Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was changing hands at $39,300 at press time, dropping below $40,000 for the first time since Monday as stocks continue to sell off over the war in Ukraine.
- It’s been quite the round trip for bitcoin this week, with the bulls encouraged by a dramatic move higher from midday Monday that carried the price from $38,000 to above $45,000 early Wednesday. The divergence from struggling stocks didn’t last long, though, and bitcoin’s hasty retreat has picked up steam this afternoon.
- Checking stocks, the Nasdaq is down another 2% Friday and the S&P 500 index off 1%. The action in Europe is way worse, with Germany's DAX shedding 4.4% , France's CAC 40 down 5% and Italy's stock exchange off more than 6%.
- Not to be forgotten is the U.S. Federal Reserve, with Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday – worried about the economic impact from the Russia-Ukraine war – nevertheless promising a 25 basis point rate hike later this month. The U.S. central bank doesn’t need more ammunition for tightening monetary policy, but got some anyway in Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report. The data showed a whopping 678,000 jobs added in February versus expectations for just 400,000.
- Adding to market pressures Friday was a Bloomberg report the Biden administration is considering banning oil imports from Russia. That has helped add to the big oil rally, with WTI crude now higher by 7.1% to $115.35 per barrel.
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