Local stocks have started the week in the red as a tone of caution moves across global markets owing to the dual forces of Omicron fears and tightening central bank liquidity.

Today’s falls were highlighted by the ongoing woes of large cap fund manager Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG), which has underperformed since the pandemic and is now facing the possibility of material fund outflows from institutional investors.

Australian banking stocks underperformed while the ASX 200 Energy index dipped more than 3%, as the outlook for the post-COVID reopening trade shifts again.

Elsewhere, the index’s defensive bellwether — ASX 200 Healthcare — outperformed with a gain of more than 2% while tech stocks also edged higher as the beaten-down BNPL sector found a few buyers.

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for December 20 [intraday]:

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Food stock Angel Seafood (ASX:AS1) was the Monday leader, after getting an all-cash takeover offer from agriculture investment group Laguna Bay that sent AS1 shares jumping back towards their 2018 listing price of 20c. Read more on the deal here.

Also ticking higher in morning trade was money transfer and forex services provider OFX Group (ASX:OFX), which announced a deal to acquire Canada-based Firma Foreign Exchange Corporation (Firma) for a total consideration of C$90m (A$98m).

“Firma’s key products include spot and market orders, multi-currency accounts, payments and mass payments and forward contracts,” OFX said.

“The company has strong commercial expertise and will significantly add to OFX’s volumes in major currency pairs such as USD/CAD and USD/GBP, diversifying its currency flows as well as the industries its Corporate segment currently serves.”

Also on the winner’s list was Network Device Interface (NDI) and video technology company BirdDog (ASX:BDT), which rose by around 10% following its IPO this morning.

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for December 20 [intraday]:

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Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG) remains in the wars, a few weeks after the sudden resignation of its CEO, confirming the loss of its largest institutional mandate from UK client St James’s Place.

It represents approximately 12% of the Group’s current annual revenues and is anticipated to have approximately a 6% impact on the revenues for the year ended 30 June 2022.

The stock plunged ~30% to new lows near $20 this morning, down from its pre-pandemic highs above $70.