Bitcoin drops to lowest since February as collapse accelerates

Bitcoin tumbled to its lowest level since February as the meltdown in the world’s largest digital currency accelerated, renewing concern about the long-term viability of the much hyped alternative to traditional currencies. The price of the digital coin fell as much as 4.6% Tuesday to $6 450.01, bringing the slide for the year to more than 50%. It’s down from a record high of $19 511 reached in December, the culmination of the more than 1 400% surge seen in 2017 as Bitcoin burst on to the mainstream. “I don’t…

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Facebook bug switched millions of privacy settings to ‘public’

Facebook Inc had a software bug for 10 days in May that set the audience for people’s posts to “public,” even if they had intended to share them just with friends, or a smaller audience. The bug affected as many as 14 million people, the company said. Facebook will soon start individually informing the people who were affected by the bug. “We’d like to apologise for this mistake,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a statement. Facebook has fixed the privacy settings for posts during that time, and…

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The world isn’t prepared for retirement

Most online quizzes are relatively mindless, promising to reveal which vegetable, sandwich or rock band best represents your personality. That was not the case for a short online test given to 16,000 people in 15 countries this year. It revealed just how unprepared a good chunk of the world is for retirement. The three-question test, given as part of the Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2018, measured how well people understand basic financial concepts. Many of the participants failed the quiz, with big potential consequences for their future security. Beyond the sobering lack of financial literacy,…

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Big days are all bad ones as stocks punish optimists again

None of the narratives floating around the market make any sense. Bond yields are too high, and too low. Politics don’t matter, then they do. There’s excessive inflation, or not enough. But one message the market keeps sending: don’t get comfortable, because around the corner is pain. Stock traders have been chained to their screens in a year when the average down day is 24% bigger than the average up one, the biggest gap since 1948. It played out again Tuesday as investors were treated to a session of price…

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Rand eases against dollar

South Africa‘s rand weakened on Tuesday morning against a stronger dollar and amid ebbing investor enthusiasm for emerging market assets. At 06:38 the rand was 0.64% down at 12.5425 against the dollar after closing at 12.4250 on Monday. Bonds fell, with the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 up 4.5 basis point to 8.485. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange opened lower with the Top-40 index down 0.5% shortly after the opening bell.  ‘); jQuery(“.ginput_container input”).click(function () { jQuery(“.gform_wrapper”).addClass(“active”); jQuery(“#gform_expand”).addClass(“inactive”); }); jQuery(“#gform_expand”).click(function () { jQuery(“.gform_wrapper”).addClass(“active”); jQuery(“#gform_expand”).addClass(“inactive”); }); }); jQuery(document).on(‘click’, ‘a[href*=”#to-comments”]’,…

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Boat drones propel one of China’s hottest startups

In the vast, freezing Ross Sea, China’s “Snow Dragon” icebreaker needed to find a safe anchorage before it could begin its mission to set up China’s fifth Antarctic research station. The solution was to deploy one of Zhang Yunfei’s freezer-tested boat drones to map the ocean floor.  For Zhang, it was the latest in a string of government contracts — from surveying Tibetan lakes to testing river pollution — that have helped him turn a university project into China’s largest unmanned surface vessel company, one that has fired the interest of some…

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Signs say yes for SA bond sales but issuers say no

With emerging-market credit spreads near their best levels in more than a decade, 2018 should’ve been the year to borrow. Yet bond sales by South African banks, insurers and property companies are headed for a five-year low. Not everyone is missing the boat. Capitec Bank, the country’s fastest-growing major lender, last week sold R500 million ($40 million) of three-year floating-rate notes at 153 basis points above the quarterly three-month Johannesburg Interbank Agreed Rate. Last May, it had to pay a premium of 200 basis points for the same amount. The…

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S&P may keep SA at junk

South Africa’s sovereign debt is assessed as junk and while it could stay there for a while, it’s not getting worse. S&P Global Ratings, which has the nation’s rand debt at one level below investment grade and the foreign-currency debt a step lower, is scheduled to announce a review of its assessment on Friday. After a change in leadership, the country’s prospects are much more positive than when S&P cut the ratings in November, and the company said in March the rating may have bottomed out. Source: Bloomberg © 2018…

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Cryptos hide risk for chipmakers, top tech fund manager warns

The risk of a cryptocurrency selloff isn’t limited to just the virtual money. They pose a risk to companies delivering devices for mining them, according to a top performing tech stock fund. “Companies within hardware exposed to cryptocurrencies are too high priced,” Anders Tandberg-Johansen, portfolio manager at DNB ASA, said in an interview on Monday. “It’s an area where there is high risk. If cryptocurrencies don’t recover, these companies will have problems with capacity utility.” Cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and Ethereum, have increased demand for hardware in recent years. But…

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