What to Watch as the First Bitcoin Futures ETF Begins Trading

What to Watch as the First Bitcoin Futures ETF Begins Trading

What to Watch as the First Bitcoin Futures ETF Begins Trading

Coinbase and Bitcoin signage during the cryptocurrency exchange’s IPO at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City on Apr. 14, 2021.


Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

It’s a big day for all things cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in particular. The first U.S. Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund from ProShares will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker BITO—and it’s definitely worth watching.

The approval, after eight years of rejections by the Securities and Exchange Commission, further cements the mainstream acceptance of the asset. It could also see billions of dollars poured into the space.

It isn’t just one. There is a conveyor belt of Bitcoin-linked ETFs ready to launch in the months ahead, although




Invesco

put its futures ETF application on hold late Monday without giving a reason.

Aside from the symbolic significance, there is more at stake following what is likely to be a watershed moment for crypto.

The initial performance of the ETFs could dictate where the price of Bitcoin goes next. The world’s largest cryptocurrency is within touching distance of all-time highs just below $65,000, trading above $62,000 Tuesday. Robust demand for Bitcoin ETFs is what’s needed to break fresh records, Oanda analyst Edward Moya said, noting that if traders viewed the early performance as promising the next resistance would come from the $70,000 level. Conversely, “lackluster” trading volumes could trigger a selloff, he said.

Going forward, the ETFs could also be the best vehicle to short Bitcoin or bet on another cryptocurrency outperforming it. Whatever happens long-term, it’s going to be a landmark day.

Callum Keown

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***

Amazon Hiring 150,000 U.S. Seasonal Workers




Amazon

is hiring 150,000 U.S. seasonal workers, up 50% from 2020, becoming the latest major retailer to announce large hiring plans ahead of the holiday shopping season.




Walmart
,




Target
,

and




Kohl’s

are also hiring tens of thousands of workers.

  • Amazon’s temporary jobs are in addition to 40,000 corporate and tech jobs and 125,000 warehouse and delivery jobs. Wages start at $18 an hour, with sign-on bonuses of $3,000, and an extra $3 per hour depending on shift and location.

  • Amazon, which employs 950,000 U.S. workers, said seasonal employees will support its regular workforce at more than 250 U.S. fulfillment centers, sortation centers, regional air hubs, and delivery stations that opened in 2021.

  • Walmart is giving its Walmart+ subscribers a four-hour head start on “Black Friday Deals for Days” sales in November. For $99 a year, Walmart+ members get fuel discounts, an app that lets them skip the checkout line, and free unlimited grocery deliveries when they spend $35.

  • Other retailers have also rolled out early promotions in anticipation of supply-chain congestion that could delay inventory deliveries this Christmas. Amazon held its Epic Deals sale Oct. 4, and Target held its Deal Days Oct. 10-12.

What’s Next:




Albertsons

supermarket chain expects inflation to continue through the rest of 2021, but said consumers are still spending heavily on groceries despite higher prices. Grocery bills are likely to stay high, as




PepsiCo
,




General Mills
,

and other food companies say their costs have risen.

Janet H. Cho

***

Apple Announces Latest MacPro Models Without Intel Chips




Apple

unveiled on Monday two new models of its blockbuster MacPro featuring its own processors, in a further move away from one-time chip supplier




Intel
.

  • The new models, with 14.2-inch and 16.2-inch-sized screens, will use two in-house processors, M1 Pro and M1 Max, which are 70% faster than the preceding M1.

  • Apple says the chips will help the machines outperform rival devices running on Intel and




    AMD

    chips.

  • The high-end laptops—aimed at professional users such as photographers, movie makers and audio producers—come with new high-contrast and high-resolution displays, better webcams and longer battery life.

  • Apple shares rose 1.2% after the event and were up a further 0.4% in early trading Tuesday.

What’s Next: Mac sales were up 32% in the first three quarters of Apple’s fiscal year. The break with Intel chips is due to be complete in all Mac models next year.

Pierre Briançon

***

Zillow Won’t Sign Any New Contracts to Buy Homes Through Year-End

Amid the hot housing market,




Zillow Group

said it won’t sign new contracts to buy and flip any new houses through the end of the year, saying it was experiencing backlogs in renovating the homes it already has in its portfolio and having trouble finding on-the-ground workers.

  • Zillow is part of a growing industry of instant buyers—or iBuyers—that use their own real estate data to buy homes directly from owners, then fix them up and sell them at (ideally) a profit a short while later.

  • Zillow Offers accounted for more than half the real estate company’s revenue last year. Zillow bought 3,805 homes in the second quarter, the most it has ever purchased in a quarter, and sold 2,086 homes. To put that in context, four million existing homes were sold in the first half of the year.

  • But as of the end of the second quarter, Zillow still had 3,142 unsold homes with a total value of $1.17 billion. RBC Capital Markets analyst Brad Erickson wrote Monday that Zillow is “relatively understaffed” in many of its newer markets.

  • Rival




    Opendoor Technologies

    bought nearly 8,500 homes in the second quarter and started the third quarter with contracts to buy another 8,200. Opendoor said Monday it is still doing business.

What’s Next: Zillow said it would still buy houses with already signed contracts, and still market and sell homes through Zillow Offers as it works through its current backlog.

Janet H. Cho

***

Third-Quarter Earnings Offer Clues About Inflation, Supply-Chain Challenges

This week, 72


S&P 500

companies will report revenue and profit for the latest quarter, and investors are listening for clues about the effects of inflation, supply-chain challenges and central bank stimulus on profit margins and overall results.

  • The shortage of components, finished goods, manufacturing capacity and affordable shipping are affecting tech giants such as Apple—last week a report said chip shortages would hurt iPhone 13 production.




    Intel
    ,




    IBM
    ,

    and




    Honeywell

    also report this week.

  • Reduced output from some Asian factories and soaring costs for air, rail, and sea freight will also increase expenses for manufacturers and retailers.




    Procter & Gamble
    ,




    Netflix
    ,

    and




    United Airlines

    also report this week.

  • Of the companies to report so far, the word “inflation” has come up more than at any other time in almost the past two decades, with mentions up 900% year-over-year, according to




    Bank of America
    .

  • The S&P 500’s third-quarter earnings estimate has been revised up by 11% heading into the reporting season. That is the largest upward 3Q revision in the last 20 years,




    Morgan Stanley

    said in a note.

What’s Next:




Tesla
,

which has said it delivered a record 241,300 vehicles in the third quarter, reports earnings on Wednesday. For the third quarter, Wall Street expects earnings per share of $1.54 and revenue of $13.7 billion.

Janet H. Cho

***

SEC’s Report on Meme-Stock Trading Frenzy Finds No ‘Smoking Gun’

After reviewing the frenzied trading in so-called meme stocks such as




GameStop

and




AMC Entertainment

earlier this year, the SEC issued a 44-page report that said hedge funds weren’t as hurt as everyone thought.

  • The meme-stock craze was supposed to be about the little guy—aka retail investors placing buy and sell orders through their




    Robinhood

    apps—against big, professional short sellers, squeezing them until they abandoned their bear trades.

  • The SEC’s report said “Staff believes hedge funds broadly were not significantly affected by investments in GME and other meme stocks,” referring to GameStop’s ticker symbol.

  • The videogame retailer’s stock surged not because of a short squeeze, but because of the flood of retail investors buying the stock and bidding it up. At the beginning of January 10,000 accounts traded GameStop. At the end, 900,000.

  • The SEC didn’t present evidence that there was any collusion between brokers—which suspended trading in certain stocks during the frenzy—and hedge funds.

What’s Next: The SEC’s conclusions recommended examining how behavioral prompts by online brokers could encourage trading and how payments from brokers to trading firms to execute orders may affect retail investors. The report also said speeding up execution times may help.

Avi Salzman and Liz Moyer

***

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***

—Newsletter edited by Liz Moyer, Camilla Imperiali, Steve Goldstein, Rupert Steiner