The Weekly Wall Street Wrap Up 6/19/2021

This is Vance from highfinancethoughts.com with the Weekly Wall Street Wrap Up. I’m going to update you on the most important news stories that happened this past week in the world of finance.

To start things off, the stock market experienced a tough end to the week and closed significantly down on Friday. The Dow Industrial Average was down for 5 straight days. The Dow was down 3.4% this past week. This was the worst week for the Dow since October 2020. The S&P 500 had its worst week since February, falling 1.9%. The decline in the stock market was in response to the news conference held by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

The Federal Reserve had a meeting to go over inflation concerns and their plans on how to mitigate its impact. Chairman Powell discussed how the Fed’s new inflation expectations are higher than they were previously. The Federal Reserve raised its headline inflation expectation to 3.4%, which is a full percentage point higher than the projection from March of 2.4%. This new expectation is thought to be more realistic than their previous projection.

Everyone’s main concern was regarding interest rates and if and when they will start to go up. This is important to know because generally when interest rates rise, stock prices fall. Chairman Powell said interest rates will stay around zero for now but increases are likely to come sooner than expected. Back in March the Fed said they weren’t planning on raising interest rates until 2024. But officials are now saying they expect to have two rate hikes in 2023.

Another big topic Chairman Powell discussed was that the Fed will not cut back on its current aggressive bond-buying program. But Powell did mention this issue was discussed at their meeting. I personally think this means the current rate that the Fed is buying bonds will decline by 2022. The overall message from the meeting seemed to be that nothing is changing now, but changes will be coming sooner than expected.

I personally think the stock market is going to experience some major downward trends in the near future. Stocks have had some incredible gains over the past 6 months and I think a lot of stocks have probably become overvalued and the market is going to be doing some price corrections with news on rising interest rates being the catalyst that drives the stock market down. I have personally started selling some of my tech stocks, like Snowflake (SNOW), Lemonade (LMND), and DoorDash (DASH), that have experienced some good growth over the past few months. I originally wanted to hold on to these and watch them grow but I worry that growth tech stocks will be some of the hardest hit if and when the stock market starts to crash. So I figured it was best to exit my position on those now and take my profit while I could.

In cryptocurrency news, Bitcoin and the crypto markets are down this week. Bitcoin is down about 1% over the past 7 days. Bitcoin and the crypto market had decent gains coming out of last weekend but then have been on a downward trend over the last few days. This may be in response to the latest crackdown on crypto coming out of China. The Chinese providence of Sichuan issued an order to crack down on crypto mining operations. Sichuan is now the fifth Chinese providence to announce crackdowns or partial bans on the crypto mining industry.

You are now caught up on all the latest finance and investing news. Follow me on Twitter @VanceAlm where I tweet about investing and finance every weekday. Don’t forget to like and share this video. Keep investing wisely!

Photo by Rafael Saldaña from flickr

The Wall Street Weekly Wrap Up for 6/11/21 (Video)

The Wall Street Weekly Wrap Up is where I’ll be discussing the major news and events happening in the world of finance. I’m going to keep you informed on everything you need to know and update you on the events of the past week, all within a short 3 minute video.

This week, I discuss: the S&P 500 hitting its new record closing price; the downward trend in meme stocks; the FBI recovering half of the Bitcoin paid in the Colonial Pipeline ransom; and the 401(k) provider company ForUsAll Inc. giving retirement plan investors the option to invest in cryptocurrencies. Don’t forget to check out my website highfinancethoughts.com to learn more about investing and finances.

Wall Street’s Weekly Wrap Up 6/11/21

The stock market had a rollercoaster of a week but ended Friday afternoon on a positive note. The S&P 500 rallied this afternoon to set a new record price of 4,247.44 at the closing bell. The Dow and NASDAQ both also ended the day in positive territory.

Meme stocks had a meltdown this week. After some incredible gains over the past two weeks for meme stocks like AMC (AMC), GameStop (GME), and Bed Bath & Beyond, most of the hot meme stocks ended the week down from their earlier highs. But all of these meme stocks are trading much higher than they were prior to the WallStreetBets crowd pumping these stocks up. Some financially stable companies like Wendy’s and Clover Health received some unexpected attention from retail investors as the meme stock revolution moved focus away from AMC.

Earlier this week, the FBI recovered a little more than half, or approximately $2.3 million of the Bitcoin ransom that was paid to individuals in the criminal hacking group DarkSide. Joseph Blount, CEO of Colonial Pipeline Co., told The Wall Street Journal that the company paid hackers the $4.4 million ransom because the extent of the intrusion was unknown along with how long it would take to restore operations. The news that the FBI was able to recover part of the ransom caused the price of Bitcoin to fall on Tuesday and Wednesday. People have always assumed cryptocurrencies were untraceable but using the blockchain and the public ledger actually helped confirm the FBI’s investigation. This fact may have scared some shadier investors but I’m sure it was actually something institutional investors liked hearing and knowing there are ways to recover stolen cryptocurrencies.

In other Bitcoin news, the 401(k) provider company ForUsAll Inc., will start a new program in July which will let workers in the retirement plans it administers to invest up to 5% of their contributions in the leading cryptocurrencies through Coinbase. This is a huge step for institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies. People are curious about crypto and they want to invest in it after seeing its incredible growth over the past year.

I know the S&P 500 hit a record closing price, but I feel that inflation concerns and the inevitable rise of interest rates is going to cause a big downturn in the stock market soon. Popular meme stocks appear to be on the decline, does that mean some other stocks will start to be pumped like Wendy’s and Clover Health did? Bitcoin seems to be gaining traction with institutions in the US and I think this is the time to buy because I believe cryptocurrency prices will have a nice rebound soon from their current slump.

Those are my thoughts anyways. What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment below. Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel, Vance Alm, where I post videos related to investing and finances.

Photo by Sophie Backes on Unsplash

Investing 101: Stock and Cryptocurrency Terms and Phrases Defined (Video)

This is the video version of my blog post where I defined some popular investing terms and phrases. The video can be accessed through the YouTube link above, or you can find my original blog post here. Thank you for checking out my website and don’t forget to subscribe to stay up-to-date on all the latest news and information regarding stocks and cryptocurrencies.

Wall Street’s Weekly Wrap Up 6/4/21

This was a particularly crazy week on Wall Street as the meme stock revolution was in full swing. At the heart of the revolution is AMC (AMC). The meme stock revolution really took off back in January when GameStop was the subject of extreme short selling by hedge funds. At that time, the Reddit subgroup WallStreetBets noticed GameStop had about 140% of its shares being shorted (more shares were shorted than actually existed). WallStreetBets and a user named Roaring Kitty worked on spreading this knowledge and encouraging regular retail investors to buy up shares and force hedge funds to pay much higher prices when they were margin called and had to pay back the shares that they borrowed on contract (options trading).

This same scenario was played out again this past week, but with AMC being the focus this time instead of GameStop. AMC was trading around $10 per share over the last few months but became the focus of the meme stock revolution starting last week, and its price began its meteoric rise. AMC started out last week, 5/24, trading around $13 per share and it quickly doubled in price to end Friday at $26 per share. AMC’s value peaked on this past Wednesday when it reached $69.29 per share, and it has been on a rollercoaster ride since then, and it’s currently trading around $47 at the time of writing this.

In cryptocurrency news, Miami, FL, is hosting the 2021 Bitcoin Conference on 6/4-6/5. This is the largest Bitcoin/cryptocurrency meeting ever. Speakers include Ron Paul, Senator Cynthia Lummis, Michael Saylor, Jack Dorsey, Tony Hawk, and Nick Szabo. A noticeable person missing from this list of speakers is Elon Musk, although considering his recent negative comments and tweets about Bitcoin it’s no surprise that he wasn’t invited. His response was to tweet the image below.

Tweet by Elon Musk

What are your thoughts on AMC and the meme stock revolution? What do you think about the 2021 Bitcoin Conference and Elon Musk’s most recent tweet about Bitcoin? Let’s have a conversation and leave me a comment below.

Friday’s Weekly Market Wrap Up 5/28/21

The biggest news from this past week has been the resurgence of the infamous meme stocks GameStop (GME) and AMC (AMC). As you may remember, back in January GameStop was made famous when the Reddit group WallStreetBets and in particular a user named Roaring Kitty, urged retail investors to buy and hold the stock because it was being short sold by big hedge funds. I went into detail about the whole situation in a previous blog post.

Prior to the stock reaching its peak price of $347.51, it was selling around $10-$15 per share. Within less than a two-week span, the stock price shot up more than 10 times its normal trading value and then came crashing back down. At the same time, AMC’s stock price was trading around $2 per share and shot up to $19.90. Both stocks have been trading higher than previously but nowhere near their all-time high prices. There was another bull run on these stocks in mid-March and then prices lowered again.

These two companies, AMC in particular, were the subject to another bull run driven by retail investors who are countering hedge funds attempting to short sell the stocks again. AMC started the week around $12 per share and is ending the week at $26. GameStop went from around $170 at the beginning of the week up to $222 to end the week. AMC’s stock price more than doubled in one week!

In other news, the crypto market has been on a downward spiral lately, and the announcement that came out on Wednesday regarding Iran banning bitcoin mining due to power outage problems didn’t help. Many large cities in Iran have been experiencing daily power outages and Iranian officials blame part of the problem on bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining. This ban is effective immediately and will be in place until September 22nd of this year.

Do you think the crypto market will bounce back even after Iran and China have recently banned cryptocurrencies? What’s your thoughts on the rise of memes stocks like AMC and GameStop? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts. Don’t forget to follow me on social media, I post investment news every weekday on my Twitter.

Photo by Michael Förtsch on Unsplash

Friday’s Weekly Market Wrap Up 5/21/21

This was a rough week for the cryptocurrency market. I wrote about the almost $1 trillion that evaporated from the crypto market in my last post “Crypto Market Meltdown“. This plunge was primarily driven by news that China is cracking down on institutions involved in any cryptocurrency activities. Bitcoin has come crashing down from its all-time high of over $64,000 per coin on April 14th down to around $36,400 as of now. This news came in the wake of Elon Musk criticizing Bitcoin for the energy required to run their blockchain, which was also very damaging to the price of Bitcoin.

On Friday morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the witness stand to defend his companies control of their App Store. In case you’re not familiar with the case, Apple is currently involved in an antitrust case where the makers of the popular videogame Fortnite, Epic Games, are arguing that Apple’s practice of charging a 30% commission on app developers that make at least $1 million a year violates antitrust laws. This battle started in August 2020 when Fortnite was removed from the Apple App Store after Epic Games added its own payment option for in-app purchases, which violated Apple’s rules requiring developers to use their purchasing system. Tim Cook emphasized Apple’s public commitment to privacy and data security as key reasons for its tight control over the App Store.

Many investors are increasingly worried about inflation, which has helped cause the recent downturn in the stock market over the past few weeks. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ have had a mixed week full of up and downs, but both ended the week slightly down less than half a percent. Wednesday was a rough day for both the stock market and cryptocurrency market, although the stock market got close to being back to where it started the week. Tech stocks have underperformed the market average, but does this just mean buy the dip?

I recently bought the dip and picked up some tech stocks including Snowflake Inc., Lemonade Inc., GoodRX, and DraftKings Inc. and they all appear to have hit a floor price and are slowly bouncing back, hopefully. These could be a few stocks to keep an eye on. That’s my thoughts and opinions anyways, but this is not financial advice.

The digital artist beeple recently released an amazing picture of two barbarian looking fellows eating around a fire with a giant dead bull in the background entitled, “Crypto Winter”. I feel like this image sums up many investors’ feelings about cryptocurrencies at the moment. I currently have some Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and Polygon in my crypto portfolio but I don’t plan on adding until the market starts picking back up. I plan on not selling and diamond handing these until they hopefully have another massive bull run like we experienced over the past few months. What’s your thoughts on the current state of the cryptocurrency market? What’s your thoughts on tech stocks and the stock market? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts!

Image by beeple (Twitter @beeple)

Crypto Market Meltdown

I woke up this morning and checked on my Coinbase account like normal to see what’s going on with my portfolio and that was a rough way to start the day to say the least. Cryptocurrencies have been on a down trend for the past week or two so I wasn’t expecting much but the massive drop that occurred this morning at 6am Pacific was an eyeopener. We all know the cryptocurrency market is notorious for being volatile and having big swings up and down, but this was a massive spike down where Bitcoin bottomed out at $30,000. Bitcoin hasn’t been that low since January of this year.

What’s causing the crypto market to meltdown? Multiple factors have led to the downturn in the crypto market but this morning there was news that China is banning all cryptocurrency related activities. The three organizations authorized by Chinese regulators to oversee their respective industry segments: the National Internet Finance Association of China, the China Banking Association and the Payment and Clearing Association of China, released a joint statement that bank and payment institutions cannot conduct business related to cryptocurrencies, specifically banning activities including cryptocurrency registration, trading, clearing and settlement.

According to a Forbes article released today written by Jonathan Ponciano, “The value of the world’s cryptocurrencies dropped about $50 billion, or 2.5% immediately after the announcement, pushing the week’s staggering losses to roughly $500 billion from a Wednesday high above $2.5 trillion.” The statement was reiterating a 2017 ban on the same cryptocurrency related activities but the fact that China sounds serious now had a massive impact on the crypto markets.

The incredibly fast rise of cryptocurrency values was sure to lead to a market correction, which is what I think we were experiencing the past week but this news from China could be signs of worse things to come. According to that same Forbes article, US Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler has suggested that his agency may be gearing up for a crypto crackdown in light of the market’s recent volatility. This would be disastrous if the US were to implement any type of regulation on the crypto markets, prices and values would plummet.

What’s your thoughts on Wednesday’s big drop caused by the news from China? Do you think this is the end of cryptocurrencies or is this just a dip to buy and diamond-hand through? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Photo by Executium on Unsplash

Investing 101: Cryptocurrency

The hottest topic in investing news is cryptocurrencies. I previously discussed how to get setup on Coinbase to enable you to start investing in crypto. But many people still aren’t sure what exactly cryptocurrency is. It’s a little complicated and technical but I’m going to break it down so it’s simple and understandable.

Wikipedia defines a cryptocurrency or crypto as, “a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange wherein individual coin ownership records are stored in a ledger existing in a form of a computerized database using strong cryptography to secure transaction records, to control the creation of additional coins, and to verify the transfer of coin ownership.”

Basically all cryptos use blockchain technology, which is essentially lots of computers linked together over a cryptography secured network, to store and verify all transactions involving that particular cryptocurrency or coin. So any transactions involving let’s say Bitcoin, are recorded on the publicly shared Bitcoin ledger, and that ledger is verified to be accurate by all the other computers on that blockchain network. That’s why crypto is considered a decentralized currency because it is regulated by all the computers on the network instead of by a central bank.

The process of verifying transactions is often referred to as “mining”. So when you hear people say things like “Bitcoin mining” or they’re a “crypto miner” they aren’t talking about breaking rocks with pickaxes. People are rewarded and incentivized to verify the transactions on the network, or mining, by receiving small amounts of that cryptocurrency that they are mining. Bitcoin mining for example requires the use of many high-powered computers to secure and verify its network, which also consumes a lot of electricity. Bitcoin mining in particular uses a specific form of mining called proof of work, which is what Elon Musk now infamously tweeted about on 5/12.

Tweet by Elon Musk

There are two different methods used for crypto mining, proof of work (like Bitcoin) and proof of stake (like Cardano). Proof of work involves one party proving to other parties (validators or miners) that the transaction is legitimate through complex mathematical calculations. These complex mathematical calculations require a lot of computational power and energy usage. Proof of stake is similar to the proof of work process but requires much less computer power and energy usage. Instead, the validators must own large quantities of the cryptocurrency in order to validate it. This prevents hackers from attacking the network because the attacker would need to first acquire a large amount of tokens/coins which means they have a large stake in that cryptocurrency and should then want to see it gain value.

Besides the computational power and energy usage required, Bitcoin has also been criticized for having a slow block time (the amount of time to verify transactions). Bitcoin has an average block time of 10 minutes, whereas faster networks like Ethereum have a 14-15 second block time. Bitcoin was the original cryptocurrency, but since it was first created in 2009, many new altcoins have been created and come onto the market. What’s your thoughts on Bitcoin, altcoins, or cryptos in general? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Weekly Friday Wrap Up 5/14

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve done a wrap up (blame MBA exams and projects) but I need to talk about some huge news stories that have happened over the past week. The month of May has lived up to the old saying of, “Sell in May and get away” because it has been a bloody red couple of weeks for the stock market. The tech sector has experienced the brunt of the massive sell-off. Even after the biggest companies around, like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple, posted massive record earnings, their stock prices all dipped.

Yesterday and today have started to see a rebound for tech stocks but the markets are down for the week overall, down 1.6% for the S&P 500 and 2.8% for the tech-heavy Nasdaq. The S&P 500 and the Dow started the week by suffering their worst three-day losses in almost seven months. Prices have also been falling over the past couple weeks over increasing fears of inflation, especially in the price of raw materials like metals for microchips, lumber, and crude oil.

As always now days, cryptocurrency has been a main topic in investing news. The biggest news is Elon Musk’s tweet announcing that Tesla has suspended accepting Bitcoin as payment due to “environmental concerns”. I’ve heard rumors that this is actually a deliberate action by Elon Musk to bring the price of Bitcoin down because he’s fighting with a hedge fund that has options on Bitcoin and that same hedge fund was involved in tanking the price of Dogecoin and Tesla stock prices. So the rumor is he deliberately tanked the price of Bitcoin to get revenge on them.

I personally think since the price of Bitcoin has dropped and is still on a declining trend over the past month and week, it makes sense to stop accepting it if it’s quickly losing value. But he took the announcement a step further by saying it was due to the environmental impact of the proof-of-work process used to secure the blockchain network, and that he is, “looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin’s energy/transaction.” Some people are confused because Dogecoin, which he has publicly supported, also uses the proof-of-work process, although they use scrypt-based technology which is slightly different than the SHA-256 based equipment used to mine Bitcoin.

This past week has seen a lot of ups and downs in both the cryptocurrency and stock markets. What’s your thoughts on “sell in May and get away”? Have we reached the bottom level prices where it’s time to buy the dip? What are your thoughts on Elon Musk’s tweet and the future of cryptocurrencies? Leave me a comment!

Photo by Nick Chong on Unsplash