Stocks mixed as Bitcoin jumps over $60,000 for first time since 2021

Bitcoin price surge illustration
Bitcoin price surge illustration Copyright Salvador Melendez/AP
By Angela BarnesAP
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World shares were mixed on Thursday after a lacklustre day on Wall Street, where selling of technology stocks pulled benchmarks lower - and as Bitcoin jumped above $60,000 for the first time since 2021.

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Bitcoin's price briefly topped $64,000 (€59,000) on Wednesday for the first time since 2021, pulling closer to its record of nearly $69,000 after rising more than 40% so far this year. It was trading at $63,385.00 early Thursday.

Meanwhile, Coinbase gained 0.8% after rising earlier in the day to continue its strong run as Bitcoin's price keeps rallying. New exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that make investing in Bitcoin easier have raised interest in the cryptocurrency, with BlackRock's iShares Bitcoin fund alone quickly growing to $7 billion in assets.

World markets round-up: Global stocks mixed

In other markets news in early European trading on Thursday, Germany's DAX added 0.4% to 17,675.93 and the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.2% at 7,970.51. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.3% to 7,646.99.

The futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 0.2% lower.

In Asian trading, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index closed 0.1% lower at 39,166.19 after data showed factory output falling in January at the fastest pace since May 2020, although retail sales were stronger than expected.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.2% to 16,511.44 and the Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.9% to 3,015.17. The smaller index in Shenzhen surged 3.4% after regulators released new measures to support markets including closer oversight of financial derivatives.

However, technology services company Baidu was down 6.6% after reporting its profit fell 48% in the October-December quarter due to higher spending as it strives to keep up with rivals in the artificial intelligence field.

South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.4% to 2,642.36 while the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5% to 7,698.70. Bangkok's SET lost 0.4% and the Sensex in India was up 0.1%.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 slipped 0.2%, continuing its quiet and listless run since setting a record last week. The Dow industrials dipped 0.1% and the Nasdaq composite sank 0.5%, a day after pulling within 0.1% of its record set in 2021.

Treasury yields also eased in the bond market after a report said the US economy likely grew a touch slower in late 2023 than earlier estimated. The economy continues to defy expectations of a recession despite high interest rates meant to bring down inflation.

Nvidia and Alphabet stocks weigh on indices

A 1.3% drop for Nvidia and 1.8% slump for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, were two of the heaviest weights on the market. They’re among a small group of Big Tech stocks that have been disproportionately responsible for the S&P 500’s run to records.

Helping to limit the market's losses was eBay, which rose 7.9% after reporting stronger results than analysts expected. Axon Enterprise, the company that sells Tasers, body cameras and other equipment, also turned in a better-than-expected profit report, and its stock jumped 13.8%.

Commodities: US crude and Brent oil trade in the red

In other trading on Thursday, US benchmark crude oil (WTI) gave up 34 cents to $78.21 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the international standard, was down 40 cents at $82.16 per barrel.

In currencies, the US dollar fell to 149.75 Japanese yen from 150.69 yen. The euro, meanwhile, rose to $1.0843 from $1.0834.

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