1. Stocks Set for Longest Winning Streak in 17 Years

Global stocks are in the midst of the longest run of gains in 17 years as optimism over the economic recovery sweeps across markets. The MSCI benchmark for emerging and developed market stocks has risen for 12 straight sessions, while U.S. equities were set to open higher after a public holiday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average extended its advance past the 30,000 level. European markets steadied after a rally on Monday. At the same time, investors are riding a wave of speculative euphoria from penny stocks to Bitcoin amid abundant policy support.

2. Bitcoin Jumps to $50,000 as Record-Breaking Rally Accelerates

Bitcoin blew through another milestone, surging past $50,000 for the first time as the blistering rally in the largest cryptocurrency continues to captivate investors worldwide. The world’s largest cryptocurrency reached about $50,191 as of 7:32 a.m. in New York and is now up about 73% so far this year. Ether, a rival crypto, hit a record on Friday and is up about 140% year-to-date. After ending last year with a fourth-quarter surge of 170% to around $29,000, Bitcoin token jumped to $40,000 seven days later. It took just nearly six weeks to breach the latest threshold, buoyed by several endorsements.

3. Plummeting Cases in U.S. Show a Path to Crushing Covid-19

Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are dropping dramatically across the U.S., suggesting that measures to interrupt transmission are working, at least for now. More than 27.6 million Americans have tested positive, likely giving them some degree of immunity. A rising number — 11.8% of the population — has now received at least one dose of a vaccine. And data gathered from mobile phones suggest people are being more cautious day-to-day. If cases keep falling, it could buy time for the vaccination effort to take hold in the warm summer months ahead, potentially underpinning a long-sought economic recovery. Health experts, though, anticipate challenges. Inoculations need to outpace highly contagious variants from the U.K. and South Africa.

4. Swiss Wealth Tax Rakes in Cash as Covid Stokes Global Debate

Switzerland’s wealth tax offers a rare real-world example of how a levy on assets can work, just as such ideas gain traction elsewhere in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The measure forces residents in one of the world’s richest nations to tally the value of their investments, real estate, cars, fine art, Bitcoin, and even beehives and cows. A percentage is then skimmed off by cantonal governments, varying in size and method depending on the canton. With the Covid-19 fallout causing government debt to swell, and hurting poorer people most, wealth taxes are being debated from California to the U.K. as a tool both to pay down debt and address inequality.

5. Sunak May ‘Go Big’ On Stimulus Spending in U.K. Budget

Rishi Sunak can afford to follow the U.S. and “go big” on spending to bolster a post-pandemic recovery in the U.K., a Citigroup economist said as the chancellor of the exchequer prepares his annual budget. At the same time, the British measures should be “better targeted” than the ones President Joe Biden set out, according to Ben Nabarro, the bank’s U.K. economist. He warned that many years of deficits mean that the U.K. Treasury has less room for manoeuvre than the U.S. “We have the capacity to go big for sure, but at the same time, it’s important that we do keep a medium-term anchor on the public finances,” Nabarro said at a briefing on Tuesday organized by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London.

6. GS Opens Investing App to Anyone With as Little as $1,000

Goldman Sachs Group took another step toward going mainstream, launching an investing app for customers that want to put at least $1,000 to work. Investors using the service, which went live Tuesday, can put money into automated portfolios rather than individual stocks and bonds. The move expands the Marcus platform, which also offers a high-interest savings account. Goldman, which has traditionally served a wealthier client base, is taking steps to broaden its reach through new digital products. The investing platform features exchange-traded funds that focus on traditional stock and bond benchmarks, impact investments and smart-beta products designed by Goldman.

7. World’s Fastest Vaccine Pushes Return to Normal in Israel

Israel’s world-leading vaccination campaign is poised to achieve what millions in the country and many more outside it have desperately sought for a year: a return to normal life. In the six weeks since Israel began administering the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, about 80% of those at highest risk have been inoculated. As the numbers have grown, hospitals have reported a steady decline in seriously ill coronavirus patients and the rate of overall spread. The Pfizer vaccine led to 94% fewer symptomatic illnesses and 92% fewer critically sick cases, according to a study of 1.2 million people by Israel’s largest health maintenance organization. That success has spurred the government to ease restrictions on movement that have been in place for months.

8. Shots Are Helping Control Covid Worldwide: Virus Update

Vaccination drives have begun delivering results, with a report in the U.K. suggesting that people over age 80 — a high-priority group — were the most likely to test positive for Covid antibodies. That followed an Israeli study showing a 94% drop in symptomatic cases among the vaccinated. In Romania, which has immunized most of its health-care workers, infection rates in hospitals have plummeted 87% in recent weeks. U.S. cases and hospitalizations are also dropping dramatically. In Hong Kong, a panel recommended approval of Chinese developer Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s vaccine, paving the way for a second shot.

9. Gulf Fund Raises $75 Million for Mideast, North African Startups

A Gulf venture capital firm created a year ago has raised $75 million to deploy in startups across the Middle East, as rich Saudi companies and families seek to monetize on the boom in technology firms. Nuwa Capital, based both in Dubai and Riyadh, has finished the first round of investment in its Nuwa Ventures Fund I and targets reaching the $100 million mark this year. The appetite for tech firms has been increasing among Gulf investors as governments in the region step up efforts to steer their economies away from oil. 

10. Singapore Trims Deficit, Digs Deeper Into Reserves for Covid Aid

Singapore plans to rein in its budget deficit as the economy recovers while digging deeper into government reserves for a new S$11 billion ($8.3 billion) package to help households and businesses rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic. The new package comes after Singapore’s economy endured its biggest-ever contraction in 2020, with gross domestic product shrinking 5.4%. Growth is expected to rebound to 4%-6% this year, but the outlook remains challenging for some important sectors including aviation, transport and hospitality.

Curated from Bloomberg.com