual assay result of 30g/t palladium was reported, as well as an individual nickel assay of up to 6.65%. Significant intercepts include 2.95m @ 3.13% Ni, 0.4% Cu & 2.68g/t Pt + Pd.

SRG Global (ASX:SRG)
SRG has secured civil and remedial engineering contracts valued at ~$40m. Clients include the Department of Transport Victoria, McConnell Dowell and CBGU JV. The work done is for the bridge, rail and marine sectors in Victoria and Queensland.