Bitcoin looks ready to march higher…

Thoughts of the Day

Bitcoin is looking strong once again. After a brief correction from highs above $73,000 to below $61,000 for nearly 2 weeks, Bitcoin has rebounded over 10% since the close on Friday. As we have been saying, the uptrend is intact, and BTC will continue rising as we approach the halving event in April.

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Day Ahead

The US Conference Board Consumer Confidence is expected to remain at 106.7.

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What Happened Yesterday

Market Movements as of New York Close 25 Mar 24

The US Treasury Yield curve inversion narrowed to 0.29% as the US 2-year bond yield fell -0.05% to 4.59% while the 10-year yield rose +0.03% to 4.25%. 

The US stock futures range traded through the Asian and early London trading session before falling lower as the New York session approached. The S&P 500 futures were down -0.26% when the New York session began. 

The US stock market opened lower from Friday. It then remained weak through the New York session. The S&P 500 was down -0.31% (high: -0.10%, low: -0.35%), the Dow Jones decreased -0.41% (high: -0.12%, low: -0.46%) while the Nasdaq slipped -0.34% (high: -0.01%, low: -0.82%).

The crypto market saw a sudden resurgence after 10 days of deleveraging among short-term traders. Bitcoin spiked +3.77% while Ether surged +3.96%. Inflows into the US BTC ETFs looks likely to be resuming from the preliminary data published so far and that is helping to boost the sentiment in cryptos. 
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Headlines & Market Impact

Federal Reserve expected to cut rates, lift Biden’s prospects

Notable Snippet: The U.S. Federal Reserve looks on track to cut interest rates as the presidential campaign season heats up, potentially delivering President Joe Biden a boost as polls show Americans dislike his handling of the economy.

The Fed could play an outsized – and potentially uncomfortable – election-year role by helping shape attitudes about stubbornly high inflation and mounting housing costs that have been a drag on Biden’s reelection efforts. Rate cuts will also invite critics – Republican challenger Donald Trump chief among them – to argue an agency set up to be an independent monetary authority is tipping the political scales toward Biden.

“Rate cuts are massively popular with people. It will really help build confidence in the economy just as people are paying closer attention to the election,” said Celinda Lake, a top Biden pollster in his 2020 campaign who has recently done private polls on the Fed for a client. “People are really feeling like they are being gouged every way to Sunday.”

Lindsay Owens, head of the Groundwork Collaborative, a progressive Washington think tank, is sceptical that it will. With the unemployment rate low, the economy growing at a strong pace and inflation still a concern, the Fed will cut rates too slowly to aid Biden all that much politically, she said.

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Behind the plot to break Nvidia’s grip on AI by targeting software

Notable Snippet: Almost as important to its hardware is the company’s nearly 20 years’ worth of computer code, which helps make competition with the company nearly impossible. More than 4 million global developers rely on Nvidia’s CUDA software platform to build AI and other apps.

Now a coalition of tech companies that includes Qualcomm (QCOM.O) Google and Intel (INTC.O) plans to loosen Nvidia’s chokehold by going after the chip giant’s secret weapon: the software that keeps developers tied to Nvidia chips. They are part of an expanding group of financiers and companies hacking away at Nvidia’s dominance in AI.

“We’re actually showing developers how you migrate out from an Nvidia platform,” Vinesh Sukumar, Qualcomm’s head of AI and machine learning, said in an interview with Reuters.

Starting with a piece of technology developed by Intel (INTC.O)called OneAPI, the UXL Foundation, a consortium of tech companies, plans to build a suite of software and tools that will be able to power multiple types of AI accelerator chips, executives involved with the group told Reuters. The open-source project aims to make computer code run on any machine, regardless of what chip and hardware powers it.

Since its launch in September, UXL has already begun to receive technical contributions from third parties that include foundation members and outsiders keen on using the open-source technology, the executives involved said. Intel’s OneAPI is already usable, and the second step is to create a standard programming model of computing designed for AI.

UXL plans to put its resources toward addressing the most pressing computing problems dominated by a few chipmakers, such as the latest AI apps and high-performance computing applications. Those early plans feed into the organisation’s longer-term goal of winning over a critical mass of developers to its platform.

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SWIFT planning launch of new central bank digital currency platform in 12-24 months

Notable Snippet: Global bank messaging network SWIFT is planning a new platform in the next one to two years to connect the wave of central bank digital currencies now in development to the existing finance system, it has told Reuters.

The move, which would be one of the most significant yet for the nascent CBDC ecosystem given SWIFT’s key role in global banking, is likely to be fine-tuned to when the first major ones are launched.

Around 90% of the world’s central banks are now exploring digital versions of their currencies. Most don’t want to be left behind by bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but are grappling with technological complexities.

SWIFT’s head of innovation, Nick Kerigan, said its latest trial, which took 6 months and involved a 38-member group of central banks, commercial banks and settlement platforms, had been one of the largest global collaborations on CBDCs and “tokenized” assets to date.

It focused on ensuring different countries’ CBDCs can all be used together even if built on different underlying technologies, or “protocols”, thereby reducing payment system fragmentation risks.

It also showed they could be used in highly complex trade or foreign exchange payments and potentially be automated so as to both speed up and lower the costs of the processes.

Kerigan said the results, which had also proven banks could use their existing infrastructure, had been widely regarded as a success by those who took part and given SWIFT a timeline to work to.

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Stock Indices

Phan Vee Leung
CIO & Founder, TrackRecord