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INTERNATIONAL – Bitcoin climbed above $4 000 (R55 871) for the first time this year, helping to push the volatile cryptocurrency into positive territory after a brutal 2018 that saw investor post losses of more than 70 percent.

The biggest digital currency gained as much 6.4 percent to $4 077 in New York. Other tokens were mixed, with Litecoin jumping as much as 22 percent and Ether down about 1 percent.

One technical measure that traders follow indicates more gains may be in store. The Directional Movement Index crossed into positive territory for the first time since mid-November, ending Bitcoin’s “very strong” selling streak, as indicated by an Average Direction Index over 50.

It should now be entering a new positive buying phase. This could be the start of the next run-up, as positive trends normally are followed by rising prices, technical analysis suggests.

“In technical analysis, this makes these levels very strong,” said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at eToro in Tel Aviv. “But I think only once we see a strong break above $5 000, $6 000, if we get above $7 500, that’s when people start to turn really bullish."