Business World

Friday 23 August 2019

Bitcoin makes debut as markets steady

A customer uses a bitcoin machine in Piccadilly Circus in London (PA)
A customer uses a bitcoin machine in Piccadilly Circus in London (PA)
A man feeds money into a Bitcoin ATM at the Bitcoin Center NYC in New York

In Dublin, house builder Cairn Homes will be added to the Iseq 20 index from Friday after a review of constituents by the Exchange.

Meanwhile, an explosion in central New York pushed the dollar lower yesterday, but stock markets recovered after an early dip, once it became clear the situation had been contained. New York police said the explosion rocked the Port Authority Bus Terminal as the Monday morning rush hour was getting under way. Three injuries were reported and a suspect was in custody.

The S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq indexes rose 0.1pc to 0.3pc when the main US stock markets opened two-and-a-half hours later. The dollar slipped as far as 113.245 yen against the Japanese currency.

Before the news from New York, European markets were quiet, with the spotlight instead on new bitcoin futures, which were feeding traders' cryptocurrency obsession.

A positive Asian stocks session had helped Europe initially. The rally dissipated, but a fall in sterling and a rebound by mining shares kept London's FTSE 0.5pc higher. Germany's cyclicals-heavy DAX also held its ground.

But the spotlight was on the debut of Bitcoin futures contracts, which allow investors to bet on the price of the cryptocurrency in one, two or three months. Bitcoin has rocketed up 1,600pc since the start of the year, attracting institutional interest and concern that it is a bubble in the making.

At home, the Iseq was weaker on the day but at 7,053.16 is close to its post-crash highs. Ryanair, down more than 4pc, Paddy Power and Smurfit Kappa - each around 2pc lower, were among the movers. Currency and bond markets were cautious ahead of a week of policy meetings.

Sterling stabilised, after a volatile week.


Irish Independent

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