Hits & Takes
By John Lothian & JLN Staff
My commentary here yesterday was picked up by Lynne Marek of Crain’s Chicago Business, who included parts about my difficulties applying for the Payroll Protection Plan program of the CARES Act in a story she wrote
And almost miraculously after JLN was published yesterday, a banker friend at the bank that holds the commercial accounts of John J. Lothian & Company, Inc. contacted me to say they were now accepting inquiries of interest for the PPP program from not only customers, but non-customers too. So I filled out the form he sent a link for and I am awaiting a response from the bank.
The bank must have received a lot of interest in the program last week and worked over the weekend to set up its plan. It also must have seen an opportunity beyond serving its clients, to attract new clients whose banks are putting up barriers the government did not include in the bill for companies to participate. Good for them.
I chose to try to participate in the government’s programs to help protect JJLCO from the negative impact of the quarantine and FIA cancelling the Boca conference this year. That is an important conference for us to see our readers, sponsors and prospects. It is where we get a lot of the editorial ideas for stories to pursue and develop. And all that helps attract and retain sponsors.
Also, the negative impact of this virus on the event business is evident and calls into question the revenue we experience from our MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity series during the summer.
Anyone looking for a chief risk officer? I know an experienced guy who is available.
On April 2, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “What to Put in a Covid-19 Emergency Home-Care Kit.” This is good information for if and when someone gets sick in your home. Some of the items are harder to get right now, like rubber or latex gloves, but there are lots of “do-it-yourself” hacks you can use.
Bondciq has issued a report titled “The Corporate Bond Markets BIG PROBLEM.”
Peter Tuchman shared a video on LinkedIn to say his fever broke after 17 days of having the coronavirus and he is doing better. Tuchman is an iconic NYSE Trader often pictured on the trading floor with his white hair, beard and mustache.
Remember to reach out to your family, friends, colleagues and others to help keep their spirits up during this time while we are all separated and in quarantine.
Lastly, I was so desperate for a haircut yesterday, I had my wife cut my hair. I could not risk my son Robby giving me a haircut. He might have gotten even with me for all the terrible ones I gave him when he was little.
Stay in, Stay Safe! ~JJL
In lighter news, the NY Post has the story When to see the brightest full moon of the year, which happens to be tonight just after 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. It’s called the “super pink moon,” although it won’t actually be pink.~SR
How small-biz owners can get COVID relief; Assistance programs are available, but navigating the options isn’t easy. Here’s a how-to guide, with links.
Lynne Marek – Crain’s Chicago Business
For small businesses in Chicago feeling the impact of the coronavirus, federal, state, city and county programs are available, offering grants, loans and other resources.
*****Thank you to Lynne Marek for sharing my experience as of yesterday.
Johnson’s Move to ICU Puts All Hands on Deck to Avert the Worst
John Lauerman and Marthe Fourcade – Bloomberg
Shift to intensive care steps up monitoring of U.K. premier; 70% of ICU cases not initially on ventilators seen to survive
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s move to a London intensive-care unit is aimed at avoiding the most severe consequences of the coronavirus at a point when the illness sometimes takes a turn for the worse.
*****Who is the vice premier?~JJL
The young and eventful Senate career of wealthy Georgia businesswoman Kelly Loeffler
Manuel Roig-Franzia – Washington Post
The young and eventful Senate career of Kelly Loeffler, a wealthy Georgia business executive and political neophyte, was born in a maelstrom and was barely three months old when it entered another. Maelstrom No. 1 came with her appointment in December by Georgia’s Republican governor to fill a vacant Senate seat. In picking Loeffler, the governor angered right-wing Republicans who had wanted the job to go to Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.), a staunch supporter of President Trump and lively critic of his impeachment.
***** A long look at the Kelly Loeffler story.~JJL
Income of 73% in US hit by outbreak — FT-Peterson poll; Survey shows high and lower earners have felt financial impact of lockdowns
Lauren Fedor and Christine Zhang – FT
Nearly three-quarters of Americans say the coronavirus pandemic has reduced their family’s income, with nearly half saying they would be without any income at all if they were unable to work because of illness, according to a new poll for the Financial Times.
*****Does this take into account the increased value of their toilet paper portfolio/stash?~JJL
Making Payroll, Rehiring, and Paying Yourself During the Covid-19 Pandemic; Small business owners across the country have questions about government lending programs aimed at keeping employees working— here are some answers.
Nick Leiber – Bloomberg
If, like my septuagenarian parents, you run or work for one of the one in four small businesses in America that had to close temporarily because of the Covid-19 pandemic, you’re probably scrambling to understand your options to keep paying your employees, among other concerns. The Trump administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a $349 billion rescue package, is meant to help tide you over for a few months. It’s available for a range of small businesses and nonprofits, from those with hundreds of employees (up to 500 employees) to self-employed individuals.
*****Everyone through the door before the money runs out, FAST!!!!~JJL
Grocery workers are beginning to die of coronavirus
At least four people – who had worked at Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Giant – have died from covid-19 in recent days
Abha Bhattarai – The Washington Post
Major supermarket chains are beginning to report their first coronavirus-related employee deaths, leading to store closures and increasing anxiety among grocery workers as the pandemic intensifies across the country. A Trader Joe’s worker in Scarsdale, N.Y., a greeter at a Giant store in Largo, Md., and two Walmart employees from the same Chicago-area store have died of covid-19 in recent days, the companies confirmed Monday.
*****Risk and reward. Lots of opportunity in grocery store jobs now.~JJL
LA Has The Cleanest Air In The World, Report Says
CBS Los Angeles
With so many people staying at home and off the roads, Los Angeles currently has the cleanest air in the world, according to IQ Air’s live quality city ranking.
***** The world is turned upside down.~JJL
Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was a repeat of Friday’s top story – ‘We are in an unprecedented moment of global distress’: Read the full memo billionaire Ken Griffin sent to Citadel employees on the coronavirus crisis, from the Washington Post. Second was another WaPo story, People are recreating famous artworks with their pets and whatever else is lying around. Third was JLN’s Jeff Carter – Open Outcry Traders History Project video interview.
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Greed and Fear Collide: Wall Street Calls Traders Back to Office
Michelle F Davis, Max Abelson, and Donal Griffin – Bloomberg
With billions at stake, managers want staff on trading floor; At JPMorgan, tensions over needing doctor’s note to stay home
On April 2, the day that Coronavirus infections around the globe hit 1 million, managers inside JPMorgan Chase & Co. were emailing their latest plans for staffing New York-area trading floors amid the deadly pandemic. One worker on the sales team noticed a colleague wasn’t on the list and asked where he’d be. “Corona Town, U.S.A.,” the person wrote back. Then one of the bank’s credit-trading leaders, Nicholas Adragna, weighed in: “The trading desk will be in the office unless they have a medical condition with a dr’s note.”
Cryptocurrency Investors Sue Exchanges, Issuers in New York
Bob Van Voris and Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
A group of investors sued four cryptocurrency exchanges and seven issuers claiming they sold billions of dollars of unregistered digital tokens and other securities in violation of U.S. securities laws. The lawsuits name exchanges Binance, Bibox, BitMEX and KuCoin, and issuers Block.one, Tron, Bancor, Civic, Kybercoin, Quantstamp and Status, according to attorneys for the plaintiffs. The suits, filed late Friday in Manhattan federal court, seek to represent classes of cryptocurrency investors.
SIX and Nasdaq join forces to expand microwave network for faster data access; Exchange groups will form a new jointly-owned company aimed at expanding the microwave network in Europe.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Exchange operators SIX Group and Nasdaq Nordics have teamed up to enable faster transmission of data for market participants by expanding the European microwave network. Both will create a jointly-owned company in the first quarter this year, known as RF Nordics Express AB, to expand the microwave network in the region, with microwave transmission routes from London to Stockholm.
US small business rescue runs into operational difficulties; Federal Reserve reveals new facility aimed at speeding flow of funds to main street
Laura Noonan and Robert Armstrong – FT
US banks have struggled to handle an avalanche of applications for $350bn in government-backed loans for small businesses, prompting bipartisan concern in Congress and a new Federal Reserve funding facility aimed at easing the logjam at lenders.
NYSE says industry will review circuit-breakers after vertiginous drops; US benchmark S&P 500 can drop a maximum 7 per cent before first protection kicks in
Philip Stafford – FT
The New York Stock Exchange is planning to review the effectiveness of market-wide systems designed to dampen extreme volatility after circuit-breakers were tripped several times last month during a stampede from risky assets.
Finance experts note importance of workforce diversity, global collaboration
Against a backdrop of startling international developments, such as Brexit and the Hong Kong protests, Japan’s financial sector is uniquely positioned to step out of the shadows of its competitors in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Cantor Fitzgerald in $3.2 million settlement for blue sheet data errors; US regulator said Cantor Fitzgerald submitted blue sheet data with inaccurate or missing information on around 35 million transactions.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
US broker Cantor Fitzgerald will pay $3.2 million to settle charges for submitting incomplete and inaccurate ‘blue sheet data’ to the financial regulator.
FTSE Russell and JSE launch fixed income indices; LSEG’s FTSE Russell has been working with JSE on providing equity indices since 2002.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange Group’s FTSE Russell has expanded its long-standing partnership with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to launch a series of co-branded of fixed income indices.
Eurex adds to MSCI index-based futures and options; Eurex Exchange continues to expand its MSCI index-based derivatives after adding to suite of products this week.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
European derivatives exchange Eurex has confirmed it has added a further 14 futures and two options to its current MSCI index-based derivatives suite. The new derivatives were added to the exchange this week and include futures on MSCI Kuwait, which will enter the MSCI Emerging Markets index at the end of May. It also includes further European country futures on the Netherlands, Spain and Nordics region.
Data can be a powerful tool against coronavirus; But privacy should remain a priority for democratic governments
The editorial board – FT
Throughout history, diseases have emerged at intervals with the capacity to kill millions. Perhaps the biggest difference between the Covid-19 pandemic and any before it is the volume of information available to the authorities trying to fight it. Smartphones collect millions of data points which can help to shape public policy. But with this tremendous potential for public health comes a serious risk of misuse and erosion of democratic norms.
Scandal Follows Crisis After 35 Bond Funds Frozen in Sweden
Charles Daly and Love Liman – Bloomberg
Savings economist says some fund practices are ‘reprehensible’; FSA sees reason to analyze what happened, look for improvement
The liquidity crunch that shuttered 35 bond funds in Sweden last month has revealed some disturbing truths about the country’s credit market. As the spread of Covid-19 across Europe triggered a sell-off in corporate bonds, investors keen to withdraw their savings in Sweden suddenly learned they couldn’t.
European Banks Prepared for a Crisis. But Not This One; The financial impact of the coronavirus surpasses the old worst-case scenarios, threatening a credit crunch or even a new financial crisis.
Jack Ewing – NY Times
It was supposed to be a drill. Government overseers would test whether European banks could survive a hypothetical perfect storm that included a steep economic downturn, plunging stock prices and a collapse in consumer spending.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Trading to Continue After the State of Emergency Declaration
The government of Japan has today announced its plan to make a state of emergency declaration effective from April 8 over the Covid-19 outbreak. Despite this, trading on all markets of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Osaka Exchange and Tokyo Commodity Exchange is scheduled to continue as normal on April 8 and beyond.
JPX response to spread of novel coronavirus
In regard to the spread of the novel coronavirus, Japan Exchange Group (JPX) understands the need to fulfil its duty as public infrastructure by ensuring continued smooth operation of the market. For this reason, JPX has responded by establishing a BCP (Business Continuity Plan) Emergency Headquarters headed by Group CEO Kiyota Akira and implementing the following measures.
Disclosure by Listed Companies to Continue after the Declaration of a State of Emergency
As separately announced, after the Declaration of State of Emergency, the trading at Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE) is scheduled to continue. Therefore TSE has informed listed companies, as below, that the timely disclosure will continue to be required after the Declaration of State of Emergency.
SGX RegCo grants automatic 60-day extension for issuers to hold AGMs
Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo), in consultation with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), will automatically extend by 60 days the deadline for all issuers with financial year-end (FY-end) on or before 31 March 2020 to hold their annual general meetings (AGMs).
Eurex extends MSCI offer with 14 futures and 2 options
With 122 listed MSCI index-based futures, 20 MSCI index-based options and an open interest of around 2.5 million contracts, Eurex is already the exchange with the broadest MSCI index-linked offering tradable on one platform, and the highest open interest globally.
Monthly figures for March at Eurex and EEX; March and Q1 2020 saw growth across a range of product classes and services at Eurex and EEX.
March and Q1 2020 saw growth across a range of product classes and services at Eurex and EEX. Across the whole of Q1 2020, overall volumes in OTC clearing showed growth, with an average daily cleared volume of 144 billion EUR – up 12% from 128 billion EUR in Q1 2019. These figures include strong growth in the IRS product, reaching an ADV of 16 billion EUR – up 40% from 11 billion EUR in Q1 2019. Notional outstanding volume was 17,575 billion EUR in March 2020, of which 40% was in IRS.
LCH EquityClear goes live with LSEG post-trade tech platform; Migration to LSEG’s clearing and risk technology platform Millennium will reduce end of processing time for market participants.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
LCH EquityClear has completed a migration to the London Stock Exchange Group’s (LSEG) Millennium clearing and risk technology platform.
BOX Exchange Update: Adding Quote Timestamp Field To SAIL Protocol
BOX Exchange (“BOX”) recently distributed RC-2020-03 which detailed the updates BOX is making to its SAIL Protocol. The new field will allow BOX to report timestamps to the CAT that are related to quote data on behalf of Market Makers. All BOX Market Makers will be required to support the new field.
LCH suffered longest operational outages of top CCPs in 2019
Louie Woodall – Risk.net
LCH Ltd and LCH SA experienced operational failures in 2019 that lasted 12 hours in total, far and away the longest outages among top central counterparties, Risk Quantum analysis shows.
Europe’s Tech Czar Says Strict Rules Will Build Public Trust in AI; Margrethe Vestager has support from Google and Facebook in her quest to make European citizens feel safe in the digital world.
Natalia Drozdiak, Aoife White – Bloomberg
Margrethe Vestager, once Silicon Valley’s top foe, may turn into its best ally by pushing for the tighter oversight that Big Tech says it needs to be saved from itself.
UK Fintech Chip Appoints Philip Wright As New CFO
Samantha Hurst – Crowdfund Insider
UK-based fintech Chip announced on Monday it has appointed Philip Wright as its new CFO. Chip reported that prior to joining its team, Philip was the CFO at Auto Service Finance and Babylon Health. He also leadership roles at Funding Circle (Interim Financial Operations Director) and GE Capital (Client Finance Leader – Store and Affinity Cards).
Plaid gives lenders access to small business payroll data to speed emergency loan approval
Kate Rooney – CNBC
Plaid, which is being acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion, is building a product that speeds the payroll portion of emergency loan applications from days to a matter of minutes. As part of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill signed last week, the U.S. government is facilitating at least $350 billion in loans to small businesses. Much of the payroll portion was being done manually. “Speeding up loan processing could mean the difference between a business and its employees surviving intact, or going bankrupt and adding to the skyrocketing unemployment,” says Plaid CEO Zach Perret.
Atos wins Google Cloud Services Partner of the Year Awards for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and for North America with Maven Wave
Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, today announced that it has received the 2019 Google Cloud Services Partner of the Year Award for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa and the 2019 Services Partner of the Year Award for North America through Maven Wave. These awards are proof of the successful growing momentum achieved through Atos’ official global partnership with Google Cloud, already recognized last year with the 2018 Google Cloud Global Breakthrough Partner of the Year Award. This year’s awards are in recognition for Atos’ achievements in the Google Cloud ecosystem in 2019 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and in 2019 in North America through Maven Wave, which Atos acquired earlier this year.
Clearpool Announces the Completion of its Acquisition by BMO Financial Group; Acquisition accelerates the development of Clearpool’s leading electronic trading solutions
Clearpool Group (Clearpool), a New York-based provider of holistic electronic trading solutions and an independent agency broker-dealer, today announced that BMO Financial Group (NYSE, TSX: BMO) has completed its previously announced acquisition of the company. Terms of transaction were not disclosed.
Learn more I agree Consortium of Fintech and Security Companies Create First Hardware-Free PIN-Based mPOS for Android
Rubean and CCV, in partnership with Intertrust and Riscure, today announced the launch of a jointly developed contactless payment application that transforms Android handsets running 8.0 Oreo or later into contactless payment terminals, supporting PIN entry with no additional hardware.
Consensys, Gitcoin and more are launching a hackathon to help combat COVID-19
Celia Wan – The Block
A group of companies including Consensys and fundraising platform Gitcoin are backing a virtual hackathon focused on solutions for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Announced last Thursday in a Consensys blog post, the hackathon aims to bring together developers and health experts to “build blockchain solutions to help collect, standardize, verify, and optimize data to aid scientists as they seek to better understand COVID-19,” per the post.
Bitcoin Community Funds Italian Red Cross Medical Facility to Combat Coronavirus
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Bitcoin (BTC) donations are helping save Italian lives and protect first responders on the front line of the battle against Covid-19, according to Helperbit, a disaster management platform based on blockchain. On April 5, an Advanced Medical Post (AMP) for pre-triage was erected by the Italian Red Cross in Castel Gandolfo, a town near Rome. Set up in conjunction with the Colli Albani Committee, the AMP was purchased using bitcoin donations that were part of a fundraising campaign focused on the COVID-19 emergency in Italy. The campaign raised EUR29,350 (around $31,828) in bitcoin.
Crypto exchange Kraken taps Marco Santori as chief legal officer
Michael McSweeney – The Block
Kraken, the cryptocurrency exchange company, has hired veteran industry lawyer Marco Santori as its chief legal officer. The exchange firm said Monday that Santori “will use his experience with regulators, banks, payment service providers, broker-dealers, and several other key industry players to drive the next phase of Kraken’s growth.”
Bitcoin’s Future: Exactly How a Coming Upgrade Could Improve Privacy and Scaling
Alyssa Hertig – Coindesk
If the privacy and scaling upgrade Schnorr/Taproot makes it into bitcoin (BTC), it could pave the way for advanced and heretofore impossible projects. That is, as they say, good for bitcoin. Schnorr/Taproot has made a great deal of progress recently, moving from a theoretical privacy and scaling idea into actual code. But while the community is very excited about its future, the change is rather confusing. Why? Because it bundles together several different technologies proposed over the years and each one is technically and conceptually unique.
Cryptocurrency Exchange OKEx Tackles Small Balances With New Offering
Adrian Zmudzinski – Cointelegraph
Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx announced a new feature that allows its users to convert small balances to the firm’s proprietary token OKB. OKEx announced on April 7 that the new product allows its user to convert all the crypto asset balances worth less than 0.001 Bitcoin (BTC) ($7.38 at press time) into OKB. The upper limit for conversion value is 0.01 BTC ($73.84 at press time), there is no limit on conversion time but the conversion is only available when the price fluctuates within 5%.
Bitfinex ventures into staking space, offering 10% annual return on three tokens at launch
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has ventured into the red-hot staking space. Announcing the news on Tuesday, Bitfinex said users can earn annual rewards of 10% by depositing and holding proof-of-stake tokens on the exchange. “We are supporting EOS, V.Systems, and Cosmos (ATOM) tokens at launch, with Tezos (XTZ) to follow in May and then all stackable tokens in the coming months,” Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino told The Block.
China Will ‘Undoubtedly’ Pursue Digital Yuan, Central Bank Says
David Pan – Coindesk
China’s central bank has sent one of its strongest signals yet of a commitment to creating a digital version of the yuan. “The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) will undoubtedly further its research and development of the national digital currency with enhanced top-down design,” the bank said in an April 4 notice. The notice is a summary of the 2020 National Currency Gold Silver and Security Work Video and Telephone Conference, convened on Friday by Yifei Fan, the central bank’s vice governor. One of the annual meeting’s goals was to lay out top priorities for the bank in this coming year.
Gemini is adding support for Brave browser’s BAT token
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Crypto exchange Gemini is adding support for Brave browser’s BAT token later this month.
BitMEX operator commits $400K to cybersecurity nonprofit Shadowserver
Yilun Cheng – The Block
HDR Global Trading, the operator of cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, has offered a $400,000 grant to nonprofit security organization Shadowserver Foundation. Started in 2004, Shadowserver collects and analyzes Internet security data daily to help service providers identify and address malicious activities. As shown on its website, the nonprofit is currently offering Internet data reports to over 4,800 network owners and 109 national computer emergency response teams across 138 countries.
Bitfarms Provides Update Regarding Impact of COVID-19 and Cost Efficiency Measures
Bitfarms Ltd. (“Bitfarms” or the “Company”) (TSXV:BITF) is a blockchain infrastructure company that operates one of the largest cryptocurrency mining operations in North America. Throughout the recent and ongoing economic and social turmoil related to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Bitfarms has been able to optimize mining operations in real time to maintain maximum computer capacity.
Germany’s Crypto Custody Law Hits a Snag: Startups Can’t Get Bank Accounts
Nathan DiCamillo – Coindesk
While more than 40 banks have reportedly expressed interest in Germany’s new crypto custody license, those firms may still have to put up with an anti-crypto sentiment among German banks. “If you try to open a bank account for a company that is in the space, you are working with the institutional banking arm of that bank,” said Stijn Vander Straeten, CEO of Crypto Storage AG. German bankers are risk-averse, and crypto companies aren’t making them money by asking for checking accounts.
‘Libra competitor’ Saga token holders can now earn up to 9.9% annual interest
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Saga Monetary Technologies, which claims to provide Facebook’s Libra-like stablecoin, has listed its token SGA on crypto lending platform Celsius Network. Through this arrangement, holders of the SGA coin can earn up to 9.9% interest per annum, Saga announced on Monday. They will also be able to borrow cash or stablecoins against their SGA “at rates as low as 3.45% and use their assets as collateral.”
How a Ship’s Coronavirus Outbreak Became a Moral Crisis for the Military; In a profanity-laced reprimand, the acting Navy secretary criticized sailors aboard the Theodore Roosevelt for cheering their fired captain, who had requested more assistance to fight the infection.
Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Eric Schmitt – NY Times
President Trump’s acting Navy secretary, in a profanity-laced reprimand delivered Monday, criticized sailors aboard the stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt for cheering their captain, who was removed after he appealed for help as coronavirus spread throughout the warship.
Global Oil Powers Close In on Historic Deal to Curb Output
Javier Blas and Grant Smith – Bloomberg
Saudis and Russia hammer out terms before Thursday’s meeting; Details of who will cut and by how much aren’t yet nailed down
The world’s largest oil producers are hammering out the terms of an unprecedented deal to mitigate the devastating impact of the coronavirus crisis as they prepare for an extraordinary meeting this week.
Barrack Gives Up on Rescue, Says ‘We’re Fighting Politics’
Tom Maloney – Bloombereg
Colony Capital founder says bankruptcy courts will be flooded; REITs no longer mark-to-market, but ‘mark-to-hell,’ he says
After pushing for weeks for government intervention to help asset-backed securities markets, Tom Barrack isn’t optimistic about his chances. “We’re fighting politics,” the founder and chairman of Colony Capital Inc. said in a phone interview from his Santa Barbara, California, home, where he’s riding out the Covid-19 pandemic with his family. “In an election year, nobody wants to be viewed as bailing out over-leveraged industries — even if that’s not what is happening.”
War Bonds, Huh. What Are They Good For? Absolutely Nothing; The parallels between the coronavirus and the battlefield don’t translate to the debt markets.
Brian Chappatta – Bloomberg
The United States of America already has war bonds. They’re called Treasuries. Apparently, that $17 trillion market, the largest in the world, isn’t enough for some people. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said “I’m all for it” when asked on CNBC about the idea of the federal government issuing a “war bond” to fund relief efforts tied to the coronavirus pandemic. “This is a time, it seems to me, to sell bonds in order to raise money for the war effort, in this the pandemic effort,” he commented. Network personality Jim Cramer also shared his support for the idea on Twitter, calling for $1 trillion of 30-year bonds paying 2% interest.
Welcome to the Table, Mr. Abe. Japan’s Been Waiting; The coronavirus is a test of leadership for the prime minister. His fiscal package may look bold, but action is late.
Daniel Moss – Bloomberg
For a man who swept to office almost eight years ago vowing to restore Japan’s economic vitality after two decades of malaise, going back to the starting line must be particularly painful for Shinzo Abe.
Trade Adviser Warned White House in January of Risks of a Pandemic; A memo from Peter Navarro is the most direct warning known to have circulated at a key moment among top administration officials.
Maggie Haberman – NY Times
A top White House adviser starkly warned Trump administration officials in late January that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.
Donald Trump Has Stake In Hydroxychloroquine Drugmaker: Report
Ron Dicker – HuffPost
President Donald Trump reportedly owns a stake in a company that produces hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug he has repeatedly touted as a coronavirus treatment even though his experts say there’s no strong evidence it works. Trump “has a small personal financial interest” in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine, The New York Times reported Monday. In addition, Sanofi’s largest shareholders include a mutual fund company run by major Republican donor Ken Fisher, the paper said. Trump’s three family trusts, as of last year, each had investments in a mutual fund whose largest holding was Sanofi, according to the Times. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also had ties to the drugmaker, the Times reported.
FCA sets out priorities for 2020/21
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today set out its business priorities for the year ahead – with specific focus on the challenges presented by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
CFTC Issues COVID-19 Customer Advisory on Fee Scams
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued a Customer Advisory informing the public to be on alert for frauds seeking to profit from recent job losses due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. This is the second advisory the CFTC has issued in response to the pandemic. [See CFTC Press Release No. 8134-20]
Cantor Fitzgerald Agrees to Pay $3.2 Million to Settle Charges for Providing Deficient Blue Sheet Data
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. has agreed to pay $3.2 million to settle charges for providing the SEC with incomplete and inaccurate securities trading information known as “blue sheet data.”
ASIC obtains orders to wind up three financial services companies
The Federal Court of Australia in Melbourne has ordered that the following companies be wound up and that liquidators be appointed:
SEC Suspends Trading in Two Stocks Over Coronavirus Claims; The SEC issued suspension orders for dental supplier No Borders Inc. and apparel maker Sandy Steele Unlimited Inc. on Friday
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
The Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trading in two stocks over potentially inaccurate information about their activities in response to the new coronavirus pandemic. One of them, Arizona-based No Borders Inc., NBDR 7.27% had cited support from members of Congress in promoting plans for new testing kits for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Kathryn H. Ruemmler Joins Goldman Sachs as Global Head of Regulatory Affairs; Michael Richman to Become Chief Compliance Officer
06 APR 2020; Kathryn H. Ruemmler Joins Goldman Sachs as Global Head of Regulatory Affairs; Michael Richman to Become Chief Compliance Officer
We are pleased to announce that Kathryn H. Ruemmler will join the firm this month as global head of Regulatory Affairs and a member of the Management Committee. In this capacity, Kathy will oversee the management of the firm’s regulatory infrastructure, including Goldman Sachs’ interactions with banking regulators, securities regulators and supervisory authorities globally. Kathy will also be responsible for overseeing the firm’s compliance policies and procedures.
Stratis Finance / Stratis Financial
We believe this firm has been providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation. Find out why to be especially wary of dealing with this unauthorised firm and how to protect yourself from scammers.
Investing and Trading
Mine closures bolster metals prices as demand collapses; Supply disruptions expected to increase as governments impose lockdowns
Neil Hume – FT
Supply cuts affecting about a fifth of the global mining industry have offset a collapse in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak, bolstering prices that have been hit hard in the past month.
Downgrades flood junk bond market with ‘fallen angels’; Record pace of ratings cuts amid coronavirus outbreak shakes up corporate bond market
Joe Rennison – FT
On a sunny day in May 2012, Ford employees dressed in a mix of blue and white T-shirts gathered on the lawn outside the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, celebrating the restoration of its investment-grade credit rating by arranging themselves to form the iconic oval logo.
Stock buybacks expected to halve as companies bolster defences;
S&P 500 groups will purchase $371bn of their own shares this year, Goldman estimates
Richard Henderson in Melbourne – FT
Big US companies will spend half as much buying back their own stock this year compared with 2019, Goldman Sachs analysts predict, weakening a vital prop for the market as companies shore up their balance sheets.
Methane Emissions Hit a New Record and Scientists Can’t Say Why; Fossil fuel production and agriculture may be causing the acceleration in pollution levels.
Eric Roston and Naureen S Malik – Bloomberg
Airborne methane levels rose markedly last year, according to a preliminary estimate published today by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The results show a dramatic leap in concentration of the second most-powerful greenhouse gas, which is emitted from both industrial and natural sources.
COVID-19 Economic Crisis Will Bring A Tidal Wave Of Company Defaults In 2020 And 2021
Mayra Rodriguez Valladares – Forbes
March saw a wave of corporate credit rating downgrades. Unfortunately, along with ratings, multiple macroeconomic and market signals show that a wave of company defaults is coming our way, both in 2020 and 2021.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Says He Is Expecting ‘a Bad Recession’; Veteran bank chief says JPMorgan won’t request looser regulation during the pandemic
David Benoit – WSJ
JPMorgan JPM 6.44% Chase & Co. Chief Executive James Dimon said his bank hasn’t sought looser regulations to help it handle the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic, detailing instead its ability to keep lending in even more dire circumstances.
Quant pioneer Winton suffers in coronavirus-driven sell-off
Lighter reliance on trend-following proves costly for London-based funds group
Laurence Fletcher and Robin Wigglesworth – FT
Hedge fund Winton is suffering one of its worst runs on record after its stance against simple trend-following appeared to backfire. The London-based group, a pioneer of computer-driven investing with about $20bn in assets, has lost almost 13 per cent in its flagship hedge fund this year to the end of March, including a 7.5 per cent drop last month, according to numbers sent to investors and seen by the Financial Times. That puts the fund on track for its worst calendar year in its 22-year history.
Wells Fargo intensifies bid to remove asset cap; US lender says without regulatory relief it has more small business demand than it can handle
Laura Noonan – FT
Wells Fargo says it already has more demand than it can handle for the federal government’s small business rescue programme, increasing pressure on regulators to free the bank from a cap on assets imposed after a fake accounts scandal two years ago.
Coronavirus Had Ackman Consider Liquidating Portfolio
Scott Deveau – Bloomberg
Activist investor used proceeds from virus hedge to reinvest; Pershing boosts holdings in Berkshire, Lowe’s and Hilton
Activist investor Bill Ackman was so concerned about the potential impact of the coronavirus that he considered liquidating his hedge fund’s entire portfolio for the first time.
Dubai Financial Hub Regulator Proposes Relief Measures for Firms
Reema Al Othman – Bloomberg
The Dubai Financial Services Authority, the regulator of Dubai’s tax-free financial center, proposed relief measures to support new and existing entities at the business hub amid the coronavirus pandemic.
South African Banks Urged to Withhold Future Dividends, Bonuses
Roxanne Henderson- Bloomberg
Dividends already declared can still be paid, regulator says; Bank stocks reverse losses after clarity on new guidelines
South Africa is urging its banks to withhold ordinary dividends and executive bonuses for 2020 to preserve capital as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic remains uncertain.
Brazilian Minister Says China Has Been Profiting From Pandemic
Walter Brandimarte – Bloomberg
Education minister rekindles spat with top trading partner; China’s Embassy in Brazil expresses outrage, rebuts allegation
A member of President Jair Bolsonaro’s cabinet reignited a diplomatic spat with China, saying Brazil’s top trading partner has been profiting from the coronavirus pandemic by selling respirators and other medical supplies to the highest bidder.
The Swiss Had a Pandemic Stockpile of Alcohol. They Got Rid of It in 2018
Andy Hoffman – Bloomberg
Alcohol stockpile to make disinfectant wasn’t replenished; Swiss stockpile grains, sugar, coffee and fuel for emergencies
Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, Switzerland’s penchant for preparing for emergencies has won it praise. During the Cold War, the Swiss government required family homes to have a bunker and instructed citizens to stockpile food. Even today, residents are counseled on what supplies they should have on hand to ride out a crisis at home.
France Adopts New Measure to Calculate 35% of Economy is Shut
William Horobin – Bloomberg
Insee’s 35% figure for loss of activity has been cited widely; Statistics office will update its figures on Thursday
As France’s statistics agency prepared its routine economic analysis in early March, Director Jean-Luc Tavernier decided it was time to attempt something more radical.
Canada, U.S. farms face crop losses due to foreign worker delays
Rod Nickel, Christopher Walljasper – Reuters
Mandatory coronavirus quarantines of seasonal foreign workers in Canada could hurt that country’s fruit and vegetable output this year, and travel problems related to the pandemic could also leave U.S. farmers with fewer workers than usual.
Canadian province of Ontario angry over ‘unacceptable’ U.S. move to block face masks
David Ljunggren – Reuters
Ontario, the most-populous province in Canada, complained on Monday the United States had blocked the export of more than 3 million face masks it bought to fight the coronavirus outbreak, while Ottawa said it was pressuring Washington to release the gear.
Running out of beds and gear, Tokyo medical staff say Japan’s ‘state of emergency’ already here
Ju-min Park, Izumi Nakagawa, Eimi Yamamitsu – Reuters
As Japan faces a fresh wave of coronavirus infections and the government prepares for a state of emergency, medical staff say a shortage of beds and a rise in cases linked to hospitals are pushing Tokyo’s medical system to the brink of collapse.
Coronavirus: Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as symptoms worsen
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care in hospital after his coronavirus symptoms “worsened”, Downing Street has said. A spokesman said he was moved on the advice of his medical team and was receiving “excellent care”. Mr Johnson has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputise “where necessary”, the spokesman added.
Dominic Raab: the man stepping into the hot seat
Laura Hughes – FT
Dominic Raab has ostensibly taken over running the government as Boris Johnson fights the coronavirus in intensive care but it was unclear exactly how much power the 46-year-old foreign secretary would wield. Michael Gove, cabinet office minister, declined to spell out on Tuesday whether Mr Raab, who as first secretary of state was the prime minister’s designated stand-in, would have the full executive functions.
Boris Johnson’s Stand-In as U.K. Premier Is a Blunt Former Lawyer
Robert Hutton and Kitty Donaldson – Bloomberg
Dominic Raab, the man at the helm of the British government while Boris Johnson is hospitalized, has been both an ally and a rival to his boss. During the Brexit campaign in 2016, Raab campaigned alongside Johnson successfully to break away from the European Union. Three years later, the pair stood against each other in the Conservative Party’s leadership contest.
Universities Forced to Face Addiction to Foreign Students’ Money
Sybilla Gross – Bloomberg
Lockdowns, travel bans are jolting multi-billion dollar sector; Crisis offers China an opportunity to promote its own schools
When the coronavirus outbreak triggered travel bans during the Lunar New Year holidays, about 100,000 Chinese students were stranded at home and unable to return to Australia. Siqi Li, a 23-year-old Master of Science student from Guangdong province, was one of them.