Bitcoin soars to new highs and oil jumps as outlook brightens, with US stocks set to slip as markets await fresh stimulus

  • Tesla’s investment announcement sent Bitcoin soaring above $48,000 for the first time.
  • Stock markets have rallied sharply in February to new highs, but paused on Tuesday.
  • Oil rose to its highest level in 13 months, as investors bet on strong demand in 2021.
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Bitcoin jumped to a record high on Tuesday and oil continued to rally, while US stocks were on track to ease back after scaling new heights on Monday.

The bitcoin price soared to $48,000 for the first time after electric car maker Tesla said it was investing in the digital token, before slipping back slightly.

Meanwhile, Dow Jones futures were down 0.09%, S&P 500 futures were off by 0.08% and Nasdaq futures were 0.11% lower by 4.20am ET.

Overnight in Asia, China’s CSI 300 stock index jumped 2.19% to close at its highest level in 13 years as investors bet on a continued rapid economic recovery. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.4%.

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In Europe, the Stoxx 600 was 0.23% lower in early trading while the UK’s FTSE 100 had slipped 0.05%.

While equities investors took a break, oil rallied to a 13-month high, lifted by a growing expectation among investors for a strong pick-up in demand in 2021.

Brent crude futures were up 0.18% on Tuesday morning to $60.81 per barrel, its highest level since before the coronavirus pandemic in January 2020. WTI crude was up 0.28% to $58.15 a barrel.

“Oil extended its recent gains yesterday as a combination of hopes for a US stimulus package combined with ongoing mild supply concerns supported prices,” said David Madden, market analyst at trading platform CMC Markets.

“Last week, US oil inventories fell to an 11-month low, which could be interpreted as rising demand for oil. [The OPEC+ group of oil-producing countries] maintained their outputs plans, which wasn’t exactly a surprise.”

Democrats in Congress are pushing ahead with President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan this week, and hope to pass it with, or without, Republican consent.

Bitcoin’s remarkable rally continued, driven by Elon Musk’s company Tesla announcing that it had invested $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency and may start accepting it as payment.

The bitcoin price rose to just above $48,000 for the first time on Tuesday in European trading. It was last up 19.7% to $46,743 on the Bitstamp exchange.

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Tesla’s announcement “was the catalyst that disrupted the crypto-haters’ base case that there really isn’t institutional interest behind this move in cryptos,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at currency platform Oanda.

“All eyes are for bitcoin to hit $50,000 at some point in the near future, and it could go much further if the dollar resumes its slide.”

The dollar index fell 0.39% to 90.58 on Tuesday morning, with analysts saying the pivot into stocks that stand to benefit from stronger growth – known as the “reflation trade” – had knocked the greenback. A disappointing jobs report on Friday has also weighed on the currency.

Sophia Ng, analyst at MUFG, said: “Reflation trades are becoming a major theme for global markets in view of fiscal stimulus and the increased pace of COVID-19 vaccination worldwide, which brings support to stock markets and commodity prices.”

Get the latest Oil WTI price here.

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