NOTABLE MOVES  

As of Sat, Jan 26, 08:00 Singapore Time zone UTC+8

USDJPY, -0.08%, $109.55.
EURUSD, +0.96%, $1.1415    
GBPUSD, +1.05%, $1.3203
USDCAD, -0.97%, $1.3219
AUDUSD, +1.24%, $0.7183
NZDUSD, +1.12%, $0.6839    

S&P500, +0.85%, 2,664.76    
Nasdaq, +1.29%, 7,164.86                     
Nikkei Futures, +1.07%, 20,780.0
  

CURRENCY MARKET WRAP  

  • After being shutdown for 35 days, Trump announced on Friday that a deal has been reached to reopen the government for 3 weeks until February 15th. In this time, he expects both Democrats and Republicans to work together on a Homeland Security package that will include funding for border walls. The agreement will include back pay for furloughed workers, which is good news but the debate on the wall will resume in a few weeks and having gotten what they wanted with very little concessions, the Democrats won’t turn around and support border funding easily. Risk currencies rallied after Trump’s announcement but the Dollar pulled back as investors will look forward to a barrage of economic releases that should confirm the slowing economy.
  • U.S. Treasuries ended the day on a lower note, pushing the 2-yr yield and the 10-yr yield up four basis points each to 2.60% and 2.75%, respectively. The U.S. Dollar Index fell -0.9% to 95.75, pulled back by a rebound in the euro. WTI crude rose 0.9% to $53.62/bbl.

STOCK MARKET WRAP 

  • The S&P 500 gained 0.9% on Friday as positive-sounding headlines, which included the temporary reopening of the government, helped lift investor sentiment. Friday’s gains helped pare the benchmark index’s weekly losses to 0.2%. Nine of the 11 S&P 500 sectors closed the day in positive territory with the cyclical materials (+1.9%), information technology (+1.5%), and industrial (+1.3%) groups setting the pace. Conversely, the utilities (-1.3%) and consumer staples (-0.2%) sectors were the lone groups to finish in the red.
  • Stocks jumped at the open on initial speculation that a deal to reopen the government was imminent; hope the Federal Reserve may be getting close to the end of its balance sheet normalization effort; and a contention from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin that the U.S. is making progress with China trade talks. Notably, news hit in the afternoon session that an agreement had been struck to provide funding, minus border security funding, to re-open the government through February 15.  Negotiations over border security funding will take place in the interim, and a failure to reach a compromise on that front could result in another shutdown or a declaration of a national emergency in order to secure funding. The market’s response to the news was relatively muted, partially because it had already priced in some type of an agreement, and partially because it realizes it is only a temporary solution.
  • The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index was a notable area of strength on Friday, rising 2.2% after its best session in nearly 10 years the day before. A disappointing earnings report from Intel (INTC 47.04, -2.72, -5.5%) did not dampen buying interest in the group, but it did hurt the stock. In other earnings news, Western Digital (WDC 43.16, +3.02) rose 7.5% with an upbeat outlook for the second half of 2019 offsetting weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings and guidance. In addition, Starbucks (SBUX 67.09, +2.35, +3.6%) impressed investors with its fiscal first quarter report and full-year outlook.

BLOCKCHAIN & CRYPTOCURRENCY NEWS

SBI Crypto Subsidiary Supports Crypto Mobile Wallet in $15 Million Funding Round

Cryptocurrency mobile wallet BRD has raised $15 million in a Series B financing round supported by SBI Crypto Investment. SBI Crypto Investment, a subsidiary of the Tokyo-based SBI Holdings, contributed to the funding, which BRD states will help to accelerate international expansion and scale its technology platform. According to the press release BRD announced the availability of cryptocurrency purchases through the use of SEPA transfers in the European market through a partnership with crypto payment provider Coinify. SBI Group is a financial based conglomerate based out of Japan that was established in 1999 and provides a broad range of financial services from securities to banking and insurance. Last week, SBI Holdings had announced an undisclosed investment in crypto firm Breadwinner AG, which is the developer of the BRD mobile crypto wallet. The press release notes that BRD is available in over 170 countries and has 1.8 million mobile users in total, with a total of $55 million raised in funding and $6 billion in assets kept on its platform.

NYSE Arca Files Paperwork for Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Approval

Bitwise Asset Management announced its intention to launch the ETF earlier this month. If approved, it would be the first bitcoin ETF to make it to market in the U.S. At the time, the company said NYSE Arca would file the 19b-4 rule change proposal in the near future. NYSE Arca indeed filed the form the same day, but it is not listed on any SEC website, possibly due to the ongoing U.S. government shutdown. As a result, the document went largely unnoticed, despite being posted on NYSE Arca’s own website. The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices and to protect investors and the public interest. Previous bitcoin ETF proposals have been withdrawn or rejected, with Cboe most recently pulling its joint effort with VanEck and SolidX earlier this week. VanEck CEO Jan van Eck cited the government shutdown as a key reason for this, explaining that the companies were having conversations with the SEC prior to the shutdown, but that these conversations had ceased. He said that the companies would re-file after the government re-opens.

Fifteen Alleged Operators of $8 Million Crypto Scam Arrested in Taiwan

Police in New Taipei, Taiwan, have arrested fifteen suspects for allegedly running a cryptocurrency scam that earned them millions of dollars. The arrested suspects have been reportedly charged with fraud, and the case has been handed over to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office. The group allegedly defrauded over 30 people in the country of nearly NT$250 million (equivalent to about $8.16 million). They promoted IBCoin, an Ethereum (ETH) ERC20 token aiming to be a means of payment for the adult entertainment industry, according to its promotional material. The alleged fraudsters reportedly also publicized the scheme on Facebook, posting pictures of expensive cars and luxurious lifestyles to lure in new victims. According to the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), no victim has ever seen any return on their investment and the token has no real value since “there are currently no known companies that trade or deal in IBCoins.”

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