Global stocks part ways, bitcoin tumbles

25 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

LONDON: Global stock markets headed in different directions Tuesday, with inflation worries offsetting optimism over reopened economies, traders said.

Bitcoin meanwhile came off the boil following critical comments by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin, reports AFP.

After most Asian markets posted gains, European indices were mixed, with Frankfurt's DAX 30 giving up 0.7 percent. January's eurozone inflation was confirmed at 0.9 percent compared with minus 0.3 percent in December, official data showed, adding to concerns that price increases are picking up momentum.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 stocks index added 0.2 percent however, a day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unfolded a roadmap out of UK's coronavirus lockdown from March. But British unemployment is now near a five-year high at 5.1 percent, and could surge further after the government ends the furlough support scheme keeping millions of workers in jobs during the lockdown.

On foreign exchange markets, the pound traded near a three-year high against the dollar. Bitcoin stumbled in its record-breaking run, falling to around $47,600 after Yellen pilloried the virtual currency as an inefficient means of payment that consumed a vast amount of energy per transaction. Oil prices bobbed up and down but showed slight gains in late London trading. While there is growing hope that vaccine rollouts will help the global economy recover, nagging concern over inflation and subsequent interest rate hikes weigh on stock markets. "Investors are quickly rediscovering that not all stocks are created equal in a Covid recovery, as expensive tech names (are sold) to provide the source of funds for less expensive travel-related markers, along with energy and other inflation beneficiaries", Axi strategist Stephen Innes noted.