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Due to the sharp fall in the price of bitcoin (BTC) in recent weeks, Wall Street firm B. Riley is reducing its price estimates for the digital asset and is also cutting price targets for the digital mining stocks it covers, it said in a report Thursday.
The broker downgraded Marathon Digital (MARA) from buy to neutral and slashed its price target from $34 a share to $9. The shares closed at $6.75 on Wednesday. Marathon Digital shares were falling 2.3% to $6.59 in early trading on Thursday.
B. Riley said its new rating, lower price target and reduced estimates for Marathon are due to a combination of lower bitcoin prices coupled with “repeated delays in the energization of miners outside Montana.”
B. Riley cut its estimates for the number of bitcoins Marathon will produce in June to 169, a drop of 60% from averages seen in the first quarter and a decline of 36% year over year, due to delays at the firm’s facilities in Texas.
For second quarter estimates, the broker forecasts BTC to average approximately $32,522, which is based on an average quarter-to-date price of $33,805 and assumes a $22,000 price for the rest of the quarter. For the third quarter and fourth quarter, B. Riley forecasts BTC to average $25,000 and $30,000, respectively. For 2023 and 2024, it is estimating an average bitcoin price of $34,000 and $45,000, respectively.
Given these updated BTC price expectations, the broker’s financial estimates fall significantly for the digital miners, the report says, noting that TeraWulf (WULF) is the most impacted by the updates as the company “has not scaled relative to other miners” in its coverage.
Riot Blockchain (RIOT) is best-positioned during the current crypto market volatility as it has no debt, has long-term access to cheap power and the company is already operating at scale, according to B. Riley.