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Blythe Masters Stepping Down and the End of a Blockchain Era; Crypto Pump-and-Dumps | John Lothian News

Blythe Masters Stepping Down and the End of a Blockchain Era; Crypto Pump-and-Dumps

Dec 19, 2018

Blythe Masters Stepping Down and the End of a Blockchain Era; Crypto Pump-and-Dumps

Dec 19, 2018

First Read

Bitmain – What’s Happening to the Billion Dollar IPO?
Thom Thompson, John Lothian News

For the first three quarters of 2018, investors and analysts speculated about when, then if, Bitmain would go public. During a pre-IPO private fund raising, reports leaked out that Bitmain was valuing itself at $15 billion or maybe even $18 billion. During the third quarter bitcoin, which drives industry development, traded at around $6,500, shooting up briefly to the $8,000 range.

Those summer 2018 bitcoin prices were $3,000 higher than current ones. Is it any surprise that Bitmain’s IPO may not launch after all?

According to the recent unconfirmed reports, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong has chilled to the idea of allowing any bitcoin mining equipment firm to list on its exchange given their business models in light of current market conditions. (The SEHK says these reports are just rumors.) Earlier this year media stories had already claimed that Bitmain’s IPO was doomed because, they said, a string of major potential investors turned down the chance to buy into pre-IPO Bitmain. Those reports were later confirmed by a number of potential institutional investors.

To read the rest of this commentary, go here


Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

ICE Futures U.S. has two days of consecutive records in MSCI on December 17. There were 1,234,313 MSCI contracts traded across the complex and 946,981 MSCI Emerging Market contracts traded.~JJL

Nasdaq proposed a rule to increase the entry fees for companies listing shares on the exchange and to increase the number of fee tiers from four to six.~SD

Kansas State University has a “First Look at the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018” aka the 2018 Farm Bill.~SR

TD Ameritrade is among the firms that have stopped advertising on FOX’s Tucker Carlson program after the host made disparaging remarks about immigrants. A total of 17 firms were reported to have dropped Carlson’s show according to this NY Times report.~JJL

There is a 71.5 percent chance that the Fed hikes rates today according to CME’s FedWatch Tool. That is down from the beginning of the month when odds were as high as 84.4 that Powell and crew would kick it up a notch.~SD

Bloomberg is reporting that John Henry is looking at a Nascar investment. Speed driving and speed trading?


Greenspan tells stock investors: ‘Run for cover’
Rachel Koning Beals – MarketWatch
Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman who famously sent global stocks reeling when he warned of “irrational exuberance” at a dinner speech more than two decades ago, is nervous all over again.

***** All is well. Stay calm. All is well.~JJL


What Exactly Is a Bushel? The Question Turns People Into Basket Cases; Prices of agricultural commodities are quoted that way, even though many have never actually come across the baskets; ‘kind of an abstract amount’
Lucy Craymer – WSJ
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China this year have caused gyrations in soybean prices, which recently climbed above $9 a bushel. They also have people buried in soybean math.

***** A bushel is something some put a light under.~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top stories of the day on Tuesday were led by Crain’s Chicago Business’ piece Citadel’s Ken Griffin shares his philanthropic philosophy. He learned the gift of giving from his grandparents. Second went to Bloomberg’s Pros Ditching Bitcoin Market as Interest Ebbs, JPMorgan Says. Third was a top three piece from the past three days about Pat Arbor from the Chicago Sun Times, ‘I’m kind of doomed,’ says ex-CBOT chairman, jailed for months in divorce fight


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Lead Stories

Blythe Masters and the End of a Blockchain Era; The former banker is stepping down as a bubble deflates.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
Blythe Masters is stepping down as CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, the blockchain startup she joined to great fanfare in 2015. The former JPMorganChase & Co. executive, credited with inventing the credit-default swap, says she is making the decision for personal reasons. But in business terms, her timing is good, too: The Bitcoin bubble of 2017 has burst, and so has that of blockchain.

****Other sources: Digital Asset press release, the Financial Times and the WSJ.

Crypto Market Rife With Pump-and-Dump Schemes, Study Shows
Gregor Stuart Hunter – Bloomberg
Almost 5,000 identified on Telegram and Discord messenger apps; Fraud proliferated in regulatory vacuum, research paper finds
Scammers have been successfully manipulating the price of digital assets including Bitcoin so they can dump their holdings onto unsuspecting traders at a higher price, according to a new academic paper mapping out the extent of market abuse in cryptocurrencies.

Stan Druckenmiller Says Algos Are Robbing Markets of Trade Signals
Erik Schatzker and Katherine Burton – Bloomberg
Quant funds can obscure what’s behind price moves, he says; Volatility is no help because there’s ‘no real trend’
Billionaire Stan Druckenmiller is glad he’s no longer in the hedge fund business now that algorithmic and quantitative trading have taken over markets.

Mnuchin Blames Volcker Rule, High-Speed Trading for Volatility
Saleha Mohsin, Jesse Hamilton, and Craig Torres – Bloomberg
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin blamed volatility in equity markets partly on high-speed trading and the effect of the Volcker Rule, adding that he planned to conduct an inter-agency review of market structure.

**** Or as a Reuters column phrased it “Mnuchin pins market volatility on wrong president

EU says bulk of UK financial sector would be cut off by no-deal Brexit
Huw Jones – Reuters
Most banking, insurance and other financial firms in Britain would be cut off from the European Union if there is a no-deal Brexit, the bloc’s executive body said on Wednesday.

Citi faces up to $180m loss on Asian fund’s currencies trade
Laura Noonan – Financial Times
Citigroup could lose as much as $180m on an Asian hedge fund’s ill-fated currencies trade, a person familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.
Citi’s potential losses on the Asian trade, which are still dependent on negotiations with the hedge fund and the cost of unwinding the trade, were first reported by Bloomberg. Citi declined to comment.

****As a result, Citi reorganizes prime brokerage unit (via Reuters).~SD

Crypto miners fight for survival as market turmoil continues; Falling prices and rising costs mean finding efficiencies is key to riding out the storm
Hannah Murphy – FT
Ambitious plans for Britain’s biggest bitcoin mine have come to an abrupt halt. Bladetech, a team of entrepreneurs who have worked on specialist IT projects for the likes of Nato and BAE Systems, announced in March that they were building an industrial facility for the creation of the then-pricey digital currency.

FT Person of the Year: George Soros; The philanthropist has become a standard bearer for liberal democracy, an idea under siege from populists
Roula Khalaf – FT
For a man facing daily attacks for his activism and liberal vision of the world, George Soros was in a curiously buoyant mood on a sunswept afternoon in Marrakesh. He had just visited South Africa, home to his first philanthropic foray in the late 1970s, when he funded black students under apartheid. This time he learnt that Soros-backed investigative media and civil society groups had helped thwart an allegedly corrupt nuclear power plant contract with Russia.

SEC Solicits Public Comment on Earnings Releases and Quarterly Reports
The Securities and Exchange Commission today published a request for comment soliciting input on the nature, content, and timing of earnings releases and quarterly reports made by reporting companies.

Change Is Afoot in the Money Markets – Or Not
George Bollenbacher – TABB Forum
It’s no secret that everything is changing in the world of short-term rates. IBOR replacements, Fed tightening, the impact of Brexit, repo reporting requirements – the news is full of stories. But there are a couple of developments that haven’t gotten much coverage, and they may be the most interesting of all.

Barclays hit with $15m fine over attempts to unmask whistleblower
Kalyeena Makortoff – The Guardian
Barclays has been slapped with a $15m (£12m) fine by a New York regulator over attempts by chief executive Jes Staley and senior management to unmask a whistleblower.

Companies Must Disclose Executive Hedging Strategies; SEC approves rule aimed at shedding light on hedges against a company’s poor performance
Gabriel T. Rubin – WSJ
Companies will have to disclose whether executives and directors can hedge against declines in their companies’ stock, following a vote by U.S. securities regulators on Tuesday.

****Press release from SEC here.

Cut Carbon Through Innovation, Not Regulation; People across the world are rejecting the idea that carbon taxes are the answer to lowering emissions.
John Barrasso – NY Times
The dome being hoisted onto the reactor building during construction of a nuclear power plant in Fangcheng, China. The reactor will be put into service in 2022.CreditCreditVCG, via Getty Images
Leaders from nearly 200 countries met in Katowice, Poland, last week and agreed to rules to carry out the Paris climate accord. Now that the 22,000 delegates have returned home, there are three truths they need to recognize to make actual progress in the hard work of lowering carbon dioxide emissions across the globe.

SFO plans to flip insiders to speed up criminal probes; UK fraud agency wants to make greater use of US-style tactics after case failures
Barney Thompson – FT
The head of the UK Serious Fraud Office says she intends to make greater use of the US-style tactic of persuading insiders to co-operate with investigators to speed up criminal probes following the delay or failure of a number of high-profile cases.

How the Financial Crisis Created the Fracking Revolution; Funding hydraulic fracturing made much more sense once the Fed cut interest rates to zero.
Barry Ritholtz – Bloomberg
You can thank the financial crisis and the Federal Reserve for the fracking revolution. That’s the connection made by this week’s guest on Masters in Business, journalist Bethany McLean, author of the recently published book “Saudi America: The Truth About Fracking and How It’s Changing the World.”

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

LSEG Technology successfully implements Settlement and Depository Solution for Singapore Exchange (SGX)
London Stock Exchange Group
LSEG Technology has successfully implemented Settlement and Central Securities Depository functionality for Singapore Exchange (SGX). In live operation from 10 December 2018, this was a whole market implementation, involving brokers, custodian banks, settlement banks, registrars and retail investors.

NSE gets Sebi’s nod to launch weekly options on Nifty 50 index
Leading bourse NSE Tuesday said it has received markets regulator Sebi’s approval to launch weekly options on Nifty 50 index, a move that will provide hedging tool to market participants to manage the portfolio risk more effectively.

Spain’s BME clears first BrokerTec repos Published
Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro – Global Investor Group
BME signed an agreement in July to clear repo trades for BrokerTec clients

Nasdaq Dubai to launch futures trading from mid-January
Nasdaq Dubai will launch futures trading on the MSCI United Arab Emirates equity index from mid-January, providing investors a new avenue to gain exposure to companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

BSE gets Sebi’s approval to increase trading hours in commodity derivatives
Leading stock exchange BSE Tuesday said it has received Sebi’s permission to increase trading hours by an hour in commodity derivatives segment.


Tech Unicorns Are Going Public at Near-Record Pace; In 2018, 38 companies valued at $1 billion or more at the time of their IPO listed shares in the U.S.
Corrie Driebusch – WSJ
The reign of the unicorn IPO has commenced. Investors gripe that highly valued tech companies are eschewing the public markets and opting to remain private for longer. But in 2018, to little fanfare, 38 tech and internet companies valued at $1 billion or more at the time of their IPO listed shares in the U.S., the most to do so since the height of the dot-com boom in 2000, according to Dealogic.

SIX in Cloud Deal
Swiss stock exchange operator SIX wants to offer safe cloud services in Switzerland. It has teamed up with a tech company that has its roots in real estate.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions Warns Against UK ‘Complacency’ In Fight Against Financial Crime Mondovisione
LexisNexis Risk Solutions, the global information solutions provider, warns that the UK is at risk of becoming complacent in its fight against money laundering. Whilst significant efforts are being made across the financial and professional services sectors, financial criminals remain one step ahead. Huge investments are being made by business to fight these crimes, but London still represents the money laundering capital of the world. Collectively, the country needs to do more to detect and prevent it.


Blythe Masters steps down as CEO of Digital Asset; After more than three and a half years, blockchain pioneer Blythe Masters to leave her role as CEO of Digital Asset.
Jonathan Watkins -The Trade
Financial markets technology pioneer Blythe Masters has stepped down as CEO of Digital Asset for personal reasons, Global Custodian understands.

Hamilton Trades Derivatives for Digital Currency
Jamie Hyman – WatersTechnology
Steve Hamilton, the former COO of the London Stock Exchange’s interest rate derivatives market, CurveGlobal, has joined Archax as head of regulation. The start-up plans to launch a digital securities exchange in mid-2019.

****Press release from Archax here.

Hedge funds to start-ups, industry feels crypto pain
Seema Mody – CNBC
What a difference one year can make. This time last year, bitcoin was cruising to $20,000, two trading exchanges launched bitcoin futures contracts, and a flurry of professionals were leaving big tech and traditional financial firms for the promise of new opportunities in the fast-growing cryptocurrency industry.

eToro Survey Finds Huge Demand for Cryptocurrency Education
David Kimberly – Finance Magnates
The social trading firm found that a lack of knowledge was preventing investors from trading in digital assets. Social trading firm eToro released the results of a survey covering a number of different questions surrounding cryptocurrency this Tuesday. The survey, which was carried out by eToro’s US division, suggests that there is a shortage of decent cryptocurrency educational materials on offer.

The Trader Who Nailed the Bitcoin Top Just Covered His Short
Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Just as the euphoria surrounding Bitcoin was peaking last December, Mark Dow decided to short the leading digital currency. Almost a year to the day, and after a more than 80 percent decline from its record high price, Dow has closed out the trade. “I’m done. I don’t want to try to ride this thing to zero,” Dow said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I don’t want to try to squeeze more out of the lemon. I don’t want to think about it. It seemed like the right time.”

Waves Platform Raises $120 Million for Private Blockchain
Ilya Khrennikov – Bloomberg
Russian engineer Ivanov aims to compete with IBM’s Hyperledger; Large firms mistrust security of open blockchains: Ivanov
Waves Platform, a public blockchain network that has helped digital startups create tokens, said it raised $120 million for itself to roll out a private version of its Vostok system for corporations and governments.

The Ethereum ICO: Where did all the tokens go?
Amy Castor – The Block Crypto
Was ether a security at some point? The first place legal experts should look into is the project’s crowdsale; More than 40% of the ether sold went to the top 100 purchasers. And the three largest purchasers went home with roughly 1 million ether each; The largest beneficiaries of the contributor allotment were the project’s eight co-founders, but the “reward” distribution was egalitarian, according to Ethereum’ creator Vitalik Buterin; Until a judge steps in, the issue will continue to be open to debate
One nagging question hanging over the crypto space is whether ether, the native token of Ethereum and the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap isóor wasóa security.

The Crypto Space Is A Void
Yaya Fanusie – Forbes
Blockchain hype is dead. And may it rest in peace. For the past few years, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologyówhich many enthusiasts refer to affectionately and imprecisely as “the crypto space”óhave been touted as imminent economic disruptors of the 21st century. Yet enthusiasm about the technology has often blurred the line between what is happening with crypto, what is hoped for, and what is hype.

Michael Novogratz Predicts Bitcoin Declines Won’t Get (Too Much) Worse
Annie Massa and Erik Schatzker – Bloomberg
Sees digital coin price between $3,000 and $6,000 in near term; “Cool” macro era looks more exciting than crypto, he says
Michael Novogratz doesn’t expect Bitcoin’s price declines to deepen much more, despite a dismal run for virtual currency investors in 2018.

Bitcoin SV’s Nightmare Could Be Coming True
Billy Bambrough – Forbes
Bitcoin SV, which last month split from bitcoin cash after a so-called hash war as two developer camps fought for control of the bitcoin fork, is in danger of falling out of the top ten biggest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization as rivals including tron, cardano, IOTA, and monero make gains.

Real Talk with JJ Kinahan and Thomas Chippas
TD Ameritrade Network


Trump Wants the Fed to ‘Feel the Market.’ That’s Pretty Good Advice, Actually.
Neil Irwin – NY Times
Usually, older businessmen who are unhappy about what the Federal Reserve is doing grumble to their golfing buddies, or maybe appear as guests on CNBC. The president prefers Twitter.
But in his latest inveighing on monetary policy, President Trump actually made a somewhat profound observation about one of the eternal dilemmas of central banking.

Mnuchin Says He’ll Stay in Trump’s Cabinet Until 2020 or Beyond
Saleha Mohsin and Jennifer Jacobs
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he plans to stay in his post through the 2020 presidential election — and perhaps longer if asked. “I foresee myself here at least through the first term and if the president wants me here for a second term when he’s re-elected, I would seriously entertain that,” Mnuchin said Tuesday in a roundtable interview at Bloomberg’s Washington office.

The Trump Foundation Gets Put to Sleep; New York’s attorney general dissolves the president’s personal piggy bank, but a lawsuit against the faux charity alleging fraud continues.
Timothy L. O’Brien – Bloomberg
The Trump Foundation, a tiny New York outfit masquerading as a philanthropy but operating, essentially, as a personal piggy bank for the president of the United States, is no more.

Markets Join Trump in Pleading for the Fed to Stop; They are truly fighting the central bank for the first time since early 2017.
Brian Chappatta – Bloomberg
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was a lot more popular when stocks were setting records.

Opinion: Why free-market economists aren’t impressed with Trump’s deregulation efforts; When regulations are cut, it’s more about aiding politically important special interest groups than furthering free-market principles
Scott Sumner – MarketWatch
Along with tax cuts, deregulation is one of the signature policies of the Trump administration. Surprisingly, some free-market economists, myself included, are less than enthusiastic about these policy changes. The skepticism reflects two factors: the offsetting increase in regulation in some areas and the type of deregulation that is occurring.

Trump’s tax cuts are a bust
Jill Filipovic – CNN
A year after President Donald Trump’s much-touted tax cuts were signed into law, at least some of the results are in, and there are clear winners: Millionaires. Big corporations. And that’s about it.

MPs call for resignation of Lloyds Bank CEO; Bank criticised for response to fraud at HBOS branch
Nicholas Megaw – FT
A group of MPs have called for Lloyds Bank chief executive AntÛnio Horta-OsÛrio to resign over the bank’s handling of a fraud that affected scores of small business customers.


SEC Publishes Two Reports on Credit Rating Agencies Showing Continued Focus on Compliance and Competition
Credit rating agencies registered with the SEC continue to promote compliance by enhancing their policies, procedures, and internal controls in response to Commission rules and staff examinations. SEC staff reports released today on nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs) show that some firms are self-reporting instances of noncompliance and some smaller firms are continuing to compete with the larger firms in certain rating categories.

Husband of UBS M&A Director Sued by SEC for Insider Trading
Matt Robinson – Bloomberg
Peter Cho eavesdropped on then-fiancÈe on upcoming deal: SEC; Agrees in settlement to return $250,000 in illicit gains
His fiancee didn’t know he was eavesdropping. He swiftly made more than $250,000.

Monetary Authority Of Singapore Bans Tim Leissner For Life
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced today that it has increased the ban against Mr Tim Leissner to a lifetime Prohibition Order (PO). This follows Mr Leissner’s admission to criminal charges brought against him by the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ).

SEC: Daniel Kahl Named Deputy Director Of The Office Of Compliance Inspections And Examinations
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Daniel Kahl has been named Deputy Director of the agency’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE).

SEC Charges Former Panasonic Executives
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged two former senior executives of the U.S. subsidiary of Panasonic Corp. with knowingly violating the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws and causing similar violations by the parent company.

ASIC temporarily extends disclosure related relief for superannuation funds
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has extended an ASIC relief instrument to allow additional time to consider the policy position in relation to a disclosure-related obligation of superannuation trustees.

ESMA tells firms to provide clients with information on the implications of Brexit
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued today a statement to remind firms, providing investment services, of their obligations to provide clients with information on the implications of the United Kingdom’s (UK) withdrawal from the European Union (EU) on their relationship with clients and on the impact of Brexit-related measures that a firm has taken or intends to take.

ESMA consults on measures to promote sustainability in EU capital markets
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today launched three public consultations on sustainable finance initiatives to support the European Commission’s (EC) Sustainability Action Plan in the areas of securities trading, investment funds and credit rating agencies (CRAs).

FINRA Announces Updates of the Interpretations of Financial and Operational Rules
FINRA is updating the imbedded text of Securities Exchange Act (SEA) financial responsibility and reporting rules in the Interpretations of Financial and Operational Rules to reflect the effectiveness of certain amendments the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted. The updated imbedded text relates to SEA Rules 15c3-1g and 17a-5.

SEC Adopts Final Rules for Disclosure of Hedging Policies
The Securities and Exchange Commission today approved final rules to require companies to disclose in proxy or information statements for the election of directors any practices or policies regarding the ability of employees or directors to engage in certain hedging transactions with respect to company equity securities.

Re: RIN 3038óAE76: Registration and Compliance Requirements for Commodity Pool Operators and Commodity Trading Advisors
Dear Mr. Kirkpatrick:
National Futures Association (NFA) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC or Commission) proposal to amend its regulations regarding registration and compliance requirements for Commodity Pool Operators (CPOs) and Commodity Trading Advisors (CTAs), which was published in the Federal Register on October 18, 2018. The proposal includes an amendment that would prohibit a person that is subject to a statutory disqualification, or who employs a principal subject to a statutory disqualification, from claiming or affirming an exemption from CPO registration. It also seeks to amend existing CFTC regulations by codifying existing staff guidance and no action relief. NFA supports the proposed changes, and respectfully requests that the Commission consider the following comments.

Opening up and speaking out: diversity in financial services and the challenge to be met
Speech by Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, delivered at Ropemaker Place, London.

Santander UK Plc (Santander) fined £32.8m for serious failings in its probate and bereavement process
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined Santander £32,817,800 for failing to effectively process the accounts and investments of deceased customers.

Statement on the CMA’s response to the Citizens Advice super-complaint on excessive prices for disengaged consumers
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published its response to the Citizens Advice super-complaint on excessive prices for disengaged consumers. The super-complaint covers several markets, including insurance, cash savings and mortgages.

FCA to probe link between companies’ poor diversity and misconduct; Move follows surge in complaints about sexual harassment, homophobia and bullying
Caroline Binham – FT
A surge of whistleblower complaints about sexual harassment, homophobia and bullying across the City of London has prompted the UK’s financial regulator to examine whether there is a link between a company’s lack of diversity and misconduct.

FCA Fines Santander $42 Million Over Dead Customers’ Funds
Kaye Wiggins – Bloomberg
Bank failed to pass on inheritances when customers died; Santander apologizes, says it’s now improved its processes
The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority fined Banco Santander SA’s U.K. unit 32.8 million pounds ($42 million) — the regulator’s biggest penalty this year — for failing to pass on inheritances to dead customers’ beneficiaries.

Regulator Fines Glencore Copper Unit $21.3 Million; Canadian authorities say mining firm misled investors about risks and production figures in Congo
Scott Patterson – WSJ
Canada’s main stock-market regulator issued a record $21.3 million fine to a Glencore GLNCY -0.28% PLC-controlled copper-mining company to settle allegations that it misled investors.

Canada fines Glencore’s head of copper trading $1.8m
Henry Sanderson and Neil Hume – FT
One of the top lieutenants of Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg has been fined C$2.45m ($1.8m) and banned from serving as a company director for four years, after the company’s subsidiary in the Congo was found to have issued misleading financial statements.

Investing and Trading

US Fixed Income Markets 2018 Recap: An Evolving Ecosystem
Colby Jenkins – TABB Forum
The US fixed income markets in 2018 were as much defined by growth as they were by the significant steps forward taken for electronification and workflow evolution. For the sixth in a series of reports tracking an expanding list of critical factors impacting the OTC fixed income markets, TABB Group has again outlined the critical patterns defining the new fixed landscape.

Stock Markets Are Wild, but Bond Markets Can Be Dangerous
Matt Phillips and Peter Eavis – NY Times
Ask someone how “the Dow” is doing and, even if they don’t know the answer, they’ll know what you’re talking about. Ask them about the bond market and you’ll most likely get a blank stare.
When it comes to the economy, however, bonds are far more important than stocks.

IPO activity next year could dampen if markets do not rebound: report
Aparajita Saxena – Reuters
The excitement of proposed initial public offerings by ride-hailing rivals Uber and Lyft next year may not be enough to encourage other firms to follow suit, as they fear that slowing global growth and rocky stock markets dragging into next year could threaten market debut valuations.

How Dynasties Secure Their Fortunes in the Trump Era; Loopholes allow families to pass money from generation to generationóforever.
Ben Steverman – Bloomberg
Imagine, if you can, that you’re one of the richest people in the U.S., in the top 0.1 percent or so, with a net worth measured in the tens or hundreds of millions. Now picture your wealthy self sitting in a conference room. The tangle of Midtown Manhattan rises outside a window. Frosted glass hides you from a hallway. Sitting across a stone-and-wood table, your trusted advisers deliver the good news: You’ve received a very thoughtful gift from the U.S. government.

Hedge funds give up on indecisive “Doctor” copper
Andy Home – Reuters
Fund managers have thrown in the towel on the copper market. The mega long position accumulated on the COMEX copper contract in 2017 is long gone. So too is the equally monstrous collective short bet seen more recently in August this year. The money men look set to close out 2018 neutral on copper, unsure what the metal with the honorary doctorate in economics has to say on the global manufacturing outlook.

The $7.9 Trillion Pile of Negative-Yielding Debt Is Growing Fast
Ruth Carson and Chikako Mogi – Bloomberg
Bonds have best December since 2011; JGB yields approach zero; Markets are worried a recession is on its way, Nissay says
For all the hand wringing over the end of ultra-loose monetary policy, the world just doesn’t seem able to shake its addiction to negative-yielding debt.


Natixis takes one-off hit from Asian derivatives
Inti Landauro, Matthieu Protard – Reuters
French bank Natixis (CNAT.PA) will book 260 million euros (233.78 million pounds) of losses and provisions related to Asian stock derivative operations in the fourth quarter, it said on Tuesday.

Hedge funds showing signs of caution towards US equities; Fund managers are reducing their exposure despite falling valuations making stocks look cheap
Laurence Fletcher – FT
Hedge funds are showing caution heading into 2019 by reducing their exposure to equities despite cheap valuations, normally a buy signal for fund managers, and strong US economic data.

Trader Gunvor Pursued by China for Allegedly Evading Tariffs
Alfred Cang and Andy Hoffman – Bloomberg
Gunvor ordered by Chinese court to pay government $54 million; Oil trader says it wasn’t party to Chinese court proceedings
Gunvor Group Ltd., one of the world’s largest energy traders, was ordered to pay the Chinese government $54 million for import tariffs it allegedly evaded by smuggling oil into the country.

Danske Criminal Probe Leads to First Bankers Being Apprehended
Ott Ummelas – Bloomberg
Estonian police have detained 10 former Danske Bank employees; Detentions are latest step in Europe’s biggest laundering case
n international criminal investigation into Danske Bank A/S has led to the first group of bankers being apprehended, and prosecutors say more will probably follow.


US shale juggernaut will stomp on Opec’s oil plans; Next year does not look like a time to be betting on the price getting much stronger
David Sheppard – FT
Opec and Russia started the year cutting oil production, spent the middle of the year raising production and have ended the year by agreeing to cut it again.

Estonia arrests 10 former employees of embattled Danske Bank; Move is first to target individuals in vast money laundering scandal
Richard Milne – FT
Estonian prosecutors detained 10 former employees of Danske Bank on suspicion of knowingly enabling money laundering and threatened that more arrests were likely over the largest dirty money scandal yet uncovered.

Germany Tightens Foreign Investment Rules With Wary Eye on China
Arne Delfs – Bloomberg
Rule lowers threshold for government review to 10% stake; Non-EU companies targeted in bid to shield sensitive sectors
Germany tightened its grip on investment by companies from outside the European Union, lowering the threshold for government probes of stakes in German businesses.

Investment Banker Exodus Hits Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong, Singapore
Cathy Chan – Bloomberg
About 50 bankers have left in H.K., Singapore since May; CEO said in May that he wants to remain “strong” in Asia
Deutsche Bank AG, the German lender that’s struggling to enact a turnaround, has seen a surge in turnover among investment bankers in Asia since May, as cost-cutting and sinking morale has prompted dealmakers to leave, people with knowledge of the matter said.


British business slams government plans for no-deal Brexit; Business groups ‘watching in horror’ as ministers ramp up planning for disorderly exit
Jim Pickard, David Bond and George Parker – FT
The UK’s five leading business groups have attacked the idea of a “managed no-deal” Brexit the day after the cabinet descended into acrimony over whether Britain could leave the EU without a pact with Brussels.

What Game Theory Says About May’s Brexit Choices; The U.K. prime minister may already have made too many compromises to be able to opt for either a hard withdrawal or a new referendum to remain.
Mohamed A. El-Erian – Bloomberg
Almost immediately after she safeguarded her position as leader of the Conservative Party on Dec. 12, Prime Minister Theresa May headed to Brussels to try to gain concessions from the European Union before a second vote in Parliament on a Brexit deal. Her tireless efforts are commendable. But if success eludes her in the next few weeks, her negotiating stance will be increasingly costly to maintain — economically, politically and socially — strengthening the case for a determined, though risky, pivot.

EU Unveils `Essential And Urgent’ No-Deal Plans: Brexit Update
Ian Wishart, Kitty Donaldson and Thomas Penny – Bloomberg
The European Union is stepping up its planning for a messy Brexit without a deal, as Theresa May’s government unveils its blueprint for a future immigration regime.

British government to activate full ‘no-deal’ Brexit preparations
Kylie MacLellan, Sarah Young – Reuters
The British government said on Tuesday it would implement plans for a no-deal Brexit in full and begin telling businesses and citizens to prepare for the risk of leaving the European Union without an agreement.

John Lothian Newsletter

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Biden to Nominate CFTC Picks to Fill Three Democratic Seats

Biden to Nominate CFTC Picks to Fill Three Democratic Seats

First Read $53,406/$300,000 (17.8%) ++++ Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff Here is the fourth in the series of reflections by Ray Pellecchia, this one titled "My 9/11 and Beyond: Friday, September 14." Tim Mahoney, the former CEO of BIDS Trading, a New...

Brevan Howard hires CMT Digital CEO to lead crypto venture investments

Brevan Howard hires CMT Digital CEO to lead crypto venture investments

First Read $53,406/$300,000 (17.8%) ++++ FEX Global Makes Its First Trade John Lothian - John Lothian News The first power trade on the Australian start-up exchange FEX Global was made Friday, September 10, and it was truly a global story. The trade was made using a...

Generation 9/11: Following Parents They Lost Onto Wall Street

Generation 9/11: Following Parents They Lost Onto Wall Street

First Read 53,406/$300,000 (17.8%) ++++ Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff The FIA has published a reflection on the 20-year anniversary of September 11, 2001, honoring the many acts of bravery and courage shown that day. -- FIA Here is a remembrance from...

John Lothian Newsletter

We visit more than 100 websites daily for financial news (Would YOU do that?)

“John Lothian and Company… our industry intelligence.”

Rick Lane

CEO, Trading Technologies

Past JLN Newsletters

Here’s why your food prices keep going up

Here’s why your food prices keep going up

First Read $53,406/$300,000 (17.8%) ++++ Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff The SEC has surpassed $1 billion in awards for its whistleblower program with the latest awards totalling $114 million, including an award of $110 million to a single whistleblower....

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