The small caps have sold off again, suffering their worst week since late October and finishing at their lowest level since before Christmas.

The Small Ordinaries index of Australia’s 101st to 300th biggest companies fell 50.5 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 3,071.7 on Friday, closing the week down 52.2 points, or 1.67 per cent.

The drop came after similar moves on Wall Street, following US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell indicated he wouldn’t try to stem a US bond sell-off that has sharply raised yields.

Yields rose further, gold dropped under $US1,700 an ounce for the first time since May and cryptocurrencies also fell following Powell’s dovish comments.

The larger end of the market wasn’t quite as badly hit, with ASX100 falling 0.67 per cent and the ASX200 down 0.74 per cent. The All Ordinaries fell 0.82 per cent, and the Emerging Companies nano-cap index plunged 1.9 per cent.

Health care was the worst hit, dropping 2.3 per cent, dragged by CSL (ASX:CSL). Materials fell 2.0 per cent and tech, by 1.6 per cent.

The energy sector gained 2.8 per cent, however, after oil prices climbed as OPEC cut production. Santos (ASX:STO) rose 4.7 per cent and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) was up 3.1 per cent.

The utilities sector was up 0.9 per cent and financials and consumer staples also gained slightly.

The major buy now, pay later companies were hard hit but did show signs of recovery in the afternoon.

Afterpay (ASX:APT) finished down 2.5 per cent to $11.40, after trading as low as $108.34, while Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) closed down 5.3 per cent to $9.56.

Small cap news

Rox Resources (ASX:RXL) gained 15.2 per cent to 3.8c , after Canaccord Genuity this week rated the WA gold explorer a speculative buy, with a 10c price target.

Althea Group (ASX:AGH) dipped two per cent to 50c despite the cannabis company announced that its subsidiary, Peak Processing Solutions, had received a $C134,000 purchase order from a subsidiary of Cronos Group (TSE:CRON).

MyFiziq (ASX:MYQ) fell 3.6 per cent to $1.90 after shareholders overwhelmingly approved a change of the company’s name to Advanced Human Imaging, where it will be traded under stock code AHI.

Executives say the new name better reflects its offering, as MyFiziq has moved beyond measuring physique with a smartphone to scanning skin conditions and vital scans.

Pure Hydrogen (ASX:PH2), previously known as Starta-X Energy, gained eight per cent to 27c after announcing that the Federal Court of Australia had approved its merger with Real Energy (ASX:RLE), effective March 17. RLE finished up 13.8 per cent to 9.1cr

NTM Gold (ASX:NTM) gained four per cent to 13c after announcing that the Supreme Court of Western Australia had approved its acquisition by Dacian Gold (ASX:DCN).

Dacian rose 2.9 per cent to 36c.

Trading halts


Elixinol (ASX:EXL) – potential transaction
Noronex (ASX:NRX) – JORC estimate
Dart Mining (ASX:DTM) – drilling results
Tasman Resources (ASX:TAS) – drilling update
BPH Energy (ASX:BPH) – price query

Sacgasco (ASX:SGC) – drilling update
Xstate (ASX:XST) – drilling update
Ironbark Zinc (ASX:IBG) – capital raising
Matador Mining (ASX:MZZ) – court orders