• The ASX is set to open lower, tracking moves on Wall Street overnight
  • Virgin Orbit filed for bankruptcy
  • Gold price is nearing its record all time high


Aussie shares are set to open modestly lower on Wednesday, tracking movements in New York. At 7.30am AEST, the April futures contract was pointing down by 0.2%.

Overnight, the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and tech-heavy Nasdaq indexes all closed around 0.5% lower.

US stocks snapped a four-day rally after another selloff in bank stocks, as Jamie Dimon warned the US banking crisis will be felt for years.

“The current crisis is not yet over, and even when it is behind us, there will be repercussions from it for years to come,” said Dimon’s annual note to shareholders.

“But importantly, recent events are nothing like what occurred during the 2008 global financial crisis,” he added.

In stock news, Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit also sank 23% after the company laid off 85% of its workforce and filed for bankruptcy.

The California-based company lodged the Chapter 11 filing after a failed strategy that focused on launching small rockets from Boeing 747s in flight.

Its sixth mission in January failed to reach orbit, forcing the company to scramble to find new funding after the rocket failure.

Meanwhile, C3.ai shares fell 26% after short seller Kerrisdale Capital said it has sent a letter to the software maker’s auditor.

Elsewhere, Donald Trump appeared at a lower Manhattan court and pleaded “not guilty” to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Part of the charge against Trump read that he “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.”


Gold nears record high

Two-year US bond yields slumped 14bp after the JOLT report showed US job vacancies fell to 9.93 million from 10.5 million, a bigger fall than expected and the lowest since 2021.

“The Fed’s tightening work should be done, but they could still justify one last hike before calling it quits if the remaining data before the May meeting warrants one more hike,” said Oanda analyst, Edward Moya.

Crude prices rallied another 0.7% despite growing market pessimism that the US economy is headed towards a recession. Brent is trading at US$85.10 a barrel.

Now read: Experts are backing these gas small caps to leap the energy gap

Spot gold price can’t be stopped and has jumped back over US2k, trading now at US$2,020.28 an ounce.

“Gold investors now need to see further evidence that the service sector part of the economy is slowing, and that could help the big rally continue,” said Moya.

Gold’s all time record high is US$2,069.40, which was set in 2020.

Spot iron ore fell -1.7% to $US118.75 a tonne.

Bitcoin rallied 1.8% in the last 24 hours to US$28,223.

“Bitcoin is hovering around the high end of its recent range as crypto traders await to see how it will benefit from the current banking crisis,” said Moya.

Looking ahead, the RBNZ is expected to lift its cash rate higher by 25bp, and RBA Governor Phil Lowe will be making a speech later today.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Noble Helium (ASX:NHE)
Noble has shortlisted a number of potential farm-in partners for its North Rukwa Helium Project in Tanzania after receiving strong interest in Phase 1 of the farm out process from multiple parties. Phase 1 of the farm-in process received interest from multiple parties including a range of upstream and downstream participants and geographies, demonstrating the project’s global interest, potential scale, and value.

NickelSearch (ASX:NIS)
NIS says an independent geochemical review has highlighted prospects for the company’s Carlingup Project near Ravensthorpe, WA. The review, which focused on part of the tenements, has flagged potential for lithium and VHMS mineralisation in addition to the nickel sulphide prospectivity already being investigated.

Midas Minerals (ASX:MM1)
Midas has entered into a non-binding agreement to earn into 80% of critical minerals rights over a large (544km2) portion of Gold Terra’s Yellowknife Lithium project (YLP) in Canada. The project covers multiple fertile granite intrusions and associated pegmatites. Subject to the formal agreement being finalised, Midas plans to commence exploration at YLP in June this year.

Western Yilgarn (ASX:WYX)
Potential lithium-bearing pegmatite target has been identified over a 3km x 2km anomaly at the company’s Boodanoo Project in WA. Potential gold target associated with main north/south shear zone is currently awaiting assay. Phase 2 infill (400m x 100m) Auger program is set to commence with targeted infill drilling to enable follow-up Aircore/RC drilling.

Cobre (ASX:CBE)
Cobre announce maiden Mineral Resource Estimate for the Schwabe Prospect on the company’s wholly owned Perrinvale Volcanic Hosted Massive Sulphide Project in WA. Maiden JORC-2012 Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate for Schwabe is estimated at: 272Kt at 1.6% Cu, 1.2% Zn, 0.04% Co, 0.04% Pb, 6.3g/t Ag & 0.4g/t Au; and
Contained metal at 4,240t Cu, 3,360t Zn, 90t Co, 103t Pb, 54,890oz Ag & 3,670oz Au.


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