• Local shares are poised to extend losses on Friday
  • Tech titans Apple, Amazon and Atlassian reported their quarterlies
  • August could live up to its “very boring” historical reputation for the stock market


The ASX 200 is set to open lower again on Friday as Wall Street fell modestly. At 8am AEST, the ASX 200 index futures was pointing down by -0.10%.

Overnight, the S&P 500 was down -0.25% and Nasdaq by -0.1% as traders combed through earnings reports from tech titans.

Apple fell -0.73% after missing slightly on iPhone sales for the quarter.

Amazon surged 8% post-market after delivering strong profit for the quarter as e-commerce sales grew strongly.

Atlassian rocketed higher by 22% after the bell as the software firm far exceeded analysts’ forecasts on cloud-based products sales to small businesses.

Block Inc dropped 6% after the bell despite beating analyst expectations on revenue.

Meanwhile, good news on the data front as the US jobs market remained resilient – with weekly jobless claims increasing by just 6,000 to 227,000. Productivity also surged at 3.7% rate in second quarter.

Over the Atlantic, the Bank of England raised its key interest rate by 25bp to 5.25%, a 15-year high, as protests took place outside the BoE building in London.


‘Boring but volatile’ August

August could live up to its “very boring” historical reputation for stocks, particularly since Fed policymakers don’t convene this month.

Traditionally, there’s a significant decline in trading activity in August as Wall Street traders go on vacations.

And if this August is like past Augusts, there’s a risk of higher volatility during a month that historically sees less liquidity.

That said, Fed policymakers have left the possibility of another rate hike on the table for September.

“Any economic reports in August that suggest a rate hike is warranted could make September a ‘live’ meeting, and thereby increase the potential for market volatility in the interim,” notes Bryant VanCronkhite, senior portfolio manager at Allspring Global Investments.


In other markets …

Overnight, gold traded flat at US$1,933.85 an ounce.

Crude prices surged by 2.5%, with WTI now trading at US$81.55 a barrel.

ANZ analysts have maintained end of year oil price target at US$100/bbl, saying upside beyond this looks unlikely in 2024.

Iron ore 62% fe slipped almost -3% to $US104.26 a tonne as China demand concerns mount.

“Limited signs of fresh policy stimulus and ongoing weakness in residential property markets in China are weighing on sentiment,” noted Westpac analysts.

Bitcoin meanwhile rose by +0.7% in the last 24 hours to US$29,284.

Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein – the infamous husband and wife influencers who masqueraded as a rapper and tech entrepreneur on social media – have pleaded guilty to laundering US$4.5bn (£3.5bn) of Bitcoin that Lichtenstein had stolen in a hack in 2016.

When the hack was carried out, their Bitcoin holdings were worth about US$71m.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Patriot Battery Metals (ASX:PMT)
Following closing of a strategic investment, mining giant Albemarle now owns approximately 4.9% of Patriot’s shares on a fully-diluted basis. The shares subscribed by Albemarle are subject to a restriction on resale of four months and one day from today. PMT says the proceeds will be used to accelerate the development activities at the company’s Corvette Lithium Project, and for general corporate purposes.

EV Resources (ASX:EVR)
EVR has signed a set of agreements to finalise the acquisition of the high-grade Parag Copper-Molybdenum Project (EVR 70%). Drill permitting and planning activities are well advanced with an initial 8,000m diamond drill programme planned, to follow up previous historical drilling.

Alto Metals (ASX:AME)
Second phase of RC drilling at the Indomitable Camp continues to return high-grade gold mineralisation in both near surface oxide and in fresh rock at depth. Results include: 15m @ 3.1g/t incl 1m @ 22.2g/t from 33m.

Alliance Nickel (ASX:AXN)
AXN has received clearance (without conditions) from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to undertake the second tranche of the strategic placement with Alliance announced in May. Upon settlement of the Tranche 2, Stellantis will have subscribed for a total of $15 million (at $0.18 per share), and will hold an approximate 11.5% interest in Alliance.

AdAlta (ASX:1AD)
The first participants in the company’s Phase I extension study of AD-214 have successfully received their first dose. This is a study on healthy volunteers and patients with interstitial lung disease or chronic kidney disease. Adalta says it’s on track to obtain interim results in 2023, and full results in Q1 2024.


At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Alliance Nickel is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.