Local stocks posted a solid session on Wednesday ahead of this week’s main event on global markets later tonight — the US Fed’s latest policy decision.

After plenty of forward guidance, the Fed is expected to formally announce the taper of its bond purchase program, and investors will be watching like hawks for any other clues on the bank’s post-COVID monetary policy outlook.

While the prospect of higher inflation (and tighter policy, including rate hikes) has been on the cards for a while now, equity markets are still happily climbing the ‘wall of worry’ as valuations hold at or near all-time highs.

Local stocks followed Wall Street higher, as ASX banking stocks bounced back with a gain of 1.22% to lead a broad-based rally across the major sectors.

Market moves were highlighted by more big gains in the lithium sector, as a number of stocks rallied strongly.

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP WINNERS

(Stocks highlighted in yellow rose after making announcements during the trading day).

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Arcadia Minerals (ASX:AM7) held its gains from morning trade amid the ongoing lithium frenzy.

Investors responded to AM7’s decision to acquire three more licenses containing JORC resources abutting its ~3,438sqkm ‘Bitterwasser’ lithium project in Namibia.

Also rising strongly was energy stock Renergen (ASX:RLT), which announced a “significant increase” (around 600%) in methane and helium reserves at its flagship Virginia gas project in South Africa.

And healthcare stock Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals (ASX:PAR) closed more than 20% higher, after getting US FDA clearance of its IND (investigational new drug) application.

The approval gives PAR the all-clear to proceed with a Phase 3 trial for PPS/Zilosu — an injectable drug that treats pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP LOSERS

(Stocks highlighted in yellow fell after making announcements during the trading day).

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Spain-based uranium developer Berkeley Energia (ASX:BKY) was a notable laggard in Wednesday trade, after announcing that it faces a possible courtroom battle. BKY said it had received a claim from the Singapore Mining Acquisition Co Pte Ltd (a subsidiary of the Oman Investment Authority) in connection with a US$65m convertible note.

Singapore Mining says the amount is “immediately payable”, alleging the investment agreement has been “frustrated” and/or a default event has occurred. In response, BKY said it “strongly disputes the allegations and claim made by OIA and is currently seeking legal advice”.

ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Building robotics company FBR Ltd (ASX:FBR) provided an afternoon update on its Mexico contract, which saw the stock jump sharply at the opening bell.

FBR said the timeline for its Hadrian X and Fastbrick Wall System technologies to be “certified as compliant with all relevant codes and regulations in Mexico in approximately 12 months, dependent on third party processing time”.

Shares in FBR eased back slightly in afternoon trade to close around 20% higher.

Uranium stock Deep Yellow (ASX:DYL) released an update to its September quarter activities report from October 26, which it said included an increase to the company’s estimated ore reserves.

Following the release of its pre-feasibility study, DYL said the definitive feasibility study (DFS) “remains on track for completion in the December quarter 2022”.

The company is focused on progressing its Tumas project in Namibia “towards a development decision, in preparation for the anticipated uranium price increase expected around this time”, DYL said.

TRADING HALTS

Thursday

Alvo Minerals (ASX:ALV) – exploration update
MetalsTech (ASX:MTC) – acquisition

Friday

Emu (ASX:EMU) – capital raising
Fiji Kava (ASX:FIJ) – acquisition
E&P Financial (ASX:EP1) – legal proceedings