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Bitcoin price pain continues as the cryptocurrency plummets to a 15-month low

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Other major cryptocurrencies also suffered on Friday. XRP, the second largest by market value, was down 7 percent while ether fell 11 percent.

Timothy Tam, CEO of cryptpocurrency research firm CoinFi, said bitcoin’s large move downward was a “combination” of factors.

On Thursday, the SEC extended their review period of a much-awaited bitcoin ETF until February 27. While Gabor Gurbacs, who’s spearheading the bitcoin ETF effort at VanEck, said the move was “expected” — the market still reacted.

“Historically there is price correlation with expectation of an ETF approval and downward movement when the ETF gets rejected or delayed,” Tam told CNBC Friday. “Sentiment among retail investors in the crypto space is already negative, so any negative news like this generates an overreaction.”

Michael Moro, CEO of Genesis Trading, said unlike prior weeks with drama in another cryptocurrency bitcoin cash, this week’s moves don’t appear to be event-driven.

“It looks like a continuation of the momentum trade that it has been for all of 2018,” Moro said. “Short interest has continued to spike, as trading firms look to take advantage of the volatility.”

Moro has also seen an uptick in selling by some long-term bitcoin holders.

“The general market sentiment seems to be that this ‘crypto winter’ could last for some time; not too many people are expecting a V-shaped recovery in 2019,” he said.



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Delivery employees said to be cut

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At the Model 3 launch in July 2017, Musk said over half a million buyers had put down deposits on the new car. That helped send Tesla shares up almost 15 percent over the following six weeks.

The company delivered 145,610 Model 3s in 2018, but all of them at prices far above $35,000. Musk said last week a $35,000 version that could be sold profitably was perhaps six months away. Even with two price cuts this year, the lowest price tag on a Model 3 is now $42,900.

Musk maintains that Model 3 demand is “insanely high,” but his company has not released any figures to demonstrate that.

Asked about the reservations list last week by analysts, outgoing Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja declined to disclose how many people remained, calling it “not relevant.”

Musk has said Tesla has multiple ways of stoking demand, if it chose to, such as offering leases or boosting marketing efforts.

The Model 3s now rolling out of Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory are going to Chinese and European buyers, Tesla says.

The two laid-off employees said delivery targets for North America — made up of mostly U.S. buyers — this quarter would be 55 percent to 60 percent of what they were in the last quarter of 2018.

If Tesla does not cut prices soon, it risks losing potential customers — and ones already on its reservation list — to a slew of German and Asian competitors whose electric vehicles will hit the U.S. market this year. Each of the new entrant’s first 200,000 buyers will be eligible for a full federal subsidy.

Having met that number already, the U.S. tax credit for Tesla buyers drops in half to $3,750 for the first six months of 2019, then falls by half again in the second six months.

Musk said last month his “rough guess” was that Tesla would begin building the $35,000 Model 3 in mid-2019.

One of the sources said that could recharge U.S. demand: “If there was a Model 3 for $35,000 that was still a really good car, that blows away the competition, I could see demand going through the roof.”

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Summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to be held in Hanoi: Trump

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Biegun said Kim Jong Un committed during an October visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the dismantling and destruction of plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities and that “corresponding measures” demanded by North Korea would be the subject of his talks.

At the same time, he set out an extensive list of demands that North Korea would have to meet eventually, including full disclosure of its nuclear and missile programs, something Pyongyang has rejected for decades.

On Saturday, Biegun said his talks in North Korea had been productive and Trump looked forward very much to his meeting with Kim in Hanoi.

“We have some hard work to do with the DPRK between now and then,” Biegun said in South Korea before a meeting with its foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha.

“I am confident that if both sides stay committed, we can make real progress.”

Trump, eager for a foreign policy win to distract from domestic troubles, has been keen for a second summit despite a lack of significant moves by North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program. He and Biegun have stressed the economic benefits to North Korea if it does so.

“North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse,” Trump said on Twitter.

“He may surprise some but he won’t surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is,” Trump said.

Trump announced the plan for his second meeting with Kim in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Trump said much work remained to be done in the push for peace with North Korea, but cited the halt in its nuclear testing and no new missile launches in 15 months as proof of progress.

The Singapore summit yielded a vague commitment by Kim to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, where U.S. troops have been stationed since the Korean War.

While in the U.S. view North Korea has yet to take concrete steps to give up its nuclear weapons, it complains that Washington has done little to reciprocate for its freezing of nuclear and missile testing and dismantling of some facilities.

North Korea has repeatedly urged a lifting of punishing U.S.-led sanctions, a formal end to the war, and security guarantees.

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Starbucks ‘unlikely’ to be overtaken in China by Luckin in 2019: CEO

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A customer exits a Luckin Coffee outlet in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.

Gilles Sabrie/Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A customer exits a Luckin Coffee outlet in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.

“I think it’s unlikely,” said Johnson when asked if Luckin might overtake Starbucks in China by the end of 2019, pointing to the 18 percent growth in new Chinese stores the company racked up in the fourth quarter.

“Just this last quarter we entered 10 new cities in China,” he said, adding that each of those cites is larger than Los Angeles, the sprawling southern California metropolis with a population of around 4 million.

Luckin has said it is targeting a total of more than 4,500 stores in China by the end of 2019, which would take it past Starbucks, which has long dominated the Chinese coffee market and currently has over 3,600 stores in the country.

Many Luckin units are much smaller “points of presence” and not comparable to full-service Starbucks cafes, Johnson said.

Johnson, who replaced Howard Schultz as Starbucks chief executive in April 2017, said he expects the company to be able to repeat last quarter’s growth in China due to what he described as “a first-mover advantage” in the Asian giant.

“I think we will simply because much of that growth, it’s about building new stores,” he said, noting that Starbucks opens a new store every 15 hours on average in China.

Johnson added that “thus far” U.S-China trade tensions has not affected the company’s bottom line.

“We haven’t seen much impact,” he said.

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