Market highlights and 5 ASX small caps to watch on Thursday
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US investors took the strong banks’ earnings in stride, with the major US indices petering out to a mixed finish.
Major banks Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo unveiled quarterly results that blew past analysts’ forecasts, as a sign of economic recovery.
But that wasn’t enough to lift the entire market. S&P 500 finished 0.41% lower from a record high the previous day. Dow Jones was 0.16% higher, and tech heavy NASDAQ was 0.99% lower.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reaffirmed again his commitment to hold off raising interest rates until inflation reaches 2%. Core US inflation rate currently stands at 1.3%.
His comments have helped lift tech stocks, along with the soaring debut of crypto exchange, Coinbase, on NASDAQ. Coinbase shares closed at US$328.28, after earlier climbing as high as US$429, which gives the company a market cap of US$86 billion.
The shares couldn’t hold on to early momentum as the Bitcoin price fell. Bitcoin is now trading at US$62,700 at 8am AEDT, after rising above US$63,000 and hitting all time high the previous day. The crypto, along with Ethereum, makes up more than half of Coinbase’s revenue.
In other markets, benchmark US 10-year treasury yields closed slightly higher at 1.63%, oil prices rose more than 4%, while iron ore rose by 0.2%.
Michael Hill (ASX:MHJ)
The jewellery retailer reported significant sales growth in Q3FY21. Same store sales were up 16.4 per cent for the quarter against prior year. Online sales were also up by 69.2 per cent, and up by 93.3 per cent on a year to date basis. The strong results were underpinned by the ongoing focus on margin, with group margin increased more than 200 basis points for the quarter.
Zelira Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD)
Cannabis play Zelira announced that it generated record quarterly product sales and licensing revenues of $225,000 for the March 2021 quarter, up 249 per cent on the prior six months. The Q3 FY21 performance is the strongest quarterly revenue reported for Zelira since its inception, and demonstrates the start of the company’s commercialisation ramp up.
Catapult Group (ASX:CAT)
The sports analytics tech company announced it has signed the Atlanta Falcons as a customer in the US National Football League (NFL), taking the company’s customer penetration in the world’s richest sports league to 100%. Catapult has built a series of SaaS technologies that are now established into the daily work flows of every team at the highest professional level of American football.
Universal Biosensors (UBI)
The electrochemical cells tech company has entered into a non-exclusive distribution agreement with Wine & Beer Supply for the distribution of its wine testing platform device, Sentia, in the USA. The deal is for a three-year term, and will give Sentia greater access to the 11,500 wineries across the country. The deal follows a similar agreement in Chile announced on Wednesday.
Access Innovation (ASX:AIM)
The cloud-based media provider has announced an expansion of its product suite, with the launching of its Smart ASR live captioning technology. The company says the Smart ASR product addresses a significant market gap, targeting customers seeking a more affordable captioning service, where standard ‘out-of-the-box’ automatic speech recognition (ASR) services do not suffice.