Overseas Markets Highlights

US stocks were again hammered as bond yields resurged overnight.

The Dow Jones slipped 1.11%, the S&P500 was down 1.34%, while the tech heavy NASDAQ sank 2.11%. With that fall, both the S&P500 and NASDAQ have erased their year-to-date gains.

The market was mainly focused on Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s speech, in which he affirmed that the bank will be “patient” and keep interest rates near zero. The chairman said he was not overly concerned with inflation.

“If we do see what we believe is likely a transitory increase in inflation, where longer term inflation expectations are broadly stable at levels consistent with our framework and goals, I expect that we will be patient,” Powell said.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.55% after Powell’s speech. The yields have now risen by 50 basis points in one month.

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

Apple lost another 1.58%, Amazon was down 0.91%, and Tesla dropped by 4.86%.

Brent crude oil rose by nearly 5% as OPEC confirms further cuts, while iron ore is up by 1% to $US177.98 a tonne.

Bitcoin falls by 5%

Bitcoin fell by 5% overnight, and is currently trading at $US48,075 as at 8am AEDT.

Experts have chimed in on the future of the crypto, with some saying that cryptocurrencies are one of the best hedges to protect  against the potential for hyperinflation.

6 ASX small caps to watch today

AFT Pharmaceuticals (ASX:AFP)
Announced it has signed an exclusive Maxigesic IV licencing agreement for eight new European markets.

The agreement is with the Lyon, France-based Aguettant. It means Maxigesic IV will now be available in 20 of the 27 EU member states, including Germany, France, Italy and Spain as well as the UK. Maxigesic IV (Paracetamol 1000mg + Ibuprofen 300mg solution for infusion) is a patented intravenous formulation developed as a line extension to Maxigesic tablets, for use post-operatively in hospitals when patients cannot take a medicine orally.

Evolve Education (ASX:EVO)
The childcare and education centre operator announced that it will acquire 10 childcare centres in Australia with total licenced capacity of 816 children per day. The acquisitions will be funded from existing cash resources.

Fonterra (ASX:FSF)
The milk producer has lifted its 2020/21 forecast Farmgate Milk Price range to NZD$7.30-$7.90 per kgMS, up from NZD$6.90-$7.50 per kgMS. Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell says the lift in the 2020/21 forecast Farmgate Milk Price range is a result of consistent strong demand for New Zealand dairy.

Peppermint Innovation (ASX:PIL)
Fintech Peppermint has launched a new service offering for Filipino people, which provides access to life and accident insurance products via its established bizmoto agent network and platform. The new offering, called bizmoProtect, provides three levels of insurance cover and can be downloaded from the new bizmoto App 2.0 (released in Android, with iOS to follow).

Neometals (ASX:NMT)
Lithium stock Neometals announced that Primobius, the joint venture company owned 50:50 by Neometals and SMS Group, has executed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Japanese giant ITOCHU Corporation. The MoU provides a framework towards establishing a corporation for battery recycling, under which Primobius would contribute its LiB material processing capabilities.

SKS Technologies (ASX:SKS)
IT company SKS announced that it has entered into a binding agreement to acquire the assets and ongoing business of the APEC Technologies Gro valued at approximupately $2 million subject to due diligence. APEC Technologies Group is focused on providing fibre networking, communications and electrical solutions nationally to a blue-chip client base that includes major banks, telcos, retailers, sporting facilities, healthcare and hospitals, educational institutions, defence and broader government organisations.