First Read

A Fortune Built on the Back of Prayers
John Lothian – John Lothian News

Last week I announced on Facebook to my family and friends that I was headed to surgery again on my back. More about that later, but the response I received on Facebook made me realize why Mark Zuckerberg has become the fourth richest man in the world.

My list of Facebook friends responded to news with best wishes, but more importantly with promises of prayers for my healing and well-being. This is not an uncommon experience on Facebook when people share challenges such as mine. Some of the people I am friends with on Facebook are from high school. Some friends I have not seen in 36 years. Some I see every week.

Facebook accounts, which had 1.59 billion active users as of December 31, 2015, is an amazing tool that connects people on so many levels with thoughts, well wishes and prayers among them. It is an interesting twist for a website that was originally used by Zuckerberg to rate Harvard students as “hot or not.” Today, the service is perhaps as much an example of the power of social media as it is of human power to change things around us.

It is my contention that in Facebook, Zuckerberg has created the greatest single tool for the increase in prayer that the world has ever seen. Prayer is now exponentially greater because people from all times and places of my life, whom I am connected with on Facebook, can stop and pray for me.

For the rest of the commentary, go here


Condolences to Doug Ashburn and his Family on the Passing of Sister
Doug Ashburn’s sister, Angela Christine Ashburn, passed away yesterday after a long struggle with cancer. She was 50. She is survived by a son, Preston, parents Edward and Margie Ashburn of Creve Coeur, IL, and four siblings including Doug. Our thoughts and prayers are with Doug, Nancy and the rest of the Ashburn family as they celebrate the life of Angela.


Karsten “Cash” Mahlmann Has Passed Away
Karsten “Cash” Mahlmann, chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade from 1987-1990, passed away on February 8, 2016 at the age of 78. Mahlmann lived a life that epitomized the American dream. In 1957 the 20-year-old son of a Hamburg grain merchant boarded a U.S.-bound freighter, determined to find his fortune in the United States.

***** Condolences to the Mahlmann family, especially my friend Chris Mahlmann, on the passing of Cash. He was a true CBOT success story in so many ways.


FIA welcomes US-EU accord on CCP equivalence
FIA welcomes the much-anticipated announcement of a common approach to equivalent recognition of CCPs between the U.S. and Europe and congratulates Chairman Massad and Commissioner Hill on resolving this critical issue. This will ensure that the outstanding concern of equivalence will be resolved ahead of the start of the mandatory clearing obligation in Europe in June, and brings to an end a period of uncertainty for market participants and infrastructures as they seek to meet new regulatory requirements.

***DA: This equivalence issue has been an arduous trek. Massad and Hill are like Frodo and Sam, and they have gotten the ring into Mordor, but Mount Doom is still ahead.


Subject: Rejection of Marketable Orders Larger than 1 Million Shares
NYSE & NYSE MKT Traders and Technology
Beginning on February 29, 2016, NYSE and NYSE MKT will reject any order larger than 1 million shares that is marketable on arrival. NYSE and NYSE MKT will continue to accept orders up to 99,000,000 shares into the Broker systems and orders up to 25,000,000 shares sent electronically to the book provided those orders are non-marketable orders or orders designated for manual execution, such as Market on Close and Limit on Close. Orders up to 1 million shares will remain eligible for automatic execution on both exchanges.

***** No more 10 million share market orders. Geez, what is the world coming to?


Companies Are Outsourcing Employee Morale Building; The bonding business (AcroYoga, anyone?) is booming.
Jennifer Miller – Bloomberg
On a recent Thursday evening, Erin McCulloch, 31, was in her New York City office’s conference room balancing on her manager’s shins. Nearby, another colleague lay on her back and lifted the chief executive officer into the air with her feet, airplane-style. Jason Nemer, who’d come to teach this fusion of acrobatics and yoga to employees of tea and supplement company Aloha, was pleased. “We can leverage the wisdom of AcroYoga and apply it to corporate America,” he said. “Both require cooperation and communication.”

****** We have outsourced company morale to Mexico, but just for the tequila.


Twitter, to Save Itself, Must Scale Back World-Swallowing Ambitions
Farhad Manjoo – NY Times
Twitter is the world’s most important social network.
That might sound like the ravings of an addict, but look at the headlines in every morning’s newspaper and the obsessions of every evening’s cable news broadcast. Just about anything you encounter in the news media these days has some foot in the controversies and conversations occurring on the 140-character network.

****** Twitter is also a very valuable social media tool. They just need to find a way to make money now.


Survey Says – Give the readers what they want!
We are nearing the final days of our 2016 reader survey. Help us help you by giving us three minutes of your time and sharing your thoughts. Plus, we tried to make it fun and colorful. The final kicker? You could win an Apple Watch. Click HERE to get started.


Yesterday’s Top Three
The top story from Tuesday’s newsletter was China lands on LaSalle Street from the Chicago Tribune regarding the Chicago Stock Exchange being acquired by a Chinese investor group. In second place was the story from The Financial Times, EU and US strike derivatives regulation deal. Lastly was the Bloomberg’s story Get With It, Goldman. Seems we’re not the only ones finding this year’s trading a bit rocky so far.

Lead Stories

CFTC Too Broke to Properly Police Flash Traders, Massad Says
Jesse Hamilton – Bloomberg
Agency head tells House appropriators CFTC needs more money; Massad says industry booming while agency tech falls behind
The top U.S. derivatives regulator said his agency needs more money to keep up with the Flash Boys.

SocGen shares tumble 13% as sector sell-off resumes
Michael Stothard in Paris – FT
Société Générale signalled on Thursday it may struggle to meet its profitability targets this year because of “headwinds” that include record-low interest rates and volatile financial markets.

Bond Trading Desks Get a Hand From Algorithmic, Equity Veterans
Alexandra Scaggs, Dakin Campbell – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs consolidates automated FICC trading business
UBS, RBC named algorithmic traders in fixed-income roles
Wall Street’s beleaguered bond traders are getting a little help from their e-trading and equity-market peers. Just this week, Konstantin Shakhnovich, a partner at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. with a background in financial engineering and automated trading, was put in charge of consolidating the bank’s electronic market-making in its fixed-income, commodities and currencies businesses, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

Stock Rout Deepens, Bonds Surge as Faith in Central Banks Fails
Alan Soughley – Bloomberg
Europe’s Stoxx 600 heads for lowest since September 2013; WTI crude trades below $27 a barrel amid hefty U.S. stockpiles
Financial markets are signaling that investors have lost faith in central banks’ ability to support the global economy.

CME Group to reduce livestock futures, options trading hours
By Theopolis Waters – Reuters
CME Group, the world’s largest futures market operator, plans to shorten trading hours for its livestock futures and options contracts effective Feb. 29, the exchange said in a statement on Wednesday.

Bond Trading Is Still Stuck In Slow-Motion
So much for the idea of a rate hike improving bond trading volumes. The average daily bond trading volume in January was 2.7% lower than it was a year prior, according to data from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

Yellen Suggests Fed May Delay Rate Rises, Not Abandon Them
Rich Miller, Steve Matthews – Bloomberg
Market turmoil “significantly” tightened financial conditions; Fed chair non-committal on possible use of negative rates
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested that the central bank might delay, but not abandon, planned interest-rate increases in response to recent turmoil in financial markets.

Yellen warns global turbulence could hit growth
Sam Fleming in Washington – FT
Persistent global financial market turbulence could set back US growth and slow the pace of corporate hiring, the Federal Reserve chair told Congress on Wednesday, underlining suggestions that a second interest rate increase by the central bank has become less likely in the near term.

Riksbank cuts rates deeper into negative territory
Richard Milne, Nordic Correspondent – FT
Sweden’s central bank moved its interest rates deeper into negative territory with an unexpectedly large cut, intensifying fears that global policymakers are being forced to take more extreme action to tackle low inflation.

U.S. court move to block emission plan fails to sustain coal shares’ boost
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block federal regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions failed to give a sustained boost to shares of the long-battered coal sector on Wednesday.

U.S. and Europe Reach Agreement on Derivatives Regulation
An agreement between American and European regulators over the $553 trillion derivatives market could bring relief to banks and large clearinghouses, which had faced the threat of higher costs and disrupted trading.

ICE Clear Canada Receives Third-Country Central Counterparty Recognition Under EMIR
Business Wire
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, announced today that ICE Clear Canada has been recognized as a third-country central counterparty (CCP) in accordance with the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).

AIG: The Value of Togetherness; Calls to break up AIG seem less convincing, as interest rates fall and the more diversified company outperforms some peers
American International Group Inc. has repeatedly resisted overtures from billionaire investors Carl Icahn and John Paulson to break up the business. The more that interest rates fall, the better that AIG’s argument looks.

This Is Why the Fed Is Paying Interest to Big Banks; Q&A on a Fed practice that mystified congressmen today.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen ran into a bipartisan buzzsaw today over why the Federal Reserve is paying interest to banks on the trillions of dollars in reserves that they hold at the Fed. She tried repeatedly to supply the central bank’s reasoning but didn’t seem to make a dent.

Dark Pools’ Market Share Drops for First Time in Europe: Chart
John Detrixhe – Bloomberg
European dark pools traded more stocks by value last year than ever before, but their share of overall trading fell for the first time, according to a report from Rosenblatt Securities Inc


SEC Adopts Cross-Border Security-Based Swap Rules Regarding Activity in the U.S.
Rules Provide Increased Transparency and Enhanced Oversight; SEC Finalizes Rulemaking in Security-Based Swap Dealing Activity
The Securities and Exchange Commission today voted to adopt rules that require a non-U.S. company that uses personnel located in a U.S. branch or office to arrange, negotiate, or execute a security-based swap transaction in connection with its dealing activity to include that transaction in determining whether it is required to register as a security-based swap dealer. The rules, adopted under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, would help ensure that both U.S. and foreign dealers are subject to Title VII of the Act when they engage in security-based swap dealing activity in the United States.

MiFID II one-year delay announced
As widely expected, the European Commission has today officially announced a one-year extension to the entry into application of MiFID II. The proposal “amending Directive 2014/65/EU on markets in financial instruments as regards certain dates” will now have to be formally endorsed by both the Council and the European Parliament, most probably in a simplified procedure.

Qatar Central Securities Depository Launches SMS Service And Daily E-Statement
Qatar Central Securities Depository (QCSD)announces that, as part of the company efforts to developand provide the best services to share holders and investors using advanced technologies available, the launch of SMS Service and Daily E-Statement from Sunday 27/12/2015.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published the responses received to the Consultation Paper on access, aggregation and comparison of TR data.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) welcomes the common approach announced today by the European Commission and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on the equivalence of CCP regimes.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its first Supervisory Convergence Work Programme 2016 (SCWP), which details the activities and tasks it will carry out to promote sound, efficient and consistent supervision across the European Union.

Ex-FSA chairman attacks P2P in wake of industry’s biggest failure; Crowdfunded Rebus lost £800k
Investment Week
Former chairman of the financial regulator Adair Turner has warned about peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, predicting “big losses” in the coming decade a week after the sector experienced its biggest investment failure.

SEC rule hikes cost of trading US CDS for non-US firms; CDS trades between non-US counterparties will be captured under Dodd-Frank
Peter Madigan –
New rules adopted by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier today (February 10) will make it more expensive for non-US counterparties to trade US single-name credit default swaps (CDS), while making it more difficult for foreign dealers to circumvent US regulations. The SEC voted unanimously to approve final rules requiring security-based swap transactions “arranged, negotiated or executed” by staff in the US on behalf of non-US persons to be subjected to the agency’s rules under…

Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) Rulemaking and National Market System (NMS) Plans

    • BOX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Rule 7290 (Price Protection for Limit Orders) to Enhance the Protections Provided to Participants Executing Orders and Quotes on the Exchange (Release No. 34-77096; File No. SR-BOX-2016-05; February 9, 2016); see also Exhibit 5
    • BOX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Rule 7070 (Opening the Market) to Implement a New Price Protection Feature for the Opening (Release No. 34-77095; File No. SR-BOX-2016-04; February 9, 2016); see also Exhibit 5
    • FINRA: Order Approving a Proposed Rule Change to Amend the Derivatives and Other Off-Balance Sheet Items Schedul (Release No. 34-77098; File No. SR-FINRA-2015-059; February 9, 2016)
    • MIAX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Its Fee Schedule to Implement a Professional Rebate Program (Release No. 34-77097; File No. SR-MIAX-2016-05; February 9, 2016); see also Exhibit 5


Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Can the CME fix cattle futures market volatility?
by Burt Rutherford in BEEF Editors’ Blog
The hallway conversation during the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention in San Diego, Calif., a few weeks back covered the many and varied issues that affect the cattle business. While the cattle producers who care enough about their business to serve on one of the many committees, subcommittees and working groups that met during the convention had plenty to talk about, cattle market volatility and the price plunge of 2015 seemed to dominate the discussion.

CME Group Announces WTI Light Sweet Crude Oil Futures Volume Record, Surpassing 1.6 Million Contracts; RBOB Gasoline Futures Open Interest Also Reaches New Record
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced it reached a trading volume record for WTI Light Sweet Crude Oil futures yesterday, February 9, 2016, of 1,603,771 contracts compared to the previous record of 1,595,710 contracts on December 8, 2015.

CME Group Announces Measures to Further Enhance Livestock Markets; CME livestock trading hours to be reduced; Customer review of Worthing delivery point to be studied; Cattle working group to be formed
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced it will take a number of steps designed to further enhance its livestock markets.

Highlights relative to the prior corresponding period (1H15 pcp) based on the Group’s segment reporting:

Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, today announced the results of the ICE Endex gas storage auction held on February 10, 2016, on behalf of GasTerra.

CME Group Foundation Grants $1 Million to Support the Study of Alternative Finance by the University of Cambridge Judge Business School; The University’s Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance will study crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending
CME Group
CME Group Foundation today announced it will provide a $1 million grant to benefit research at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at the University of Cambridge into the rapid growth of alternative financial channels and instruments such as crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending. CME Group Foundation was established by CME Trust to support a variety of education initiatives designed to advance the global economy.

Market Open Ceremony on First Trading Day of Year of Monkey
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) held a ceremony this morning (Thursday) to mark its first trading day of the Year of the Monkey.


Munger Says Donald Trump Isn’t Morally Qualified for Presidency
Noah Buhayar, Katherine Chiglinsky, Sonali Basak – Bloomberg
Sanders and French economist Piketty are `nuts,’ Munger says; Munger cites Communist China as danger of egalitarian focus
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Vice Chairman Charles Munger criticized leading candidates from both major U.S. political parties. At a meeting with investors of his Daily Journal Corp. in Los Angeles Wednesday, Munger, 92, was asked whether a person who couldn’t make money in the gaming industry would be a good fit for the top office in the U.S.

RNC Chair On Potential Bloomberg Run: It Would Be ‘A Blessing’ To GOP
Talking Point Memo
Who is afraid of Michael Bloomberg? Not the head of the Republican National Committee. During two Wednesday afternoon cable news appearances, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus brushed aside the suggestion that a potential Bloomberg presidential run on an independent ticket would hurt the Republican Party.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

U.S.-based stock funds get most cash in over two years: ICI
Investors in U.S.-based mutual funds poured $8.1 billion into stock funds in the latest week, marking the biggest inflows since Nov. 2013 on views that recent weakness has made U.S. shares more attractive and overseas stocks remained promising.

MetLife challenges U.S. ‘too big to fail’ designation in court
The U.S. government and the country’s largest life insurer squared off in federal court on Wednesday over whether regulators can designate non-banking firms as “too big to fail,” one of the major reforms that followed the financial crisis.

U.S. Budget Deficit Falls to Lowest Level Since August 2008; Treasury Department reports $55 billion surplus in January
The U.S. ran a budget surplus in January, dropping the annual deficit to its lowest level since August 2008, the Treasury Department said Wednesday.

YouTube Bets on Unicorns and Aliens to Grow Its Paid Service; “The strategy is to fish where the fish are.”
Lucas Shaw – Bloomberg
Lilly Singh, a 27-year-old YouTube personality, has delighted teenagers for six years from the comfort of her couch. Using a small video camera and a computer, Singh, known to her fans as “Superwoman,” uploads funny sketches about her parents, her South Asian and Canadian heritage, and her crushes.

Ackman’s Pershing Square Holdings down 18.6 percent so far in 2016: investor
Activist investor William Ackman’s Pershing Square Holdings portfolio tumbled 18.6 percent so far this year, according to an investor with knowledge of the numbers.

Banks & Brokers

HSBC sued over Mexico drug cartel murders
Bryan Harris in Hong Kong – FT
The families of several US citizens killed at the hands of some of Mexico’s most notorious drug cartels are suing HSBC, claiming the bank can be held liable as it allowed the syndicates to launder billions of dollars.

HSBC CEO Gulliver Said to End Pay Freeze After Staff Revolt
Stephen Morris, Alfred Liu – Bloomberg
Pay freeze reversed after employee `feedback,’ memo says; Europe’s largest bank is seeking $5 billion in savings by 2017
HSBC Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver canceled a global pay freeze after less than two weeks following an employee backlash, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Swiss bank UBS looks to address gender gap in pay review -sources
Swiss bank UBS AG is looking at the relative pay of men and women in its investment banking arm as part of its compensation review, and is taking steps to close any significant gaps, sources familiar with the matter said.

Why a Deutsche Bank Bond Buyback Would Help; The German lender is considering buying some of its senior bonds, according to reports. That helps inside and outside the bank
Your share price is collapsing, your exotic junior debt is getting hammered, what do you do? If you are Deutsche Bank, you consider buying back a big chunk of your own senior debt, according to reports.

BGC Partners
The Company Generated Record Quarterly Post-tax Distributable Earnings; Declares Quarterly Dividend of 14 Cents; Conference Call to Discuss Results Scheduled for 10:00 AM ET Today
BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: BGCP) (“BGC Partners” or “BGC” or “the Company,”) a leading global brokerage company servicing the financial and real estate markets, today reported its financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2015. Unless otherwise stated, the financial results and other metrics for the Company’s division, GFI Group Inc. (“GFI Group” or “GFI,”) are consolidated with those of BGC for all periods from February 27, 2015 onward.

Deutsche Bank May Write Down Postbank Again Closer to Sale
Nicholas Comfort – Bloomberg
Bank says it’s `too early’ to speculate about outcomes; Deutsche Bank acquired Postbank in 2010 under Ackermann
Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s biggest bank, said it may take further charges on Deutsche Postbank AG, a consumer lender in the country that it plans to sell to raise capital levels.

Clearing & Settlement

EU, U.S. Reach Deal on Clearing Rules for Derivatives Market
U.S. and European Union regulators reached an agreement on oversight of the $553 trillion global derivatives market, seeking to prevent capital increases from hitting EU banks this year and enabling CME Group Inc. to continue settling some of the world’s most common contracts.

ASX chief says monopoly irrelevant with blockchain
The Sydney Morning Herald
ASX chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper says an overdue decision on its clearing monopoly will be irrelevant if it replaces its settlement systems with the blockchain.
The government was due to give its decision in September on whether to end ASX’s equities clearing monopoly.

Pension funds quick off the mark over swaps clearing
Financial News
Whole sectors of the finance industry have been known to ask regulators to delay the imposition of rules, pleading that they are not ready.
So why is a fund manager jumping the gun and starting to comply with an onerous clearing requirement for derivatives more than a year before the deadline? BMO Global Asset Management could, like most of its competitors, delay compliance with swaps rules under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation until 2017.

BATS Chi-X Europe and Traiana announce link of services
BATS Chi-X Europe (BATS), Europe’s largest stock exchange, and Traiana, a leading provider of pre-trade risk and post-trade processing solutions, announced a joint service that will extend OTC equity trade CCP clearing to a greater number of market participants.

AQMetrics Taps into DTCC’s Trade Repository to Foster Derivatives Settlement
Press Release – Finance Magnates
AQMetrics, a provider of integrated risk and compliance software for the investment management industry, has augmented its cooperation and connectivity with the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation’s (DTCC), according to an AQMetrics statement.

EU-US clearing deal ‘good enough’ to avoid CME exodus; Banks had planned to quit US clearer on February 21
Fiona Maxwell –
A framework European Union-US agreement on clearing house supervision, announced today (February 10), is expected to head off a threatened exodus of European banks from US central counterparties (CCPs) later this month. Without a ruling that CCP supervision in the US was equivalent to the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (Emir), US clearing houses could not be approved for use by European banks and their branches – and any subsidiaries that chose to continue clearing would face far higher…

Indexes & Products

Buyback Engine at Full Throttle No Brake on Worst S&P 500 Start
Amid the worst start for stocks ever, one long-time buyer is standing firm: U.S. companies. Whether that’s reason for optimism is debatable.
American corporations repurchased more of their own shares in the first four weeks of the year than they did in the same period of 2015, according to Bank of America Corp. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. told clients this week that buybacks are accounting for nearly 20 percent of trading volume, according to two people who saw the note.

Panic grips world markets as FTSE and gilt yields hit record lows – live
The Telegraph
US stock markets, which traded higher for much of Janet Yellen’s Congressional testimony, is expected to suffer hefty losses when the opening bell sounds on Wall Street.
The Dow Jones index futures is off by almost 2pc, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq index futures are 2pc and 2.3pc lower, respectively.

Why Volatility Is Good for (Selling) Smart Beta
Chief Investment Officer
Investor uncertainty will drive greater interest in “multi-factor” smart beta strategies, according to research by Cerulli Associates.

MSCI underperforms Sensex by 1.5% over 5 yrs: Morgan
Business Standard News
Passive investors taking exposure to India through the MSCI India index might not be a happy lot, as the latter has significantly lagged the BSE 100 index over the past five years.

Pittsburgh-based F.N.B. Corp. replacing Rent-A-Center Inc. on S&P index
Pittsburgh Business Times
One of Pittsburgh’s biggest banks is moving up. F.N.B. Corp. is joining the S&P MidCap 400, as of the close of trading on Friday, a change the S&P Dow Jones Indices announced on Wednesday.


Fintech Advances Have Left Gaps In Financial Service Delivery
In the world of fintech, digital lending has become almost mainstream and alternative B2B payment systems are widely available, but distributed ledgers are still up to a decade away and truly digital banks are just beginning to appear.
That’s how the world looks to Matteo Rizzi who has two decades of experience in financial technology, going back to well before the fintech label was invented. He was a cofounder of Innotribe, the innovation program created at SWIFT and he launched the Innotribe Startup Challenge which was the first global contest for fintech entrepreneurs.

ISITC Europe Breaks down Blockchain and the Future of FinTech
Cryptocoin News
Nigel D Solkhon, Interim CEO of ISITC Europe has released a report on the inaugural meeting of the Blockchain Working Group in London. Founded in 1992, ISITC London is a not-for-profit voluntary organization with a series of “work stream” projects planned in 2016 that includes: blockchain, regulation, standards and industry engagement.

Storyful editor to join Facebook to manage journalism partnerships
The managing editor of News Corp’s social media news agency Storyful said on Wednesday she is leaving to manage journalism partnerships at Facebook Inc, as the social network broadens its push into news.

Identity theft tops list of frauds, says Experian; Cases in auto, mortgage loans & credit cards rise
Business Standard
Identity theft is the main reason for fraudulent transactions in the financial sector, says a report launched by Experian India.

The IRS Says Identity Thieves Hacked Its Systems Again
Jonathan Chew – Yahoo Finance
The criminals were especially after E-file PINs, which are used by some individuals to electronically file a return, the agency said in a statement released Tuesday. Around 464,000 unique social security numbers were involved, and of that total, 101,000 SSNs were used to successfully access an E-file PIN.

SR Labs Adds New Global Feed Handlers; The vendor is moving ahead with a “refined” development process that combines its own technology with that of its Wombat acquisition.
Joanne Faulkner – Waters Technology
Low-latency feed handler and market data platform provider SR Labs has added support for several new feeds to increase the global market coverage across its feed handler product lines.

Interactive Data Hires Brodhead for Reference Data Sales; Sales executive, most recently at SIX, joins data services provider
Michael Shashoua – Waters Technology
Keith Brodhead Jr. has been hired by Interactive Data in a reference data sales role, leaving SIX Financial Information

Twitter proves Wall Street critics were right
By Therese Poletti – MarketWatch
Twitter Inc. lived down to expectations in Wednesday’s earnings report.
It turns out everybody was right about Twitter Inc., a poor sign for the company’s turnaround plan embarked upon by co-founder Jack Dorsey.

Twitter only lost half a billion dollars last year
Dan Frommer – Quartz
Twitter is inching toward profitability. But this is another example where Facebook’s execution as a public company continues to look particularly impressive—especially relative to Twitter’s.

Five UK Mutual Funds Partner on Blockchain Trading Project
Daniel Palmer – Coindesk
Five major British mutual fund operators have partnered to explore blockchain technology’s cost saving potential in trading systems.

Environmental & Energy

Supreme Court’s Blow to Emissions Efforts May Imperil Paris Climate Accord
The Supreme Court’s surprise decision Tuesday to halt the carrying out of President Obama’s climate change regulation could weaken or even imperil the international global warming accord reached with great ceremony in Paris less than two months ago, climate diplomats say.

Supreme Disarray for the Global Climate Agenda; The high court’s freeze of Obama’s carbon plan casts doubt on the Paris accord.
Paul Barrett – Bloomberg
Overshadowed by the presidential primary in New Hampshire, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday dealt a potentially devastating blow to President Barack Obama’s climate-rescue plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants.

Obama’s climate strategy left up in the air
Ed Crooks in New York – FT
President Barack Obama’s climate change policy has been left in a state of suspended animation until next year at the earliest — after he leaves office — as a result of a decision from the US Supreme Court on Tuesday.

EDF faces EUR100bn bill for upgrading ageing nuclear power stations
Michael Stothard in Paris – FT
French utility EDF is facing a EUR100bn bill for upgrading its ageing nuclear power stations at the same time as a new law could force it to close a third of its reactors, according to the country’s state audit office.

Oil Investment: Death By 1,000 Cuts
So much for the power of positive thinking. This time a year ago, with oil prices at $68 or down by over a third at that point, energy companies in the S&P 500 said they would slash capital expenditures by nearly 25%, according to data from FactSet. At the time, consensus expectations called for a slight deterioration in oil prices to $63 a barrel at the beginning of this year.

5 States Forging Ahead With Obama Power Plan, Court Hold or Not
Jonathan Crawford – Bloomberg
Supreme Court temporarily blocked President Obama’s regulation; States from Colorado to California vow to press on to comply
At least five states will press ahead with efforts to curb emissions from power plants even after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on President Barack Obama’s key climate change program.

China Turns a Glut of Oil Into a Flood of Diesel
Heesu Lee, Debjit Chakraborty, Winnie Zhu – Bloomberg
China net product exports seen rising a further 31% this year; Asia 1Q oil refining margins forecast to fall by one-third
Fuel producers from India to South Korea are finding that rising refined products from China are cutting the profit margins they’ve enjoyed from cheap oil to the lowest in more than a year. Worse may be coming.

Checking Ted Cruz’s climate science denial howlers; Antarctic scientist attacked by Republican Ted Cruz says Texas Senator “has confused which way is up”
The Guardian
I have no clue how many climate science denial myths a Republican presidential candidate can fit onto the head of a pin, but given these zingers are generally huge it’s probably not that many.

Worst Still Ahead for Mining Industry After Losing $1.4 Trillion
This year looks even worse for an industry decimated by the commodities slump.
Jesse Riseborough, Kevin Crowley, Andre Janse Van Vuuren – Bloomberg
When you find yourself in a hole, the saying goes, stop digging. A simple lesson that arguably has bypassed a mining industry that’s wiped out more than $1.4 trillion of shareholder value by digging too many holes around the globe. The industry’s 73 percent plunge from a 2011 peak is far beyond the oil industry’s 49 percent loss during the same time.


Goldman Sachs to China: It’s in Your Interest to Steady the Yuan
Ye Xie – Bloomberg
Stable exchange rate helps slow capital outflows from China
Policy makers may prefer steady yuan over one-off devaluation
The best way to stem the capital outflows from China is to keep the yuan stable, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Is The Year Of The Monkey A Year Of Turbulence In The Financial Markets?
The Motley Fool Singapore
When I was growing up, the classic Chinese tale Journey To The West fascinated me greatly. The tale is about the adventures that the Monkey God Sun Wukong and his master and fellow disciples had experienced.
There are two takeaways that I have from the story. One is that the life of Sun Wukong seemed like a never-ending adventure; wherever he was, troubles and crises would arise. The other is that the Monkey God is a real force to be reckoned with; in one of the storylines in Journey To The West, he almost destroyed a heavenly kingdom singlehandedly.

Bank of Japan policy: Markets weigh pros, cons of joining the minus 1% club
Nikkei Asian Review
How far will the Bank of Japan take its negative interest rate policy?
Some in the financial markets, such as Nomura Securities, see the possibility of the BOJ going to 1% or so below zero, raising questions about how lenders will cope.

Frontier Markets

BSE seeks clarity on tax on convertible securities; The exchange, which made these submissions to the finance ministry ahead of the Budget, says the current taxation norms do not provide clarity on the issue
Business Standard
Top bourse BSE has asked the government to provide clarity on whether securities transaction tax (STT) is applicable on convertible securities like preference shares and warrants.

Market participants: Pain will not go away quickly; Given the developments, analysts do not foresee a quick recovery. Global markets likely to dictate trend
Puneet Wadhwa – Business Standard
Concerns regarding a global economic slowdown — soft commodity prices, especially crude oil, developments in China, and the banks in Greece — have seen the global markets move south thus far in calendar year 2016 (CY16). On the domestic front, sub-par corporate results for the December quarter, especially of the public sector banks (PSBs), have added to the woes.


N.Y. art gallery, Sotheby’s chairman settle fake Rothko case
Knoedler & Co, which before closing in 2011 was New York City’s oldest art gallery, has agreed to settle a lawsuit over an $8.3 million sale of a fake Rothko painting, just as its ex-president was preparing to testify at trial.

French wine exporters toast EUR12bn sales
Adam Thomson in Paris – FT
French wine and spirits exporters toasted a record value of overseas sales last year — thanks to a weaker euro, as well as booming demand for champagne and cognac.

This is the best college in America to attend if you want to make a high salary
Kathleen Elkins – Business Insider
Salary potential is far from the only factor to consider when college searching — but with the rising cost of tuition and student loan debt at a record high, it’s nice to know which schools are paying off in the long run.

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