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Bitcoin set for record losing streak after ‘stablecoin’ collapse

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Alun John and Elizabeth Howcroft

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) – Cryptocurrencies nursed large losses on Friday, with bitcoin just above $30,000 and set for a record losing streak after the collapse of TerraUSD, a so-called stablecoin, rippled through cryptocurrency markets.

Crypto assets have also been swept up in broad selling of risky investments on worries about high inflation and rising interest rates. Sentiment is particularly fragile, as tokens supposed to be pegged to the dollar have faltered.

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by total market value, managed to bounce in the Asia session and traded at $30,335 at 0843 GMT. It has staged something of a recovery from a 16-month low of around $25,400 reached on Thursday.

But it remains far below week-ago levels of around $40,000 and, unless there is a rebound in weekend trade, is headed for a record seventh consecutive weekly loss.

“I don’t think the worst is over,” said Scottie Siu, investment director of Axion Global Asset Management, a Hong Kong based firm that runs a crypto index fund.

“I think there is more downside in the coming days. I think what we need to see is the open interest collapse a lot more, so the speculators are really out of it, and that’s when I think the market will stabilize.”

BEYOND BITCOIN

Crypto-related stocks have taken a pounding, with shares in broker Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) steadying overnight but still down by half in little more than a week.

In Asia, Hong Kong-listed Huobi Technology and BC Technology Group, which operate trading platforms and other crypto services, eyed weekly drops of more than 20%.

But broader financial markets have so far seen little knock-on effect from the cryptocurrency crash.

“Crypto is still tiny and crypto integration within broader financial markets is still infinitesimally small,” said James Malcolm, head of FX strategy at UBS.

“This idea that what goes on in crypto stays in crypto – that’s in many ways where we still are at the moment.”

STABLECOIN SQUEEZE

Selling has roughly halved the global market value of cryptocurrencies since November, but the drawdown has turned to panic in recent sessions with the squeeze on stablecoins.

Stablecoins are tokens pegged to the value of traditional assets, often the U.S. dollar, and are the main medium for moving money between cryptocurrencies or to convert balances to fiat cash.

Cryptocurrency markets were rocked this week by the collapse of TerraUSD (USDT), which broke its 1:1 peg to the dollar.

The coin’s complex stability mechanism, which involved balancing with a free-floating cryptocurrency called Luna, stopped working when Luna came under selling pressure. TerraUSD last traded around 15 cents, while Luna plunged close to zero.

Tether, the biggest stablecoin and one whose developers say is backed by dollar assets, has also come under pressure and fell to 95 cents on Thursday, according to CoinMarketCap data, but was back at $1 on Friday.

“Over half of all bitcoin and ether traded on exchanges are versus a stablecoin, with USDT or Tether taking the largest share,” analysts at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) said in a research note.

“For these types of stablecoins, the market needs to trust that the issuer holds sufficient liquid assets they would be able to sell in times of market stress.”

Tether’s operating company says it has the necessary assets in Treasuries, cash, corporate bonds and other money-market products.

But Tether is likely to face further tests if traders keep selling, and analysts are concerned that stress could spill over into money markets if pressure forces more and more liquidation.

Ratings agency Fitch said in a note on Thursday that there could be “significant negative repercussions” for cryptocurrencies and digital finance if investors lose confidence in stablecoins.

“Many regulated financial entities have increased their exposure to cryptocurrencies, defi and other forms of digital finance in recent months, and some Fitch-rated issuers could be affected if crypto market volatility becomes severe,” it said.

However, Fitch said that weak links between crypto markets and regulated financial markets will limit the potential of crypto market volatility to cause wider financial instability.

Stock Markets

Dow Futures Tick Higher as Major Indices Rebound

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By Oliver Gray 

Investing.com – U.S. stock futures moved modestly higher on Tuesday evening after major benchmark indices rebounded from recent losses during regular trade, however, traders remain cautious of a potential recession after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noted at a Wall Street Journal conference on Tuesday that “there won’t be any hesitation” about raising rates until inflation is under control.

By 6:45pm ET (10:45pm GMT) Dow Jones Futures and Nasdaq 100 Futures were up 0.1% apiece while S&P 500 Futures gained 0.2%.

In extended deals, QualTek Services Inc (NASDAQ:QTEK) popped 23.1% after reporting Q1 losses of 20 cents per share, beating expectations of a 48 cents loss, while revenue came in at $148.2 million versus $137.51 million expected.

Corporacion America Airports (NYSE:CAAP) lifted 0.2% after reporting Q1 EPS of $0.16 versus x expected on revenues of $258.1 million versus $226.74 million expected.

QuickLogic Corporation (NASDAQ:QUIK) fell 6% after report Q1 losses of 6 cents per share versus losses of 7 cents expected. Revenue for the quarter came in at $4.1 million versus estimates of $4 million.

Agilysys Inc (NASDAQ:AGYS) gained 11.3% after reporting Q4 EPS of 24 cents, beating estimates of 17 cents, with revenues coming in at $46.6 million versus estimates of $43.78 million.

Corporate earnings are set to continue on Wednesday, with Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and Lowe’s Companies Inc (NYSE:LOW) reporting results before the opening bell. Ahead in the week, investors will be monitoring fresh data for housing starts and building permits due out Friday morning.

During Tuesday’s trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 431.17 points, or 1.34%, to 32,654.59, the S&P 500 added 2% to 4,088.85 and the NASDAQ Composite added 2.76% to 11,984.52.

Major financial players were boosted after Warren Buffett’s conglomerate revealed it added a nearly $3 billon stake in Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) during the first quarter. Citizens Financial Group Inc (NYSE:CFG) gained 3.7% JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) added 3.3%, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) lifted 3.4% and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) gained 3.8%.

Travel related companies popped after United Airlines raised its revenue outlook for the second quarter on improved consumer demand. JetBlue Airways Corp (NASDAQ:JBLU) lifted 8.2%, Delta Air Lines Inc (NYSE:DAL) gained 6.7%, American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) added 7.7% and United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:UAL) lifted 7.9%.

On the bond markets, United States 10-Year yields were at 2.995%.

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Glass Lewis backs McDonald’s directors in boardroom fight with Carl Icahn

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign with the logo is on display near a McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow, Russia May 16, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

2/2

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON (Reuters) – Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis on Tuesday recommended McDonald’s Corp (NYSE:MCD) investors vote for the company’s directors, dealing a setback to billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s efforts to replace two directors.

“The Dissident (Icahn) has failed to make a sufficiently compelling case to warrant the boardroom changes it is seeking here,” Glass Lewis wrote in the report seen by Reuters.

A representative for Icahn did not immediately have a comment.

The report came one day after Institutional Shareholder Services, Glass Lewis’ larger rival, also recommended that shareholders back the company’s nominees. McDonald’s shareholders will meet on May 26.

Icahn nominated candidates to the fast-food restaurant’s board to hold the company accountable for pledges it made a decade ago on sourcing pork.

McDonald’s says it has worked to change its pork sourcing. But it is behind schedule on a plan to stop buying pork from suppliers that confine pigs in small crates during pregnancy. Both ISS and Glass Lewis say Icahn has raised awareness for animal rights.

“We acknowledge (Icahn’s) efforts to seek improvements to animal welfare conditions is a worthy and noble endeavor,” Glass Lewis wrote. But the advisory firm also criticized Icahn, saying he had taken a “decidedly simplistic and myopic view of ESG concerns, with no substantive regard given to the economics of the Company’s business nor to the creation of shareholder value.”

McDonald’s said Icahn’s two nominees lack the broader expertise needed to serve on the company’s board. Glass Lewis wrote that Icahn’s candidates “lack the requisite background, qualifications and experience for serving on the board of a large multinational firm” like McDonald’s.

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China Eastern crash probe eyes intentional action – sources

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rescue workers work at the site where a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane flying from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed, in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Investigators probing the crash of a China Eastern Airlines (NYSE:CEA) jet are examining whether it was due to intentional action taken on the flight deck, with no evidence so far of a technical malfunction, two people briefed on the matter said.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Tuesday that flight data from one the Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737-800’s black boxes indicated that someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the plane, citing people familiar with U.S. officials’ preliminary assessment.

Boeing Co , the maker of the jet, and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) declined to comment and referred questions to Chinese regulators.

The Boeing 737-800, en route from Kunming to Guangzhou, crashed on March 21 in the mountains of Guangxi, after a sudden plunge from cruising altitude, killing all 123 passengers and nine crew members aboard.

It was mainland China’s deadliest aviation disaster in 28 years.

The pilots did not respond to repeated calls from air traffic controllers and nearby planes during the rapid descent, authorities have said.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said on April 11 in response to rumours on the internet of a deliberate crash that the speculation had “gravely misled the public” and “interfered with the accident investigation work.”

China Eastern could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal said the airline had said in a statement that no evidence had emerged that could determine whether or not there were any problems with the accident aircraft. The Chinese Embassy declined to comment.

The 737-800 is a widely flown predecessor to Boeing’s 737 MAX but does not have the systems that have been linked to fatal 737-MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that led to a lengthy grounding of the MAX.

China Eastern grounded its entire fleet of 737-800 planes after the crash, but resumed flights in mid-April in a move widely seen at the time as ruling out any immediate new safety concern over Boeing’s previous and still most widely used model.

In a summary of an unpublished preliminary crash report last month, Chinese regulators did not point to any technical recommendations on the 737-800, which has been in service since 1997 with a strong safety record, according to experts.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said in a May 10 Reuters interview that board investigators and Boeing had traveled to China to assist the Chinese investigation. She noted that the investigation to date had not found any safety issues that would require any urgent actions.

Homendy said if the board has any safety concerns it will “issue urgent safety recommendations.”

The NTSB assisted Chinese investigators with the review of black boxes at its U.S. lab in Washington.

Shares of Boeing closed up 6.5%.

A final report into the causes could take two years or more to compile, Chinese officials have said. Analysts say most crashes are caused by a cocktail of human and technical factors.

Deliberate crashes are exceptionally rare. Experts noted the latest hypothesis left open whether the action stemmed from one pilot acting alone or the result of a struggle or intrusion but sources stressed nothing has been confirmed.

In March 2015, a Germanwings co-pilot deliberately flew an Airbus A320 into a French mountainside, killing all 150 on board.

French investigators found the 27-year-old was suffering from a suspected “psychotic depressive episode,” concealed from his employer. They later called for better mental health guidelines and stronger peer support groups for pilots.

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