Cryptocurrency Price Movements Today: Bitcoin Stabilizes, JPMorgan Predicts August Rebound
~2.0 mins read

Bitcoin's price has been stuck.

Despite gaining briefly after better-than-expected consumer inflation data or Fed commentary this week, it has recently been back in the range of around $57,000. Analysts at JPMorgan say the cryptocurrency may overcome its price inertia in August.

Meanwhile, the leading cryptocurrently recently traded a bit above $58,000, up slightly over the past 24 hours.

It appears that demand and supply pressures are canceling each other out.

The German government has continued to sell bitcoin, though it is beginning to wind down those sales. It still holds 3,846 bitcoin (worth about $222 million) on the blockchain; however, the European nation has transferred out roughly $3 billion worth of the cryptocurrency since early June, according to Arkham Intelligence data. Coinbase Germany Managing Director Jan Sell told that the amount of bitcoin they've sold as part of Germany's liquidation process is not a large amount compared to normal volumes.

U.S. spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been buying, with roughly $79 million flowing into the financial products on Thursday, according to Farside Investors. That brought the week's inflows to above $737 million.

Recent news-driven downward price pressure on bitcoin is almost over, JPMorgan analysts reportedly wrote, suggesting that prices could recover next month.

MicroStrategy (MSTR) stock continued its uptrend a day after announcing a 10-for-1 stock split, rising roughly 5% in recent trading Friday.

Shares in bitcoin miner Iris Energy (IREN) rose 10% in early trading, with The Block reporting that analysts at Bernstein came to its defense after a report from a short seller. Iris shares fell 13% Thursday after Culper Research said the company was worth far less than its current valuation.

Shares of Block (SQ) were up almost 3% after Bernstein analysts pegged the value of the company's deal to provide mining hardware to Core Scientific (CORZ) at approximately $300 million. Core's shares were recently up more than 2%.

On the regulatory front, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is poised to allow exceptions to its SAB 121 guidance, according to The rule in question, which pertains to custody of crypto assets on behalf of clients, is seen as restrictive for traditional finance firms, and a change in the SEC's stance could aid wider adoption of crypto assets.

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Tesla, Rivian Stocks Driven Higher By Analysts' Optimism
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Shares of electric vehicle makers rallied in intraday trading Friday after analysts at Mizuho issued price target bumps for Tesla (TSLA) and Rivian (RIVN). 

Tesla stock climbed 3.5% to $249.44, Rivian surged 12% to $18.76, and Lucid Group (LCID) jumped 22% to $4.17 as of 1:30 p.m. ET Friday.  

Mizuho raised its Tesla price target to $230 from $180, maintaining a "neutral" rating, based in part on the company's better-than-expected second-quarter deliveries report.

Mizuho Managing Director Vijay Rakesh noted that new European Union (EU) tariffs are impacting higher Model 3 pricing, with 2024 global EV sales now expected to grow 15% year-over-year. 

Meanwhile, Tesla stock was hit with a downgrade from UBS on Friday, with analysts finding it “increasingly difficult to justify [Tesla’s] valuation.”

Analysts Joseph Spak, Patrick Hummel, and Alejandro Nuno bumped Tesla down to "sell" from "neutral," arguing that the company’s share price comes with a baked-in expectation of future success. 

“TSLA has always had a premium attached to it for other, future, growth initiatives. Properly valuing that optionality is difficult,” the analysts' note said. “This premium has widened of late, we believe, on AI enthusiasm.”

“While TSLA is investing heavily in AI and the tech is making progress, investment is costly, pace of improvement may slow and the payoff is long dated,” UBS added. “If market enthusiasm for AI diminishes, this may impact TSLA's multiple.”

Despite the downgrade, UBS actually raised its price target for the company to $197 from $147.

Mizuho also took a bullish stance on Rivian, upping its price target to $15 from $11 and issuing a "neutral" rating thanks to a "better balance sheet and less liquidity risk.”

Rivian recently reported 13,790 second-quarter deliveries, compared with analysts' consensus expectation of 11,510 deliveries, according to estimates compiled by Visible Alpha.

Rivian’s deliveries grew 9% year-over-year, while Tesla’s fell 5%, the firm noted. However, Rivian did not adjust its expectation of low-single-digit percentage full-year growth, which “which could point to some 2H challenges,” Mizuho said. 

Looking ahead, the “key for RIVN will be its ability to drive further demand in the high-end premium EV segment,” in the second half of 2024 and 2025, the firm added. 

Lucid, meanwhile, announced second-quarter deliveries of 2,394 vehicles earlier this week, a roughly 70% increase year-over-year. Shares have gained more than 40% over the past five sessions.

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How Wholesale Inflation Could Temper Hopes Of A Federal Reserve Rate Cut
~1.8 mins read

Measurements of wholesale pricing moved higher in June, indicating the Fed may still have more work to do before moving on rate cuts.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) increased month-over-month by 0.2% for June, while the prior month's wholesale inflation data was revised upward to reflect a flat reading, Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed Friday. That was higher than economists surveyed by and expected.

Wholesale prices can indicate future consumer inflation, as retailers often pass on costs they incur to shoppers. The PPI report also contains elements that directly affect the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation.

“This morning’s data is a reminder that inflation is still an issue and is likely to be with us for longer than most people expect,” wrote Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance.

The wholesale report may temper expectations fueled by other measures of inflation that have been moving lower in recent reports.

On Thursday, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed its lowest reading in a year and was the third report in a row showing inflation had slowed. The lower inflation readings have encouraged investors and traders, who think the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates as soon as September.

The CPI report even encouraged Federal Reserve officials, it seems.

Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Austan Goolsbee told reporters that the CPI report was "excellent" news and that he is gaining confidence inflation is approaching the central bank's annual goal.

"My view is, this is what the path to 2% looks like," Goolsbee said Thursday, according to .

But Friday's increasing wholesale price data showed the Fed still may have work to do on inflation, economists said. 

“Still-hot price pressures at the producer level show that the Fed won't be fully comfortable and confident to move just yet,” wrote BMO Capital Markets Senior Economist Jennifer Lee.

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Lawyer Laments His Sister’s Inability To Get A House In Lagos Because She’s Unmarried
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A Nigerian lawyer has taken to twitter to rant about how his sister was unable to secure an apartment in Lagos because she is unmarried.

He said that the landlord had listed several reasons to uphold his statement and then told her to come with her man on her next inspection.

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Fastenal Stock Climbs As Sales Rise
~1.1 mins read

Shares of Fastenal (FAST) rose Friday after revenue at the distributor of fasteners, safety supplies, tools, and other commercial products increased because it had more large customers and onsite locations.

The biggest supplier of fasteners in North America reported second-quarter adjusted earnings per share of $0.51, with revenue rising 1.8% to $1.92 billion. Both were in line with estimates.

Revenue was boosted by non-fastener products, which had a daily sales rate (DSR) 4.2% above the same period last year. The fastener DSR fell 3%, although that was a smaller decline than the 4.4% in the first quarter when the company said it faced “poor demand.”

CEO Daniel Florness said in a presentation that market activity remained "challenging,” pointing to a sub-50 reading for the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which indicates contraction in the sector. However, he added that “efforts to accelerate customer acquisition remain encouraging,”

Ahead of the report, Fastenal shares were basically flat year-over-year. The stock was recently up about 4%.

The company said in a news release that Florness would hand the role of president to Jeff Watts, currently its chief sales officer, on Aug. 1.

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Sales Rep And His Accomplice Jailed For Diverting Company’s N39.5m In Anambra
~1.0 mins read

A sales rep, Ikechukwu Obiekwe, who diverted over N39.5 million from his company’s account has been convicted and sentenced to one year imprisonment by a High Court sitting in Onitsha, Anambra state.

Obiekwe was convicted and sentenced alongside his accomplice, Ugo Chukwudi, by Justice Victoria Nwoye on July 9, 2024.

The duo were prosecuted by the Enugu Zonal Directorate of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on 10-count charges bordering on conspiracy, fr@udulent conversion, st£aling and retention of proceeds of crime to the tune of N39, 528, 530.

They committed the crime between 2016 to 2018 in Onitsha.

EFCC in a statement on Friday, July 11, said Justice Nwoye in her judgment held that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced both men to one year imprisonment each without an option of fine.

In addition, she ordered that the sum of N39, 528, 530 being the proceeds of their crime be forfeited by the convicts to their victim.

“The convicts’ journey to jail began on May 19, 2019 when the victim through a petition to the Commission alleged that Obiekwe, who was his apprentice, diverted the sum of N39, 528, 530 from the company’s sales account and when confronted he denied and absconded.

Upon investigation by the Commission, it was discovered that Obiekwe used Chukwudi to divert the said sum to different accounts,” the statement reads.

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