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MARCH 20, 2024


Solana has emerged as the leading smart contract blockchain, surpassing Ethereum in trading volume within the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector. Recent data from DeFiLlama shows a significant increase in trading volume on Solana-based decentralized exchanges (DEX) by 67%, totaling $21.3 billion, while Ethereum’s volume rose by only 3% to $19.4 billion. This change has been driven by speculative fervor in Solana’s meme coins like dogwifwhat, bonk, book of meme, and slerf, with Orca commanding 88% of the total volume on Solana. There has been an explosion of new meme coins on Solana, launching over 2,300 in a single hour on March 13. Additionally, the supply of stablecoins on Solana has reached a multiyear high at $2.80 billion, while Solana’s native token, SOL, has surged by 68% to $170 this year, outperforming Etherum’s 40% rally to $3,214. The recent rise in Solana’s trading volume is attributed to the broad expansion of points programs and airdrops like the Solana DEX Jupiter, showcasing its higher capital efficiency compared to Ethereum and other smart-contract blockchains.


According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest report, mortgage interest rates rose last week for the first time in three weeks, leading to a 1.6% decrease in total mortgage applications. The average interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.97% from 6.84%, while refinancing applications fell by 3% and home purchase applications dropped by 1% compared to the previous week. This rise in rates was influenced by higher-than-expected inflation data, raising concerns about the Federal Reserve’s potential rate adjustments. With prices high and supply limited in the housing market, the average loan size for purchase applications reached its peak since May 2022. Moreover, as rates hover around the low 7% range, market experts are closely watching the upcoming Federal Reserve announcement for potential impacts on further rate fluctuations. Analysts suggest that mortgage rates could see significant movements post-announcement, depending on the Fed’s decision.


While expectations have fluctuated throughout the year, experts believe that it is unlikely for the Federal Reserve to make significant changes following the conclusion of today’s meeting. The main points of focus include the rate decision, economic projections, and the direction of interest rates in the coming years. In addition, experts will also be watching the ‘dot plot’, which individual members’ rate expectations as any shifts in these projections could influence the number of rate cuts possibility happening this year. Moreover, Experts anticipate that the central bank will maintain its current messaging of patience and data-driven decision-making, opting to wait for more information before considering any rate cuts. Nonetheless, despite this, it is worth noting that the Fed may adjust its outlook based on economic indicators, as the Summary of Economic Projections will provide updated estimates for GDP, inflation, and unemployment, with attention primarily on inflation’s impact on future rate decisions.


International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) has recently experienced a notable resurgence, reaching its highest level since 2013 and standing just 6% shy of an all-time high. This surge, fueled by a 19% gain this year, showcases growing investor optimism towards the company’s turnaround efforts after facing stagnant growth in previous years. Investors are encouraged by IBM’s strategic investments in cloud and AI technologies, with positive financial results following strong forecasts for free cash flow and revenue. However, while some see IBM’s performance as promising, others remain cautious due to its slower growth trajectory compared to tech giants like Microsoft and Alphabet. Nevertheless, it is important to note that despite IBM’s solid dividend yield and improved financial standing, uncertainties around its high valuation and modest growth projections have led to divided opinions within Wall Street regarding its future prospects.


The UK inflation rate unexpectedly decreased to a 2.5-year low, fueling optimism that the Bank of England may lower borrowing costs in the near future. In February, the consumer price index (CPI) rose by 3.4% from the previous year, a significant drop from the 4% recorded in the prior month. In addition, core inflation, excluding specific items, decreased as projected, and inflation in the services sector also saw a decline in line with expectations. Economists forecast that inflation will likely dip below the 2% target by spring while acknowledging potential fluctuations throughout the year. Furthermore, it is worth noting that although the BOE is contemplating reducing the current 5.25% interest rate, no immediate action is anticipated at the upcoming meeting as although there are positive signs of improvement in consumer outlook, the country’s economic growth remains modest, presenting challenges for policymakers and politicians.

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