ASX to fall as Wall Street slips further into correction territory

The ASX 200 is set to open lower again this morning, as US stocks fell further overnight amid rising tensions and Russian cyberattacks on Ukrainian websites.

‘First tranche’ sanctions on Russia by the US, Europe and also Australia have begun, with PM Scott Morrison yesterday announcing that Australia has slapped an immediate ban on specific Russian individuals, corporations and industries.

All three major US benchmarks fell hard – the S&P 500 by 1.86%, the Dow Jones by 1.45% and tech heavy Nasdaq by 2.55%.

Brent crude was little changed to $US96.82 a barrel, spot gold rose to $US1,906.35/oz, and 10-year Treasury yield climbed back to 1.98%.

Bitcoin has lost 15% in the last 7 days, and at 8am AEDT it’s trading at US$37,683.

Ethereum, the second most valuable crypto, fell over 5% in the last 24 hours and was trading at US$2,624 at 8am AEDT.

ASX 200 to open lower on Thursday

The ASX 200 index looks set to open lower this morning, with futures markets (March contracts) pointing down by 1.25% at 8:30am AEDT.

Yesterday, local shares closed 0.62% higher as the ASX 200 Energy and Tech sector rose.

The seasonally adjusted Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 0.7% in December quarter 2021 with an annual growth rate of 2.3%, according to ABS data released yesterday.

These figures could become fodder for the RBA as it contemplates adjusting its monetary policy earlier (in 2022) than expected.

In large cap news this morning, Flight Centre (ASX:FLT)’s revenue doubled (vs pcp) in the first half to $315.7m.

But the company posted a statutory loss of $194.2m, which was still an improvement from the $230.2m loss a year earlier.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Airtasker (ASX:ART)
Airtasker posted another strong half of growth with H1 GMV (gross marketplace volume) up 15.5% yoy to $83.6m. First half revenue was $13.9m, up 10.4% yoy, and first half gross profit was $12.9m, up 9.5% yoy.

Argenica Therapeutics (ASX:AGN)
Data from the recently completed genotoxicity studies show that AGN’s lead drug ARG-007 will not likely pose a genetic or carcinogenic risk to patients, and does not cause any structural damage to chromosomes in mammalian cells. A draft ethics submission has been prepared for review by Bellberry, the Human Research Ethics Committee, for the upcoming Phase 1 clinical trial.

Gentrack Group (ASX:GTK)
The cloud tech company said that group revenues for FY22 are forecast to be around $115m (vs FY21 revenues of $105.7m). FY22 EBITDA is expected to be in low single-digits ($’m) as the company executes against its strategy plan outlined in June last year.

Nitro Software (ASX:NTO)
The e-document tech company announced that full year FY21 revenue excluding Connective was US$50.7m, an increase of 26% on pcp. FY21 operating EBITDA loss excluding Connective was US$7.4m, and including Connective was US$7.6 million, in line with the upgraded guidance range.

Joyce Corp (ASX:JYC)
The retail bedding company reported that group revenue increased by 16% against pcp to $61.5m for the first half. Group NPAT was $6.7m, a 12% decrease compared to the pcp.