ASX to rise, but Wall Street falters on J Powell commments

US stocks fell slightly overnight as US Fed chairman Jerome Powell raised the prospect of multiple ‘double-shot’ (50 basis point) rate hikes in 2022, adding that the first one could come as early as May.

“If we conclude that it is appropriate to move more aggressively by raising the federal funds rate by more than 25 basis points at a meeting or meetings, we will do so,” Powell said.

He also added there was nothing that would prevent a 50bp rate hike at the next Fed meeting.

US treasury yields spiked sharply on his comments, with the benchmark 10-year now at 2.32%.

The comments also put a dampener on equities, with all three major US stock market indexes falling – the Dow by 0.58%, S&P 500 by 0.04% and Nasdaq by 0.40%,

Brent crude jumped back to above US$116 a barrel as EU members came closer to agreeing on banning Russian oil, with Germany the only major nation rejecting the idea.

To cryptos where Bitcoin is down slightly by 0.3% and is trading at US$41,148 at 8.30am AEDT.

Meanwhile the ASX 200 is set to open much higher this morning, with April futures pointing up by 1.10% at 8.30am AEDT.

Later today, RBA governor Philip Lowe scheduled to make an appearance at the Walkley Awards for Business Journalism (12pm AEDT).


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Noxopharm (ASX:NOX)
The US FDA has granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) to NOX’s lead drug Veyonda for use in treatment of soft tissue sarcoma. Receiving the ODD will speed up the company’s commercial development plan for the crucial US market.

Schrole Group (ASX:SCL)
The edtech company reported first revenues for Schrole Engage from two leading international schools in Shenzhen, China and Frankfurt, Germany. Schrole says that while these initial revenues are not material, they show that Schrole Engage is able to solve the onboarding challenges that are unique to international schools.

Bubs Australia (ASX:BUB)
Bubs has launched the Supreme infant formula and toddler milk with natural A2 beta-casein protein, giving the company representation across all key premium segments of the infant formula market. The Supreme formula range will be on shelf in 500 Coles supermarkets from May 2022.

Strandline Resources (ASX:STA)
Strandline has received the Environmental Certificate for its Tajiri mineral sands mining project in northern Tanzania. The company says Tajiri’s large JORC-Compliant Resource and forecast low-cost mining operation underpins Strandline’s multi-decade production outlook in Tanzania.

MMA Offshore (ASX:MRM)
MMA has completed sale of the vessel ‘MMA Leveque’ to a subsidiary of Fortescue Future Industries for US$7.75m. FFI plans to convert the vessel to dual fuel with the objective of operating almost totally on green ammonia. Meanwhile, MMA will utilise the proceeds from the sale to continue de-levering its balance sheet.


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