Market Morning: Bitcoin Explodes, OPEC Cuts, Walgreens Woes, Brexit Countdown

Market Morning: Bitcoin Explodes, OPEC Cuts, Walgreens Woes, Brexit Countdown

Bitcoin Explodes Again, But For How Long?

Bitcoin (BTC-USD) exploded higher past the $5,000 mark once again, on an overnight move that has rocketed the entire cryptocurrency complex about 20% or more, depending on the coin. Crypto market watchers believe that the move was triggered by a single algorithm that bouth 20,000 BTC in one go, which definitely looks like an attempt at price manipulation, because what else are you going to use 20,000 BTC for anyway? The order took place across several exchanges of about 7,000 BTC per hour, which means it was likely a coordinated attempt to get the price of bitcoin above a certain mark. The question is how long the up move will last. If it was a single buyer, then not very long.

SEE: Liberty Health Receives Approval For Dispensing Of Pre-Rolls And Whole-Flower Cannabis Products Across Florida

OPEC Cuts Production Again, Oil Steadies

OPEC crude oil production has fallen for a fourth straight month as data from March are out. Power outages in Venezuela have put further pressure on the oil supply as that country continues its descent into totalitarian socialist darkness. Meanwhile, US stockpiles have declined by about 900,000 barrels in a week. All 14 OPEC members considered, they pumped collectively about 300,000 barrels less per day in March than in February, so these cuts are real. Venezuela’s output has been cut to 600,000 barrels a day, down from 1 million in February. The decline there will likely continue for as long as the government insists on continue its socialist experiment and there is nothing left anymore. (NYSEARCA:USO)

No Deal Brexit Countdown At 10

In 10 days, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a trade deal, as it looks more and more likely that Parliament is incapable of agreeing on any deal to leave the EU. There has already been an extension that brought the initial deadline of March 29 out to April 12, but the EU is unlikely to give any extension to the withdrawal if the House of Commons doesn’t vote for Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal plan by then. The other option is another referendum, which would probably allow the UK to get an additional extension. Most likely though, the EU will not accept a no deal Brexit because it doesn’t have the finances to absorb the shock, so most likely we are looking at repeated extensions and eventually a cancellation of the whole process. That is, unless the EU believes it can withstand the shocks of a no deal Brexit, in which case the EU is about to hit a calamity head on.

Walgreens Pours Cold Water on Growth Prospects

After guidance of 7-12% growth for 2019, serious brakes have been slammed on Walgreens Boots Alliance (NYSE:WBA) earnings growth. CEO Stefano Pessina  has called this the “most difficult quarter” for Walgreens, leading to a promise to cut costs by $1.5 billion rather than just $1 billion. “The market challenges and macro trends we have been discussing for some time accelerated, resulting in the most difficult quarter we have had since the formation of Walgreens Boots Alliance,” Pessina said in a statement. Earnings were down 8.3% from a year ago. Adjusted net earnings were down 11.5%.

Walgreens last week announced that it would be selling CBD products in some of its pharmacies, which may help alleviate some of the decline as CBD sales are soaring, though the pharmacy may have some competition from non-prescritption websites, given that CBD need not be administered with a prescription in the first place, though since the market is so new, much suspicion remains as to which products are authentic and which are cutting corners to increase profit margins.

One new site, Bloomble, is aiming to help address this problem. “Bloomble is the gatekeeper between hemp manufacturers and consumers. Getting on our platform isn’t easy because it’s very important that the products that people are purchasing are actually what they say they are,” said Zevin Clark, CEO of Bloomble. As popularity spreads, the issue of product authenticity should start to abate as accepted brands become more well known and established.

Whole Foods No Longer Whole Paycheck?

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will be slashing prices at Whole Foods starting starting this week in an attempt to bring the health food store into the mainstream. Price cuts will take effect on 500 items, with savings expected to be around 20% on average. Amazon prime members will be able to get an additional 10% off. “When Whole Foods Market joined the Amazon family, we set out to make healthy and organic food more accessible. Over the last year, we’ve been working together tirelessly to pass on savings to customers,”  Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said in a statement.