• ASX is set to open slightly higher today
  • Major central bank bosses spoke overnight
  • Wall Street ended the day mixed 

Overnight, Wall Street wobbled as the most powerful central bankers in the world delivered a grim prediction.

Speaking at the European Central Bank (ECB) forum in Portugal, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said we might never go back to where things were before Covid.

“Since the pandemic, we’ve been living in a world where the economy is being driven by very different forces,” Powell said.

“What we don’t know is whether we will be going back to something that looks more like, or a little bit like, what we had before.The clock is kind of running low on how long will you remain in a low-inflation regime,” he added.

Christine Lagarde, the chairwoman of the ECB agreed, saying that low inflation is unlikely to return.

“There are forces that have been unleashed as a result of the pandemic, as a result of this massive geopolitical shock that we are facing now, that are going to change the picture and the landscape within which we operate in,” she said.

US stocks were mixed on the comments, with the Dow Jones index finishing 0.27% higher, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed marginally lower.

The ASX 200 index meanwhile will open Thursday slightly higher, with the July futures pointing up by 0.03% at 8am AEST.

Oil prices were down by 2% as Brent crude fell back to US$115 a barrel, while the iron ore price also fell by 2%.

The OPEC meeting last night ended without any decisions being made amid speculation around Saudi Arabia and UAE’s spare capacity.

“I’m not sure it makes an enormous difference as neither were likely to save the day anyway, or they would have already,” said Oanda’s market analyst, Craig Erlam.

Bitcoin meanwhile is trading steady at US$20,200 at 8.30am AEST.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Paradigm Biopharma (ASX:PAR)
Paradigm has received official acceptance of its Australian patent application by IP Australia. The patent claim refers to “a method of improving knee function where the subject has a bone marrow lesion, and osteoarthritis in a knee by administering pentosan polysulfate sodium”. The same claim had been rejected by the US Patent Office in March, and Paradigm says it will file a response.

Vection Technologies (ASX:VR1)
Vection has increases its FY22 Total Contract Value (TCV) to ~$19 million, and predicts the FY22 revenue to land at the mid-range of the revenue guidance of $17 to $19 million. The company also says its FY22 investments are expected to deliver a strong sales uplift for FY23.

Miramar Resources (ASX:M2R)
Miramar says it has received multiple high-grade gold results from Gidji JV aircore drilling in WA. Significant new high-grade gold results include 1m @ 5.18g/t Au, and 2m @ 2.03g/t Au.

Cooper Metals (ASX:CPM)
Large detailed VTEM survey has now been completed at Mt Isa East, the first ever detailed airborne electromagnetic survey over the company’s tenure in the prospective Mary Kathleen Domain. There will now be follow-up ground geophysics ahead of potential drill testing.

Laneway Resources (ASX:LNY)
Mining of high grade iron ore has resumed at Agate Creek. The mining fleet was recently mobilised and clean up works now finalised. This follows on from the firing of the first production blast on 10th June, and the recent approval of the Environmental Authority.