• The ASX is set to track Wall Street higher today
  • US inflation shows signs of slowing down
  • SBF charged by the SEC


The ASX is poised to open higher this morning after wild trading in New York. At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 Dec futures contract was pointing up by 0.20%.

Overnight, Wall St rallied after the inflation report, but pared gains on profit taking before turning positive again.

At the close, the S&P 500 was up 0.75%, the Dow Jones by 0.30% and tech heavy Nasdaq by 1.03%.

It was the inflation report investors had hoped for as core CPI had the smallest monthly increase in over a year – at 6% vs forecast of 6.3%.

Headline inflation came in at 7.1% compared to the consensus estimate of 7.3%.

“The Fed might not have to take rates to 5% or higher and that is surprising news for stock traders,” said OANDA analyst, Edward Moya.

“Fed tightening is looking like it will just need a half-point increase tomorrow, and a 25bp increase in February.”

FOMC policymakers are huddling for a two-day meeting as we speak, with the rates decision to be announced by Jerome Powell tomorrow (US time).

Crude prices also got a boost from the inflation report, with Brent leaping 3% higher to US$80.55 a barrel.

However, OPEC sounded a warning for over-optimistic traders.

“The year 2023 is expected to remain surrounded by many uncertainties, mandating vigilance and caution,” the cartel said in an outlook report.

Elon Musk is reportedly losing his word’s richest title to Bernard Arnault, the fashion mogul and co-founder and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy.

According to Bloomberg, Musk’s wealth, once worth US$340b, has tumbled $100b since January to $163b, partly due to his Twitter purchase.

Gold prices surged 2% after the CPI report, with spot gold trading at US$1,810 an ounce now.

“Gold bulls are growing more confident the Fed will be done tightening after the February FOMC meeting,” said Moya.

The AUD dollar also jumped around 2% following the cool inflation report to US68.8c.

Bitcoin meanwhile surged by more than 3% to US$17,760.

The focus now is on SBF’s arrest and his extradition to the US. The SEC’s complaint in the New York’s Southern District court has accused the former crypto king of “orchestrating a scheme to defraud equity investors in FTX” to the tune of US$1.8 billion.

Looking ahead to today’s session, RBA Governor Phil Lowe makes a speech at the 2022 AustPayNet Annual Summit.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Wide Open Agriculture (ASX:WOA)
WOA said CEO Dr Ben Cole will cease acting in his role, and will transition to executive director with a focus on Buntine Protein business development. Jay Albany has been appointed as new CEO, and will lead WOA through the next exciting phase of growth.

Findi (ASX:FND)
The fintech company has upgraded its guidance for FY23. Revenue forecast has increased to $51-$53m (previous guidance $47-$50m). EBITDA forecast has increased to $14.5m-15.5m (previous guidance $13m-$14m). Findi says its management team in India continues to deliver on target and gave the company the confidence to make these projections.

Miramar Resources (ASX:M2R)
The first aircore drilling campaign at the company’s 100%-owned Whaleshark Cu-Au Project has increased the potential for the presence of buried iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) mineralisation. Comparison of results from aircore drilling at Whaleshark with published results from research carried out at the Prominent Hill IOCG deposit in South Australia indicate the potential for the rare earth element (REE) anomalism seen at Whaleshark to be related to buried IOCG mineralisation.

Proteomics (ASX:PIQ)
PromarkerD was selected for National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) briefing to UK clinicians, managers and procurement professionals. Medtech Innovation Briefing, known as NICE advice, reported that PromarkerD is effective at predicting renal function decline in people with type 2 diabetes.

Leo Lithium (ASX:LLL)
The Danaya Resource drilling program has been completed, and significant down-hole spodumene pegmatite intercepts include:
82m at 1.67% Li2O, from 68m, and 47m at 2.43% Li2O, from 146m.