First Read

Bats Pays $14 Million Settling Claims Markets Obscured Rules
By Sam Mamudi and Annabelle Ju, Bloomberg
Bats Global Markets Inc. is paying a record fine to settle allegations that two stock exchanges it bought last year obfuscated a central part of how their trading system worked.

***JK: Giving the bad news first…


Bats Global Markets Statement Regarding Today’s Securities And Exchange Commission Announcement
BATS announces the conclusion of two separate investigations into the development of order types; one relates to BATS and the other relates to Direct Edge. With regards to BATS, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has concluded its investigation with no action taken, and we are pleased to have this matter formally closed.

***JK: And really it wasn’t OUR bad news…


Kansas City Swinging Hot BATS
Jim Kharouf – John Lothian News
BATS Global Markets reported its 2014 results last week. Quite a year for an exchange that weathered the media and regulator storm in the wake of Michael Lewis’ “Flash Boys.”
Despite all the negativity surrounding the HFT space, BATS posted its best market share in US equities and options and held the top spot in equity market share in Europe.

***JK: And now the good news.


Deciphering financial markets in the short term is a losing game
By Allan Sloan, Washington Post
One of the underlying principles of much of the daily news coverage of financial markets is that every effect must have a clear and rational cause. The yield on U.S. Treasury securities is plummeting — the all-wise, all-knowing bond market is giving us a message about deflation that lies ahead. U.S. stocks are tanking — investors are selling to protect themselves against difficult times the market sees ahead.

***** If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your B.S.


Ethical Questions of Investing in Pot
By Andrew Ross Sorkin, FT
Last week, the venture capital firm run by Peter Thiel — a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, SpaceX and Spotify — invested millions of dollars in a marijuana company.

***** Value investing says invest in the things you use. There could be a big investor class for this.


CNN Seeks to Fly Its Own Drones
By Jack Nicas and Keach Hagey- WSJ
CNN was a pioneer in round-the-clock cable TV news. Now it wants to pioneer how to use drones in newsgathering—legally.

****** The JLN drone is coming soon!


Facebook understands you better than your spouse
Murad Ahmed, European Technology Correspondent, FT
Ever feel misunderstood by colleagues, friends or even your spouse? Perhaps a computer, with a little help from your social networking profile, will be able to figure you out.

***** I knew that pillow talk with my iPad would bite me in the butt.


Who Carries Around Wads of $100s? A Pickpocket’s Guide
By Ben Steverman, Bloomberg
Quick, how much cash is in your wallet? If you’re like the average American, barely enough for a couple of movie tickets: The median consumer carries just $22. A handful of people roll bigger. Roughly one in five people carry more than $100. One in twenty carry a pickpocket’s dream—$100 bills—according to a new study by Claire Greene and Scott Schuh of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. They were trying to shed light on some of the biggest mysteries about U.S. currency: Where is it all? And why do certain people carry so much more than everyone else?

***** The answer is Nucky Thompson.



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Lead Stories

SEC Charges Direct Edge Exchanges With Failing to Properly Describe Order Types
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that two exchanges formerly owned by Direct Edge Holdings and since acquired by BATS Global Markets have agreed to pay a $14 million penalty to settle charges that their rules failed to accurately describe the order types being used on the exchanges. The penalty is the SEC’s largest against a national securities exchange, and the case is the SEC’s first principally focusing on stock exchange order types.

Transaction-tax plan brings fresh Wall Street battle to Capitol Hill
A top House Democrat said Monday he wants a broad new plan to bolster the middle class to be paid for in part by a fee on financial transactions, a proposal that brings a fresh battle over Wall Street to Capitol Hill.

Euronext launches options on ETFs in Amsterdam
New option products offer investors an alternative low cost way of investing in broad indices
Euronext, the leading exchange in the Eurozone, today announced the launch of options on six iShares ETFs on its highly successful and innovative Amsterdam derivatives market. The new option products will provide investors with enhanced investment opportunities in ETFs tracking a broad range of macro themes. The options on ETFs are developed and launched as a result of strong market demand. Participants in the launch are iShares (the ETF unit of Blackrock) global quantitative trading firm Susquehanna that acts as liquidity providerand asset manager Theodoor Gillissen.

Turkey agrees derivatives deal with London Stock Exchange
Philip Stafford, FT
Turkey is to allow derivatives based on its blue-chip stocks index to be traded via the London Stock Exchange Group as part of its overhaul of capital markets and ambition to become a regional financial hub.

S&P Said Near $1 Billion Mortgage Ratings Settlement With U.S.
By Tom Schoenberg and Edvard Pettersson, Bloomberg
Standard & Poor’s is close to a settlement of about $1 billion with the U.S. for allegedly misleading investors about its ratings of mortgage-backed securities before the subprime crisis, a person familiar with the matter said.

Stricter Dark Pool Rules Said to Be Under Consideration at SEC
By Dave Michaels and Nick Baker, Bloomberg
Even as they’ve captured a bigger slice of U.S. stock trading, dark pools have faced less regulation than the better-known public exchanges. Regulators are taking steps to change that.

Yellen Proves Master of Math Forecasting U.S. Economy
By Jeff Kearns, Bloomberg
Midway through Janet Yellen’s first year as Federal Reserve chair, consumer prices were rising at the fastest pace in 19 months and some Wall

ECB discussions on bond buying far advanced, says Coeure
The European Central Bank is far advanced in discussions about whether to embark on a sovereign bond-buying program and could take a decision at its Jan. 22 meeting on whether to go ahead, a top ECB policymaker said.

U.S. stocks and the dollar now ‘most crowded trade in the world’
By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch
The right trade, when it becomes too crowded, often turns into the wrong trade, warn strategists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Congress Again Clashes Over Financial Regulation; GOP Wants to Roll Back Portions of Dodd-Frank Law, Prompting Democratic Backlash
By Michael R. Crittenden, WSJ
Four-and-a-half years after Democrats in Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank law to stiffen regulation of Wall Street, the two parties are again clashing over government regulation of financial markets.

Traders Prepare for Stock Volatility; Index Points to More Swings in Shares
By Saumya Vaishampayan
The stock market’s fear gauge is marching higher, as investors bet the big swings of recent days will become a fixture of 2015.


HSBC Struggles in Battle Against Money Laundering; Report Is Expected to Criticize British Lender’s Bid to Overhaul Controls After $1.9 Billion Settlement
By Rachel Louise Ensign And Max Colchester
HSBC Holdings PLC has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to overhaul its anti-money-laundering system, including hiring a former British spy and a tobacco-spitting former drug-enforcement official from the U.S.

Lazard’s Antonio Weiss withdraws from Treasury role
Barney Jopson and Gina Chon in Washington and Tom Braithwaite in New York
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s populist wing of the Democratic party has shown its clout by derailing the White House’s attempt to appoint a Lazard banker to a senior US Treasury post.

On Retail Forex, Regulators Have Failed To Reach Far Enough
Sharon Brown-Hruska, Forbes
The record fines recently handed down to global banks for alleged manipulation of foreign exchange rates and front running of customer trades may seem like par after similar allegations for LIBOR and other benchmark rates. One might conclude it’s just another story about Wall Street excess and regulatory failures observed during the financial crisis. However, since these allegations are coming after regulators implemented the key provisions of Dodd-Frank, they probably won’t be the last shoes to drop.

Congress Again Clashes Over Financial Regulation
Four-and-a-half years after Democrats in Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank law to stiffen regulation of Wall Street, the two parties are again clashing over government regulation of financial markets. The Republicans who now control Congress want to roll back or overhaul large portions of the law. But Democrats worried about GOP attempts to chip away at Wall Street regulations are increasingly objecting to even minor changes in an effort to put down markers ahead of more bruising battles to come.

Sanction against Accu Holding AG
SIX Exchange Regulation
Sanction against Accu Holding AG for breaching the rules on regular reporting obligations

Observation 2.0: the anti-evasion provision of the Volcker Rule
Frank A. Mayer, III , Timothy R. McTaggart and Andrew J. Victor, Lexology
This Client Alert continues Pepper’s observations on the Volcker Rule (other Volcker Rule observations can be found here). Critical attention should be paid to the Volcker Rule’s anti-evasion provision, a powerful tool granted by Congress to the regulatory agencies to ensure compliance with the Volcker Rule. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB) recently provided banking entities subject to the Volcker Rule with an extension until July 21, 2016 in order to conform their investments in, and relationships with, covered funds and foreign funds that were in place prior to December 31, 2013. That extension, however, did not apply to the conformance deadline of July 21, 2015 for Volcker Rule proprietary trading restrictions.1 Therefore, the anti-evasion provision is a critical regulatory issue to watch in 2015.

New year to bring increased regulatory focus on cybersecurity for financial institutions
John C. Cleary and Bruce A. Radke, Lexology
Having weathered the cybersecurity turbulence of 2014, the financial services sector can look forward to increased regulatory attention from federal, state and non-governmental regulators in 2015. First, in the wake of data breaches at major banks and financial institutions, and drawing upon its mid-2014 “Report on Cyber Security in the Banking Sector,”1 the New York Department of Financial Services (the “NYDFS” or the “Department”) has announced a New Cybersecurity Examination Process for the banks under its regulatory jurisdiction (the “Examination Letter”). Additionally, the Chairman of the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) has testified before a Senate committee that the CFTC will increase its attention to cybersecurity during its upcoming examinations of clearinghouses and exchanges. Also, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (“CSBS”) has issued a resource guide for bank executives on cybersecurity that community bank CEOs, senior executives and board members are being strongly encouraged to use to address cybersecurity threats at their banks.

Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) Rulemaking and National Market System (NMS) Plans
EDGA: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Certain Rules to Adopt or Align System Functionality With That Currently Offered by BATS Exchange, Inc. and BATS Y-Exchange, Inc. (Release No. 34-74028; File No. SR-EDGA-2015-03; January 9, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
EDGA: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Related to Fees for Use of EDGA Exchange, Inc. (Release No. 34-74025; File No. SR-EDGA-2014-36; January 9, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
EDGX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Related to Fees for Use of EDGX Exchange, Inc. (Release No. 34-74024; File No. SR-EDGX-2014-37; January 9, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
EDGX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Certain Rules to Adopt or Align System Functionality With That Currently Offered by BATS Exchange, Inc. and BATS Y-Exchange, Inc. (Release No. 34-74023; File No. SR-EDGX-2015-03; January 9, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
FICC: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Modify the Fee Schedule in the Mortgage-Backed Securities Division Clearing Rules (Release No. 34-74034; File No. SR-FICC-2014-12)
FINRA: Notice of Designation of Longer Period for Commission Action on Proceedings to Determine Whether to Approve or Disapprove Proposed Rule Change Relating to Quotation Requirements for Unlisted Equity Securities and Deletion of the Rules Related to the OTC Bulletin Board Service (Release No. 34-74021; File No. SR-FINRA-2014-030; January 9, 2015)
ICEEU: Order Approving Proposed Rule Change Relating to ICE Clear Europe Board Risk Committee (Release No. 34-74026; File No. SR-ICEEU-2014-22; January 9, 2015)
MIAX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Exchange Rule 807 (Release No. 34-74034; File No. SR-MIAX-2014-71); see also Exhibit 5
NYSE: Order Approving Proposed Rule Change Amending Rules 311 and 313 to Add Limited Liability Companies as Eligible Member Organizations and Delineate the Information Limited Liability Companies Must Submit to the Exchange as Part of the Membership Process; Eliminate the Requirement that a Member Corporation Be Created or Organized, and Maintain its Principal Place of Business, in the United States; and Make Additional Related Amendments to Update Its Membership Rules (Release No. 34-74035; File No. SR-NYSE-2014-63)
NYSE: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending Its Price List Relating to Fees for Bond Trading License Firms (Release No. 34-74031; File No. SR-NYSE-2014-78); see also Exhibit 5

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

CME Group Notices
CME Europe Physical UK and Dutch natural Gas Products – January 19, 2015 12 Jan 2015
REVISED: CME Europe ICIS-Heren Natural Gas Products – January 19, 2015 12 Jan 2015
HOLIDAY SCHEDULE ? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., January 19th, 2015 12 Jan 2015
Product Modification Summary: Delisting 4 Energy Futures – January 5, 2015

Director – Business Development, Pricing and Planning
CME Group Jobs
The Director of BD, Pricing and Planning will be the central point of contact to provide regional strategic support for fees, incentive programs, and business analytics to CME Group’s EMEA and Asia offices to better position CME Group to quickly adapt to changing international market environments.

Clearing House Financial Summer Internship
CME Group Jobs
Position Description: The Clearing Performance team is responsible for managing and prioritizing the project portfolio across the Clearing organization, in addition to project execution, resourcing, budgeting, and strategy.

London Stock Exchange strikes partnership with Borsa Istanbul
Under the terms of the partnership agreement London Stock Exchange Derivatives Market (LSEDM) will offer trading in futures and options on the BIST 30 Index and on leading Turkish stocks. In addition, LCH.Clearnet will provide central counterparty services to LSEDM and its clearing members.

China Merchants Securities to launch LME trading on Jan. 26
China Merchants Securities , one of China’s top five investment banks, will start trading and clearing on the London Metal Exchange (LME) on Jan. 26, the exchange said on Monday.

Euronext looks to build on strong finish to 2014
The Trade
Euronext has launched options contracts based on six Blackrock-managed iShares ETFs on its Amsterdam platform, in a bid to bolster its equity derivatives offerings.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Jim Rogers claims Russian ‘consultant’ tried to extort him
By James Covert, NY Post
This might be the worst investment Jim Rogers ever made. The globetrotting tycoon — known for his spiffy bow ties as well as his investing acumen — has accused a San Diego woman of attempted extortion in a business deal gone bad, The Post has learned. In civil court papers filed last week, Rogers alleges that Laura Alexis, “a self-professed ‘media consultant’ of Russian descent,” threatened his health and reputation as she demanded that he fork over “large sums of money.”

How Meredith Whitney’s American Revival Sputtered in Debut Year
By Max Abelson, Bloomberg
It took less than a year for Meredith Whitney’s hedge fund to begin unraveling. Her American Revival Fund started investing in heartland stocks in November 2013, after the Wall Street star predicted on TV and in a book that the center of the U.S. would boom. Even as parts of the region did well, she made wrong-way bets on companies including a retailer that sells mattresses and stereos on credit in Texas. In October, she was headed for the year’s eighth monthly drop when her main backer, a fund tied to billionaire Michael Platt, asked for its money back. Her firm refused.

Gross Says Pimco Fired Him After Offer to Scale Back Role
By Mary Childs, Bloomberg
Bill Gross said he was fired from Pacific Investment Management Co., the first time he’s publicly confirmed that he was dismissed from the firm he co-founded in 1971.

Big investors say will stick with hard-pressed hedge fund sector
Stephen Foley in New York and Miles Johnson in London, FT
Institutional investors plan to put more money into hedge funds this year in spite of lacklustre investment performance and two of the world’s biggest public pension funds deciding the sector is no longer worth its high fees.

Where the annuity income game is really played
By Stan Haithcock- MarketWatch
The three-card monte hustle has returned to the streets of New York City to fleece the uninformed and overconfident dreamers of their hard earned money. The “annuity-sales monte” is targeting well-meaning consumers as well.

Opinion: Why you should ignore the stock market
By David Weidner, Marketwatch
One of MarketWatch’s great editors, the late Julie Rannazzisi, used to say that every company, every CEO knew where they stood at the end of the day by looking at the closing price.
As Jon Friedman recalls her saying: “The stock market doesn’t lie.”

Japan 5-year bond yields hit zero
Ben McLannahan in Tokyo, FT
Yields on five-year Japanese government bonds touched zero for the first time ever on Tuesday morning, in the latest sign of the Bank of Japan’s stranglehold on the market.

UK inflation falls to lowest in 15 years
Emily Cadman, FT
Lower oil and food prices have pushed UK inflation down to 0.5 per cent, its lowest level in nearly 15 years, weakening sterling and trimming bond yields.

Banks & Brokers

Deutsche Bank Plans Fresh Strategy for Unloved Stock
By Nicholas Comfort, Bloomberg
Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen have a problem. Of all the stocks of global investment banks, none is as unloved by investors as their own.

Tullett Prebon Hires 40 U.S. Bond Brokers From Murphy & Durieu
By Zeke Faux, Bloomberg
Tullett Prebon Plc (TLPR), the British interdealer brokerage, hired 40 bond brokers from Murphy & Durieu LP to expand in the U.S.

Citigroup quietly scales back in consumer banking
By David Henry, Reuters
Citigroup Inc has been quietly scaling back its consumer banking presence in some of the world’s major cities, pulling out from markets where it does not have enough branches to be competitive.

Ex-JPM man to head Morningstar UK business
Dan Jones, Investment Week
Mark Roomans has been promoted to chief executive of Morningstar UK as Geoff Balzano steps back to focus on his role as head of adviser solutions.

Clearing & Settlement

US banks call for action on clearing houses
Tom Braithwaite in New York and Philip Stafford in London
US banks have urged Jack Lew, the US Treasury secretary, to take action to shore up clearing houses, arguing that the likes of CME Group and LCH.Clearnet could cause the next financial crisis instead of preventing it.

Indexes & Products

NYSE Group and MYRA Capital Launch NYSE Dynamic Allocation Indices Family
Indices aim to provide investors and institutional asset managers performance advantage coupled with award-winning dynamic asset allocation index solutions


YOUR MONEY-How to avoid the high price of social media envy
By Chris Taylor, Reuters
Gabriela Bustelo could not handle Facebook anymore. The 52-year-old journalist for a London-based news agency wrote for Spanish Vogue for six years. Naturally, many in her social-media circles worked in the high-flying fashion industry. Whenever Bustelo logged on to Facebook, she was confronted with an array of five-star images: Luxury vacations, designer clothes, Michelin-starred restaurants.

British Prime Minister Suggests Banning Some Online Messaging Apps
By Mark Scott, NY Times
Popular messaging services like Snapchat and WhatsApp are in the cross hairs in Britain.


S.&P. Nears Settlement With Justice Dept. Over Inflated Ratings
By Ben Protess, NY Times
On television and in the courtroom, Standard & Poor’s has waged war against a Justice Department lawsuit. But behind the scenes, the giant bond-rating agency wants nothing more than to buy peace.

Florida court orders assets frozen in CFTC anti-fraud action against Forex trading investment ponzi scheme
By Mike Fox, LeapRate
CFTC charges Jacksonville, Florida fraudsters with operating a fabricated forex pool and misappropriating customer funds to pay personal expenses

Federal Court in Florida Enters Order Freezing Assets in CFTC Foreign Currency Anti-Fraud Action against Allied Markets LLC and its Principals Joshua Gilliland and Chawalit Wongkhiao
CFTC Charges Jacksonville, Florida, Defendants with Operating a Fraudulent Forex Pool and Misappropriating Customer Funds to Pay Personal Expenses

Former UBS trader challenges U.S. case over Libor scheme
By Nate Raymond, Reuters
A lawyer for a former UBS AG trader charged with engaging in a fraud conspiracy following a U.S. investigation of Libor rate manipulation on Monday urged a New York federal judge to dismiss the case.

Environmental & Energy

Video: Why is OPEC Acting Like This?
by Andrew Peaple, WSJ
Another day, another plunge in oil prices. The selloff continued Tuesday, with prices falling to six-year lows after the United Arab Emirates’ oil minister insisted OPEC would stick to its decision to keep output unchanged.

Solar, nuclear, climate progress possible on Obama India visit
By Arshad Mohammed – Reuters
There could be progress on U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation, solar power and climate change when U.S. President Barack Obama visits India in two weeks, U.S. officials said on Sunday.

‘Social cost’ of carbon emissions significantly underestimated
By Brooks Hays – UPI
Economists trained in a wide range of traditions, from both ends of the political spectrum, agree that markets have failed to properly price carbon emissions.

Saudi Arabia: Oil and gas “will be part of climate solution”
By Sophie Yeo – RTCC
Efforts to tackle climate change will fail if they try to eliminate oil and gas from energy production, according to the UN’s Saudi Arabian climate envoy.

Twitter Lunacy on Keystone Makes The Bigtime: The Senate Floor. Which Is No Coincidence.
Streetwise Professor
A few weeks ago I ridiculed one of the arguments raised against Keystone XL: Namely, that oil transported on the pipeline will be exported. I pointed out that this is idiocy. The very purpose of the pipeline is to transport it to the very complex refineries at the Gulf of Mexico. These refineries are clearly able to outbid anyone for oil sands crude transported on Keystone XL, and they will. Moreover, export through the Gulf to Asia, is far more costly than export to Asia via Canada’s west coast.


SGX unveils campaign to help investors benefit from smaller board lots
2014 ended on a positive note. The Straits Times Index (STI) delivered a 9.5% total return, above the 10-year average of 8.7% per annum. More investors are investing. In the past year, 71,043 new accounts were opened, 12% more than the year before. More than half of the 1.7 million CDP accounts open have investments today.

Herd mentality spurs China trading
The Trade
Volumes were up by over 50% in the Chinese markets in 2014 as retail investors awoke from a multi-year slumber. The value of stocks traded in Shenzhen was up 53.8% in 2014 to RMB 366750.87 (RMB 100s m). That market has recently been tagged by Communist Party chief Xi Jinping as the venue for the next version of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect.

Frontier Markets

Moscow Exchange: Derivatives Market Sees Record Volumes
Moscow Exchange’s derivatives turnover in December was RUB 8.53 trln (December 2013: RUB 3.6 trln), or 168.94 mln contracts (December 2013: 83.9 mln contracts), a record since the launch of the market. A total of 27 mln trades in 151.87 mln futures and 17.07 mln options were executed.

Nigerian Stock Exchange Set To Host Diaspora Investor Forum
In keeping with its mandate of promoting and influencing the economic growth and development of Nigeria, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has concluded plans to organize its first investor forum for Nigerian Diaspora. The forum which is expected to take place on Monday, January 19, 2015, at Hilton Zurich Airport Hotel, Switzerland, is targeted at Nigerian Diaspora in Switzerland and across Europe.

Sebi attempts to strengthen market-wide circuit breaker systems
Lieve Mint
Sebi directs NSE and BSE to compute their market-wide index after every trade in the index constituent stocks

Deutsche Börse Delegation Visits Qatar Stock Exchange and Discusses Prospects of Cooperation with CEO
Qatar Stock Exchange
A delegation representing the Deutsche Börse today visited Qatar Stock Exchange and met with Mr. Rashid bin Ali Al-Mansoori, CEO of Qatar Stock Exchange and Qatari bourse officials. The German delegation, which included Mr. Andreas Peruss, Deputy CEO of Deutsche Börse, and Mr. Tom Bindiksen, member of the Executive Office of Eurex Frankfurt AG for the areas of strategy and exchange cooperation, discussed the prospects and opportunities for enhancing cooperation between the two sides in the areas of capital markets developments and technical cooperation.


Russell Stover buy boosts Swiss chocolate maker Lindt
By Silke Koltrowitz, Reuters
The takeover of U.S. candymaker Russell Stover will fuel growth for Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli after strong demand for premium products boosted sales in 2014, the company said on Tuesday.

US corn stocks bulge to most on record
Gregory Meyer in New YorkAuthor alerts
US grain silos are bulging with the most corn on record after last year’s huge harvest, adding to the drag on commodities markets suffering weakness from agriculture to oil.

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