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MARCH 26, 2024

BACK TO GAINS

Bitcoin briefly surpassed $71,000 early this morning before slightly dropping back down, as interest grew in new institutional products and the demand for bitcoin from traditional financial firms. As of 8:00 AM CST, the crypto remains in a positive momentum, and although is not very clear the main reason behind the significant rise, the cryptocurrency markets was positively impacted by the London Stock Exchange’s approval of trading bitcoin and ether (ETH) exchange-traded notes (ETNs) starting in May. The exchange will begin accepting applications from April 8th. Moreover, investment firm, QCP Capital, has noted that there is strong momentum in the market for bitcoin with asset managers increasingly adding BTC to diversify their portfolios. Following the rise in Bitcoin  other cryptocurrencies like Ether, Solana’s SOL, and Cardano’s ADA also saw positive gains. Furthermore, projects associated with Coinbase Ventures experienced the most significant increases, highlighting the growing interest in the digital asset market.

CBDC INTEGRATION

SWIFT, the global bank messaging network, is currently developing a new platform aimed at integrating central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) into the existing financial system. With approximately 90% of the world’s central banks exploring digital currencies to keep pace with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, SWIFT’s initiative signals a crucial advancement in the evolution of the CBDC ecosystem. Through a recent trial involving 38 participants, including central banks, commercial banks, and settlement platforms, SWIFT has successfully showcased the potential for streamlining cross-border transactions and automating complex payment processes. Head of Innovation, Nick Kerigan, suggests that the platform may be ready for launch within the next 12-24 months, offering a scalable solution for digital asset payments. Leveraging its extensive global network that spans over 200 countries and connects more than 11,500 banks and funds, SWIFT aims to uphold its supremacy in facilitating daily transactions amounting to trillions of dollars.

ETF MILESTONE

Morgan Stanley Investment Management has recently achieved a significant milestone as the major financial firm has surpassed $1 billion in assets under management in its ETF business through the conversion of two mutual funds. The firm’s introduction of the Eaton Vance Total Return Bond ETF and Eaton Vance Short Duration Municipal Income ETF has played a key role in this achievement, now contributing to a total of 14 ETFs on their platform. It is worth noting that although Morgan Stanley has not been in the ETF market for a very long time, it has seen rapid growth in its ETF assets by introducing new funds. Some of the bank’s diverse ETF offerings include products from brands such as Eaton Vance, Calvert, and Parametric, with the largest fund currently being the Calvert US Large-Cap Core Responsible Index ETF. Moreover, with plans to offer ETF share classes of its mutual funds (pending SEC approval), the firm aims to attract billions of new assets into the $9 trillion ETF industry.

EV MARKET SURGE

Tesla’s stock has recently experienced a rise of over 3%, despite facing challenges such as a price target cut and revised delivery estimates. This increase can be attributed to the growing interest in Tesla’s Full Self Driving (FSD) software, which aims to enable vehicles to operate without human intervention, although supervision is still required. The FSD software can be acquired through a one-time payment of $12,000 or a monthly subscription of $199, attracting an estimated 400,000 subscribers and serving as a significant revenue source for the company. Thus, although Tesla’s shares have seen a decline of 31% this year, the focus on FSD and the potential for advancements in autonomous driving technology have boosted investor confidence. This positive movement in Tesla’s stock has also impacted other electric vehicle companies such as NIO, Lucid, Rivian, Ford Motor, and General Motors, which, in essence, showcases a broader optimism and interest in the electric vehicle market overall.

HOME SALES DECLINED

Despite a strong market demand due to a shortage of existing homes for sale, sales of new single-family homes in the U.S. unexpectedly declined in February as  mortgage rates have continued to increase. In response to this trend, builders are now focusing on constructing smaller and more affordable homes to meet the ongoing demand in the market. Moreover, it is worth noting that although as of now the housing market remains stable, with home sales showing a slight rise year-over-year but prices decreasing, the limited availability of homes for sale is leading to increased prices, which in turn is making it harder for many individuals to purchase homes. Nevertheless, experts forsee the housing market continuing to improve despite fluctuating mortgage rates and supply challenges, and believe that the increase in new home inventory is expected to alleviate the squeeze on housing prices in the future.

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