Americans Can’t Get Enough of the Stock Market

May 3, 2021

First Read

$40,526/$300,000 (13.5%)


Hemp Farming Looking For Credit; Carbon Credit, That Is
Thom Thompson – John Lothian News

Well, it is now May, and in most of the United States it is high time to get the field crops planted. Among them is hemp, industrial hemp, which despite being an ancient crop and a generally legal one since 2019, still has an uncertain future.

In America today, you can plant it, harvest it, you can distill it down to its individual compounds – except Delta-9 THC, depending on where you are! You can take CBD-rich biomass and extract and distill it until you have the purest of pure CBD isolates. You can make fiber and concrete out of hemp. You can eat the seeds. You can keep the seeds and plant them next year.

In most states, you can take the flower and dry it and smoke it with or without spraying it first with Delta-8 THC. You can grind the seeds and feed the seed meal to your pets and other animals and refine the oil for human consumption. In a few places, though, you cannot plant your hemp because its pollen might interfere with nearby field-grown marijuana varieties.

Nonetheless, while it is clear that America is open for hemp, it is not clear that you can make a living growing the stuff.

To read the rest of this story, go HERE.


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Historian Niall Ferguson has a new book coming out on May 4 titled, “Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe.” It tells the story of when a midcentury pandemic of “Asian Flu” hit the U.S. and how it was dealt with. An early progenitor of the flu’s spread was an outbreak at the Boy Scout National Jamboree held in 1957 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. When the scouts returned home they brought the flu with them and spread it throughout the country. This spreading of the flu did not qualify as doing a good turn daily. The Wall Street Journal has an excerpt from Ferguson’s book telling the story. — WSJ

Bloomberg reports that the “EU Looks to Open Its Borders After a Year of Pandemic Isolation.” — Bloomberg

The NFA will hold a virtual Member Regulatory Workshop for commodity pool operator (CPO), commodity trading advisor (CTA), futures commission merchant (FCM), forex dealer member (FDM), introducing broker (IB) and swap dealer (SD) members on May 11-13, 2021. — NFA

Melissa Acker, formerly of Trading Technologies, was honored with the 2021 Built In’s Moxie Award along with a bunch of other talented women. Her husband Steve Acker is a former brokerage client of mine. — Builtin

We had no new donations to our JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign over the weekend. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaign. Have your donations matched by Trading Technologies.

Robby Lothian turned 20 over the weekend, which means the Lothian household has no teenagers for the first time in 13 years.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL


Brood X: Trillions of cicadas are about to emerge after 17 years underground
CBS News
Films about invading insects have been scaring movie-goers for decades. But now, a real-life insect invasion of what are called periodical cicadas will put Hollywood to shame by its sheer size and scope. Over the next few weeks along the East Coast and Midwest, the cicadas will emerge from the ground, shed their skins and partake in a month-long mating ritual, making quite a scene — climbing trees and singing mating songs as loud as 100 decibels, the same intensity as a jackhammer.

*****Get ready for some loud insect noise this summer.~JJL


Challenging Skin in the Game
John McPartland, Director of Research, Hidden Road Partners LP
In the old days of the 1970s, few understood what the term Skin in the Game signified. The International Monetary Market (IMM (part of the CME)) introduced the “good to the last drop” rule, which involved borrowing financial mass from its clearing members in times of loss. The IMM Rule Book duly listed the sequential tranches of financial assets that would be brought to bear should the Clearing House suffer financial loss. Moreover, the indeterminate term “excess retained earnings” of the Clearing House would be brought into play, subsequent to initial margin, exchange memberships and the guarantee fund deposits of the defaulter. The general perception then was that the 1970’s version of Skin in the Game was not unlike an insurance deductible. In other words, before any remaining loss went to the clearing membership for satisfaction, a material amount of cash of the CCP would go first. Skin in the Game seemed largely based on the CCP’s ability to pay.

*****John McPartland may have left the Chicago Fed, but he still is a sharing thinker.~JJL


ICE Sells Coinbase Stake For $1.2bn
Shanny Basar – MarketsMedia
Intercontinental Exchange said it sold its stake in US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase for more than $1.2bn (EUR1bn) as the operator of global exchanges, clearing houses and provider of mortgage technology, data and listings services reported record revenues and net income for the first quarter of this year.

*****Jeff Sprecher’s ICE had an early play in crypto that paid off big.~JJL


Why So Many Millennials Fall Prey to Imposter Syndrome; When young adults doubt their financial success—and knowledge—it can complicate decision making
Julia Carpenter – WSJ
“I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to managing my money.”
“I don’t deserve to be earning/saving/spending as much as I am.”
“I just know I’m going to screw this all up eventually anyway.” These are some of the thoughts that run through my head whenever I open my banking app or check my credit score—me, a personal-finance reporter at The Wall Street Journal. My confidence in my job and my confidence in my own finances are two different things. And I’m not alone in feeling insecure about managing my own money.

*****Who are you?~JJL


TikTok Is the Place To Go for Financial Advice If You’re a Young Adult; The short videos are ideal for many people. But is the advice any good?
Cheryl Winokur Munk – WSJ
TikTok is the place to go for new dances, viral taco recipes—and, now, financial advice. The big benefit of TikTok is that it allows users to dole out and obtain information in short, easily digestible video bites, also called TikToks. And that can make unfamiliar, complex topics, such as those related to personal finance and investing, more palatable to a younger audience.

*****I can think of some better spots to get advice, but none as cool.~JJL


Friday’s Top Three
The most-clicked story on Friday was actually a tweet by @HideNotSlide of an image, The Chicago Board of Trade building, built in 1930 to house the CBOT’s trading pits, was the city’s tallest building until 1955 & sits at the end of LaSalle St. The second most-clicked story was from Business Insider, The ‘Disaster Girl’ just made close to a half a million by selling the NFT of her meme. And the third was from Bloomberg, Affluent Americans Rush to Retire in New ‘Life-Is-Short’ Mindset.


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Lead Stories

Americans Can’t Get Enough of the Stock Market; Households increased stockholdings to 41% of their total financial assets in April
Gunjan Banerji – WSJ
Americans are all in on the stock market. Individual investors are holding more stocks than ever before as major indexes climb to fresh highs. They are also upping the ante by borrowing to magnify their bets or increasingly buying on small dips in the market. Stockholdings among U.S. households increased to 41% of their total financial assets in April, the highest level on record. That is according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Federal Reserve data going back to 1952 that includes 401(k) retirement accounts. JPMorgan’s Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, who analyzed the data, attributed the elevated allocations to appreciating share prices alongside stock purchases.

New York City Is Roaring Back to Life, One Year After Its Nadir; When the pandemic emptied NYC’s streets last year, some declared it dead. But after a terrible, painful year, it’s now defying those declarations.
Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou – Bloomberg
Rush hour traffic is back. Noise complaints are picking up. And it’s once again difficult to score a reservation at your favorite brunch spot. When the pandemic emptied New York City’s streets last year, some declared it dead. But after a terrible, painful year, the city is now defying those declarations — and getting its mojo back.

China Orders Tech Giants to Unbundle Financial Services; Companies have turned their mobile payment apps into financial supermarkets, offering loans and insurance policies. No more, says Beijing.
Keith Zhai – WSJ
In recent years, China’s technology giants have turned consumers’ embrace of mobile payment apps into lucrative ecosystems offering a range of financial services, from personal loans to insurance policies. Now, Beijing wants to put a stop to that.

Robinhood’s Biggest Business More Than Tripled Amid Trading Frenzy; The trading app generated $331 million in payments for order flow during the first three months of 2021
Peter Rudegeair – WSJ
The stock-trading mania of early 2021 lifted revenue at Robinhood Markets Inc. to new heights. When its customers buy and sell stocks and options, Robinhood routes those orders to high-speed traders, which pay the startup brokerage for the right to execute many of those trades. That business, known as payment for order flow, generated about $331 million in revenue for Robinhood in the first quarter, according to a securities filing late last week. That is more than triple the $91 million Robinhood brought in from payment for order flow in the first quarter of 2020.

Europe’s largest banks plan joint attack on US payments giants; More than 30 lenders designing rival to take on PayPal, Mastercard, Visa and Apple
Olaf Storbeck – FT
More than 30 of Europe’s largest banks and credit card processors are trying to create a payments giant capable of shattering a US-dominated “oligopoly”.

LME nears verdict on Ring closure after trader uproar; Decision to be made in June on proposal to shut Europe’s last open outcry trading venue
Henry Sanderson and Philip Stafford – FT
The London Metal Exchange’s historic trading Ring is no stranger to shouting. Now the discussion over its future is generating a fittingly noisy debate. Traders have launched a strong pushback to the LME, which proposed a permanent closure to the more than 140-year-old trading venue in January. On Friday, the exchange said it would decide its future in June, having received “unprecedented” feedback from its members, with a total of 192 formal responses to its consultation on the matter.

Buffett Says Greg Abel Is His Likely Successor at Berkshire
Katherine Chiglinsky – Bloomberg
Munger let slip a hint about the choice during annual meeting; Age was a determining factor in picking Abel for the top role
Warren Buffett said Greg Abel, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s vice chairman of non-insurance businesses, would be his likely successor if the billionaire were to step down. The board agrees that Abel, 58, would take over if anything were to happen to the 90-year-old chief executive officer, Buffett told CNBC. Abel had been seen as the most likely candidate.

Warren Buffett Says Bad Leaders Pose Biggest Risk to Companies; Berkshire Hathaway CEO warns that business failures can occur if personable managers ‘put on an appearance’ of competence
Chip Cutter – WSJ
Poor management is the top threat facing companies, according to Warren Buffett, who spoke out on the issue over the weekend. The chief executive of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRK.B -0.95% said choosing the wrong people to lead an organization is the No. 1 risk for businesses. In his five decades running Berkshire, Mr. Buffett said, he has seen a number of companies fail, from textile mills to department stores, and he suggested that a consistent element could be found in those failures beyond changing consumer behavior or shifting market forces.

Warren Buffett slammed SPACs and Robinhood for encouraging gambling on stocks at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting
Theron Mohamed – Insider
Warren Buffett criticized SPACs and Robinhood at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting; The investor said they encourage gambling and treating the stock market like a casino; Charlie Munger, Buffett’s right-hand man, damned both trends as well.
Warren Buffett blasted special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) and the Robinhood trading app for encouraging gambling on stocks at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting on Saturday.

Munger on Robinhood: ‘It’s deeply wrong. We don’t want to make our money selling things that are bad for people’
Julia La Roche – Yahoo Finance
Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK-B, BRK-A) CEO Warren Buffett says he’s “looking forward” to reading Robinhood’s S-1 as he proceeded to subtly criticize the no-fee brokerage app, while his long-time partner, Charlie Munger, outright lambasted it.

Epic vs. Apple Trial Features Battle Over How to Define Digital Markets; ‘Fortnite’ maker’s suit heads to court Monday, bringing fight over iPhone maker’s App Store before U.S. judge
Tim Higgins and Brent Kendall – WSJ
In the high-profile court battle set to begin Monday between Apple Inc. AAPL -1.51% and “Fortnite” creator Epic Games Inc., the judge will grapple with a central question: how to define a market in the digital age. The case pits the world’s most valuable publicly traded company, which helped usher in the app economy more than a decade ago, against a privately held videogame maker that wants to topple Apple’s so-called walled garden.

What Happens When Stocks Only Go Up; Losing your fear of bear markets can lead to complacency—and new risks
Jason Zweig – WSJ
Bear markets haven’t gone extinct. They’ve evolved into teddy bears. That’s what some investors seem to believe—and who can blame them? The stock market used to take years, sometimes decades, to recover its prior peak after the start of a bear-market decline. After last year’s 34% meltdown, however, stocks regained record highs in only 126 trading days.

What History Can Teach Banks About Making Change; Financial institutions have a unique power to contribute to social movements — if they choose to use it.
Destin Jenkins – NY Times
Last year, amid protests over the murder of George Floyd, financial firms pledged billions of dollars to programs aimed at racial equity, including efforts to diversify their hiring and invest in Black businesses. And last month, Bank of America, BlackRock and Goldman Sachs were among hundreds of businesses and executives who signed a public letter opposing laws that would restrict voting across the country, especially for minority voters.

‘We’re Suffering’: How Remote Work Is Killing Manhattan’s Storefronts; Landlords cut small retailers a break on rent during the pandemic, but stores are still struggling because too few office workers and tourists have returned.
Peter Eavis and Matthew Haag – NY Times
A big shift toward working from home is endangering hundreds of locally owned Manhattan storefronts that have been hanging on, waiting for life to return to the desolate streets of Midtown and the Financial District.

How a More Resilient America Beat a Midcentury Pandemic; In 1957, the U.S. rose to the challenge of the ‘Asian flu’ with stoicism and a high tolerance for risk, offering a stark contrast with today’s approach to Covid-19.
Niall Ferguson – WSJ
“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,/But to be young was very heaven!” Wordsworth was talking about France in 1789, but the line applies better to the America of 1957. That summer, Elvis Presley topped the charts with “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear.” But we tend to forget that 1957 also saw the outbreak of one of the biggest pandemics of the modern era. Not coincidentally, another hit of that year was “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” by Huey “Piano” Smith & the Clowns.

Fund Companies Push Diversity in Bond Trading; Electronic-trading platform MarketAxess is helping large asset managers meet requirements to transact more with minority-owned dealers
Matt Wirz – WSJ
Some of the biggest bond fund managers in the U.S. are using technology to increase the business they do with broker-dealers owned by women and members of minority groups.


Global Virus Cases Reach New Peak, Driven by India and South America
Lazaro Gamio and Alexandria Symonds – NY Times
Worldwide, the number of new coronavirus cases has shot upward since the beginning of March, more than doubling in two months. For the past two weeks, new global cases have exceeded their previous high point in early January. The average daily rate of new cases has now been above 800,000 for more than a week.

US to launch trade talks on COVID-19 vaccine distribution
Darlene Superville – AP
The U.S. top trade negotiator will begin talks with the World Trade Organization on ways to overcome intellectual property issues that are keeping critically needed COVID-19 vaccines from being more widely distributed worldwide, two White House officials said Sunday.

Russia lags behind others in its COVID-19 vaccination drive
Daria Litvinova – AP
While at the Park House shopping mall in northern Moscow, Vladimir Makarov saw it was offering the coronavirus vaccine to customers, so he asked how long it would take.

Singapore Sees First Covid Death in Weeks Amid Flareup
Philip Heijmans – Bloomberg
Cluster of 37 cases identified at hospital since last week; Could further tighten measures if transmission persists
Singapore saw its first fatality due to complications from Covid-19 in nearly two months over the weekend, amid a flareup of cases in a country that’s been one of the world’s most successful in containing the virus.

India’s Covid-19 Crisis Raises Pressure to Waive Vaccine Patents; Amid widening gap in vaccinations between the rich and poor worlds, developing nations push to loosen intellectual-property restrictions on shots
Saeed Shah, Yaroslav Trofimov and Gabriele Steinhauser- WSJ
Covid-19 cases in India and other developing nations is adding momentum to a push to suspend intellectual-property restrictions on vaccines, putting pressure on Washington, other Western governments and pharmaceutical companies to do more to address the crisis.

Next Generation of Covid-19 Vaccines Could Be Pill or Spray; Drugmakers and government labs are developing doses easier to take and transport to tackle coronavirus variants and avert future pandemics
Peter Loftus and Gregory Zuckerman – WSJ
The next generation of Covid-19 vaccines in development could come as a pill or a nasal spray and be easier to store and transport than the current handful of shots that form the backbone of the world-wide vaccination effort.

U.K. Covid-19 Variant’s Hold in U.S. Has Silver Lining: Vaccines Counter It; B.1.1.7 strain is more contagious than others, but safety measures and shots can keep it in check
Brianna Abbott – WSJ
The highly contagious U.K. variant of the Covid-19 virus, now the dominant virus strain in the U.S., is making the pandemic harder to control. But it also comes with a silver lining: The authorized vaccines work well against it.

India’s Covid Calamity Has Sick Caring for the Sicker: ‘Alone to Save My Family’; Instead of a wedding, a bride-to-be scours a hard-hit city for oxygen and hospital beds to rescue her father and grandfather before it is too late
Vibhuti Agarwal, Shefali Anand and Krishna Pokharel – WSJ
Days before Nikita Goel had planned to get married, she and five family members tested positive for the coronavirus, including her parents and 86-year-old grandfather. “I felt like a roof had fallen,” she said.

Counties at Highest Risk for COVID Harm Often Have Lowest Vaccination Rates; The vaccine rollout was meant to prioritize vulnerable communities, but four months of data shows healthier — and often wealthier — counties have been faster to vaccinate.
Ryan Gabrielson – ProPublica
As the U.S. rushes to vaccinate its population against the coronavirus, most counties with the sickest residents are lagging behind and making only incremental progress reaching their most vulnerable population

Covid: political chaos and poverty leave South America at virus’s mercy; President Jair Bolsonaro’s prediction that the coronavirus crisis was nearing an end was misguided in Brazil and many of its neighbours
Tom Phillips – The Guardian
South America produced some of the most horrific episodes of the pandemic last year, with mass graves dug in the Brazilian Amazon and bodies dumped on pavements in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil. But at the end of 2020 there was some hope that with the onset of vaccination the worst might have passed. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, even claimed the crisis had reached its “tail-end” in December.

Refusing the Covid Vaccine Is Legal But Could Still Cost You Your Job
Sarah Kopit – Bloomberg
Social media rife with talk that the boss can’t make it a rule; Experts say it’s just an employment condition, but jury is out
Texas nurse Jennifer Bridges plans to go to work on June 7, like it’s any other day. The only difference is, when she gets there she expects to be fired. That day is the deadline her employer, Houston Methodist hospital, has given its staff to get the Covid-19 vaccine, something Bridges, 39, doesn’t want to do.

Canada’s muddled Covid response leaves it struggling against third wave; Case count per capita exceeds that of the US for the first time since the pandemic began
Jason Kirby and John Burn-Murdoch – FT
As the US has seemed to get a grip on its Covid-19 crisis, Canadians have been angered by a chaotic government response that has allowed a third wave to take hold and led to a delayed vaccine rollout.

More News

– How vaccination became ‘hip’ in the ’50s, thanks to teens; American teenagers were a new social phenomenon, and uniquely poised for an iconic polio vaccine push. — National Geographic

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Boerse Stuttgart records April turnover of around EUR 8,4 billion
Boerse Stuttgart
Based on the order book statistics, Boerse Stuttgart generated turnover of around EUR 8,4 billion in April. Securitised derivatives made up the largest share of the turnover. The trading volume in this asset class was […]

New Zealand’s Exchange and S&P Dow Jones Indices launch carbon-efficient indices
S&P/NZX Carbon-Efficient Indices designed as tools to measure and encourage companies to act on emissions
New Zealand’s Exchange (“NZX”) today launched New Zealand’s first carbon efficient indices in partnership with the world’s leading index provider, S&P Dow Jones Indices (“S&P DJI”), amid rapidly growing investor interest, and action globally to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change.

Cash market sales statistics for April
Deutsche Börse Group
A trading volume of EUR 147.1 billion was achieved on Deutsche Börse’s cash markets in April (previous year: EUR 172.8 billion). Of this, Xetra accounted for 118.4 billion euros (previous year: 141.9 billion euros), bringing the average daily Xetra turnover to 5.9 billion euros (previous year: 7.1 billion euros). Turnover on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange was EUR 4.1 billion (previous year: EUR 5.3 billion) and on the Tradegate Exchange EUR 24.6 billion (previous year: EUR 25.6 billion).

Disciplinary Action
CME Group
NON-MEMBER: Vattenfall Energy Trading Gmbh
NYMEX RULE VIOLATION: 562. Position Limit Violations (in part)
PENALTY: In accordance with the settlement offer, the Panel ordered Vattenfall to pay a fine in the amount of $25,000 and disgorge profits in the amount of $1,440.00.

Disciplinary Action
CME Group
NON-MEMBER: Kevin Howard
No person shall enter or cause to be entered an actionable or non-actionable message with intent to disrupt, or with reckless disregard for the adverse impact on, the orderly conduct of trading or the fair execution of transactions.
PENALTY: In accordance with the settlement offer, the Panel ordered Howard to pay a fine to the Exchange in the amount of $50,000 and serve a five business day trading suspension from access to any trading floor owned or controlled by CME Group and from direct and indirect access to any designated contract market, derivatives clearing organization or swap execution facility owned or controlled by CME Group. The suspension shall run from May 3, 2021 through, and including, May 7, 2021.

Disciplinary Action
CME Group
NON-MEMBER:Murchinson Limited Partnership
Any positions in excess of those permitted under the rules of the Exchange shall be deemed position limit violations.
PENALTY: In accordance with the settlement offer, the Panel ordered Murchinson to pay a fine to the Exchange in the amount of $40,000 and disgorge profits in the amount of $24,492.00.

Disciplinary Action
CME Group
Any positions in excess of those permitted under the rules of the Exchange shall be deemed position limit violations.
PENALTY: In accordance with the settlement offer, the Panel ordered NIC to pay a fine to the Exchange in the amount of $30,000 and to disgorge profits in the amount of $18,500.


Is history repeating itself? Broadridge’s acquisition of Itiviti presents many opportunities but also raises many questions about the combined company’s future. For a glimpse into that future, Wei-Shen Wong takes a look into Itiviti’s past.
Wei-Shen Wong – Waters Technology
Broadridge Financial Solutions has more to do before its $2.5 billion acquisition of Itiviti from private equity owner Nordic Capital is closed. For one, it’s still waiting on regulatory approvals. Currently, there are more questions than there are answers as to how exactly it will use Itiviti to move closer to its aim of bridging the gap between the front and back office. But sources agree that there are three main businesses that will be most interesting to keep an eye on: its Nyfix network

Advan Upgrades its “REveal” Platform as demand for Real Estate Geolocation-Sourced Visitation Data surges
Advan Research Corporation
Advan Research, the world’s leading provider of geolocation data for informed decision-making, today announced significant enhancements to REveal, its purpose-built platform that offers the most expansive and deepest source of real estate geolocation data coverage in the marketplace.

Fidelity Halves Its Ant Group Valuation After Beijing’s Clampdown; Asset manager marked Ant shares in several of its funds at prices that implied a $144 billion valuation at the end of February
Serena Ng and Jing Yang – WSJ
U.S. mutual-fund giant Fidelity Investments has drastically changed its view of what Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co. is worth after China’s regulatory crackdown on the financial-technology giant severely dented its growth prospects.

5 Questions with Bill Baruch of Blue Line Futures
Elise Fleischaker via LInkedin
Blue Line Futures, a futures and commodities brokerage, Blue Line Capital, an investment advisor operation, and Blue Creek Capital, Bill Baruch is a frequent contributor to CNBC, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. He recently elected to use the TT platform as part of his CTA offering, and we’re taking this opportunity to learn more about how Bill got to where he is today.

Exclusive: $4.3 billion fintech darling Marqeta is planning an IPO as early as June
Candy Cheng – Insider
Payments processing startup Marqeta plans to make its IPO paperwork public on May 14, and is targeting a listing in mid-to-late June, two sources close to the company told Insider.

Payment Firm Trustly Drops IPO Timeline Amid Review by Watchdog
Charles Daly – Bloomberg
Trustly Group AB has had to shelve plans to raise 8 billion kronor ($950 million) in a stock-market listing after the Swedish payment firm became the target of a regulatory review around its due diligence procedures.

Trustly postpones $9bn flotation after regulator flags concerns; Swedish payment group’s IPO was due to be one of biggest by a fintech company in Europe this year
Richard Milne – FT
Trustly has postponed its proposed $9bn stock market flotation after Swedish regulators raised concerns about the payment company’s lack of due diligence on its end customers.


CME Group Announces Launch of Micro Bitcoin Futures
PR Newswire
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today launched Micro Bitcoin futures, further expanding its suite of crypto derivatives offerings. “We are pleased to introduce this new contract at a time when we continue to see consistent growth of liquidity and participation in our crypto futures and options,” said Tim McCourt, CME Group Global Head of Equity Index and Alternative Investment Products. “At one-tenth the size of one bitcoin, Micro Bitcoin futures will provide an efficient, cost-effective way for a broad array of market participants – from institutions to sophisticated, active traders – to fine-tune their bitcoin exposure and enhance their trading strategies, all while retaining the benefits of CME Group’s standard Bitcoin futures.”

Crypto’s Shadow Currency Surges Past Deposits of Most U.S. Banks
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Tether parent is slated to submit holdings report in May; Token is the coin of the realm on crypto-only exchanges
Tether, the crypto stablecoin backed one-for-one by fiat currencies, surpassed $50 billion in circulation, a sum that’s more than the insured deposits at all but 44 of the thousands of U.S. banks. It’s a remarkable milestone for a token that enjoys wide use as a method of payment in the crypto ecosystem, even as the eponymous private company behind it has endured regulatory scrutiny for its opacity on where it holds the enormous sum of reserves that back the token.

The US is still waiting on its first bitcoin ETF. Here’s what experts say the SEC wants to see before giving approval.
Carla Mozée – Insider
Bitcoin’s fast-growing popularity, increasingly elevated profile in corporate America and swelling market capitalization above $1 trillion have retail and Wall Street investors alike questioning if and when a bitcoin exchange-traded fund can be traded in the US. Those questions are currently before the Securities and Exchange Commission which is being asked in at least nine applications for the green light to launch what could be the first cryptocurrency ETF in the country.

China’s new digital currency will be another tool for its police state
The Editors – Insider
China’s central bank is currently conducting trials for its digital currency, which it hopes to have available for widespread use by the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. But many privacy advocates are alarmed at the amount of data that Chinese authorities will be able to collect through the new digital yuan, and the resulting potential for abuse.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger has doubled down on his criticism of ‘disgusting’ bitcoin
Victoria Cavaliere – Insider
Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and his right-hand man, Charlie Munger, are no fans of cryptocurrency, but on Saturday Munger doubled down on his critique of bitcoin. “Of course I hate the bitcoin success,” Munger said in response to a question during Berkshire’s annual shareholders’ event. “I don’t welcome a currency that’s so useful to kidnappers and extortionists, nor do I like just shoveling out a few extra billions and billions of dollars to somebody who just invented a new financial product out of thin air.”

Charlie Munger: ‘Of course, I hate the bitcoin success’
Julia La Roche – Yahoo Finance
Legendary investor Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B, BRK-A), and his long-time business partner Charlie Munger dissed bitcoin once more at the annual meeting of shareholders on Saturday.

Crypto is rising as an alternative for those left out by old-school banking
Peter McKay – via LInkedIn
Conventional banking either works great for you or not at all these days. Curiously, there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. People on the short end of the situation tend to suffer from high fees, slow transactions, or flat-out unavailability, depending on where they live globally. But crypto is increasingly becoming a viable alternative, as several of the week’s headlines show:

Spot trading volumes on legitimate crypto exchanges hit $1.58 trillion in April
Michael McSweeney – The Block
Data collected by The Block Research shows that spot trading volumes on legitimate exchanges hit a new all-time high for April. As noted by The Block’s Lars Hoffmann, the exchanges listed below saw a collective $1.58 trillion in spot trade volume last month. The $1.58 trillion figure represents a 49% increase compared to March’s $1.06 trillion.

Bitcoin miners generated $1.7 billion in revenue during April
Michael McSweeney – The Block
Bitcoin miners hauled in $1.7 billion in revenue during the month of April, according to new data. The April figure represents a slight decline compared to March’s $1.75 billion, as shown in the chart below. Miners were buoyed by high prices as bitcoin traded at an all-time above $60,000 earlier this month. At press time, bitcoin is trading hands at about $57,500 on Coinbase.

China tells country’s fintech giants to pare back financial services offerings: report
Kollen Post – The Block
China’s central bank is reportedly pushing some of the country’s biggest fintech giants to restrict their offerings to payments. Per an April 30 report from the Wall Street Journal, the People’s Bank of China met with representatives of some of the biggest tech firms in the country to tell them to get broader financial services off of their apps. Many of these firms — whose ranks include Tencent, Meituan and Bytedance — follow a revenue model that Alibaba affiliate Ant Group pioneered, which rolls payments apps into broader applications that include loans and deposits.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin becomes billionaire as Ether hits $3K
Helen Partz – Cointelegraph
Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of the world’s most popular smart contract platform, the Ethereum blockchain, has officially become a crypto billionaire. Buterin’s public Ether address, which he described as his main wallet back in 2018, has hit $1 billion on its balance following Ether’s meteoric rise above a $3,000 price mark on Monday. At the time of writing, the address holds around 333,500 Ether (ETH) now worth $1.029 billion, according to on-chain data from Etherscan, as ETH more than quadrupled in value from around $700 at the beginning of 2021.

Ripple’s CEO says he’s frustrated with the lack of regulatory clarity on cryptocurrencies in the US – but is optimistic about the SEC lawsuit against XRP
Shalini Nagarajan – Insider
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told CNBC on Friday there is a need for “increased clarity” on cryptocurrency regulation in the US. “I give credit to markets like Singapore and even parts of Korea where there really has been a thoughtful government-led effort to define and have clear regulatory frameworks around cryptocurrencies,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

Andreessen Horowitz plans $1bn cryptocurrency VC fund; Third crypto vehicle from longtime supporter will be roughly twice the size of firm’s last one
Miles Kruppa – FT
Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s highest profile venture capital firms, is looking to raise a fund of as much as $1bn to invest in cryptocurrencies and crypto start-ups, after the success of its investment in Coinbase.


Impact of devastating Indian virus surge spreads to politics
India recorded 368,147 new coronavirus cases on Monday and 3,417 deaths as a catastrophic surge sweeps through the country. The latest numbers came after leaders of 13 opposition parties urged the government to launch a free vaccination drive and ensure uninterrupted flow of oxygen to all hospitals. Several hospital authorities over the weekend sought court intervention over oxygen supplies in New Delhi, where a lockdown has been extended by a week in an attempt to contain the wave of infections.

Leaderless Europe Is All Process, Little Substance; To see why the EU struggles to solve any major problem, look no further than a year-long conference to be launched this week.
Andreas Kluth – Bloomberg
One of the most devastating quotes about the European Union is a rhetorical question Henry Kissinger allegedly asked when he was U.S. Secretary of State: “Who do I call when I want to speak to Europe?” There are too many possible answers for the bloc to be credible, he implied. How awkward that the EU has ever since kept adding more.

EU Looks to Open Its Borders After a Year of Pandemic Isolation
Nikos Chrysoloras and Viktoria Dendrinou – Bloomberg
Bloc plans quarantine-free travel for inoculated visitors; New system for non-essential travel could be in place by June
The European Union aims to take a significant step toward a return to normalcy with plans to reopen its borders after months of pandemic-induced restrictions. Just in time for the sumer travel season, Spanish, Italian and Greek beaches along with cities like Paris, Rome and Berlin would be able to welcome travelers who have been fully inoculated against Covid-19, under a proposal by the European Commission.

Biden’s Wall Street cop feels progressives’ heat after hiring blunder; Progressives are eager to see the SEC step up to challenge business because they’re not confident that Democrats in Congress will be able to do that.
Zachary Warmbrodt – Politico
Sen. Elizabeth Warren in January praised Gary Gensler, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, as a “tenacious” Wall Street regulator. Now, after a turbulent first two weeks on the job for Gensler, Warren and her allies are sending a new message: Do better, Gary.

India’s Covid crisis has revealed the real Narendra Modi
Meenakshi Narula Ahamed – CNN
2014, when Narendra Modi became prime minister of the world’s largest democracy, India had long shed her image of being one of the poorest nations teeming with starving and sick people in constant need of foreign aid. Under a team of pro-western reformers, India underwent an economic transformation in the 90’s and by the early 2000’s was being hailed as an economic powerhouse and an attractive partner for the western alliance.

A Tech Company Tried to Limit What Employees Talk About at Work. It Didn’t Go Well; Basecamp’s move to ban political conversations lays bare a sharp divide in the tech industry over how to navigate potentially divisive issues
Katherine Bindley – WSJ
When leaders of the product management and communication software company Basecamp announced last week that it would curb political conversations at work, fallout came fast. Tech employees, workplace consultants and politicians alike assailed the decision on Twitter and LinkedIn, though other company leaders called it a courageous move. Some employees publicly threatened to quit. Ultimately, the Chicago-based company offered buyouts to its staff of about 50. A significant number of employees decided to leave.

Why a $10,000 Tax Deduction Could Hold Up Trillions in Stimulus Funds; The fight over SALT is a case study in the age-old conflict between constituent politics and national policy.
Conor Dougherty – NY Times
In 2017, congressional Republicans capped a tax break that benefits America’s highest-earning households and people with multimillion-dollar homes. Coastal Democrats have been trying to get it back ever since.

Venezuela Releases 6 U.S. Oil Executives to House Arrest; The group, known as the “Citgo 6,” has been held on corruption charges. Their release may be a sign that Venezuela would like to improve relations with the Biden administration.
Clifford Krauss – NY Times
The Venezuelan government released a group of American refinery executives from prison to house arrest in Caracas on Friday, in a possible sign that President Nicolás Maduro would like to improve relations with the Biden administration.

Which Side Is Gary Gensler on? Why did the new SEC chair appoint Wall Street power lawyer Alex Oh, cited for ethics violations while representing Exxon, to head the commission’s enforcement division?
Robert Kuttner -The American Prospect
Progressives were elated when President Biden appointed Gary Gensler to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission. Though Gensler had been at Goldman Sachs before chairing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under President Obama, he turned out to be the best sort of class traitor—someone who knew the insider games well enough to be disgusted by them and be a tough regulator. He was so effective, in fact, that he regularly tangled with Obama’s top aides and their Wall Street allies.


FCA vows more nimble policymaking as it seeks to loosen Spac rules; Proposed changes would bring London more in line with rival centres
Daniel Thomas and Philip Stafford – FT
The UK financial regulator has promised a more nimble approach to policymaking outside the EU as it laid out reform proposals to help lure blank cheque companies to the City of London.

Enforcing KYC, AML Laws Is Key to Reducing Ransomware Attacks, Report Says
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
Jason Somensatto, a former lawyer at decentralized exchange project 0x Labs, is the new acting director of LabCFTC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) financial technology research division.

SPAC Crackdown Threatens Gauzy Forecasts That Power EV Startups
Crystal Kim – Bloomberg
SEC casts wary eye on mergers with little operating history; Investors rely on ‘leaps of faith’ layered on by SPACs and EVs
The marriage between SPACs and clean-tech vehicle startups is on the rocks as regulators push for detail on the one thing most of them lack: a solid business.

Commodity traders in DoJ’s sights as probes tarnish boom times; US increases scrutiny of how groups enjoying bumper profits win business in resource-rich countries
Neil Hume – FT
The past year has been one of the best on record financially for big commodity traders that took advantage of the storm whipped up by the coronavirus crisis to rack up huge profits in the oil market.

Prepared Remarks at SEC Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee Meeting
Chair Gary Gensler – SEC
Good morning. Thank you Chair Garrett, Vice Chair Solomon, and all the committee members for hosting us today. I’m thrilled to meet this committee for the first time. This is my first meeting with any SEC advisory committee, and I’m eager to learn from this distinguished group.

Remarks at Meeting of SEC Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee
Commissioner Hester Peirce – SEC
Thank you, Carla [Garrett] and the rest of the Committee members. I look forward to today’s discussion. Panels and discussions at prior Committee meetings have helped me think about ways to ensure that capital is able to reach communities that have previously seen little capital flowing their way. We have heard how most money comes from people within a founder’s own community, so we need both to empower and expand founders’ communities by embracing technology and maintaining open minds. I am going to keep my comments brief because I have mentioned most of these things before, but I continue to believe the following items are part of the solution to the problems you are going to discuss today:

Public Statement
Remarks to the Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee
Commissioner Allison Lee – SEC
Thank you, Carla [Garrett]. I want to thank the Committee for its work as always, and in particular to thank you all for revisiting the topic of increasing access to capital for underrepresented founders and increasing opportunities for diverse investors.

Report on Administrative Proceedings For the Period October 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021
Rule 900 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice (17 CFR 201.900) requires the Commission’s Secretary to issue a six-month status report on the Commission’s administrative proceedings caseload.

ESA’s Joint Board of Appeal dismissed appeal by Societatea de Asigurare-Reasigurare City Insurance SA against the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority
The Joint Board of Appeal of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs – European Banking Authority, European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, and European Securities and Markets Authority) unanimously decided that the appeal brought by Societatea de Asigurare-Reasigurare City Insurance SA against the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) is inadmissible.

Webinar Series: Registration System Changes
As FINRA’s industry technology developments continue, the systems and work processes used by firms — and industry professionals — to manage registration-related information are also changing. Join us during this webinar series as we discuss topics related to the following areas:

2021 Member Regulatory Workshops
NFA will hold a virtual Member Regulatory Workshop for commodity pool operator (CPO), commodity trading advisor (CTA), futures commission merchant (FCM), forex dealer member (FDM), introducing broker (IB) and swap dealer (SD) Members on May 11-13, 2021.

Investing and Trading

Lemonade CFO Uses Social Media to Connect With Individual Investors; The insurance firm is relying on YouTube and other communication platforms to explain its strategy
Kristin Broughton – WSJ
Insurance firm Lemonade Inc. is turning to social media channels to communicate with individual investors, a group that has demonstrated its influence in recent months by driving up the price of certain companies’ shares.

Age of Excess Renders `Sell in May’ Redundant; Investors don’t need folk aphorisms to warn we’re at a dangerous stage when celebrity CEOs are hosting Saturday Night Live.
John Authers – Bloomberg
Sell in May?
And so we have reached the month of May, when the most annoying of all stock market cliches says that we have to sell and go away. Valuations have suggested that this might be a good idea for a while. But markets can always get even more expensive; valuations don’t help with timing.

The Deli Is a Weird SPAC; Also Goldman culture, Apollo reshuffling, Voltswagen investigation, a SPAC drug lawsuit and hedge-fund meetings in athleisure.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
I sort of assumed that Hometown International Inc., the $100 million or maybe $2 billion deli, would remain a mystery forever, but Mark Vandevelde of the Financial Times seems to have found the person behind it and asked him what he’s up to, and he cheerfully explained it. His name is Manoj Jain and he’s the co-chief investment officer of Maso Capital Investments Ltd., a Hong Kong fund that is one of Hometown’s biggest shareholders.

There’s Plenty Worrying Investors as Europe’s Stocks Hit Records
Kit Rees and Macarena Munoz Montejano – Bloomberg
Investors say missed summer travel, elections among top risks; European stocks have rallied in 2021 on recovery optimism
European equities are at records, vaccination rates are picking up and central banks are funneling trillions of dollars into the economy. But there is still plenty that could go wrong, with a resurgent coronavirus outbreak, another missed summer holiday season and elections keeping investors up at night.

Widespread Commodity Shortages Raise Inflation Fears; For products as diverse as lumber and microchips, price increases are filtering through the economy.
Alan Rappeport and Thomas Kaplan – NY Times
In a normal year, Ron Whelan, vice president of Roger B. Kennedy Construction, receives one or two “Dear Valued Customer” letters from suppliers notifying him of price increases for certain materials. This year, a stack of 30 such warnings sits on his desk in Orlando, Fla., alerting him that things as diverse as lumber, drywall, aluminum and steel are going to cost 10 to 20 percent more.

Five Tech Giants Just Keep Growing; Amid the pandemic, results for behemoths such as Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have surged
Quarterly revenue, change from a year earlier, 1Q 2016 – 1Q 2021
The staff of The Wall Street Journal
If the pandemic had never happened, the tech industry’s clout likely would have risen over the past year. But the economic effects of Covid-19 have catapulted the tech titans to heights few might have imagined possible a year ago. The past week of quarterly financial results from Apple Inc., AAPL -1.51% Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.13% , Inc., AMZN -0.11% Facebook Inc., FB -1.34% and Google-parent Alphabet Inc. put that dominance on vivid display. Each of these companies—already juggernauts pre-pandemic—recorded revenue growth near or above its fastest pace in years.

The rise of the amateur home trader; With the UK’s largest investment platform reporting a 40 per cent jump in net new business, can armchair traders learn from the professionals or do they face plunging themselves into the red?
Jonathan Weinberg
At a time when interest rates on savings are at an all-time low, pension funds have been hit by coronavirus and many face reduced incomes due to the pandemic, retail trading from home has become a side hustle for those hoping to boost their finances. A smartphone or computer, plus an online broker platform, is often all anyone needs to buy and sell everything from currencies to commodities to crypto.

Bridgewater Co-CIO Sees ‘Fair Amount’ of Stock Market in Bubble
Michael P. Regan and Liz McCormick – Bloomberg
Greg Jensen says shorting too early is ‘easiest place to die’; Excessive IPO supply can serve as the pin, Jensen says
Parts of the U.S. equity market are in a bubble, but shorting too early is the “easiest place to die” for an investor, according to Bridgewater Associates LP’s co-chief investment officer Greg Jensen.

Broad commodities price boom amplifies ‘supercycle’ talk; Key raw materials from iron ore to grain rally in tandem as global economy picks up
Neil Hume, David Sheppard, Emiko Terazono and Henry Sanderson – FT
A broad and powerful rally in commodities markets has gathered steam in recent weeks, fuelling expectations among some traders and analysts that a “supercycle” has kicked off as big global economies rev up in tandem.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Global Effort to Save Dwindling Ocean Fish Faces Moment of Truth; Decades of talks to end government subsidies that fuel overfishing could result in a WTO deal this summer, but several nations are seeking exemptions.
Virginia Gewin – Bloomberg
After 20 years of negotiations, the World Trade Organization is accelerating an effort to end $22 billion in government subsidies that prop up fishing industries—a key driver of plummeting fish stocks all over the world.

Big Oil Is Boosting ETF Returns and ESG Funds Are No Exception; Several green ETFs hold stakes in large oil and gas producers, with higher crude prices meaning potentially better earnings.
Claire Ballentine – Bloomberg
The powerful rebound in oil prices has turned exchange-traded funds tracking fossil fuels into some of the best performing in the U.S. this year. Strangely, the rally in crude has been pretty good for products aiming to safeguard the environment, too.

BP seeking to build wind farms off Scotland – The Times
Reuters Staff
BP Plc is preparing to bid for the rights to build wind farms off Scotland, The Times reported early on Monday. BP Chief Executive Officer Bernard Looney told The Times the firm was looking at bidding in the forthcoming Crown Estate Scotland auction to lease the seabed off Scotland for offshore wind project

The UK must try harder if it is to lead the world on climate; Government should get to work on a credible plan for taxing emissions
Martin Wolf – FT
The UK generates a mere 1.1 per cent of global emissions of greenhouse gases. This makes it the 16th largest emitter. Even if all its emissions were to cease tomorrow, the world would hardly notice. So what might be its role? The answer is that it could be both an example and a leader. It can demonstrate what first-rate policy would look like, and it can nudge the world on to a different trajectory before it is too late. The former is vital. It cannot be influential in the world if it is not successful at home. So how is it doing?

Coal Is Getting Even Closer to the End of Its Line; The U.S. is on its way to using less than at any point since the 19th century.
Justin Fox – Bloomberg
In 2020, Americans used 447 million short tons (to distinguish from metric tons) of coal. That’s enough to fill 4 million railroad cars, which sounds like a lot. But it’s also the country’s lowest annual coal consumption since 1965, and even that barely hints at the historical territory coal may soon explore. A few more years at the downward pace of the past decade, and U.S. coal use will reach levels last seen in the 19th century.

Most big investors sceptical over oil majors’ green ambitions; Survey of institutional shareholders raises questions about their rhetoric on engagement
Attracta Mooney and Billy Nauman – FT
Fewer than a fifth of big investors are confident that oil companies will successfully transition to become greener businesses, despite intense pressure from shareholders to cut carbon emissions and pledges from fossil fuel companies to overhaul their operations.

Norway’s $1.3tn oil fund to screen all companies added to its index for ESG risk; World’s largest sovereign wealth fund seeks to regain place as one of the top responsible investors
Richard Milne – FT
Norway’s $1.3tn oil fund will screen the hundreds of new companies it adds to its portfolio each year for environmental, social and governance risks as the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund seeks to regain its place as one of the leading responsible investors across the globe.

ESG outperformance narrative ‘is flawed’, new research shows; Metrics for ‘quality’ such as profitability and conservative investment explain most of sector’s ‘alpha’, academics say
Steve Johnson – FT
The widely held belief that “sustainable” investing delivers outperformance is a mirage and the above-market returns are actually achieved by exposure to so-called style factors long known to boost investment returns, academic research shows.

UK university pension fund proposes net zero investment strategy; But plan draws criticism from academics seeking swift exit from fossil fuels
Chris Flood – FT
The UK universities’ pension scheme has pledged to pursue an investment strategy consistent with net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but its plan has sparked criticism from academics seeking a rapid exit from fossil fuels.

Investors urge Brazil to use green bonds to save the Amazon; Move seen as an untapped option that could satisfy Brazil’s need for capital to halt surging deforestation
Bryan Harris – FT
In Brazil, the debate over environmental protection increasingly hinges on one factor: money. A lack of it is invoked by the Brazilian government when demanding billions from western nations to stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest or when justifying budget cuts at its environmental protection agencies.


BNP Paribas Asset Management Appoints Head Of Fixed Income
BNP Paribas Asset Management (‘BNPP AM’) announces the appointment of Olivier de Larouzière as Chief Investment Officer for Global Fixed Income, as of 23 April 2021. Olivier is based in Paris and reports to Rob Gambi, BNPP AM’s Global Head of Investments.

For Apollo’s New CEO, Insurance Is In—Racy Buyouts, Not So Much; Marc Rowan steers firm toward future as credit-investing titan catering largely to insurers with ample cash to park
Miriam Gottfried – WSJ
Apollo Global Management Inc. APO -0.29% made its name scoring double-digit returns on debt-laden buyouts. Under new Chief Executive Officer Marc Rowan, the firm’s future will become increasingly about finding ways to eke out a few percentage points more than corporate and government bonds pay.

Credit Suisse Gave Archegos Big Leverage for Little Collateral
Marion Halftermeyer. – Bloomberg
Bank offered leverage of 10 times, asked 10% collateral; Swiss bank now cutting back prime brokerage business
Credit Suisse Group AG’s business with Archegos Capital Management enabled the family office to undertake highly-leveraged stock bets with only minimal collateral posted, a strategy that exposed the lender to losses far exceeding its peers when the firm collapsed.

World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Won’t Demand Full Office Return
Lars Erik Taraldsen – Bloomberg
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, will let its employees continue working from home a couple of days a week once the pandemic is over, Chief Executive Officer Nicolai Tangen said.

Credit Suisse made just $17.5m in Archegos fees in year before $5.4bn losses; Paltry revenues raise more questions about strategy of taking risks for wealthy clients
Owen Walker and Stephen Morris – FT
Credit Suisse made just SFr16m of revenue last year from Archegos Capital, the family office whose sudden collapse in March caused the Swiss bank $5.4bn in losses, according to people with knowledge of the relationship.

Asset managers shrink US mutual fund line-up; A staple of the investment landscape for decades is under threat from ETFs and other products
Michael Mackenzie – FT
The number of US mutual funds is shrinking at the fastest pace in at least two decades, reflecting cost pressures and consolidation across the investment industry and strong competition from exchange traded funds.


Tesla Is on Thin Ice With Chinese Regulators; Elon Musk is used to treating the authorities with contempt. That won’t fly in China.
Anjani Trivedi – Bloomberg
Elon Musk has done a better job at selling and making cars in China in just two years than he has in the U.S. over the past decade. As a foreign business, he’s also had a smooth ride with the authorities — until recently.

What the Asian Thought-Leadership Mafia Gets Wrong; A Q&A with author Vasuki Shastry on the real challenges facing Asia once you get past the usual bromides.
Daniel Moss – Bloomberg
Asia is the future of the world economy! The growth is so impressive, the opportunities so marvelous! If I had five Indonesian rupiah for every time an executive or investor has asserted these sentiments, I could retire in comfort tomorrow.

Welcome to the New Casablancas: The World Cities That Stayed Open; International executives are making their way to Dubai and other locales where business is being conducted in person
Yaroslav Trofimov – WSJ
Oliver J. Christof used to spend some 300 days a year traveling the world, drumming up business for his family’s industrial-services company in Austria. In October, when Europe entered a new wave of lockdowns, the family relocated to Dubai, one of the few cities open in a world largely closed.

The vaccination dilemma facing Japan’s CEOs; Does the need to patrol overseas business empires outweigh that of enduring alongside their staff?
Leo Lewis – FT
This time a year ago, Yuji Kuroiwa, the governor of Japan’s Kanagawa prefecture, attempted some light wordplay in the face of a terrifying new disease, economic spasm and life-changing strictures.

Japan’s ambitious carbon target sparks bureaucratic panic; Goal to cut emissions 46% by 2030 unrealistic and made with little planning, experts say
Robin Harding – FT
When Yoshihide Suga pledged to slash Japan’s carbon emissions by 2030, the prime minister received a warm welcome from world leaders at Joe Biden’s climate summit. But his announcement sparked panic across Japan’s bureaucracy.


Twitter will reportedly launch an ad campaign to help local journalists and news outlets gain more followers on the platform
Connor Perrett – Insider
Twitter will take out advertisements in 28 local newspapers across the US to encourage readers to support local journalists and news outlets, Axios first reported.

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CME to permanently close most trading pits

CME to permanently close most trading pits

First Read $40,626/$300,000 (13.5%) Anonymous ++++ Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff Without fanfare or amplification from its executives, the CME Group shut the books on most -- but not all -- of its floor trading history Tuesday afternoon with the...

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