Wall Street falls further on Omicron fears

The US stock markets once again fell heavily overnight, as the US confirmed its first case of the omicron variant.

Cases of omicron in South Africa have doubled in two days, with the new strain also popping up in the UK, Switzerland and Brazil.

In a volatile trading day, all three US stock market indices fell – the S&p 500 by 1.18%, the Dow Jones by 1.34%, and tech heavy Nasdaq by 1.83%.

New US economics data supported the case for tapering / rate hike, with new jobs gaining 534,000 during November.

A survey released overnight also shows that confidence among CEOs of major U.S. companies jumping to an all-time high.

The oil market is holding steady and trading flat ahead of the Opec + meeting on Thursday (US time), while the AUD is hovering around the US$0.71 handle.

The AUD/USD rate has depreciated significantly over the past month, from US74c to US71c.

Meanwhile the spot iron price gained 2% overnight despite a report by the Chinese government publishing its 5-year plan to become self sufficient in iron ore production.

To cryptos, where Bitcoin has fallen to US$56,900 at 8am AEDT, from the US$57,600 level yesterday.

Metaverse and gaming tokens were among the best crypto gainers in November, rallying after Facebook announced its name change to Meta in late October.

The No. 1 gainer among the top 300 coins, according to Cryptorank, was Sologenic, a platform for tokenising assets on the XRP Ledger blockchain.

Read the rest of that story here on Stockhead.

ASX 200 to open much lower on Thursday

The ASX 200 looks set for a sharp fall at the open this morning, with futures markets (December contracts) pointing down by 1.10% at 8:30am AEDT.

Yesterday, the local index clawed back some ground to finish 0.28% lower, following a sharp selloff in the morning session.

Small cap gains yesterday were led by $31.5m data software company Tymlez Group (ASX:TYM), which ripped higher by more than 40% on no news.

On the IPO front, set to list today is Close the Loop (ASX:CLG), a battery recycling technology company that raised $12m from investors at 20c per share.

And later today, economics data released include the Australia’s international trade numbers, and also for retail sales for October.

In large cap news this morning, Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) has rejected the $12.50 takeover offer from Blackstone.

Meanwhile, former RBA governor Glenn Stevens has been named as the next Chair of Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG).

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Cycliq Group (ASX:CYQ)
The tech company for cyclists reported total sales of $2,151,000 for November, underpinned by the Black Friday sales. The US continues to be its biggest market with 29% of sales in November, while Australia makes up 19%.

Immutep (ASX:IMM)
The biotech company said the INSIGHT-003 study on LAG-3 immunotherapy treatments has commenced well. IMM is studying the triple combination of efti, carboplatin, and an anti-PD-1 therapy, and so far all patients are still participating in the study.

Splitit (ASX:SPT)
The BNPL play said it reached a record MSV (merchant sales volume) in Q4 FY21 of US$94m, which was a 52% gain QoQ and a 61% gain YoY. The company said the strong performance is attributable to the the holiday shopping period, and better than anticipated results from Japan.

Li-S Energy (ASX:LIS)
Li-S Energy has signed a MoA with Insitu Pacific to integrate and test LIS’ battery technology in Insitu’s range of UAS (uncrewed aircraft systems). Based in Brisbane, Insitu is a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing.

Vection Tech (ASX:VR1)
Vection said it has outperformed its first half milestone objective, with FY22 sales growing to $11 million: up by 120% compared to the first quarter. The company said it will accelerate its aggressive enterprise XR (expanded reality) and metaverse global acquisition strategy.