• Bitcoin (BTCUSD on xStation5) continues its wild ride towards $10,000 mark surging about $1,500 at the weekend
  • Rand sharply advances recovering from a rating downgrade at Standard & Poor’s
  • European stocks have posted a good start to the week resisting a downbeat sentiment from Asia

The biggest market mover was undoublty Bitcoin which at the weekend rallied by over $1,500 on the back of rising acceptance. Moreover, the South Africa’s rand was also in the limelight as it sharply recovered from losses after Standard & Poor’s lowered the country’s credit rating to junk status. As far as stock markets are concerned, European shares managed to post modest gains despite feeble moods in Asia.

What a weekend for the cryptocurrencies it was! Bitcoin (BTCUSD on xStation platform) price soared to a fresh all time high just a notch above $9700 mark, a 18% gain compared to Friday’s close and Litecoin (LTCUSD) jumped to $93, a move of even more impressive 23%. Ethereum (ETHUSD) and Dash (DSHUSD) were a bit more modest over the weekend but they saw huge gains over the past trading week and are +31% and +44% respectively on the week!  There are reports saying that the second largest bank in South Korea tests Bitcoin vault and wallet services for its clients.

Given the unprecedented surge in Bitcoin, it is hard to find any other impressive asset. However, South Africa’s rand tries to get out of the shadow. Advancing more than 2.40% against the US dollar it’s the best performing currency across the board leaving behind even some of cryptocurrencies such as Dash (DSHUSD) and Ripple (XRPUSD).

European indices were quick to reverse initial losses brought by a downbeat sentiment from Asia, where Chinese benchmarks dwindled by about 1%. An improvement in moods on the old continent could be ascribed to fading political uncertainty in Germany as the SPD has dropped the opposition and eventually agreed to hold coalition talks with Merkel’s CDU/CSU. Moreover, Black Friday online sales in the US strongly increased which also may help push indices higher. IBEX (SPA35) is leading gains (+0.56%) as it has been the main underperformer of late due to the crisis in Catalonia. German DAX (DE30) is up by 0.15% and the French CAC40 (FRA4040) is adding 0.17% and the UK FTSE100 (UK100) is moving 0.20% higher.

Asian indices posted quite large declines. The Chinese equities led the drop and Hang Seng CE (CHNComp) eventually ended 1.14% lower. Japan’s stocks did a bit better as Nikkei (JAP225) slid 0.24%. Only Australian S&P/ASX200 (AUS200) managed to close in the green posting gain of 0.10%. 

It’s a slow start to the week given that today’s calendar is rather empty. We’ve got only one release on the agenda – the US new home sales for October – and it won’t be a market mover. However, investors should closely track developments on cryptocurrency market as Bitcoin nears $10,000 handle. The rest of the week seems to be more interesting given OPEC meeting and a string of US data which may decide on USD strength.