Category Archive : Finance

Where’s All The Institutional Demand for Bitcoin Futures?

Bakkt futures and custodial exchange traded 50 BTC (~$400,000) in daily futures contracts during its second week of trading, a significant decline from its opening week, as reported by WSJ.

$5.8 million was traded on Bakkt, which was created by the Intercontinental Exchange, during its first week. The following week traders moved but $2 million. That is just $400,000 daily trading volume. Read More

Free to Trade: Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and E-Trade Eliminate Commissions

Last week, almost every major online brokerage company – including Charles Schwab (SCHW), TD Ameritrade (AMTD) and E-Trade (ETFC) – stopped charging commissions, making it free to trade.

“For every broker out there, trying to sell services with explicit fees is going to be almost impossible. The next frontier will be centered around providing more financial well-being solutions — expanding beyond just brokerage products,” said Bill Capuzzi, CEO of Apex Clearing, a custodian of securities on behalf of brokerage firms. Read More

AS IMF Argentina Decision Looms, Bitcoin Demand Increases in Third-Largest Latin American Country

The International Monetary Fund must choose to either make more than $5 billion in funds under Argentina’s loan deal available to the government facing default or not. The IMF had agreed to a $57 billion line of credit with the South American nation last year, and funds were meant to be paid this month.

But pro-business President Mauricio Macri took a defeat in a primary election last month, resulting in a crash of the peso and capital controls. Populist candidate Alberto Fernandez is considered the front-runner to win the Oct. 27 election. And now there is doubt about whether or not the IMF will disburse the cash until after the election. Read More

Gold Reverses as Global Stock Markets Gain Momentum

Spot gold hit a six-year high late last week. It is the first time since April 2013 prices soared so high – peaking at a value of $1,5334.31 an ounce. Due to this price bump, US gold futures rose by roughly 1.3% to $1,537 an ounce. Despite the positive momentum, these high levels could not be sustained over the weekend.

Several factors drive the current and future value of gold and silver. Weakness in the Argentine Peso, civil unrest in Hong Kong, and the US-China trade war has forced investors to seek safehaven. Read More

Bitcoin Futures Contracts Debut Next Month as SEC Delays Bitcoin ETF Decisions

The US Securities and Exchange Commission continues to delay its Bitcoin ETF decision on the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust and the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust, while Bakkt claims its acquired a New York state trust charter through the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), enabling the company offer its physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts.

For the cryptocurrency community, the Bitwise and VanEck delays are nothing new. Rejection or approval of those investment vehicles will now have to wait until October 2019. Read More

How the Facebook Libra Announcement Affected Shares of Western Union, MoneyGram, PayPal & Square

Western Union shares declined Tuesday amid the Facebook announcement of its new cryptocurrency, Libra, which is supposed to be integrated with Facebook, and its subsidiary apps Instagram, WhatsApp, and more. Western Union, a legacy consumer-to-consumer money sending platform was among the worst performers on the S&P Index on Tuesday, as it fell 2.4%. It closed at $19.57 a share.

Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra is supported by a legion of well-known companies from both within the crypto industry and outside of it, including payment companies like Visa, Mastercard and PayPal. Blockchain companies involve Coinbase, Xapo and others. The cryptocurrency is expected to launch in the first half of 2020. Read More

A “Digital Iron Curtain” Could Lead to “Real War” Between China and the U.S.

Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant the U.S. government fears could be used by the Chinese government to spy and sabotage infrastructure, is a crucial contributor to the development of fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks worldwide. Yet, Washington’s fear led the Commerce Department to add Huawei to its “entity list” in May 2019, forbidding Huawei to buy U.S. goods without permission from the government.

Huawei, which is the world’s biggest seller of telecommunications equipment like new 5G network infrastructure and second-largest smartphone maker, is based in Shenzhen, China. It helps connectivity in some rural areas in the US. Read More

Everything You Need to Know about Binance and its Formal Entry into the US

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, announced that starting in September it will disallow U.S. residents from using its flagship exchange. Instead, it will launch a U.S.-based service, called Binance US, where U.S. passport holders will face restrictions when using the website.

Binance has been known for letting anyone use its services to trade tokens. The Malta-based exchange will partner with Bam Trading Services, a FinCEN-registered company with links to Binance-backed Koi Compliance, the “fully-managed solutions” department of over-the-counter (OTC) crypto trader Koi Trading. Binance Labs invested $3 million in Koi Trading on January 24. Read More

Ship Attacks in Gulf of Oman, Which US Blamed on Iran, Have Had Little Impact on Oil Prices

Despite increased tensions in the Middle East between the Iranian Republic and the U.S. over attacks on two ships in the Strait of Hormuz, crude oil was down for the week. President Donald Trump said that Iran was behind attacks on two fuel tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

“It was them that did it,” Trump said on Fox. “We will see what happens. We are being very tough on sanctions … We’re going to see how to stop (it),” Trump said, before claiming that because of his policies “they are pulling back from everywhere.”

The President did not outline his plans for a response, and neither did Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who cited intelligence, the weapons that were used, and the sophistication of the attack as evidence for Iran’s involvement in the assault against “freedom-loving nations.” Read More

European Central Bank, Federal Reserve Prepare Public for Quantitative Easing

More Quantitative Easing (QE) could be coming to the US and Eurozone as soon as the end of the year. The European Central Bank is preparing to cut interest rates and start a new round of bond purchases come Autumn to stymy economic uncertainty amid a global economic slowdown. The Federal Reserve has indicated that it too is considering aggressive asset purchases.

ECB Bank president Mario Draghi has made it clear that all options are on the table for the ECB, which oversees an export-driven European economy that is currently enduring a considerable slowdown due to the German economy’s poor economic indicators, tensions between Brussels and Italy over the latter’s budgetary policy, as well as the threat of a No Deal Brexit. Read More

Beyond Meat ($BYND) Up 600% Since IPO

Beyond Meat ($BYND) shares moved higher once again Monday morning. The stock persists at higher than expected levels after one of the most successful IPOs of 2018 2019 so far.

The next closest IPO of 2018-2019 has been Zoom Video ($ZM) which is up a mere 185% compared to Beyond Meat’s 600%. For comparison Uber ($Uber) is down 3% while Lyft ($LYFT) is down 18%. Read More

Fed Could Cut Rates as Gold Hits Three Month High

Top Federal Reserve policymakers might cut interset rates if trade tensions continue to get worse.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell and his No. 2, Richard Clarida are watching disputes between the US and its trading partners. The next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee takes place June 18-19, with Clarida noting that the Fed “can’t be handcuffed” by market pricing. Read More

Uber, Lyft IPOs Means Fewer Rider Promotions



The Uber stock trend is still unclear this morning after increasing 1% Friday. Uber lost $1 billion last quarter, which is not as bad as they had warned investors to brace for. Uber’s aggressive growth plan has cut into its profit. It financed its expansion into new markets. 

In the first three months of 2019, Uber brought in over $3 billion in revenue, marking a 20% jump from the same quarter a year earlier. Uber did not, however, offer its full-year revenue, which dampened confidence in the stock’s outlook due to a lack of transparency.

Uber’s stock fell immediately upon its IPO, finishing one day lower than it started, and have yet to trade at or above the value set for its initial offering. Its stock was up over 1% during early trading on Friday.

The ride-hailing and food delivery company is still expanding while fending off South American competitor Didi, while Lyft is formidable competition.

Uber’s first-quarter earnings report released Thursday revealed that Uber’s pricing would soon increase while its growth slows. Uber has relied on cheap wages for its drivers and subsidizing fares.

“We expect to deploy fewer consumer promotions in Q2 of 2019,” Chief Financial Officer Nelson Chai said.

Uber shares gained after the stock market closed on Friday. The shares gained 70 cents, or 1.76%, to $40.50 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The company sees long-term profitability in autonomous vehicles.

Lyft shares increased more than 5% on Friday, gaining more than $800 million in value. The market cap is now $16.8 billion compared to Uber’s $67 billion. Just like Uber, Lyft has incurred large losses thanks to consistent promotions. Lyft reported an adjusted per-share loss of $9.02.

“While there is no guarantee that this will last, we believe that over the next 12 months both will focus more on competing via service innovations (micro mobility, loyalty etc), which should provide a significant tailwind to Uber’s unit economics,” Atlantic Equities analysts wrote in a note Friday, upgrading its rating on Uber from neutral to overweight.

Now that both ride-sharing services are public, riders can expect fewer deals. But, if price point becomes a determining factor for riders, then Uber likely has the advantage, since Lyft is a quarter of the size of Uber.



China Threatens to Cut U.S. Off From Rare Earth Minerals

Beijing is threatening to cut Washington off from rare earth minerals, according to media reports in China’s papers that included quotes from the state planning agency. The stocks of rare earth producers were up following the news.

One newspaper included the Chinese phrase “don’t say I didn’t warn you”, which the country used before it went to war with India. The paper wrote “those familiar with Chinese diplomatic language know the weight of this phrase.” The language, which appeared in the Global Times, a newspaper affiliated with the Communist Party, was also employed ahead of conflict between China and Vietnam in 1979.

The People’s Daily made it clear China would use the elements as retaliation in its trade war. 80% of U.S. rare earth supplies come from China.

The editor-in-chief of the Global Times tweeted that China is “seriously” weighing the restriction of rare earth exports to the U.S. and could also implement countermeasures.




A National Development & Reform Commission official told CCTV that people in the country won’t be happy to see products made as exported rare earths are being used to suppress China’s development. Editorials in the Global Times and Shanghai Securities News took similar stances in their Wednesday editions.

The U.S. is dependent on importing rare earth minerals from China, which are used in electronics, hybrid vehicles, and energy storage systems. The U.S. imports the rare earth materials because it’s cheaper than producing them domestically.

This is driving rare earth stocks up with the help of President Xi Jinping, who visited a plant earlier this month along with his chief trade negotiator with the U.S.

China already raised tariffs on America’s sole producer of rare earths from 10% to 25%. The U.S., however, excluded rare earths from its list of prospective tariffs on roughly $300 billion in Chinese goods.

In December 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reduce the country’s dependence on external sources of critical minerals, including rare earths, which was aimed at reducing U.S. vulnerability to supply disruptions.

China’s rare earth market:

  • China Northern Rare Earth Group
  • Minmetals Rare Earth Co.
  • Xiamen Tungsten Co.
  • Chinalco Rare Earth & Metals Co.

Shares of JL Mag Rare-Earth increased by 10% while Innuovo Technology increased by 9.95%. The shares of Australia rare earth miner Lynas also increased by more than 10%.

Lynas Stock May 29

“We’ve been here before,” Fraser Howie, an independent analyst, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Wednesday. China banned the export of rare earth minerals to Japan after Tokyo detained a Chinese fishing trawler captain.

Norway’s exports of salmon plummeted after Beijing curbed them. That move was seen as retaliation to a Norwegian committee’s decision in 2010 to award a Chinese dissident the Nobel Prize.

Brexit Leads to Record Losses For Pound Sterling

With Brexit still looming over the UK, and the end of Theresa May’s leadership putting the country in yet another stage of transition, the pound has endured its longest losing streak against the euro since the creation of the latter currency 20 years ago. In recent weeks, the sterling has recorded its steepest losses ever when compared to major world currencies.

The pound dropped from just over  €1.17 to under €1.14. It fell from over  $1.32 to less than $1.27 versus the dollar – its lowest level since February.

Financial markets have declined over the past month over US and China trade war fears. Donald Trump’s administration raised the stakes by ramping up US tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. Tensions raised as the US blacklisted the Chinese telecoms company Huawei. The FTSE 100 has fallen by more than 2% to trade at about 7,270.

UK inflation increased to above the government’s 2% target in April. Last week, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May resigned as the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party.

“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” said May outside No. 10 Downing St. in London during a speech at the end of which she shed a tear. May spent nearly three years trying to deliver the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum.



The Bitcoin Brexit Boon

According to one expert, increasing numbers of millionaires in the UK are moving their cash into cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, due to fear over the possibility of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government.

With Conservative Party support waning thanks to Brexit chaos, a Corbyn-led Labour Party could take power. Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group (which has more than $12 billion under its advisement), believes the nation’s rich, fearing such a result, are turning to Bitcoin and Ethereum.

“High-net-worth individuals in Britain and wealthy international investors with UK assets and business know that they will be hit by Mr. Corbyn’s tax hikes on wealth, income and inheritance,” Green said.  “As such, many of them aren’t waiting to find out how his anti-wealth rhetoric would play out, and more and more of them are seeking advice on established, legitimate overseas opportunities to create, build, and importantly, protect their wealth.”

He adds: “An increasing conversation we’re having with clients in this regard involves investing in cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP, in lower tax, crypto-friendly jurisdictions. In a broader sense, high-net-worth individuals are increasingly seeking exposure to the associated benefits of these digital assets as our recent global survey highlights. It can be expected that a Corbyn-led government will help fuel this trend.”