First Read

Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Gary DeWaal
Nothing is worse than catching up after a three-day weekend. I am sure glad yesterday is over. Although I am not sure that I didn’t simply move that 18 inch stack from the left side of my desk to the right. But it sure felt like progress.

Speaking of progress, I spent a part of my last weekend superficially reviewing ESMA’s Consultation and Discussion papers related to the ultimate rollout of MiFID II and MiFIR expected to occur in 2016 or 2017. All told these documents total in excess of 840 pages in which ESMA asks over 850 questions. One thing is certain: I doubt these papers will be converted to a film playing in a theater near you anytime soon! (By comparison, Dodd Frank was a mere 828 pages long. John, given your back problems, please don’t lift these volumes.)

However, plow through these papers we must, because ultimately ESMA will use feedback it receives from the industry to help shape final rules and regulations that not only with have a profound impact on the financial services industry in Europe, but potentially for non-European firms dealing with EU-based clients too.

So set aside some time to at least glance through these publications. Fortunately, if you are a Chicago Cubs or NY Mets fans, you have lots of time for this given the disappointing play of both teams so far this year.


Shaved heads for a good cause
Robby Lothian
Hello, this is Robby Lothian, John Lothian’s youngest son. I’m writing this because I’m on a travel baseball team and we’re going to Omaha, Nebraska for a huge tournament and for the College World Series. In order to go we’re having a fundraiser. What we’re doing is shaving our heads and having people give $10 pledges. But the fundraiser isn’t just for baseball. Half of the money we earn is going to cancer research because one of my teammate’s mom has been diagnosed and treated for cancer. Each player is suppose to get 10, 10-dollar pledges. I would love to get more! So if you can pledge, that would be terrific! My dad can give you the details on where to send the money; send email to

***GDW: Heh, my head is naturally shaven. Count me in for $10; who’s next?


MarketsWiki World of Opportunity Summer Intern Series Goes to London
John Lothian & Co. is pleased to announce the MarketsWiki World of Opportunity Summer Intern Education Series is coming to London on July 1st and 2nd, 2014 with the generous support of the CME Group

***JK: Got a summer intern working for you in London? Send them our way.


OptionsHouse and tradeMONSTER to merge
Two innovative, Chicago-based online brokerage firms — OptionsHouse LLC, a subsidiary of PEAK6 Investments, L.P., and tradeMONSTER, a subsidiary of tradeMONSTER Group, Inc. — today announced definitive agreements to combine under a new standalone company, creating a market leading brokerage for active traders and investors.

***GDW: Monster Options? Has a nice ring. I would like to go long fire breathing dragons. What strike prices are available?


Asset Allocation to Israel: A BlueStar BluePaper
Steven Schoenfeld, BlueStar Global Investors
Over the course of the past few years we have been educating investors on the merits of investing in Israeli equities and the exciting world-class companies that call Israel home or are deeply connected to Israel. But we have come to the realization that making a single-country equity allocation is complicated and sometimes even scary. I’m therefore pleased to share our second and most recent “BluePaper” with you.

***DA: We met Mr. Schoenfeld in the course of a recent production project with SGX. He was one of the guys who went to Singapore from the U.S. to trade on the SIMEX, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. I like the structure of his company’s most recent paper, and I think it should be the blueprint for how to incorporate alternative assets into one’s portfolio. Are you listening, managed futures sector?


ISE Announces New Board Member
The International Securities Exchange Holdings, Inc. today announced the addition of one new member to the Boards of Directors of its two exchanges, and also announced the re-elections of eleven members, including one Competitive Market Maker director, one Electronic Access Member director, eight non-industry directors, and the Chief Executive Officer director.


Award for Richard Sandor
Today (Wed., May 28), Richard Sandor will be the keynote speaker and receive the Distinguished Alumnus award from his alma mater, Brooklyn College, at the commencement ceremony (Master’s II) for the institution that is part of CUNY (The City University of New York). He’s in good company. Other CUNY honorees this year include Wynton Marsalis and the woman who argued Roe v. Wade, along with a recipient of a Nobel Prize.

***GDW: All of us in the exchange derivatives industry owe a great debt to Richard Sandor and his pioneering leadership in developing financial futures. Being a native from Brooklyn, I am especially proud of his Brooklyn ties which previously I did not know about, and now elevate Richard even more in my esteem. Congratulations! Can you work now on bringing back the Dodgers?


As Information Flows, S.E.C. Faces Difficulty Bottling It Up
STEVEN M. DAVIDOFF – Dealbook – NY Times
Since 2000, the Securities and Exchange Commission has sought to ensure equal access to that commodity through a rule known as Regulation FD. The rule generally requires that if a company disclosed material information to one person, it must do so to all. Yet even with that requirement and with the flood of information that is out there, some investors still appear to be getting premier access. Indeed, Regulation FD may now be doing more harm than good.


NASDAQ OMX eSpeed Brings World Class Trading Platform and Data Center to U.S. Fixed Income Market
NASDAQ OMX Group announced that eSpeed, the exchange group’s leading over-the-counter platform for electronic trading in benchmark U.S. Treasuries, successfully completed with its customers performance engineering enhancements and the migration to the NASDAQ OMX Data Center. The updated platform and data center environment will provide customers with improved cost efficiencies, trading opportunities across multiple asset classes, and access to leading-edge services for market participants.
(via email)

***DA: This is the follow-up release to my article from a couple months ago. All the things that “will happen” in the article have now happened.


FIA Issues Updated Guide To Customer Fund Protections
FIA today issued an updated guide to the rules and regulations relating to customer fund protections in the U.S. The guide, which was first issued in February 2012, provides futures commission merchants and customers with easy-to-use information about the relevant provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and the rules of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

***GDW: A lot of hard work went into this publication and it shows.


A Tale of Two Issues: Zach Ziliak Breaks Down the HFT Debate
Today’s financial markets can be summed up in three words – global, fast, and complex. But as the market structure evolves, so must the regulatory structure that oversees it. John Lothian News has spoken with several industry experts to create this series on the evolution of financial market structure.

In part 6, quant -turned-attorney, Zach Ziliak points out that Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys, like any good novel, gets broken down into good vs. evil, and HFT has become an easy target. He says it is important to separate the debate in two – automated systems’ day to day activities, and issues related to the flash crash and other system failures.

Watch the video »


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The event will be held at the Grand Hyatt hotel in midtown Manhattan. It kicks off with an evening reception Thursday, June 19th.The main program, exhibit hall and a closing reception will take place June 20th.

Readers of John Lothian Newsletters are invited to apply for a complimentary pass to the event. Please write “JLN” in the Comment box on the event’s registration page.

Registration and full agenda  HERE.


Lead Stories

ECB goes on 300 mln euro spending spree for bank watchdog
John O’Donnell – Reuters
The European Central Bank will spend 300 million euros ($410 million) this year and next in building an elite group to monitor top banks, with the lion’s share spent on generous pay for many of its staff.

***GDW: I thought compensation reform was de rigueur in Europe. I guess what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander. Although cooked goose in Europe is very tasty!

Shanghai Speeds Up Crude Futures Debut as Competitors Lurk
The Shanghai Futures Exchange is speeding up the debut of China’s first crude-futures contract amid rising competition from overseas counterparts for market share in the world’s second-biggest oil consumer.

***GDW: A couple of years ago I sat with a leading official from the China State Administration for Foreign Exchange and I was complaining about the slowness in China implementing some promised trading regime. He looked at me knowingly and said, “Gary, you must understand. This is something that is happening in the short term.” He then paused, and said, “but Gary, you must appreciate that, in China, the short term can be ten years.” It was a valuable lesson.

Nasdaq’s revamp of PSX exchange to put focus back on order size
John McCrank – Reuters
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc plans to revamp the smallest of its three U.S. stock exchanges for the second time in about a year, placing the emphasis back on the size of incoming orders rather than when they are received, according to a regulatory filing.

Quick View: Deutsche Börse powers on
Philip Stafford – Financial Times
For around a year after its deal to merge with Euronext was blocked in early 2012, Deutsche Börse was perceived, not totally unfairly, to be struggling to move on. If were ever the case, that perception should now be dispensed with.

US SEC’s lack of progress on reform rules frustrates officials
Gina Chon in Washington – Financial Times
The pace of passing major financial reform rules has slowed to a crawl at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, frustrating some officials at the SEC and at other regulatory agencies who are upset by the lack of activity, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

***GDW: It makes you step back and admire the volume of work the staff has done at the teeny tiny CFTC by comparison — even if debate is fair regarding the outcome of many of the specific initiatives. Kudos to the staff, however.

Disarm our doomsday machine
Martin Wolf – Financial Times
Are financial crises an inevitable feature of capitalism? Must the government rescue the system when huge crises occur? In his book Stress Test, Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and US Treasury secretary during the 2007-09 crisis, answers “yes” to both questions. Yet these answers also harm the legitimacy of a market economy.

Is cotton the new aluminum? Warehouse queues rise, along with tempers
Cotton merchants are waiting months to take delivery of fiber from U.S. warehouses, tightening supplies and fueling fears the niche market is in the grip of a storage game that plunged aluminum trading into crisis.

Banks Raise Caution Flag on Trading
Executives from some of the biggest U.S. financial firms said a slump in trading that has hammered bank results for more than a year is likely to continue to weigh on profits. Large investors are retreating from the market, big trades are rare and price swings are shrinking, executives told investors at an industry conference in New York on Tuesday.

Exchanges Can Ruin High-Frequency Trading Benefits: Study
Jonathan Morgan – Bloomberg
Exchanges risk making it harder for investors to get the best price by facilitating ever-faster trading, according to academics who examined Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. venues.

Bitcoins to Survive Lull, Shake Industries, Wedbush Says
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Bitcoins, the virtual currency that fell by more than half after surging past $1,100 last year, are probably one to three years away from broader adoption that will challenge industries, Wedbush Securities Inc. analysts wrote.


S.E.C. Vows More Use of a Little-Used Tool
PETER J. HENNING – Dealbook – NY Times
It is rare that the Securities and Exchange Commission announces a new approach to pursuing violations. Mary Jo White, the agency’s chairwoman, did just that last week when she pointed to a seldom-used provision of the federal securities laws that the S.E.C. will employ against people who use others to do their bidding.

Audits in banking sector still not good enough, warns watchdog
Daniel Thomas – Financial Times
Audits in the banking sector are still not strong enough seven years after the financial crisis, the UK’s accounting watchdog has warned.

ASIC bid to plug sensitive leaks
LEO SHANAHAN – The Australian
ANALYST reports and investor briefings will be targeted by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission in a bid to stop the leaking of confidential and market-sensitive information prior to public announcement of corporate deals.

SEC reveals ‘two-pronged’ approach to policing notes
Yakob Peterseil –
A special unit of the SEC is using big data and industry experts to help it bring enforcement actions in the $50 billion registered structured notes market

ASIC Proposals To Facilitate Foreign Companies Offering Securities
ASIC today released a consultation paper proposing class order relief and guidance to help foreign companies offer CHESS Depositary Interests (CDIs) over their shares to investors in Australia.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Eurex plans new derivatives products to take on rivals
Deutsche Boerse’s Eurex, Europe’s largest derivatives exchange, will launch a range of new products later this year, as it seeks to fend off competition from U.S. rivals and capitalise on new rules on derivatives trading.

IntercontinentalExchange Announces Launch of 19 New Energy Contracts
IntercontinentalExchange Group, the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, today announced the introduction of new coal, wet freight and U.S. environmental futures and options contracts.

ICE Endex to Introduce German Power Contracts
IntercontinentalExchange Group, the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses today announced that ICE Endex, the leading energy exchange in continental Europe, will launch German Power futures and options contracts on June 10, 2014.

FNEX Hires Chief Technology Officer and Expands Sales Team
FNEX, an online alternative investment and private securities marketplace, has appointed Chris Nelson as chief technology officer and hired two vice presidents of business development, Erik Wilkinson and Marcus Relthford.

FX trading shifts to disclosed platforms as volume falls
Joel Clark – Euromoney Magazine
Record low volatility in G10 currencies has driven down volume on large FX trading platforms, but a structural market shift is also pushing liquidity providers to quote prices to disclosed rather than anonymous platforms.

Transforming Client Certification at BM&FBOVESPA
Wall Street & Technology
Certifying an exchange client is a lengthy process that can be made easier with automation.

TMX Group CEO Addresses The Economic Club

NYSE Group Inc. Issues Short Interest Report

NYSE MKT Issues Short Interest Report

NYSE MKT Reviewing the Continued Listing of the Common Stock of Provectus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.

NASDAQ Announces Mid-Month Open Short Interest Positions In NASDAQ Stocks As Of Settlement Date May 15, 2014

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Pimco Rehires a Former Top Executive
Dealbook – NY Times
Before he resigned as chief executive of Pimco, Mohamed A. El-Erian lent the asset management firm a measure of gravitas, opining frequently on the economic issues of the day.

Pimco’s Bill Benz eyes UK pensions push
Andy Pearce – Financial News
Bill Benz, the new man in charge of Pimco’s London office, has insisted the “big picture” at the world’s largest bond manager is healthy as he prepares for an aggressive tilt at the UK pensions market.

Fundsmith unveils emerging markets trust
Emma Dunkley – Financial Times
Fund manager Terry Smith has launched an emerging markets investment trust designed to benefit from the rise of consumers in the developing world.

First-time private equity funds look for ways to branch out alone
Alec Macfarlane – Financial News
The private equity industry is teeming with ambitious deal-doers looking to set up their own shops and be their own bosses. But successfully raising the first fund is easier said than done.

CalPERS Releases Chief Investment Officer Recruitment Brochure
CalPERS today released a brochure and other materials related to its search for a new Chief Investment Officer (CIO) to lead and manage its 400-plus person Investment Office.

Spark Raising $375 Million Growth Fund After Twitter Win
Ari Levy – Bloomberg
Spark Capital, an early investor in Twitter Inc. (TWTR) and Oculus VR Inc., is aiming to raise a $375 million fund to back later-stage startups.

Banks & Brokers

RBS slashes U.S. mortgage business, hundreds of jobs: FT
Royal Bank of Scotland has become the latest overseas bank to shrink its business in the United States after announcing it would cut its mortgage trading business by two-thirds, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

ICAP announces management changes in Energy Global Broking
ICAP plc, a leading markets operator and provider of post trade risk and information services, announces today that Paul Newman, Managing Director of ICAP Energy, will take on a new role as Chairman of ICAP Energy, effective 1 July.

Bank of America resubmits capital plan to Federal Reserve
Andrew Dunn –
A month after suspending a planned dividend increase, Bank of America said Tuesday that it has finished reviewing its capital figures and has submitted a new plan to the Federal Reserve.

BofA’s investment bank aims to be more diversified, global
Bank of America Corp is looking to diversify its investment banking business by doing more equity underwriting and merger advisory work and by winning more clients outside the United States, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

Bank of England’s Gov. Carney Urges Bankers to Reform
Jason Douglas – WSJ
Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney said Tuesday the misdeeds of the financial sector risk undermining public support for free markets and called on bankers to radically improve their behavior, a sign of simmering frustration in policy circles over a string of misdemeanors.

Citigroup Trading Revenue Will Likely Drop Further, CFO John Gerspach Says
Citigroup Inc. Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach warned Tuesday that the slump it has been experiencing in trading revenue could deepen sharply in the second quarter. Citigroup’s trading revenue, adjusted for the accounting treatment of the firm’s own debt-price moves, will likely drop between 20% and 25% in the second quarter from the year earlier, he said.

Deutsche Bank Hires Morgan Stanley Executive as Global Head of Rates Sales
Deutsche Bank AG has hired a senior Morgan Stanley rates executive to head sales for the German bank’s rates business. Chris Yoshida will become Deutsche Bank’s global head of rates sales. Mr. Yoshida will be based in New York. His hiring comes as Deutsche Bank continues its push to build its U.S. presence in the market for trading bonds, loans and other debt securities.

Clearing & Settlement

Clearstream launches AIFMD compliance service
Rachael Singh – Financial News
Clearstream, the Luxembourg-based clearing house, has launched a service to help fund managers monitor collateral levels under the European Union’s incoming Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive.

CME Group Clearing: NYMEX Options Expiration Operational Procedures for the Trading Floor and Clearing Members (OB, OH, I, ON) Effective Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Indexes & Products

Record Highs for Nine CBOE Indexes
Matt Moran – VIX Views
Here are the all-time record high daily closing values that were reached by nine CBOE benchmark indexes today

Xetra/Börse Frankfurt: db x-Trackers MSCI USA ETF (DR) Launched On Xetra – ETF Offers Access To US Equities

STOXX Changes Composition Of Benchmark Indices – Results Of The Second Regular Quarterly Review To Be Effective On June 23, 2014

STOXX GC Pooling EUR Deferred Funding Rate Licensed To Eurex To Underlie Future – New Derivative Contract Available In September

ATHEX Index Series Review


Raising the Bar on Co-Location for All Trading Firms
Wall Street & Technology
Any high-frequency trading firm that co-locates its servers at an exchange should have formal market-making responsibilities, be registered as a broker dealer, and be tracked for compliance with SEC rules.

Ex-Icap heavyweight Mark Beeston joins board of fintech firm
Anna Irrera – Financial News
The former chief executive of Icap’s post-trade risk business has been appointed as chairman of the board of Duco, a young financial technology company that helps banks outsource reconciliation services.

Former ISE Exec Soule Boards Redline
Max Bowie – WatersTechnology
Jeff Soule, former head of market data at the International Securities Exchange, has joined Woburn, Mass.-based low-latency feed handler provider Redline Trading Solutions as vice president of business development, responsible for bringing new data products to market, leveraging the vendor’s existing portfolio of feed handlers, execution gateways and pre-trade risk tools.

Dion Unveils TradeCentre For The Australian Retail Advisory Market
Platform Delivers Complete Trading And Investment Functionality Following Deployment At Hartleys

enTrader Now Integrated With Trayport’s GlobalVision Trading Gateway
Trayport Contigo, a leading provider of energy trading, portfolio risk management solutions, today announced that its enTrader portfolio management system is now fully integrated with Trayport’s GlobalVision Trading Gateway.


12 Years Later, a Fund Manager Gets to Give His Side
RACHEL ABRAMS – Dealbook – NY Times
For 12 years, Nelson Obus, a hedge fund manager accused of insider trading, has been waiting — and waiting — to defend himself. On Tuesday, Mr. Obus, who was first subpoenaed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2002, finally got his chance to explain his side of the story to a jury.

Three U.S.-based former Barclays traders appear in UK court
Kirstin Ridley – Reuters
Three ex-traders from banking group Barclays appeared in a London court on Tuesday as Britain began criminal proceedings against U.S.-based Libor traders, part of a global investigation into alleged rigging of benchmark interest rates.

Former Goldman Trader Tourre Says He Will Not Appeal
BEN PROTESS – Dealbook – NY Times
Fabrice Tourre, the former Goldman Sachs trader found liable for defrauding investors in a soured mortgage deal, will not appeal his case to a higher court.

SEC Charges Former CFO of Dallas-Based Jewelry and Collectibles Company With Accounting Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed accounting fraud charges against a Dallas-based company and its former chief financial officer for manipulating its inventory accounts.

CFTC Staff to Host a Public Roundtable to Discuss Position Limits for Physical Commodity Derivatives
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that staff will hold a public roundtable on Thursday, June 19, 2014, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., to discuss position limits for physical commodity derivatives.

SFO opens criminal inquiry into GSK
Andrew Ward, Pharmaceuticals Correspondent – Financial Times
Britain’s Serious Fraud Office has launched a criminal inquiry into GlaxoSmithKline less than two weeks after the drugmaker was accused of “massive and systemic bribery” in China.

Environmental & Energy

Shakeout Threatens Shale Patch as Frackers Go for Broke
Asjylyn Loder, Bloomberg
The U.S. shale patch is facing a shakeout as drillers struggle to keep pace with the relentless spending needed to get oil and gas out of the ground.

***LB: Also in this story “Some investors are already bailing out. On May 23, Loews Corp. (L), the holding company run by New York’s Tisch family, said it is weighing the sale of HighMount Exploration & Production LLC, its oil and natural gas subsidiary, at a loss.”

Global fracking patents hit record high last year: Study
The number of patents filed for new shale extraction technology reached a record high last year as oil and gas companies battled for control of intellectual property in the growing industry, research by Thomson Reuters showed on Tuesday.

***LB: Also in this story “In 2013, 706 patent applications were filed worldwide for so-called fracking technology, up 28 percent from the previous year”

Britain Proposes Easier Access to Tap Shale Rock Energy
Stanley Reed, The New York Times
While most western European governments are opposed to developing oil and gas from shale rock through hydraulic fracturing, the British government continues to plug away at the obstacles inhibiting the country’s fledgling shale industry.

***LB: Also in this story “The government on Friday proposed giving companies the right to drill laterally under land without seeking the consent of each landowner as long as the wells were at least 300 meters


KRX Gold Market Daily Trading Volume Hits 10Kg
The Korea Exchange (KRX) gold market, launched on March 24th this year, achieved a record-high daily trading volume exceeding 10kg in 44 trading days, on May 27th.

China Looking To Dominate Gold Market With International Shanghai Gold Exchange
Kitco News
Not only is China the world’s top gold-producing and consumer nation but according to media reports, the country now has plans to become a major player in market pricing.

Asia volatility indexes mirror pre-crisis market conditions
Justin Lee –
A lack of leverage in the system means the market correction should be less severe than during the financial crisis with central bank intervention the key factor

Dalian Commodity Exchange, Bank Of Communications Co., Ltd. Ink Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement

Dalian Commodity Exchange: Notice On Strengthening Risk Management During The Market Closure At 2014 Dragon Boat Festival

Westpac MNI China CSI Increases to 121.2 1n May from 117.3 in ApriI – Highest since Jan as household anxieties wane on policy ease hopes

Frontier Markets

Another BRIC in the wall: India primed for growth
John Wasik – Reuters
Although the world’s largest democracy has been hobbled by inflation, a declining currency and difficult business environment, the pro-business Bharatiya Janata Party that just won an epic election in India has engendered optimism that the country can turn around its sagging economic scenario.

Better late than never, Germany joins new scramble for Africa
Stephen Brown – Reuters
German industry’s representative in Angola, Ricardo Gerigk, has a tough job drumming up business in Luanda, the costliest city in the world for expats, where contracts tend to go to firms from China, Portugal and other countries with a bigger presence.

India: Where There’s a Will
Abheek Bhattacharya – MoneyBeat – WSJ
In tracking the race among the world’s major economies to get rich, consider what people will do with their riches when they aren’t around to enjoy them anymore.

Energy Firms Head Rush to Myanmar
MoneyBeat – WSJ
Myanmar has been opening up slowly since reforms began in 2010, but as constitutional changes gather momentum so the rate of overseas investment appears to be speeding up.

Iran Fara Bourse Held Its General Assembly And Extraordinary General Assembly On May 24, 2014


FTI Consulting and NYSE Governance Services Study Identifies Key Legal Risks for Companies in 2014
FTI Consulting, Inc., the global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance their enterprise value, and NYSE Governance Services, publisher of Corporate Board Member magazine, released new findings from the 14th annual Law in the Boardroom Study. This year’s data revealed that emerging issues, including cyber threats, social media and shareholder engagement, are of increasing concern.

To Make a Killing on Wall Street, Start Meditating
Katherine Burton and Anthony Effinger – Bloomberg
The idea that Type-A traders are seeking profit with the same tool that Buddhist monks use to achieve enlightenment might seem like sacrilege. Yet most people misunderstand meditation, says Jay Michaelson, author of “Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment.” … “Samurai practiced meditation to become more effective killers,” he says. So too did kamikaze pilots. “It’s value neutral,” Michaelson says.

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