• ASX to track Wall Street higher at the open
  • US Fed begins its monetary policy meeting, with decision expected tomorrow AM
  • President Biden has just issued an executive order on AI


Aussie shares are poised to open higher, tracking gains on Wall Street. At 8am AEST, the ASX 200 index futures was pointing up by +0.5%.

In New York, US stocks ended October around 1.5% lower for their third straight month of losses.

But overnight, the S&P 500 rose by +0.65%, the blue chips Dow Jones index was up by +0.38%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed by +0.48%.

Stocks rose as Federal Reserve policymakers convened for their first of a two-day meeting in Washington, and are expected to release a statement at 5am AEDT on Thursday.

Most experts believe the Fed will choose to wait for more data before hiking again.

“We don’t think the Fed wants to hike again. But as long as the upside risk case lingers, it will keep that option open,” said a note from Evercore ISI.

To stock news, social media stock Pinterest surged 20% after Q3 results topped estimates.

JetBlue fell  more than 10% after the airliner posted a bigger-than-expected loss in Q3.

Nvidia fell 1% on the back of a  Wall Street Journal report that suggested the company could lose as much as US$5bn on US restrictions in selling advanced chips to China.

Pfizer closed flattish despite reporting its first quarterly loss since 2019.

In other news, bonds rallied (yields lower) after the US Treasury cut its estimate of how much the government would need to borrow in Q4.

Oil prices plunged to the lowest in two month despite escalation in the Israel-Hamas war overnight.


Biden’s executive order on AI

President Biden has just issued an executive order on AI (artificial intelligence) to regulate an industry that has been mostly left to its own devices.

The main point of the order is that developers of future advanced AI models will now have to submit safety test results to Uncle Sam to prove they are not a public threat.

Different parts of the government will have a role in enforcing this order.

For example, the National Institute of Standards and Technology will set benchmarks for safety testing, while the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy will evaluate risks to national security and infrastructure.

But experts argue that the order consists primarily of recommendations that aren’t enforceable by the executive branch, which begs the question of how effective it’ll be in practice.



In other markets…

Gold price fell -0.6% to US$1,983.38 an ounce.

Oil prices tumbled another -1%, with Brent trading at US$85.37 a barrel.

Iron ore futures was up 0.2% to US$118. 91 a tonne.

Base metals prices were higher, with three-month nickel futures lifting by +0.6%, and copper futures up by +0.5%.

The Aussie dollar fell 5-0.% to US63.30.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin was up +0.75% in the last 24 hours to US$34,687.

Analysts at Bernstein believe BTC could surge by over 300% to US$150k by mid 2025. According to the note, Bitcoin historically has rallied whenever there’s a halving. (That’s an event that happens every four years, programmed into Bitcoin’s algorithmic structure, that halves the rate at which new Bitcoins are issued into circulation.)

“You may not like bitcoin as much as we do, but a dispassionate view of bitcoin as a commodity suggests a turn of the cycle. A good idea is only as good as its timing,” said Bernstein’s report.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Novonix (ASX:NVX)
The battery tech company announced that its NOVONIX Anode Materials division finalised its US$100 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to expand domestic production of synthetic graphite anode materials at its Riverside facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

In October 2022, Novonix had announced its selection to enter negotiations for US$150 million in grant funding to support the construction of a new synthetic graphite manufacturing facility with a targeted initial output of 30,000 tonnes per annum (tpa).

Ioneer (ASX:INR)
Lithium player Ioneer and EcoPro Innovation, a global leader in battery grade high purity lithium hydroxide conversion, has signed a R&D Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to research, test, and develop lithium clay (M5) at Ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge site in rural Nevada.

The MOU provides an opportunity for Rhyolite Ridge to accelerate technical activities and the potential commercialisation of the 1MT (million tonnes) lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) clay resource within the soon-to-be-permitted Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project.

Auric Mining (ASX:AWJ)
Auric has provided an update on its Stage One mining from the Jeffreys Find Gold Mine near Norseman. 1,264 ounces of gold was sold at Perth Mint on Friday at $3,131 per ounce, grossing $3,958,740.

Stage One gold production exceeds 9,400 ounces. Milling has now been completed, with over 176,000 dry metric tonnes milled.

Sezzle Inc (ASX:SZL)
Sezzle provided a September business update. Total Income increased to US$14.4 million in September, representing a 36% YoY and 2.8% MoM increase.

In September, Sezzle recorded GAAP Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA of $0.6 million and $3.0 million, respectively. As of 30 September 2023, Sezzle had US$66.8 million in cash on hand.

Rare earths producer VHM has received official notice from the Victorian Planning Minister, Sonya Kilkenny MP, that subject to finalising minor amendments in the Environment Effects Statement (EES) report, the Goschen Project EES can be placed on public exhibition for a minimum period of 30 business days, commencing in November.

This authorisation indicates an important step towards development of the Goschen Project in Victoria. VHM says it welcomes the approval, as this represents a comprehensive process of technical evaluation and stakeholder consultation spanning over five-years.


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