• The ASX is set to open flattish after a choppy session on Wall St
  • Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard briefly lifted sentiment with her comments
  • Investors pulling funds out of another crypto exchange

The ASX is set to open flat on Tuesday after a mixed session in New York. At 8.30am AEDT, the ASX 200 Dec futures contract was pointing down by just 1 point.

Overnight, Wall St ended a choppy session with losses accelerating towards the closing bell. All three major stock indices finished lower – the S&P 500 by 1%, the Dow Jones by 0.63%, and tech heavy Nasdaq by 1.12%.

Earlier, Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard briefly lifted sentiment when she told Bloomberg that it would be appropriate for the central bank to “soon” slow its pace of rate hikes.

But she left investors in limbo by not explicitly committing to a lower rate hike in December, nor elaborating what she meant by “soon”.

“The Fed can’t afford to deliver any strong dovish hints as that will make their tightening of rates less effective with their battle against inflation,” said OANDA analyst, Edward Moya.

After Meta (Facebook) announced that it will cut 10,000 staff last week, Amazon also said it will cut 10,000 staff as reported by the New York Times.

The report said Amazon’s layoffs could begin as early as this week. Amazon’s share price fell 2% last night.

Q3 earnings season is set to continue in the US, with major retailers like Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Macy’s set to report their earnings later this week.

To cryptos, Bitcoin was down another 0.50% in the last 24 hours to US$16,350 as speculation swirled that investors have begun pulling funds out from Singapore-based exchange Crypto.com on Monday.

Investors were left nervous after Crypto.com admitted to making a very large clerical error – sending 320,000 in Ethereum (worth around US$416 million) to another exchange called Gate.io three weeks ago.

Binance meanwhile said it will be setting up a “recovery fund” to help crypto funds that are currently struggling with a liquidity crisis.

In other markets, Brent crude fell 4% overnight to US$92.70 a barrel.

“Today’s oil price weakness was mainly attributed to a weakening short-term demand outlook by OPEC and nervousness that the Fed could still remain aggressive with raising rates,” Moya said.

Turning to today’s session on the ASX, releases to watch include the minutes of the November RBA board meeting, the weekly consumer confidence index, and the overseas arrivals and departures for September.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Leo Lithium (ASX:LLL)
An agreement was signed with SEA-Invest to export spodumene concentrate produced at Goulamina Lithium Project through Port of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Warehouse storage was also secured on wharf for approximately 60,000 tonnes of product. The minimum port throughput is 250,000 tonnes per annum with no upper limit.

Revasum (ASX:RVS)
The chipmaker said it has secured additional working capital of US$750k after entering into a note purchase agreement with its major shareholder, Firsthand Technologies. Under the agreeement, Revasum will issue a US$750k Promissory Note to Firsthand to provide additional working capital for the company while it looks at longer term financing option.

Solstice Minerals (ASX:SLS)
Solstice says that recent diamond drilling program at the Hobbes Gold Prospect has intersected significant zones of primary gold mineralisation beneath the shallow, horizontal supergene gold blanket. Better primary zone intersections from the diamond drilling program include: 11m @ 4.47g/t gold from 264m, and 31m @ 1.71g/t gold from 118m.

Star Minerals (ASX:SMS)
Gold mineralisation was confirmed at “Star of The East” through assay results from Phase-1 drilling, designed to test historical data. The Phase-1 drilling assays include: 14m @ 8.3g/t Au, and 6m @ 4.95g/t Au.

Caspin Resources (ASX:CPN)
Copper mineralisation has been found in surface outcrop on the West Musgrave Ni-Cu Corridor. The new copper-palladium soil geochemistry has an anomaly striking over 8km, and is coincident with a magnetic lineament striking over 17km through the project area. Further soil geochemistry results are still pending, including infill of earlier positive results.