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Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have surged in value in recent monthsJim Urquhart/Reuters

A roundup of what The Globe and Mail's market strategist Scott Barlow is reading today on the Web

Ask an economics professor "what is money" they will probably either roll their eyes or run away screaming – there are criteria, but no consistent theoretical definition.

For this reason, I have no longer-term predictions on the fate of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. U.K. economist and pundit Hamish McRae has a more strident view,

"A bitcoin is worthless. Its price will crash and everyone who thought they had made fortunes will wake up with sore heads. Trouble is, it may go higher, perhaps much higher, before this happens."

"This bitcoin boom will end in tears" – Independent U.K.

"Animal Spirits: Bitcoin, Bubbles & Bananas" – Michael Batnick

"Bitcoin's price is collapsing and people can't trade because 2 big exchanges have crashed" – Business Insider

"Bitcoin swings from bull to bear and back in a day" – el-Erian, Financial Times


Crude prices are up about 50 cents at time of writing on OPEC's announcement it would extent member production cuts until the end of 2018,

"Oil ministers from OPEC member states and Russia have agreed to extend the current output cuts until the end of 2018, according to delegates in Vienna attending today's meeting. Speaking at the opening of the conference, Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih emphasized the continuing need to see global inventories fall"

"Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day" – Kelly, Bloomberg

"@tracyalloway OPEC's problem in a nutshell: US shale production means it's getting less bang for its output-cut buck. Via Deutsche Bank's Michael Hsueh: " – (research excerpt) Twitter


U.S. technology stocks took a beating yesterday, particularly chipmaker NVIDIA Corp, but Motley Fool thinks it's mostly institutional portfolio managers repositioning their holdings for 2018 before they disappear for the holidays,

"Sometimes, [managers] take profits or make a correction for no obvious reason. These corrections often happen toward the end of each calendar year, as investors both small and large rebalance their portfolios for the new year."

"Why Netflix, Facebook, and Micron Shares Plunged Today" – Motley Fool


Former investment banker (and diplomat) Edward Harrison is worried that all the good news is already priced into equity and credit markets, setting the stage for a correction,

"Market valuations reflect optimism about the economy, now and into the foreseeable future. In fact, I would argue that the signs of 'irrational exuberance' – or 'animal spirits' or whatever you want to call it – are all around us. In the US, this is true whether you look at high grade or high yield credit. And whether you look at bonds or equities."

"We are in the most dangerous period in the business cycle" – Credit Writedowns Pro


I was aware that the extent of global tax evasion by the wealthy was difficult to calculate, but, according to this Quartz report, the situation is much worse than I thought – no one has a clue,

"Look no further than the UK for an example of how crazy investment statistics are. The first name on its list of top foreign direct investors doesn't surprise—it's the world's biggest economy, the United States. Second place, however, isn't such a behemoth. According to British government stats, the Netherlands supposedly shoveled £139.8 billion ($186 billion), 28% of its GDP, into the UK in 2015… The Netherlands is not just a smallish European trading nation—it's also one of the world's biggest conduits for cash going to and from tax havens.'

"Why we can't trust basic economic figures" – Quartz


Tweet of the Day: "@ReutersJamie Death by a 1,000 hikes? "If it took 700 rate cuts globally to take us to the nadir in rates, it is no exaggeration that over the next decade, we could see perhaps 1,000 rate hikes globally. Exciting challenges lie ahead for both policy makers and investors alike." JPM's David Tan" – Twitter

Diversion: "The Surgeon Who Wants to Connect You to the Internet with a Brain Implant" – M.I.T. Technology Review

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