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Stock Market Euphoria, Steel Deal Headaches: Saturday US Briefing

(Bloomberg) -- Hello and a happy Saturday to you. Here in California we’re looking at rain, floods and most likely a mudslide or two. If you believe a rodent can predict the weather, there’s good news: Punxsutawney Phil pointed toward an early spring.

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It already feels like springtime in the stock market. The S&P 500 climbed a cheery 1.4% in the past five days, its fourth straight weekly advance and a record high, powered by a blockbuster jobs report and bullish outlooks from Meta and Amazon.com. Still, some traders say this rally is on shaky ground. Initial public offerings haven’t looked too rosy either, with two of the three biggest debuts this year failing to excite investors.

Nippon Steel's $14.1 billion offer to buy US Steel in December faced immediate pushback from politicians in Washington worried about union jobs, prompting the Biden administration to publicly announce that the deal deserves “serious scrutiny.” Bloomberg's Joe Deaux takes a deep dive into why American steel buyers think the deal is good for business and why selling to a Japanese buyer doesn’t concern them.

Iraq’s government said civilians were among at least 16 people killed and two dozen wounded in a wave of US airstrikes that the Middle Eastern country called a grave risk to security in the region. Dozens of US strikes late Friday targeted Iranian forces and militias in Iraq and Syria and were taken in retaliation for a drone attack a week ago in northeast Jordan by an Iran-linked militant group in which three American soldiers were killed.

South Carolina Democrats will show their support for another four years of President Biden when they cast their ballots in the primary today. But it will be a test of enthusiasm for Biden among a crucial constituency. South Carolina was bumped up on the primary calendar to give Black voters, who comprise more than half of the party’s electorate in the state, added influence in the presidential nominating process. Republicans will hold their primary there on Feb. 24.

Both fans and skeptics of cryptocurrencies as an asset class are keeping an eye on whether Bitcoin ETFs are here to stay. LPL Financial executive Rob Pettman says the next three months will be critical in figuring out whether crypto is a worthy addition to his company's $1.3 trillion trading platform.

And lastly a not-so-fun fact, a new study found that Bitcoin mining in the US uses about the same amount of energy as the entire state of Utah. Check back with us tomorrow for a look ahead to the coming week.

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