Bitcoin holds steady below $50,000 in volatile weekend trading

Bitcoin holds steady below $50,000 in volatile weekend trading

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Bitcoin prices bounced around on Sunday but remained below $50,000, with the volatility continuing a weekend of wild trading that sent the cryptocurrency tumbling more than 17% in just 24 hours.

The cryptocurrency traded at $49,250 around 12:50 p.m. Sunday on Wall Street, according to data from Coin Metrics.

Earlier in the day the cryptocurrency slid more than 2% as the cryptocurrency struggles to regain the $50,000 mark. On Saturday prices dropped to a low around $43,000, down from the $57,000 bitcoin traded at Friday morning.

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Bitcoin’s sharp tumble follows Friday’s risk-off tone in the broader market. All three major averages finished Friday’s trading in the red and posted losses for the week amid fears over what the omicron Covid variant means for the ongoing economic recovery.

Investors ditched equities in favor of safer areas of the market, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury moving lower.

The Nasdaq Composite underperformed the Dow and S&P 500 on Friday, with technology stocks getting hit especially hard. This selling extended to cryptocurrencies, with no fundamental reason prompting the sharp declines across the crypto universe.

“It looks like somebody likely got hit with a margin call yesterday and thus was ‘forced’ to sell,” noted Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak. “The Bitcoin market tends to be much more “thin” on the weekends, so that probably exacerbated the decline. Once the dust had settled, the buyer came back in and it stabilized.”

Still, the selling over the last 48 hours builds on recent declines for bitcoin. The cryptocurrency officially entered bear market territory on Nov. 26, after dropping to a then seven-week low around $54,000.

Maley added that where bitcoin stabilized on Sunday — under the $50,000 level — is notable given that it’s below the trend line from the July lows.

“Whether it regains that level or not next week (once regular trading activity resumes) should be important to Bitcoin,” he said.

Bitcoin is now nearly 30% below its all-time high close to $69,000, which it hit in early November.

“Bitcoin is in ‘no man’s land’ right now and that does not seem to be changing anytime soon,” noted Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “The long-term bullish case remains intact but prices seem poised to consolidate between $52,000 and $60,000,” he added.

Ether also stabilized on Sunday, advancing about 1.5% to $4,176. On Saturday the cryptocurrency hit a low near $3,500, after plunging more than 16% between Friday and Saturday morning. Ether is the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market value.

– CNBC’s Weizhen Tan and Tanaya Macheel contributed reporting.