Bitcoin blows by $50,000, Wall Street touches new heights

February 16, 2021: Bitcoin rose above $50,000 for the first time on Tuesday as Wall Street set new records on continued confidence of Covid-19 recovery.

Bitcoin surged to a high of $50,547.70 in midday European trading as an increasing number of corporate heavyweights back the world's most popular virtual currency.

The price of the cryptocurrency has soared 75 percent since the start of the year.

Wall Street came back from a three-day holiday weekend eager to catch up with earlier rallies in Europe and Asia, and all three major indices opened in record territory on Tuesday.

“Sentiment remains supported by the bullish backdrop of positive Covid-19 vaccine rollouts and cases trends, along with highly accommodative fiscal and monetary policies, with expectations of the passage of President Joe Biden's proposed $1.9-trillion relief package remaining elevated,” said analysts at Charles Schwab brokerage.

The Dow passed the 31,500 points level for the first time, but as the morning wore on it struggled to hold onto its gains. The broader S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite both slid back into the red.

While Biden's spending package is widely expected to pass through the Democrat-controlled Congress, analysts have warned it might not be as big as the $1.9 trillion he proposed. And progress on the vaccination front could soon be slowed by supply constraints.

“Tuesday's early slowdown could be indicative of an awareness of these issues,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

“That, or natural jitters for an index that has soared since February began.”

Equities have been on a tear since Biden's election on hopes for greater US stimulus as well as progress on the vaccination front raising the possibility for the return to economic normality.

Meanwhile, oil held close to 13-month highs on hopes of keen demand amid a severe cold snap in Texas.

European equities mostly eased after soaring the previous day.

London finished 0.1 percent lower and Frankfurt gave up 0.3 percent. Paris ended the day flat.

Sterling soared to $1.3952, the highest level for nearly three years, before pulling back. The euro sank to 87.06 pence, the lowest point since May.

A strong pound tends to dent London share prices because it weighs on the profits of dollar-earning multinationals.

Asia's leading stock markets closed with strong gains and the dollar declined against the euro and yen.

In London, the mining sector was also in sharp focus on Tuesday.

Shares in Glencore jumped as much as 4.1 percent to 293.9 pence after the Swiss giant restored its shareholder dividend despite deepening losses.

Meanwhile Anglo-Australian miner BHP jumped 2.3 percent to 2,279 pence on news of soaring profit and a bumper dividend increase by the group, before pulling back.

– Key figures around 1630 GMT –

  • New York – Dow: UP less than 0.1 percent at 31,472.15 points
  • EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,727.29
  • London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 at 6,748.86 (close)
  • Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 percent at 14,064.60 (close)
  • Paris – CAC 40: FLAT at 5,786.53 (close)
  • Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.3 percent to 30,467.75 (close)
  • Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.9 percent to 30,746.66 (close)
  • Shanghai – Composite: Closed for a holiday
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3910 from $1.3903 at 2200 GMT
  • Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2108 from $1.2119
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 87.04 pence from 87.24 pence
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 105.82 yen from 105.38 yen
  • Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.5 percent at $63.00 per barrel
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.6 percent at $59.83

AFP/APP

Posted on: 2021-02-17T00:50:00+05:00

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