Market highlights and 4 ASX small caps to watch on Friday

Wall Street reaches record highs again

The Dow Jones and S&P500 indices set record highs again, after a string of official positive data came out in the US overnight.

The Dow finished 0.9% higher and S&P500 rose by 1.11%. Tech heavy NASDAQ also rose by 1.31%.

Investors were in a positive mood after US retail sales jumped 9.8% in March, beating economists’ forecast of 5.5% by a long shot. More positive data shows that only 576k people applied for unemployment benefits last week, compared to the 700k estimate.

In addition, US corporate earnings have also beaten expectations so far this week, with PepsiCo and United Health the latest major companies to report strong sales growth.

Tech stocks rose as the 10-year Treasury yield plunged from 1.63% to 1.58%. Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook all rose by more than 1%, while Coinbase slipped 1.7%.

Bitcoin is slightly higher at US$63,400 at 8am AEDT, as the Canadian Bitcoin ETF hits the $1 billion in assets under management. The Purpose Investments ETF, which is the first ever crypto ETF to launch in North America, has seen its funds soar to $1.3 billion less than two months after launching.

In other markets, iron ore rose by 2.8%, while oil is higher by 0.4%.
 

Closer to home

Banking giant Citigroup says it will close down the consumer banking division in Australia, after 36 years of operation.

Engineering company Monadelphous (ASX:MND) announced that a confidential out-of-court settlement has now been reached with Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), with the settlement being covered by the proceeds of insurance. Rio Tinto had been seeking $500 million in damages over a fire in one of its iron operations in WA.
 

4 ASX small caps to watch today

Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX)
The company announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the New Drug Application (NDA) for the novel combined oral contraceptive NEXTSTELLIS. Mayne Pharma anticipates the commercial launch of NEXTSTELLIS by the end of June 2021. NEXTSTELLIS is the first and only contraceptive pill containing estetrol, a native estrogen, now produced from a plant source – and is developed by Mithra.

Consolidated Zinc (ASX:CZL)
The exploration company has announced its Plomosas plant has successfully commenced production of zinc and lead concentrates. The company says that with commissioning of the wholly owned processing plant, it now has full control over both the mining and processing functions for the first time.

Neometals (ASX:NMT)
The lithium player announced that it has entered into a MoU with leading Chinese titanium slag producer, Jiuxing Titanium Materials. Jiuxing is the largest chloride titanium slag production company in northeastern China, and has an approximate 12 per cent share of the total Chinese chloride slag market. Under the deal, Neometals is set to supply a mixed gravity concentrate or separate ilmenite and iron vanadium concentrate from Barrambie to Jiuxing.

Twenty Seven Co (ASX:TSC)
The gold miner is reporting that the review of historical soil geochemistry, coupled with the reprocessing of open file historical geophysical surveys, has confirmed the presence of favourable structural settings at TSC’s 100%-owned Yarbu Gold Project, which warrant first-pass exploration investigation.

The post Market highlights and 4 ASX small caps to watch on Friday appeared first on Stockhead.

Barry Stroman was a reporter for Zerg Watch, before becoming the lead editor. Barry has previously worked for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat covering countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Barry studied at NYU.

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