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  • Crypto Boom Shaken as Bitcoin Plunges Along With Other Coins

    Crypto Boom Shaken as Bitcoin Plunges Along With Other Coins

    (Bloomberg) -- Bitcoin plunged on Thursday in a sell-off that saw other digital assets fall as much as 27%, a slide likely to stoke speculation about the durability of the latest boom in cryptocurrencies.The largest token slumped as much as 13%, potentially heading for its worst day since the pandemic was declared in March.The rout began just hours after Bitcoin rose to within $7 of its record high of $19,511, the culmination of a 250% surge in past nine months. Fears over tighter crypto regulation and profit-taking after a frenetic rally were among the reasons cited for the sudden drop.The sell-off gathered pace late Wednesday after Coinbase Inc. Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong tweeted about speculation the U.S. is considering new rules that would undermine anonymity in digital transactions.“News that the Trump administration may clamp down on crypto might have been a trigger for the drop,” said Antoni Trenchev, managing partner of Nexo in London, which bills itself as the world’s biggest digital-coin lender. “But any asset that rallies 75% in 2 months and 260% from the March lows is allowed to undergo a correction.”Other coins including XRP tumbled as much as 27%, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg.After garnering more support from Wall Street money managers and fund providers, the rally in cryptocurrencies had looked over-heated. The fierce retreat could stir yet another debate over the their value in diversifying portfolios.“Conditions are very massively overbought and bound for a correction,” said Vijay Ayyar, head of business development with crypto exchange Luno in Singapore. “So I don’t think it’s unusual.”Crypto believers tout purchases by retail investors, institutions and even billionaires, as well as the search for a hedge against dollar weakness amid the pandemic, as reasons why the boom can last.Skeptics argue the cryptocurrency’s famed volatility portends a repeat of what happened three years ago, when a bubble burst spectacularly. Some see signs of retail investors piling in to chase momentum for fast gains, storing up an inevitable reckoning.Concern about potential U.S. crypto rules help explain Thursday’s price drop across most major digital assets, said Ryan Rabaglia, global head of trading at OSL brokerage in Hong Kong.“It’s also not unusual to see a short-term pullback following periods of significant, accelerated gains as traders look to take profits before resetting once volatility subsides,” he said. “Once the dust settles, we’re back to business as usual with all medium to long-term bullish indicators still in play.”Proponents of digital assets say the current focus on cryptocurrencies compared with three years ago is different because of growing institutional interest, for instance from the likes of Fidelity Investments and JPMorgan Chase & Co.Just this week, Van Eck Associates Corp. launched a Bitcoin exchange-traded note on the Deutsche Boerse Xetra exchange. In October, PayPal Holdings Inc. said it would allow its customers access to cryptocurrencies.There is also a buzz around Ethereum, the most-actively used blockchain in the world, which is set for a network upgrade that would allow it to process a similar number of transactions as Mastercard Inc. and Visa Inc. The shift to the new system could curb the total supply of Ether, whose price has quadrupled so far this year.Luno’s Ayyar said he expects Bitcoin to stabilize and achieve all-time highs. But that would be followed by a larger drop in the cryptocurrency, he said.(Updates prices, adds context on tighter regulations)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • A Stock Trader’s Guide to Black Friday in the Covid-19 Era

    A Stock Trader’s Guide to Black Friday in the Covid-19 Era

    (Bloomberg) -- Pandemic-driven lockdowns, shuttered malls and stuck-at-home consumers have hurt retailers in 2020 as Covid-19 ravaged the economy. With Black Friday almost underway, equity traders are bracing for a holiday season where brick-and-mortar businesses that lack strong digital platforms could suffer.For the first time ever, more consumers intend to shop online than in stores, a Deloitte survey shows. U.S. online holiday sales will total $189 billion, shattering all previous records with a 33% boost from last year, according to Adobe Analytics. That’s equal to two years’ growth in one season.“This year is unlike anything else,” said Ken Perkins, president and founder of Retail Metrics. “People are going to be really adverse to come into stores on Black Friday, so traffic will be relatively more modest. Curbside pick will be extremely important this holiday season. Impulse buying will also fall off as online shopping tends to be very targeted.”Mall-based retailers have been among the most battered stocks of 2020 amid rapid changes in consumer behavior as lockdowns resulted in less need for some items and accelerated the shift toward e-commerce and away from physical stores.But with promising vaccine trial results coming through, signaling consumers might be ready to go back to the mall, retail stocks have been soaring. The S&P 1500 Apparel Retail Index erased its pandemic-spurred losses earlier this month, while the S&P 1500 Retailing Index hit a record high in October.Here’s a look at some potential stock winners and losers in an unprecedented holiday shopping season. Year-to-date stock performance follows each name.ElectronicsWith the release of new Xbox and PlayStation devices, gaming consoles are coveted and will be “almost impossible to get your hands on,” Perkins said. In addition, home-related electronics will be extremely popular.Electronics like personal computers, televisions, tablets and virtual-reality accessories have also been in high demand, according to a recent data analysis from NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service.Key stocks: Best Buy Co. (+30%), Rent-a Center Inc. (+24%), Aaron’s Holdings Co. (+13%), Conn’s Inc. (-7.3%) and Acco Brands Corp. (-13%).ToysPandemic spending earlier this year, won’t hold parents back from holiday shopping. They are likely to spend “the same or more” on toys this season, according to DA Davidson analyst Linda Bolton Weiser, who cited research done by Mattel Inc.‘s executives.“The pandemic did not represent a pull-forward of holiday demand,” Weiser said. Furthermore, Mattel’s core brands probably added shelf space as retailers are “filling their aisles with traditional evergreen brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels” because there are fewer toys this year that are based on entertainment properties.Key stocks: Mattel (+16%), Hasbro Inc. (-13%), Inc. (+72%), Walmart Inc. (+28%) and Target Corp. (+40%).Home GoodsThe boom in suburban living has resulted in strong sales at home furnishing companies. “Even with the vaccine coming, people are moving out of the city, into the burbs, and they need to fill their homes,” Perkins at Retail Metrics said.Williams-Sonoma Inc. said on a recent call that demand for its products had continued into November, while TJX Cos. executives said on its third-quarter call that HomeGoods will be “one of the healthiest divisions” moving into the new year.Key stocks: Williams-Sonoma (+53%) and TJX (+2.9%).E-commerce & FintechOnline transactions are likely to continue to surge as Covid-19 cases rise globally, and with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling shopping in crowded stores during the holiday period a “higher risk” activity.Read more: Virus Spreads Out Black Friday Shopping, Puts Digital at ForeInternet retail names that target a more affluent consumer also stand to gain, KeyBanc said in its holiday outlook report. In addition, companies that have added customers during the pandemic could convert them into holiday shoppers, while others are well positioned to steal market share from struggling retailers if lockdowns continue.Key stocks: Square Inc. (+240%) and PayPal Holdings Inc. (+98%), Farfetch Ltd. (+417%), Nordstrom Inc. (-33%), Peloton Interactive Inc. (+276%), Etsy Inc. (+228%), Amazon, Walmart and Target.Lockdown HurdlesDepartment store retailers will face hurdles this holiday season, according to several Wall Street analysts. All department stores saw “steep” drops in online traffic ahead of Thanksgiving, said CFRA Research analyst Camilla Yanushevsky, while Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Poonam Goyal said early Black Friday sales and holiday shopping would give department stores “a much-needed boost.”Cleveland Research was turning cautious on the holiday outlook for department stores, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst Matthew Boss recently cut fourth-quarter same-store sales estimates to below-consensus levels. Meanwhile, Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry adviser for retail expects fashion and beauty categories to be “faced with the challenge of making up lost ground in hopes of a healthy finish to 2020.”Key stocks: Macy’s Inc. (-35%) and Nordstrom.(Updates share price moves throughout.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • JPMorgan (JPM) to Pay $250M Fine for Internal Control Failings

    JPMorgan (JPM) to Pay $250M Fine for Internal Control Failings

    JPMorgan (JPM) is set to pay a penalty of $250 million to resolve the OCC's allegations of weak internal risk management controls over wealth and asset management businesses.