The value of bitcoin has soared. AFP/Nicolas Tucat
LONDON - Bitcoin rose above $50,000 for the first time on Tuesday while European equities eased after soaring the previous day on reduced coronavirus fears and thanks to mounting optimism over US President Joe Biden's vast stimulus plan, traders said.
Bitcoin surged past the $50,000 mark in midday European trading.
Meanwhile oil held close to 13-month highs on keen demand hopes amid a severe cold snap in Texas.
Asia's leading stock markets closed with strong gains and the dollar declined against the euro and yen.
Sterling soared to $1.3952, the highest level for nearly three years.
The euro sank to 87.06 pence, the lowest point since May.
A strong pound tends to dent London share prices because it weighs on the profits of dollar-earning multinationals.
Wall Street reopens from a long holiday weekend to catch up with Monday's rally, which was rooted in COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, slowing infections, easing lockdowns and hopes of reopening economies.
"The return of US markets from their long weekend means that the focus for all investors will be on the Biden administration's push for a big stimulus programme," said analyst Chris Beauchamp at online trading firm IG.