Merger and acquisition deals helped lift stocks overnight against a backdrop of an improving trade outlook.

The US dollar stalled, and currencies remain quiet with the exception of a buoyant British pound. Bitcoin extended its month-long slide to crack important support at US$7,400, and touched a point 35% below the recent peak.

Luxury goods group LVMH closed a deal to purchase Tiffany’s, and investors learned overnight that broker Charles Schwab will buy competitor TD Ameritrade. The news drove key indices to new all-time highs. Tech stocks featured, and the Nasdaq composite closed within a point of its new high-tide mark. The combined impact of trade mergers and record levels of corporate share buybacks is providing a further leg up for US stocks.

Australian investors will contemplate similar effects after China’s Mengniu group sought to purchase Australian assets from beverage and food group Lion for $600 million. The transaction follows Foreign Investment Review Board approval of Mengniu’s bid for dairy group Bellamy’s.

Bitcoin’s woes echo through the crypto markets. Resurgent traditional assets, a stronger US dollar and doubts about whether blockchain technology is best deployed in currencies are pressuring the newest asset class. The CMC All Crypto Index touched 2,132 in overnight trading, down from over 3,000 two weeks ago and far cry from the mid-year peak above 5,200.


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