World stock markets plunged on Omicron fear

US and European stocks plunged on Friday, with some markets posting their biggest falls in over a year.

The Dow Jones fell by 2.53%, the S&P 500 by 2.27%, and tech heavy Nasdaq by 2.23%.

It was a similar story in Europe, with the Stoxx 50 tumbling by 4.7%, the FTSE by 3.6%, and CAC by 4.8%.

The MSCI All Country World Index benchmark, which tracks broad global equity-market performance, dropped 2.2%, its biggest one-day fall since October 2020.

Originating in South Africa, the new omicron variant has now been detected in several countries in Europe, Hong Kong, Australia, and others.

However Australia’s chief doctor Professor Paul Kelly said the concern around omicron is overhyped, saying the variant only produced mild symptoms, and that there is still no evidence a new vaccine is required.

In other markets, oil prices plunged by 12%, the biggest fall since April last year, on fears of new global travel restrictions.

With this latest development, Opec+ members are now more likely to ditch their plans to lift production by 400,000 barrels per day.

Iron ore was also down 5.5% to US$96.67 a tonne.

Meanwhile Bitcoin tumbled to US$54,900 at 8am AEDT, from the US$59,100 level on Friday on risk assets selloff.

ASX 200 to open lower on Friday

The ASX 200 looks set for a sharp fall this morning, with futures markets (December contracts) pointing down by 1.45% at 8:30am AEDT.

On Friday, the ASX dropped substantially by 1.7%, to finish the week 1.5% lower. Energy fell by far the most on Friday by 4.56%, while tech lost 2.32% and resources lost 1.71%.

On the IPO front, set to list today according to the ASX are three companies:

Alloggio Group (ASX:ALO). This is a provider of short term rental accommodation in Australia, and has a current portfolio of over 879 holiday properties and 13 mid-market hotels. The company raised $16.5m at 20c a share.

Andean Mining (ASX:ADM), a mining explorer that raised $6m at 20c.

Parabellum Resources (ASX:PBL), a mining explorer that has raised $5m at 20c a share.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

FinBar Group (ASX:FRI)
The property developer has won an approval for its proposed Garden Towers joint venture apartment development on the eastern edge of the Perth CBD. Garden Towers will be a $207 million single stage project, comprising 331 apartments plus 1,283m2 of ground floor commercial tenancies.

The utilities focused tech company reported 40% revenue growth, and 135% growth of new contracts won during the half, against prior year’s corresponding half. The IKE platform allows electric utilities and communications companies to increase speed and safety for the maintenance of distribution assets.

Xantippe Resources (ASX:XTC)
The company has entered into an option agreement with Carolina Lithium to acquire two lithium tenements in Argentina, in the heart of the “Lithium Triangle”. Total area is 6,000 Ha, and it’s in close proximity to Lake Resources’  Kachi project.

Sheffield Resources (ASX:SFX)
The company has entered into a binding agreement with Image Resources (ASX: IMA) for the sale of its 100% owned Eneabba Project, for total cash consideration of $24 million. Cash proceeds from the transaction will be used to pay Sheffield’s $10m obligation to Kimberley Mineral Sands, payable within 60 days.

Tuas Ltd (ASX:TUA)
Tuas’ wholly owned subsidiary, TPG Singapore, has been provisionally awarded 10 MHz (2 x paired 5 MHz lots) of spectrum in the 2.1 GHz band for a price of S$31m by the Singaporean government. The licence of the 2.1 GHz spectrum is 15 years in duration, and requires the spectrum to be used for standalone 5G network services.