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Futures broadly higher, Bitcoin swings after fake SEC post - what's moving markets

Investing.com -- U.S. stock futures were mostly higher on Wednesday with crucial inflation data out of the world's economy coming later this week. Elsewhere, the price of Bitcoin swings wildly following a false post on the Securities and Exchange Commission's account on social media platform X, while Boeing's (NYSE:BA) chief executive admits that a mid-air fuselage breach last week was the planemaker's "mistake."

1. Futures broadly higher

U.S. stock futures edged mostly into the green on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of key inflation figures later in the week.

By 05:20 ET (10:20 GMT), the Dow futures contract were unchanged, S&P 500 futures had added 7 points or 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 futures had gained 66 points or 0.4%.

The main averages on Wall Street were mixed at the close of trading in the prior session. The 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.4% and the benchmark S&P 500 dropped by 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.1%.

Markets are gearing up for the publication of the U.S. consumer price index for December on Thursday, a crucial piece of economic data which could factor into how the Federal Reserve approaches possible interest rate cuts this year. While the Fed has laid out a dovish projection for the path of borrowing costs in 2024, several policymakers have moved recently to temper optimism that a reduction could come early this year. Enthusiasm over a potential Fed pivot, which drove a rally in stocks in the final weeks of 2023, has subsequently waned.

2. False social media post sparks Bitcoin volatility

The price of Bitcoin was lower on Wednesday after a false post on social media platform X sparked wild swings in the world's most recognizable cryptocurrency.

The fake statement on Tuesday appeared to show that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had for the first-time approved Bitcoin exchange traded funds (ETFs) "for listing on all registered national securities exchanges."

However, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler declared only minutes later that the post was not real, adding that the regulator's official X account had been "compromised." The false post was deleted.

"The SEC has not approved the listing and trading of spot bitcoin exchange-traded products," Gensler said on his personal X account.

Bitcoin jumped following the original SEC post, but later retreated after Gensler revealed that it was fake. Anticipation has been at a fever pitch over the possible approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs, which proponents of the cryptocurrency argue will spur a deluge of capital inflows into the digital asset.

3. Boeing CEO calls 737 Max blow-out "our mistake"

Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun has admitted that a dangerous mid-air blow-out of a door panel on one of its 737 Max aircraft last week was "our mistake."

Speaking to staff at a town hall meeting at a 737 factory in the U.S. state of Washington, Calhoun said that such an incident "can never happen again," adding that the planemaking giant recognizes the "real seriousness of the accident."

Calling himself "shaken to the bone," Calhoun delivered what was the first public acknowledgment of errors from Boeing. A door plug ripped off the side of an Alaska Airlines-operated 737 Max 9 jet last Friday, although pilots were able to safely land without any fatalities reported.

But scrutiny has intensified once again around Boeing and its popular 737 Max, the family of single-aisle planes that were at the center of a previous safety crisis following deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019.

4. Tesla launches restyled Model 3 in North America

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has released an updated version of its Model 3 sedan in North America after it was previously launched in China and Europe.

According to the electric carmaker's website, the revamped features include a rear display for backseat passengers, redesigned wheels, and two fresh color options -- "Ultra Red" and "Stealth Grey."

The "performance" variant of the Model 3 -- the priciest version of the vehicle -- was also removed from Tesla's North American websites.

Only the long-range and real-wheel drive versions are now listed, while the prices for them remained unchanged at $45,990 and $38,990, respectively. Both became ineligible for a major U.S. federal tax credit last year.

5. Oil prices choppy following strong API draw

Oil prices were volatile on Wednesday, as traders weighed Middle East supply disruptions and industry data that pointed to mixed U.S. inventories.

By 05:16 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.6% lower at $71.82 per barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.6% to $77.13 a barrel.

Both crude benchmarks have largely rebounded after a weak start to the week, when top exporter Saudi Arabia cut export prices on worries that markets will tighten due to disruptions in Middle Eastern supply.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute, released late Tuesday, showed that U.S. crude stockpiles fell by a larger-than-expected 5.2 million barrels in the week to January 5.

But the API data also showed another week of strong builds in gasoline and distillates inventories, raising doubts over demand from the world’s largest fuel consumer. These numbers could have been exacerbated by a massive winter storm battering several parts of the country, further limiting road travel.


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