The ASX200 has taken a 0.5% hit on Wednesday, with the tech sector giving back all the previous session’s gains after Wall Street fell and the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite lost 2.3% overnight.

The overnight session was dominated by comments from the formerly dovish US Fed Governor Lael Brainard, says OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

“Brainard set the cat amongst the pigeons of the equity and bond markets with some very hawkish comments,” he says.

First she suggested a 0.50% hike was on the table as “strong action” was required to reign in inflation and then volunteered the idea that a sharp reduction of the Fed’s balance sheet – quantitative tightening – could be fast-tracked to begin as early as next month, at a faster pace than previous cycles.

“What makes the comments overnight so significant is that Ms Brainard is typically one of the most dovish of the FOMC members. If she has swung into the uber hawk camp, then markets need to take notice and that they did,” Halley said.

Also not helping was further EU and Western-led sanctions aimed at Russian exports. That helped put the boot into European markets and much of that mood flowed on through into the local region today.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index is down 1%, while the Hang Seng shed 1.3% in the first hour of business as Shanghai’s COVID-lockdown further undermines confidence in the Chinese economy.

The ASX Emerging Companies (XEC) index is getting pasted, down over 1.5% in the last hour of trade.

Iron ore futures continue to edge higher, moving past $US162, while oil stepped back and the Aussie dollar-buck has started eyeing 76 US cents.

 

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP WINNERS

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A punchy new metals play like Belararox (ASX:BRX) doesn’t have to do too much fancy to catch the eye of twitchy investors at the moment. In this case nothing at all also works.

The explorer of zinc-copper ores is up 52% after 3pm in Sydney. As far as I can make out, after IPOing in January with $6m at $0.20, BRX’s share price has surged 443%, now trading at $1.12.

This makes it one of the best performing ASX IPOs for 2022 and really suggests that there’s something exciting in the ground at its historical Belara copper-zinc project in NSW. The boss puts BRX’s share price rise down to the soaring zinc price.

“Zinc is over $4,000 a tonne, I can’t remember ever seeing that,” BRX Chief technical consultant Greg Partington told Stockhead.

Pearl Gull Iron (ASX:PLG) has drilled into ‘thick, high-grade iron ore’ at the Cockatoo Island ‘Switch Pit’, including ~57m grading 68.9% fe from ~80m.

That’s lovely high ore. The benchmark grade often quoted is 62% fe – anything better can attract a substantial price premium from buyers and aside from the very rare exceptions like Mount Gibson Iron’s (ASX:MGX) absolutely fascinating Koolan Island, the mainland doesn’t have much high-grade hematite floating about like in Brazil or in Africa. PLG is up about 13%.

Thomson Resources (ASX:TMZ) has hit thin but shallow and super high-grade silver at the ‘Webbs’ project at the Lachlan Fold Belt in NSW, ahead of a mineral resource estimate pencilled in for the current quarter.

New results include 6.62m at 793g/t from 67m, and come as part of TMZ’s “Fold Belt Hub and Spoke Strategy” which involves building a +100Moz silver eq resource base across multiple deposits that could be processed at a central facility.

Earlier today, TMZ executive chairman David Williams said the Webbs deposit is the most complex of all TMZ’s deposits and needs a lot of love  to fully understand the high-grade silver and base metal deposit. 

“Having said that when the Webbs MRE is delivered, Thomson will have produced five new MREs under JORC 2012 in well under 12 months which is an outstanding outcome from the team,” he said… before adding:

“We have not just rubber stamped previous published resources, we have gone through from scratch, gone through all the available historic information, and added in new data and studies where there have been gaps.

“What we will end up with is an MRE that we will have a lot of confidence in – our better understanding of the geological setting again throws up clear target areas for exploration drilling to expand and extend the resource.” 

The share price is up 13.33% on Wednesday.

 

TODAY’S BIGGEST SMALL CAP LOSERS

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ANNOUNCEMENTS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Cancer fighting company Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) provided an update on the clinical trial process for its drug candidate Zantrene, for the treatment of patients with extra-medullary Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) or high-risk Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).

RAC said it’s now received ethics approval for the Phase 1 trial, which will include a Phase 2 dose expansion phase and recruit up to 60 patients. The next step is Research Governance Office (RGO) (site budget and contracting) approval, where RAC said “all required documentation has now been submitted to enable this outcome”.

“Governance approval is typically received within 4 to 8 weeks from submission,” the company added.

Lodestar Minerals (ASX:LSR) says it has acquired a 100% interest in application E45/5735 located in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia and 8km north of the giant Telfer gold operations.

The company snapped up the tenement after an application for ground subject to compulsory relinquishment was awarded by ballot. Lodestar will acquire the interest in the tenement on a deferred basis, 12 months after grant.

The consideration for the asset was a hefty $2,144 being the sum of application and rent fees. The 1,000m tenement is located in the Paterson Orogen, host to

TRADING HALTS

TMK Energy Ltd (ASX:TMK) –  price query response

K2fly Limited (ASX:K2F) – strategic investment and capital raising pursuant to a placement

Miramar Resources Limited (ASX:M2R) – exploration results

Pathfinder Resources Limited (ASX:PF1) –  potential acquisition

BSA Ltd (ASX:BSA) – capital raising

Golden State Mining Limited (ASX:GSM) – capital raising

Metgasco Ltd (ASX:MEL) –  drilling results at its Cervantes-1 well