Sunday 25 February 2018

Bitcoin’s rout contrasts with buoyant US equity markets

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

The big move on the markets on Friday was Bitcoin’s plunge. The fall extended to almost 30pc as the frenzy surrounding digital currencies faced one of its biggest tests yet.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency approached $10,000 as this week’s sell-off entered a fourth day with increasing momentum. It touched a record high $19,511 on Monday. Other cryptocurrencies also tumbled, ethereum dropped as much as 36pc and litecoin slumped as much as 43oc, according to composite prices on Bloomberg.

Global stocks were flat on Friday as a drop in shares of US footwear company Nike helped offset any gains, while Spanish bond yields rose and European stocks stumbled after separatists prevailed in a Catalan election.

Nike shares dropped more than 4pc after it forecast muted current-quarter revenue growth, highlighting its struggle to regain market share in North America from Adidas. Technology stocks were dragged down by Intel.

Despite the latest dip Wall Street was poised to end the week higher after sharply rallying ahead of a $1.5 trillion tax cut bill that passed in Washington on Wednesday. US President Donald Trump signed the tax overhaul into law on Friday. Stock markets around the world shot higher as the law, seen boosting corporations and leading to economic growth, advanced through both chambers of the Republican-dominated Congress.

Worries in Spain saw the euro fell against the US dollar after the Catalan vote.

Reuters

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