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Why Has Bitcoin Become A Leading Indicator For The S&P 500?

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Yesterday, there was complete and utter carnage across the global financial market. Bitcoin fell over 10% by the daily close and breached below $10,000 at one point before bouncing. The stock market also saw the largest single-day loss since June. 

But why did Bitcoin suddenly lead the stock market almost tick for tick on price charts before the S&P 500 followed? Are these bots turning bearish after crypto began to collapse, or is something else at play? Whatever the dynamics are behind it, the correlation is uncanny.

Did Bitcoin Kick-Off Yesterday’s Stock Market Blood Bath?

Bitcoin has had a stellar 2020 alongside the rest of the crypto market, stocks, and precious metals. The one negative spot across these markets took place on Black Thursday, but every major market other than the Dow Jones was able to set new yearly highs recently.

Bitcoin broke above $10,000, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both set new all-time highs. But after the leading cryptocurrency by market cap faced multiple rejections over $12,000, investors may have decided to take profit and de-risk ahead of the upcoming US election.

RELATED READING | WHY THE UPCOMING US ELECTION IS BITCOIN’S BIGGEST RISK

Analysts were warning that things could get “weird” and that investors should consider hedging their portfolio with short positions in stocks.  And while that may have prompted the collapse in stocks, it doesn’t explain why Bitcoin led the dump by nearly a full day.

BTCUSD Versus S&P 500 Hourly Chart Comparison | Source: TradingView

Has The Cryptocurrency Become A Leading Indicator For the S&P 500?

Bitcoin spent almost its entire lifecycle having next to no correlation between its price action and the stock market. Big-name investors claimed its uncorrelated price action made it a great addition to any investment portfolio. But since the start of 2020, the crypto market is suddenly trading lock and step with major stock indices and precious metals.

According to the above correlation chart, Bitcoin’s peak was reached a full day ahead of the S&P 500. It also took a full 24 hours later before the drop began in the stock market, versus the crypto market.

RELATED READING | HOW THE GREENBACK TURNED BITCOIN AND CRYPTO INTO A SEA OF RED

Bitcoin tried its best to hold support at the mid-$11,000 range, but failed, falling even deeper. If the S&P 500 continues to follow along with this bizarre correlation where Bitcoin acts as a leading indicator, it could hint at the SPX falling below 3400 today to potentially as low as 3300 before the bell rings on the trading week.

This weekend is a long holiday weekend in the United States, and the stock market will shut down until Tuesday when trading resumes. While the stock market sleeps, the crypto market could get extremely wild.

All eyes should be on Bitcoin as a leading indicator for both the rest of crypto and stocks.

Featured image from Unsplash.



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Bitcoin may lose $30K price level if stocks tank, analysts warn

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The ghost of stock market crash is back again to haunt Bitcoin (BTC).

It happened last in March 2020. Back then, the prospect of the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic led to lockdowns across developed and emerging economies. In turn, global stocks crashed in tandem, and Bitcoin lost half of its value in just two days.

Meanwhile, the U.S .dollar index, or DXY, which represents the greenback’s strength against a basket of top foreign currencies, has now climbed by 8.78% to 102.992, its highest level since January 2017.

The huge inverse correlation showed that investors dumped their stocks and Bitcoin holdings and sought safety in what they thought was a better haven: the greenback. 

More than a year later, Bitcoin and stock markets again wrestle with a similar bearish sentiment, this time led by a renewed demand for the U.S. dollar following the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tone.

Namely, the U.S. central bank announced Wednesday it will start hiking its benchmark interest rates by the end of 2023, a year earlier than planned.

Lower interest rates helped to pull Bitcoin and the U.S. stock market out of their bearish slumber. The benchmark cryptocurrency jumped from $3,858 in March 2020 to almost $65,000 in April 2021 as the Fed pushed lending rates to the 0%-0.25% range.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index rose more than 95% to 4,257.16 from its mid-March 2020 peak. Dow Jones and Nasdaq rallied similarly, as shown in the chart below.

Bitcoin, Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500, and Dow Jones rose in sync after March 2020 crash. Source: TradingView.com

And this is what happened after the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike announcement on Wednesday…

Bitcoin and the US stock market plunged after the Fed’s rate hike update. Source: TradingView.com

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index jumped to its two-month high, hinting at a renewed appetite for the greenback in global markets.

U.S. dollar index jumped up to 2.06% after rate hike announcement. Source: TradingView.com

Popular on-chain analyst Willy Woo said on Friday that a stock market crash coupled with a rising dollar could increase Bitcoin’s bearish outlook. 

“Some downside risk if stonks tank, a lot of rallying in the DXY (USD strength) which is typical of money moving to safety,” he explained. 

Michael Burry, the head of Scion Asset Management, also sounded the alarm on an imminent Bitcoin and stock market crash, adding that when crypto markets fall from trillions, or when meme stocks fall from billions, the Main Street losses will approach the size of countries.

“The problem with crypto, as in most things, is the leverage,” he tweeted. “If you don’t know how much leverage is in crypto, you don’t know anything about crypto.”

Burry deleted his tweets later.

Some bullish hopes

Away from the price action, Bitcoin’s adoption continues to grow, an upside catalyst that was missing during the March 2020 crash.

On Friday, CNBC reported that Goldman Sachs has started trading Bitcoin Futures with Galaxy Digital, a crypto merchant bank headed by former hedge fund tycoon Mike Novogratz. The financial news service claimed that Goldman’s call to hire Galaxy as its liquidity provider came in response to increasing pressure from its wealthy clients.

Related: Hawkish Fed comments push Bitcoin price and stocks lower again

Damien Vanderwilt, co-president of Galaxy Digital, added that the mainstream adoption would help Bitcoin lower its infamous price volatility, paving the way for institutional players to join the crypto bandwagon. Excerpts from his interview with CNBC:

“Once one bank is out there doing this, the other banks will have [fear of missing out] and they’ll get on-boarded because their clients have been asking for it.”

Earlier, other major financial and banking services, including Morgan Stanley, PayPal, and Bank of New York Mellon, also launched crypto-enabled services for their clients.

Is Bitcoin in a bear market? 

Referring to the question “are we in a bear market?” Woo said that Bitcoin adoption continues to look healthy despite the recent price drop. The analyst cited on-chain indicators to show an increasing user growth and capital injection in the Bitcoin market.

He also noted that the recent Bitcoin sell-off merely transported BTC from weak hands to strong hands. 

7-day moving average of coins moving between strong and weak hands. Source: Willy Woo

Woo reminded:

“My only concern for downside risk is if we get a major correction in equities which will pull BTC price downwards no matter what the on-chain fundamentals may suggest. Noticing USD strength on the DXY, which suggest some investors moving to safety in the USD.”