A new week is underway, and it’s ushered in an impressive ASX M&A spree but aside from that, investors have gone decidedly risk-off in morning trade.

The big miners are getting smashed again as the iron ore price slumps, and there are no other sectors outperforming in a ‘sea of red’.

Analysts have attributed those falls to contagion risk surrounding embattled Chinese property developer Evergrande, as shares in the company slumped by another 15% in Asian trade.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index is more than 3% lower and the Aussie dollar has fallen further below US73c.

By 1pm AEST, the ASX microcap Emerging Companies index was trading over 3% lower — on track for its worst day since January 28 when it fell by more than 3.5%.

While Asian markets get the Evergrande wobbles, investors are also preparing for the US Fed meeting on Wednesday night which Pepperstone analyst Chris Weston called the “marquee risk event of the week”.

In particular, the focus is on whether the Fed’s “dot plot” guidance on interest rates shifts forward to a 2022 rate hike.

“If they don’t, which is my own view, then chances are they will indicate a median expectation of three hikes in 2023 (up from two),” Weston said.

Watch for moves in the US dollar, gold and equities, he added. “The market leans into this for a hawkish statement, and the event holds the premise to really move the dial on USD volatility,” Weston said.
 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

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

Stocks highlighted in yellow made market-moving announcements.

Outside of resources and energy stocks, it was companies tied to the Monday morning M&A boom that populated this morning’s winners list.

Stockhead’s Nick Sundich has the full M&A wrap here.

The takeover candidates led the way as energy network operator AusNet (ASX:AST) and listed pub consortium ALE Property Group (ASX:LEP) both posted strong gains.

Leading the small cap pack was Culpeo Minerals (ASX:CPO), which announced that drilling is underway at its Las Petacas copper project in Chile.

CPO shares ripped higher by more than 40%, prompting a speeding ticket from the ASX. In response, CPO said it wasn’t aware of any news (not already announced to market) that would prompt such a surge.
 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

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

Stocks highlighted in yellow made market-moving announcements.