Resilient stock market sidesteps another speculative blow-up

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Source: NYSE

Does the last week prove that it's still OK for investors to ignore bitcoin without penalty?

The incumbent cryptocurrency collapsed by a third within a day, rallied 40% from the early-Wednesday low and then gave back 10% Friday. The drama involved a sweep of margin calls, purging leveraged holders, and at the worst of it, bitcoin had lost more than half its peak value, shedding some $600 billion in value.

All in a week when the S&P 500 ended up lower by less than half a percent, leaving it a mere 2% beneath a record high after sliding sideways for the past five weeks. More snooze than swoon.

It's a bit glib to say this demonstrates that crypto volatility and flows are irrelevant to equities. The adjacent stocks – ones associated with crypto assets or owned by many of the same investors – very much felt the aftershocks. And, for sure, bitcoin behaves as a risk asset and has traveled at least directionally with stocks rather than against them.

BCA Research strategist Anastasios Avgeriou says of the crypto vibrations: "Some of these apparent liquidation pressures have spilled over to the S&P 500 and, given the recent tight positive correlation between Bitcoin and the SPX, warn that some caution is still warranted in the equity space, at least in the near-term."