Hits & Takes
By John Lothian & JLN Staff
The world hit one million confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. The US saw cases hit almost a quarter of the total, with deaths exceeding the 1000 level for the first time Wednesday. If this were a bull market, there would be a lot of happy faces, but this chart is instead the math of a pandemic.
Around the world, people have turned to streaming video to connect with family, friends, co-workers, clients and prospects. There are many platforms to use, though Zoom seems to be getting the biggest boost from the skyrocketing demand.
One of the impacts of this outbreak, and the increasing use of streaming video, is we are getting used to lower quality video. This is not a bad thing, as it will encourage people to try new things in video that they would not have tried before because of the quality issues.
John Lothian News is exploring all kinds of techniques to shoot video remotely and incorporate it into our service. We are exploring ways to use video remotely for our MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity program, which might not be an in-person event this year.
Despite the quality issues, John Lothian Productions stands ready to help you with your video needs to shoot high quality videos. A lot of the quality of a video comes not only from the shooting it, but from the skill of the editors to present it. Feel free to reach out to me if you have some video needs, or some ideas you want to explore.
Have a good weekend. Stay home and stay safe!~JJL
Cboe Global Markets Thursday applauded action taken by the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to authorize the early adoption of the Standardized Approach to Counterparty Credit Risk, or SA-CCR. Cboe, which had lobbied for SA-CCR to replace the current Exposure Method, or CEM, said the action will strengthen current options market liquidity during times of unprecedented market turbulence. The federal banking agencies announced their action March 27, stating that SA-CCR reflects improvements made to the derivatives market since the 2007-2008 financial crisis.~SC
JLN Special Report: Chicago Trading Community Faces Off In Spoofing Fight
In our special report about spoofing, “Chicago Trading Community Faces Off In Spoofing Fight,” the team at John Lothian News digs into one of the most controversial trading infractions since futures trading moved out of the trading pits. We started by inviting some traders, lawyers and software experts to discuss their views of current trends in anti-spoofing regulation. Then we looked at a couple of the major criminal cases, whose hallmarks were either brazenness or sheer volumes. Attorney Renato Mariotti, who as a government attorney successfully led the first criminal spoofing prosecution, contributed an essay that contains well-considered advice for firms and their traders in this era of aggressive enforcement.
Read the article HERE
Global Coronavirus Cases Post Largest-Ever Daily Increase; The spread of the pathogen keeps accelerating in more American states
Phred Dvorak – WSJ
Governments are making longer-term plans for daily life under the coronavirus pandemic as new cases ticked up to another record and the global count of confirmed infections swept past 1 million. The world added 80,600 more confirmed cases of the coronavirus Thursday—a relatively modest rise from the day before but still the biggest daily number of new cases so far, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. accounted for the largest portion of that, reporting around 30,100 new cases, as the spread of the pathogen continued to accelerate in more states.
Intercontinental Exchange Reports Record March and First Quarter Volumes; Record volumes across asset classes
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, today reported March and first quarter 2020 trading volume, related revenue statistics and provided an updated operating expense outlook. The trading volume and revenue related statistics can be viewed on the company’s investor relations website at https://ir.theice.com/ir-resources/supplemental-information in the Monthly Statistics Tracking spreadsheet.
***** Big volume numbers from ICE too.~JJL
Dan Draper Appointed CEO of S&P Dow Jones Indices; Formerly Global Head of Exchange Traded Funds, Unit Investment Trusts and Closed-End Funds at Invesco; Replaces Alex Matturri who is retiring after 13 years as CEO, S&P Dow Jones Indices
S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) today announced that it has named Dan Draper as CEO of S&P Dow Jones Indices effective June 15, 2020. He will replace Alexander Matturri who is retiring after 13 years of leading the index business. Mr. Draper will report to Douglas Peterson, President and CEO of S&P Global, and serve on the Company’s operating committee. He will be based at S&P Global’s world headquarters in New York City.
*****Dan Draper is an average guy, but above average where it counts.~JJL
HBO Will Stream 500 Hours of Free Shows, Movies Amid Coronavirus Crisis
Todd Spangler – Variety
HBO is unlocking its biggest trove of free programming ever — in a goodwill gesture as people look for a diversion during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WarnerMedia-owned premium cabler is making almost 500 hours of programming available to stream for free (without ads) for a limited time on HBO Now and HBO Go services without a subscription, starting this Friday, April 3.
*****Oh good, I can watch the Red Wedding again.~JJL
Coronavirus could trigger biggest fall in carbon emissions since World War Two
Shadia Nasralla, Valerie Volcovici and Matthew Green – Reuters
Carbon dioxide emissions could fall by the largest amount since World War Two this year as the coronavirus outbreak brings economies to a virtual standstill, according to the chair of a network of scientists providing benchmark emissions data.
******My car has been sitting in my driveway for the week, but for one trip yesterday. ~JJL
CryptoMarketsWiki Coin of the Week: Maker (DAI)
This week, Maker officially wrapped up a DAI token auction that ran from March 19 to March 28. The auction was held to cover a shortfall of more than $4.5 million uncapitalized debt held by the exchange. The cryptocurrency firm Paradigm scored the lion’s share of the tokens sold, acquiring over 14,000 MKR tokens.
Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was Bloomberg’s Ken Griffin’s Virus Plan Now Includes Emergency Trading Site in Florida, in which Citadel opened a new, temporary trading floor in Palm Beach with 24 people who will work and sleep there, according to the firm.
Second was Business Insider’s ‘We are not going to go back’: Tradeweb’s CEO explains why working from home is a game changer for the $1 trillion-a-day marketplace. Third was our JLN Special Report: Chicago Trading Community Faces Off In Spoofing Fight.
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|CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.Recently Updated Pages
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New York Is the Epicenter of the World; The hidden gift in this pandemic is that we learn how to prepare for the worse one still to come.
Peggy Noonan – WSJ
I asked for the dateline in pride for my beloved city. For the third time in 20 years it’s been the epicenter of a world-class crisis—9/11, the 2008 financial crisis and now the 2020 pandemic. No one asks—not one person has asked—Why us? We think: Why not us? Of course us. The city of the skyscrapers draws the lightning. There are 8.6 million of us, we are compact, draw all the people of the world, and travel packed close in underground tubes. Of course we got sick here first. The crises are the price we pay for the privilege of living in the most exciting little landmass on the face of the Earth.
Trade volumes spike at exchanges across Europe; Coronavirus-linked turmoil draws many investors out into the open
Samuel Agini and Philip Stafford – FT
Huge amounts of share trading normally done through banks or anonymous marketplaces shifted back on to exchanges in March, as traders opted not to wait for end-of-day auctions to dump positions.
The Economy Is Ruined. It Didn’t Have to Be This Way; Almost 10 million Americans have already filed for unemployment benefits. Congress can still act to stem the tide.
Derek Thompson – The Atlantic
For the second straight week, the U.S. workforce set a dismal unemployment record. On Thursday morning, the Labor Department reported that 6.6 million people filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week. That figure is twice as high as the previous record of 3.3 million, set just seven days ago.
JPMorgan on collision course with US Treasury over rescue loans; Bank says it lacks proper paperwork and guidance to begin small business lending programme
Laura Noonan and James Politi and Brendan Greeley – FT
America’s biggest bank and the US Treasury secretary are on a collision course over the federal government’s $350bn emergency small business lending programme, with JPMorgan Chase saying it would “most likely” be unable to launch the loans as scheduled on Friday.
‘We are in an unprecedented moment of global distress’: Read the full memo billionaire Ken Griffin sent to Citadel employees on the coronavirus crisis
Bradley Saacks – Business Insider
Billionaire Ken Griffin’s memo to employees of his $30 billion hedge fund did not mince words. The note, sent to Citadel employees last Friday, called the coronavirus pandemic “an unprecedented moment of global distress as the entire world faces this common invisible threat.”
SIX’s Bid to Acquire BME will Ultimately Prevail, Creating a New Pan-European Exchange
David Tabaka, MBA – via LInkedIn
SIX Group AG announced an all-cash EUR2.8 billion offer to acquire Spanish exchange operator Bolsas y Mercados Espanoles (BME) on November 18, 2019, setting the stage for SIX to move beyond its Swiss roots to become a Pan-European exchange operator. The combination SIX – owned by a consortium of domestic Swiss and international banks — and BME would create the third largest European exchange and market infrastructure services provider behind Deutsche Bourse and LSE Group.
Continuous lit trading sees boost as traders seek certainty of execution; As traders navigate market volatility, study from Liquidnet finds that continuous lit volumes have jumped in March as percentage traded in auctions declines.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Continuous lit trading increased sharply this month as traders look for more certainty in execution during market volatility driven by the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon back at work after emergency heart surgery
Thornton McEnery – NY Post
Jamie Dimon ‘feels really good’ and his doctors are ‘happy’ after heart surgery
JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon is back on the job after recovering from emergency heart surgery in early March. “I have been recuperating well and getting stronger every day,” the bank CEO wrote in a Thursday morning memo to colleagues, “and I am happy to be back to work this week — albeit working remotely like so many of you.”
The Rush for $350 Billion in Small-Business Loans Starts Friday. Banks Have Questions; Details such as lenders’ responsibility to evaluate borrowers remain unclear; ‘not as simple as we hoped’
Ruth Simon, Peter Rudegeair and Amara Omeokwe – WSJ
Hours before small businesses can apply for forgivable loans from the $2 trillion financial relief package, some of the biggest U.S. banks aren’t ready to handle an expected flood of applications from potential borrowers.
Saudi Arabia, Russia to Debate Oil Cuts, Pushing Crude Sharply Higher; Any decision to reduce output and prop up prices may depend on action by U.S. producers
Summer Said, Benoit Faucon and David Hodari – WSJ
An alliance of oil producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia is set to debate production cuts of at least 6 million barrels a day Monday and consider inviting U.S. producers to participate, according to OPEC country officials.
Guardians of Global FX Are Swooping in to Restore Market Calm
Greg Ritchie – Bloomberg
Denmark in March spent $9.4 billion to defend its currency; Goldman’s Pandl sees ‘rising’ chance of even Fed intervening
When volatility spiked to a nine-year high from a record low, and investors took a ‘sell everything’ approach, some central banks responded by intervening in the foreign-exchange market.
Virus Rips Into Middle-Class America, Where Finances Are Fragile
Alexandre Tanzi – Bloomberg
Middle 60%’s share of national wealth is now below one quarter; Cash buffers are higher, but debt quality has deteriorated
The coronavirus is set to overwhelm the precarious finances of America’s middle class, a group that’s seen its share of the national wealth decline steadily since the last financial crisis in 2008.
Blacklisted Russian fund paid for half of coronavirus aid shipment to U.S.
Dylan Tokar, Kristin Broughton – MarketWatch
A Russian state-owned fund that says it footed half the bill of a coronavirus aid shipment delivered to the U.S. on Wednesday has been on a U.S. Treasury restricted lending list since 2015. The Russian Direct Investment Fund, a $10 billion sovereign-wealth fund started by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2011, said Thursday it paid for half the cost of a shipment of medical supplies promised by Moscow in a call with President Trump on Monday.
Will the Dollar Always Rule? Ask the Archduke; The Austro-Hungarian krone had a far bigger international presence than the U.S. currency in 1914. The coronavirus could be another Sarajevo moment.
John Authers – Blomberg
A Shot Heard Around the World
In the summer of 1914, as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo ushered in the First World War, the U.S. dollar was quoted and convertible in far fewer international markets than was the contemporary Austro-Hungarian krone. The moral: huge global events can mean swift and sudden change to the financial order.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Cboe Global Markets Commends Federal Banking Agencies’ Action to Strengthen Market Liquidity in Response to COVID-19
Banking organizations authorized to begin early best efforts adoption of SA – CCR; Cboe supported passage of SA – CCR rulemaking in 2019 and led effort for this early adoption; SA – CR is a more risk – sensitive methodology that will unlock liquidity in options markets; Action illustrates importance of options markets to U.S. economy
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, today issued a statement commending the action of the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to authorize early adoption of the Standardized Approach to Counterparty Credit Risk (SA-CCR) by banking organizations, and thereby help strengthen current options market liquidity during this time of unprecedented market turbulence as a result of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
A NYSE exec lays out data showing why the exchange is committed to reopening floor trading even as Wall Street adapts to remote work
Dan DeFrancesco – Business Insider
As more Wall Street firms consider the long-term adoption of changes made due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, one industry staple is eager to return the first chance it gets: the New York Stock Exchange’s trading floor. Michael Blaugrund, NYSE’s chief operating officer, told Business Insider the exchange is fully committed to reopening its iconic New York trading floor as soon as it believes it’s safe to do so.
Markets enter the eye of the coronavirus storm: The last month has been extraordinary, but now we’re seeing signs that the market is starting to act more rationally.
Phil Mackintosh – Nasdaq
The past month has been pretty extraordinary. But there are signs that the market is starting to act more rationally and waiting on new data to see whether valuations are oversold, or need to be ratcheted down some more.
TSE to launch Investor Transcript Service
SCRIPTS Asia Inc. (“SCRIPTS Asia”, CEO: Erik Abbott), the leading provider of investor event coverage for Asia Pacific, and Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (“TSE”, President & CEO: Koichiro Miyahara), have concluded TSE’s PoCprogram (*1) utilizing TSE’s platform for delivery of listed company event transcripts to institutional investors (*2). As demonstrated through the PoC program, event transcripts and translations provided by SCRIPTS Asia contribute to reducing the information gap for both domestic and overseas investors, while also improving the efficiency of information availability at securities firms. As such, TSE will launch a new service from June 2020 to provide SCRIPTS Asia content. Additionally, TSE will coordinate with listed companies in Japan who are interested in having their investors events covered by SCRIPTS Asia.
Convening of the Annual General Meeting of Euronext N.V.
Euronext today announced that the Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place on Thursday 14 May 2020 at 10.30 CET, at Beursplein 5, 1012 JW Amsterdam, The Netherlands, subject to any legislative developments in the context of the current COVID 19 crisis.
Miami International Holdings Reports March 2020 Trading Results, New Records for MIAX Exchange Group and MIAX Emerald Including 16% Increase in the MIAX Exchange Group’s Market Share
PRNewswire (press release)
Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH) today reported March 2020 trading results for its three fully electronic options exchanges – MIAX, MIAX PEARL and MIAX Emerald (together, the MIAX Exchange Group). With industry volume up over 60% compared to March 2019, the MIAX Exchange Group collectively executed over 68 million equity option contracts in March 2020 for a combined average daily volume (ADV) of 3,097,343 contracts. The contracts executed by the MIAX Exchange Group represent a total U.S. equity options market share of 11.53%, a new record for the MIAX Exchange Group and an over 16% increase from the 9.89% market share achieved in March 2019.
Cassini Systems Establishes Presence in APAC with New Office in Sydney to Serve Regional Buy-Side Community
Cassini Systems, the leading provider of pre- and post-trade margin analytics for derivatives market participants, today announced its first physical presence in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region with the opening of a new office in Sydney, Australia. The move follows the recent onboarding of a large Australian asset manager and significant interest in Cassini’s services from other firms in Australia as well as throughout the region.
FIX EMEA Trading Conference rescheduled for September; The new date for the FIX EMEA Trading Conference is 18 September, after it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The FIX Trading Community has said it’s EMEA conference will go ahead in September, after organisers were forced to postpone the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
CloudMargin hires senior sales head from CME Group; David White joins CloudMargin in newly created chief commercial officer role to drive sales across the business.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Collateral and margin management services provider CloudMargin has hired a senior sales head at US exchange operator CME Group, as chief commercial officer role. David White joins CloudMargin in the newly-created role, reporting to chief executive Stuart Connolly, who White worked alongside during his time as head of sales for the triResolve business of TriOptima, now part of CME Group.
Cash and Credit Cards Are Dirty. Apple Pay Is Looking Better; The digital wallet hasn’t caught on in the U.S. as much as it has elsewhere. The coronavirus crisis may change that.
Tae Kim – Bloomberg
Cash is dirty. Credit cards may be even dirtier. That’s a problem in this new germophobic world created by the coronavirus. There will likely be new winners and losers as consumers shift to products and services that help them keep their social distance even after this outbreak subsides. Is it finally time to embrace the digital wallet?
CME’s Chris Dingley Joins singlerulebook.com
singlerulebook.com today announced the appointment of Chris Dingley as Head of Sales, effective immediately. Dingley joins singlerulebook.com from CME, where he was Head of Sales of CME Regulatory Reporting. singlerulebook.com is a regtech start-up that organises, links and visualises regulatory knowledge of financial institutions, law firms and regulatory consultancies. The firm was founded by former regulator Wim Nelen and technology entrepreneur Stefan Hendrickx.
The hidden markets data giving us a new view of the corona crisis
David Craig – CEO Refinitiv
I and other veterans of the financial markets have never been through anything like this crisis. The speed at which markets have fallen; the unprecedented volatility; the way it has ripped through previously untouchable safe havens; the unfamiliar work pattern it has imposed on us all.
Purchase of Crypto Faithfuls’ Favorite Website Raises Eyebrows
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Exchange Binance buys CoinMarketCap.com for undisclosed price; Binance says website will remain a neutral provider of data
Binance Holdings Ltd., one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency-trading platforms, acquired CoinMarketCap.com, arguably the most popular website among individual investors for tracking coin prices. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Binance Chief Executive Officer Zhao “CZ” Changpeng said that “CoinMarketCap.com is extremely valuable, because they are the landing page of crypto.”
Bitcoin’s Ethereum Rivalry Could Be Assuaged With tBTC Bridge
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Bitcoiners can use tBTC to access Ethereum’s financial apps; Connecting the two networks could broaden blockchain economy
For almost as long as there have been digital currencies, a rivalry has existed between Bitcoin and Ethereum. Now, a project called tBTC is seeking to forge a truce between the two by allowing Bitcoin owners access to the financial applications that run on Ethereum.
Binance confirms CoinMarketCap acquisition
Frank Chaparro – The Block
Binance has officially announced its acquisition of CoinMarketCap, the popular aggregator for exchange volume and cryptocurrency pricing data.
CME Bitcoin Futures Volume Hits 3-Week High as Bitcoin Extends Rally
Omkar Godbole – Coindesk
Trading activity for bitcoin futures listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has picked up pace as bitcoin has extended its recent rally to levels above $7,200. CME traded $347 million worth of futures contracts Thursday – the highest since March 16. On that day, futures witnessed a trading volume of $414 million, according to data provided by research firm Skew.
Maker Foundation reveals its design for a self-governing DAO to replace its role in the ecosystem
Yilun Cheng – The Block
The Maker Foundation has revealed its plan to start transferring its governance power to the community in the next two years and is set to release an initial draft of the new community-based governance paradigm next Monday. During Thursday’s Governance & Risk meeting, MakerDao founder Rune Christensen outlined the foundation’s envisioned framework for a self-sustaining DAO.
Bitcoin Mining Profitability Jumps Back to Positive After 2nd Largest Difficulty Drop
Bitcoin Exchange Guide
After falling to its lowest level in mid-March to 0.069, Bitcoin mining profitability is back above 0.1. The mining profitability turned positive this week after the mining difficulty had its second-largest drop in history. The hash rate of the network has jumped above 100 Th/s after having its biggest drop of 45% drop in March. This jump in profitability is yet another sign of a shift in the market. Also, daily bitcoin volume though lower than a month ago, dropping by about 100,000 transactions per day, is high compared to historical averages at above $1 billion.
Chinese watchdog says crypto exchanges fake trading volumes
Yogita Khatri – The Block
The National Internet Finance Association of China (NIFA), a self-regulatory organization set up by the People’s Bank of China, has said that overseas crypto exchanges fake trading volumes. According to its own analysis published Thursday, NIFA said foreign-based crypto exchanges use “robot programs to brush and tamper with data to create the illusion of ‘prosperity’ in the virtual currency trading market.” “In our sampling analysis based on trading data from some of the exchanges, the daily trading turnover rate for more than 40 coins is over 100%, while more than 70 coins’ rate exceeds 50%. Despite the relatively low price and small market value, there have been massive trading volumes,” said NIFA.
Crypto Friendly Laws Help Boerse Stuttgart’s App Top 100,000 Users
Samuel Haig – Cointelegraph
The cryptocurrency trading app of Germany’s second-largest stock exchange, Boerse Stuttgart, exceeded 100,000 users on March 30 amid increasingly permissive regulations in the country. The Bison app, which launched on Jan. 31st, 2019, has attracted a six-figure user base in just 14 months.
Crypto custodian Anchorage adds support for XRP
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Institutional crypto custodian Anchorage has added support for XRP, the third-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Announcing the news on Thursday, Anchorage co-founder and president Diogo Monica, said there’s an “ecosystem of institutions” that hold XRP and want to secure it. XRP meets Anchorage’s standards of quality and security, Monica told Decrypt, adding: “As a leading cryptocurrency for global payments and remittances, XRP is attractive to many institutional investors.”
Why Are Crypto Companies Going to Abu Dhabi?
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
For cryptocurrency startups seeking the stamp of legitimacy that comes with regulation, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become a draw. Being on the borders of a desert, where temperatures easily surpass 40 degrees Celsius in the summer, life in Abu Dhabi is a struggle. With little natural drinking water, the city has to desalinate seawater just to provide enough drinking water for its 1.5 million inhabitants.
Spanish tax authority to send more letters to crypto traders this year, despite coronavirus
Yogita Khatri – The Block
The Spanish tax authority, the AEAT, is set to send more letters to crypto traders this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic. From April 1 – June 30, the AEAT would send notices to 66,000 cryptocurrency holders to remind them of their tax obligations, according to a report from Europa Press earlier this week. That number is nearly 350% higher than the last year of 14,700, per the report. The AEAT is also targeting those who earn rental income and foreign income.
Just One Major Cryptocurrency Is Outperforming Bitcoin Right Now And It’s Climbing Fast
Billy Bambrough – Forbes
Bitcoin has rebounded this week, climbing along with gold and other safe-havens as major stock markets struggle. The bitcoin price is up just over 2% over the last week—making strong gains yesterday as investors search for somewhere to put their cash. However, one major cryptocurrency has outpaced bitcoin’s gains over the last week and is still rocketing higher.
Decentralized prediction market platform Augur schedules its v2 launch for early June
Yilun Cheng – The Block
Decentralized prediction market platform Augur is set to launch its second version on the Ethereum network in early June. As previously explained, Augur v2 will introduce new features including a DAI-denominated token, a token standard upgrade from ERC20 to ERC777 and a new mechanism to address the risk of invalid markets. In a Thursday blog post, Augur announced that v2 is scheduled for deployment during the first weeks of June. The company has also extended the v1 cutoff date to May 15th. During the window in between, users can keep creating markets using the UI.
Jared Kushner Is Going to Get Us All Killed; Trump’s son-in-law has no business running the coronavirus response.
Michelle Goldberg – NY Times
Reporting on the White House’s herky-jerky coronavirus response, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman has a quotation from Jared Kushner that should make all Americans, and particularly all New Yorkers, dizzy with terror. According to Sherman, when New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that the state would need 30,000 ventilators at the apex of the coronavirus outbreak, Kushner decided that Cuomo was being alarmist. “I have all this data about I.C.U. capacity,” Kushner reportedly said. “I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.” (Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top expert on infectious diseases, has said he trusts Cuomo’s estimate.)
U.S. Expected to Recommend Cloth Face Masks for Americans in Coronavirus Hot Spots; Cloth masks or face coverings are meant to be in addition to social distancing
Betsy McKay and Stephanie Armour – WSJ
The Trump administration is expected to recommend that Americans in parts of the U.S. where the novel coronavirus is rapidly spreading wear cloth face masks or face coverings when in public to reduce transmission.
Democratic National Convention postponed until August; Gathering to nominate party’s challenger to Trump pushed back over coronavirus outbreak
Demetri Sevastopulo and Lauren Fedor – FT
The US Democratic party has pushed back its presidential convention from July to August, in the latest disruption to the 2020 electoral calendar over concerns about the escalating coronavirus pandemic.
Trump Organization Asks Deutsche Bank for Loan Payment Delay
Matthew Leising and Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Talks come as companies worldwide seek relief from pandemic; Deutsche Bank is said to have similar talks with many clients
The family business of U.S. President Donald Trump is in informal discussions with Deutsche Bank AG about delaying some loan payments as the coronavirus forces widespread disruptions to the economy, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Georgia Senator Loeffler Did Quick Dump of Travel Company Stock
Greg Farrell and Billy House – Bloomberg
Sale preceded Trump’s restrictions on European travel; Another series of options bet on a stock rebound by year end
Senator Kelly Loeffler sold a total of $46,027 worth of stock in an online travel company in the day leading up to President Donald Trump’s announcement of a ban on most European travel to the U.S. Though the transactions were relatively small for Loeffler and her husband — whose net worth is estimated at more than $500 million — the sales represented an about-face.
Trump Rips Into Schumer for Complaints About Virus Response
Justin Sink – Bloomberg
Schumer calls for military officer to lead virus logistics; Trump says Navy rear admiral is part of coronavirus task force
President Donald Trump said New York state would have been better prepared for the coronavirus outbreak if Chuck Schumer hadn’t been distracted by impeachment, in an unusual rebuttal letter prompted by the Senate minority leader’s criticism of the administration’s handling of the outbreak
Agencies Will Consider Comments on Volcker Rule Modifications Following Expiration of Comment Period
Five federal financial regulatory agencies today announced that they will consider comments submitted before May 1, 2020, on their proposal to modify the Volcker rule’s general prohibition on banking entities investing in or sponsoring hedge funds or private equity funds—known as “covered funds.”
ESMA Updates Its Public Statement of Consultation Practices
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has updated its Public Statement of Consultation Practices to take account of the amendments which the ESAs’ review has made to the ESMA Regulation.
ASIC cancels AFS licences of FS Securities, Your Super Life and ACN 140 520 225 (formerly MyPlanner Australia)
ASIC has cancelled the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of Queensland-based financial services provider FS Securities (Qld) Pty Ltd (FS Securities).
COVID-19 information for financial advisers and advice licensees
This page contains answers to frequently asked questions about issues impacting the financial advice industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage you to visit this page regularly to stay up to date.
In coordination with the Council of Financial Regulators (CFR), ASIC is focusing its regulatory efforts on challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Until at least 30 September 2020, the other matters that ASIC will afford priority are where there is the risk of significant consumer harm, serious breaches of the law, risks to market integrity and time-critical matters. ASIC will maintain its enforcement activities and continue to investigate and take action where the public interest warrants us to do so against any person or entity that breaks the law.
Investing and Trading
Bonds Are Now Outperforming Stocks in Battle for Returns This Century; The leading bond-market investment benchmark’s outperformance against the S&P 500 underscores the extent of the recent carnage in the stock market
Caitlin McCabe – WSJ
Bonds have pulled away from stocks in the race for returns since the turn of the century. Since the close of trading on Dec. 31, 1999, the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, known as the Agg, has netted investors a cumulative total return of 176% through Wednesday, according to FactSet.
women trade less and generate long-term higher returns
Madison Darbyshire – FT
What does the chart show? It shows that men traded much more frequently than women during the recent market turmoil, according to new data from the US arm of Vanguard.
Surge in investment account openings on UK platforms; Renewed interest in investing follows market price correction
Madison Darbyshire – FT
Investment platforms have reported a spike in new account openings since the coronavirus pandemic triggered a market sell-off, as investors look to pick up shares in a tumbling global market and find safe havens for cash.
U.S. dairy farmers dump milk as pandemic upends food markets
P.J. Huffstutter – Reuters
“We need you to start dumping your milk,” said his contact from Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the largest U.S. dairy cooperative. Despite strong demand for basic foods like dairy products amid the coronavirus pandemic, the milk supply chain has seen a host of disruptions that are preventing dairy farmers from getting their products to market.
Coronavirus slows chicken production in top-producing U.S. state -Sanderson Farms
Tom Polansek – Reuters
U.S. poultry company Sanderson Farms Inc on Thursday said it is reducing chicken production in Georgia, the top U.S. chicken-producing state, after ordering more than 400 slaughterhouse workers who seem healthy to stay home as a precaution against infection by the novel coronavirus.
Economic activity crashes across Europe after coronavirus lockdowns; Severe contraction likely as Italy, Spain, France and Germany business surveys see largest monthly falls
Chris Giles and Valentina Romei – FT
Service sector activity crashed across Europe in March as coronavirus lockdowns caused a series of widely watched business surveys to record their largest-ever monthly falls to levels that suggest a severe economic contraction is under way.
Fannie and Freddie could require bailout if lockdown lasts; Regulator says US mortgage guarantors have sufficient resources for about 12 weeks
Kiran Stacey in Washington and Robert Armstrong – FT
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled companies that guarantee nearly half of US mortgages, could require their second bailout in just over a decade if the US economy remains in a lockdown for several months, their regulator has warned.
US taps market for stimulus funds at historically low rates; Record weekly Treasury bill issuance foreshadows huge spending to prop up economy
Colby Smith in New – FT
The US Treasury department issued a record amount of short-dated debt this week as it began to fund the federal government’s record economic stimulus package at historically low interest rates.
Virus-Fearing Workers Lead to Cratered Global Factory Output
Tara Patel – Bloomberg
Philippe Petitcolin has had a hard time getting workers back on the factory floor. The Safran SA chief executive officer’s efforts to resume work at sites building jet engines for Airbus SE hit a wall after the company handed over its entire stock of 60,000 masks to plug French hospital shortages, and it lacked thermometers to test staff for possible coronavirus infections. Employees in outbreak hot spots like eastern France were reluctant to return to assembly lines, especially without protective gear.
Airline Industry Warns of Crisis Bigger Than 9/11 Aftermath
Anurag Kotoky – Bloomberg
Desperate measures needed to cope with virus ‘sledgehammer’; Air traffic demand slid 14% in February from a year earlier
Global air traffic demand fell 14% in February, the most since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as airlines were “hit by a sledgehammer called COVID-19,” the International Air Transport Association said. The decline reflects a record collapse in travel in China that month and a 41% tumble in demand in the Asia-Pacific region, IATA said, warning that the situation has only grown worse.
JPMorgan Seeks Full Ownership of Chinese Fund-Management Joint Venture; New York-based bank attempts to become the first foreign firm with a 100% stake in a Chinese fund manager
Stella Yifan Xie – WSJ
JPMorgan Chase & Co. said it plans to seek full ownership of its Chinese fund-management joint venture, opening a path to becoming the first foreign firm to do so in China’s asset-management industry. China’s ownership cap for foreign shareholders in securities and fund-management firms was scrapped as of April 1.
JPMorgan Takes Full Control of Chinese Mutual Fund Joint Venture
Lulu Yilun Chen – Bloomberg
New York bank buys out partner Shanghai International Trust; China lifted share restrictions for foreign firms on April 1
JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to buy out its local partner to get full control of a Chinese mutual fund joint venture, taking advantage of the latest move by Beijing to open up the nation’s asset management and securities businesses to foreign firms.
Billionaire Hohn’s Hedge Fund Suffers Record Monthly Loss of 19%
Nishant Kumar – Bloomberg
London-based TCI managed about $30 billion before loss; The firm specializes in agitating for changes at companies
Billionaire activist investor Christopher Hohn’s hedge fund suffered its steepest ever monthly decline in March as the global market turmoil hit his stock bets. The Children’s Investment Fund lost about 19% during the month, the worst since it started in 2004, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The decline pushed the fund’s first-quarter loss to about 23%, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Goldman Sachs Has a Point on Credit Recovery, But Be Very Careful; The bank’s analysts say the worst of the widening of credit spreads may be over for high-grade issuers. But this doesn’t apply to everyone.
Marcus Ashworth – Bloomberg
With $250 billion of new U.S. bond issues at investment grade since the middle of March, and 150 billion euros ($164 billion) in Europe, the high-end credit market is an undoubted beneficiary of the central banks’ coronavirus stimulus plans. The debt capital market is definitely back open.
Fidelity International Has Doubts on U.S. Rebound, Favors China
Ksenia Galouchko – Bloomberg
Fidelity International multi-asset team is underweight stocks; Chinese shares beat developed-market peers during sell-off
U.S. and European equity markets may struggle to replicate the recent recovery seen in Chinese stocks because prolonged lockdowns could hobble the two regions’ ability to quickly restore economic growth, according to a senior money manager at Fidelity International.
Ex-Goldman Partner’s New Hedge Fund Up 25% in First Two Months
Sonali Basak – Bloomberg
Fund made money betting against Comerica, Align Technology; Long-short strategy joins separate consumer fund rising 13%
Connacht Asset Management, the hedge fund firm run by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Sean Gallagher, gained almost 25% in its first two months of operation.
China Frees Up $56 Billion for Lending to Coronavirus-Hit Businesses; People’s Bank of China cuts reserve requirement ratio for the second time in less than a month
China’s central bank said Friday that it would lower the amount of cash banks are required to set aside as reserves for the second time in less than a month, as Beijing moved to stimulate a cooling economy hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
China’s celebrity stock guru faces personal bear market; Famous share tipper tones down bullish outlook after coronavirus rout prompts backlash
Don Weinland and Sherry Fei Ju – FT
Li Daxiao’s share tips attract hundreds of thousands of views within hours of appearing on Chinese social media. The celebrity stock guru, who posts short, quirky online videos, is known to move markets when China’s army of retail investors follow his advice.
U.K. Debt Issuance to Smash Financial Crisis Record, Says Citi
John Ainger and James Hirai – Bloomberg
Bank sees sales surging to 285 billion pounds this year; Investors will have less supply to absorb after BOE buying
If U.K. debt issuance is anything to go by, this economic crisis is likely to be far worse than the last. Britain’s Debt Management Office will have to raise sales of government bonds to 285 billion pounds ($352 billion), according to Citigroup Inc. That’s over 50 billion pounds more than during the great financial crisis.
The Virus Will Force Europe to Make a Decision About Italy
Viktoria Dendrinou – Bloomberg
European officials drawing up plans to revive their economy; Debt buildup in Italy likely to become focus of their efforts
As the coronavirus rages across the continent, European Union officials are starting to draw up plans for the day after. With the death toll still spiraling and no end in sight to the restrictions that have brought the EU economy shuddering to a halt, no one yet has any firm idea of quite how extensive the wreckage will be. But it’s going to be vast.
Japan Fears Country on ‘Brink of the Brink’ of Virus Surge
Isabel Reynolds and Emi Nobuhiro – Bloomberg
Premier Shinzo Abe says emergency declaration not yet needed; View clashes with call for emergency from Rakuten’s Mikitani
Japan is bracing for an explosive surge in coronavirus infections cases, senior government officials said, while continuing to resist calls to declare a state of emergency to fight the pandemic.
Ventilator Tycoon Adds $3.7 Billion to Wealth on Demand Rush
Shirley Zhao and Venus Feng – Bloomberg
Device-maker Mindray shares climb as coronavirus spreads; Founders’ combined wealth surges $7.3 billion as orders jump
As the coronavirus pandemic wrecks economies, markets and fortunes, three founders of a company that makes ventilators have added a combined $7.3 billion to their wealth this year. Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co. shares have climbed 41%, fueled by a surge in demand for the life-saving devices. Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, has flooded hospitals worldwide with patients struggling to breathe.
Spain Death Rate Drops in Tentative Sign Virus Spread is Easing
Rodrigo Orihuela – Bloomberg
Spain reported the first decline in new coronavirus deaths in four days on Friday, suggesting strict confinement measures may be helping to bring the outbreak under control.
UK pushes back on Brexit promises on EU regional trademarks
Peter Foster and Jim Brunsden – FT
The UK is pushing to water down its obligation to recognise valuable EU regional food trademarks for products like Parma ham and Champagne, in a move that risks souring trade negotiations between London and Brussels. EU and UK officials confirmed that Britain wants to use talks on the future relationship to negotiate looser rules on the protection of geographical indications — or GIs — than those agreed by Boris Johnson in the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement.
UK government in row with EU over proposed office in Belfast
Daniel Boffey – The Guardian
The British government has rejected an EU request to open an office in Belfast, in the first major row over the implementation of the post-Brexit Irish border protocol. The EU closed its offices across the UK when the country left the bloc on 31 January, but its officials have a right to be present to monitor the checks and controls on goods crossing the Irish Sea.
Brexit: Spending on UK’s final European elections revealed
The Brexit Party outspent the Conservatives and Labour in the UK’s final elections to the European Parliament last year, figures show. Nigel Farage’s party, which topped the polls with 31% of the total vote, spent £2.609m in the four months up to polling day on 23 May 2019. Despite barely campaigning at a national level, the Tories spent £2.6m according to the Electoral Commission. The Liberal Democrats spent £2.468m, almost £1m more than Labour.