Wall Street plummets on ‘Triple Witching day’

All major US indices fell on Friday, mostly on inflation worries as investors are concerned about an earlier than expected increase in rates.

St Louis Fed Reserve chairman James Bullard’s comments spooked the market: “I think it’s natural that we’ve tilted a little bit more hawkish here to contain inflationary pressures.”

The fall was also exacerbated by a spike in volatility across US equity markets on what is known as “Triple Witching day” – the quarterly expiration day of US options and futures contracts.

The Dow Jones fell by 1.58%, S&P 500 by 1.31%, and tech-heavy Nasdaq by 0.92%.

In other markets, most metals fell by around 2-3%, while Bitcoin also dropped and is currently trading at US$35,500 level at 8am AEST, from US$37,800 on Friday.

The big news in crypto world from last week was the collapse of the defi project Iron Finance, catching out investors including billionaire Mark Cuban and Finder.com.au co-founder Fred Schebesta in a “crypto bank run”.

Meanwhile, an online petition titled “Do not allow Jeff Bezos to return to Earth” has gained more than 30,000 signatures.

The tongue-in-cheek petition was started after Bezos announced he and his brother will be part of the first crewed flight on Amazon’s Blue Origin rocket on 20 July.

ASX finishes week up 1 per cent

The ASX 200 finished higher on Friday, rising by 0.13 per cent, with seven of 11 sectors in the black.

For the week, the tech sector finished the strongest and rose by 6 per cent, compared to the broader index which rose by 1 per cent.

In big cap news, the Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) will sell CommInsure General Insurance to the Hollard Group, which includes a $625 million of upfront consideration.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Swoop (ASX:SWP)
The recently listed telco company will acquire 100% of Victoria-based wireless broadband provider, Speedweb. The purchase price of $1.75 million will comprise $1.225 million in cash and $525,000 in Swoop shares, and will be funded from existing cash reserves.

Urbanise (ASX:UBN)
The cloud-based software company said it has achieved a major milestone in completing the roll-out of its cloud-based strata platform across Australia’s leading property services provider, the PICA Group. With this milestone, Urbanise is set to recognise an uplift in its annual recurring revenue.

Integrated Research (ASX:IRI)
The performance management tech company expects the second half of FY21 to be significantly better than the previous corresponding period. H2 FY21 is expected to be in the range of $40 million to $45 million, compared to $34.1 million in 1H FY21 and $57.7 million in H2 FY20.

Incannex Healthcare (ASX:IHL)
The medicinal cannaboid company has engaged Vectura to develop the specific formulation for IHL-216A required for clinical trials. IHL-216A is Incannex’s proprietary inhaled drug for the treatment of traumatic brain injury. Vectura is a contract development and manufacturing company that specialises in the development and manufacture of inhaled drugs and their associated delivery products.

Infinity Lithium (ASX:INF)
The exploration company has entered into a consultancy agreement with PMC for the provision of mining advisory services. PMC is a Spanish company with ownership interests in mining projects, and has expertise in the development of mining rights for itself and for third parties.