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A representation of the virtual cryptocurrency bitcoin is seen in this picture illustration taken October 19, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

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Feb 5 (Reuters) - Bitcoin hit its highest in two weeks on Saturday, extending the previous session's strong gains as cryptocurrencies basked in a recovery in risk appetite and a rally in stock markets.

The world's largest cryptocurrency hit $41,983, taking gains from Thursday's lows to nearly 16%, and marking a 27% rise from the year's low of $32,950.72 on Jan. 24.

Ether , the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain network, scaled the $3,000 level for the first time since Jan. 21.

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Friday's 11%-plus was the biggest single-day gain for bitcoin since mid-June, and the first major bounce after weeks of being roiled, along with technology and growth stocks, by fears of faster-than-expected Fed rate hikes to curb a surge in inflation.

It came alongside a rally in U.S. stocks, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq (.IXIC) ending the week with gains despite the heavy volatility from earnings, including Amazon's robust growth and Facebook-owner Meta Platforms Inc's (FB.O) disappointing results.

Those synchronised moves showed how bitcoin has become far more of a mainstream asset, jolted by swings in risk-appetite.

"The current panic and volatility surrounding bitcoin is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of it as an asset class," said Ed Hindi, chief investment officer of Swiss-based cryptocurrency hedgefund Tyr Capital.

"When valuations on the Nasdaq fall, misguided institutional investors start liquidating bitcoin positions en-masse as if it were a tech stock."

Bitcoin correlations

Bitcoin correlations

The recovery in stocks boosted other listed crypto assets on Friday, with miner Riot Blockchain (RIOT.O) getting a bump after declaring bitcoin production more than doubled in January from a year earlier.

Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA.O) rallied after reporting bitcoin production increased, as did crypto exchange Coinbase Global (COIN.O), which rose more than 7%.

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Reporting by Rachna Dhanrajani in Bengaluru and Vidya Ranganathan in Singapore; Additional reporting by Lisa Mattackal in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.