The Top NFT Trading Strategies for Investors in June

Key Insights:

  • The NFT industry today is a $21 Billion market with over $61.83 Billion traded to date.
  • The popularity of NFTs has also impacted the token market as collections have launched their one token.
  • The recent crash has set NFTs up as an investment hedge for the crypto market’s volatility.

When Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) first came into existence in 2014, they were just another innovation in the still-developing web3 space.

It took another six years for the same NFTs to find value, and by the end of 2021, these NFTs became mainstream and turned themselves into an investment vehicle.

Thus as we approach the end of the second quarter, here are some ways in which you can too become a part of this community.

The NFTs Trading Strategy

Investing in NFTs isn’t the same as investing in cryptocurrencies as, unlike the latter, NFTs cannot be bought and sold per the market movement as each individual NFT have different values.

For example, one can buy a Bitcoin and sell it the next day and repurchase it the day after, and that Bitcoin would be the same as the first purchase.

However, if you buy a CryptoPunk and sell it, you may never be able to buy it back, and any other CryptoPunk won’t be the same as the first one.

Every NFT is different from others even if it has minor differences | Source: CryptoPunks

Thus should you decide to invest your money into these Non-Fungible Tokens, you must be prepared.

Value the Project, Not the NFT

In many cases, investors tend to jump for NFTs that are either suddenly trending or are insanely expensive and ignore the lesser expensive NFTs, thinking they may hold no potential value. That is where one may lose out on a good opportunity. 

Projects that are backed by big names and have been developed by notable artists will hold a much higher value in the long term, and one should aim for them.

Reputation and Community

Since NFTs are a relatively newer breed of crypto, they also remain vulnerable to scams and rug pulls.

In the past, too, projects such as Frosties and Evolved Apes have managed to get away with rug pulling investors up to $3 million in NFT value, even though they were some of the most trending projects.

This is why it’s necessary to ensure that any NFT project has a credible developer team that is transparent with the community.

Buy High, Gain More

Another intelligent trading strategy when it comes to NFTs is to make sure that you are not only the first ones but also the topmost in the community.

Getting in on collections can be done by buying at the lowest price point or by buying at the highest.

If you pick the latter option, you should be prepared to shell out big bucks, as in some cases, rarest and highly valued NFTs can cost as much as $33 million.

However, this also makes you the owner of the rarest and the most in-demand NFT, which can then be held on to or sold for profit in the future.

But Buy Low As Well

This strategy depends on the NFT collection. In the case where you find a project that has growth potential, get in on the floor price. As the value appreciates, the floor price would rise as well, making even the most common NFTs profitable for you.

Do Not Shy Away From Trends

While trending NFT projects may not necessarily be the most valuable investment options, they do serve as a solid opportunity for scalping in the long run. This strategy is an effective trading method in the derivate space but can also be applied to trending NFTs. 

One can buy a most basic NFT as soon as the collection begins rising in popularity and demand and sell for profit once it’s at its peak.

However, a trader needs to be on top of the changing trends as the NFT market is also prone to volatility.

Just recently, one of the top NFT collections, CryptoPunk’s floor price dropped from 61 ETH ($107k) to 47.32 ETH ($83.6k) in the span of a month. Situations as such must be avoided in such a strategy.

NFT collections’ price | Source: The Block

The More, the Merrier!

It doesn’t take a genius to deploy this strategy. Simply combining the factors from the abovementioned strategies, one can expand their portfolios by investing in more than just one NFT project.

With the Metaverse growing as well, many NFT collections are integrating themselves with the virtual world to create deployable avatars of the NFTs. This gives utility to an NFT even if it isn’t valued on the basis of scarcity, resulting in an increase in price. 

Making investments this way also prevents excessive losses as a decline in the value of one NFT can be balanced by the increase in the value of some other NFT in the portfolio.

Invest in NFTs by NOT Investing in NFTs

Lastly, there are ways for an NFT enthusiast to still find exposure to these tokens without risking themselves directly. This can be done by investing in tokens of the NFT projects, marketplaces, or blockchains that they are associated with. 

Examples of the same can be found in ApeCoin (APE), the token of the Bored Ape Yacht Collection, which was launched last year and currently has a market cap of $1.75 billion.

ApeCoin is an option for investing in NFTs without being directly exposed to BAYC

Another such token is FLOW of the Flow Blockchain, which has exploded in demand over the last couple of days.

FLOW crypto exploded socially | Source: Google Trends

Backed by the likes of Coinbase, Dreamworks, Samsung, and Google Ventures, the Flow blockchain was created by Dapper Labs, who are also responsible for creating the NFT collection, Cryptokitties.

In conclusion, there are many ways for one to invest in NFTs, provided they utilize the most optimal strategies to gain profits.

LG Electronics To Venture in the Blockchain and Crypto Business

Key Insights:

  • LG Electronics is set to enter the blockchain and crypto business.
  • Other South Korean tech giants like Samsung have already taken their first step towards crypto adoption.
  • South Korean markets have witnessed increasing activity over the last year. 

Crypto adoption is in full swing across the globe, while institutions and corporations aim to capitalize on the growing sector. Of late, more and more top-tier firms from various sectors are jumping on the blockchain train to appease their customers and lure newer participants. 

Another tech giant recently decided to jump on the bandwagon. LG Electronics has added cryptocurrency and blockchain devices as new business areas in its corporate charter. 

Expanding Through Crypto and Blockchain

Heralding an expansion into new fields beyond home appliances, the South Korean tech giant LG Electronics has updated its business development goals to include cryptocurrency and blockchain-based software.

Local South Korean news media organization reported that LG had added two distinct crypto-related objectives during its annual general meeting on March 24. The new objectives include ‘the development and selling of blockchain-based software’ and ‘the sale and brokerage of cryptocurrency.’   

LG’s recent announcement has led people to wonder whether the firm would establish some form of crypto exchange or marketplace. 

A spokesperson from the firm told local news organizations that ‘nothing has been decided yet,’ regarding building a crypto marketplace. According to reports, the company has merely mentioned business areas to expand broadly. 

Notably, the tech manufacturer introduced smart television models with the NFT option last month with a blockchain company called Kakao’s Ground X. LG had also announced a partnership with Seoul Auction Blue, an NFT-focused company, to carry out projects related to NFT-based artworks.  

South Korean Market Looking Ripe

South Korea is a well-known hub for crypto trading activity. A recent survey highlighted that around 3.8% of the population owned some form of crypto assets. Furthermore, South Korean crypto providers booked a $2.7 billion net profit last year.  

Seemingly the market offers good scope for growth for firms as demand for digital assets in the nation is on the rise. Earlier this year, LG’s competitor Samsung announced that it would be launching an NFT platform for its smart TVs and its store in the Decentraland metaverse.

In South Korea, native blockchain platforms like Klaytn are seeing their domestic dominance dwindle, with competitors such as Polygon taking over the NFT marketplace. 

Earlier this year there were rumors about LG creating a crypto-related marketplace emerged when Bithumb CEO Heo Baek-young confirmed that the exchange was working with ‘a large company’ to develop an NFT marketplace.

Who Will Be the Winners – and Losers – of a Digital Currency Revolution?

Key Insights

  • Some private-sector firms like Visa and Mastercard think they’ve prepared for CBDCs
  • Several Asia-based firms are already working on CBDC solutions with central banks
  • Commercial banks and crypto operators could feel the brunt of CBDC rollouts

Crypto and fintech are playing an increasingly large role in the lives of millions of people the world over – and central banks don’t like it one bit.

Their response to the fact that cryptocurrencies and digital payment solutions have exposed conventional remittance and cross-border transaction systems as slow, sluggish, expensive, and antiquated has been almost universal. It’s time, they have realized, to go digital.

The central bank digital currency (CBDC) paradigm is still something of a theoretical notion rather than a concrete reality in most parts of the world. But that picture is likely to change in the next few years, with central banks now looking to launch their own digital coins and bodies like the IMF championing their cause.

If China’s digital yuan rolls out – as expected – this year, the race could well be on to see which country is the first to follow Beijing’s lead.

Who would stand to benefit the most if CBDCs become commonplace in the future? And who would be in line to suffer the most from digital fiat issuance? It’s time to find out.

Potential Victors

Many companies have pinned their hopes on becoming early adopters in the new digital currency paradigm.

Some have invested small fortunes on CBDC technology – quite a leap of faith, considering nobody really knows quite what a CBDC would actually look like, what IT solutions it would make use of, and if it would really take off.

Few central banks in the world have fully committed to issuance, too – although the somewhat panicky speed of their pilot projects indicates that they have accepted that CBDC rollouts will one day become an inevitability.

Rather than lose more ground to crypto innovators, most are now either testing coins or exploring means of creating digital fiats with expert advisors.

In the private sector, this has been duly noted by the likes of Visa and Mastercard, who have already created CBDC platforms – and clearly have no intention of being bit-part players in the CBDC revolution.

Last month, Visa announced a partnership deal with Consensys that will allow Visa users to link their cards or digital wallets to CBDC networks and pay with a digital token anywhere Visa is accepted as a form of payment.

Visa’s biggest rival Mastercard has also been working on its own solutions, including a proprietary virtual testing platform for central banks to evaluate CBDC use cases and explore designs, as well as a card linked with one of the world’s only fully rolled out CBDC, the Bahamian sand dollar.

Both firms are continuing to invest and explore CBDC solutions, but they are not alone. Some private-sector firms are working directly with central banks on their pilots – and even issuances.

These include Japan’s Soramitsu, which worked directly with the Cambodian central bank on its own CBDC – and has since said it is “speaking with other” central banks elsewhere in the world about similar projects.

In South Korea, a consortium headed by the tech giant Kakao and comprising arms of the electronics behemoth Samsung is currently piloting the Bank of Korea (BOK)’s CBDC in tests that should be complete by the end of the first half of this year.

This should give them a huge head start in the CBDC game – although Kakao subsidiaries have been working on CBDC-related projects for many months in preparation.

Crucially, the BOK’s pilot CBDC runs on the Klaytn blockchain protocol, developed by the Kakao subsidiary GroundX. So if the BOK decides to use Klaytn, its CBDC’s destiny will be tied to that of the network.

Other South Korean tech titans are also closely linked. For instance, the Klaytn Governance Council comprises LG Electronics and another LG Group subsidiary. In addition, LG’s tech services arm LG CNS is also working on CBDC solutions – and last year launched a CBDC platform in conjunction with Shinhan, one of South Korea’s biggest commercial banks.

The BOK pilot is also significant in that it has seen the coin tested on Samsung mobile devices – with Apple edged out of the picture. This could give Samsung another edge, which is already trying to beef up its smartphone-based digital wallet solutions.

Some central banks, including the Bank of Israel, are looking to the Ethereum blockchain network for answers – which could mean that companies that work closely with Ethereum (such as the aforementioned Consensys) will likely play a key role in adoption drives.

As many crypto developers (think NFTs and many coin issuances, for example) seem to gravitate toward Ethereum naturally, there is cause to suspect that companies that manage to create a bridge between this protocol and CBDCs could well be on to a winner.

Ethereum developers, as well as the developers of rival protocols like Solana and Cardano, could be another group that ends up on the “winning side” of a fast-paced CBDC adoption revolution.

And Who Might Lose Out?

Who would stand to suffer the most in the event of an adoption drive? The obvious target is crypto and crypto firms. A quick look at China proves that central banks clearly do not like the idea of having to compete with decentralized competitors that they cannot bring to heel quickly. Outlawing crypto, mining, and exchanges would quickly ensure that the only horse in the race belongs to the central bank.

But some nations may not choose to take such a draconian course of action. And it could be the case that crypto and CBDCs find a way to co-exist.

Far more perilous, some might suggest, would be the situation for commercial banks, which could be cut out of the picture altogether by a CBDC or used as mere intermediaries for issuance.

In China, a central bank-run CBDC app is already in use, leaving commercial banks looking somewhat out of place in some cases.

Sure, many banks may suggest that lending and mortgages make up the core of their business anyway, but they will find it worrying if they don’t seem to have a clear role to play in the emerging CBDC picture.

Also potentially in the firing line are e-pay platforms, such as Apple Pay, Alipay, WeChat Pay, which are already being frozen out of the picture in Chinese pilots.

At the recent Winter Olympics, many athletes and journalists were stunned to discover that official Olympic venues did not accept any form of payment except Visa (the games’ official sponsor), the digital RMB, or (yuan) cash.

Alipay and WeChat Pay – which represent 15% of the entire Chinese payments market – have already had their wings clipped by Beijing in a number of other moves.

Again, this could be seen as a draconian measure by free market-loving democracies. But if the chips are really down for central banks and their CBDC projects, it’s worth ruling nothing out.

Samsung’s New Phone has Digital Wallet Feature to Support Crypto Storage

Samsung‘s interest in the crypto space is growing, and nothing says that better than its new smartphone with a crypto wallet. 

Samsung’s New Phone Supports Crypto

The electronics giant has announced that its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, would be able to store ID documentation and keys in digital format. The company stated that the feature would be released later in the year.

With the new digital ID feature, users of the phone will store documentation such as national IDs, driver’s licenses, digital debits and credit cards, digital keys for houses and cars, etc. 

Sources have also claimed that it’ll be possible to store boarding passes, coronavirus vaccination cards, and crypto in the wallet too.

According to Samsung, the wallet would be “a seamless, convenient and secure experience to make everyday life easier.” 

It claims that the wallet combines digital payments, asset management, keys, and ID into one tool that’ll simplify users’ routines. The electronics giant plans to first roll out the feature in South Korea before expanding to other countries.

Unveils Phone in the Metaverse

Samsung isn’t the only South Korean company working on blockchain-powered wallets. Several companies in the country are developing similar tools that allow users to store several digital documents in one space. 

The acceptance of this form of documents by businesses in the country is also growing. Thereby encouraging the development of what’s generally known as Distributed Identity Identification (DID) technology. 

In 2019, the Ministry of Science and ICT and the South Korean police force unveiled blockchain-powered driving permits. Recently, Woori Bank, one of the biggest banks in the country, announced that it’d start accepting blockchain-powered driving permits.

While there are speculations that the wallet will store crypto and even NFT tokens, Samsung didn’t explicitly mention this in its release. 

The company, in its release, only stated that its security platform “completely isolates sensitive data like your passwords, biometrics or blockchain keys from the phone’s main operating system.”

However, its decision to first showcase the phone on the metaverse using Decentraland shows its increasing crypto ambitions. Beyond these developments, Samsung also gained exposure to Cardano earlier this year through its partnership with the blockchain network.

Cardano’s Network Usage Increases, 3 Million Wallets now Hold ADA

Proof of stake blockchain network Cardano is growing in popularity. It announced yesterday on Twitter that it has reached 3 million ADA wallets. There are now 3 million wallets holding ADA, Cardano’s native token going by this announcement.

Wallets Hodling Cardano Hits 3 Million

This is good news for Cardano blockchain as it seeks to expand in 2022. The decentralized network, which launched in 2017, is one of the biggest proof of stake networks. 

Founded by Charles Hoskinson, who’s also a co-founder of Ethereum, Cardano’s development has been relatively slow compared to similar networks with smart contract capabilities.

This is most notable in its native token ADA, which is currently trading at $1.07, less than half its all-time high of $3.09. 

ADA price performance over the years is less impressive than the native tokens of similar smart contract-enabled platforms like Solana and Ethereum. Its year-to-date price increase is only 142.3%, much lower than that of SOL which is 1,759%.

As of press time, ADA has risen by 2.0% within the last seven days. In the last 24 hours, the price has increased by 2.9%. 

Cardano has Made Notable Progress and Partnerships

Despite the relatively below-average price performance, Cardano has made significant progress.

It has partnerships with various countries, including Georgia and Ethiopia, to implement its technology in the countries. Beyond that, it also has a collaboration with footwear maker New Balance.

It already has some plans for 2022 as it seeks to improve its smart contract capabilities. Earlier this year, the CEO, Charles Hoskinson, announced that part of his new year plan is to implement the extended UTXO model for Cardano smart contract. As we reported then, work is already ongoing with plans to deploy by October.

This year already, Cardano has partnered with electronics giant Samsung. Through the partnership, Samsung will gain exposure to Cardano as part of its land restoration efforts. 

In addition, a number of decentralized exchanges have also recently launched on the blockchain network boosting its long-heralded dive into DeFi.

Lindsay Lohan is Launching her “Experiential NFTs” on Superfandom

Lindsay Lohan is entering the Non-fungible token space with her experiential NFTs. The tokens will be available for sale on the Superfandom marketplace. 

The famous actress will also serve as an adviser for the platform, helping them attract more users and similar celebrities.

Experiential NFTs Offer Holders a new Level of Experience

With her foray into NFTs, she joins several celebrities and entertainment stars who have issued NFT tokens. Many more are even in the space as collectors, and some go as far as starting their own NFT companies. 

Experiential NFTs are unique as they offer special utility for holders. They allow the fans to interact with the celebrity or get special access. For example, a singer who issues these digital tokens might give holders premium access to shows and listening parties. 

Built on the Stacks Blockchain, Superfandom is for celebrities who want to monetize their fame and fans who wish to have special access to these stars. 

The platform already has actors such as Riya Sen and Jake Busey, singer Jubin Nautiyal, and home improvement celebrity Richard Karn on its list. Lindsay Lohan, however, will be the biggest star to join the platform so far.

This is a strategic move for Superfandom as the Rare Sense subsidiary tries to get more stake in the space. Superfandom was one of the successful projects in the first cohort of Stacks accelerator. 

According to its CSO Sophia Pervez, experiential NFTs are like regular NFTs. They’re better for creators than the typical NFTs, which are digital artworks.

For Lindsay Lohan, this won’t be her first move into the crypto industry. Earlier this year, the Hollywood star promoted All Coins Yield Capital (ACY Capital), a platform that gives users exposure to meme coins, DeFi, and NFTs. Thus, she’s quite familiar with the field and is only looking to expand her portfolio.

Interests in NFTs Continue to Spike

This year, NFTs have been getting lots of attention from the public, with OpenSea already breaking its monthly trading volume record. 

We have witnessed the incursions of traditional firms like Samsung investing in the space. Apart from that, top celebrities like Eminem have also made notable investments into the space this year.

Popular automakers Lamborghini and Mercedes Benz also recently announced that they’d be launching their NFT collections soon. 

However, despite the boom, it has not translated to a steady green run for tokens in the industry like AXS, GALA, THETA, and others whose run mimics the broad crypto market.

Despite Bearish Crypto Market, OpenSea Trading Volume Continues to Gallop

The crypto market might be down, but the non-fungible tokens space remains a hot cake. That’s what the transaction volume of OpenSea reveals. 

The NFT marketplace has seen $2.1 billion in NFT sales within the first ten days of the year, more than half of its record trading volume of $3.5 billion in August 2021.

OpenSea Transaction Volume Could Reach $6 Billion This January

While several major cryptocurrencies have been losing a substantial part of their value in the last 30 days, NFT sales appear to be going higher. On January 2, 2022, OpenSea had sales worth $243 million. That was more than the $124 million it made on the first day of the year and $170 million in sales on December 31.

At this pace, analysts have projected that the NFT marketplace could record over $6 billion in trading volume for this month.

In 2021, OpenSea had a trading volume of almost $14 billion. This is far ahead of the previous year when it traded only $21.7 million worth of assets. The 646% surge in trading volume shows how much the NFT sector has matured within a year.

OpenSea has established itself as the prime place to buy NFTs. It accounts for close to 60% of the market sales, leaving its competitors far behind. The nearest platform, Rarible, recorded $260 million in its transaction volume for 2021.

PhantaBear, Bored Apes Record Huge Sales in Last Seven Days

The dominance of OpenSea isn’t surprising given the collection of NFTs on it. The marketplace features the biggest NFT collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks, etc. However, the current trading streak is driven by the rising interest in the PhantaBear collection, Bored Apes, and Doodles collections.

Per data from the platform, Jay Chou’s PhantaBear collection leads the sales volume with over $53 million, while Bored Apes has recorded around $51.5 million within the last seven days.

What makes this trading streak even more interesting is how it negates the overall situation of the crypto market. As the crypto market pullback continues, several tokens have dropped substantially in value. Even NFT tokens such as MANA, ENJ, SAND, and AXS have lost at least 10% of their value in the last seven days.

However, the trading volume isn’t that surprising. Interest in NFTs continues to grow as more people see value in the space. Recently, legendary rapper Eminem bought a Bored Ape NFT. Just as celebrities buy NFTs, tech companies like Samsung and LG have revealed plans to integrate them into their latest products.

EWY: Take Advantage of USD/KRW Strength to Trade the South Korea ETF

EWY encapsulates South Korean stocks with some global semiconductor names, while KRW/USD is the ratio of the South Korean Won to the U.S. dollar or the inverse of the USD/KRW currency pair. The mighty dollar is currently on an uptrend encouraged by a hawkish Fed and the U.S. economic recovery being well on track.

https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2022/1/10/49663886-16418344883060296.png

Source: fxempire.com

Now, the USD/KRW pair forms part of the top 10 most traded currency pairs as part of the foreign exchange (Forex) market, which is larger than all stock markets of the world combined, but, whose volatility is only second to Bitcoin’s.

Many professional Forex traders trade this currency pair which, as seen by the abrupt fluctuations carries volatility risks, but, depending on the right timing, can also be synonymous with opportunities. Here, the undervaluation of the Won against the U.S. dollar signifies that there is potential for an FX gain since EWY shares are USD denominated while portfolio holdings are in the local East Asian country’s currency.

Pursuing further, South Korea was the first developed nation to raise its interest rate on August 26 by 0.25% to 0.75%. With the Bank of Korea (BOK) also incrementing its inflation projection from 1.8% to 2.1%, there could be further hikes. Now, with the U.S. and China being South Korea’s two main trading partners and the fact that both countries’ currencies have appreciated against the won, means that it may be easier for central bankers to drive another rate hike while still downplaying high interest risks for South Korea’s export-driven economy.

Assessing economic growth, the South Korean economy rebounded strongly from 2020’s Covid slump, which translated into EWY’s main holdings witnessing strong revenue growth as from July 2020.

https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2022/1/10/49663886-16418344892311056.png

Source: Ycharts

Looking ahead, there may be some supply chain-related issues as well as inflation impacting the different sectors of the fund’s holding. Its over 37% exposure to IT is being adversely impacted by the contagion effect from Nasdaq’s fall. However, looking deeper, the IT names in fact consist of semiconductor plays like Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) and SK Hynix ( HXSCL) at 24.5% and 6.1% of overall assets respectively. In this respect, with chips being key components used in the manufacturing of everything from cars, electric batteries, solar panels to wireless 5G, its demand should persist for years despite the Korean government starting to reduce monetary stimulus. I also view the rate rise by the BoK for the purpose of normalizing policy as being more aligned with the economic recovery. It also comes at the right time in order to reduce macroeconomic risks like creating an asset bubble or letting household debt increase.

https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2022/1/10/49663886-16418344883293347.png

Source: iShares.com

This said, to further support the fact that EWY constitutes an appropriate investment at this juncture is its underperformance of the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (EEM) (which includes holdings from China, Taiwan, and others in addition to South Korea ) by more than 10% for the last one year. As a result, based on its holdings, EWY is available at an average Price/Book Ratio of only 2.56 compared to 4.8 for EEM.

Finally, as a result of the sell-off in tech stocks, the Korean ETF could slide further, maybe to the $74.1 support level. Moreover, despite the BOK raising rates again in November, the Won has continued on its downtrend. This should prove beneficial for the country’s export-led economy and continue to promote revenue growth for EWY’s holdings.

Disclosure: This is an investment thesis and is intended for informational purposes. Investors are kindly requested to do additional research before investing.

 

Samsung’s Decentraland Store Launch Fuels MANA’s Rally

The metaverse is slowly gaining popularity, with an increasing number of companies entering the space. South Korean tech conglomerate Samsung is the latest company to launch a metaverse store.

Samsung Launches a Virtual Store on Decentraland

Samsung, one of the leading tech companies in the world, announced the launch of its virtual store yesterday. The virtual store was opened on Decentraland, one of the leading metaverse projects in the cryptocurrency space.

The company opened a virtual version of its 837 physical store in Decentraland. Samsung’s flagship physical store is located at 837 Washington Street in New York City’s Meatpacking District, Manhattan.

In its announcement, Samsung said, “Join us for CES 2022 to celebrate the opening of Samsung 837X, our official launch in the metaverse. This immersive space lets anyone experience the creative possibilities of 837, Samsung’s culture and technology hub in New York City.”

The company told The Block that the launch of its virtual store is one of the biggest brand land takeovers in the history of Decentraland.

MANA Rallies Following Samsung’s Store Launch

MANA, the native token of the Decentraland platform, is up by more than 14% over the past 24 hours. The news of Samsung opening a virtual store in Decentraland pushed MANA’s price higher in the last few hours. The coin’s technical indicators show that it is currently outperforming numerous other cryptocurrencies.

MANA is still trading below its 50-day EMA

At press time, MANA is trading at $3.24 per token, which is below its 50-day moving average price of $3.7. However, it could surpass the 50-day EMA soon if the current momentum is maintained.

The MACD line is still below the neutral zone but could enter the positive territory soon. The 14-day RSI of 48 shows that MANA is getting out of the oversold region thanks to its current rally. If the rally continues, MANA could target the $4 resistance level before the end of the day.

MANA’s rally comes despite the broader cryptocurrency currently underperforming. The cryptocurrency market has lost more than $200 billion since the start of the week. Bitcoin, the leading crypto, lost its $45k support and is now trading around $42,500 per coin.

Crypto Inspiration Boosts GameStop Stock by Over 20%

The shares of video game retailer GameStop saw a 27% rise on extended trading yesterday. This came after news that the company is launching a division to develop a Non-fungible token (NFT) Marketplace and establish cryptocurrency partnerships.

GameStop to Launch an NFT Marketplace 

Although the company refused to comment, a source close to the matter confirms this saying it is part of the massive restructuring currently ongoing at the company. This is in a bid to turn GameStop to eCommerce after years as a brick-and-mortar business.

Apparently, an NFT marketplace is an important part of this plan. According to Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, the company is already working with some game developers and publishers who’ll list their NFTs on the marketplace.

The company got a lot of attention during the meme stock rally as the price of GME went through the roof last year. But it has since dropped to more conservative levels. 

Now, an NFT marketplace appears to be the perfect catalyst the company needs for its shares to rebound. GameStop launched an NFT website last year for creators to join the platform and also announced that it would be accepting popular meme coins, Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.

With the company already hiring over 20 people to work on the project, the marketplace might be a reality soon. Per WSJ, the marketplace will be a virtual space for people to trade NFTs of virtual video games collectibles.

GameStop’s interest in NFT isn’t surprising, especially with the digital asset’s mainstream attention in recent months. You’ll recall that we reported the acquisition of an NFT by popular football star Mario Gotze. We also reported that a leading sporting event, Australian Open, is also incorporating NFTs into its tournament.

Also, two of the leading electronics makers in the world, Samsung and LG electronics have announced that they would be adding NFT features to their new smart TVs.

NFT-related Tokens are in red Despite Public Interest

According to data from Coingecko, the top 5 NFT tokens by market cap have lost between 2% to 25% of their values in the last seven days.

In fact, Axie Infinity’s AXS token, for example, is one of the biggest losers as it lost over 20% of its value within the last 7 days despite the growing interest by top companies like Adidas and others. Other top losers include GALA and SAND with losses in double digits too.

However, it should be noted that the entire crypto market is currently bearish.

Projects like Decentraland, Enjin Coin, and others went on a bull run that culminated in their native tokens rising to new heights last year.

Sons of Singapore Business Magnates Partner to Create NFT-Based Community App

Sons of two of Singapore’s wealthiest families have partnered to launch a community application with NFT as a proof of membership.

Billionaire Peter Lim’s son Kiat Lim and Elroy Cheo—a scion of the family behind edible oil company Mewah International, have founded ARC exclusive community. ARC is an online club that attracts individuals from nations across Asia-Pacific.

“We are a networking ecosystem that encompasses online and offline experiences, and pushing online boundaries,” Lim told Bloomberg.

The private club members will collaborate on projects and shared values. To ensure the authenticity of all members, ARC will carry out due diligence. The members can also pose questions on the community wall, by doing so anonymously, the ARC website states.

The ARC community launched its app in beta version on the Apple store a few weeks ago and an android version is in the testing phase, the report added.

ARC Metaverse

ARC founders are planning to eventually create a “metaverse,” a virtual realm community with a gaming element. This would allow members to earn while collaborating with the community.

“ARC’s ambition is to be a bridge across the real and virtual world today, and, in the near future, the ARC metaverse,” Lim noted in a statement.

The metaverse space has been around for a while and is expected to grow further this year, according to experts. For instance, Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley said that metaverse could see an $8 trillion market if it succeeds as a “next-gen social media,” having streaming and gaming elements.

That said, ARC is planning to charge a subscription fee for members who choose not to hold the company’s NFTS.

Growing NFT Craze

Now NFT’s are everywhere, right from Tennis to electronics companies such as Samsung, embracing the tokens.

Investor Kevin O’Leary predicted that NFTs could become “a much bigger, more fluid market” than Bitcoin.

His prediction stems from his belief that holding NFTs can prove ownership to authentic, real-life items, he noted in a recent interview with CNBC.

LG Copies Samsung, to Launch own NFT-enabled Smart TV

Following Samsung‘s plans to introduce Smart TVs with Non-fungible token (NFT) capabilities, another South Korean company, LG Electronics, has joined the trend. The company, one of Samsung’s Major competitors, has stated that it’ll be launching its own NFT tv.

LG Announces Plan for a NFT TV

The announcement came a day after Samsung promised the same. The head of the home entertainment business division at LG, Park Hyung-se, stated that the company plans to include NFT features in its TV line. He further said that the latest LG TVs are optimized for that ability.

The day earlier, Samsung announced that its new smart TV would also include an NFT marketplace. This means that users will be able to buy, sell, and view NFTs right on their TV.

With the market position of both Samsung and LG in the TV and electronics market, this move is significant. Both companies are the biggest TV makers in the world, according to data from Statista. 

Thus, their decision to incorporate NFTs into their products will significantly impact the market.

The interest of leading players in NFT will only make other competitors consider it. It also means that more companies will be considering entering the space. All of these could be good for the digital asset market industry in general.

Smart TVs and NFTs

The promise of Smart TVs with NFT features is just another example of how far the sector has grown. Within a year, the NFT space has become a multi-billion dollar industry with more potential for growth

In addition, with big electronics companies like LG and Samsung launching smart TVs with NFT features, this will further make the space accessible to households meaning more adoption is on the way for the industry.

Several projects will also benefit from this development. Already, top NFT projects such as Crypto Punks and Bored Ape have gained a cult-like following. But there are still several emerging projects which will benefit immensely from this development. 

Play-to-earn platforms using NFTs such as Decentraland, Axie Infinity, SandBox, etc., could also benefit from this development. With NFT compatible Smart TVs, interaction with these ecosystems is set to take on a new dimension.

Samsung Continues Crypto Drive With new Cardano Exposure

Blockchain planting management system, Veritree, and tech giant, Samsung, have announced a partnership that’ll see the electronics maker have exposure to Cardano blockchain.

Samsung’s new Partnership Exposes it to Cardano

The partnership was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Cardano Foundation’s Sidney Volmer tweeted about it, explaining that it’s part of Samsung’s land restoration efforts and will mean that the company now has exposure to Cardano.

With the partnership, 2 million trees will be planted in the first quarter of this year. Mangrove trees would be planted in Madagascar as part of the company’s effort to limit the effects of climate change. The decision to plant these trees is a strategic one as the trees store ten times more carbon than other tropical forest trees.

Veritree and Cardano have been partners for a while now, with Veritree’s reforestation verification records stored on the blockchain. This makes it possible to certify data from planting sites and link every donation to the land it helped restore. 

In 2021, Cardano Foundation and Veritree launched an Initial Tree Offering (ITO) where users have to donate at least one ADA token to get one Tree token. At the time of writing, the ITO has received enough contributions to plant 553,900 trees.

Samsung and Cardano’s big Crypto Plans for 2022

While the partnership is between Veritree and Samsung American subsidiary, the electronic behemoth has started making inroads into the blockchain space. 

The company promises to launch a TV screen-based NFT explorer and marketplace in 2022. Users will be able to view, buy, and display their NFTs on this smart TV, and creators can also use them to share their art with potential buyers.

With this exposure to Cardano, it’s clear that both Samsung and Cardano have big plans for 2022.

Cardano has already announced its ambitious roadmap for the year, which will improve its smart contract capabilities and provide Defi solutions for African countries. All these plans were explained in a couple of videos uploaded by the CEO, Charles Hoskinson.

While Cardano might have big plans, its native token, ADA, seems to be unaware of those plans as the price action has been negative. ADA has lost 4.3% of its value in the past seven days and has only grown by almost 2% within the last 24 hours to $1.35 as of press time.

Samsung in Talks to Acquire US Drug Manufacturer Biogen

South Korean tech giant Samsung is reportedly in talks to acquire Biogen, but the deal is still in its early stages.

Samsung Could Acquire Biogen for $42 Billion

Korea Economic Daily reported earlier today that South Korea’s Samsung Group is currently in talks to acquire Biogen in a deal that could be worth as high as $42 billion. The United States drug manufacturer is currently valued above $34 billion, but Samsung could acquire it for more than $40 billion.

According to the report, Biogen approached Samsung to acquire its shares, and the two companies are now in discussion over a potential deal. If the deal goes through, it would be the overseas acquisition ever by a South Korean company. Samsung currently holds the record of the largest overseas Korean acquisition after it bought auto electronics maker Harman International Industries in an $8 billion deal.

Earlier this year, Samsung Group earmarked $206 billion to spend in various areas, including biopharmaceuticals, artificial intelligence, semiconductors and robotics. The funds would represent the company’s entry into a new era following the Coronavirus pandemic.

BIIB Rallies Following Acquisition News

Biogen refused to comment on its possible acquisition by the South Korean conglomerate. However, the shares of Biogen surged by nearly 10% today following the report of a possible acquisition.

BIIB is up by 9.50% today and is currently trading above $250 per share. Since the start of the year, BIIB’s value has increased by more than 5%, making it one of the underperformers in the pharmaceutical industry.

Earlier this year, the company’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug won United States FDA regulatory approval. Biogen is the first company to gain approval for an Alzheimer’s drug for the first time in 20 years in the United States.

Biogen expects the new drug to help it recover its position in the market as some of its drugs, like multiple sclerosis treatment Tecfidera and muscle disease treatment Spinraza, currently face tough competition.

SMH: Portfolio Rebalancing Is a Positive to Navigate Uncertainty While Metaverse Demand Materializes

The reason is simply that required technologies, be it augmented reality (“AR”), AI, 5G, or blockchain, all require the utilization of semiconductors. The pie chart below shows the relative revenue per sector, with Computing and Wireless with a combined portion of more than 60% seen as the main beneficiaries of metaverse-related investments.

Source: Chart prepared by author to highlight metaverse demand using data from IEEE Spectrum

For this purpose, the VanEck Semiconductor ETF (NASDAQ:SMH) provides exposure to a portfolio of semiconductor stocks ranging from the equipment makers like Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) to designers of graphics processing units like NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) who are fabless, or without foundries where the chip are manufactured. It also includes the world’s largest producer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM), which, according to the Wall Street Journal planned to raise prices by 10% to 20% back in August depending on the type of chips.

This is due to the supply crunch not only implying that chips have become unavailable, but more expensive too. The increases, expected to be applied towards the end of the year or from 2022 will also impact large customers, marking the end of discounts applied on big orders. The Taiwanese company also revealed that it faced a steep rise in the cost of raw materials and has to incur a three-year $100 billion investment plan aimed at increasing production in view of current shortages and developing chips.

Now, a change in the costs of raw materials in an industry already impacted by supply imbalance can have unforeseen effects on the price of finished goods, in the form of everything from consumer electronics, smartphones, Bitcoin mining equipment, cars, etc. Added to these are inflationary concerns not auguring well for next year. It is precisely here that portfolio rebalancing as effected by VanEck, SMH’s fund manager becomes handy.

In this case, with 25 holdings, SMH is an actively managed fund carrying an expense ratio of 0.35% and tracking the performance of the MVIS US Listed Semiconductor 25 Index (MVSMHTR), which provides exposure to semiconductor production and equipment. As for the rebalancing act, I noticed a crucial change between the holdings as of July 31 and December this year. The changes pertain to the percentage of assets for TSMC which has been reduced from 13.62% as shown in the table to the left to 9.89% (right-side table). This constitutes a significant reduction and is not only appropriate in an environment characterized by increasing geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China but also to navigate short-term turbulence in the industry.

https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2021/12/23/49663886-1640312564473821.png

Source: Tables built with data from vaneck.com

Conversely, this reduction in TSMC’s assets has resulted in the portfolio being relatively more exposed to NVidia, thereby benefiting SMH’s price performance from the end of October (blue chart below). Now, whether its GPU-based computing power is produced for gaming or for crypto mining, the company should benefit from more sales in 2022, as long as it is able to source raw materials in a profitable way. Still, in the event that it is not able to do so, SMH as an ETF provides for investment diversification by encapsulating other plays in the chip ecosystem.

Another key player, Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) could lessen chip supply woes by outsourcing some production to other foundries like Samsung Electronics (OTCPK:SSNLF), which is investing heavily in its foundry business in a bid to win more clients. Here, I also like VanEck cautiously increasing exposure to Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), from 4.66% to 5.14%, in light of the latter investing $20 billion to set up two plants in Arizona.

Description: https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2021/12/23/49663886-164027899237196.png

Source: Table prepared by author from data in finance.yahoo.com

Furthermore, as seen by the dotted blue line, the VanEck’s fund is on an upwards trajectory and should reasonably cross the $325 level in the first quarter of 2022, with this forecast supported by data from the Worldwide Semiconductor Trading Statistics which predicts that the market is expected to increase by 25.6% in 2021, and continue to grow by 8.8% in 2022. This prediction does not take into consideration chip requirements to build augmented reality around Facebook’s social media platform, Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) work-oriented “metaspaces”, and blockchain-powered metaverses like Decentraland, which require enormous computing power for millions of digital coins to be mined (produced) and where virtual plots of land are priced at millions of dollars.

Pursuing on a cautionary note, investors should beware of short term volatility, especially in the first week of January 2022 when the Semiconductor Industry Association (“SIA”) which represents a large chunk of the U.S and foreign chip firms covering all regions of the world will reveal sales figures for the month of November 2021. In this case, any global or even major regional shortcomings may cause a dip in SMH’s, in contrast to the more than 5% surge on December 6, when the SIA announced upbeat news for the month of October.

Finally, with fewer holdings compared to the SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF (XSD) but bearing the same expense ratio, SMH carries more concentration risks, but, despite all the volatility grappling the stock market in 2021, it has outperformed its peer by 2.38% during the last year. Consequently, looking forward to 2022, with a higher dose of market volatility to be potentially induced by factors like more intensive “metatalks”, geopolitics, Omicron spread, and regulatory scrutiny impacting cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, SMH is a better choice for the longer term.

 

Samsung to Spend $17 Billion on a New Chip Plant in Texas

Tech giant Samsung has concluded plans to build a semiconductor factory in Texas over the next few years.

Samsung’s New Chip Plant Will be in Taylor

South Korean tech conglomerate, Samsung, has announced earlier today that it will build a semiconductor factory in Taylor, near Austin, Texas. The plant will be built over the next three years as Samsung looks to increase its effort in manufacturing chips and to address the current global chip shortage.

The company announced that the plant would be a 5 square meter facility, and it will aim to boost the production of advanced logic semiconductors, used mostly in smartphones and computers. This latest development doesn’t come as a surprise as Samsung, like other major chip manufacturers, needs to boost its capacity.

There is currently a global chip shortage, which has affected numerous industries, including smartphones, computers, automobiles and more. Samsung said work is expected to commence in the first half of 2022, and it intends to start operating by the second half of 2024.

The $17 billion allocated to the plant is Samsung’s largest investment in the United States to date. The amount includes buildings, property improvements, machinery and equipment. Samsung has been planning this investment for the past few months.

Samsung Continues to Expand in the United States

The South Korean tech giant has been operating in the United States since 1978 and currently employs more than 20,000 people in the country. Its latest investment brings its total investment in the United States to more than $47 billion, the company added.

In addition to Samsung, other leading semiconductor manufacturers, including Intel, Nvidia, Qualcomm and AMD, could boost their chip production capacity over the coming years after President Joe Biden said earlier this year that domestic semiconductor manufacturing is a priority for his administration.

Kinam Kim, vice chairman and CEO of the Samsung Electronics Device Solutions Division, pointed out that the company is optimistic that the new facility will help Samsung to better serve the needs of its customers and boost the global semiconductor supply chain.

Samsung-Backed Crypto Wallet Lists Shiba Inu (SHIB)

The so-called “Dogecoin killer” Shiba Inu (SHIB) is unstoppable in terms of adoption across cryptocurrency platforms, with a wallet listing it within its portfolio of offerings.

ZenGo, a crypto wallet backed by the tech giant Samsung, recently announced that the meme coin is now available on its platform, where users could buy, send, receive, and trade SHIBs from now on. The announcement is another milestone for the token, given that ZenGo is one of the first wallets to do such kind of maneuver.

The motivations quoted by the company are quite particular as it praises the Shiba Inu community, known in the crypto sphere as the SHIB Army. “We’re excited to be one of the first crypto wallets to support SHIB, especially because of its vibrant, creative, and enthusiastic community,” ZenGo noted.

Trade Shiba Inu with eToro

Whales Strike Again

The platform also highlighted how Shiba Inu is popular in social media, even surpassing Solana and Cardano’s followers on Twitter and the recent AMC Theaters’ announcement of endorsing the meme coin as a means of payment for its services, together with a wide range of major cryptocurrencies.

The announcement comes in the midst of the recent reports that a big SHIB whale purchased over 171 billion tokens worth $6 million. The transaction was split into two, according to WhaleStats.

SHIB/USD Technical Outlook: Demand Zone Around The Corner

That said, the Dogecoin killer keeps gaining traction in terms of adoption across the crypto whales as well,  with several transactions made in the last weeks.

As of press time, SHIB hovers around the $0.000048 neighborhood, slightly negative on the day after falling below the 200-period simple moving average.

Now, the price is challenging a significant demand zone that could act as a pivotal level for the buyers.

SHIB FXEmpire

If bulls pick up steam, eyes will be on the $0.000060 level as the first tough nut to crack to the upside. On the flip side, once the $0.000045 level gives up, SHIB could be on its way to reaching the $0.000035 zone.

Lack of Chips: Asia “Moving” the Global Economy

The global shortage of semiconductor chips has hugely impacted the world’s economy and there are raising concerns that the crisis will not have been ending up in 2022, Alpho reports.

Known for its cutting-edge technology & quality, TSMC as the market leader is set to hike chip prices by up to 20% according to Wall Street Journal. This price surge would in turn go to the end customer of major technology outlets, such as that of Apple and Samsung. According to Gartner, the worldwide semiconductor shortage is expected to last until the second quarter of 2022.

Chart, sunburst chart

Description automatically generated While there is an array of international chipmaking firms, such as Intel, Broadcom and Nvidia, the vast majority of the semiconductor outsourcing market, also known as the foundry market, is dominated by Asia. In specific, the Taiwanese TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing) has stolen the spotlight of the foundry market, which regards major tech giants including Apple, Qualcomm and Nvidia as its clients. In fact, TSMC accounted for 54% of the total foundry revenue on a global scale in 2020. The chart below, provided by TrendForce, exhibits the global market share of semiconductor contract manufacturers:

  • TSMC: 54%
  • Samsung: 17%
  • SMIC: 6%
  • Others: 14%

Adding up the figures, Asia clearly takes over the semiconductor chip playfield, accounting to 87% of the world’s total chip exports. The supernation is clearly Taiwan, with many companies outsourcing their chip manufacturing to the Asian nation.

However, it still is not clear whether the Asian dominance on the chip world will diminish, despite major investment plans from non-Asian makers such as Intel in scaling up production, in attempt to capture some of the Asian-dominated market share.

What are Semiconductors?

To get into the nitty gritty of it, semiconductors are silicon-made material products which conduct electricity more than an insulator, such as glass or wood, but less than a pure conductor, such as aluminum or steel. Semiconductors act like tiny electronic switches which run computations inside technology products. This sophisticated creation is found in thousands of electronic products, from gaming consoles and microwaves to datacenters powering the internet.

Lack of Semiconductors & The Impact of Chip Shortages

On a global scale, there has been a recent lack of semiconductor chips as automaker factories were forced to halt production amid the spread of COVID-19. This resulted in a big fraction of the workforce beginning to work from home, causing an explosive burst in demand for devices, and such demand was beyond what manufacturers could provide.

The semiconductor shortage has impacted many industries, especially the auto industry. This means delayed car delivery orders, and limited supply. Recently, Japanese automakers reported tumbling sales in China as the chip shortage hit vehicle production hard. Honda’s car sales in China for September were down 28% from the figure a year earlier, Nissan realized a 26% drop in September China-sold cars and Toyota witnessed a 36% decline. The semiconductor shortage has also hit many other industries, such as the smartphone world. Apple recently announced that they will likely slash production of its iPhone 13 by up to 10 million units due to the global chip drought, as chip suppliers including Broadcom and Texas Instruments are struggling to meet the overwhelming semiconductor chip demand.

Lưu Đỗ Hoàng Anh, Alpho Financial Analyst

Licences and Authorisation:

Alpho is a brand of Gulf Brokers Ltd. a limited liability company regulated as a Securities Dealer by the Seychelles Financial Services Authority of Seychelles (“FSA”) with license number SD013 to carry out certain categories of financial investment business as permitted under the Seychelles Securities Act 2007.

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Low Expectations Ahead of Intel Report

Dow component Intel Corp. (INTC) reports Q2 2021 earnings after Thursday’s closing bell, with analysts expecting a profit of $1.07 per-share on $17.8 billion in revenue. If met, earnings-per-share (EPS) will mark an 18% profit decline compared to the same quarter in 2020. The stock sold off more than 5% in April after beating Q1 2021 estimates and lowering Q2 guidance. The 6.2% year-over-year revenue decline noted in that release stoked longstanding fears of market share losses to more nimble rivals.

Competition Grabbing Market Share

The semiconductor shortage is expected to have an adverse impact on Q2 earnings at the same time that Intel is committing major capital to foundry construction and expansion in the United States and overseas. Those plans now include more than $20 billion in investments for two plants in Arizona. The company is also engaged in talks to buy New York-based GlobalFoundries for an estimated $30 billion, in an attempt to add even more capacity as China redirects its vast chip resources into local production.

Competition has grown exponentially in the last two years while production and innovation have faltered, yielding market share losses that have contributed to poor stock performance. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and NVIDIA Corp (NVDA) processing chips have grown popular with formerly loyal customers while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. LTD (TSM) and Samsung Electronics Co. are spending a combined $216 billion to grow manufacturing capacity. None of these developments bode well for Intel in coming years.

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

Wall Street consensus has deteriorated from modestly bearish levels so far in 2021, with a ‘Hold’ rating now based upon 12 ‘Buy’, 1 ‘Overweight’, 17 ‘Hold’, and 3 ‘Underweight’ recommendations. More importantly, 8 analysts are recommending that shareholders close positions and move to the sidelines. Price targets currently range from a low of $40 to a Street-high $85 while the stock is set to open Thursday’s session about $11 below the median $67 target.

Intel sold off from 76 in 2000 to 12 in 2009 and remains within those boundaries, more than 12 years later. The long-term recovery mounted the .786 Fibonacci selloff retracement level in January 2020 and failed the breakout during the pandemic decline. Bounces above this harmonic barrier in June 2020 and April 2021 also failed, reinforcing a nearly impenetrable barrier above 60. The stock is now trading at the dead center of the 18-month trading range, unlikely to reward longs or short sellers with a sustained trend.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication. 

Marketmind: “Ok, Who Leaked the Fed Minutes?”

The Day Ahead

While one would typically expect investors to trade cautiously a day before getting a better sense of what caused the hawkish shift at the U.S. Federal Reserve’s June meeting, the market price action was surprisingly decisive.

Government bond yields dropped, the dollar rose, the reflation trade and cyclical stocks got hammered and traders were suddenly ready to pay an extra premium for growth stocks, particularly tech, which sent the Nasdaq to new record highs.

Market participants were hard pressed to find a single catalyst for the mood swing but offered plenty of explanations.

COVID-19 fears (Delta variant surging), peak-growth fears (ISM showing a cooling in U.S. services), the Chinese crackdown on tech companies, falling oil prices (OPEC+ meeting): there was no shortage of possible triggers.

Another view is that the U.S. yield curve flattening, with U.S. 10-year notes dropping to their lowest since February at 1.34%, meant some investors were betting the Fed would tighten its policy pre-emptively to head off inflation.

There’s not much left to wait before the Fed minutes are published later on Wednesday. In the meantime, bond markets are calmer. Stock futures in Europe are slightly positive with no palpable sign of yesterday’s stress.

That’s good news for London’s stock market, which faces a test of its capacity to be a hub for fintech post Brexit with the listing of cross-border payments firm Wise.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Wednesday:

– Samsung Electronics flags 53% jump in Q2 profit, tops estimates

– German May industrial output -0.3% m/m in May

– Germany to sell 5 bln euros of 5-year bonds

– UK Halifax fall for first time since January

– Japan coincident index first fall in 3 months

– France May current account

– U.S. May JOLTs job openings

– Thai central bank monetary policy report

– Riksbank deputy governor Henry Ohlsson talk on e-krona

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)