More Regulators Eye Whistleblower Award Programs Hoping for Insider Tips

May 9, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

On May 16, 2024, the Federal Bar Association’s Chicago Chapter will convene at DLA Piper’s downtown offices for a pivotal seminar titled “Hot Topics and Current Trends in Federal Criminal Law.” This afternoon event, scheduled from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM, promises an in-depth exploration of insider trading and public corruption within the Northern District of Illinois.

The program will feature two expert panels. The Insider Trading Panel will include Clifford C. Histed, partner at K&L Gates LLP; Carly A. Chocron, associate at Taft, Stettinius, and Hollister LLP; Daniel J. Hayes, partner at Venable LLP; Allison Passman, chief trial attorney at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and Jason Yonan, chief of the U.S. Securities and Commodities Section, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois.

The Public Corruption Panel will host Nancy Depodesta, partner and co-chair of the White Collar & Government Enforcement Practice at Saul Ewing LLP; Hon. Danish S. Shah, United States District Court judge for the Northern District of Illinois; John C. Kocoras, partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Gabrielle R. Sansonetti, partner at Leinenweber, Daffada & Sansonetti LLC; and Todd S. Pugh, managing partner at Breen & Pugh.

The highlight of the seminar will be an interview with Hon. Morris O. Pasqual, Jr., acting United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, conducted by Sergio E. Acosta, partner and co-chair of the White Collar and Government Investigations Practice at Ackerman LLP.

Participants will have the opportunity to earn three hours of CLE credits, pending approval, and the event will conclude with a reception that allows for networking among attendees. Register HERE.

In its latest trading update, Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH) revealed significant growth across its exchange platforms, with record-breaking volumes reported for April 2024. The MIAX Exchange Group, encompassing MIAX, MIAX Pearl, and MIAX Emerald exchanges, saw its multi-listed options volume soar to 142.8 million contracts for the month, marking a 26.5% increase from the previous year, and a cumulative year-to-date increase to 565.6 million contracts. Notably, MIAX Options experienced a 30% jump in monthly volume, reaching 57.4 million contracts. In contrast, MIAX Pearl Options, despite a 7.4% rise in monthly volume, faced a decrease in both market share and year-to-date volume. MIAX Emerald Options, however, reported a significant 59.4% rise in monthly volume to 35.5 million contracts. Additionally, MIAX Pearl Equities saw a 67.5% increase in monthly volume to 5.1 billion shares, underscoring a robust performance in U.S. equities trading. On the futures front, the Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX) registered a 41.5% year-over-year increase in volume, totaling 339,956 contracts, with a substantial 98.4% increase from March 2024.

On May 29, 2024, CFTC Commissioner Caroline D. Pham is scheduled to participate in the Hellenic Capital Market Commission Public Conference during the IOSCO Annual Meeting in Athens, Greece. She will speak on a panel entitled “Digital Finance, Fintech and Crypto Assets: Supervision Challenges and Experiences Including Issues relating to Sustainability.” The discussion will take place at the Royal Olympic Athens, focusing on the regulatory hurdles and experiences associated with overseeing digital finance and cryptocurrencies, with a particular emphasis on sustainability issues in this rapidly evolving sector. The panel is set to begin at 3:45 p.m. local time in Athens (8:45 a.m. EDT).

Jack Rodriguez, the son of industry veteran and Eagle Scout Chris Rodriguez, is asking for financial support for his Eagle project in Fair Haven, NJ. The project, as you can see from the picture below, is to construct a bike repair station with tools, a bicycle lift and air pump to be placed in Fair Haven Fields, a 77-acre area acquired with the assistance of HUD in 1975 that includes 37 acres of tennis courts and ball fields. The mostly-wooded 40 acres of the Haven Fields Natural Area on the eastern side has been set aside as a “natural” park with trails and a pond.

If you would like to support Jack’s Eagle project, there are three ways. You can Zelle him the funds, Venmo him or mail him a check. His email for Zelle is JackDRod99@gmail.com. His Vemno address is @EagleJack125. The last 4 digits for Venmo are 6804. There is also a QR code for Venmo on the image below. Contact Jack at his email for his mailing address.

The Wall Street Journal reports a Montana cattle ranch in Meagher County, owned by the Doggett family for over a century, was recently sold to Steve Rooney for over $50 million. The ranch spans about 30,000 acres and was listed for $58.75 million less than a year ago. Rooney, who has a background in the oil and gas pipeline industry and is from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, intends to maintain the ranch’s cattle operation. He plans to raise Angus bulls and send some of the 1,800 cattle to his son’s meat-processing plant in Wisconsin. Additionally, Rooney aims to build a new house on the property for his family.

The May 2024 edition of the World Federation of Exchanges’ Focus includes several notable articles. Cesar Sanches discusses the pivotal role of capital markets in funding the global shift towards renewable energy following ambitious goals set at COP28. Elizabeth Coleman introduces the evolving concept of ’employee-consumers,’ highlighting changes in the employer-employee relationship driven by personal values. Pedro Gurrola-Perez presents a novel measure of procyclicality in financial markets that offers a unique perspective on risk management. Monique Bell reports on the current state and future prospects of Australia’s carbon markets from a recent industry forum. Additionally, an annual report on fixed income index products reveals the impact of global events on financial markets in 2023. Finally, pTools announces the launch of the LEILex Affiliate initiative with LSEG, aimed at enhancing global exchange information efficiency.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL

*****

Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
How a Niche Fund Became the Biggest Active ETF from Barron’s.
Equity Index Derivatives: Introduction of Futures Contracts on FTSE All-World Index from Eurex.
The real reason why Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’ seems so low right now from MarketWatch. ~JB

Subscribe to the JLN Options Newsletter HERE (it’s free).

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PanXchange founder Julie Lerner never gave up trying to deliver a commodity benchmark product
JohnLothianNews.com

Julie Lerner, the creator and CEO of PanXchange, Inc., was forced to shut down the U.S. commodities platform in December 2023 after she was unable to secure the seven-figure balance expected from the funder. Lerner spoke with John Lothian about the inspiration for PanXchange and her struggles and successes launching several different commodity benchmark products, including sugar, hemp, frac sand, and carbon credits.

Watch the video »

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The Package King of Miami; Matthew Bergwall was a gifted coder who could have gotten a job at any tech company. He decided to go in another direction.
Ezra Marcus – New York Magazine
It was the summer of 2023, and Matt Bergwall, a skinny 21-year-old University of Miami student, was lounging in an infinity pool in Dubai. Beside him was his girlfriend, a blonde Zeta Tau Alpha. The silver Cuban link chain on his wrist glistened as he held his phone high to snap a selfie, the city’s artificial palm-shaped islands splayed out along the horizon beneath them. Over the next few days, they swam in the pool and posed on their hotel balcony, posting a steady stream of pictures to Instagram. In one, he leans back on the edge of the pool, finger to the sky. “Eventful finals week,” he captioned it.
/jlne.ws/4b9MWk2

****** What was wrong with Matt Bergwall? A lack of values, I would say. He was not even trustworthy to the criminal element he was serving. Despite being very bright, he was lacking in common sense.~JJL

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Binance Pledged to Thwart Suspicious Trading-Until It Involved a Lamborghini-Loving High Roller; Former company insiders say the firing of an internal investigator showed that the crypto exchange neglected evidence of market manipulation
Angus Berwick and Elaine Yu – The Wall Street Journal
When the U.S. accused Binance last year of maximizing profits over protecting users, the company promised “unceasing efforts to deliver a safe and trusted platform.” This was put to the test soon after when an internal investigation found a top client-a firm run by a Lamborghini-loving crypto trader-was manipulating markets. The result: Binance kept the client and fired its investigator.
/jlne.ws/4b8HgXj

****** That **** won’t fly.~JJL

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Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was FTX Customers Poised to Recover All Funds Lost in Collapse, from The New York Times. Second was Pandemic-era winners suffer $1.5tn fall in market value, from the Financial Times. And third was the notice from the SEC of the Eleventh Annual Conference On Financial Market Regulation, which takes place today, May 9, and tomorrow, May 10, starting at 12:30 pm ET.

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Lead Stories

More Regulators Eye Whistleblower Award Programs Hoping for Insider Tips; Programs to award whistleblowers who provide tips that lead to enforcement actions are gaining momentum, both in the U.S. and abroad
Mengqi Sun – The Wall Street Journal
More than a decade after a global financial crisis and the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme led to the establishment of two whistleblower award programs in the U.S., more U.S. regulators and other agencies worldwide are seeing the benefits of paying individuals for helpful information, signaling a change in momentum on the debate. Regulators both inside and outside the U.S. in recent years have adopted or are looking to establish their own cash-for-tips programs, as existing ones in the U.S. become a mainstream part of enforcement efforts.
/jlne.ws/4bbHQUl

US Justice Department Steps Up Focus on Competition in AI; Enforcers plan workshop with industry May 30 at Stanford; Antitrust agencies scrutinizing Big Tech investments in AI
Leah Nylen and Sabrina Willmer – Bloomberg
The US Justice Department is stepping up its focus on competition in the artificial intelligence industry, top officials said, as Big Tech companies invest billions of dollars to gain an edge in the new technology. The DOJ is convening a workshop at Stanford University on May 30, bringing together industry leaders, researchers and government officials, Susan Athey, chief economist in the DOJ’s antitrust division, said at a Bloomberg roundtable on Wednesday.
/jlne.ws/3UBgtw0

Risk Professionals Take On Emergent AI, Climate Change and Global Conflict; Experts discuss the advice they are giving in a deteriorating risk landscape
Richard Vanderford – The Wall Street Journal
Generative artificial intelligence, geopolitical tension, punishing climate events-the list of headaches for businesses’ risk managers can seem to be in a perpetual state of growth. Experts see a deteriorating risk landscape, with most reporting a negative outlook that is expected to worsen over the next decade, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2024. The problems, though vexing, aren’t intractable. About 10,000 risk managers and experts met this week in San Diego for the annual Riskworld conference put on by trade association RIMS to discuss the industry’s most pressing issues. The Wall Street Journal’s Risk & Compliance Journal caught up with some top experts to learn what they are advising businesses. Some responses have been edited for clarity.
/jlne.ws/3UT0fzy

Buybacks Are Back: Corporate America Is on a Spending Spree; Share repurchases in the first quarter are up sharply, led by Meta and Apple
Charley Grant – The Wall Street Journal
U.S. companies are feeling good about their prospects and spending like they mean it. The first-quarter earnings season is turning out better than many Wall Street forecasters had expected. At the same time, companies are stepping up repurchases of their own shares, which is giving a resurgent stock market an extra boost. S&P 500 companies that have reported first-quarter results as of Monday have disclosed buying back $181.2 billion of their shares during the period, according to data compiled by Birinyi Associates. That is up 16% from the year-ago quarter. The pace of purchases has been brisker than usual for nine straight weeks, BofA Securities said Wednesday in a research note.
/jlne.ws/3yeKaeQ

The dark trading debacle – does anyone even care? Following a last-minute decision from Brussels in March to plug an accidental regulatory loophole, Annabel Smith explores what might’ve happened if the European market was left with no caps on dark trading and whether the events signal a wider issue in the European regulatory machine.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The decision from Brussels to push through a last-minute fix to its accidental loophole in dark trading regulation caused by a clerical error was, for many, an expected outcome. But the events have become a catalyst to an already ongoing, and at times heated, debate around whether the regulatory lens in Europe is focusing on the right areas.
/jlne.ws/4dxrHdu

Zuckerberg’s Free AI Is a Clever Form of Bait; Meta is freely sharing an AI model it spent billions on, but probably not just to stick it to ChatGPT.
Parmy Olson – Bloomberg
There’s a persistent mystery about Mark Zuckerberg, and it’s not the one about his new chain necklace. The chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc. has spent billions of dollars building powerful artificial intelligence models and is giving that technology away for free. Why? Zuckerberg recently argued that “open sourcing” LLaMA, his AI model for training chatbots, prevents power from being concentrated in a single company.
/jlne.ws/3wwgZTV

One out of every 22 Chicago residents is now a millionaire
Jack Grieve – Crain’s Chicago Business
Chicago may have recently lost its richest resident, but some two dozen billionaires, 290 centimillionaires and 120,500 millionaires still live within the city limits. The millionaire figure is up 22% from a decade ago and means 4.5% of Chicago’s 2.6 million residents are worth seven figures, or about 1 in every 22 locals.
/jlne.ws/3UQrxXc

Bridgewater’s chief says he has ‘rewired’ world’s largest hedge fund; Nir Bar Dea is seeking to restore firm’s investment performance as it moves on from founder Ray Dalio
Ortenca Aliaj – Financial Times
Bridgewater Associates’ new chief executive Nir Bar Dea said he had overhauled the hedge fund after just a year in charge, in a bid to restore the firm’s investment performance and mark a break from founder Ray Dalio. M”Everything has to get rewired,” Bar Dea told the Financial Times. “It’s like taking a brain and a heart out of a human and then planting a new brain and a new heart.”
/jlne.ws/44z8nIF

JPMorgan’s Australia arm fined $509,000 for allowing suspicious client orders
Reuters
JPMorgan’s Australian arm has been fined A$775,000 ($509,252.50) for allowing suspicious client orders to be placed on wheat futures trading designed to manipulate the market, the country’s corporate regulator said on Thursday. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said it found J.P. Morgan Securities’ failure to identify the suspicious trades to be “careless” and that it should have acted more expeditiously when the regulator flagged the transactions.
/jlne.ws/3QATfVz

Exclusive: Corporate climate watchdog document deems carbon offsets largely ineffective
Virginia Furness – Reuters
Staff at an influential corporate climate action group whose board announced a plan to allow companies to offset greenhouse gas emissions from their supply chain with carbon credits has now found such offsets are largely ineffective, a confidential preliminary draft reviewed by Reuters shows. At stake is the growth of the still nascent market for voluntary carbon offsets. While they are used by some of the world’s biggest companies, including Microsoft, Salesforce, and Amazon.com, the size of the market remains small at around $2 billion. The Science-based Targets initiative (SBTi), a U.N.-backed nonprofit that audits the emission reduction plans of companies, triggered a revolt among staff last month by declaring its intention to allow use of carbon credits prior to concluding its research on them.
/jlne.ws/3WA84vk

10 Big Biden Environmental Rules, and What They Mean; Asbestos, “forever” chemicals, E.V.s and endangered species. Here’s what 10 new rules cover, and why the administration has been churning them out.
Coral Davenport – The New York Times
The Biden administration has been racing this spring to finalize a slew of major environmental regulations, including rules to combat climate change, a first-ever ban on asbestos and new limits on toxic chemicals in tap water. Many of the rules had been in the works since President Biden’s first day in office, when he ordered federal agencies to reinstate or strengthen more than 100 environmental regulations that President Donald J. Trump had weakened or removed. The president has pledged to cut the emissions that are driving climate change roughly in half by 2030. That’s something that scientists say all industrialized nations must achieve to keep global warming to relatively safe levels.
/jlne.ws/3Qy5aDl

The increasingly blurred lines between banks and NBFIs; Striking a chord (diagram)
Toby Nangle – Financial Times
Once upon a time, banks were bigger than non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs). Those days are now a dim and distant memory. The blame (or credit) for this is usually laid at the door of regulators. One justification for regulating banks much more heavily than NBFIs is that they matter more. Banks do different things (like take deposits) and can’t be allowed to fail. NBFIs – like mutual funds, pensions and insurance firms – can die without summoning the end of days. Or so one view goes.
/jlne.ws/3WvV9KL

Singapore wants to shake up its stock market; SGX needs help despite the country’s role as a thriving financial centre
FT Podcast
Shares in Arm drop after it reports lacklustre revenue projections, Singapore is studying proposals to shake up its struggling stock market, EU countries have agreed to use an estimated EUR3bn in profits from Russia’s frozen state assets to buy weapons for Ukraine, and a newly expanded pipeline in Canada breathes life into the oil industry. Plus, hedge fund manager Sir Paul Marshall has lost a legal battle with the South African government over shipwrecked treasure.
/jlne.ws/3ygph2Y

When the Only Problem Was Climate Change; After the Cold War, the West took a vacation from history. Now it’s urgent that we get back to work.
Bjorn Lomborg – The Wall Street Journal
Rich countries, global institutions and the private-jet set haven’t always been obsessed with climate change. Their preoccupation began in the early 1990s, at the end of the Cold War. That wasn’t a coincidence. The Soviet Union fell, communism was vanquished, and peace prevailed among major powers. As Francis Fukuyama brashly claimed, history had ended. All that remained was fixing climate change. Proponents of climate action advocated ending reliance on the fossil fuels that had powered two centuries of astonishing growth. These activists conceded that this would cost hundreds of trillions of dollars but insisted that massive renewable-energy growth was in the pipeline. This would be the last great push to a glorious future.
/jlne.ws/3wk0t9E

Ukraine Invasion

Ukraine turns to prisons to replenish frontline forces; Parliament adopts law giving eligible convicts a path to freedom in return for fighting against Russia
Isobel Koshiw – Financial Times
Ukraine is to start recruiting prisoners to fight against Russia under a new law designed to bolster its frontline forces, including with men convicted of murder or fraud. Using a tactic Moscow has relied on to fill ranks since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Kyiv would begin to offer certain convicts a path to freedom if they are willing to join a combat unit.
/jlne.ws/4brC4Oa

Russia sees window of opportunity to expand attacks as Ukraine awaits further US aid, officials say
Jim Sciutto – CNN
Western intelligence believes Russia is seeking to exploit what it sees as a “window of opportunity” to further step up air and ground attacks on Ukraine to take advantage of the time it will take new weapons and ammunition from the newly passed US military aid package to arrive in significant quantities, three officials with direct knowledge of the latest assessments told CNN.
/jlne.ws/3UBdymL

Russia celebrates victory in World War II as Putin accuses the West of fueling global conflicts
Associated Press
Russia on Thursday wrapped itself in patriotic pageantry for Victory Day, as President Vladimir Putin celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II by hailing his forces fighting in Ukraine and blasting the West for fueling conflicts around the world. Even though few veterans of what Russia calls the Great Patriotic War are still alive 79 years after Berlin fell to the Red Army, the victory remains the most important and widely revered symbol of Russia’s prowess and a key element of national identity. Putin has turned Victory Day – the country’s most important secular holiday – into a pillar of his nearly quarter-century in power and a justification of his military action in Ukraine.
/jlne.ws/4dwRx18

EU reaches a tentative deal on Ukraine aid coming from profits of frozen Russian assets
Associated Press Finance
European Union nations reached a tentative breakthrough deal to provide Ukraine with billions in additional funds for arms and ammunitions coming from the profits raised from frozen Russian central bank assets held in the bloc. The agreement among the 27 EU ambassadors was announced by Belgium, which holds most of the frozen assets in the bloc. It came after weeks of tough negotiations among member states, which were made more complicated by the stringent financial limits on using such funds.
/jlne.ws/44DXlSv

Ukraine hit by ‘massive’ attack on energy grid
Ian Casey – BBC News
Russia has launched a “massive” early morning missile and drone attack on energy facilities across Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said. More than 50 missiles and 20 drones were used in the attack, he wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.It marks the latest in a string of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy grid, which Moscow insists is a legitimate military target.
/jlne.ws/3QDs4JJ

Putin Renews Nuclear Threats Against West at Military Parade; Russian leader says strategic forces are ‘on combat alert’; Putin earlier this week ordered tactical nuclear arms drills
Henry Meyer – Bloomberg
President Vladimir Putin warned the West against threatening Russia as he pursues his invasion of Ukraine and revived his nuclear saber-rattling at the annual military parade in Moscow marking the victory in World War II. “We will not let anyone threaten us. Our strategic forces are always on combat alert,” Putin, 71, who was sworn in this week for his fifth term as president after a tightly orchestrated reelection in March, said Thursday at the parade.
/jlne.ws/3y92iqd

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Hamas says it will not compromise further with Israel to win Gaza ceasefire
Nidal Al-Mughrabi, Steve Holland and Mohammad Salem – Reuters
Palestinian militant group Hamas said on Wednesday it was unwilling to make more concessions to Israel in negotiations over a ceasefire for Gaza, although talks were still under way in Cairo aimed at pausing Israel’s seven-month-old offensive. Israel continued tank and aerial strikes on the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Wednesday and has threatened a major assault on it. Its forces moved in via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Tuesday, cutting off a vital aid route and the only exit for the evacuation of wounded patients.
/jlne.ws/44CHaFi

UK Won’t Support Major Israeli Operation in Rafah, Cameron Says; US and UK aren’t in ‘same position’ on arms sales to Israel; Comments after Biden warns US would halt weapons shipments
Ellen Milligan – Bloomberg
The UK won’t support a major Israeli operation in Rafah, Foreign Secretary David Cameron said, echoing the stance of the US but stopping short of matching President Joe Biden’s warning that he would stop additional weapons shipments to the Middle East nation if it went ahead. “We would not support some major operation in Rafah unless there is a very clear plan for how to protect people,” Cameron said after a speech at the National Cyber Security Centre in London. “We haven’t seen that plan.”
/jlne.ws/3ye1EIf

Biden Slaps an Arms Embargo on Israel; The President withholds bombs, large and small, to spare Hamas in Rafah.
The Editorial Board – The Wall Street Journal
Call it what it is: a U.S. arms embargo against Israel. That’s the astonishing story this week as the Biden Administration confirms it is blocking the delivery of weapons to its main ally in the Middle East.
/jlne.ws/3QFvwn7

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

CME Group Reaches Multiple Records Across U.S. Crude Oil Futures
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today announced that trading in its U.S. Crude Grade futures, which are Argus-settled and trade as a differential to the global benchmark WTI Crude Oil futures, reached several records in April 2024:
/jlne.ws/4aedvmW

CME Group Declares Quarterly Dividend
CME Group
CME Group Inc., the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today declared a second-quarter dividend of $1.15 per share. The dividend is payable June 25, 2024, to shareholders of record as of June 7, 2024. As the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, CME Group (www.cmegroup.com) enables clients to trade futures, options, cash and OTC markets, optimize portfolios, and analyze data – empowering market participants worldwide to efficiently manage risk and capture opportunities.
/jlne.ws/4bwFrTU

ICE Clear Credit Adds Royal Bank of Canada as a Clearing Member
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of technology and data, today announced that Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Canada’s largest bank by capitalization and designated as one of the global systemically important banks, has become a clearing member at ICE Clear Credit LLC, the leading global clearinghouse for credit default swaps. ICE Clear Credit provides a comprehensive product offering, robust mark-to-market services and state-of-the-art risk management approach. As a clearing member, RBC will have access to industry-leading solutions for clearing Single Name and Index CDS instruments, as well as CDS Index Option instruments referencing the major North American and European corporate indices.
/jlne.ws/4dITvvI

Miami International Holdings Reports Trading Results for April 2024; YTD Options and Equities Volumes Reach Record Levels while MGEX Futures Volume Jumps 41.5%
Miami International Holdings
Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH), a technology-driven leader in building and operating regulated financial markets across multiple asset classes and geographies, today reported April 2024 trading results for its U.S. exchange subsidiaries – MIAX, MIAX Pearl and MIAX Emerald (together, the MIAX Exchange Group), and Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX).April 2024 and Year-to-Date Trading Volume and Market Share Highlights. Total multi-listed options volume for the MIAX Exchange Group reached a monthly total of 142.8 million contracts, a 26.5% increase year-over-year (YoY) and representing an increase of 4.3% from March 2024. Average daily volume (ADV) reached 6.5 million contracts, a 9.2% increase YoY. April 2024 market share reached 15.5%, a 5.0% decrease YoY. Total year-to-date (YTD) volume reached a record 565.6 million contracts, a 3.4% increase from the same period in 2023.
/jlne.ws/3WzublM

ICE Futures U.S. 2024 Juneteenth Holiday Trading Schedule – Revised for Daily Gold and Silver Contracts
ICE Futures U.S.
ICE Futures U.S. will observe the trading schedule below for the 2024 Juneteenth holiday. Changes from regular trading hours and daily settlement window times are shown in bold, all times shown in NY time.
/jlne.ws/3wpUVuc

Companies with highest number of complaints pending.
National Stock Exchange of India
Out of the companies whose securities are traded on NSE, there is one company with the number of complaints greater than or equal to 10, pending for more than 2 months OR the aggregate value of the complaints pending for more than 2 months is equal to or greater than Rs.5 lakhs for 5 or more complaints as on April 30, 2024.
/jlne.ws/3WtXmGJ

Fintech

Alphabet Progressing in Talks to Buy HubSpot, Sources Say
Ryan Gould, Michelle F. Davis and Dinesh Nair – Bloomberg
Google parent Alphabet Inc. has been progressing in talks to acquire marketing software provider HubSpot Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. Alphabet has discussed terms of a potential deal with HubSpot, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
/jlne.ws/3ycFNRs

DeepMind CEO Targets $100 Billion-Plus AI Drug Discovery Business With AlphaFold
Mark Bergen and Tom Mackenzie – Bloomberg
Google DeepMind has released a new version of AlphaFold, a landmark tool for predicting protein structures, that puts the artificial intelligence software on a path to make breakthroughs in biology research and bolster a business that Google’s AI chief says could be worth north of $100 billion.
/jlne.ws/4bu1KK5

Musk’s xAI Nears Funding at $18 Billion Value Soon As This Week
Bailey Lipschultz and Katie Roof – Bloomberg
Elon Musk’s artificial intelligence startup X.AI Corp. is set to close its funding round at a valuation of about $18 billion as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter. The size of the round hasn’t been finalized, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The maker of AI chatbot assistant Grok was set to raise $6 billion in the round, whose participants include Sequoia Capital, Bloomberg News has reported.
/jlne.ws/4b052F3

Microsoft creates top secret AI tool for US spies
Chris Price – The Telegraph
Microsoft has developed artificial intelligence that can be used by American spies, deeming it safe because it is completely divorced from the internet. It is the first time a large language model has been fully separated from the online world and worked, a senior executive at the company told Bloomberg. Most AI models, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which is backed by Microsoft, rely on cloud services to learn and infer patterns from data.
/jlne.ws/4badNwr

Eric Schmidt says China can’t catch up to US in AI for 4 reasons
Ana Altchek – Business Insider
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt thinks the US is “way ahead of China” when it comes to AI. “In the case of artificial intelligence, we are well ahead, two or three years probably of China, which in my world is an eternity,” Schmidt said in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday. “I think we’re in pretty good shape.” Schmidt served as Google’s CEO from 2001 until 2011 and remained its chairman until 2015. Following his departure, Schmidt has invested in various AI companies, including Anthropic. He also became the chairman of the Department of Defense’s Innovation Board in 2016 and chaired the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence for three years.
/jlne.ws/4dzyzas

TikTok to automatically label AI-generated user content in global first; Social media companies under pressure to identify deepfakes and prevent spread of misinformation
Madhumita Murgia and Hannah Murphy – Financial Times
TikTok will become the first social media platform to automatically label some artificial intelligence-generated content, as rapid advances in generative AI deepen concerns about the spread of online disinformation and deepfakes. Online groups, such as Facebook owner Meta and TikTok, already require users to disclose if realistic images, audio or videos are made through AI software.
/jlne.ws/4bpOyGF

We don’t need an AI manifesto – we need a constitution; The technology can do wonderful things – but its achievements should not come at the expense of basic protections
Vivienne Ming – Financial Times
Today you were passed over for a job. You were declined a loan. You, or perhaps your child, were rejected from a top university. And you never even knew it happened. Every day, across some of the deepest, most constitutionally-protected parts of our lives, algorithms are making decisions that no human could ever justify face to face. Under pressure, companies are debating ethical frameworks and establishing advisory councils. We don’t need an artificial intelligence manifesto – we need a constitution. As it is being used today, AI is simply incompatible with civil rights.
/jlne.ws/3WzEyWt

French AI Startup Taking On Silicon Valley Is Set to Stuff Its War Chest; Mistral AI is close to raising roughly $600 million, nearly tripling its valuation to $6 billion, from investors including General Catalyst and Lightspeed
Berber Jin, Sam Schechner and Tom Dotan – The Wall Street Journal
Mistral AI is nearing a deal to raise funds at a $6 billion valuation-nearly tripling its level from six months ago and giving the French startup added fuel to challenge Silicon Valley giants in the artificial-intelligence race. Existing backers General Catalyst and Lightspeed Venture Partners are expected to be among the biggest investors in the new funding round, in which Mistral is set to raise around $600 million, according to people familiar with the situation.
/jlne.ws/3QB1iBy

Citi makes minority investment in e-trading bond platform provider Cicada Technologies; The Greenwich-based fintech has an established presence in Mexico, having previously introduced an alternative trading system helping participants trade Mexican government fixed income securities electronically.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Citi has made a strategic minority investment in Greenwich-based fintech, Cicada Technologies (CT), to facilitate institutional e-trading of Mexican government bonds. Citi’s Markets Strategic Investments unit handled the investment, with Citi set to act as a liquidity provider for the trading platform. Citi joins existing investors Kaszek Ventures, Dila Capital and BCP Securities.
/jlne.ws/3wppdNJ

Cybersecurity

Hackers breach computer systems of International Baccalaureate authority in bid to ‘cancel’ exams; Some data from 2018, including employee names, positions and emails accessed through third-party vendor, with screenshots shared online, IB authority says; Hack comes as authority is trying to contain cheating scandal that has outraged students, including some in Hong Kong
William Yiu, Connor Mycroft, Jess Ma, William Yiu – South China Morning Post
The body that runs the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme said on Wednesday it had been hacked but stressed no papers of the ongoing exams were leaked amid a wider cheating scandal. The IB, which earlier found students had posted their recollections of exam questions and answers online before all students had finished the tests worldwide, said it was dealing with an increase in malicious activity attempting to interfere with its computer systems.
/jlne.ws/3URJViv

Cybersecurity, Deepfakes and the Human Risk of AI Fraud
Dan Lohrmann – GovTech
AI-generated cyber attacks and deepfakes mean new risks and new ways to fight them. “Human risk management” is a term to describe how organizations train their staff to detect these evolving threats.
/jlne.ws/3JUQMS8

12 Cybersecurity Startups To Watch From RSAC 2024
Kyle Alspach – CRN
Innovation from startups in the cybersecurity space shows no signs of slowing down, as the threats continue to evolve and intensify. At the RSA Conference in San Francisco this week, a large array of cybersecurity startups have been showcasing their offerings in many of the fastest-growing segments of the market such as security for cloud environments and identities. The RSAC Early Stage Expo was packed with booths from dozens of security startups, while 10 companies were chosen as finalists for this year’s RSAC Innovation Sandbox. A startup focused on detection of deepfakes, Reality Defender, was awarded the “Most Innovative Startup” recognition in this year’s contest as concerns about AI-powered attacks continues to grow.
/jlne.ws/3UybgoD

Cryptocurrencies

Crypto Markets Under Pressure as $2B Worth of Altcoin Token Unlocks and $11B Bitcoin Distribution Loom
Krisztian Sandor – CoinDesk
Cryptocurrencies are still stuck in a corrective phase, but a wave of supply events worth billions of dollars could further delay any meaningful recovery. “A rapid succession of nearly $2 billion of token unlocks during the next ten weeks could lower the market for altcoins,” crypto analytics firm 10x Research noted in a Wednesday report.
/jlne.ws/4ahTJXw

Edward Snowden Goes After Bitcoin Developers: Should Bitcoin (BTC) Add More Privacy Features?
Caden Pok – Benzinga
One of the most touted features of Bitcoin is its anonymity. While all transactions and portfolios are publicly available, users can hide behind wallet addresses. Additionally, with no centralized entity behind the technology, there is no single party with the ability to view data for individuals or be hacked. However, according to infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden, Bitcoin is still not private enough.
/jlne.ws/3JUNVZq

A timeline of the collapse at FTX
Sallee Ann Harrison – Associated Press
FTX, once among the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, said this week that nearly all of its customers will receive the money back that they are owed, two years after its monumental collapse. FTX said in a court filing late Tuesday that it owes about $11.2 billion to its creditors. The exchange estimates that it has between $14.5 billion and $16.3 billion to distribute to them.
/jlne.ws/44wSSkH

Crypto Monthly Trading Volume Drops for First Time in Seven Months to $6.58T
Omkar Godbole – CoinDesk
Cryptocurrency trading volume cooled in April, registering the first decline in seven months as escalating geopolitical tensions and slower inflows into U.S.-listed spot ETFs weighed over the digital assets market. The cumulative volume in spot and derivatives markets fell by 43.8% to $6.58 trillion, a sharp retracement from March’s record high of $9.12 trillion, according to a report by London-based digital assets data provider CCData.
/jlne.ws/4bureH5

Politics

Mike Johnson survives attempt to oust him as US House Speaker; Marjorie Taylor Greene booed as she fails in campaign that has consumed Republicans in Congress
James Politi – Financial Times
Mike Johnson has survived an attempt to oust him as Speaker of the House of Representatives by Marjorie Taylor Greene, a hardline Republican congresswoman from Georgia, putting a lid on a period of infighting that has consumed the party in Congress. In a vote on Wednesday evening, the House rejected Greene’s bid to move ahead with a motion to unseat Johnson, with Democrats joining most Republicans to rescue the Louisiana legislator, who became the top lawmaker in the lower chamber of Congress last October.
/jlne.ws/3JRMYAT

Trump Individual, Estate Tax Cut Renewal to Cost $4.6 Trillion; US deficit in 2024 seen rising closer to $2 trillion, CBO says; CBO Director Swagel sees ‘daunting’ US fiscal outlook
Erik Wasson – Bloomberg
The cost of extending the 2017 tax cuts for households, small businesses and the estates of wealthy individuals enacted under President Donald Trump has expanded to $4.6 trillion, according to new estimates from Congress’s fiscal scorekeeper. That puts a massive price tag on what is likely to be a top issue in Washington next year as lawmakers grapple with the future of Trump’s tax cuts, which are slated to expire at the end of 2025.
/jlne.ws/3JUri7o

‘A little bold and gross’: Oil industry writes executive orders for Trump to sign
Ben Lefebvre – Politico
The U.S. oil industry is drawing up ready-to-sign executive orders for Donald Trump aimed at pushing natural gas exports, cutting drilling costs and increasing offshore oil leases in case he wins a second term, according to energy executives with direct knowledge of the work. The effort stems from the industry’s skepticism that the Trump campaign will be able to focus on energy issues as Election Day draws closer – and worries that the former president is too distracted to prepare a quick reversal of the Biden administration’s green policies. Oil executives also worry that a second Trump administration won’t attract staff skillful enough to roll back President Joe Biden’s regulations or craft new ones favoring the industry, these people added.
/jlne.ws/3JQeVZY

What Trump promised oil CEOs as he asked them to steer $1 billion to his campaign; Donald Trump has pledged to scrap President Biden’s policies on electric vehicles and wind energy, as well as other initiatives opposed by the fossil fuel industry.
Josh Dawsey and Maxine Joselow – Washington Post
As Donald Trump sat with some of the country’s top oil executives at his Mar-a-Lago Club last month, one executive complained about how they continued to face burdensome environmental regulations despite spending $400 million to lobby the Biden administration in the last year. Trump’s response stunned several of the executives in the room overlooking the ocean: You all are wealthy enough, he said, that you should raise $1 billion to return me to the White House. At the dinner, he vowed to immediately reverse dozens of President Biden’s environmental rules and policies and stop new ones from being enacted, according to people with knowledge of the meeting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation.
/jlne.ws/4blMT4m

This chart shows just how absurd Trump Media’s valuation is
Matthew Fox – Business Insider
A lot has been written about Trump Media and Technology Group’s premium valuation, but one chart really helps put it into perspective. Trump Media is the parent company of Truth Social, which went public in March via a SPAC merger. The social media company, founded by former President Donald Trump, has a market valuation of nearly $7 billion. In terms of actual business operations, Trump Media disclosed that it lost $58 million on about $4 million in revenue in 2023.
/jlne.ws/3UzsguP

Trump Presidency Is Next Worry for Battered US Wind Sector; The candidate’s vocal disdain for wind farms is another worry for developers, who’ve faced high costs and supply-chain woes.
Jennifer A Dlouhy – Bloomberg
Companies racing to build multibillion-dollar wind farms in US waters are already contending with surging borrowing costs, supply-chain woes and project pullbacks. Now, they’ve got a new worry: Donald Trump. The former US president and presumptive Republican nominee has made no secret of his animus toward wind energy, whether on- or offshore. He famously battled a project within view of his golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, and has derided wind farms as bird-killing monstrosities. But he has recently ramped up his rhetoric, telling attendees at a Florida fundraiser last month that he hates wind farms, according to people familiar with the matter.
/jlne.ws/3JUGjGj

US overtakes China as Germany’s top trading partner
Rene Wagner and Maria Martinez – Reuters
The United States overtook China as Germany’s most important trading partner in the first quarter of this year, according to Reuters’ calculations based on official data from the German statistics office. Germany’s trade with the United States – exports and imports combined – totalled 63 billion euros ($68 billion) from January to March, while the figure for China was just under 60 billion euros, the data showed.
/jlne.ws/3WB2ARa

Why Britain’s defence industry may regret Brexit; EU plans to ‘spend more, spend better, spend European’ have rung alarm bells among UK executives
Sylvia Pfeifer – Financial Times
Rishi Sunak wants to put Britain’s defence industry on a “war footing”. The UK prime minister’s pledge to increase defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP in response to the war in Ukraine and other threats is welcome news for companies like BAE Systems and the legion of other organisations that make up Europe’s largest defence sector.
/jlne.ws/3USuPJB

German and Finnish presidents say Russian threats must be countered
DPA International
/jlne.ws/3wqKvKQ

Putin’s Next Target May Be the ‘NATO Lake’; Coming exercises in the Baltic Sea will give the alliance a chance to work Finland and Sweden into its complex web of defenses.
James Stavridis – Bloomberg
/jlne.ws/3USyzuQ

China’s Factory Glut Alarms the World But There’s No Quick Fix
Bloomberg
/jlne.ws/3whxpQ9

Regulation

Pison Stream Solutions, Inc. and Joseph James, Jr., et al.; SEC Charges Ohio Company and Its CEO with Offering Fraud
SEC
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Pison Stream Solutions, Inc. and Joseph James, Jr., et al., No. 1:24-cv-00816 (N.D. Ohio May 7, 2024). The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday filed a litigated action charging Pison Stream Solutions, Inc. and Joseph James, Jr. with defrauding investors in Pison’s securities offerings.
/jlne.ws/3WRyglt

Eric M. Cobb; SEC Obtains Court Order to Enforce Investigative Subpoena Against Former Registered Representative
SEC
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Cobb, Civil Action No. 24-mc-173 (S.D.N.Y. filed Apr. 8, 2024). On May 7, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted the Securities and Exchange Commission’s application to enforce a subpoena for the production of documents and testimony issued to Eric M. Cobb (“Cobb”). If a person or entity refuses to comply with a subpoena issued by SEC enforcement staff pursuant to a formal order of investigation, the Commission may file a subpoena enforcement action in federal district court seeking an order compelling compliance.
/jlne.ws/3WAoLH8

C-Bond Systems, Inc. and Scott Silverman
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) deems it appropriate that ceaseand-desist proceedings be, and hereby are, instituted pursuant to Section 8A of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) and Section 21C of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), against C-Bond Systems, Inc. (“C-Bond” or “Respondent”) and Scott Silverman (“Silverman” or “Respondent”).
/jlne.ws/3QxZSaX

Gene Daniel Levoff, Esq.
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission deems it appropriate to issue an order of forthwith suspension of Gene Daniel Levoff pursuant to Rule 102(e)(2) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice [17 C.F.R. § 201.102(e)(2)].
/jlne.ws/3UwtgzL

J.P. Morgan Securities $775,000 penalty for market gatekeeper failure
ASIC
Following an ASIC investigation, the Markets Disciplinary Panel (MDP) has fined J.P. Morgan Securities Australia Limited (JPMSAL) $775,000 for permitting suspicious client orders to be placed on the futures market, ASX 24. The MDP found JPMSAL should have suspected 36 orders placed by a client between 11 January 2022 and 3 March 2022 were submitted with the intention of creating a false or misleading appearance with respect to the market for, or the price of, the Eastern Australia Wheat futures January 2023 (WMF3) contracts.
/jlne.ws/4aeZgyf

ASIC calls on super trustees to improve gatekeeping of member savings
ASIC
ASIC is calling on superannuation trustees to renew efforts to protect members from unscrupulous operators amid evidence of inadequate oversight of advice fee deductions. A newly published ASIC report outlines key findings from a review of the progress superannuation trustees have made in addressing deficiencies in their monitoring of fee deductions for the provision of financial advice.
/jlne.ws/3WzLfYO

Western Australian directors convicted for failing to have director identification numbers
ASIC
Two Western Australian directors have been convicted in the Perth Magistrates Court and fined $5,000 each for failing to comply with director identification requirements. Alexander Henry was convicted ex-parte on 3 May 2024 of contravening section 1272C(2) of the Corporations Act 2001 for failing to have a director identification number. Mr Henry is a director of Global Material Solutions Australia Pty Ltd, Alex Henry Holdings Pty Ltd, Duke Shipping Containers Pty Ltd and AII Australia Pty Ltd.
/jlne.ws/4bbUWRs

ASIC freezes assets of Brisbane financial advisor
ASIC
ASIC has commenced urgent proceedings in the Federal Court against Sunny Mahendra Prakash and his related companies, Principal Financial Services Pty Ltd, Self-Managed Super Pty Ltd, Provest Enterprises Pty Ltd and Super Funds Australia Pty Ltd ITF Principal Superannuation Fund (Related Companies).
/jlne.ws/3ycxUvc

FMA introduces new standard condition on business continuity and technology systems plus new process for reporting operational incidents
FMA – New Zealand
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko – is introducing a new standard condition for certain market licence holders following consultation. The new licence condition will focus on business continuity and technology systems. The new condition will come into effect on 1 July 2024.
/jlne.ws/4aIzT8y

Extension of the ISO Settlement Scheme,2024
SEBI
1.Vide public notice dated March 10, 2024, SEBI has introduced the ISO Settlement Scheme, 2024(“the Scheme”)in terms of Regulation 26 of SEBI (Settlement Proceedings) Regulations, 2018 which provides a settlement opportunity to those entities that have executed trade reversals in the stock options segment ofBSE during the period April 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015 and against whom adjudication proceedings have been initiated and are pending before any forum or authority.
/jlne.ws/3ygc4ao

Statistics of Credit Card, Cash Card & Electronic Payment Institutions Business Operation as of March 2024
FSC – Taiwan
1.Credit Card:As of March 2024, thirty-two credit card issuing institutions were in operation in Taiwan. The number of effective cards totaled 58.91 million (58.87 million at the end of February 2024) among which the total active cards numbered in 37.96 million (37.91 million at the end of February 2024). The balance of revolving credit was NT$107.3 billion (NT$103.7 billion at the end of February 2024). The amount of undue balance of installment was approximately NT$171.2 billion (NT$181.6 billion at the end of February 2024). The amount of monthly retail sales was approximately NT$340.5 billion (NT$321.8 billion for February 2024). The amount of monthly write-off was approximately NT$ 0.61 billion (NT$ 0.55 billion for February 2024). Average ratio of delinquency credit (pass-due over three months) against account receivables (including non-accrual amounts) was 0.27% (0.25 % at the end of February 2024 ) (Please see Attachment 1).
/jlne.ws/3y9SvjQ

Investing and Trading

Money Funds Start Shuffling Assets Ahead of SEC Rule Changes
Alexandra Harris – Bloomberg
Funds are starting to shift their holdings in the $6 trillion US money market ahead of a spate of new rules that will likely boost demand for government securities at the expense of riskier assets. As of mid-April, about five of these funds – including the two largest – had announced plans to convert to government-only holdings or close altogether to avoid Securities and Exchange Commission measures that take effect later this year. Starting in October, the changes mean it’ll get more expensive to withdraw money from some funds in times of financial stress.
/jlne.ws/3JQWbd1

Seriously Underwater’ Home Mortgages Tick Up Across the US; Southern states see jump in share of very underwater homes; A dozen states have at least 2,500 more than last year: ATTOM
Alexandre Tanzi – Bloomberg
Roughly one in 37 homes are now considered seriously underwater in the US and that share is much higher across a swath of southern states, according to data out Thursday. Nationally, 2.7% of homes carried loan balances at least 25% more than their market value in the first few months of the year. That’s up from 2.6% in the previous quarter, according to the first-quarter 2024 US Home Equity & Underwater Report from ATTOM, a real estate data firm.
/jlne.ws/3JVFBsu

Bad Weather and War Are Straining the World’s Wheat Supply
Celia Bergin, Keira Wright and Nayla Razzouk – Bloomberg
Bad weather and war are threatening to keep the world’s wheat supplies under strain and reviving the specter of rising food costs. From soggy fields in western Europe to parched soil in Australia and Moscow’s invasion holding back Ukrainian supplies, farmers face setbacks. That means global stockpiles will remain the smallest in almost a decade, according to analysts surveyed ahead of the US government’s first forecast for next season.
/jlne.ws/3UCc3Vs

Five things to do if your investments aren’t working; Think you may have bought a turkey?
Simon Edelsten – Financial Times
It is springtime. A few cuckoos have announced their arrival. Woodpeckers have been knocking away for weeks, making nest holes in rotting trees to raise their brood. Spring brings optimism for investors. Newspapers are awash with bright, shiny, new investment ideas with which to line your savings nest. Early birds will be topping up this year’s Isa allowance and selecting investments.
/jlne.ws/44CJxYI

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

World’s top climate scientists expect global heating to blast past 1.5C target; Exclusive: Planet is headed for at least 2.5C of heating with disastrous results for humanity, poll of hundreds of scientists finds
Damian Carrington – The Guardian
‘Hopeless and broken’: why the world’s top climate scientists are in despair. Hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists expect global temperatures to rise to at least 2.5C (4.5F) above preindustrial levels this century, blasting past internationally agreed targets and causing catastrophic consequences for humanity and the planet, an exclusive Guardian survey has revealed. Almost 80% of the respondents, all from the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), foresee at least 2.5C of global heating, while almost half anticipate at least 3C (5.4F). Only 6% thought the internationally agreed 1.5C (2.7F) limit would be met.
/jlne.ws/4bsSCFn

UAE’s al-Jaber invites business chiefs to climate talks on eve of COP29; Head of last year’s climate negotiations holds event in Abu Dhabi for Silicon Valley and oil executives
Malcolm Moore, Attracta Mooney and Chloe Cornish – Financial Times
Sultan al-Jaber is planning a final flourish as president of the UN COP28 summit by calling the heads of the world’s largest energy and tech companies for climate talks in Abu Dhabi days before COP29 begins in Azerbaijan. Jaber – who is also head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) – said he will invite chief executives from Silicon Valley and Big Oil for a “Change Makers Majlis”, or special gathering, at the start of November to discuss artificial intelligence and the energy transition.
/jlne.ws/3Uvn0IB

Crossing the Atlantic is no easy fix for Europe’s oil majors; A significant strategic shift is far more important than looking to solutions abroad
Financial Times
In 1924 a new business, Compagnie française des pétroles, was created to tackle France’s oil security problems. It looked east, to Iraq. One hundred years later, the group – now called TotalEnergies – is looking west to try to solve another puzzle: the valuation gap between European and US oil majors. This time, it might not find the answer abroad.
/jlne.ws/4a7o8ry

The Global Solar Power Boom Is Driving a Surge in Silver Demand; Miners are expanding their operations and ramping up production as prices for the precious metal climb to decade highs
Christian Moess Laursen – The Wall Street Journal
A booming solar-power industry is driving a surge in the demand for silver, which is needed in large quantities to make photovoltaic panels. Silver is integral to the production of solar photovoltaic-or solar PV-panels because of its high electrical conductivity, thermal efficiency and optical reflectivity, and mining companies are aiming to boost output as prices for the precious metal have climbed to decade highs.
/jlne.ws/3Urh6ba

Biden Raises Oil Price US Is Willing to Pay to Refill Reserves
Lucia Kassai and Devika Krishna Kumar – Bloomberg
The Biden administration raised the price it’s willing to pay to refill the country’s emergency oil reserves, which have dwindled near the lowest in four decades. The Energy Department said in a filing that it will pay as much as $79.99 a barrel for oil, the first time the administration has set an explicit price ceiling. That’s higher than the previous informal cap of $79 and close to market prices. The DOE has also changed the pricing formula, allowing for potential bidders to better hedge positions.
/jlne.ws/44BNpZQ

The World’s Biggest Carbon Removal Plant Comes Online in Iceland; Climeworks’ Mammoth plant will pull 36,000 tons of CO2 out of the air a year as it aims to reach 1 million tons by the end of the decade.
Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir – Bloomberg
Amid the steam rising around Iceland’s Hellisheioi station sits a newly built warehouse surrounded by giant fans run by carbon removal startup Climeworks. Dubbed Mammoth, the project is now the world’s biggest plant to suck carbon dioxide from the air. The plant is a critical step in the race to remove billions of tons of carbon a year by mid-century, a move that will likely be needed to keep global warming to relatively safe levels. It also illustrates the increasingly competitive landscape for companies trying to suck carbon from the sky.
/jlne.ws/3wCpSLD

Texas Spot Power Prices Jump Almost 100-Fold on Tight Supply
Naureen S Malik – Bloomberg
/jlne.ws/4a6XHlS

Top Fertilizer Maker Nutrien Sees Better Demand in US and Brazil
Michael Hirtzer – Bloomberg
/jlne.ws/4bbg0re

The Guardian view on the climate emergency: we cannot afford to despair; Top experts believe global temperatures will rise by at least 2.5C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. That frightening prediction must spur us to action.
Editorial – The Guardian
/jlne.ws/3JVnXFi

Institutions

Robinhood Stock Jumps After Company Reports Record Revenue and Profit
Hannah Miao – The Wall Street Journal
Shares of Robinhood rose about 6% in postmarket trading Wednesday after the online brokerage reported record quarterly revenue and profits that topped Wall Street expectations. The company posted net income of $157 million, or 18 cents a share, on revenue of $618 million. Analysts were expecting a profit of 6 cents per share on revenue of $553 million, according to FactSet consensus estimates.
/jlne.ws/3USnxWr

Cantor Fitzgerald taps Credit Suisse for new co-head of EMEA electronic execution services
Claudia Preece – The Trade
Dan Monckton, former EMEA head of program and electronic trading at Credit Suisse has joined Cantor Fitzgerald as co-head of EMEA electronic execution services, The TRADE can reveal. In the new role London-based Monckton will report to Andrew Shortland, head of equities, EMEA, The TRADE understands. Prior to the move, Monckton spent two decades at Credit Suisse in a range of program trading related senior positions. His expertise includes managing algo, DMA and low latency cash and derivatives businesses as well as driving client coverage and product development.
/jlne.ws/4b7Am4F

Morgan Stanley CIO Cites ‘Humbling Business’ Behind Wrong Forecasts, Gives Up Predicting S&P 500 As One Division Faces SEC Probe
Caleb Naysmith – Benzinga
Similar to how Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE:MS) stock lately has underperformed many of its banking peers, its Chief Investment Officer Mike Wilson has significantly underperformed other market prognosticators. Wilson has gotten so many market forecasts wrong over the past few years that he’s effectively given up even trying to predict their future movements.
/jlne.ws/44C9N59

Credit Suisse Sued for $220 Million by Georgian Tycoon in Geneva; Ivanishvili won $1.34 billion from Bermuda, Singapore courts; Bank is appealing verdicts, says rogue banker was a lone wolf
Hugo Miller – Bloomberg
Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili sued Credit Suisse for 200 million Swiss francs ($220 million) Geneva over a rogue trader scandal, in a suit that goes beyond the $1.34 billion he’s already been awarded by courts in Bermuda and Singapore. The money the ex-prime minister of Georgia is seeking is part of Swiss civil claims tied to former Credit Suisse banker Patrice Lescaudron’s fraud conviction in 2018. He was found to have run a scheme where he took money from Ivanishvili’s accounts to try and mask growing losses in other client portfolios.
/jlne.ws/3UCuVDZ

Hedge fund boss Paul Marshall loses case over silver salvaged from shipwreck; UK court rules South African government does not owe compensation for recovery of $43mn worth of silver bars
Costas Mourselas and Emma Dunkley – Financial Times
A company controlled by hedge fund manager Sir Paul Marshall has lost a legal battle with the South African government over $43mn of silver bars recovered from a second world war wreck in the Indian Ocean. The UK’s Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with the government in Pretoria, which had argued it did not owe Marshall’s salvage company payment for the silver bars, which had been purchased by the then Union of South Africa from the Indian government in 1942.
/jlne.ws/4bu2zm9

Hedge Funds Pile Into Option Bets Yen Will Weaken Back to 160
David Finnerty – Bloomberg
Hedge funds are renewing their attack on the yen. Days after suspected government intervention to support the currency, leveraged funds are re-entering bets the yen will slump back toward a 34-year low in the coming weeks, according to option traders. Short-term funds have started buying one- to three-month so-called reverse knock-out call-option contracts this week, which gain in value if the dollar-yen rises. They differ from regular call options in becoming worthless if a specific level is reached, suggesting traders see officials stepping in again soon after a breach of 160 per dollar.
/jlne.ws/3wuTnPv

Work & Management

Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was Google’s first female engineer-only because she tried to delete a recruiter email and accidentally opened it instead
Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez – Fortune
Marissa Mayer is most well-known for her stint as CEO of Yahoo, but before she took the helm of the tech giant, she took a serendipitous dive into the unknown by joining a then little-known startup called Google. Although she would later become Google’s 20th employee and first female engineer, as a graduating computer science major at Stanford during the height of the tech bubble in 1999, Mayer found herself with 14 job offers to major companies. Unsure of which to choose, Mayer took stock of all the good decisions she had made up until that time, according to an interview at Fortune’s MPW conference in 2011, which included picking Stanford, pivoting away from a major in medicine, and working in Switzerland for a summer.
/jlne.ws/4dIKNxw

What a Zoom cashier 8,000 miles away can tell us about the future of work; Is a new age of digital offshoring coming?
Whizy Kim – Vox
Questions of how a new technology will change the way we work have only become more pressing since OpenAI’s Chat-GPT burst onto the scene in late 2022. Since then, we’ve seen frenzied predictions of how AI will upend American jobs – perhaps even doing away with the need to work altogether. Some wonder if their careers will even exist in a few years. Chances are, they will, but the tasks they do might be different. How exactly that will happen can feel obscure, but it’s been happening in much the same way for decades if not centuries.
/jlne.ws/3y9TXCO

IBM’s Red Hat Sued by Stephen Miller’s Legal Group for Anti-White Male Bias
Riddhi Setty – Bloomberg Law
Ex-Trump adviser Stephen Miller’s legal group has sued IBM Corp. subsidiary Red Hat Inc. claiming the company’s diversity goals led to the discriminatory treatment and termination of a former White male employee. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the US District Court for the District of Idaho, America First Legal said that Allan Kingsley Wood, a former senior director at Red Hat, faced race and gender discrimination because of the IBM subsidary’s diversity, equity, and inclusion program, which involved setting hiring goals for women and minorities.
/jlne.ws/4bw9Wtm

Wellness Exchange

How climate change is raising the risks of another pandemic; Evidence is mounting that human disruptions to natural ecosystems are raising risks of disease spread, according to a new study.
Scott Dance – The Washington Post
As humans degrade earth’s environment, we have created a world in which diseases may be increasingly apt to fester and multiply. Infection-spreading creatures such as mosquitoes and ticks are thriving on a planet warmed by a blanket of fossil fuel emissions. When pollution, hunting or development push rare organisms to extinction, parasites proliferate because they have evolved to target the most abundant species.
/jlne.ws/3ycyusT

E. Coli Has Been Found in Ground Beef and Walnuts. Here’s What to Know.; The bacteria sickens an estimated 265,000 Americans each year.
Melinda Wenner Moyer – The New York Times
Last week, federal officials announced recalls of ground beef and organic walnuts because they were potentially contaminated with E. coli bacteria that can make people sick. The recalls involve more than 16,000 pounds of ground beef distributed by Cargill Meat Solutions and sold at Wal-Mart stores in 11 states, as well as organic shelled walnuts sold in bulk in natural food and co-op stores in 19 states. So far, the recalled walnuts have been associated with 12 illnesses, including seven hospitalizations, in Washington State and California.
/jlne.ws/3wziG2Q

AstraZeneca Is Withdrawing Its Covid Vaccine Worldwide, Citing Low Demand; The shot is no longer being manufactured or supplied, and it is no longer authorized for use in Europe.
Rebecca Robbins – The New York Times
AstraZeneca has started to pull its Covid-19 vaccine from global markets because of low demand, the pharmaceutical giant said. The decision closes the chapter on a shot that was widely used in the early stages of vaccination drives in many parts of the world before being supplanted by rivals that were better suited to take on an evolving virus. The move was not related to any concerns about the shot’s side effects, the company said.
/jlne.ws/3Qz1IbR

Regions

Thailand PM Srettha to outlaw cannabis by end of 2024, in stunning U-turn just 2 years after it was decriminalised; Cannabis was decriminalised for medical use in 2018 and recreational use in 2022 under a previous government; PM Srettha Thavisin has voiced his opposition to the recreational use of cannabis since taking office, arguing it could exacerbate existing drug abuse problems
Reuters via South China Morning Post
Thailand will re-list cannabis as a narcotic by year-end, its prime minister said on Tuesday, in a stunning U-turn just two years after becoming one of the first countries in Asia to decriminalise its recreational use. The moves come despite rapid growth of a domestic retail sector for marijuana, with tens of thousands of shops and businesses springing up in Thailand in the past two years in an industry projected to be worth up to US$1.2 billion by 2025.
/jlne.ws/3UxjAFc

Holding back the floods for 40 years: Thames Barrier is due an upgrade; Scientists warn that London is at risk from sea-level rises and more powerful storms
Gill Plimmer, Attracta Mooney and Ian Bott – Financial Times
When the Thames Barrier was built as an elegant stainless steel-capped bulwark to protect Londoners from flooding in the 1980s, it was designed with additional capacity just in case melting glaciers raised sea levels. “Climate change was not even in the dictionary,” said Andy Batchelor, 63, the operations manager who started work on the barrier the day it was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on May 8 1984.
/jlne.ws/3UUUWQo

US official says Chinese seizure of TSMC in Taiwan would be ‘absolutely devastating’
David Shepardson – Reuters
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Wednesday a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and seizure of chips producer TSMC would be “absolutely devastating” to the American economy. Asked at a U.S. House hearing about the impact, Raimondo said “it would be absolutely devastating,” declining to comment on how or if it will happen, adding: “Right now, the United States buys 92% of its leading edge chips from TSMC in Taiwan.”
/jlne.ws/3JQ1JV4

Japan is not seeking a strong yen, it just wants a stable currency, David Roche says
Sumathi Bala – CNBC
Japan is not seeking a strong yen but rather aiming for a relatively stable currency, according to veteran investor David Roche. The Japanese yen has been on a roller coaster ride, with the currency breaking past 160 against the greenback last week – steepest decline in more than three decades. It has since strengthened amid speculation about two interventions by Japanese authorities.
/jlne.ws/3JS9E48

China’s trade returns to growth on back of AI equipment imports; Beijing has prioritised high-tech manufacturing as it seeks to offset moribund property market and consumer demand
Edward White – Financial Times
China’s imports of critical equipment for developing artificial intelligence have surged this year, official data has shown, driving a return to trade growth for the world’s second-biggest economy as the global race for AI supremacy intensifies.
/jlne.ws/3UBe5oL

Volkswagen warns Brussels against raising tariffs on Chinese electric cars; Move risks ‘retaliation’ against international brands in the country, German carmaker’s brand chief tells FT car summit
Mari Novik, Kana Inagaki, Arjun Neil Alim and Peter Campbell – Financial Times
Brussels should not raise tariffs on imported Chinese electric cars, and doing so would risk “retaliation” against international brands in the country, the head of the Volkswagen brand has warned. The European Commission is investigating electric car imports from China and is widely expected to raise tariffs in the coming months, after a surge in imports threatened domestic producers switching from combustion engine to electric vehicles.
/jlne.ws/3UPeqpo

Traders boost bullish bets on European gas prices; Wagers on rising prices point to concerns over potential supply disruptions
Shotaro Tani – Financial Times
Traders have boosted their bets on a rise in European gas prices to the highest level in more than two years, indicating growing concerns about potential disruption to supplies. Net long positions held by investment funds in futures contracts linked to Europe’s main gas benchmark have soared to 96.4 terawatt hours, worth about EUR3bn at current prices, according to data from Intercontinental Exchange released on Wednesday. That represents the largest bullish bet since February 2022, days before Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and made deep cuts to its pipeline gas supplies to Europe, sending prices soaring.
/jlne.ws/3WECxZn

Economy scars voters in run-up to EU election
Michel Rose, Maria Martinez and Mark John – Reuters
The northern French port of Dunkirk, riding an industrial mini-boom thanks to a state-backed investment push, is a showcase for President Emmanuel Macron’s belief that fighting unemployment is the best way to curb support for the far-right. But the economic potential of two new EV “gigafactories” will not stop locals like Killiams Pierron backing Marine Le Pen’s nationalists in June elections to the European Parliament, after a surge in prices for food, heating and other essentials.
/jlne.ws/3Wyw2qX

US-Style Borrowing Raises Alarm About Finances in Belgium; Political stasis in Brussels is likely to persist after elections in June.
Craig Stirling, Alexander Weber, and Lyubov Pronina – Bloomberg
Belgium is shackled with a political system plagued by dysfunction and is spending beyond its means, putting it on a path of ever-increasing debt. With a population the size of Ohio’s and a slightly smaller gross domestic product, the lack of restraint overshadowing the country’s public finances increasingly resembles that of the world’s biggest economy, but without the impunity that comes with printing the dollar.
/jlne.ws/3ydYtjP

Nigeria sets dangerous precedent by detaining Binance execs, CEO says
Macdonald Dzirutwe – Reuters
The CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance on Tuesday accused Nigeria of setting a dangerous precedent after its executives were invited to the African country and then detained as part of a crackdown on crypto. Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange and two of its executives face separate trials on tax evasion and money laundering, which the company is challenging.
/jlne.ws/3QBtVyJ

Miscellaneous

In One of Montana’s Priciest Deals, a 30,000-Acre Cattle Ranch Sells for Over $50 Million; A longtime ranch owner purchased the Meagher County property from the Doggett family, who owned the land for more than 100 years
Katherine Clarke – The Wall Street Journal
Be the first to know about the biggest and best luxury home sales and listings by signing up for our Mansion Deals email alert. After more than 100 years in the same family, a Montana cattle ranch has sold for more than $50 million. The deal is one of the priciest to close in the state in recent years. Steve Rooney, a longtime ranch owner who made his money in the oil and gas pipeline industry, bought the roughly 30,000-acre ranch from the Doggett family, who started assembling the ranch in the early 1900s.
/jlne.ws/4afTegP

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The Spread

The Stock Market Has Rarely Been This Sleepy

Lead Stories The Stock Market Has Rarely Been This Sleepy Gunjan Banerji - The Wall Street Journal It's eerily calm out there in the stock market. The Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, dropped below 12 last week, a nearly five-year low. The gauge, based on options prices...

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