Market Update: U.S. Stocks Steady After Turbulent Week; Bitcoin ABC Leads Hash War

U.S stocks finished mostly higher in turbulent trading Friday, as the large-cap S&P 500 Index eked out its second consecutive advance on the back of utilities and energy companies. Cryptocurrencies appear to have stabilized following a $37 billion plunge, as the primary implementation of the bitcoin cash hard fork continued to edge out the competing SV protocol.

Stocks Mostly Higher

After a back-and-forth session, two of three U.S. stock benchmarks closed in positive territory Friday. The S&P 500 Index added 0.2% to 2,736.14, with seven of 11 primary sectors recording gains. Strong performances were recorded for utilities, materials, health care and energy companies, with gains in these sectors offsetting a disappointing day for technology and consumer stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 123.20 points, or 0.5%, to close at 25,412.47.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index pared losses to settle down 0.2% at 7,247.87.

Dollar Correction Deepens

After setting fresh yearly highs earlier in the week, the U.S. dollar has declined in three of the past four sessions as the euro and British pound finally got some reprieve.

The U.S. dollar index (DXY), which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of peers, got knocked back to one-week lows after falling to 96.40. It would later consolidate at 96.43, having lost 0.5% from the previous close. The index settled at 97.54 on Monday, its highest since June 2017.

Europe’s common currency, the euro, staged an impressive relief rally Friday, gaining 0.7% to 1.1409 U.S. Pound sterling also recouped Brexit-induced losses, reaching a high of 1.2878 U.S.

The greenback also lost ground to the Canadian dollar, Japanese yen, Swiss frank and Swedish krona – the other four constituents that round out the DXY basket.

Crypto Markets Stabilize as Hash War Rages On

After a precipitous two-day drop, cryptoassets showed signs of stabilizing Friday as market observers zeroed in on the fallout from bitcoin cash’s contentious hard fork. As CCN reports, bitcoin ABC – the primary implementation for BCH – came out on top in the so-called “hash war.” For all the rhetoric employed by Craig Steven Wright, the primary backer of bitcoin SV, the outcome was never really in question.

According to latest industry figures, bitcoin ABC had mined 32 blocks more than bitcoin SV. Bitmain, one of ABC’s primary backers, boasts a hash rate of 20,000 P, which is equivalent to 20 exahash. Those figures were disclosed on Thursday by Jiang Zhuoer, CEO of the China-based miner BTC.TOP. Meanwhile, Roger Ver announced that the mining pool now has more hash rate the entire BCH network before the fork. The combined muscle of and Bitmain seems to have overpowered the SV camp.

The total cryptocurrency market capitalization found support near $183 billion Friday, recovering some $9 billion from the 13-month low set on Wednesday. Most major assets had gained or lost a few percentage points over the 24-hour cycle.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi