Bitcoin opened the week higher on Monday morning in Asia, but was boxed in below US$28,000 after a slide over the weekend. Ether and most other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies edged up, but still logged losses for the last seven days from a correction that kicked in after recent rallies. XRP led the winners. U.S. equity futures fell in Asia ahead of a raft of first-quarter earnings from major U.S. corporations in the week ahead, with one forecast predicting an overall decline in the numbers.

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Fast facts

  • Bitcoin edged up 0.97% to US$27,805 in the 24 hours to 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, but held a weekly loss of 6.90%, according to CoinMarketCap data. The world’s largest cryptocurrency dropped to $27,169 on Saturday, the lowest since March 24. However the token is still up 65% from the start of the year.
  • Bitcoin’s price surge this year has prompted some profit taking, Kasper Vandeloock, chief executive officer of quantitative trading firm Musca Capital, said in an interview. He added that he expects more downward pressure on Bitcoin’s price because the U.S. government plans to sell its holding of 41,490 Bitcoin (US$1.1 billion) this year.
  • Bitcoin will need to find buying support at US$27,500 to weaken the downtrend, according to John Isige, analyst at crypto trading platform Vauld.
  • Ether moved up 1.05% to US$1,876, but like many other top 10 tokens is on a losing streak for the seven days, down 9.94%. The second largest cryptocurrency has lost most of its gains since April 12, when the Ethereum blockchain completed the Shanghai hard fork.
  • XRP led the winners, rising 3.48% to US$0.4823, but also down 5.84% for the week. 
  • The total crypto market capitalization edged up 0.16% in the past 24 hours to US$1.17 trillion. The total trading volume over the last 24 hours dipped 6.30% to US$29.41 billion.
  • In the non-fungible token (NFT) market, the Forkast 500 NFT index fell 0.74% to 3,786.45 in the 24 hours to 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, down 6.47% for the week. The index is a proxy measure of the performance of the global NFT market and includes 500 eligible smart contracts on any given day. It is managed by CryptoSlam, a sister company of Forkast.News under the Forkast.Labs umbrella.
  • The hype for low-market-cap meme coins and NFTs, following the stagnation in larger NFT communities such as Bored Ape Yacht Club, has kicked off new price patterns in cryptocurrencies and NFTs, adding to volatility, said Yohann Calpu, an analyst at Forkast Labs.
  • U.S. stock futures traded lower as of 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 futures both fell 0.26%. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.28%. The three indexes edged up on Friday, but closed the week lower on a mixed outlook for the U.S. economy.
  • U.S. business activities in April were expanding at the fastest pace in 11 months, according to a report by S&P Global Inc. on Friday, but other economic data last week pointed to a slowdown in the labor market, retail sales and manufacturing. U.S. first quarter gross domestic product is released on April 27, and will be another indicator of the state of the world’s biggest economy.
  • Amid this mixed picture, more than one third of S&P 500 companies will release first quarter earnings this week, including Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon. Financial data services provider Refinitiv expects year-on-year earnings of S&P 500 companies in the first quarter to drop 4.7%, according to a report released on Friday.
  • Adding yet more to this confused brew, several Federal Reserve officials last week said they envisioned more interest rate hikes in 2023 as they aren’t convinced inflation is under control, which raised concerns about a hard landing and possible recession for the U.S. economy.
  • U.S. interest rates are currently between 4.75% to 5%, the highest since June 2006. Analysts at the CME Group now see a 10.9% chance the Fed will leave interest rates unchanged at its next meeting on May 3, while 89.1% predict a 25-basis-point increase, up from 82.1% on Friday. 

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