Lead Stories

Senator questions widespread tax dodges used by wealthy
Mark Schoeff Jr. – Investment News
The top Democrat on the Senate tax-writing committee called Tuesday for curbing complex investment tactics that help high-net-worth investors lower their taxes.
A report released by the Democratic staff of the Senate Finance Committee outlined several investment instruments — such as options, derivatives and swaps — that can be used to skirt “tens of billions of dollars” in taxation. It asserted that reining them in through legislative and regulatory changes would make the tax code fairer.
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***DA: Ask 100 people to define “fair tax” and you will get 120 answers.

Hedge fund failures not enough to stop asset inflows in 2015 – survey
Reuters
Two thirds of hedge fund investors said returns lagged expectations in 2014, a leading survey by Deutsche Bank showed, although industry assets are still expected to rise and pass $3 trillion in the coming year.
The industry has more than doubled in size since the financial crisis, fuelled by growth in demand from large institutions, although several high-profile pension funds ditched hedge funds last year citing poor returns and high fees.
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***DA: You get what you pay for. Sometimes.

How Unusual is the Current Volatility Lull?
Adam Warner – Schaeffer’s Investment Research
When the going gets tough for volatility, the tough get going – right back into CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) derivatives!
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***DA: Technically, it is the faint of heart who are among the first to switch to protection mode.

Buyside looks to futures options for lower costs, better margin
Gabriel Suprise – GlobalCapital
New buyside entrants and portfolio managers are increasingly using options on futures as a way to keep margin costs down while generating tailored risk exposure, providing an effective alternative to over-the-counter swaps and futures strategies.
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***DA: Tailored, but in a standardized way.

VIX ETP Traders Anticipate More Volatility Ahead
Max Chen – ETF Trends
As the equities market reached new heights and market participants became more complacent, some investors have been quietly building up their exchange traded product exposure to the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, anticipating a pullback in stocks.
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Indian Traders Pare Futures Bets as Nifty Retreats From Record
Santanu Chakraborty – Bloomberg
The number of outstanding CNX Nifty index futures contracts fell from a five-week high amid speculation a recent rally in the stock market was overdone.
Nifty futures open interest slid to 1.17 million contracts as of 4:46 p.m. in Mumbai from 1.20 million contracts at 1:35 p.m. on Wednesday. The total number of wagers stood at 1.18 million at the close on Tuesday, the highest since Jan. 29, when the outstanding contracts had reached an all-time high. The Nifty index declined 0.8 percent to 8,922.65, erasing gains after climbing as much as 1.4 percent to an intraday record.
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Get ready—Fed to cause major turmoil this month
Abigail Stevenson – CNBC
It was only fitting that on National Pancake Day, the market would sell off faster than hotcakes. But Jim Cramer was left wondering; does the decline in the averages indicate that investors should be more cautious?
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Exchanges

CBOE Names Five New Officers
Press Release – CBOE
The Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated (CBOE) announced today that it has added five new officers to its management team: Stephanie Klein, Chief Marketing Officer; Jennifer Lamie, Chief Regulatory Advisor; Stephanie Marrin Lara, Deputy Chief Regulatory Officer; Jordan Naylor, Vice President, Systems Development; and Steve Sinclair, Vice President, Systems Development.
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LSE in talks with rival exchanges on margining
Luke Jeffs – Futures & Options World
The London Stock Exchange Group has said it is in talks with a number of exchanges and trading venues about using a new clearing service set to be launched by LSE majority-owned LCH.Clearnet.
LCH.Clearnet said on Tuesday it will launch in the next 12 months portfolio margining, a new service that could dramatically cut the cost of trading interest rate futures and swaps.
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The ifs and buts of MCX’s rally
Mobis Philipose – Livemint
Life has come full circle for Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX). Or at least that’s what its share price movement in the past two years suggests. Just before the budget announcement of the imposition of commodity transaction tax (CTT) in February 2013, MCX shares traded at around Rs.1,100-1,150 apiece. Within six months, the double blow of CTT and the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) scam resulted in an over 78% drop in its share price to Rs.242 apiece.
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Euronext announces monthly trading volumes for February 2015
Press Release via Reuters
Activity on commodity derivatives remained strong in February with an average daily volume of 52,474 contracts traded, up 18 pct compared to February 2014
In February 2015, average daily volume on derivatives on equity indices decreased with 225,995 contracts, down 15 pct compared to February 2014
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Intercontinental Exchange February Average Daily Volume Down
Press Release via NASDAQ
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) said that its February 2015 futures and options average daily volume or ADV declined 6% compared to February 2014.
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CME Group, LOOP and NEO Markets Reach Definitive Agreement to Develop First-Ever Physically Delivered Crude Oil Storage Futures Contract
Innovative, exchange-traded storage futures contract to be based on crude oil storage capacity at the LOOP Clovelly Hub in Louisiana
CHICAGO, March 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, LOOP LLC, operator of the largest privately-owned crude oil terminal in the U.S., and NEO Markets, Inc., a leading online marketplace for U.S. physical oil transactions, today announced they had reached a definitive agreement to develop the first-ever physically delivered crude oil storage futures contract. The new LOOP Crude Oil Storage futures contract will begin trading on Sunday, March 29, 2015, for trade date Monday, March 30, 2015, pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods.

Technology

Trading Technologies to provide access to GMEX Exchange for its customers
Press release via Automated Trader
Global Markets Exchange Group Limited (GMEX), which operates GMEX Exchange, and Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT), a global provider of high-performance professional trading software, are pleased to announce that Trading Technologies will provide its customers with access to GMEX when the exchange launches in Q2 2015. Connectivity through X_TRADER will be available on day one of trading, while access through the next-generation TT platform will commence in Q3 2015.
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Tabb Plans to Chart Equity Audit Trail Development
John D’Antona Jr., Traders Magazine Online News
The building of the audit trail for the $23 trillion U.S. equities market is about to get more transparent.
Aside from requests for proposals (RFPs) buried in obscure websites and files, Tabb Group, an equity market consultancy, is going to chart the development and other on goings regarding the building of the consolidated audit trail or CAT system.
In the first of three reports, Tabb said that the final selection of builders of the CAT isn’t expected until at least early 2016, some six years after the May 2010 “flash crash” which sparked interest in building an equity market tracking system. The lack of a single unified audit system was one of the recommendations suggested to improve equity market regulation and monitoring.
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Strategy

Price Volatility No Match for Bitcoin’s Potential
Fluctuations Have Little Bearing on Pertinent Transfers, Remittances
Franco Daniel Amati
Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology have been out on the market for six years. Given all the potential, it’s still early days.
No one knows for sure how successful bitcoin will be: it could be supplanted by superior technology, remain limited to certain groups and niches, become the world’s financial clearing system, or descend to the masses as an everyday currency. Bitcoin is so versatile it could find a place in many sectors beyond money and finance.
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Education

Why Does The Market Have to do ‘Something’?
Bob Lang – CBOE Options Hub
I often find myself hearing reasons or rationale for the stock market’s movements, which really is just a collection of emotions all packaged together to form a result. I have to ignore these comments, if I listen too carefully I may get swept up in trying to rationalize the action. Without trying to be too obvious, too much fear and the market goes down, but too much optimism and the market goes higher. We can see all of this played out on a chart too, I’ve said many times a technical chart is fear/greed displayed in graphic form.
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