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Week in Review: Bitcoin Through the Stratosphere, and Nothing Even Comes Close

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Bitcoin put up an epic rally this week, upstaging equities and political developments centered on tax and the Federal Reserve. An impressive rise in crude oil also made headlines, as investors continued looked on favorably to speculation that OPEC is considering extending its production cuts well into 2018.

BTC/USD Hits $7,000, and then Blows Past It

Bitcoin posted one of its more dramatic rallies this week en route to fresh records. BTC/USD surged to $7,000 and beyond, adding a staggering 24% over a five-day stretch. At press time, BTC/USD was trading at $7,213 for a market capitalization of $120 billion.

A multitude of forces have combined to give bitcoin a market cap that rivals some of Wall Street’s biggest companies. Chief among them is the prospect of greater institutional cash flow following news that CME Group is planning to launch BTC futures contracts. In doing so, CME joins rival CBOE in embracing digital currency.

Bitcoin’s rally failed to generate additional buying interest in altcoins this week. Though the altcoin market improved on Friday, the likes of Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin struggled throughout the week.

Stocks Return to Record Territory

Wall Street put up steady gains this week, as all three major benchmarks closed at record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed rose 0.4% during the week to finish at 23,539.19. The large-cap S&P 500 Index eked out a five-day gain of 0.2% to close at 2,587.84. Meanwhile, the tech-driven Nasdaq Composite Index added nearly 1% to settle at 6,764.43 on Friday.

Technology stocks continued their upward climb after being responsible for 75% of equity returns in October.

Implied volatility also dropped to their lowest level since the summer, as investors kept their portfolios heavily invested in the stock market. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index plunged 8% on Friday to close at 9.14. The so-called “fear index” trades on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historic mean.

Powell Gets Fed Nomination

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump  nominated Jerome Powell to lead the Federal Reserve once Janet Yellen’s term expires in February. The move ensures continuity in terms of monetary policy only without Yellen, a Democrat who was on the outs with the current administration.

“Today is an important milestone on the path to restoring economic opportunity to the American people,” Trump said in a press conference Thursday.

“He’s strong, he’s committed and he’s smart, and if he is confirmed by the Senate, Jay will put his considerable talents and experience to work leading our nation’s independent central bank,” Trump said in reference to Powell.

Powell is a current governor with the Fed, and is a voting member of this year’s Federal Open Market Committee. Speculation surrounding his appointment upstaged the Fed’s two-day policy meeting that ran until Wednesday. As expected, policymakers kept interest rates on hold until December.

Crude Oil at 2017 Highs as Rally Continues

Oil prices continued to soar this week, reaching their highest levels of the year on an improved demand outlook and signs that peak supplies were simmering down. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for December settlement added 3.2% for the week to close at $55.64 a barrel.

The January futures contract for Brent crude added 2.7% for the week to finish at $62.07 a barrel.

Crude prices received a boost on Friday after rig-services provider Baker Hughes reported another weekly drop in active rigs. Drillers operated 11 fewer rigs last week, most of which was due to a loss in the number of active oil rigs. That was the largest decline this year.

U.S. Jobs Market Back on Track

It has been a positive month for the U.S. labor market after two devastating hurricanes took a knife to the official jobs numbers.

On Thursday, the Labor Department said weekly jobless claims fell to the lowest level in over 44 years. Twenty-four hours later, the same department announced the creation of 261,000 jobs for the month of October. Though far below forecasts of 310,000, the prognosticators discounted a sharp upward revision during the previous month. As it turns out, the economy created 18,000 jobs in a hurricane-ridden month. The original report showed a decline of 33,000 jobs.

Fewer layoffs and more hiring are positive signs for an economy that has shifted into higher gear over the last eight months. America under Trump has been more confident and far more optimistic about the future – at least when measured along certain economic indicators and the stock market. The president is still dealing with an abysmal approval rating, although that could be attributed to sharp partisanship on the part of U.S. voters.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 772 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, 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




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Market Overview

Pieces of April

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Hi Everyone,

An 86-year-old lady returns to work today after fracturing three ribs and removing several cancerous nodules from her left lung.

She isn’t a victim of social or economic injustice though. Ruth Ginsburg is a Justice on the United States Supreme Court and she is arguably holding the balance in a fragile legal system. So there’s a lot riding on her ability to perform. In fact, this was her first notably absence in 25 years.

President Trump has already managed to appoint two conservative Justices to America’s highest court. So there are now 5 conservative and 4 liberal judges serving. Should Ginsburg retire now or otherwise be unable to continue her work, it would give Trump the opportunity to sway the Supreme court to a 6 – 3 majority. Something that could very well shape US laws and policy for decades to come.

In this graph from The Economist, we can see conservatives enjoying a slight judicial bias since 1980. We would like to wish Ruth the best of success, may she live a very long and healthy life!

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

  • US-China trade deadline: 10 days | Days to Brexit: 38

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of February 19th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Traditional Markets

Now that a shutdown has been successfully averted…

Sixteen states have already formed a coalition to ask the courts to block the President from proceeding and this battle could play out for some time to come. However, as the amount of money they’re squabbling over is relatively small, this partisan bickering probably won’t have much impact on the markets, short of any major breakthroughs or escalation.

Markets were up earlier during the Asian session but by now they are decidedly down. Brexit concerns, US-China Trade, and an apparent European slowdown are taking their toll, despite pledges from the central banks to prop them up.

The United States will come back from their long weekend today so the first few minutes after Wall Street rings the opening bell will be fairly significant.

Gold Surges

The shiny yellow metal has reached fresh highs this morning and is now at levels not seen since last April.

Precious metals such as Gold, Silver, Copper, and Platinum are increasingly being seen as a viable hedge against all the geopolitical tension mentioned above.

Crypto Optimism Continues

The crypto market is once again capturing the imagination of traders across the globe as volumes have now reached levels not seen since last April.

One of the cool things is that the number one gainer over the last 24 hours is EOS. As I mentioned in a YouTube session with Thinking Crypto last week, EOS is the number one coin in my portfolio, simply based on the token economics.

Though it’s easy to get excited. Please remember that we’re still very much in a bear market. So please trade with caution. Always remember to diversify your portfolio with other assets in order to keep your risk to a minimum.

Special thanks to Three Dog Night for the title of today’s market update.

Have an amazing day ahead!!

Best regards,

Mati Greenspan
Senior Market Analyst

Connect with me on….

eToro: @MatiGreenspan Twitter: @MatiGreenspan LinkedInMatiGreenspan |Facebook:MatiGreen

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 152 rated postsSenior Market Analyst at Etoro.com.




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U.S. Stock Futures Point to Tepid Tuesday Start as Democrats Vow to Fight Trump’s Emergency Declaration

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U.S. stock futures headed for modest gains on Monday, as the President’s Day holiday kept trade volumes subdued ahead of what’s expected to be an active week in the market. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies exploded to the upside as trade volumes reached new highs for the year.

Stock Futures See Modest Gains

The U.S. futures market traded slightly higher in the holiday-shortened session. The Dow Jones mini futures contract edged up 14 points to close at 25,902.00. The benchmark Dow Jones index surged 1.7% on Friday en route to fresh three-month highs.

S&P 500 mini futures ticked up 1.25 points to settle at 2,778.25. The Nasdaq 100 mini contract rose 17 points to 7,080.75.

The New York Stock Exchange was closed on Monday for President’s Day. Regular trading hours are set to resume on Tuesday.

Further reading: Does this Chart Spell Doom for the S&P 500 Index?

Trump vs Democrats (Again)

As CCN reported earlier today, Democrats have vowed to fight President Trump’s emergency declaration to fund a new steel barrier on the southern border with Mexico. Trump exercised his executive powers on Friday shortly after signing $333 billion in new funding agreements that avoided a second costly government shutdown.

The new budget includes $1.38 billion in additional border funding, which is far less than the $5.7 billion Trump requested. By declaring a state of emergency, the president can divert funds from other programs to construct his new steel barrier.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the state of California has already announced plans to sue the Trump administration over the declaration. Xavier Becerra, the state’s Attorney General, told CNBC this weekend that he “definitely and imminently” planned to pursue legal action.

Crypto Bulls Ignite New Rally

Crypto markets put on a show Monday, as the asset class rallied more than $12 billion in the span of a few hours. The combined value of all cryptocurrencies peaked at $133.2 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That’s the highest level in over five weeks.

The rally was sustained by an incredible surge in trade volume. Turnover spiked more than 66% to $33.4 billion, far exceeding the the volume surge that accompanied the mid-November selloff.

The top 40 cryptocurrencies all reported gains. Bitcoin, the largest of the digital assets, rose 8.4% to $3,932.72. Ethereum climbed 14.4% to $146.89. XRP climbed to $0.3232, having gained 7.6%.

EOS was the standout performer, as the price rocketed 23.5% to $3.48. The cryptocurrency is trading at its highest level since November.

Litecoin maintained its bullish posture, as the price surged 12% to $48.48. Bitcoin cash rallied 19.1% to reach $145.44.

For more on the Monday crypto rally, read: Cue the Crypto Recovery: Coins Surge $9 Billion Overnight as Ethereum, EOS Break Out.

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.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 772 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, 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




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Who can Verify it?

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Hi Everyone,

This might be considered old news to some but I didn’t take it seriously myself until this article came out today on bitcoin.com.

Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about bitcoin’s rising transaction rate, which is now coming close to its all-time highest levels.

So, it seems that many of these transactions are coming from an entirely new bitcoin use case, other than just for sending money. It also seems that this is rapidly becoming the focus of hot debate among crypto spheres.

going into too much technical detail, what’s happening here is that some new projects are making use of Bitcoin’s stability as a network to maintain the stability of other crypto projects.

The use of crypto’s main Blockchain in this way has some upset that it could be “spamming the network” and by raising the amount of data stored it could increase the fees.

Proponents of the concept, on the other hand, feel that this is actually just another real use case of bitcoin and the ability to store data in this way is built into the code for a reason.

No matter what side you’re on, at this point we can take comfort in the fact that transaction fees in bitcoin are at a two year low at the moment, despite the added traffic.

As well, real-world use of bitcoin continues to rise, whether or not you consider the above as such. For example, in Indonesia, cryptoassets have just been legally recognized as a trading commodity.

Last week, we noticed a large spike in Indonesian volumes on P2P site Local Bitcoins. Well, that figure has continued on to double this week.

With the size of the Indonesian remittance market topping $2.7 billion in Q3-2018, this is quickly becoming a crypto market to watch.

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

  • US-China trade deadline: 11 days | Days to Brexit: 39
  • Presidents Day (Reduced Volumes)
  • Crypto Markets Rising

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of February 18th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Traditional Markets

Markets continued to rise on the news that another US government shutdown has now been averted. This morning, Asian markets are celebrating the completion of the last round of trade talks and optimism for what’s to come.

The timetable for Brexit may have just been shortened. As we know the deadline for Article 50 is on March 29th. However, it seems that the final deadline for May to close a deal has now been shortened by Parliament.

The US session will be partially shut down today in celebration of President’s Day. Check for market hours on the assets you’re trading at this link.

Cryptos Rising

Crypto markets have risen nicely over the weekend. A move that has largely been led by Ethereum.

In this graph, we can see ETH (white line) against a basket of other cryptoassets. Notice the sudden spike yesterday morning, which was followed by a full retracement. After which, Ethereum continued to rise throughout the afternoon and by the evening turned into a market-wide rally.

I was able to put out a short tweetstorm this morning with several graphs and the highlight, in my opinion, is the rising volume across changes. In this chart from coincheckup.com, we can see that global volumes had bottomed out around $14 billion on February 8th but have now come up as high as $27 billion today.

Movements that happen on strong volume tend to be more meaninful in the market as it shows the flows have power behind them.

Let’s have an amazing week ahead!

Best regards,

Mati Greenspan
Senior Market Analyst

Connect with me on….

eToro: @MatiGreenspan Twitter: @MatiGreenspan LinkedInMatiGreenspan |Facebook:MatiGreen

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 152 rated postsSenior Market Analyst at Etoro.com.




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