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Good morning, and welcome to the start of Week 21 of the calendar year. It’s looking like a good start to the week on the futures market with the ASX tipped to rise 0.47%.

In the US, the VIX hit a 5 year low on Friday, dipping below 12 points. 

So far, it looks like the equities rally has some steam yet, given the response to last week’s US CPI data. So much for “sell in May and go away.”

Economic data-wise, it could be a slow week.

We get RBA minutes on Tuesday, and US manufactured goods demand data on Friday — Australians won’t even get a chance to interpret that before market close, so, expect most catalysts this week to be company-specific, geopolitical, or commodities-based.

Talking about equities, here’s what’s catching eyes this morning: 

According to reports, Florida-based Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos is considering taking over ASX-listed Star Entertainment (ASX:SGR). The struggling stock could be boosted by a takeover from the international Hard Rock brand.

Meanwhile, Xero (ASX:XRO) and Elders (ASX:ELD) are both set to report on Monday. On Wall Street, Citi Group has downgraded Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) to a rating of “neutral,” seeing a risk of iron ore prices falling further.

The Australian government, don’t forget, expects iron ore prices to hit US$60 a tonne next year.

On the smaller cap side: Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS) has a new MD in Philippa Leggat from today, while Accelerate Resources (ASX:AX8) has started its maiden drilling campaign… hunting for lithium near Karratha.

Back to commodities, the price of Brent Crude oil jumped to US$84.00 a barrel overnight as a helicopter believed carrying Iranian’s President crashed, and as Israel pushed back into North Gaza.

Gold has also jumped 3.5% this week hitting US$2,420 an ounce overnight; copper has passed the US$5.00 a pound benchmark, rising 6.7% over the last week, and finally, the price of iron ore has climbed to US$117.00 a tonne on the Singapore exchange.

US gas futures, meanwhile, are up 17.5% over the last week to currently reflect US$2.63 a gigajoule.

That’s Market Open – we’ll be back with an update when the trading day is underway.


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