• The ASX is set to open lower on Friday
  • Tech stocks led Wall St’s selloff overnight
  • Block Inc surged after reporting a 17% increase in total revenue for the quarter

Local shares are set to open lower on Friday. At 8.30am AEDT, the ASX 200 Dec futures contract was pointing down by 0.30%.

On Wall St, tech shares led a selloff as the Nasdaq fell 1.7%. The S&P 500 was down 1.1% and Dow also finished lower by 0.5%,

Block Inc surged 11% after hours after posting a 17% jump in revenue for Q3 of US$4.52bn

In economics data, US initial jobless claims fell by 1,000 to 217,000 over the week, while the trade deficit widened by US$7.6bn to US$73.3bn in September.

Over in the UK, the BoE delivered a 75 basis point rate increase, the largest hike in 33 years. The BOE said that we could see a two-year recession if the market follows the market curve.

“The BOE believes that markets are being a bit aggressive in pricing its rate path,” said OANDA analyst Edward Moya.

The UK FTSE 100 index rose 0.6% following the hike.

Moya believes the European central banks are nearing the end of their tightening cycle, as the Norges Bank (central bank of Norway) downshifted its rate hiking cycle to a 25 bp pace last night.

Global oil prices struggled and fell 2% on Thursday as China stands by its zero-COVID policy.

“Oil is also battling both a weakening global economic outlook and a surging dollar.  It seems these bearish drivers won’t be easing up anytime soon and that could mean WTI crude could be vulnerable to last week’s low,” said Moya.

In other markets, gold fell 1% to US$1,628 an ounce and everything seems to be going against gold right now.  The Fed aftermath is leading to pain for bullion as Fed Chair Powell signalled rates could be much higher.

Bitcoin was up 0.6% in the last 24 hours to trade at US$20,262.

A report has revealed that the Chinese government is holding approximately 194,775 BTC valued at almost $4 billion despite banning cryptos.

Looking ahead today, detailed retail trade for September quarter will be released along with the RBA official statement on monetary policy.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Ensurance (ASX:ENA)
Ensurance has signed a binding agreement to sell its UK operations to PSC Insurance (ASX:PSI) for a proposed $8.2 million following regulatory approval in the UK. The company says the transaction will position Ensurance to capitalise on strong growth opportunities in Australia.

Straker Translations (ASX:STG)
Language services company Straker announced that it has extended its strategic translations services agreement with IBM by three years. IBM contributed $14.8m in revenue in FY22, and this new agreement ensures Straker will continue to accrue the significant, multi-million-dollar revenue from its existing contract with IBM.

Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM)
QPM announced that it has received an Australian Federal Government approval to construct and operate the TECH Project. The approval under the EPBC Act represents a major milestone for QPM as it progresses towards a final investment decision for the TECH Project.

Macarthur Minerals (ASX:MIO)
MIO published an online interview on The Market Herald website on 24 October. During the interview, Macarthur’s executive chairman, Cameron McCall, responds to a question regarding MIO’s efforts to find a strategic partner. MIO has retracted his statements and said the company currently does not have information to support the basis for the increased production.

Minerals 260 (ASX:MI6)
Final assays received from reconnaissance Reverse Circulation (RC) conducted in June this year at the 100%-owned Moora Project located in the Julimar Mineral Province of south-west WA include: 3m @ 0.52g/t PGE from 177 – 180m (EoH).