Spot Bitcoin ETF False Alarm

And, Marathon Oil's 5-year LNG deal.

Today is Tuesday, October 17, 2023.

The Early Bird Index today is 55.02.

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Spot Bitcoin ETF False Alarm

The price of Bitcoin shot up to $30,000 at one point on Monday morning, its highest price level in months, because of an erroneous report claiming that the spot Bitcoin ETF (exchange-traded fund) from BlackRock (NYSE: BLK) received SEC approval.

Details: Blackrock quickly denied the fake report, confirming that its spot Bitcoin ETF application is still under review by the SEC. Cointelegraph, which published the fake report online on social media, retracted the information and apologized for the false spot Bitcoin ETF news.

Price: Bitcoin is up 71% this year. Despite the false spot Bitcoin ETF report on Monday, the price still ticked up about 4%.

Definition: A spot Bitcoin ETF tracks the actual price of Bitcoin, something that futures ETFs don’t do. The SEC has not approved any spot Bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. at this point, although several funds have submitted applications and there is optimism that approval could come soon.

Also: There’s a 90% chance of approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF by January, according to analysts.

Final Thoughts: A spot Bitcoin ETF would finally give traditional investors direct exposure to Bitcoin. The approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF would also legitimize crypto as a real investment.

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Notable Earnings Today: Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAL), Fulton Financial (Nasdaq: FULT), Interactive Brokers (Nasdaq: IBKR), Albertsons (NYSE: ACI), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), J.B. Hunt Transport Services (Nasdaq: JBHT), Hancock Whitney (Nasdaq: HWC), Prologis (NYSE: PLD), Pinnacle Financial Partners (Nasdaq: PNFP), Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK), Wintrust Financial (Nasdaq: WTFC), OmnicomGroup (NYSE: OMC).

Notable IPOs Today: NCR Atleos Corporation (NYSE: NATL).

Notable Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns Ending Today: N/A.

Notable Economic Events Today: Core Retail Sales / Retail Sales (8:30 a.m. ET), Industrial Production (9:15 a.m. ET), Business inventories (10:00 a.m. ET), TIC Net Long-Term Transactions (4:00 p.m. ET), API Weekly Crude Oil Stock (4:30 p.m. ET).

Marathon Oil Signs 5-Year LNG Deal

Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO) signed a five-year LNG (liquefied natural gas) sales agreement with Glencore (LSE: GLEN) on Monday afternoon.

Details: The deal includes a portion of the LNG that Marathon Oil produces from the Alba Field in Equatorial Guinea. Marathon will initiate the deal on January 1.

Quote: “We expect to realize an approximate year-on-year EBITDA increase of over $300 million next year across our E.G. integrated gas business, reflecting our differentiated and increasing exposure to the global LNG market.” - Marathon Oil CEO Lee Tillman.

Final Thoughts: Marathon Oil is up nearly 11% this year thanks to the recent increase in oil prices. The new war in the Middle East could also cause gas prices to spike in the future.

NetScout Systems Lowers 2024 Outlook

The technology company NetScout Systems (Nasdaq: NTCT) plunged by 20.08% in after-hours trading on Monday after the company lowered its full-year guidance.

Details: The company now expects revenue to be between $840 million to $860 million instead of the prior outlook range of $915 million to $945 million.

Final Thoughts: NetScout Systems was already down nearly 15% this year. The company has struggled with sales in 2023, even as other tech companies are growing.

Trends to Watch

You’re In Activist Hands: Activist hedge fund Trian targets insurer Allstate (Reuters)

And Another Activist: Starboard Takes 5%-Plus Stake in Contract-Research Firm Fortrea (The Wall Street Journal)

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