Stock markets go nowhere as bitcoin smashes record
Stock markets go nowhere as bitcoin smashes record
Paris stocks crept 0.2 higher and Frankfurt gained 0.4 percent, but London turned 0.4 percent lower.
Wall Street rose modestly, with the Dow adding 0.3 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbing 0.7 percent. Analysts said investor sentiment was still hamstrung by coming political battles surrounding a US tax reform plan.
Much focus, meanwhile, was on bitcoin which set a fresh record as investors’ jaws dropped at the cryptocurrency’s meteoric rise.
Bitcoin, which is not traded on traditional currency market, powered to a fresh high of $15,969.99, before falling back according to Bloomberg data.
The controversial virtual unit has soared more than 50 percent in just one week, but analysts warn that the snowballing rally could melt in the run-up to Christmas.
“While the European stocks indices try and shake off yesterday’s politically-driven bearish trading, bitcoin — seemingly unencumbered by anything in the real world — has continued its astonishing march,” Spreadex trader Connor Campbell told AFP.
“The rolling wave of speculation has given bitcoin a huge amount of momentum, a snowball effect that may be melted when the cryptocurrency’s futures are launched in a few weeks.”
“Bitcoin is continuing to travel at break-neck speed,” CMC Markets analyst David Madden told AFP.
“The alternative investment is proving to be very popular at a time when traditional assets like gold are under pressure,” he added, noting the precious metal had touched a four-month low.
Bitcoin received a major boost in October when exchange giant CME Group announced it would launch a futures marketplace for bitcoin, which has not been listed on a major bourse before.
“Bitcoin... has registered yet another milestone in its never-ending rally,” added IG analyst Chris Beauchamp.
“There seems no end to the supply of willing buyers, with the endless progression of higher prices simply fueling the mania.”
Tokyo stocks rallied on Thursday after three days of losses, but regional Asian markets were dogged by political concerns, the latest being US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
After a blockbuster year for most global markets — helped by bets on Trump’s promise to cut taxes and ramp up spending — geopolitical worries and dealers winding down for the year’s end have put them on course for a painful December.
Trump’s Jerusalem decision drew swift global condemnation and fanned fears about the overall prospects for stability in the Middle East.
That followed news this week that one of the president’s former close advisers had admitted lying to investigators in a probe into Russian meddling in the US election, bringing it closer to the White House.
Elsewhere, Britain’s struggles to hammer out a deal with the EU on the Irish border question have left Brexit talks in limbo, meaning the second phase of the negotiations — on trade — cannot yet go ahead.
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London — FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4 percent at 7,320.75 points (close)
Frankfurt — DAX 30: UP 0.4 percent at 13,045.15, (close)
Paris — CAC 40: UP 0.2 at 5,383.86 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,567.50
New York — DOW: UP 0.3 percent at 24,201.53
Tokyo — Nikkei 225: UP 1.5 percent at 22,498.03 (close)
Hong Kong — Hang Seng: UP 0.3 percent at 28,303.19 (close)
Shanghai — Composite: DOWN 0.7 percent at 3,272.05 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1799 from $1.1795 at 2200 GMT
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3421 from $1.3393
Dollar/yen: UP at 112.65 yen from 112.27 yen
Oil — Brent North Sea: UP 75 cents at $61.97 per barrel
Oil — West Texas Intermediate: UP 41 cents at $56.37
Microsoft beats Wall Street targets on cloud services revenue
- Revenue for the company’s LinkedIn business and job network grew 37 percent from the year-ago quarter, while its Dynamics 365 online business application suite posted a 61 percent increase
- Net income rose to $8.87 billion, or $1.14 per share, from $8.07 billion, or $1.03 per share, in the year-ago fourth quarter
NEW YORK: Microsoft Corp. on Thursday posted quarterly profit and revenue that beat analysts’ estimates, as more businesses signed up for its Azure cloud computing services and Office 365 productivity suite.
The company’s flagship Azure cloud product recorded revenue growth of 89 percent in the fourth quarter ended June 30. Its shares rose nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading.
Much of Microsoft’s recent growth has been fueled by its cloud computing business, which has benefited from companies rushing to shift their workloads to the cloud to cut data storage and software costs.
“The combination of the cloud, which is a megatrend that’s going to last for years to come, and the execution, this is company that knows how to sell and be innovative — it’s hard to argue with anything here,” said Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace.com analyst.
Microsoft shares have risen 180 percent since Satya Nadella took over as chief executive in 2014, refocusing the company on cloud computing rather than PC software. Its market cap edged above $800 billion for the first time earlier this month.
Azure has a 16 percent share of the global cloud infrastructure market, making it the second-biggest provider of cloud services after Amazon.com Inc’s Amazon Web Services, according to April estimates by research firm Canalys.
Revenue at Microsoft’s productivity and business processes unit, which includes Office 365, rose 13.1 percent to $9.67 billion, topping analysts’ average expectation of $9.65 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“This was another gem of a quarter from Microsoft as Nadella’s cloud vision is coming to fruit on the heels of massive Azure growth and secular tailwinds,” said Daniel Ives at research firm GBH Insights.
Revenue for the company’s LinkedIn business and job network grew 37 percent from the year-ago quarter, while its Dynamics 365 online business application suite posted a 61 percent increase.
The combination of those two services highlights Microsoft’s rise as an alternative to Salesforce.com Inc, which dominates the customer relationship management market, said Johnny Won, founder of Hyperstop, a tech consultancy firm.
“It seems like this is actually a formidable threat to Salesforce,” Won said.
Overall, the Redmond, Washington-based software maker’s revenue rose 17.5 percent to $30.09 billion, above expectations of $29.21 billion.
Net income rose to $8.87 billion, or $1.14 per share, from $8.07 billion, or $1.03 per share, in the year-ago fourth quarter. https://bit.ly/2uOF9W1
Excluding certain items, Microsoft earned $1.13 per share, while analysts had expected $1.08.