London loses oil futures listings as Mifid bites; Wall Street Is Claiming Tax-Cut Bounty; South Korea plans to ban cryptocurrency trading

Jan 11, 2018

First Read

A Grateful Scouter with a Big Silvery Beaver-Like Smile
By John Lothian

I was informed late last night that I am to be recognized for my contributions to Scouting with a Silver Beaver Award on behalf of Pathway to Adventure Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The Silver Beaver Award recognizes “registered Scouters of exceptional character who have provided distinguished service within a council.”

I am honored to be recognized for my work on behalf of the Scouts, but this award is as much about you, the readers of this newsletter, and my creative and persistent use of the goodwill that you have showered on me for my work here.

I am grateful for the way people have allowed me to use the goodwill to help others, our industry and our markets. This goodwill helped spawn MarketsWiki and so many other initiatives of John J. Lothian & Company, Inc. It helped drive the development of talents like Jon Matte, Jim Kharouf, Ryan Lothian, Patrick Lothian, Jeff Bergstrom, Sarah Rudolph, Doug Ashburn and others who grew professionally in the empowering ether it created. I am grateful for all the JLN staff and their support of my Scouting efforts over the years.

Your goodwill has helped raise hundreds of thousands, maybe bordering on millions of dollars, to support charitable causes around the world.

To read the rest of this story, go HERE


Hits & Takes
JLN Staff
STAC’s 92nd Annual Mid-Winter Meeting is going on in Chicago again today. Members of the JLN team will be there again.~JJL

At the STAC U.S. options market panel, Steve Crutchfield, head of market structure with CTC, gave an example, provided by Trade Alert President Henry Schwartz, of how burdensome bank capital rules can be on big bank clearers (there are pretty much only three) of options liquidity providers. In a very tight put spread where there is defined risk of $1, banks would be required to hold $10 or in some cases even $30 under current regulatory requirements. Oof. While there are plenty of issues in the options market, here’s the silver lining: despite regulatory headwinds, market structure kinks and a low volatility, low interest rate environment, OCC’s cleared options volume was up 4 percent in 2017. Moreover, options are still viewed as an underutilized tool in investor portfolios, providing tremendous upside.~SD

A point made at the STAC panel on market data yesterday: Due to best execution requirements at brokerages, you can’t get away with not having more in-depth market data feeds, which come with another layer of costs. Also, the panelists seemed to agree that while it shouldn’t be chucked overboard, the Securities Information Processor (SIP) needs a holistic overview and overhaul. (Link is to a Modern Markets Initiative piece with background on the SIP.)~SD

From today’s Lead story London loses oil futures listings as Mifid bites from the FT, “As Mifid II took effect, some traders in energy contracts began closing positions on ICE and opening equivalent ones on CME.”~JK

Yesterday the @JohnLothian Twitter account went over the 75,000 tweet level. It had 123 tweets with over 38,000 organic impressions. Thirty-five percent of the followers of @JohnLothian have a net worth of more than $2 million.~JJL

“Huatai Futures Co., Ltd. including Huatai Financial USA, Inc. named Leo Melamed as a senior advisor and retained Melamed & Associates, Inc. to help establish a globally recognized presence within the exchange-traded futures and derivatives industry.”~JJL

Deutsche Boerse Group
says it is more than a stock exchange. Check out the full range of their products and services HERE.~JJL

The WFE has published a position paper on FinTech.~JJL


Don’t Get the Munchees! A Lesson from the SEC
By Jim Falvey, JD & MBA, Bovill consultant

The Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”) has made good on its promise to pursue companies that engage in what it views as unregulated offerings of securities by way of initial coin offerings or “ICOs.” Specifically, the Commission recently pursued a company called “Munchee” that created an iPhone application for people to review restaurant meals.

To fund the creation of its app, Munchee began an ICO seeking to raise $15 million and, in return, issue its token known as a “MUN.” The company issued a white paper in connection with its ICO. In that document, Munchee indicated that it believed that its tokens – the MUNs – were not securities under the long-standing securities case, SEC v. Howey, 328 U.S. 293 (1946) (describing the test to determine whether an investment contract is a security). However, as the SEC noted, Munchee did not go into any detail describing its analysis and the SEC disagreed with Munchee’s conclusion. The Commission determined that Munchee was, indeed, issuing tokens that were securities. Accordingly, the SEC filed an administrative proceeding against Munchee seeking a Cease and Desist Order on December 11, 2017 to immediately shut down the Munchee ICO.

To read the rest of this essay, go here


Blockbuster – CME looks to increase back month activity in ag futures
Spencer Doar – JLN
Twenty years ago, block trading of agricultural commodity futures never would have seen the light of day. There was no way the locals in the pit would have let block trades in corn or wheat or any of the other ag products happen. They would have demanded a piece of the action.
Markets sure don’t look like they did two decades ago, though, and on Monday, block trades – large, privately negotiated trades executed off the floor or electronic market but cleared by the exchange – were executed in hogs, Black Sea wheat and urea fertilizer. Tuesday saw some corn trade.


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Citadel hedge funds 2017 returns at 13 percent
Lynne Marek – Crain’s Chicago Business
Citadel, the biggest hedge fund company in Chicago, delivered returns of about 13 percent to investors in its flagship funds last yearónot bad by hedge fund standards, though still short of the S&P 500 Index’s explosive 19 percent gain for 2017.

***** Good enough to buy a $56 million home. See Miscellaneous News.~JJL


T4Youth 2017 Event Recap
3Points & Engage
Each year, T4Youth brings together Chicago’s tech community to compete in a table tennis tournament and support the Chicago Tech Academy. Our fourth edition, held on November 15, 2017 at SPiN Chicago, was our biggest event yet — we interviewed numerous participants to get their thoughts on the event.

**Drew Mauck hosts the video on some great table tennis for a great cause. DRW should win for best uniforms (see 3:57 on the video).~JK

****For our brief overview of the event, see Trading Tables: T4Youth’s Annual Ping Pong Bash Brings Home $100k. Super fun, great cause and uber competitive (never been a repeat winner yet). And there was a Rubik’s Cube speed challenge, too.~SD


Jon Corzine hires co-CIO ahead of Wall Street return
Miluska Berrospi – HFM Week
Ex-MF Global chief staffs up for global macro fund launch

****** The gang that can’t shoot straight is getting back together again?~JJL


Bloomberg terminal alternatives popular with advisers
Investment News
When YCharts debuted in 2009, the cloud-based financial portal billed itself as a potential threat to the Bloomberg terminal’s dominance over real-time market data. Bloomberg remains a powerhouse eight years later, but YCharts, and other startups with similar products, have found success with financial advisers, a segment of financial services that traditionally eschewed high-priced finance terminals.

**Can YCharts and topple the Bloomberg behemoth?~JK


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top read story yesterday was Tabb Group’s piece on the consolidated audit trail, in Taming the CAT: TABB Group Survey on Consolidated Audit Trail Readiness. Second went to Bloomberg’s piece on other crypto prices Cryptocurrencies Drop as High Flier Ripple Trades 50% Below Peak. Third was CME Group economist Erik Norland’s piece on The Yield Curve – Unemployment Feedback Loop, which could win the strangest graph of the year already.


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Lead Stories

London loses oil futures listings as Mifid bites; ICE shifts 245 North American contracts to US in response to customer demand
Gregory Meyer in New York and Philip Stafford in London – FT
Intercontinental Exchange plans to transfer trading in hundreds of energy futures contracts from London to the US, as customers seek to escape new Mifid II rules governing European financial markets.

Wall Street Is Claiming Tax-Cut Bounty for Itself; To understand what’s happening here, look to debate that’s raged since election. Last tax overhaul in 1980s may point to victor.
By Stephen Gandel – Bloomberg
The $1.5 trillion dollar question of the tax bill is whether the spoils of lower rates will be split between investors, workers or consumers. The first group, unsurprisingly, favors itself.

South Korea plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, rattles market
By Cynthia Kim and Dahee Kim – Reuters
South Korea’s government said on Thursday it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation’s police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion.

Boards Seek Bigger Role in Thwarting Hackers; Equifax breach triggered broad reassessment of cybersecurity oversight, experts say
By Kim S. Nash, Joann S. Lublin and AnnaMaria Andriotis – WSJ
Corporate boards are seeking greater insight into cybersecurity risks in the aftermath of the recent breach at Equifax Inc. EFX -0.88%

****There is a quote in this story from Options Clearing Corp.’s chief information security officer, Mark Morrison.

EUR210bn ‘fat finger’ skews early Mifid II trade report; More evidence emerges of the struggles firms are having in adapting to vast new EU trading rules
By Samuel Agini – Financial News
A EUR200bn-plus trade reported in error to one of Europe’s largest exchanges this week has thrown up more evidence of the struggles firms are having in adapting to vast new trading rules.

An Alleged Theft of a Billion-Dollar Fund Grips ETF World
By Asjylyn Loder – WSJ
The alleged theft of exchange-traded funds worth $1.4 billion has raised an unusual question for the industry: Who owns an ETF anyway? The biggest of the disputed ETFs is a fund that invests in cybersecurity stocks. Best known by its ticker HACK, the fund was launched days before the 2014 breach of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and the publicity helped the fund raise $1 billion in just seven months. Andrew Chanin, the then 30-year-old co-founder and chief executive of PureFunds, was lauded as the whiz kid behind HACK’s success.

Bitcoin tumbles as South Korea plans trading ban; Justice ministry prepares bill as clampdown on cryptocurrencies gathers pac
Song Jung-a and Bryan Harris in Seoul – FT
South Korea is planning a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading as a clampdown on virtual currencies gathers pace in one of the world’s most exuberant bitcoin markets.

Mifid II and dark pools: what are regulators up to?;’ European regulators efforts to bring more transparency to stock trading risk confusion
Philip Stafford – FT
For European stock markets, this was the week Mifid II was supposed to get real. Rules designed to wrest more of Europe’s share trading on to public exchanges from dark pools were due to come into effect on Friday.

China’s New Year Rule Flurry May Reduce Broader Systemic Risks
Bloomberg News
‘Shadow lending’ curbs aim to shore up resilience of economy; Regulatory changes continue ongoing tightening of conditions
China started the new year with a flurry of rules that may tighten financing for less-creditworthy borrowers, as policy makers prioritize efforts to limit broader risks to the financial system.

Mifid II is one week old: here is what we know so far; The first days of the European Union’s transformative trading directive have not gone 100% to plan
By Samuel Agini – Financial News
Sweeping reforms to the way securities are traded across the European Union came into force a week ago today ó and things have not gone 100% to plan for regulators and its architects.

SEC seeks trustee for firm behind alleged $1 billion Ponzi fraud
Tom Hals – Reuters
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission urged a federal judge on Wednesday to appoint a trustee to manage the Woodbridge Group of Companies, a bankrupt property developer the regulator accused of being a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

Tradeweb bond volumes spike as MiFID II sparks electronic trading rush
Abhinav Ramnarayan – Reuters
Bonds and interest rate swaps trading on Tradeweb’s multi-dealer platform have surged in early January as investors flock to electronic platforms to meet new, stricter regulations.

Auctions And Blocks To Rise Despite Dark Cap Delay
Volumes in periodic auctions and large block trades will continue to increase despite European regulators delaying the introduction on volume caps on equity trading in dark pools.

Unpaid Internships Are Back With the Labor Department’s Blessing
By Rebecca Greenfield – Bloomberg
New guidelines set a more flexible standard for employers; Interns now must be the ‘primary beneficiaries’ of the program
The U.S. Labor Department rolled out new guidelines last week that make it easier for companies that want to hire interns but don’t want to pay them.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

ICE moves some oil contracts to U.S. as MiFID II takes effect
Reuters Staff
The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), one of the world’s biggest commodity exchanges, is shifting the trading of some oil contracts to the United States, the exchange said in a statement, as customers balk at new European Union rules.

Saudi bourse adjusts rules to attract foreign funds, ease Aramco IPO
Andrew Torchia – Reuters
Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is adjusting its rules to make it easier for foreign investors to trade – steps that may help the bourse absorb a huge IPO by oil giant Saudi Aramco this year, the exchange’s chief executive said on Wednesday.

NYSE Arca Remains Leading Exchange for ETFs in 2017
Intercontinental Exchange
he New York Stock Exchange, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange, maintained its position as the top U.S. exchange for exchange traded funds (ETFs) in 2017, with $2.8 trillion in assets under management (AUM) representing 83 percent of U.S. AUM and 22 percent of U.S. ETF trading volume. This strong trajectory is expected to continue in 2018 with a solid pipeline of innovative ETFs to come during the year.

OPINION: Exchange Data Wars Continue
Rob Daly – Markets Media
The first round in the litigation between the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association against NYSE Arca and Nasdaq regarding the pricing of their respective depth-of-book data feeds has gone to the exchange operators, but it was not a knockout and more rounds are ahead.

Gmex and Colt to launch new trading platform
Julie Aelbrecht – Global Investor Group
London-based Gmex Technologies has partnered with tech firm Colt to launch a new hybrid voice and electronic trading platform Exchange-in-a-Box.
The new platform is a multi-asset platform for both execution and surveillance. It includes central limit order book and request for quote capabilities. The system supports the major types of trading venues, including the newly introduced organised trading facilities and systematic internalisers.

Thomson Reuters adds Cboe market data feed to Elektron; The Cboe One data feed is available through Thomson Reuters’ content and data platform Elektron.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Cboe Global Markets is providing its real-time stock quote and trade information data feed to Thomson Reuters’ content platform Elektron.

Deutsche Bˆrse launches new seminar series on stock market knowledge; Basic and advanced seminars “Your way to the stock exchange” will take place from February to June 2018 in Frankfurt and Eschborn
Deutsche Bˆrse Group
From 26 February, Deutsche Bˆrse is again hosting evening seminars for private investors in the trading floor of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and in the corporate headquarters in Eschborn via its stock exchange academy, the “Capital Markets Academy”. It offers six basic seminars and seven advanced seminars. In the first two introductory seminars on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, participants have the opportunity to observe floor trading from the visitor gallery.

SGX consults on quarterly reporting
Singapore Exchange (SGX) is seeking feedback on whether to retain quarterly reporting (QR). Concern about compliance costs has been repeatedly raised among market professionals and listed companies while investors prefer adjustments to QR to be tempered.


BSO acquires wireless provider Apsara
Jack Ball – Global Investor Group
BSO has acquired wireless connectivity provider Apsara Networks, less than a week after the firm integrated emagine’s Mifid II compliant time stamping software across its global network.
In a statement early on Tuesday, BSO confirmed Apsara’s wireless microwave technology, which already connects some of the world’s major exchanges like Nasdaq, NYSE and Bats – making up Apsara’s New Jersey route – has now been integrated into BSO’s global fibre optic network.

Fintech Startup YieldStreet Raises $113 Million
By Julie Verhage – Bloomberg
YieldStreet Inc., a New York-based startup that packages and sells business loans to investors, said it raised $113 million in debt and equity to expand its offerings.

Microsoft Welcomes Back Bitcoin
Microsoft is welcoming Bitcoin back to its Windows and Xbox online stores.

Bitcoin conference stops accepting bitcoin for tickets, oh the irony
The irony of a conference dedicated to all things cryptocurrency that’s unable to accept bitcoin payments for conference tickets is glaring.

Why blockchain and ‘cashlessness’ are among the biggest trends HSBC sees this year; Blockchain investments are expected to double by 2019
The blockchain economy is coming, and judging by an increasing number of Wall Street analysts, it could be big.

EU Launches $1.2 Billion Supercomputing Plan, Without U.K.
By Jeremy Kahn and Aoife White – Bloomberg
Brexit may result in U.K. missing out on benefit, experts warn; Will spend 1 billion euros by 2020 in race for “exascale”
The European Union will spend one billion euros ($1.2 billion) to try to catch up to China, the U.S. and Japan in supercomputing, the European Commission said Thursday.

Jefferies Investment Bank Deploys Percentile’s RiskMine Solution After $3.2B Revenue Record Breaker
Roger Aitken – Forbes
Global investment bank Jefferies & Company (Jefferies) has gone live with Percentile’s RiskMine Cube software, in a continued effort to enhance its global risk technology infrastructure to deliver “cutting-edge tools” to end users in risk management. The announcement follows the bank posting record investment banking net revenues last month of $1.76 billion – up 48% – for the year to the end of November 2017.


Democrats warn U.S. remains unprepared for Russian election interference
One year after U.S. intelligence agencies detailed the scale and scope of Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 presidential election, the United States still lacks “a coherent, comprehensive and coordinated approach” to countering potential future threats from the Kremlin or elsewhere, a new Democratic congressional report finds.

Republican Tax Plan Hurts Colleges in Blue States Most; A new levy on university endowments will hit schools primarily in Democratic jurisdictions.
By Janet Lorin – Bloomberg
Call it the liberal (arts) penalty. This year’s tax overhaul slapped a 1.4 percent levy on the annual investment income of the wealthiest private university endowments. Republicans targeted the measure so narrowly that it ended up as a tax almost entirely on elite blue-state institutions.

IRS Needs Funding for GOP Tax Overhaul, Report Says; Years of budget cuts have hindered taxpayer service and tech upgrades, according to advocate
By Richard Rubin – WSJ
The Internal Revenue Service, after years of budget cuts, will have its hands full implementing the new tax law, according to the agency’s in-house public advocate.

Exclusive: Justice Department blindsided banking agency on pot policy flip – sources
Sarah N. Lynch – Reuters
When the U.S. Justice Department said last week it was reversing policy on the $7 billion marijuana business, it failed to first notify federal officials who advise banks in states where the drug is legal, sources in Congress said.

Senate panel to discuss bitcoin with markets regulators: source
Michelle Price – Reuters
The U.S. Senate’s financial services panel will hold a hearing next month with the country’s top markets regulators to discuss bitcoin amid rising concerns over the risks cryptocurrencies pose to the financial system, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Nigel Farage, Architect of Brexit, Sees Case for Second Referendum
By Kitty Donaldson – Bloomberg
Nigel Farage, the former U.K. Independence Party leader and one of the architects of the U.K.’s exit from the European Union, said he now thinks the nation should have a second vote on the issue.

Trump Administration Seeks to Change Rules on Bank Lending to the Poor; Regulators plan to revamp rules governing banks under the Community Reinvestment Act
By Rachel Louise Ensignand Ryan Tracy – WSJ
The Trump administration plans to unveil a major revision to decades-old banking rules that mandate lending to poor borrowers.


Registration Open for CFTC and Kansas State University Upcoming Agricultural Commodity Futures Conference; First-ever Conference to Focus on Economic Trends of the U.S. Agricultural Futures Markets
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Center for Risk Management Education and Research (CRMER) at Kansas State University announced today that registration is open for the “Protecting America’s Agricultural Markets: An Agricultural Commodity Futures Conference,” that will be held on April 5 – 6, 2018, in Overland Park, Kansas.

Minneapolis Fed proposes massive regulation change for big banks
Jeff Cox – CNBC
Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
The Minneapolis Federal Reserve proposed a set of sweeping new regulations Wednesday aimed at reducing the risk big banks pose to the economy.

Ice ahead for Britain’s spread-betters as watchdogs get tough
Lucy Burton, financial services editor – Telegraph
It wasn’t just skiers and snowboarders heading for the Swiss resorts of Verbier or St Moritz who were hit by the Swiss National Bank’s decision to scrap its currency cap against the euro three years ago

ASIC licenses first crowd-sourced funding intermediaries
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has licensed the first crowd-sourced funding (CSF) intermediaries under the new CSF regime.

ESMA raises concerns on fees charged by CRAs and Trade Repositories
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Thematic Report on fees charged by Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) and Trade Repositories (TRs), following the conclusion of ESMA’s supervisory review of the current fee structures in the credit rating and trade repository industries.

FINRA Announces Updates of the Interpretations of Financial and Operational Rules
Executive Summary
FINRA is making available updates to interpretations in the Interpretations of Financial and Operational Rules that have been communicated to FINRA by the staff of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets (SEC staff). The updated interpretations relate to amendments that the SEC adopted to Securities Exchange Act (SEA) Rule 15c6-1 in connection with the standard settlement cycle.

High-Risk Registered Representative Program
Chip Jones, FINRA’s Senior Vice President of Member Relations and Education, leads a discussion with Mike Rufino, Executive Vice President and Head of FINRA Member RegulationóSales Practice, about FINRA’s High-Risk Registered Representative Program. The discussion includes an overview of the program, the criteria FINRA uses to identify high-risk activity, and tools and resources that are available to help firms perform their own reviews. (8 min. 45 sec.)

Investing and Trading

Cryptocurrencies Retreat Amid Concern of South Korean Clampdown
By Eric Lam , Shinhye Kang , and Todd White – Bloomberg
Korea is one of the world’s most active cryptocurrency markets; Ministry proposal to ban exchanges spurs social-media backlash
Bitcoin slumped as South Korea’s justice minister reiterated his proposal to ban local cryptocurrency exchanges, fueling concern that a government crackdown will erode one of the world’s biggest sources of demand for digital currencies.

Buffett says he will never invest in cryptocurrencies
Reuters Staff
Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett said on Wednesday he will never invest in cryptocurrencies.

Wanted: A Unifying Theory of Behavioral Economics; One possibility? People don’t pay much attention to what’s happening.
By Noah Smith – Bloomberg
Maybe it just doesn’t matter. Photographer: Tom Merton/OJO Images/Getty Images
Behavioral economics has always met with a bit more resistance than it deserved. This is true even though a number of behavioral researchers have won the Nobel — Daniel Kahneman, Robert Shiller and Richard Thaler just last year. Despite this and other forms of official recognition at the highest levels, there continue to be some economists who have an almost instinctive aversion to behavioral ideas themselves.

Bitcoin Could End Up Using More Power Than Electric Cars
By Tim Loh and Frederic Tomesco – Bloomberg
Cryptocurrency miners may rival Argentina in consumption
The global power needed to create cryptocurrencies this year could rival the entire electricity consumption of Argentina and be a growth driver for renewable energy producers from the U.S. to China.

The World’s Biggest Miner Is Building a Battery Supply Hub It Doesn’t Want
By David Stringer – Bloomberg
Electric vehicles could hold the key to BHP Billiton Ltd. finally finding a buyer for its unwanted nickel operations.

Is the Great Bond Blowout Finally Happening?; Bond guru Bill Gross says 2018’s rise in Treasury yields confirms a bear market
By Richard Barley – WSJ
The bond market has had an early alarm call in 2018. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield has risen to its highest since March; bond guru Bill Gross says the move confirms a bear market. In the absence of higher inflation and a clearer shift in central-bank intentions, bonds still have support, but that could erode quickly.

Bitcoin Mania Just Made Kodak $431 Million More Valuable
Bitcoin mania continued to feed the fire fueling Eastman Kodak’s stock Wednesday, after the one-time camera maker revealed a day earlier that it too was jumping into blockchain and launching its own cryptocurrency: the KodakCoin.

Good Luck Spending Your KodakCoins; Also blockchain-hype day-trading, hedge funds, dividend futures and bathrooms.
By Matt Levine – Bloomberg
Please take my KODAKCoin away. Hey this is sort of cool: Eastman Kodak Co. is planning to set up an online database for image rights management, run a platform to allow photographers to license their work — like a Spotify for photos (or like a Getty Images for photos?) — and then trawl the internet to find and stop unlicensed uses of those photographs. That seems like a useful business for a post-film photography company to get into. Good work Kodak oh no oh no oh no what is this:

The secret lives of students who mine cryptocurrency in their dorm rooms
Karen Hao – Quartz
Mark was a sophomore at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when he began mining cryptocurrencies more or less by accident.

Bets on U.S. inflation heat up in bond market
Richard Leong – Reuters
More investors are favoring U.S. bonds that profit from a pickup in inflation as the global economy gathers momentum with oil and other basic commodity prices recently hitting multi-year highs.

It’s Hard to Jump on the 218,000% Crypto Bandwagon
By Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
Don’t be too derisive of Eastman Kodak Co.’s yearning to reclaim its lost glory by jumping on the crypto bandwagon. If the dotcom bubble holds any lessons, the blockchain gravy train might have plenty to go around yet.

Investors Spooked at Specter of Central Banks Halting Bond-Buying Spree
For nearly a decade, central banks around the world have been the biggest buyers of bonds, sending interest rates plummeting and stock markets soaring.


Monex to recognize $8m profit boost thanks to US tax legislation reforms
Maria Nikolova – FinanceFeeds
The recent tax legislation changes in the United States appear to be beneficial for online trading services provider Monex Group, Inc. (TYO:8698), which operates in the United States via TradeStation Group.

The prospects for a bitcoin ETF look dead in the water; A number of fund sponsors have withdrawn their applications, including at the request of the SEC
The digital currency bitcoin is one of the hottest things on Wall Street, just as exchange-traded funds have become the most popular investment vehicle around. However, despite what is seen as heavy interest and pent-up demand, investors shouldn’t expect the two to be combined soon.

Bitcoin Is the New Gold, Says Goldman
Crystal Kim – Barron’s
Bitcoin has not recovered, fully. The price of the crypto asset has fallen more than 12% in the last month to around $14,600, according to the most recent quote on Coinbase. Shares of the Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) has risen more than 30% over the last month, but its net asset value has actually fallen about 7%, according to Morningstar.

Warren Buffett’s influence over banks adds to succession risks; Potential heirs apparent at Berkshire Hathaway do not have experience of current chief
Ben McLannahan in New York – FT
A few years ago staff at US Bancorp began to wonder if they could not do away with printing thousands of copies of the annual report. Everyone was reading it online, if they were reading it at all, so the cost of a big print run seemed an easy saving.

Advisers at Leading Discount Brokers Win Bonuses to Push Higher-Priced Products; At Fidelity, Schwab and TD Ameritrade, employees win extra pay and other incentives to put clients in products that are more lucrative for them, and the firm
By Jason Zweig and Anne Tergesen – WSJ
Investors who seek advice from discount brokerage firms might assume the counsel they get is impartial, given how these firms have rejected the old Wall Street model of working on commissions.


Money Isn’t Everything for German Workers
By Chris Reiter , Carolynn Look , and Christoph Rauwald – Bloomberg
Demand to subsidize shorter work weeks has employers fretting; ECB is looking to German wages to underpin inflation targets
With Germany’s economy humming along and skilled staff hard to come by, workers at the likes of BMW AG, Siemens AG and Robert Bosch GmbH are gunning not only for a hefty wage increase but also for time and cash to help take care of their kids and grandparents.

China’s Youngest Billionaire Gets $6 Billion Richer in Seven Days
By Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam – Bloomberg
Country Garden’s Yang Huiyan added $6.1 billion this year; Shares of property developer have surged so far in 2018
China’s richest woman Yang Huiyan added $6.1 billion to her wealth in just seven days of market trading, trailing only Inc.’s Jeff Bezos in growing her fortune this year.

Chinese Workers Abandon Silicon Valley for Riches Back Home; An exodus triggered by abundant capital, growing innovation and flourishing career opportunities
Bloomberg News
A few years ago, Wang Yi was living the American dream. He had graduated from Princeton, landed a job at Google and bought a spacious condo in Silicon Valley.

Ripple, the company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is betting big on Asia
Frank Chaparro – Business Insider
Ripple, the financial technology company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is setting its sights on Asia.

Chinese bitcoin mining giant sets up Swiss subsidiary
Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi – Reuters
Chinese bitcoin mining giant Bitmain Technologies is expanding to Switzerland in a move that will be key to widening its reach, the group told a Swiss newspaper.

Analysis: China’s U.S. bond rebalancing would hold few fears for Fed
Jonathan Spicer – Reuters
Federal Reserve policymakers reacted coolly to a report on Wednesday that China could curb its massive U.S. debt purchases, pointing out that such rebalancing by countries can be healthy and would not likely disrupt the U.S. central bank’s plan to trim its own bond portfolio.

Asia close to eclipsing US as world’s biggest VC market; Demand for tech groups drives $71bn of start-up money to region
Louise Lucas in Hong Kong – FT
Asia is closing in on the US as the biggest home for venture capital, with total funding of $70.8bn last year to America’s $71.9bn, according to the latest PwC/CB Insights MoneyTree Report.

China denies it intends to reduce US Treasury purchases; Foreign-exchange regulator says media report on Beijing’s plans for US government debt is ‘mistaken’
Gabriel Wildau in Shanghai – FT
China’s foreign-exchange regulator has denied that the country intends to slow or halt purchases of US government debt following a report that helped propel the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield to a nine-month high this week.


Brexit could see UK economy lose £54bn by 2030, Sadiq Khan’s impact papers warn; The London mayor commissioned the economic studies after Brexit Secretary David Davis said the Government had not done such work.
By Faisal Islam, Political Editor – Sky
Brexit could see a £54bn hit to the economy by 2030, depending on the type of deal struck in the next year, according to the first set of taxpayer-funded impact assessments.

No Deal Brexit Could Cost 482,000 Jobs as City Recruitment Slows
By Alex Morales and Stefania Spezzati – Bloomberg
London Mayor’s report warns of danger of severe economic risk
London finance jobs also post ‘seismic’ drop in sign of impact
Leaving the European Union without a deal in 2019 could cost Britain almost half a million jobs, a report found as London’s key finance industry vacancies also plummeted the most in three years.

May to Meet U.K. Financiers to Discuss Post-Brexit Trade Deal
By Kitty Donaldson – Bloomberg
City chiefs include HSBC, Aviva, Goldman Sachs, Stock Exchange; May, Hammond will also raise high levels of executive pay
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will meet a group of City financiers on Thursday to discuss safeguarding London’s financial services in any trade deal with the European Union following Brexit.


Billionaire Ken Griffin Pays Record $58.3 Million For Home
Illinois’ richest man has paid a record-shattering $58.5 million for a home in Chicago. Ken Griffin, the hedge-fund founder of Citadel, purchased the unfinished top four floors of a condo complex on Walton Street. The space reportedly spans more than 25,000 square feet, according to JDL Development president Jim Letchinger.

Power Outage Dims Lights on Tech at CES Show in Las Vegas
By Molly Schuetz – Bloomberg
All the newest, most advanced technology in the world couldn’t protect the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas from the most basic of system failures: a power outage.

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Why Crime Could Kill Crypto

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First Read $46,041/$300,000 (15.3%) ++++ Small Exchange Scores a First With Cannabis Futures Contract By Suzanne Cosgrove - John Lothian News The Small Exchange is known for its bite-size futures products aimed at retail customers, including the Small U.S. Dollar,...

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