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Bitcoin and Facebook; More earnings; Markets lose direction

Posted at 3:14 AM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 07:12:23-04

1. Bitcoin and Facebook: Investors are worried that Facebook’s move into cryptocurrency could spark a new wave of regulation, sending Bitcoin prices below $10,000 for the first time in two weeks.

Lawmakers in the US Senate grilled Facebook executive David Marcus about the Libra cryptocurrency project on Tuesday, voicing major concerns about Facebook’s ability to regulate global money flows.

“Facebook’s motto is move fast and break things,” said Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown. “They’ve moved fast and are helping to undermine our democracy. Now they’re expecting us to trust them with our paychecks.”

The price of one Bitcoin is now roughly $9,500. Congressional scrutiny of Libra will continue Wednesday in the House at 10 a.m. ET.

2. Earnings season: Bank earnings continue Wednesday with Bank of America, which reports results before US markets open. Investors want to see how the bank has fared in the current interest rate environment.

JPMorgan Chase shared better-than-expected earnings on Tuesday, but downgraded its outlook due to expected rate cuts from Federal Reserve, which would crimp the revenue it brings in from lending.

JPMorgan is predicting up to three Fed rate cuts this year, according to its chief financial officer.

Also on the earnings radar: Netflix, which will report results for the three months ending in June after US markets close. Investors will scrutinize the company’s finances amid growing competition from companies like Disney and AT&T, CNN’s parent company.

Want more markets? Watch CNN’s “Markets Now” digital live show Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. ET.

3. Markets lose direction: US stock futures point to slight gains. Stocks have struggled to find direction in recent days after hitting record highs.

The Dow is set to rise almost 40 points, or 0.1%. The Nasdaq could jump 0.3%, while the S&P 500 is tracking up 0.2%.

European markets opened broadly lower. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.2%, while Germany’s DAX fell slightly in early trading.

Stocks in Asia also declined. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite shed 0.2%. Japan’s Nikkei dropped 0.3%.

The Dow closed down 0.1% on Tuesday. The S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the Nasdaq lost 0.4%.

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4. Coming this week:
Wednesday — US housing starts and building permits; Eurozone inflation; Bank of America, eBay, IBM, Netflix earnings; US oil inventories
Thursday — Japan inflation; Morgan Stanley, Philip Morris, Honeywell, Microsoft earnings
Friday — American Express and BlackRock earnings; University of Michigan consumer sentiment