North Korea hacking threatens U.S. and global financial system: U.S. officials; U.S. coronavirus deaths increase by record amount for second straight day: Reuters tally

Apr 16, 2020

First Read

Hits & Takes
By John Lothian & JLN Staff

Face masks may be the new normal going forward, Reuters reported. We need see-through masks so we can see each other’s smiles. Smiles beget smiles and release important endorphins for making us feel better. When I was a Scoutmaster and had Scoutmaster conferences with Scouts for advancement, I would always tell them smiling was the best way to help other people at all times. This part of the Scout Oath sounds difficult, but it can be as easy as a smile.

Our friends at Acuiti are out with their latest derivatives insight report

Barry Diller this morning on CNBC referred to the current U.S. administration as the “Infomercial Administration.” He also said that Expedia would cut its advertising spend from $5 billion to less than $1b billion for the coming year.

Yesterday I interviewed Julie Armstrong of ChartIQ. She has just been awarded the “Vendor Professional of the Year Award” for data and operations by the Witad Awards 2020.

What would the unemployment numbers be if the state systems were not running on COBOL programs?

Stay Safe! ~JJL

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Nasdaq Chief Economist Phil Mackintosh’s latest podcast is now live, in which Dan Connell and Shane Swanson from Greenwich Associates’ Market Structure and Technology Division join Mackintosh to discuss their findings around market data. You can listen to the podcast here. ~SR

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Humans Have Themselves to Blame for Covid-19; Our unchecked intrusion of nature and wildlife habitats brings us in ever-closer contact with animal-borne pathogens such as the novel coronavirus.
Mark Buchanan – Bloomberg
No one could have predicted the timing and trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic, triggered by a novel coronavirus leaping from a bat into a pangolin (apparently) and from there into a person. Even so, scientists knew that a pandemic of some kind would come our way sooner or later. In the past few decades, we’ve seen ever-more-frequent outbreaks of new infectious diseases, as viruses or bacteria hop from their usual animal hosts into people. After this virus, there will be others.
/bloom.bg/2yjHxJL

*****Something to think about.~JJL

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Coronavirus could be a disaster passed down the generations; With 90 per cent of pupils out of school, most have no access to online learning
David Miliband – FT
The Covid-19 pandemic is already a short-term global health disaster. Without urgent action, it will become a medium-to-long-run global education catastrophe as well. We need to take remedial steps now to prevent that happening.
/on.ft.com/2xz0CHM

*****How long did the Great Depression impact the economy?~JJL

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Eight Weeks of Relief Is Not Enough for Small Firms Facing Failure
Ben Brody – Bloomberg
U.S. program was designed as a short-term bridge to normalcy; Advocates call for funding not tied to a tight deadline
For many U.S. small business owners, eight weeks of federal coronavirus relief won’t be enough to survive the pandemic’s economic damage, spurring calls from mom-and pop firms to extend the time frame.
*****I have submitted my application for the PPP, but still need to sign the papers. Who knows if I will get a loan/grant before the money runs out.~JJL

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The Weird Way That Virus Testing Is Just Like A Carbon Tax; Testing and taxing are important steps in the fights against the pandemic and climate change – but both have their limits.
Gernot Wagner – Bloomberg
Shutting down was the easy part. Covid-19’s daily exponential growth to the tune of 33% or more dwarfed all other concerns. The choice was between “shut down now” or “shut down later.” Shutting down the U.S. a week earlier would have cut deaths by around a factor of 3, two weeks earlier by around a factor of 10.
/bloom.bg/3beqBTv

*****They lost me with the headline.~JJL

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It’s the End of the World Economy as We Know It; Experts suggest there will be “a rethink of how much any country wants to be reliant on any other country.”
Neil Irwin – NY Times
When big convulsive economic events happen, the implications tend to take years to play out, and spiral in unpredictable directions. Who would have thought that a crisis that began with mortgage defaults in American suburbs in 2007 would lead to a fiscal crisis in Greece in 2010? Or that a stock market crash in New York in 1929 would contribute to the rise of fascists in Europe in the 1930s?
/nyti.ms/3etewvt

*****If the U.S. and Canada have an issue over medical supplies, then yes, every nation for themselves.~JJL

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ErisX Teams Up With TradeStation Crypto To Further Increase Liquidity
ErisX
ErisX’s intermediary-friendly vision was further realized today with the announcement that TradeStation Crypto’s retail customers can now access ErisX’s spot market liquidity for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, and Litecoin.
/bwnews.pr/3ciQNw8

*****ErisX continues to try to break through the virus news.~JJL

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Florida judge: Get out of bed, get dressed for Zoom hearings
Associated Press
A Florida judge has one request for attorneys showing up for court hearings via Zoom: Get out of bed and put on some clothes!
/bit.ly/2VaI3m6

*****I have worn jeans when I go out, but t-shirts and shorts for every Zoom meeting.~JJL

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Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was once again How Ronin Capital fell from grace as COVID spread, from Crain’s Chicago Business. Second was Glutted Oil Markets’ Next Worry: Subzero Prices from the Wall Street Journal. Third was Worst-Case Fears of 20%-Plus U.S. Jobless Rate Are Now Realistic, from Bloomberg.

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MarketsWiki Stats
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MarketsWiki Statistics

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CryptoMarketsWiki Website»
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

Recently updated pages include
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Lead Stories

North Korea hacking threatens U.S. and global financial system: U.S. officials
Raphael Satter – Reuters
U.S. government officials warned on Wednesday about the threat of North Korean hackers, calling particular attention to banking and other financial services. The reason for the advisory, which was jointly issued by the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury and Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was unclear. North Korean hackers have long been accused of targeting financial institutions, and the content of the warning appeared to draw on material already in the public domain.
/reut.rs/2wKbXEz

U.S. coronavirus deaths increase by record amount for second straight day: Reuters tally
Lisa Shumaker – Reuters
U.S. coronavirus deaths increased by a record number for the second day in a row, rising by at least 2,371 on Wednesday to top 30,800, according to a Reuters tally, as states spared the worst of the pandemic mulled a partial lifting of restrictions on business and social life by May 1.
/reut.rs/34DIzfJ

Virtu Financial study reveals surge in trading costs globally during March; While spreads globally have fallen from highs seen in March, they are still higher than earlier in the year as markets remain uncertain and volatile.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Trading costs globally have surged following increased market volatility during the coronavirus pandemic, and despite declining recently they remain higher than before the crisis, according to data from Virtu Financial.
/bit.ly/34GfP5N

Brokers must prepare for unparalleled conditions; Top advisers face grim task of navigating crisis for clients
Loren Fox – FT
The coronavirus pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy whose scale is yet to be fully comprehended. The resulting economic shock of recent weeks has also created unprecedented disruptions which have left many people confronted with pressing questions about job security, threats to household income, tax liabilities, and the survival of their businesses. Financial advisers now face the task of dealing with many clients who, beyond all this, will probably have suffered sharp falls in the value of their assets.
/on.ft.com/3ckb4Sf

Ashmore loses a fifth of its assets in first quarter; Emerging markets specialist suffers as coronavirus crisis sends developing world securities into free fall
Tommy Stubbington – FT
Emerging markets fund manager Ashmore lost more than a fifth of its assets in the first quarter as the coronavirus crisis sent stocks and bonds in the developing world into free fall.
/on.ft.com/2RIYoMJ

Fed’s Kashkari Says Banks Should Raise Money, Halt Dividends
Nour Al Ali – Bloomberg
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari says that large U.S. banks should raise $200 billion from private investors and stop paying dividends so they can support the economy. “The most patriotic thing they could do today would be to stop paying dividends and raise equity capital, to ensure that they can endure a deep economic downturn,” Kashkari writes in a Financial Times op-ed.
/bloom.bg/2KbdyGw

Neel Kashkari: Big US banks should raise $200bn in capital now; Biggest lenders must prepare for the worst to survive deep economic downturn, writes Fed official
Neel Kashkari – FT
Large banks are eager to be part of the solution to the coronavirus crisis. The most patriotic thing they could do today would be to stop paying dividends and raise equity capital, to ensure that they can endure a deep economic downturn. Unlike the rest of us, banks have the ability to essentially vaccinate themselves against this crisis. They should do so now.
/on.ft.com/3cog6gC

BlackRock assets under management tumble below $7tn on market tumult; World’s biggest fund manager garners inflows into cash management and ETF units
Richard Henderson – FT
BlackRock’s assets under management dropped in the first quarter by the most on record as its clients’ portfolios were slammed by the turmoil in global markets caused by coronavirus.
/on.ft.com/2z65N2m

Crunch Time for World’s Supply Chains to Deliver Masks and Meat
Brendan Murray – Bloomberg
On land and sea, vital supplies hit snags as pandemic deepens; Ship crews are stuck on board and truckers held up at borders
Supply Lines is a daily newsletter that tracks COVID-19’s impact on trade. Sign up here, and subscribe to our Covid-19 podcast for the latest news and analysis on the pandemic. Covid-19 is about to put the global trading system through its most dramatic stress-test since World War II, with supply lines for essential food and medical goods entering a critical phase as the pandemic peaks in the U.S. and Europe.
/bloom.bg/3a8WbAx

Cowen adds forex, commodities and futures to outsourced trading service Cowen has hired the two former co-heads of foreign exchange, commodities and futures and BTIG to lead the expanded service.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Cowen has expanded its outsourced trading division with services in foreign exchange, commodities and futures, and has hired two veterans from BTIG to lead the project.
/bit.ly/3bgPyh1

The Fed Loves Main Street as Much as Wall Street This Time; To fight the pandemic-induced slump, the central bank is going even further than it did in the 2008-09 financial crisis.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and his colleagues had a hard decision to make as the coronavirus epidemic worsened in February and March. If they stuck to the standard policy of buying only highly rated bonds, they would likely be accused of favoring Wall Street over Main Street—the traditional rap on the Fed. If they got creative, they could help more sectors of the economy but they would almost certainly be accused of overreaching, picking winners and losers, rescuing the unworthy, and risking losses that would ultimately be borne by taxpayers.
/bloom.bg/3bhzn2U

U.S. options markets resilient despite dislocations, NYSE analysis shows
March data on trade types and market quality reveal impact of floor closures, extreme volatility
Will Acworth – MarketVoice
From a trading volume perspective, March was an exceptionally good month for the U.S. equity options markets. As the U.S. economy ground to a halt and the stock market plunged, the total number of options cleared by the OCC reached 662.8 million, smashing the record set only one month before.
/bit.ly/34E94Bw

Smithfield Foods shuts U.S. bacon, ham plants as coronavirus hits meat sector
Tom Polansek – Reuters
Smithfield Foods Inc, the world’s largest pork processor, said on Wednesday it would shutter two U.S. plants that process bacon and ham, after closing a separate hog slaughterhouse because of an outbreak of the coronavirus among employees.
/reut.rs/34I4Jxu

Trading becomes a plus for Goldman once again during coronavirus rout
Anirban Sen, Elizabeth Dilts Marshall – Reuters
For the first time in years, Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N) having a sizeable trading business and a tiny consumer bank seems like a good idea.
/reut.rs/2VfQsoC

Europe extends short-selling bans despite hedge fund pressure; Restrictions were put in place after market turmoil driven by coronavirus
Philip Stafford and Laurence Fletcher and David Keohane – FT
Five European countries have extended bans on the short-selling of shares, despite pressure from hedge funds to scrap the restrictions put in place after a sharp market sell-off last month.
/on.ft.com/2RJ3fxA

Top Wall Street Regulators Warn Against Coronavirus Investment Scams
Tom Dreisbach – NPR
The kind of financial schemes depicted in movies like The Wolf Of Wall Street and Boiler Room never went away, and Wall Street’s top cops are warning investors that the coronavirus has only created new opportunities for that type of financial fraud.
/bit.ly/2XDO4t9

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Eurex Exchange’s Quarterly Equity Derivatives Highlights – Q1/2020
Equity options
Eurex
The first quarter of 2020 was undoubtedly a unique market environment. We didn’t just have to deal with the particularly high volatility but also the other fall-out caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The index and single stock derivatives markets experienced a situation of uncertainty based on postponed AGM’s, the respective dividend payments, and also potential reductions of announced dividends. These challenging market conditions created some additional difficulties for all market participants, especially liquidity providers. We’d like to express our gratitude to our on-screen and off-book liquidity providers and highlight their exceptional performance. Thanks to them, we saw orderly and functioning markets, able to absorb extraordinarily high volumes, despite difficult operational circumstances such as the splitting of teams and work-from-home solutions.
/bit.ly/34B5VTc

Eurex STS secures German banking licence for Buy-in Agent service
Eurex
Launching in early 2021, the Buy-in Agent service will offer an automated and standardized solution to meet the CSDR’s settlement discipline regime; BaFin has granted Eurex STS, a subsidiary of Eurex Frankfurt AG, a banking licence;
Eurex Securities Transactions Services GmbH (Eurex STS) has obtained a banking licence from the German Federal Financial Supervision Authority (BaFin), a key milestone required to offer Buy-in Agent services once the settlement discipline aspect of the CSDR regulation comes into effect.
/bit.ly/3bg6AvB

Deletion from the JPX-Nikkei 400
JPX
Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. and Nikkei Inc. will make the following deletion from the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 constituent in accordance with the constituent selection rule.
/bit.ly/34EuJtz

JPX response to spread of novel coronavirus
JPX
In regard to the spread of the novel coronavirus, Japan Exchange Group (JPX) understands the need to fulfil its duty as public infrastructure by ensuring continued smooth operation of the market. For this reason, JPX has responded by establishing a BCP (Business Continuity Plan) Emergency Headquarters headed by Group CEO Kiyota Akira and implementing the following measures.
/bit.ly/3dHQpsO

TSE to launch Limited Public Distribution Proof of Concept Testing for TSE Timely Disclosure Corpus
JPX
Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE) is launching Proof of Concept (PoC) testing for limited public distribution of corpus data created from timely disclosure documents and others. Corpus is an accumulation of digitized natural language sentences utilized for research on natural language processing, etc. and in recent years, employed especially for machine translation. The PoC testing will provide a sample of both parallel corpus and monolingual corpus created from timely disclosure documents and others, with the objective of using feedback from the participants of the PoC testing to verify the possible usability and applications of the data. TSE will also consider developing a service to distribute the data, based on the results of the PoC.
/bit.ly/34Fmsp7

Aquis Exchange PLC Final Results For The Year Ended 31 December 2019
Mondovisione
Aquis Exchange PLC (AQX.L), the exchange services group, is pleased to announce its audited results for the year ended 31 December 2019.
/bit.ly/2Vzvz6I

AIX CSD Performs First Securities Lending Transactions
Mondovisione
Astana International Exchange Central Securities Depository (AIX CSD) announces that it performed its first securities lending transactions in two different listed securities and currencies. The GMSLA-based (Global Market Securities Lending Agreement) operations took place between Participants authorized for Securities Lending & Borrowing. The first transaction was successfully closed after two weeks. Anna Kolesnichenko, CEO of AIX CSD, said:
/bit.ly/2XMDwYG

Fintech

Fintech Lending to Small Businesses Faces Coronavirus Obstacles
Peter Rudegeair – WSJ
The lending machines of Silicon Valley are running at half-speed.
Financial-technology companies including PayPal Holdings Inc. and Square Inc. were eager to participate in the government’s $350 billion lending program designed to keep small businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. But some aspects of the government programs render much of the industry less effective.
/on.wsj.com/2VbvHu7

Contactless Payments Skyrocket Because No One Wants to Handle Cash
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Worried about Covid-19, shoppers use phones to buy, get food; Keypads on credit-card readers are also a red flag in pandemic
As more people worry about catching coronavirus from touching cash and credit-card terminals, a onetime niche technology is roaring into the mainstream.
/bloom.bg/2yoL8WH

The coronavirus crisis is fintech’s chance to prove its mettle
Lucinda Shen – Fortune
It was the Great Recession that gave rise to the fintech boom, or so the origin story goes. Armed with righteous anger against big banks and validation from the Dodd-Frank Act mandating banks to make consumers’ data available to them “in an electronic form,” companies like Robinhood, SoFi, and Venmo (now owned by PayPal) became near ubiquitous.
/bit.ly/3a7oeR2

Plato Partnership to launch platform for best execution due diligence; Consortium has teamed up with Urvin.Compliance to establish a central repository platform for due diligence and a record of communication between counterparties.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Not-for-profit Plato Partnership has teamed up with analytics provider, Urvin.Compliance, to launch a platform for regulatory due diligence aimed at buy- and sell-side market participants.
/bit.ly/34GmrRH

OpenFin appoints Pellucid Analytics co-founder as chief product officer; Industry veteran and co-founder of Pellucid Analytics joins financial operating system OpenFin in senior role.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Financial operating system OpenFin has appointed the co-founder of data platform Pellucid Analytics as its chief product officer. Adrian Crockett has joined OpenFin in New York and will work with the firm’s client base to build the industry’s app infrastructure, as well as lead product development for all offerings.
/bit.ly/34DyLlS

Santander launches fintech to take on TransferWise
Nicholas Megaw – FT
Santander has launched a standalone fintech designed to take on money transfer businesses such as TransferWise, offering the service free for two months to attract customers, including those affected by the coronavirus. Cedric Menager, chief executive of the new business — named PagoFX — said: “It’s strange to launch in these circumstances, but our mission is even more important today if you think about expat workers who need to send money to their families and need to be sure that money is delivered quickly.”
/on.ft.com/3eppdiM

Fintech’s Future – VC Report Sees Mixed Fortunes In The Post-Covid Marketplace
Trevor Clawson – Forbes
In the immediate aftermath of the UK lockdown, ATM operators reported a 50 percent drop in usage. That probably shouldn’t come as any great surprise. Customers were – as instructed – staying at home and those venturing out for legitimate reasons might well have thought twice before using a service that involved touching hard, and potentially virus-infected – surfaces.
/bit.ly/34GEYgG

Cryptocurrencies

Investor Highlight: James Putra, TradeStation Crypto
ErisX Insights
James Putra did not necessarily have an aha moment with Bitcoin. Rather the concept of crypto lingered after a visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab.
/bit.ly/2Vxqlsb

Bitcoin Pioneer Bets on Decentralized Finance After Crash
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
One of the earliest advocates of Bitcoin is pursuing a new passion: Decentralized finance. Erik Voorhees, who garnered widespread attention after his exchange ShapeShift was accused of helping criminals launder funds, bought an Israeli startup that is focused on the so-called Defi movement. In Defi, software programs control everything from lending to interest-bearing savings accounts to buying cryptocurrencies — independent of the traditional financial system. Anyone with an internet connection can swap tokens, lend or borrow money or buy digital art — services that have exploded in recent months.
/bloom.bg/2xBtlLX

Chinese local government employees to receive central bank digital currency in May – report
Celia Wan – The Block
China’s national digital currency (DCEP) will be issued to local government employees in the city of Suzhou in May, a local news outlet reported on Thursday. Citing an official document, China Star Market said that Suzhou municipal government employees would receive 50% of their May transportation subsidies in DCEP. The digital currency will be issued to them by four state-owned banks, including the Agricultural Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of China, and the China Construction Bank.
/bit.ly/34EFmfM

Swiss Crypto Firm Closes $14.5M Series B to Help Secure Brokerage License
William Foxley – Coindesk
Swiss holding company Crypto Finance AG has closed a $14.5 million Series B funding round co-led by Swiss investor Rainer-Marc Frey, Beijing-based private equity firm Lingfeng Capital and joined by Hong Kong’s QBN Capital.
/bit.ly/2Kc66uS

Chinese tech giant Alibaba’s subsidiary launches consortium blockchain platform
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Ant Financial, the fintech arm of Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group and the parent company of Alipay, has launched its consortium blockchain platform. Dubbed “OpenChain,” the platform is aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) deploy blockchain applications “with higher efficiency and lower cost.”
/bit.ly/2VEpPsu

More advisers’ clients crave crypto coins despite risks
Stephanie Forshee – FT
Of all the investment options that financial advisers have at their disposal to offer clients, virtual currencies are being touted by only a small number who dare to dabble in such things. But that may be about to change. Growing ranks of retail and institutional investors drawn to bitcoin and its imitators have already been hit by a boom and bust in the sector. In 2017, bitcoin rose from under $2,000 to more than $19,000 per unit by the end of the year. Yet by January 2019 it had collapsed below $4,000. Last March, US economist Nouriel Roubini described crypto as “the mother and father of all bubbles”, noting that other “top ten” cryptocurrencies had suffered steeper falls of more than 90 per cent.
/on.ft.com/2xChGMS

New Crypto Partnership Takes Aim at Africa’s Unfavorable Financial System
Mohammad Musharraf – Cointelegraph
A new partnership in the cryptocurrency space wants to address financial inequities on the continent of Africa. Digital finance and payment platform Sesacash announced in a blog post on April 14 that it is partnering with peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading platform CryptoLocally. The two firms aim to solve the various challenges facing Africa’s financial sector.
/bit.ly/2z5SSNS

The number of accounts trading CME bitcoin futures grew in Q1 amid volume slide
Frank Chaparro – The Block
CME Group’s bitcoin futures product saw a surge in new account trading in Q1 of 2020 in spite of a decline in the notional dollar value of volumes traded and open interest, the firm revealed exclusively to The Block.
/bit.ly/2XG1qFx

ConsenSys spin-off Gnosis launches decentralized exchange with focus on best-price execution
Celia Wan – The Block
A new decentralized exchange, Gnosis Protocol, launched today, allowing users to trade any token with limited slippage. The new protocol is the latest initiative from Gnosis, a decentralized finance (DeFi) startup that spun out from ConsenSys in 2017 after a $12.5 million token sale. Having already processed over $2 million in trading volume during its private beta, Gnosis Protocol is purposefully designed to enable minimal slippage, even for assets that typically see low trading volumes.
/bit.ly/3a9719H

Ethereum Now Matches Bitcoin on One Key Metric
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
The use of the Ethereum network to move value around has shot to record levels. A Wednesday tweet from Ryan Watkins, research analyst at Messari, revealed data showing that the total value transferred on the Ethereum network, including ether (ETH) and ERC-20 stablecoins, now matches that of the Bitcoin network. The numbers show that “Ethereum is becoming the dominant value transfer layer in crypto,” he said.
/bit.ly/3erih4H

Politics

Trump’s Coronavirus Claims Collapse When Met by Limits on Powers
Justin Sink – Bloomberg
President retreats from ordering governors to reopen states; Threat to forcibly adjourn Congress latest test of authority
President Donald Trump said Monday he had the “ultimate authority” to dictate to states how to reopen their economies, and that he’d craft his plans with advice from a council of top business, medical, and political leaders.
/bloom.bg/2Vb3rI6

Exclusive: New York taps McKinsey to develop ‘Trump-proof’ economic reopening plan
Jarrett Renshaw – Reuters
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has hired high-powered consultants to develop a science-based plan for the safe economic reopening of the region that can thwart expected pressure from President Donald Trump to move more rapidly, state government sources told Reuters on Wednesday.
/reut.rs/3aezZVZ

Trump Wants To Reopen The Country In May, But 81% Of Americans Want To Wait Until It’s Safe
Ariel Shapiro – Forbes
TOPLINEFour out of five Americans are willing to wait for normal life to resume in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to a new poll, even as President Trump aims to restart the economy by May.
/bit.ly/2XETRPl

Women leaders are doing a disproportionately great job at handling the pandemic. So why aren’t there more of them?
Leta Hong Fincher, for CNN
Taiwan, early intervention measures have controlled the coronavirus pandemic so successfully that it is now exporting millions of face masks to help the European Union and others.
/cnn.it/3chtQJQ

Regulation

ASIC commences proceedings against Youi Pty Ltd for alleged breaches of the duty of utmost good faith
ASIC
ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against Youi Pty Ltd (Youi) for alleged breaches of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984, in relation to Youi’s duty of utmost good faith in handling a building and contents insurance claim made by a policyholder.
/bit.ly/3aczeMX

Betting over S&P/ASX 200 index highlights failures in controls
ASIC
ASIC intervened when the betting agency Sportsbet began offering bets over the S&P/ASX 200 Index following concerns that the bets constituted a financial product that Sportsbet was not licensed to offer. The product was consequently withdrawn.
/bit.ly/2wKakqr

ESMA issues positive opinions on short selling bans by Austrian FMA, Belgian FSMA, French AMF, Greek HCMC and Spanish CNMV
ESMA
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has issued opinions agreeing to the renewal of the emergency restrictions on short selling and similar transactions by the Finanzmarktaufsicht (FMA) of Austria, the Financial Securities and Markets Authority (FSMA) of Belgium, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) of France, the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC) of Greece and the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV) of Spain.
/bit.ly/34Ktf0H

The Small Firm Conference Call
FINRA
Small firms represent a critical portion of FINRA’s membership and often face regulatory challenges that are unique from their large firm counterparts. In an effort to provide additional compliance education, FINRA offers the Small Firm Conference Call, a free series hosted by senior FINRA leaders who discuss trending topics, new rules and regulatory guidance and best practices.
/bit.ly/2Kc6Rns

FINRA Gateway Frequently Asked Questions; Will Firm Gateway be retired as soon as FINRA Gateway is available?
FINRA
No, FINRA expects to make Firm Gateway available at least through December 2020 and will continue to provide updates on our webpage. FINRA will give users time to transition to the new system while providing a seamless way to return to the features that are not yet available in FINRA Gateway.
/bit.ly/3aby4kY

FCA data show 6.02m complaints in the second half of 2019
UK FCA
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today published the complaints figures for regulated firms for the second half (H2) of 2019. The data showed an increase in complaints from 4.29m in the first half (H1) of 2019 to 6.02m in the second half of 2019.
/bit.ly/3bf9VLE

Securities Commission Malaysia Announces Series Of Capital Market Measures To Support Businesses
Mondovisione
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) today announced further reliefs for public listed companies (PLCs), and is considering additional measures to facilitate greater access to funding for small and midcap companies, as well as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
/bit.ly/3coowVg

Investing and Trading

Big Gains in Havens Stoke Worries About Stock-Market Pullback; Stocks and havens have risen in tandem since major indexes hit a low point last month
Amrith Ramkumar – WSJ
Safer assets from gold to Treasurys are rising alongside major indexes, a sign that the stock-market rebound hasn’t assuaged investors’ fears about the world economy.
/on.wsj.com/2z6jsXb

Crisis of a lifetime shakes up risk tactics for financial advisers; Strategies to deal with investment dangers now take centre stage
Loren Fox – FT
For 11 years, US investors could mostly treat “risk” as an abstract concept that could be easily traded in for ever-higher returns. The coronavirus pandemic changed that, ending the longest US stock market bull run in history and replacing it with a bear market that throws investment danger into sharp relief.
/on.ft.com/3cq6zp0

Unusual price swings around daily FX ‘fixes’ spark alarm; Extra volatility increases costs, say experts, and could suggest market manipulation
Eva Szalay – FT
Abnormal moves in currencies shortly before the calculation of daily benchmarks are bumping up costs for investors and could even suggest that high-speed traders are trying to manipulate exchange rates, according to Raidne, a market surveillance company.
/on.ft.com/2z661GK

ECB Will Do ‘Everything Necessary’ to Help Economy, Lagarde Says
Jana Randow – Bloomberg
More global cooperation is needed, president tells IMFC; Central bank is assessing more requests for euro swap lines
The European Central Bank will do its bit to help the region’s economy cope with its worst crisis in decades, but more international cooperation is needed to overcome the pandemic, according to President Christine Lagarde.
/bloom.bg/3ahVLb3

Swiss Franc Demand Is Set to Increase, UBS Predicts
Jan Dahinten – Bloomberg
Investor demand for Switzerland’s currency, already trading at a five-year high, will increase as the country’s economy will outperform others during the recession, strategists at UBS Group AG predict.
/bloom.bg/3bgjJVs

This Stock Market Can Be Awfully Deceiving; If economic optimism wasn’t responsible for the recent rise in equities, then what was it? Plus, Dalio dumps on bonds, oil trumps Trump and more.
Robert Burgess – Bloomberg
When the S&P 500 Index surged on Tuesday to its highest in five weeks, bringing its rally since bottoming on March 23 to 27%, the sense was that the market was signaling that the worst from the coronavirus pandemic would soon be over. On Wednesday, though, the benchmark took a hit, falling by more than 2% as data on U.S. retail sales and factory output for March posted historic declines. Other figures measuring economic activity for April also suggested a very deep recession is in play.
/bloom.bg/2Vb3Pq2

Seafood Market Craters After Restaurants Shuttered Worldwide
Randy Thanthong-Knight – Bloomberg
Industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars is hammered; Canned fish products are a rare bright spot for companies
Just one kilogram of freshly caught squid a day was almost enough to live on for Thai fishermen like Wisut Boonnak. Now the catch has halved in price and he’s spending more time on village duties.
/bloom.bg/2ymQWzX

Agriculture Secretary Says ‘Plenty of Food’ Despite Disruptions
Mike Dorning – Bloomberg
Slaughterhouse shutdowns put focus on supply chain strains; Food companies working through ‘misalignment,’ Perdue says
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue assured Americans the country has “plenty of food” after coronavirus closings at major meat-processing plants focused fresh attention to strains in the supply chain.
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Morgan Stanley Quarterly Profit Drops 30%; Bank avoids loan losses that dragged down financial results at rivals
Liz Hoffman – WSJ
Morgan Stanley MS -3.66% said its profit fell 30% in the first quarter, the last big U.S. bank to lurch through a period of stress wrought by the coronavirus.
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Institutions

Banks Brace for Consumer Pain, but Wall Street Trading Arms Shine; Units at Goldman Sachs, Bank of America turn in some of their strongest performance in years
Liz Hoffman and David Benoit – WSJ
For Americans checking their retirement accounts, the market’s swings during the first quarter were a horror show. For Wall Street’s traders, they were a windfall. Big banks’ trading desks posted their strongest results in years during the first three months of 2020—when the deepening coronavirus crisis wreaked havoc on the markets—buying and selling trillions of dollars worth of stocks and bonds, commodities and interest-rate products.
/on.wsj.com/2RHwjFE

BlackRock’s First-Quarter Profit Fell 23%; Plummeting markets dragged assets under management below $7 trillion
Dawn Lim – WSJ
Money management giant BlackRock Inc.’s BLK -3.27% profits fell by 23% in the first quarter, as a global pandemic and waves of selling gripped the investment world.
/on.wsj.com/2z0Oi3f

Citi joins peers in preparing for pandemic stress; Net income down 46 % to $2.5bn as almost $5bn set aside for potential loan losses
Robert Armstrong – FT
Citigroup fell into line with its major US banking peers in preparing for the stress the coronavirus pandemic will cause borrowers by increasing its loan reserves by $4.9bn in the first quarter.
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Biggest Wall Street banks set aside $25bn for loan losses; Shares in lenders fall as Goldman chief Solomon warns of recession lasting into 2021
Laura Noonan and Robert Armstrong – FT
Get instant email alertsBank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs took a total $12.8bn of charges in the first quarter for loan losses, and warned there could be more to come, heightening investor fears about the toll coronavirus will take on the financial sector.
/on.ft.com/2XHrccm

Barclays activist suspends campaign to unseat chief due to virus; Edward Bramson abandons plans to vote against Jes Staley’s reappointment and will abstain
Stephen Morris – FT
Activist investor Edward Bramson has suspended his two-year campaign to remove Barclays chief executive Jes Staley due to the coronavirus crisis, while reiterating his call for the board to start a formal search for his successor.
/on.ft.com/3ev2p1k

UBS’s Billionaire Clients Keen on Turnaround Opportunities
Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
O’Connor Capital’s business is booming on demand for liquidity; Dealmaking includes refinancing debt, handling margin calls
A pedestrian walks past the UBS Group AG U.K. headquarters in
UBS Group AG’s private credit business is seeing increased interest from sophisticated wealth investors looking for opportunities coming out of the crisis.
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Man GLG hires Asia equities head from rival BlackRock
Reuters
Man GLG, the discretionary investment arm of asset manager Man Group (EMG.L), has hired Andrew Swan from rival BlackRock (BLK.N) to lead its Asia ex-Japan equities business, it said on Thursday.
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Regions

China’s Historic Slump to Lay Bare the Scale of the Task Ahead
Bloomberg News
First quarter GDP to show deep contraction from year ago; March data for retail, investment, industrial output also due
The scale of the recovery task facing China’s policy makers will be laid bare Friday when first quarter gross domestic product data is expected to show an historic slump.
/bloom.bg/34HNVGL

Men Die of Covid-19 at Twice the Rate of Women in England, Wales
Will Mathis – Bloomberg
The rate of death among men due to Covid-19 was double that of women in England and Wales last month, according to an analysis from the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics.
/bloom.bg/2VeeeBc

Brexit

Britain and EU agree to revive talks on future relationship; Michel Barnier and David Frost finalise dates for virtual negotiating rounds
Jim Brunsden and George Parker – FT
Britain and the EU on Wednesday announced plans for three negotiating rounds on their future relationship between now and early June, as they seek to reinvigorate talks that were hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic.
/on.ft.com/2yYts4y

Britain’s Virus-Hit Businesses Find an Unlikely Help in Brexit
Edward Robinson and Katie Linsell – Bloomberg
Manufacturers using lessons learned to survive lockdown; Race is on to save companies running out of cash, and time
For the last month, David Merrick has been in a race to keep his manufacturing business alive during the worst economic crash in memory: He furloughed 24 of his 40 employees as revenue plunged by 50% and even joined fellow managers on the shop floor to crank out parts for customers.
/bloom.bg/3bf07Bk

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