SEC Approves Bitcoin ETFs, Gold Prices Rise Ahead of Key US Data & Oil Prices Rise Amid Middle East Tensions

SEC Approves Bitcoin ETFs

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the issuance of 11 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track the price of Bitcoin. The approval, which was announced on the SEC’s website, is a major step forward for the acceptance of cryptocurrencies by mainstream financial institutions.

The ETFs, which will be listed on major exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, will allow investors to buy and sell exposure to Bitcoin without having to directly purchase the cryptocurrency. This could make Bitcoin more accessible to a wider range of investors, including those who are not comfortable with the volatility and security risks of holding cryptocurrency.

The approval of Bitcoin ETFs is a significant development for the cryptocurrency industry. It could lead to increased institutional investment in Bitcoin, which could further drive up the price of the cryptocurrency.

Gold Prices Rise Ahead of Key US Data

Gold prices rose on Thursday, January 12, 2024, ahead of the release of key US economic data, including inflation and jobless claims.

The US dollar index, which measures the value of the dollar against a basket of other currencies, fell for the second consecutive day, making gold, which is priced in dollars, more attractive to foreign buyers.

Economists expect US inflation to rise to 3.2% in December from 3.0% in November. However, they also expect core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, to slow to 3.8% from 3.9%.

Oil Prices Rise Amid Rising Middle East Tensions

Oil prices rose in Asian trading on Thursday, January 12, 2024, as markets assessed the impact of rising tensions in the Middle East against a surprise increase in US crude stockpiles.

The Houthis in Yemen launched their largest attack yet on commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea on Wednesday. The United States and Britain have warned of further action if the attacks continue. The United Nations Security Council has also issued a resolution demanding an immediate halt to the strikes.

In addition, Israeli airstrikes on southern Gaza and central Gaza increased on Wednesday.

Chinese customs data for December trade is due to be released on Friday, which will provide a picture of overall demand for the year in the world’s largest oil importer.

Markets Now

As of 10:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, January 12, 2024, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.18% at 37,591 points, the S&P 500 is up 0.25% at 4,768 points, and the Nasdaq Composite is down 0.47% at 14,927 points.

Gold futures are down 0.03% at $2,032 per ounce, and spot gold is down 0.17% at $2,027 per ounce.

The US dollar index is down 0.17% at 102.10. Crude oil prices have turned lower after data showed that US crude stockpiles rose unexpectedly. Brent crude is down 0.3% at $77.3 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate crude is down 0.11% at $72.2 per barrel.

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