Nasdaq closes above 16,000 for the first time

US tech stocks continued their recent ascent on Fridy, with the Nasdaq up by 0.4% to finish the week at 16,057 — a new record high.

Apple stock also retreated to US$160.55, after hitting its record level of US$161.02 on the proposed launch of its self autonomous vehicles technology in 2025.

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 meanwhile, were down by 0.75% and 0.14% respectively on Friday.

European COVID cases are increasing again and Austria has just imposed a 20-day national lockdown, driving oil prices down by 3%. The news has also also sent travel stocks tumbling both in the US and Europe.

In other markets, the spot iron ore price rallied by 5%, but experts warned the downward trend could last until Q1 of 2022 amid China’s steel production control.

Bitcoin has gained slightly to trade at US$58,100 at 8am AEDT, from the US$58,100 on Friday.

ASX 200 to dip on Monday

The ASX 200 looks set to open lower this morning, with futures markets (December contracts) pointing down by 0.60% at 8:30am AEDT.

Local stocks fell on Friday by 0.23%, and closed the week in the red down by 0.62%.

The market has been hit by concerns the US will tighten its monetary policy and impact on the recovery from the pandemic.

According to the ASX, set to make its IPO debut today is Nimy Resources (ASX:NIM), a mining explorer that has raised $7.5m at 20c a share.

In large cap news this morning, Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) has agreed the sale of its Australian business to a consortium of led by Shell and ICG for $729 million.

On completion, Shell will become the owner of the retail business, Powershop Australia, while ICG will become the owner of Meridian’s infrastructure assets.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL)
The zero-carbon lithium play, which has fallen by around 30% since coming under attack from short-sellers, announced this morning that it’s signed a binding lithium hydroxide offtake agreement with car manufacturer Renault Group.

Xstate Resources (ASX:XST)
Xstate intends to participate in the drilling of 4 wells; one in Austria and three development wells in Canada. It will earn 20% working interest in the Austrian wells, and 3%% in the Canadian wells.

Li-S Energy (ASX:LIS)
Li-S has entered a collaboration deal with Janus Electric to develop lithium metal battery cells for use in Janus Electric prime mover battery packs. Janus intends to buy these battery cells from LIS to meet its anticipated future requirements of 495,000 battery cells by the end of 2023.

Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX)
BSX has made a strategic 6.85% investment in Flying Nickel, a company with plans to list on the TSX Ventures Exchange in early 2022. Flying Nickel’s core asset is the Minago Nickel Sulfide Project in Canada, an undeveloped nickel sulfide asset poised to benefit from the structural shift in nickel supply, according to BSX.

Castillo Copper (ASX:CCZ)
Field work has identified a 10km zone of pegmatites at the Picasso Lithium Project, CCZ said this morning. The observed pegmatites could potentially be related to lithium mineralisation in the tenure’s north-eastern quadrant.