USDJPY, +0.52%, $113.50.
EURUSD, -0.04%, $1.1333.
GBPUSD, -0.00%, $1.2813.
USDCAD, +0.20%, $1.3254.
NZDUSD, +0.04%, $0.6775.
S&P500, +1.55%, 2,673.45
Nasdaq, +2.06%, 7,081.85
Nikkei, +0.69%, 21,795.28
CURRENCY MARKET WRAP
- There were no U.S. prints on Monday. The 2-yr yield added one basis point to 2.83%, and the 10-yr yield added two basis points to 3.07%. Also, the U.S. Dollar Index rose 0.1% to 97.05.
- German Ifo Business Climate at 102.0 vs expected 102.3. Italy’s MIB showed relative strength (+2.8%) amid reports that Italian officials indicated a willingness to lower next year’s deficit target of 2.4%. However, this report follows weekend remarks from Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who said he would bring down the government if the deficit target is changed.
- EU leaders have approved the Brexit Withdrawal agreement, Sterling ended the day unchanged because investors know that the big challenge now is Parliament. Prime Minister May needs 320 votes to pass the Brexit deal and there are 650 seats in Parliament. She should have at least 316 conservative votes but there’s almost no chance that she’ll get any of the 10 DUP votes so her job will be to convince members of the opposition Labour party to support her deal.
- N.Z. Retail Sales q/q at 0.0% vs expected 1.0%. Core Retail Sales q/q at 0.4% vs expected 1.5%.
STOCK MARKET WRAP
- Amazon (AMZN 1581.33, +79.27, +5.3%) and retail stocks led the broad-based advance from what many considered to be short-term oversold conditions. Reports of record online Black Friday sales and encouraging forecasts for Cyber Monday sales contributed to the upbeat investor sentiment within the top-performing consumer discretionary sector (+2.6%). Adobe Analytics reported that online Black Friday sales surged 23.6% to a record $6.22 billion and expected a 17.6% year-over-year growth of $7.8 billion on Cyber Monday.
- The S&P SPDR Retail ETF (XRT 45.75, +0.87) rose 2.0%. Facebook (FB 136.38, +4.65, +3.5%), Alphabet (GOOG 1048.62, +24.74, +2.4%), Netflix (NFLX 261.43, +2.61, +1.0%), and Apple (AAPL 174.62, +2.33, +1.4%) all sported healthy gains. Apple was able to shrug off midday losses to finish near its session high.
- In other corporate news, General Motors (GM 37.65, +1.72, +4.8%) announced additional restructuring plans that will result in a 15% reduction of its salaried staff and possibly the closure of five of its North American plants. Trump said to reporters that he told GM executives he is unhappy with the job cuts and is hopeful that “something else will replace the GM plants in Ohio”.
BLOCKCHAIN & CRYPTOCURRENCY NEWS
Companies in the U.S. state Ohio will be able to pay a variety of taxes, from tobacco sales tax to employee withholding tax to public utilities tax with the cryptocurrency, starting this week. The filing process involves three steps: First, businesses will have to register with the Office of the Ohio Treasurer through a dedicated portal called OhioCrypto.com. They then need to enter tax details such as payment amount and tax period, and, finally, the due amount is paid in bitcoin using a “compatible” crypto wallet. Compatible wallets include the Bitcoin Core client, Mycelium and breadwallet, and others that are compatible with the Bitcoin Payment Protocol. All tax payments will be processed by Atlanta-based bitcoin payments processor BitPay, which will convert bitcoins to dollars for the Treasurer’s office. The facility is available only for businesses but it is expected to be made available to individuals in the future.
A startup called ScientificCoin, based in California, has developed an algorithm for a bias-free, decentralized evaluation of projects so that investors can fund venture projects in science and other areas including initial coin offerings (ICOs) with more confidence. There’s the promise for investors, of peace of mind and more insurance against scams. For recipients, if they are able to defend their projects against the steel-cold logic of the machine, there is the promise of funding to implement their ideas. For ScientificCoin tokenholders, five percent of all funds raised using this platform is distributed between tokenholders of its respective coin, as a fee. The ranking machine takes into account more than 70 major characteristics divided into five sections. The rating is determined in accordance with the correlational regression model based on statistical analysis of the projects over a nine-month period.
An American securities tokens startup has closed a Series A funding round led by Blockchain Capital that raised $12.75 million. Securitize, a technology platform that enables the issuances of digital securities or security tokens of any asset, has closed the strategic funding round ahead of the company’s plans to launch a Digital Security Offering (DSO) in 2019. The round also included participation from Coinbase Ventures, Global Brain, NXTP, OK Blockchain Capital, and Xpring at Ripple. Brad Stephens, Blockchain Capital’s co-founder and managing partner, who led the $12.75 million strategic funding round for the digital securities startup, will join Securitize’s Board of Directors. He noted that Securitize’s real-time compliance solution solved a critical need for our BCAP security token, which a token based on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain and launched in April 2017 through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Other “strategic investors” in Securitize include Donna Redel, the World Economic Forum’s former Managing Director and blockchain professor, and John Pfeffer, formerly a partner at global investment firm KKR.