Wall Street falls as Fed flags quicker tapering

The US stock markets fell again overnight, following comments from US Fed Chairman Jerome Powell who gave a testimony before the US Senate.

Powell told the Senate that it may be time to speed up the pace of the central bank’s tapering program.

“It’s now appropriate in my view to consider wrapping up the taper of our asset purchases, which we actually announced at the November meeting, perhaps a few months sooner”, Powell said.

Powell also said the word “transitory” isn’t applicable anymore to describe today’s inflation, and that it’s “a good time to retire that word”.

All three major US stock indexes were down – the Dow Jones by 1.86%, the S&P 500 by 1.90%, and the Nasdaq by 1.55%.

While there was a broad-brushed selloff following the speech, shares of Moderna fell 4% after its CEO issued a warning about the effectiveness of the current COVID-19 shots against the new omicron strain.

In Europe, CPI data was released which saw the eurozone inflation hitting a record 4.9% for the year to November.

Elsewhere, oil prices also tumbled by as much as 4% ~ 7%, while the Aussie dollar has sunk to US$0.71.

Meanwhile Bitcoin is trading at US$57,600 at 8am AEDT, from US$58,100 yesterday.

The no.2 crypto Etherium was leading the charge in the top 10 by market cap for most of the day, and was up more than 9% in the past 24 hours at the time of writing.

Read the rest of the story here on Stockhead.

ASX 200 to open lower on Wednesday

The ASX 200 looks set to dip at the open this morning, with futures markets (December contracts) pointing down by 0.50% at 8:30am AEDT.

Yesterday, the local index returned to positive territory, up by 0.22% as investors began to shrug off fears of the omicron variant, but the bourse is still well below levels seen last week.

On the IPO front, set to list at 12pm AEDT today is gold, copper and nickel explorer Cosmos Exploration (ASX:C1X).

The company is a spin-off of RareX (ASX:REE), and will be the new home for REE’s non-core Byro East nickel-copper-platinum group element project in WA and the Orange East gold project in NSW.

On the economics calendar, the CoreLogic Home Value Index for November, and the National accounts for the September quarter will be released later today.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY)
With 48% of total construction works now complete at the Rincon Lithium Project in Argentina, the company says it’s targeting first commercial production of battery quality Li2CO3 product targeted by mid-2022.

Lucapa Diamond (ASX:LOM)
The tender of six Lulo diamonds fetched a total sale amount of US$12.8 million (A$17.9 million), averaging US$38,006 (A$53,286)/ carat. The four white diamonds and two pink diamonds were recovered from the Lulo alluvial mine in Angola, and weighed a total of 336 carats. They were sold in Luanda via an international tender by Sodiam, the Angolan State diamond marketing company.

SRG Global (ASX:SRG)
SRG Global has secured two specialist facades contracts in Perth totalling ~$70m, the company said this morning. The project works include the design, supply and installation of specialist engineered curtain wall facades.

Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL)
First assays from Norseman aircore drill program in WA show magmatic nickel-copper-cobalt-palladium mineralisation. Assay results include 1 [email protected]% nickel, 0.35% copper, 0.04% cobalt, and 0.25 g/t palladium, GAL said.

First Graphene (ASX:FGR)
Following multiple laboratory trials, the company has demonstrated that in a standard test cell, PureGRAPH hybrid active materials outperform leading activated carbon materials. Results show that PureGRAPH demonstrated 85% improvement in energy density, and a 300% better capacitance than activated carbon cells.