Investing.com -- The U.S. SEC sues digital coin exchange Binance as the regulatory scrutiny on the cryptocurrency industry increases. Meanwhile, Apple unveils a new mixed reality headset that is being heralded as the tech giant's most important new piece of hardware since the iPhone, but Wall Street remains uncertain how consumers will react to the device's big price tag.
1. SEC sues Binance
The price of Bitcoin was hovering near a two-and-a-half month low on Tuesday after a steep slide sparked by the news that a major U.S. regulator had sued Binance, the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange platform.
In a filing, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought forward thirteen civil charges against Binance, including claims that the company had diverted customer funds into a trading entity controlled by Chief Executive Changpeng Zhao. That trading firm had also engaged in manipulative tactics to inflate Binance's trading volumes, the SEC added.
The SEC complaint also said Binance had been running unregistered exchanges. One section of the document quotes an unnamed Binance chief compliance officer as saying in 2018, "We are operating as a fking unlicensed securities exchange in the USA bro."
The allegations were seen as the latest legal blow against the cryptocurrency industry, which has been under the harsh microscope of U.S. authorities since the collapse of Binance peer FTX last year.
For its part, Binance has denied the allegations, saying that user assets on its U.S. platform have never been at risk. But it noted that it is complying with SEC investigators.
2. Apple's ambitions for Vision Pro
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled lofty expectations for its new Vision Pro mixed reality headset at an event on Monday, claiming that it is "the most advanced personal electronics device ever."
The Vision Pro wraps around the head, creating an experience that allows users to both immerse themselves in a computer-generated virtual reality and interact with digital objects overlaid on the real world.
Apple hopes that the Vision Pro, which is due to be released early next year, will become the must-have device in the market for AR/VR items, much in the same way its iPhone was at the forefront of mobile computing more than a decade ago.
However, Wall Street may not yet be convinced of its potential. Apple's share price closed slightly lower Monday despite touching an all-time high earlier in the session, in a sign that investors could be fretting over how the headset's eye-watering price tag of $3,499 will impact wider demand.
Indeed, in a note to clients, analysts at Davidson said that while they believe the Vision Pro is possibly the "most significant new hardware product since the iPhone" there are still "important structural challenges" facing consumer adoption of AR/VR technology.
3. RBA hikes rates again
The decision was somewhat of a surprise for markets, which had widely expected that the RBA would pause rate hikes at its June policy meeting.
But price growth, the RBA flagged, is still too high. Furthermore, the bank ditched language from several prior statements that its "medium-term inflation expectations remain well anchored," which analysts interpreted as a hawkish sign that it is not as confident in its estimated trajectory for prices.
Policymakers at other central banks around the world are similarly attempting to corral stubbornly high inflation despite more than a year's worth of tightening campaigns.
In the U.S., the Federal Reserve is mulling over possibly "skipping" an interest rate rise at its highly-anticipated two-day meeting later this month. The move would bring a string of ten consecutive hikes to a close.
4. Futures inch down
U.S. stock futures pointed marginally lower, but hovered widely around the flatline, after shares on Wall Street closed in the red in the prior session.
At 05:13 ET (09:13 GMT), the Dow futures contract dipped by 43 points or 0.14%, S&P 500 futures edged down by 4 points or 0.09%, and Nasdaq 100 futures were broadly unchanged.
The main indices dropped on Monday, partly reversing a rally in the previous week, with announcements out of Apple's closely-watched developer conference among the biggest market drivers.
Apple shares were choppy following the unveiling of the Vision Pro but ultimately ended the day lower, while the tech giant's release of a new chip led to a decline in semiconductor firm Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).
5. Oil dips amid U.S. growth worries
Oil prices dipped Tuesday as worries over the outlook for the U.S. economy offset a pledge by Saudi Arabia to cut more production that helped spur on a rally in the prior session.
By 05:14 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 2.16% lower at $70.59 a barrel, while the Brent contract slipped by 2.01% to $75.17 per barrel.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top exporter, pledged over the weekend an additional reduction of around one million barrels per day from July compared with its production levels in May, in an attempt to boost slumping crude prices.
Investors were also focused on data showing that activity in the key U.S. services sector grew marginally in May, which analysts quoted by Reuters said had contributed to concerns over the broader health of the world's largest oil consumer.
Meanwhile, the debate around the Fed's interest rate path was also on traders' minds. A rate hike by the central bank could weigh on oil demand.