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They Said What?
The price of bitcoin hit a high in December around $20,000 and has been suffering vertigo ever since. Lately it’s been almost what you’d call stable, hanging near $9,500, at least until it dived Friday.
Where’s bitcoin heading?
Jan Van Eck
Chief executive officer, Van Eck Associates
Stable? Is this a set-up? Bitcoin has held its value pretty well—ignoring the December blowoff—but it’s too early to say that selling pressure is over. The regulatory situation will stay uncertain for as long as digital asset exchanges are unregulated. There has to be greater operational stability. The major hacks must stop.
Managing partner, FundStrat Global Advisors
Bitcoin will go to $20,000 by the middle of the year. The one thing that could have the biggest impact on price is Mt. Gox [a defunct bitcoin exchange] potentially cashing out $1.7 billion of bitcoin. As for the word “stable,” you wouldn’t describe the Standard & Poor’s 500 that way. Anything on its way up will be volatile.
Co-founder, Bitwise Asset Management
Volatility of bitcoin is at its highest levels since 2015. Regulatory action is impacting sentiment and volatility may continue, but growth of the network will act as a stabilizing force – there’s more interest from institutions, RIAs, and family offices. The price of bitcoin will rise over the course of the year.
Stocks, Trade, and Jobs
Stocks fell on Monday on tariff fears, steadied on Tuesday, then wobbled on Wednesday after White House economic advisor Gary Cohn’s resignation. On Friday, the addition of 313,000 jobs jolted markets higher. The volatility could not ruin the bull market’s ninth birthday, the second longest on record. For the week, the Dow industrials rose 3.25%, to 25,335.74; the Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 3.54% to 2786.57; and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 4.17%, to 7560.81. The 10-year Treasury finished 2.894% ; gold at $1,322, oil at $62, and bitcoin at $9,075.
President Trump’s proposal to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum ran into criticism from Congress and allies overseas, including the European Union, which threatened retaliation. Trump signed a plan on Thursday and boasted of its “flexibility” when it came to U.S. allies, particularly the two largest steel importers, Canada and Mexico, which get a reprieve as long as the North American Free Trade Agreement is being renegotiated.
Cohn Bails Out
Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs president who served as Trump’s head of the National Economic Council, said he was quitting after losing the tariff fight. Cohn was viewed as a free-trading globalist in the White House who often clashed with the nationalist wing. Although he successfully helped push through the tax bill, he lost on major policy moves such as pulling out of the Paris climate accord and tariffs, and struggled to get traction on infrastructure. He had earlier threatened to leave after the president’s comments on last summer’s Charlottesville clashes.
Trump to Meet Kim
After scoffing at diplomacy with North Korea, President Trump suddenly agreed to meet with the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, to discuss the country’s nuclear program. The meeting, expected to take place by May, was announced by a South Korean official in Washington and affirmed in a presidential tweet.
Populism Emerges in Europe
Populists made gains in Italian elections, fueled by anti-immigration and anti-European Union sentiments. No party can command a majority in parliament, triggering a period of uncertainty as the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement, which led all parties with 32% of the vote, and a center-right coalition jockey to establish a government. Meanwhile, in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel finally pulled a governing coalition together, giving her a fourth, and likely final, term in office.
Feds Scrutinize Chip Bid
In an unusual move, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. announced a probe of Broadcom’s hostile attempt to buy Qualcomm. In a letter, Treasury argued that China would exploit an acquisition of Qualcomm, citing a threat from Huawei’s Technologies, a leader in 5G telecom. Broadcom promised to invest $1.5 billion in training U.S. engineers and not to sell critical national security assets to foreign companies.
• Health insurer Cigna made a $67 billion bid for pharmacy-benefits manager Express Scripts.
• Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said he may retire as early as the end of 2018, though the timing remains in his hands.
Edited by Robert Teitelman and Teresa Vozzo