First Impressions

Stefani Sandow, product manager, Trading Technologies – What Vitruvius Can Teach Us About Software Development

“If you’re interested in getting into financial software, you should remember Vitruvius. You should create software that is solid, that is useful, that is delightful.”

Stefani Sandow, product manager at Trading Technologies, shows the relationship between the Roman architect Vitruvius and software development. She discusses three key concepts of Vitruvius’s teachings, Firmitas, Utilitas and Venustas, which translates to Solid, Useful and Delightful. Sandow stresses the importance of the user experience and how developers should be paying close attention to the design and interface of the software as well as its functionality. Finally, Sandow concludes by discussing the future of trading software design and function.

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Quote of the Day

“This serves as a good reminder to Japanese voters that the country’s fiscal situation is terrible. This should push Abe to accelerate his efforts to revive the economy first and then work on fiscal consolidation — he really needs to reinvigorate the economy in a few years.”

Kazuhiko Ogata, chief Japan economist at Credit Agricole SA in the story, “Moody’s Cuts Japan’s Rating in Blow to Abe Ahead of Election”.

Lead Stories

What little action remains on CME Group’s downtown trading floor emanates mainly from one corner
By Lynne Marek, Crain’s Chicago Business
The trading floor, with 35 pits covering nearly 2 acres, once was the heart of the world’s futures market, with screaming, gesticulating traders setting prices for everything from cattle to soybeans to interest rates. But now about 90 percent of CME’s volume trades on the company’s electronic platform, leaving many pits quiet and rows of desks around them sitting empty.

Swiss Say Foreign Millionaires Still Welcome After Vote
By Giles Broom, Bloomberg
Swiss voters refused to give up a 152-year-old tax break for rich foreigners in Geneva and other wealthy areas that the government says helps the economy.

Moody’s Cuts Japan’s Rating in Blow to Abe Ahead of Election
Keiko Ujikane and Toru Fujioka – Bloomberg
Moody’s Investors Service cut Japan’s credit rating, a setback to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a day before today’s campaign start for an election that he wants to focus on the economy.
Moody’s reduced the rating for the world’s third-biggest economy one level to A1, the same as Bermuda, Israel, Oman and the Czech Republic, it said in a statement yesterday in Tokyo. The yen dropped to a seven-year low, then reversed the decline, while Japanese government bonds were little changed.

Morgan Stanley Says Stocks Are the Best Bet in 2015
Peter Coy – BloombergBusinessweek
Fighting off “lowflation” will be the biggest challenge for the world economy in 2015, Morgan Stanley (MS) economists said today in a presentation of their annual forecast.
Chief Global Economist Joachim Fels said the world economy is in a “triple B, out-of-synch global expansion.” The three B’s, he said, are “bumpy, below par, and brittle,” and “out-of-synch” refers to relatively strong growth in the U.S. vs. weakness in the Europe, Japan, and elsewhere.

Europe’s Record Debt Sales Pose No Threat to Bond Rally
Anchalee Worrachate and Mark Deen – Bloomberg
Governments will have little trouble selling an estimated record amount of bonds next year if a rally that sent euro-area yields to all-time lows is any gauge.
Citigroup Inc., the third-largest European bond trader according to Greenwich Associates, estimates the 11 biggest borrowers in the region will sell bonds totaling 957 billion euros ($1.19 trillion) next year, 56 billion euros more than the projected sales for 2014. The increase is primarily to cover an unprecedented amount of maturing debt in 2015.

Central Banks

Bernanke Ordered Probe of Possible Leak of Sensitive Information
Joshua Zumbrun – WSJ
Then-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in late 2012 ordered an investigation into a potential leak of sensitive information from one of the central bank’s policy meetings, according to a report Monday by ProPublica.
Mr. Bernanke’s concerns arose from an Oct. 3 memo from Medley Global Advisors, a firm that sells economic policy insights and intelligence to hedge funds and other investors. In the memo, Medley analyst Regina Schleiger said that minutes of the Fed’s September 2012 meeting, scheduled for release the day after her memo, would show internal discord over the Fed’s September 2012 decision to begin a bond-buying program aimed at spurring stronger economic growth.

NY Federal Reserve chief: We can’t catch everything on Wall Street
Kevin Cirilli – TheHill
New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley on Monday said that it’s impossible for regulators to find all bad actors on Wall Street.
The comments are the latest in what’s become an unapologetic defense from Dudley, who serves as one of Wall Street’s top regulators, as he faces intense scrutiny for how he’s policing the financial system.

Fischer: Fed’s Current Concern Is How, When Best to Raise Interest Rates
Cynthia Lin – WSJ
With the U.S. economy making progress, the focal point at the Federal Reserve these days is how and when best to lift interest rates from zero, the central bank’s vice chairman said Monday.
“Zero interest rates is not normal,” said Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer at a symposium hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “The big issues we’re discussing now is lift off of interest rates — when is that going to happen, how is it going to be done.”

Toughest job in Washington?
Ben White and MJ Lee and Kate Davidson – Politico
As Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen begins the delicate process of deciding when and how to raise interest rates without stifling the economy, she is facing sharp new pressures from both sides of the congressional aisle.
Republican leaders and staff said in interviews that they plan to use their new dominance on both sides of Capitol Hill next year to target the Fed for much greater scrutiny, including aggressive hearings and possible passage of bills to drag the central bank’s secretive policymaking process out into the open.


Rouble suffers worst fall since 1998 crisis
Kathrin Hille in Moscow and Delphine Strauss in London, FT
The rouble nosedived on Monday, suffering its worst daily fall since Russia’s 1998 crisis amid renewed fears over the impact of tumbling oil prices on the country’s economy.

Dollar Falls From 5-Year High on Speculation It Gained Too Fast
Rachel Evans – Bloomberg
The dollar declined from the highest level in more than five years amid speculation the currency may have strengthened too much, too fast.
The greenback slipped versus most of its 16 major peers after a gauge of the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index’s relative strength exceeded 70 on Nov. 28, a level some traders consider a signal an asset may reverse course. Russia’s ruble led a drop by some commodity-producing nations’ currencies as oil reached a five-year low. The yen gained after weakening to a seven-year low as Moody’s Investors Service cut Japan’s credit rating.


The Biggest Monetary Change In 80 Years
Keith Weiner – Forbes
The Swiss people put an initiative on their ballot to reverse decades of regression. They’re trying to get gold back into the monetary system, in the hope of halting the destructive process of currency debasement. I am sad to see the measure defeated on Sunday, even though I had concerns about it.
The simple fact that gold backing for a currency is up for vote in Switzerland shows how much the world is changing. A gold initiative wasn’t possible before 2008, and even today, no other country is ready for it yet.

The Truth Behind The Swiss Gold Referendum Escapes Most Of The Mainstream Media
Ralph Benko – Forbes
A recent column in US News & World Report, The Swiss Gold Rush by Pat Garofalo, its assistant managing editor for opinion, is subtitled “A push for the gold standard in Switzerland is symbolic of Europe’s rising right wing.” US News & World Report hereby descends from commentary to propaganda. Who edits its editors?

Gold Gains Most in 14 Months as Oil Rally Revives Demand
Joe Deaux – Bloomberg
Gold and silver futures climbed the most since September 2013 as a rally for oil prices revived demand for the metals as stores of value.
Crude futures in New York rose as much as 4.8 percent, rebounding from a five-year low. Gold earlier fell to a three-week low after Swiss voters rejected a measure that would’ve required their central bank to hold a portion of its assets in bullion. Prices erased this year’s losses as Moody’s Investors Service cut Japan’s credit rating and U.S. holiday spending slowed, fueling concern that global growth will falter.

Gold Hidden in Underwear Shows How India Curbs Distort Rupee
Traveling by land into India from Pakistan across one of the world’s most militarized borders isn’t easy on a normal day. Doing so with $120,000 worth of gold stuffed in your underwear is even harder.

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