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Week in Review

Week in Review: Cryptocurrency Market Cap Grows

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The global cryptocurrency market caught a tailwind higher this week, as bitcoin and several leading altcoins extended gains.

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Bitcoin Hits $11,000

The week’s most noteworthy achievement was bitcoin‘s new record high. The world’s most active cryptocurrency spiked above $11,000 for the first time ever, as investors continued to bank on institutional support with the arrival of bitcoin futures later this month.

BTC/USD attained a market cap of $192 billion on Wednesday as prices eclipsed $11,300. After a sharp correction on Thursday, bitcoin bounced back more than 12% in the final session of the week to settle around $10,860. It gained a staggering $2,570, or 31%, over the five-day period.

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Trade volumes also rose this week, and as of Friday, the market had turned over more than $6.7 billion over a 24-hour period.

Cryptocurrency Market Cap Spikes

The combined value of cryptocurrencies in circulation reached record levels this week, as capital poured into bitcoin and several altcoins. The latest peak occurred on Wednesday when the market reached $342 billion. A $65 billion correction quickly followed before the market resumed higher.

As of Friday, the total market cap was around $324 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

A total of 16 coins are valued at $1 billion or more, with 13 coming in at over $2 billion.

In addition to bitcoin, Ethereum contributed positively to the overall market cap in the middle of the week. The world’s no. 2 digital currency rose above $500 for the first time ever before scaling back its advance in the latter half of the week. At the time of writing, ether was trading around $463.

Meanwhile, bitcoin gold (BCH) lost 13% this week following a sharp correction on Thursday.

Bulls Regain Control of Wall Street

It was another week of record-setting gains for U.S. stocks, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing above 24,000 for the first time. The blue-chip index surged more than 300 points on Thursday to close at 24,272.35, its third consecutive record close. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index also settled in record territory.

Despite the strong weekly performance, implied volatility rose for five days straight and eventually settled at its highest level since Nov. 16. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index rose 18% this week to close at 11.43.

Political Turmoil

U.S. stocks gave back some of their gains Friday after the FBI formally charged Michael Flynn of lying to Washington about contacts with the Russian ambassador. The S&P 500 was down more than 1% following the news before paring losses later in the day.

Flynn, who briefly served as President Trump’s National Security Adviser, later pleaded guilty.

According to the FBI, Flynn communicated with former Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak after being asked by a senior Trump official to probe foreign governments about a forthcoming UN Security Council resolution on Israel.

Accusations of Russian collusion have dogged the Trump presidency since day one. Interestingly enough, the bulk of the accusations surfaced only after Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was defeated.

Tax Reform on the Horizon

Senate Republicans say they now have the votes to pass sweeping tax reform before the holidays, a sign that the Trump administration was finally mobilizing support for its agenda. The proposed bill, which includes $1.4 trillion in tax cuts, contains provisions to lower the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35%. It also re-writes international business tax rules and lowers individual rates on a temporary basis.

“In the end it all came together and we’re pretty excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish for the American people,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview Friday, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal.

The Week Ahead

The first week of December features several high-profile data releases, including the all-important nonfarm payrolls report. The monthly jobs report is considered a bellwether for the health of the U.S. economy. Chinese trade and inflation data will also make the rounds in the latter half of the week.

On the political front, the U.S. House and Senate will seek to reconcile competing versions of the tax bills in time for Christmas. Although the bills overlap on key areas, important differences still need to be sorted out.

The following chart courtesy of WSJ highlights the differences between the House and Senate tax reform bills:

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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4.5 stars on average, based on 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Week in Review

Week in Review: Another Down Week for Cryptocurrencies as Consensus Summit Fails to Inspire Rally

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Digital currency prices headed for their second down week in a row, as the Consensus blockchain summit failed to spark its annual rally despite being the largest crypto event on record. Altcoins shouldered the heaviest burden of the decline, while bitcoin briefly fell below $8,000 for the first time in a month.

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Commodities and currencies were the other big stories this week, as oil prices surpassed $80 a barrel for the first time since 2014 and the U.S. dollar rose to fresh five-month highs.

Stocks struggled for direction this week, as rising bond yields and geopolitical tensions undermined risk sentiment in the financial markets.

Crypto Prices Sink

Cryptocurrencies were down as much as $20 billion in market cap over the past seven days despite a virtuous news cycle shining a positive light on blockchain adoption.  The total market capitalization bottomed near $361 billion on Friday, mere days after the market hit highs above $411 billion.

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At the time of writing, crypto assets were collectively valued at $376 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Altcoins incurred heavy losses this week, with bitcoin cash experiencing a brisk sell-off in the wake of its most recent hard fork upgrade. Ripple XRP, EOS and Litecoin also booked losses for the week.

Bitcoin briefly fell below $8,000 Friday but has since recovered to trade around $8,250. BTC now accounts for roughly 37.4% of the total crypto market.

Consensus Fails to Inspire Rally

Over 7,000 blockchain enthusiasts crowded Midtown Manhattan this week for the annual Consensus conference. The three-day event, which featured panelists from industry, government and academia, was well receive by the crypto community. However, unlike previous years, the 2018 summit failed to inspire a price rally that many had anticipated.

Bitcoin values had risen between 10% and 69% during the last three Consensus summits, leading several analysts to forecast even bigger gains for 2018. Tom Lee of Fundstrat Global Advisors told clients before the event that Consensus 2018 will likely see a crypto-price rally that exceeds the previous three summits.

Though the event failed to generate price gains like many had predicted, the “post-Consensus” rally usually takes months to peak.

There has been no shortage of positive developments from the crypto industry in recent weeks. On Wednesday, Goldman Sachs-backed Circle announced it was launching a cryptocurrency pegged to the U.S. dollar in an effort to streamline merchant payments through digital currency. IBM and fin-tech startup Veridium Labs have also announced a joint cryptocurrency that seeks to monetize carbon credits.

Rising Bond Yields Boost Dollar

The U.S. dollar dominated the currency markets this week, as investors continued to rally behind expectations of faster rate-hikes by the Federal Reserve. The dollar index (DXY), which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of six currencies, reached its highest level in five months.

DXY closed at 93.67 Friday, its highest settlement since Dec. 18.

Rate-hike expectations are firmly embedded in U.S. government bond yields, which rose this week to their highest levels since at least 2011. The yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries peaked above 3.1% for a gain of about 14 basis points this week. Yields rise as debt prices fall.

A stronger dollar couldn’t contain the continued rise of energy prices, as Brent crude futures topped $80 a barrel for the first time since 2014. The international futures benchmark has added more than 12% over the past month, with recent gains driven by geopolitical concerns tied to the Iran nuclear deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump exited the nuclear deal last week, putting Iran back under sanctions.

The Week Ahead

Crypto prices have faltered for two consecutive weeks, putting investors on high alert for a possibly bigger reversal in the short term. However, the balance of news coming out of crypto space has been overwhelmingly positive, which suggests that a recovery could materialize.

Economic data, Federal Reserve speeches and the minutes of the most recent FOMC meetings will also generate market-moving headlines next week. Developments on the geopolitical front involving Iran and North Korea could also influence markets.

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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4.5 stars on average, based on 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Week in Review

Week in Review: Cryptocurrencies Surrender Gains as Stocks Surge

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Stocks and cryptocurrencies diverged sharply this week, as capital poured out of the digital asset class following a month of gains. Stock markets received a boost from strong corporate earnings, the easing of geopolitical tensions and tamer than expected inflation for the world’s largest economy.

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Cryptocurrencies Give Back Gains

The combined value of cryptocurrencies plunged more than $65 billion this week, with the bulk of the decline occurring Friday after Korean prosecutors raided the country’s largest digital currency exchange.

South Korea’s UpBit has been raided by federal authorities over suspicion of fraud, Reuters reported Friday, citing local news sources. The company issued a formal statement on its website informing traders that it is complying with the investigation and that all transactions and withdrawals are operating normally.

UpBit is the world’s fourth largest crypto exchange by volume.

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Bitcoin prices plunged to three-week lows after spending most of the week above $9,000. Bitcoin bottomed near $8,500 Friday but later recovered to trade at $8,620.

The vast majority of coins in the top-100 lost double digits on Friday, including Ethereum, Ripple XRP and bitcoin cash. The combined value of all cryptocurrencies reached a low of $379.8 billion Friday before recovering near $392 billion.

Despite recent declines, cryptocurrency prices are still being underpinned by positive fundamental drivers, including greater institutional adoption and key acquisitions of major exchanges. That said, the bulls have certainly lost momentum with the recent UpBit news souring investor sentiment.

Stocks Book Solid Gains

U.S. stocks capped off one of their best weeks since January, with energy shares leading the market higher.

All of Wall Street’s major indexes finished in the black, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average notching its seventh consecutive daily advance Friday. The blue-chip index closed at 24,831.17, its highest since March. For the week, the Dow added 2.4%.

The broader S&P 500 Index gained 2.6% for the week to close at 2,727.72. Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index surged 2.7% over five days to finish at 7,402.88.

Wall Street’s impressive rally was accompanied by a sharp fall in volatility. The CBOE VIX, commonly known as the “fear index,” fell to its lowest level since January.  The index, which trades on a scale of 1-100, closed at 12.65 on Friday.

Geopolitics in Focus

Developments on the geopolitical front were front and center for commodity traders this week after President Trump decided to exit the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. U.S. fallout from the deal means Iran will once again be subject to economic sanctions, which includes limitations on crude exports.

U.S. companies were also hit hard by the resumption of Iranian sanctions, with Boeing and Airbus said to have lost a combined $40 billion in contracts with the Islamic Republic.

However, on the subject of North Korea, investors had much more to be optimistic about after President Trump confirmed that he would meet with Kim Jong-un at a summit in Singapore next month.

The two Korean nations have pledged peace and denuclearization on their peninsula following U.S. and Chinese diplomatic intervention.

The Week Ahead

A stalled cryptocurrency rally will have some speculators concerned about the voracity of the spring recovery. Last week, crypto assets appeared poised to test the $500 billion market cap level. Price action over the last five days showed relative stability with the bulk of the declines concentrated on Friday.

Equities have returned to health following a prolonged period of volatility. However, the real test will come after corporate earnings season as investors contend with rising interest rates. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note exceeded 3% this week, signaling renewed concern over the health of the U.S. economy.

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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4.5 stars on average, based on 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Week in Review

Week in Review: Bitcoin and Ethereum Lead Crypto Market Higher as Goldman Sachs Embraces Digital Assets

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Long-term holders of digital currencies were rewarded again this week, as bitcoin and Ethereum led a broad market recovery past $450 billion. Gains were partly driven by positive speculation over Goldman Sachs’ entry into the space as an institutional money maker, which likely puts more pressure on Wall Street banks to follow suit.

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Meanwhile, equities rounded out a turbulent week on a positive note, as anticipated volatility briefly fell to its lowest level since January.

Cryptocurrency Recovery Takes Root

The cryptocurrency market rallied more than 12% this week, as bitcoin broke above $9,700 and Ethereum approached $800. Both digital currencies grew in market cap as investors continued to anticipate broader institutional adoption of digital assets.

Ethereum prices surged nearly 20% this week to $778 a coin despite reports that federal regulators were conducting a deeper investigation into the digital asset. Hacked reported Tuesday that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was researching Ethereum and other crypto assets to determine if they meet the standard definition of a security.

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Bitcoin’s gains were far less dramatic this week, though signs of price stability gave investors confidence that the cryptocurrency had entered a long-term recovery phase. Bitcoin rose by about $400 over the past seven days, having established its narrowest trading range in nearly six months. At the time of writing, bitcoin was valued at $9,671.

The crypto market peaked near $461 billion on Friday, its highest since early March. At the time of writing, the total market was worth roughly $456 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Stocks Recover

Equity markets ended the week on a positive note, as shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) reached all-time highs and the broader technology sector followed suit.

The world’s most valuable company reported better than expected earnings this week even as sales of its flagship iPhone product fell.

Wall Street’s major indexes reversed weekly losses following a strong Friday session. The S&P 500 Index, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite Index rose between 1.3% and 1.7% on Friday.

The CBOE Volatility Index, commonly known as the VIX, briefly fell below 11.00 for the first time since January. The VIX, which historically trades around 20, settled down 7.1% at 14.77.

Corporate earnings continue to deliver positive results, with the S&P 500 Index now poised for its strongest quarter since 2010. As of Friday, blended earnings for S&P 500 companies had grown 24.2% in the first quarter based on 81% of firms reporting.

Nonfarm Payrolls Disappoint

U.S. employers added 164,000 workers to payrolls last month, undershooting estimates by 31,000, the Department of Labor reported Friday.

Softer job creation was offset by a bigger than expected fall in unemployment, which many analysts said was evidence of a stronger labor market. However, a closer evaluation of the numbers reveals that the decline in the unemployment rate was caused by 236,000 workforce exits.

In other words, the number of Americans searching for work fell during April.

Still, a jobless rate of 3.9% is the lowest in nearly two decades.

Average hourly earnings, a proxy for wage inflation, rose just 0.1% month-on-month and 2.6% annually, official data showed. Both were lower than expected.

The Week Ahead

Cryptocurrencies are edging closer to $500 billion thanks to a broad relief rally led by bitcoin and the major altcoins. While a repeat performance of April is unlikely, strong fundamentals and favorable developments on the institutional front could generate even more interest in digital assets.

The winding down of corporate earnings season could spell trouble for stock markets as investors shift their focus to economic data and monetary policy. The Federal Reserve has made it abundantly clear that it intends to raise interest rates steadily over the next three years as inflation and economic growth approach, and possibly exceed, their targets.

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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4.5 stars on average, based on 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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