Bitcoin rises above $50,000 for first time




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Bitcoin rose above $50,000 for the first while equities eased after soaring the previous day reduced fears and thanks to mounting optimism over US President Joe ’s vast stimulus plan, traders said.

Bitcoin surged past the $50,000 mark in midday trading, striking $50,547.70 around 1235 GMT. The price of the cryptocurrency has soared 75 per cent since the start of the year.

Meanwhile, oil held close to 13-month highs keen demand hopes amid a severe cold snap in Texas.

Asia’s leading stock markets closed with strong gains and the dollar declined against the euro and yen.

Sterling soared to $1.3952, the highest level for nearly three years.

The euro sank to 87.06 pence, the lowest point since May.

A strong pound tends to dent London share prices because it weighs on the profits of dollar-earning multinationals.

Wall Street reopens from a long holiday weekend to catch up with Monday’s , which was rooted in Covid-19 vaccine rollouts, slowing infections, easing lockdowns and hopes of reopening economies.

“The return of US markets from long weekend means that the focus for all investors will be on the administration’s push for a big stimulus programme,” said analyst Chris Beauchamp at online trading firm IG.

While ’s spending package is widely expected to pass through the Democrat-controlled Congress, analysts have warned it might not be as big as the $1.9 trillion he proposed.

Meanwhile, with Britain and the United leading the way in rolling out vaccines at the same as they see a sharp slowdown in new cases and deaths, there are growing calls for governments to lift strict containment measures and get life back to a semblance of normal.

The United on Sunday reported its lowest daily infection number since October, as Britain easily hit a key target for immunising its highest-risk people.

The Union — which is struggling with its vaccine programme — has ramped up plans to deliver jabs.

In London, the mining sector was also in sharp focus on .

Shares in Glencore jumped 3.5 per cent to 292.10 pence after the Swiss giant restored its shareholder dividend despite deepening losses.

Anglo-Australian miner BHP jumped 1.7 per cent to 2,267 pence on news of soaring profit and a bumper dividend increase by the group.

– Key figures around 1200 GMT –

London – FTSE 100: FLAT at 6,761.36 points

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 percent at 14,073.29

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 percent at 5,778.39

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,727.60

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.3 percent to 30,467.75 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.9 percent to 30,746.66 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: Closed for a holiday

– Dow: Closed for a holiday (Monday)

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3927 from $1.3903 at 2200 GMT

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2164 from $1.2119

Euro/pound: UP at 87.34 pence from 87.24 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.29 yen from 105.38 yen

Brent Sea crude: DOWN 0.2 percent at $63.17 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.6 percent at $59.83

AFP