Well, it’s rates day here in Oz, and property owners are donning their brownest pants for a likely rise. Some say 50bps is sensible.

In the US, the Fed got a case to keep rising rates despite the inflationary slowdown. Stronger than expected economic data flowed in the form of a surprise rise in US services industry activity in November. Coupled with strong employment data last week, it saw US markets fall overnight on expectations of a rate rise at the Fed’s next meeting on December 14 with the probability of a 75bp rate hike dropping from 21.8% to 20.6%.

The last piece of the puzzle will drop on Friday with the producer price report.

So, the Dow Jones was down 438 points (-1.40%), and at one stage was down 583 points. The NASDAQ fell 1.73%, and the S&P 500 -1.79%. If you need a definition of “sea of red”, 95% of companies traded lower.

The contagion was also felt in Europe, with the STOXX 50 -0.5% and DAX -0.6%, although the FTSE managed to eke out a 0.2% gain.

No surprise then that the ASX is expected to open lower, with SPI Futures down 47 points (-0.64%) this morning. The RBA interest rate decision will be released, as always, at 2:30pm AEDT.

The greenback rose 0.71%, snapping a four-day losing streak and the Aussie fell 1.43% against it, hitting a low of 66.92c.

Commodities were a mixed bag, with oil prices crumbling by more than 3% in the wake of the G7 and the EU capping Russian oil at US$60 a barrel. Coal prices also retreated, down 0.72% overnight. Gold fell 1.75% as the USD rose, as did coal prices, but iron ore is having a nice time of it as China relaxes its Zero Covid stance, tising more than 2%.

In crypto news, while US stocks were tumbling, top-gun cryptos Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) were holding up remarkably well, considering the risk-asset correlation to stonks is usually extremely prevalent. In fact, the overall crypto market cap is barely down a percentage point, while play-to-earn game Axie Infinity (AXS) rips with a 30% gain based on some decentralised governance news, and OG crypto fave Litecoin (LTC) makes a near 5% move building further on recent momentum (+30% over the past fortnight).


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Sarytogan Graphite (ASX:SGA)

Graphite play Sarytogan is reporting a “breakthrough” in metallurgical test work for its namesake graphite deposit in Central Kazakhstan. A composite sample blended from samples collected from six diamond drill holes achieved a graphite purity of 99.70% % Total Graphitic Carbon, a significant improvement on the 92.1% TGC previously achieved by alkaline roasting. The flotation concentrate upgraded by chemical purification (without the alkali roasting step), also to 99.70% TGC. “The graphite purities achieved are a significant step towards battery anode specification,” Sarytogan managing director Sean Gregory said.

Vmoto (ASX:VMT)

The global EV company has entered into a strategic technology and investment agreement with Charged Asia, which owns 100% of PT Industri Charged Mobilitas and PT Charged Tech Indonesia, a scale up electric motorcycle technology company in Indonesia focused on providing sustainable mobility options and Electric Vehicle as-a-service. The Indonesian motorcycle industry is the third largest in the world after India and China. Currently, more than 120 million motorcycles operate in Indonesia, of which a small portion are estimated to be electric motorcycles with the numbers of electric motorcycles continuing to grow.


The clinical-stage biotechnology company is developing novel LAG-3 immunotherapies for cancer
and autoimmune disease, and has announced a GMP compliant manufacturing process for IMP761, its proprietary preclinical candidate for autoimmune diseases. The 200L scale attained by Northway Biotech will ensure supply of IMP761 for IND-enabling studies and ensuing clinical trials. IMP761 is the first immunosuppressive agonist antibody to LAG-3 acting upstream on activated T cells to target the root cause of self-antigen-specific T cell induced disease. Immutep claims it is a “potential game-changer in how autoimmune diseases are treated”.

Ragusa Minerals (ASX:RAS)

Initial assay results from the first round of drilling at Ragusa’s 100% owned Burracoppin Project has identified high-grade rare earth oxide (REO) mineralisation and very high average Al2O3 results. Results to date indicate the Burracoppin Project contains “exceptionally high-grade alumina” averaging 33.73% Al2O3. In addition, 40% of the samples returned total rare earth oxide levels (TREO) above a 500ppm cut-off, with an average of 1,493ppm TREO and a peak value of 6,285ppm TREO.

Ragusa says these results are “exceptional and often exceed quality metrics” for both bright white kaolinite with very high alumina levels, and TREO levels with elevated magnetic rare earth oxide (MREO) components.

Hammer Metals (ASX:HMX)

HMX has identified a lithium-bearing zone with initial outcropping strike length of approximately 200m at its Yandal Project, with rock chip sampling from the newly-discovered Tapenade prospect has returning up to 0.65% Li2O. Additionally, multiple LCT Pegmatites have also been identified to the west of Hammer’s Orelia Target 1 prospect, where associated sampling program has returned maximum assay results of up to 180ppm Caesium, 1,795ppm Rubidium and 164ppm Niobium.