There is a bear market in Bitcoin.
That’s right, Bitcoin, the upstart cryptocurrency that aspires to become a medium for transactions as well as a store of value for investors, is down more than 20% from its 52-week high.
It happened fast. Bitcoin’s 52-week high was Feb. 21. It hit $58,350.41. Just five days later, Bitcoin is down almost 4% at about $46,127.
That puts Bitcoin off 21% from the high. A bear market is typically defined as a drop of more than 20%.
Bitcoin has become a monster in 2021. The total value of Bitcoins in electronic-circulation hit $1 trillion this past week. The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, for comparison, is about $7.6 trillion.
It’s no coincidence that we mention the Fed. Bitcoin’s bear market comes as the central bank’s laissez-faire attitude toward the rise in Treasury yields—the 10-year note traded well over 1.5% on Thursday, before pulling back to 1.47% Friday morning—has started to hit speculative bets of all stripes.
Don’t expect the pain in Bitcoin to stop until the bond market calms down.
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President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill will face its biggest challenge in the Senate starting next week after its expected passage by the House of Representatives today.
What’s Next: Senate Democrats could try to overturn the ruling by the parliamentarian and will still need to conduct their own review of the bill. Any changes made in the Senate would go back to the House for a second vote. Lawmakers are hoping for final passage by mid-March, before the current federal unemployment benefits expire.
—Janet H. Cho
One week after rival
said it was raising minimum pay for 425,000 of its hourly workers in the U.S. to at least $13 an hour, warehouse club
is upping the bar by bumping its minimum pay to $16 an hour.
What’s Next: Costco and other essential retailers saw sales soar during 2020 as people who sheltered at home stocked their pantries and shopped online. The warehouse club’s shares fell 2% on Thursday and have dropped 11% in 2021.
—Janet H. Cho
What’s Next: With reopenings in sight, Airbnb is gearing up for the summer travel season. It plans to spend big on marketing. Meanwhile, DoorDash forecasts declines in consumer engagement and average order volume as vaccines roll out.
After being devastated by coronavirus infections and deaths for most of last year, nursing homes are emerging as the biggest success story to date in the U.S. vaccination effort.
What’s Next: The expected approval of the
Johnson & Johnson
drug for emergency use as soon as this weekend should help further speed vaccinations of those most vulnerable to severe outcomes from the virus.
—Janet H. Cho
The number of new coronavirus infections has been on the rise in France in the last two weeks, making it the only major European power seemingly unable to curb the pandemic, as the government remains reluctant to impose a national lockdown.
What’s Next: Macron has been criticized for playing electoral politics by voicing concerns about the vaccines, notably throwing doubt on the efficacy of the Oxford/
jab. And with regional elections in June, and his own reelection effort next year, he has seemed reluctant to take tougher measures for fear of a political backlash.
The U.S. on Thursday launched military airstrikes in eastern Syria against Iran-backed militia groups in response to rocket attacks on Feb. 15 that killed a U.S. contractor and injured others in Iraq, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. It’s the first known military action taken by the Biden administration.
What’s Next: This action comes as the Biden administration seeks to engage Iran about reentering the nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump exited and lift sanctions against Iran.
Do you remember this week’s news? How well do you know your Wall Street history? Take our quiz below about this week’s news. Tell us how you did in an email to email@example.com.
1. In which department store has a group of activist investors taken a sizable stake and is attempting to take control of the company’s board?
d. Ross Stores
2. Facing pressure from several industries, President Biden signed an executive order this week to review the supply chains for critical materials such as semiconductor chips used by auto makers. What other supply chain areas are under review?
a. Large capacity batteries
c. Rare-earth elements
d. All of the above
3. Which Northeast regional bank is planning to merge with People’s United Financial in a $7.6 billion all-stock deal in the latest string of regional mergers?
a. Community Bank System
b. M&T Bank
c. Webster Financial
d. Valley National Bancorp
4. Which state is the latest to legalize recreational marijuana?
c. New Jersey
5. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress this week that the Fed doesn’t foresee raising its benchmark fed-funds rate from near zero until which conditions have been met?
a. The labor market is at maximum strength
b. Inflation has hit the Fed’s 2% target
c. Inflation is expected to stay at a 2% level or higher
d. All of the above
100 Years of Barron’s
6. Before President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the Tennessee Valley Authority his signature infrastructure initiative, which industrialist offered to buy and run the project as a private corporation?
a. Thomas Edison
b. Henry Ford
c. J. Paul Getty
d. Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.
—Pauline Yuelys and Kenneth G. Pringle
—Newsletter edited by Anita Hamilton, Stacy Ozol, Mary Romano, Matt Bemer, Ben Levisohn