In a real life ‘Home Alone’ scenario, the parents of an 11-year-old boy have been arrested in Arizona this week after sheriff’s officials alleged he had been left at home alone for at least two weeks.

The boy was found home alone after officials received a welfare check phone call on December 12.

It turns out the mother had gone out of the state before Thanksgiving and the father had followed shortly after.

The boy said he had frozen food available, and he didn’t set any traps for would-be-thieves.

But this Home Alone story doesn’t have a happy family reunion – the boy is now in child protective services and the parents were indicted on suspicion on child neglect charges.

 

To Markets …

The ASX 200 is down 18.60 points or 0.25% at midday today to 7,571.20.

According to Morningstar with Dow Jones, stocks tend to rise at the start of new calendar periods, like the beginning of a new year, because of “new money” like pension funds that invest when a new period starts.

In the US, Apple briefly crossed the $3 trillion mark on Monday.

You read that right — $3 trillion.

To put that in perspective, Apple’s market cap is larger than five of the S&P 500’s sectors, according to Dow Jones Market Data: energy, utilities, consumer staples, materials or real estate.


Apple aside, investors are still treading cautiously, as most see a rockier path ahead for stocks this year with the unwind of the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program and likely interest-rate increases which could weigh on markets in 2022.

While some investors expect that inflation, which reached a 39-year high in November, has peaked, others are worried that Omicron could prolong supply-chain disruptions, adding further pressure to prices.

“It’s going to be a little bit bumpier than 2021. The three big questions that we ended the year with are still here: Omicron, inflation and supply chains, and the Fed,” said Esty Dwek, chief investment officer at FlowBank. “There’s definitely potential for outperformance for equity markets. I don’t think we’ll see 20% plus but we could see double-digits.”

Signs that the Omicron variant may cause significantly milder effects than earlier strains also supported sentiment heading into the start of the year.

“The wave we are seeing now, you see a lot of cases but you see less people in the hospitals and less deaths. That will give reassurance to markets,” said Geir Lode, head of global equities at Federated Hermes.

Bye virus, hopefully.

Investors are also watching Chinese economic activity and policies to assess how strong global growth will be this year and whether the nation’s strict Covid-19 prevention measures will put further pressure on supply chains and inflation.

The Winter Olympics next month in Beijing are built around a “Covid zero” approach that could affect economic activity, Ms. Dwek said.

 

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for January 5 [intraday]:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

 

 

The biggest small cap winner today was Woodboard (ASX:WOO) up 100%, followed by Cronos Australia (ASX:CAU) up 37%, and White Cliff Minerals (ASX:WCN) up 35% – all on no news.

Bass Oil (ASX:BAS), Cyclone Metals (ASX:CLE), Metals Australia (ASX:MLS), Newpeak Metals (ASX:NPM)and Pancontinental Energy (ASX:PCL) were all up 33% on no news.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

 

The biggest loser today was Engage.Bdr (ASX:EN1) down 33% on no news.