Bitcoin rallied this past week by more than 14%, briefly topping $35,000 on Tuesday, its highest level since May 2022, then drifted down to roughly $34,000. Still, Bitcoin was up some 30% in two weeks.
The rally was driven by hopes that the Securities and Exchange Commission will approve the first spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds. But that may not be the only catalyst. “As the broader stock market has struggled, Bitcoin has benefited and appreciated in value,” says James Butterfill, head of research at digital-asset investment manager CoinShares. He notes ETF optimism but adds that Bitcoin’s correlation to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq has faded while its relation to gold prices has increased, a sign traders see Bitcoin as a haven asset.The Haven TheoryBitcoin and smaller crypto tokens began to rally roughly around the time the Middle East eruptedPercent change in crypto priceSources: CoinDesk (Bitcoin, Polygon); Kraken (Ethereum, Cardano)
Traders flocked to gold as conflict in the Middle East erupted. While proponents long dubbed Bitcoin “digital gold,” it hasn’t always performed as a haven asset. But that may be changing. “In an analysis from 2015 onward, Bitcoin has responded positively to increased geopolitical risk,” says Butterfill.
Volatility hit the government bond markets, sending the 10-year below 5%. Tech stocks took a beating, despite decent earnings. The U.S. economy grew at a hot 4.9% in the third quarter. On its fourth attempt, the GOP finally tapped Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson for speaker. On the week, the Dow industrials fell 2.14%, the S&P 500 lost 2.53%, and the Nasdaq Composite was off 2.62%. The S&P and Nasdaq entered corrections.
China said it was investigating Foxconn over taxes. The company’s founder, Terry Gou, who holds a 12.5% stake, is running for president of Taiwan. The UAW reached a tentative deal with Ford, which Stellantis and General Motors said they would match. Reuters reported Nvidia was developing PC chips using Arm technology, a threat to Intel. Microsoft beat on cloud earnings; Alphabet struggled with slowing cloud revenues; Meta Platforms more than doubled profits.
Chevron said it was buying Hess for $53 billion, all in stock…Roche announced it was acquiring immunology company Televant Holdings from Roivant Sciences and Pfizer for $7.1 billion. Roivant was started by GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy…Jana Partners called for the sale of Frontier Communications…Shipper Textainer Group accepted a $2.1 billion going-private offer from Stonepeak.
Byron Wien, a longtime strategist at Morgan Stanley, Pequot Capital, and Blackstone, died at 90.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for September. There were 9.61 million job openings on the last business day of August, down from a peak of just over 12 million in March of 2022, but still well above historical averages.
The Federal Open Market Committee announces its monetary-policy decision. Wall Street is nearly unanimous in expecting the FOMC to leave the federal-funds rate unchanged at 5.25%-5.50%. Traders are pricing in a one in five chance that the Fed will hike interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point at its last meeting of the year, in mid-December.
Apple reports quarterly results. Four of the so-called Magnificent Seven big tech companies released earnings this past week and on average fell 1% the next trading day, dragging the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite down 2.6% for the week.
The BLS releases the jobs report for October. Consensus estimate is for the economy to have added 175,000 jobs, after an increase of 336,000 in September. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at a historically low level of 3.8%.