• The ASX will open flattish despite a selloff on Wall Street
  • US jobless claims fell as the job market remains hot
  • US hits its debt ceiling today


Aussie shares are set to open slightly higher on Friday despite a selloff in New York overnight. At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 Feb futures contract was pointing up by 0.10%.

On Wall Street, all major stock indexes fell – the S&P 500 by 0.6%, the Dow by 0.65% and tech heavy Nasdaq by 0.84%.

It comes as another statistic shows that despite all the Big Tech layoffs, the US jobs market remains hot.

First-time claims for weekly jobless benefits in the US dropped by 15k to 190k, the lowest levels since September.

While other numbers point to easing inflation, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon reckons the Fed will still increase the US rates to 5% (currently at 4.25%).

“I think there’s a lot of underlying inflation, which won’t go away so quick,” Dimon told the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Meanwhile, the countdown to potential economic catastrophe has begun as the US hits its debt ceiling today.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she’ll implement “extraordinary measures” to keep the government from defaulting on its debt until probably early June, which isn’t that far away.

“I respectfully urge Congress to act promptly to protect the full faith and credit of the United States,” Yellen said in a letter addressed to Congress.

Netflix is hiring a flight attendant for its corporate jet, and says the successful candidate could make as much as US$385,000 per year.

The streaming giant says candidates should have “independent judgement, discretion and outstanding customer service skills”. Last year, Netflix cut hundreds of jobs after a big fall in subscriber numbers.

In other markets, crude prices are rallying as China’s demand will likely lead to rising inventories and increased activity for refiners.

“The short-term crude demand outlook is looking strong as the US labor market remains strong and on China’s reopening momentum,” said OANDA analyst, Edward Moya.

Gold price is also rallying by another 1.5% to US$1,932 an ounce. Gold could look even more attractive if the US goes into a recession and investors look for a safe haven.

Bitcoin climbed 1.4% in the last 24 hours to change hands at US$21,068.

News have circulated that crypto brokerage firm Genesis Global Capital is getting closer to a bankruptcy filing.

“Genesis has been in trouble since the end of last year and most of the negative news should be priced in (for the crypto market),” said Moya.

Looking ahead to today’s session on the ASX, expect more half-year earnings announcements, and the release of Business Turnover data by the ABS.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Winchester Energy (ASX:WEL)
Winchester says all three of the recently re-completed Group Prospect wells have been connected to oil sales. In aggregate, the wells have consistently produced approximately 42 barrels of oil per day (bopd). Total oil and gas production for the company is currently 235 barrels of oil equivalent per day net to Winchester’s working interest.

Aruma Resources (ASX:AAJ)
Aruma has appointed Glenn Grayson as its CEO effective today. Grayson replaces Peter Schwann, who has led the company since its listing in 2010. Aruma says Grayson has in excess of 27 years’ experience as a geologist, and has a strong depth of technical expertise in gold exploration and development in WA and Victoria.

Kalgoorlie Gold (ASX:KAL)
Phase 4 RC drilling at the outcropping La Mascotte prospect confirm extension of gold mineralisation at depth. Results include: 3m at 6.43g/t Au from 61m including 1m at 17.9g/t Au from 62-63m. The results are being incorporated into the first JORC (2012) Resource Estimate for the La Mascotte prospect, due this quarter.

PharmAust (ASX:PAA)
PharAust has received Trial Safety Committee approval to progress with an escalation of the MPL tablet dosing for MND (motor neurone disease) patients. During the trial, MPL was well tolerated by all MND patients at the first dosing level with no reported safety issues. All initial six patients in Cohort 1 have elected to continue on MPL treatment.

M3 Mining (ASX:M3M)
Assay results have been received for the company’s second reverse circulation (RC) drilling program undertaken at the Victoria Bore Copper Project. Results include: 4m at 9.9% TGC from 211m & 5m at 8.0% TGC from 220m, and 2m at 6.0% TGC from 71m & 2m at 5.8% TGC from 89m.


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