Overseas Markets Highlights

US tech stocks were hammered again as bond yields resurged overnight.

Dow Jones slipped 0.38%, S&P500 down 1.31%, while tech heavy NASDAQ sank 2.7%.

Tech stocks plunged – Apple Inc lost 2.45% again, after dropping 2.09 per cent yesterday. Amazon – down 2.89%; Alphabet – down 2.57%.

Benchmark 10-year treasury yields, meanwhile, tested 1.50% again – rising by 5 basis points to 1.495% at one point before retreating to 1.465%.

The US Senate is expected to sign Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package into law before March 14.

Oil rose by more than 3% on record US inventory drawdown, while iron ore was up slightly by 0.5% to $US176.40 a tonne.

Bitcoin rose above $US50,000 again, Canada to launch first Bitcoin ETF

Bitcoin is trading at $US50,455 as at 8am AEDT, after rising to as high US52,000 over night.

Goldman Sachs announced that it will start a crypto trading desk this month, trading in Bitcoin futures for clients.

Meanwhile, Canada will launch the world’s first Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) after regulatory clearance. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) has also filed an application for ETF trading to the regulator.

It remains to be seen whether Australia will follow suit.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

ECS Botanics (ASX:ECS)
The company has entered into a three-year agreement to supply medicinal cannabis dried flower and medicinal cannabis concentrate to an Australian cannabinoid company. The agreement follows a three-year supply agreement with London-based pharmaceuticals distribution company,The Armour Group, for the sale and export of medicinal cannabis oils in the UK and Germany, as announced earlier this year.

S2 Resources (ASX:S2R)
The company advised that an objection to the grant of exploration permit at Ruopas Isovaara has been dismissed by the Administrative Court of Northern Finland, and no further appeals have been lodged with the Supreme Administrative Court, allowing the permit to be granted. The Ruopas Isovaara mine is considered prospective for intrusive magmatic style nickel-copper-PGE mineralisation.

WestStar Industrial (ASX:WSI)
Engineering company WestStar’s subsidiary SIMPEC has been awarded a $15 million vertical contract with Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS). SIMPEC will execute the work with Joint Venture partner IronMerge – a Nyamal family business, which commences immediately and is expected to be delivered in the third quarter 2021.

Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY)
Lithium miner Argosy announced the preparation works have commenced to conduct drilling works to increase the current JORC Indicated Mineral Resource estimate for the Rincon Lithium Project, located in Salta Province, Argentina.

Plenti Group (ASX:PLT)
Fintech play Plenti announced the launch of specialist interest-free (also described as BNPL) finance for renewable energy technology, extending the company’s “popular renewable energy finance product suite”.