Bitcoin is forging ahead in a global economy with so much uncertainty.
The so-called crypto-currency, which exists only on computers and has no central bank to support it, has soared by more than 80 per cent this year.This means it has grown four times faster than the world’s two best performing hard currencies, the Russian ruble and Brazilian real.
Bitcoin ended Friday trading at around $780 (£625), up from $430 at the start of the year, and has soared after being launched by a small group of hackers in 2009.
Miners dig deep to get out of rut
The mining sector is this year’s big winner as it showed its resourceful nature to recover from a disastrous 2015.Mining giant Anglo American is up 300 per cent this year and fellow miner Glencore climbed more than 200 per cent, making them the two fastest risers on the FTSE 100 in 2016.
The next three biggest risers are also mining stocks, with BHP Billiton up 78 per cent, Fresnillo up 67 per cent and Rio Tinto climbing 60 per cent.
Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, which collated the figures, said this was partly a cyclical bounce after last year’s sell-off: “Miners have also engaged in a bit of self-help by cutting back on expenditure and dividends to see them through the tough times.”
He said the commodity price recovery may continue in 2017, helped by fiscal stimulus from the US: “However, commodities have had a pretty good run in 2016 and that is going to take some beating.”
Capita reflects on difficult year
It has been a tough year for Capita Group, which looks set to end 2016 as the worst performing stock on the FTSE 100.The outsourcing specialist has seen its share price crash 60 per cent to a 10-year low, after issuing two profit warnings in three months.
On Friday the stock traded at 490p, less than half its 52-week high of 1,236p. Capita says its clients are spending less on training and employee benefits, and delaying new technology plans, with Brexit uncertainty partly to blame.
Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said 2017 could prove another tough year: “We are still waiting to see a real improvement in activity. Capita has also been hit by the trend away from government outsourcing.”
Management is cutting costs and selling assets to protect its balance sheet, but he added: “I do not expect good news any time soon.”