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Bitcoin down, Ether up, US equities rise as unemployment claims slide

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Bitcoin was down and Ether was up on Friday morning in Asia, while most top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies by market capitalization fell. Polygon led losses after its block explorer crashed temporarily. U.S. equities ended Thursday higher despite the latest unemployment claims data coming in lower than expected.

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Fast facts

  • Bitcoin fell 1.01% to US$23,945 in the 24 hours to 8 a.m. in Hong Kong, while it gained 1.37% over the past week, according to CoinMarketCap data. Ethereum inched up 0.46% to US$1,650, with a weekly gain of 0.66% over the last seven days.
  • Polygon fell 3.03% to US$1.35 with a weekly loss of 1.24%. Polygonscan, an online tool that allows users to browse Polygon blockchain data, went offline for a couple of hours on Thursday, raising concerns that the Polygon network was shut down. Polygon told crypto media outlet Decrypt that it had experienced no outage, and the issue was caused by a few nodes falling out of sync. 
  • The total crypto market capitalization inched 0.05% higher to US$1.09 trillion, while the total trading volume fell by 4.05% over the past 24 hours to US$60.05 billion.
  • U.S. equities finished higher on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average adding 0.33%, while the S&P 500 rose by 0.53% and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.72%.
  • Unemployment benefits claims in the U.S. fell by 3,000 last week to 192,000, according to data released by the Department of Labor on Thursday. The number is lower than the 200,000 forecasted by economists polled by Reuters. The unemployment claims data suggests that the Federal Reserve may consider raising interest rates higher than expected due to the persistently tight labor market. Rising unemployment claims is an indicator of cooling inflation.
  • The previous Fed meeting minutes released on Wednesday saw policymakers agreeing to slow down interest rate hikes but warning that the tightening cycle is not yet over.
  • The minutes revealed that some members were pushing for a 50 basis point rise in interest rates at the Fed’s previous meeting, when the central bank instead announced a 25 basis point rate hike to a targeted range of 4.5% to 4.75%, the highest level since October 2007.
  • Analysts at the financial derivatives exchange CME Group predict a roughly 75% chance that the Fed will raise rates by another 25 basis points at the next meeting on March 21.
  • January’s Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index, another key inflation measure, will be released Friday in the U.S.

See related article: SEC accused of ‘back door’ labeling of crypto as securities in Coinbase insider trading case

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