Crypto Freefall and Your Portfolio

Markets ended flat after an up and down week and crypto fell across the board. The growth-oriented Nasdaq outperformed the Dow, S&P 500, and Russell 2000. The economic calendar is light until Thursday, when we get a second look at U.S. Q1 GDP. Monthly durable goods report should offer a glimpse into how supply chains are holding up. The Ethereum Liquid Index (ELX) came crashing back to earth last week. The Dow down 0.43%, S&P 0.39%, and Nasdaq 0.33%.

Last Week

Markets survived another bout of volatility in a roller coaster week. Turbulence in risk assets was partially sparked by a huge selloff in Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. China banned financial institutions from providing services related to the digital transactions. Crypto Bitcoin plunged from $45,000 to near $30,000 before recovering to $36,000.

Treasury yields briefly spiked after the April Fed meeting minutes released. The minutes mentioned that a strong pickup in economic activity would warrant discussions about tightening monetary policy. Chairman Powell reiterated that the recovery remains “uneven and far from complete” and hasn’t shown enough progress for policy change. Housing data cooled a bit. New construction dropped 9.5% in April and existing sales off 2.7%. Builder confidence remains strong due to lack of inventory, low interest rates, and plenty of home buyers. U.S. manufacturing stayed robust even as the Empire State and Philly Fed Manufacturing Indexes came in slightly below expectations.

Week Ahead

The economic calendar is light until Thursday, when we’ll get a second look at U.S. Q1 GDP, no change expected from the +6.4% estimate. The monthly durable goods report should offer a glimpse into how supply chains dealing with material shortages and consumer demand. Housing reports in focus with new home sales and mortgage applications are released. Pending home sales may follow last week’s cooling trend. Unemployment claims expected to fall again. On Friday, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, the PCE Price Index, will provide another check on spending behavior. Chicago PMI rounds out the month ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

The Ethereum Liquid Index (ELX), a crypto currency index, came crashing back to earth last week. It had been on a steady climb for the previous 12 months. Posting more than a 2,000% gain at the highs. From those highs, it took 6 days to cut the price in half. A 50% cut isn’t nearly as unusual in crypto as in equity markets, the increased volatility may stick around longer.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 11.77%, S&P up 10.65%, and Nasdaq up 4.52% through the close on Friday. Have a fun and safe upcoming holiday weekend!

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