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Top 5 Things That Moved Markets This Past Week

What will next week bring? - A look at the top five things that rocked markets this past week.

Up, Up, and Away as Wall Street Extends Rally

US stocks made their best start to a year since 2003 this past week, and showed no signs of weakness as banks got earnings season underway in earnest.

JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Blackrock (NYSE:BLK), and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) reported quarterly earnings that topped analysts' estimates.

Meanwhile, inflation got back on track, as data showed core consumer prices rose at their fastest since January. Wells Fargo said the upbeat CPI data should help to allay some FOMC members' fears that “inflation is stuck at undesirably low levels.”

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Boeing (NYSE:BA) were at extreme ends of trading action this week as the former came under heavy selling pressure while the latter hit all-time highs.

Boeing’s jump higher followed a report this week in which the company revealed aircraft deliveries rose to an all-time high last year, while Facebook slumped after it announced Thursday that it will be changing its news feed algorithm to focus more on content from friends and family rather than from the public.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at record highs on Friday.

WTI Crude Notched Fourth-Straight Weekly Win

WTI Crude oil prices settled at three-year highs on Friday amid ongoing optimism that OPEC-led output cuts would continue to drain the market of excess supplies, while a surprise fall in US production fulled the rally.

Data earlier this week showed US crude oil production dropped by 290,000, the most since October, as the “bomb cyclone” winter storm continues to disrupt output, while US crude supplies fell for the eighth-straight week.

Sterling, Euro Rallied

Sterling shrugged off recent sluggishness with an explosive move higher on Friday, rising 1.44% above $1.37 for the first time since June 2016 as traders cheered a report suggesting Spain and the Netherlands are prepared to back a soft Brexit deal.

Spain and the Netherlands are potentially open to a soft Brexit deal for the UK in order to maintain trade ties, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the mater.

The euro rallied against the greenback as political tensions eased in Germany after Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a deal with the Social Democrat Party (SPD) on Friday paving the way for government coalition talks.

That added to earlier gains in the single currency after the minutes of the ECB December meeting showed policymakers could consider a gradual shift in guidance from early 2018, raising the prospect of tighter monetary policy measures.

Gold Rides Low Dollar Wave to Glory

Gold prices rose to four-month highs buoyed by a weak dollar despite upbeat inflation data suggesting that the trend of subdued consumer prices growth may be nearing an end, strengthening the Federal Reserve’s case to hike rates.

Gold prices, however, could come under pressure in the weeks ahead amid investor expectations that central banks are set to rein in loose monetary policy measures.

The Bank of Canada could raise rates as soon as next week, Action Economics said, as the recent swathe of positive labor market data may force the central bank’s hand on monetary policy tightening.

Ethereum Rallied as Bitcoin Bears Gained Control

Ethereum’s ether, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, rose more than 30% over the past seven days hitting an all-time high of $1,382 as it nears its ‘Casper’ software update which aims to improve security and scalability on the network.

Ripple's XRP, meanwhile, slumped more than 30% over the past seven days despite growing signs that RippleNet, the technology behind the cryptocurrency, continues to garner support from major financial institutional. Moneygram announced Thursday it will partner with Ripple to test the startup's XRP token for international payments.

Bitcoin struggled to keep the bears at bay, falling nearly 20% over the past seven days as traders continued to ditch the popular digital currency for its rivals. Some suggested the fall in bitcoin was linked to China’s purge of its bitcoin mining industry. Others said, however, this would have a limited impact on miners as they would likely move operations abroad beyond Beijing’s regulatory purview.

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