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Bitcoin ETFs see record 3-day outflow as retail investors ‘dart in and out of positions’

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The 10 trading spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds reported the largest three-day outflow since launching on Jan. 11, according to Bloomberg data, a reversal of the staggering inflows that contributed to the token reaching an all-time high of $72,000 last week.

This week so far, over $742 million has left the funds, due to $1.4 billion in outflows from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust this week alone, plus a slower rate of inflows into the BlackRock and Fidelity offerings—the second- and third-most popular products, respectively.

“It’s not unusual to see ETF flows shift based on the price action in the underlying asset class—and Bitcoin has pulled back recently. As successful as spot Bitcoin ETFs have been, they’re not going to vacuum up new money every single day,” Nate Geraci, president of the ETF Store, told Fortune.

The recent uptick in GBTC outflows likely stems from earlier investors ​looking to lock in gains after Bitcoin recently hit all-time highs, Robert Le, a crypto analyst at Pitchbook, told Fortune.

“The Grayscale team anticipated GBTC’s diverse shareholder base would engage in investment strategies that would impact the Trust’s flows, including harvesting gains, engaging in arbitrage trading, and liquidating shares to repay creditors in various bankrupt estates,” Grayscale said in a statement.

Geraci notes that many registered investment advisors (RIAs) and institutional investors “have yet to even dip their toes” in the funds, because they are “extremely methodical” in how they allocate funds. As a result, he estimates the primary driver of flows so far have been retail investors and traders “who are much more likely to dart in and out of positions.”

Indeed, according to data from Bloomberg senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas, BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) is seeing an average of 250,000 trades in a day, with an average trade size of 326 shares—about $13,000—suggesting those trades were made by retail investors, Balchunas told CoinDesk.

Because of RIAs’ responsibilities to clients, and the required due diligence, it “seems like it will take a bit of time” before more begin recommending Bitcoin-related products to clients, notes Pitchbook’s Le. In the meantime, retail traders’ moves will continue to have a greater effect on pricing.

“It will take time for true institutions and wealth managers and advisors to start buying these things for their clients,” Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart told Fortune. “We still don’t know how much demand there is from that channel, but there is likely to be demand down the line.”

Despite the recent outflows, the ETFs overall have seen net inflows of over $11.4 billion to date, making their debuts some of the most successful ever, Bloomberg reported.

Bitcoin was trading near $65,800 around 2 p.m. ET Thursday afternoon, about $6,000 less than its all-time high on March 14. On Wednesday, Bitcoin dropped to almost $61,000, a 16% plunge from its all-time high the week before, as traders waited to hear for the results of the Federal Reserve meeting, namely, if interest rates would be cut. (Rates remained unchanged.)



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United Airlines (UAL) 1Q 2024 earnings

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A United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft lands at San Francisco International Airport.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

United Airlines on Tuesday cut its aircraft-delivery expectations for the year as it grapples with delays from Boeing, the latest airline to face growth challenges because of the plane-maker’s safety crisis.

United expects to receive just 61 new narrow-body planes this year, down from 101 it said it had expected at the beginning of the year and contracts for as many as 183 planes in 2024.

“We’ve adjusted our fleet plan to better reflect the reality of what the manufacturers are able to deliver,” CEO Scott Kirby said in an earnings release. “And, we’ll use those planes to capitalize on an opportunity that only United has: profitably grow our mid-continent hubs and expand our highly profitable international network from our best in the industry coastal hubs.”

United said it plans to lease 35 Airbus A321neos in 2026 and 2027, turning to Boeing’s rival for new planes as the U.S. manufacturer faces caps on its production and increased federal scrutiny. In January, United said it was taking Boeing’s not-yet-certified Max 10 out of its fleet plan. The airline said it has converted some Max 10 planes for Max 9s.

It lowered its annual capital expenditure estimate to $6.5 billion from about $9 billion.

United is also facing a Federal Aviation Administration safety review, which has prevented some of its planned growth. A spokeswoman told CNBC earlier this month that the carrier will have to postpone its planned service from Newark, New Jersey, to Faro, Portugal, and service between Tokyo and Cebu, Philippines.

United earlier this month postponed its investor day, which was scheduled for May, “because our entire team is focused on cooperating with the FAA to review our safety protocols and it would simply send the wrong message to our team to have an exciting investor day focused primarily on financial results.”

The airline said it would have reported a profit for the quarter if not for a $200 million hit from the temporary grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9 in January.

The FAA temporarily grounded those jets after a door plug blew out minutes into an Alaska Airlines flight, sparking a new safety crisis for Boeing and slowing deliveries of its planes to customers including United, Southwest and others.

The airline posted a net loss of $124 million, or a loss of 38 cents a share, in the first quarter compared with a $194 million loss, or 59 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose nearly 10% in the first quarter compared with the year-earlier period to $12.54 billion, with capacity up more than 9% on the year.

Here’s what United reported in the first quarter compared with what Wall Street expected, based on average estimates compiled by LSEG:

  • Loss per share: 15 cents adjusted vs. a loss of 57 cents expected
  • Revenue: $12.54 billion vs. $12.45 billion expected

The airline expects to post earnings of between $3.75 and $4.25 in the second quarter, ahead of analysts’ estimates of about $3.76 a share. Airlines make the bulk of their profits in the second and third quarters, during peak travel season.

The carrier also reiterated its full-year earnings forecast of between $9 and $11 a share.

United’s shares were up more than 4% in after-hours trading on Tuesday.

United executives will hold a call with analysts at 10:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

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Ex-Post Office boss regrets ‘missed opportunity’ to halt Horizon scandal

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“On reflection, and I have reflected on this very hard, when I finished being the Horizon programme director [in early 2000] it would have been very beneficial if I had notified both the lawyers and the [investigations team] that Horizon was a new system coming in, and that they should be very cautious about evidence coming out of that system,” he said.

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Sri Lanka’s economic crisis and debt restructuring efforts By Reuters

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COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s government rejected a proposal from its international bondholders on Tuesday on restructuring the more than $12 billion the country owes to them.

It means a near two-year spell in default will drag on for Sri Lanka and that the country’s next tranche of vital IMF support money could potentially get delayed.

Below is a timeline of the key events in the crisis and the efforts to resolve it:

2021-2022: Sri Lanka’s economy crumbles after years of overspending leaves its foreign exchange reserves critically low and the government unable to pay for essentials, such as fuel and medicine.

The country’s bonds suffer from multiple downgrades by credit rating agencies warning of the increasing risk of default. At the start of 2022 it manages to make a $500 million bond payment but it leaves its foreign exchange reserves precariously low.

MAY, 2022 – Sri Lanka is declared in default after it fails to make a smaller $78 million bond coupon payment.

JULY, 2022 – Public anger drives protesters to storm then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office and residence. Rajapaksa flees to the Maldives, before moving on to Singapore.

Current President Ranil Wickremesinghe is voted into power by Sri Lankan lawmakers.

MARCH, 2023 – The International Monetary Fund approves a near $3 billion bailout for Sri Lanka after talks with Wickremesinghe’s government and assurances about its plans to repair the country’s finances.

OCTOBER, 2023

Sri Lanka announces an agreement with China’s EXIM (export/import) Bank to delay payments on about $4.2 billion worth of loans the Chinese lender it has extended to the country.

NOVEMBER, 2023

Other creditor nations including India, Japan and France agree to restructure about $5.9 billion in debt.

MARCH, 2024

A group of Sri Lankan officials arrives in London to meet with a number of investment funds that hold its more than $12 billion worth of government bonds. Talks advance to the key “restricted” phase where proposals are discussed privately and those involved agree not to buy or sell any of the debt on the open market.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of the main business district as rain clouds gather above in Colombo, Sri Lanka, November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/File Photo

APRIL, 2024

The government rejects a proposal tabled by the bondholders. The main stumbling blocks are that some the “baseline” assumptions used differ to those of the IMF and that the plan did not include a contingency option for the government in case the economy fails to recover as expected.



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