Wall Street subdued, as bank stocks feel the heat

Dow Jones rose slightly by 0.3%, while S&P 500 and NASDAQ fell by 0.09% and 0.6% respectively.

Banks stocks were the main casualties, as Nomura and Credit Suisse both said they were facing potential losses from dealing with a major client. Although no names were mentioned, it’s believed the client is Archegos Capital Management, a family fund at the centre of the US$30 billion selloff on Friday.

President Biden will announce details of the new US$3 trillion package on Wednesday.

In other markets, oil is slightly up by 0.4%, as the Ever Given ship was finally freed from the Suez Canal, after blocking the passage for six days. Shipping traffic has new resumed.

10-year US treasury climbed to as high as 1.72%, as the vaccine rollout gains ground in the US.

Bitcoin is rising again, trading at US$57,200,300 at 8am AEDT, from the US$54,000 level yesterday.

Closer to home

The Brisbane lockdown will last for three days, after Queensland’s coronavirus cluster grows to seven.

The AFR Banking Summit is on for the next few days.

Oil giant Santos (ASX:STO) says it will proceed with the US$3.6 billion Barossa gas project in the Northern Territory.

News Corp (ASX:NWS) has acquired the books and media segment of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for $US349 million.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Ardea Resources (ASX:ARL)
The miner is set to open 10 per cent higher this morning, after announcing that drilling of the compelling downhole EM target at Emu Lake in Ardea’s Kalpini Nickel Project has commenced. The ultramafic flows at Emu Lake contain proven Silver Swan/Kambalda-style nickel sulphide mineralisation. The current drill hole (AELD0002) will test a strong, 8,000 Siemen off-hole conductor, targeting the centre of the modelled DHEM plate.

Volt Resources (ASX:VRC)
Graphite and gold explorer, Volt Resources, said the results from its initial power drilling programme for the Kouroussa permit have identified anomalous gold spread over an area of approximately 1,200 metres by 900 metres with no testing of the mineralisation to depth. Two of the anomalies extend from an area of shallow artisanal workings with auger assay grades up to 1.86g/t gold (3m composite within basal saprolite). Volt shares are 6 per cent higher in pre-open trading.

Toro Energy (ASX:TOE)
The uranium miner announced that it has raised $2.125 million through its Controlled Placement Agreement with Acuity Capital. The funds raised will be used towards additional working capital. Toro’s flagship asset is the 100% owned Wiluna Uranium Project, located 30km southwest of Wiluna in Central Western Australia. Shares are expected to open 3 per cent higher.

Wisr (ASX:WZR)
Neo-lender Wisr has invested, via a convertible loan structure, in European financial wellness fintech platform, Arbor. The company said it will open up an entry pathway to around $1.76 trillion consumer finance market in the EU. Upfront consideration is $400k cash, with any follow-on investment subject to milestones being achieved by Arbor.

Dimerix (ASX:DXB)
Shares in biopharma Dimerix are set to open higher this morning after it announced that it has a $5 million loan secured to advance the Phase 3 clinical programs in FSGS, including clinical site start-up activities and regulatory agency interactions. The loan is received from one of its major shaereholders. The loan has an accruing interest at the compounded rate of 1% per month with a repayment date of the earlier of 31 December 2021.