U.S. indices settle modestly lower after hitting all-time highs; BTC remains above $50,000 level.
- The global stock market rally took a breather on Tuesday after all three U.S. indices started the day at record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.20 percent while the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ both closed lower, down 0.06 and 0.34 percent, respectively.
- Bitcoin crossed the $50,000 mark on Tuesday and remained there into Wednesday morning as traders anticipated that institutional investors will jump on the crypto bandwagon and that more companies will begin to embrace the acceptance of Bitcoin as a currency. The asset now has over a $900 billion market cap.
- Oil prices continued to climb during Wednesday's Asian session as disruptions in Texas caused production problems. U.S. WTI futures were up 0.37 percent to $60.25 per barrel as of 7:42 a.m. GMT, and Brent crude futures were up 0.43 percent to $62.63 per barrel.
- The number of global coronavirus cases continues to appear on the decline with just over 304,000 new cases diagnosed on Tuesday, down considerably from a peak on January 8, 2021 when daily new cases hit a high of 845,696. The number of total global cases stands at 110,053,373.
- Researchers remain concerned that variants of the coronavirus may make the virus more contagious even as vaccination drives across the globe continue to reduce numbers in areas with high vaccination rates.
- The first 40,000 coronavirus vaccines were given in Japan on Wednesday, with 3.7 more million doses to be given to the country's health care workers next month. The country was late to approve the Pfizer shots, and once it did provide approval, it faced supply problems and restrictions from Europe where the vaccines are coming from.
- Moderna has announced that it will expedite its provision of 100 million doses of its vaccine from the end of June to the end of May. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Moderna has already provided 45.4 million doses of its vaccine to the U.S., of which 25.5 million doses have been administered.