US futures trade mixed after stocks hit record highs, while bitcoin continues to slide

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A strong earnings season has boosted optimism on Wall Street.

  • US futures were trading mixed on Friday, after stocks rose to close at record highs the prior day.
  • Equities have stayed remarkably strong despite soaring inflation, with economic data lifting investors’ spirits.
  • Yet cryptocurrencies have taken a tumble in recent days, after a breakneck rally.

US stock futures were mixed Friday after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs the previous day, as investors became more optimistic about the economic outlook.

Elsewhere, however, bitcoin fell for the fifth day in a row. It traded at around $56,878, well below a record high of above $68,000 touched just over a week ago.

S&P 500 futures were down 0.1%, and Dow Jones futures slipped 0.33%, signaling a downbeat start to trading later in the day. Meanwhile, Nasdaq 100 futures were 0.35% higher.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both finished at new highs Thursday, as corporate earnings continued to impress investors and a fall in weekly jobless claims cooled fears about the US economy.

Overnight, China’s CSI 300 closed 1.08% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.5%. In the early going Friday, Europe’s continent-wide Stoxx 600 slipped 0.14%. Cases of COVID-19 are surging in Europe, and Austria said Friday it will go into full lockdown on Monday and introduce compulsory vaccinations.

Global stocks have remained buoyant despite investors’ worries about surging inflation and the likelihood that central banks will soon cut back on their support for economies. This is in part because bond yields have stayed low, making the equity market look more attractive.

Earnings season has helped support US stocks in particular. Nvidia on Thursday jumped 8.25% after posting record revenue, while stock in Macy’s and Kohl’s jumped after the department store chains released strong earnings.

New US jobless claims fell to a pandemic low of 268,000 last week, data showed Thursday, in the latest sign that the economic recovery is broadly on track.

“The US economy is still looking pretty good after weekly jobless claims showed the labor market recovery continues,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at trading platform Oanda.

Investors will be keeping a close eye on Washington, where the House is expected to pass President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill later Friday. The bill lays out plans to spend $1.85 trillion on education, healthcare and the climate.

Also in focus is Biden’s choice for leader of the Federal Reserve — whether to keep Jerome Powell as Fed chair or to put Fed Governor Lael Brainard in his place. Earlier this week, Biden said he could announce the decision by Friday.

Read more: 2022 will be ‘the year of the stock picker’ as index gains stall, Morgan Stanley says. Here are 27 high-quality growth stocks they’re most bullish on for the new year.

Cryptocurrencies continued to slide Friday, with bitcoin down 4.4% to $56,878 on the Bitstamp exchange. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency has fallen around 17% from the record high of above $68,600 reached November 10.

Analysts have put forward numerous reasons for its sharp decline, such as the new crypto tax rules included in Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a recent warning from Beijing about crypto mining in China. Some suggest the fall is a natural pullback after the token surged to new heights.

Other digital currencies — such as ether, binance coin, and solana — have fallen sharply in recent days, but were paring those losses on Friday.

Oil prices fell as the new surge of coronavirus cases in Europe raised concerns about economic recovery and as traders weighed the chances of countries’ releasing strategic reserves in response to strong inflation. Brent crude was down 1.83% to $79.77 a barrel, while WTI crude was 1.7% lower at $77.12 a barrel.

Bond yields slipped, with the yield on the key 10-year US Treasury note down 2.9 basis points to 1.558%. Yields move inversely to prices.

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