Stocks Struggle But Bitcoin Shines

Stocks struggle but bitcoin shines

European and US equities struggled Friday as investors awaited further stimulus and vaccine news, but bitcoin forged a new record as it crept towards $50,000

London, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 12th Feb, 2021 ):European and US equities struggled Friday as investors awaited further stimulus and vaccine news, but bitcoin forged a new record as it crept towards $50,000.

Bitcoin soared to a new high of $48,930 in Asian trade, after MasterCard and US bank BNY Mellon moved Thursday to make it easier for people to use the cryptocurrency. It later slid back under $48,000.

In European equity trading, London and Paris each added 0.2 percent, while Frankfurt was 0.4 percent lower in afternoon trading.

"Recent gains brought about from US stimulus and vaccination optimism has faded to bring a more 'wait-and-see' approach from markets," said Joshua Mahony, senior analyst at online trading firm IG.

London sentiment was dented somewhat by news that the coronavirus-ravaged UK economy shrank by a record 9.9 percent in 2020, despite an upturn in the second half.

Meanwhile on Wall Street, the blue-chip Dow fell 0.1 percent at the start of trading. Both the broader S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped from record closes.

"Nothing awful is happening out here just that the current narrative -- strong earnings, vaccine rollout, and stimulus hopes are getting a touch stale," said analyst Stephen Innes at Axi.

Equities have rallied this year on the back of vaccine rollouts, falling infection and death rates, and optimism Biden will push through his $1.9 trillion stimulus.

Innes noted that the earnings season has gone well in the US and Europe, while the number of Covid-19 infections has been dropping faster than in previous waves.

He said it was unclear why the rally in equity markets has paused, but suggested that perhaps "investors need some good old proof in the economic pudding before taking that next leap of faith.

" Markets were awaiting a virtual meeting of finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of Seven rich nations to discuss pandemic fallout, climate change and digital taxation.

Britain joins Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States for the group's first gathering since Joe Biden was elected US president.

Elsewhere, oil prices retreated from 13-month highs after investors were given a reality check on expectations for demand this year, despite the feeling the global economy will see a strong recovery.

With most of Asia closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, business was limited. Tokyo and Wellington both fell, while Sydney was also hit by news of snap virus lockdown in Melbourne.

- Key figures around 1330 GMT - London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 6,538.62 points Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.4 percent at 13,984.38 Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,682.71 EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,676.43 New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 31,399.75 Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.1 percent to 29,520.07 (close) Sydney - S&P/ASX 200: DOWN 0.6 percent to 6,806.70 (close) Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a holiday Hong Kong - Hang Seng: Closed for a holiday Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2089 from $1.2130 at 2200 GMT Dollar/yen: UP at 105.09 yen from 104.75 yen Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3802 from $1.3816 Euro/pound: DOWN at 87.59 pence from 87.79 penceBrent North Sea crude: UP less than 0.1 percent at $61.16 per barrelWest Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.4 percent at $57.99