Nvidia’s Ascent to Most Valuable Company Has Echoes of Dot-Com Boom

Jun 19, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The FIA and Acuiti yesterday released a report examining the challenges and opportunities in the European listed derivatives markets. Based on a survey of over 100 market participants, including clearing brokers, asset managers, hedge funds, principal trading firms, exchanges, and software vendors, the report highlights key trends and sentiments in the industry. While there is optimism about growth and innovation within Europe, many firms perceive greater growth potential outside of Europe. A significant concern among respondents is the regulatory burden, which is seen as a major challenge, along with the lingering effects of Brexit. The report identifies interest rates and energy as the asset classes with the most potential for growth in trading volume over the next five years.

The report also highlights several other key trends. Firms are increasingly focused on global ambitions, viewing regions outside Europe as offering more client and trading volume growth. The regulatory landscape is widely viewed as a hindrance, with many participants noting the negative impact of multiple regulatory frameworks. Post-Brexit, London’s role as a global financial center is seen to have diminished, with Paris predicted to be the leading European financial center in the coming years. Cyber risk is identified as the greatest current threat, while technology trends show a divide between prioritizing efficiency and pursuing innovation. The report was released in conjunction with the International Derivatives Expo (IDX) in London, emphasizing the importance of addressing these challenges to realize the full potential of the European derivatives market.

Baseball great Willie Mays has died at the age of 93, multiple publications are reporting, with epic praise pouring out for the Hall of Fame outfielder “Say Hey Kid,” who some call the greatest all-around player in baseball history. Some of the titles of the stories about Mays include The Wall Street Journal’s “Willie Mays, Major League Baseball’s ‘Say Hey Kid,’ Dies at Age 93; The Hall of Fame outfielder’s powerful bat and dazzling defense made him arguably the greatest all-around player in baseball history” and Reuters’ “Baseball legend Willie Mays, all-around great of America’s pastime, dead at 93.” Bloomberg’s story is titled “Willie Mays, Baseball’s Do-It-All ‘Say Hey Kid,’ Dies at 93” with subheadings “He was widely considered the best all-around player of his era” and “Mays played with ‘controlled abandon,’ Ted Williams wrote.”

The New York Post wrote “Keith Hernandez gets emotional mourning Willie Mays’ death: ‘The greatest player'” and The New York Times headline was “Willie Mays, Baseball’s Electrifying Player of Power and Grace, Is Dead at 93” with the subheading “Mays, the Say Hey Kid, was the game’s exuberant embodiment of the complete player. Some say he was the greatest of them all.”

Day two of IDX is here, which is the last day. How fast this conference comes and goes. Thank you to Eurex for a great night on the Thames with industry colleagues. Today is more video interviews at IDX and then the gala dinner tonight where Rama Pillai will show up in his kilt. We will also find out how much he ultimately raised. There will be the announcement of the next kilt wearer, or wearers?

The New York Times has a story about the discovery of hidden fruit filled bottles uncovered in the cellar of George Washington’s Virginia home, Mount Vernon. The bottles reportedly held cherries, currants and gooseberries. There was no word on whether the cherries were from the tree Washington cut down as a youth when he could not tell a lie.

Euronext is looking for a head of compliance and market surveillance in Oslo. it shared on LinkedIn.

My former Price Group colleague, Ron Mark, has signed a publishing deal to co-author a book with negotiation expert Chris Voss titled “Influence and Impact.”

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


“Financing the Clean Energy Transition” takes place June 27 in London and can be attended virtually. Presented by the Association for Renewable Energy & Clean Technology (REA), the largest renewable energy trade association in the UK, the event is part of London Climate Action Week (LCAW). LCAW is an annual festival uniting individuals, organizations, and communities to address global climate change. It showcases society-wide engagement for decarbonization and resilience, inspiring other cities to host similar events. This year’s themes include “Financing Climate Transition: Reforming finance systems for global climate goals.” Learn more HERE ~ SAED

NOTE: JLN Options will not be published today in observance of the Juneteenth holiday. We will be back on Thursday. ~JB

Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
Wall Street Faces Tougher Margin Rule as Zero-Day Options Boom from Bloomberg.
Regulatory Uncertainty Clouds Options Market Innovation from John Lothian News.
SEC bars advisor who used senior clients’ cash for secret options trading from InvestmentNews. ~JB

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


ASEAN exchange leaders discuss transition finance and the economic shift to net zero

In a recent roundtable on transition finance with the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), JLN spoke with three dynamic leaders representing exchanges from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), all members of the World Federation of Exchanges. Speaking with us were Dr. Soraphol Tulayasathien, senior executive vice president, Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET); Dr Hezri Adnan, current director, group sustainability of Bursa Malaysia; and Laurent Poirot, head of product strategy and development at SGX. Contributing to the conversation were Nandini Sukumar, CEO of the WFE and Victoria Powell, senior manager – ESG, regulatory affairs for the WFE.

Watch the video »


Steve Cohen’s Point72 Readies New Hedge Fund Targeting AI Stocks
Hema Parmar – The Wall Street Journal
Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management is seeking to raise about $1 billion for a new stock-picking hedge fund focused on artificial intelligence, according to people familiar with the matter. The fund will bet on and against AI hardware and semiconductor companies globally and will be the firm’s first new hedge fund in decades, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Point72 currently has a main hedge fund along with some venture capital vehicles. Cohen has said he expects the impact of AI to be “transformational” and that it has the power to change how companies work and save them millions of dollars.

***** Is this a sign of a market top?~JJL


Astronomers Witness ‘Sudden Awakening’ of Massive Black Hole in Far-Away Galaxy
Nilima Marshall – Press Association via The Wall Street Journal
Astronomers believe they may have witnessed a massive black hole wake up and become active in a far-away galaxy. The cosmic event was first spotted in 2019 when a US telescope detected an “unusual brightness” around 300 million light-years away. Data showed the “calm” galaxy in the constellation Virgo had mysteriously started to glow. An international team then tracked this “unprecedented behaviour” and found the galaxy was gradually growing brighter and radiating more light – unlike any other typical event seen before. They believe the sudden brightness is being caused by a massive black hole waking up at the heart of the galaxy and “feasting” on the surrounding gas.

****** The black hole, awakened, had a cup of coffee and sucked up a bunch of gas.~JJL


Millions of Americans Brace for Dangerous Heat Wave, Record-Breaking Temperatures; Triple-digit temperatures are expected across much of the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and New England
Gareth Vipers – The Wall Street Journal
Record-breaking heat is expected to sweep across a swath of the Midwest and Northeast U.S. this week, leaving millions sweltering under dangerously high temperatures. More than 67 million people were under heat-advisory warnings Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Scorching heat was seen from the Ohio Valley up to parts of Western New York, breaking records in several areas. Hartford, Conn., reached 95 degrees Tuesday, tying the city’s record for that day, according to the NWS. Manchester, N.H., hit 96 degrees, a record for that day, the weather service said.

****** This is why it is important to learn how to swim, so you can find a swimming pool, swimming hole or lake somewhere to go jump in and cool off.~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was again John Lothian’s Opinion: Class-Action Lawsuit Against CME Group Holds Disruptive Potential to Membership Prices, Future Deals and CME Leadership, from December 2023, which John mentioned in Hits & Takes on Friday. Second was Four factors to guide investment in battery storage, from Ernst and Young. Third was Milan stock exchange workers set to strike over Euronext’s ‘divestments’, from the Financial Times.



Lead Stories

Nvidia’s Ascent to Most Valuable Company Has Echoes of Dot-Com Boom; Chip maker passes Microsoft for top spot, just as John Chambers-led Cisco Systems did two decades ago. He says the situation now is different.
Asa Fitch – The Wall Street Journal
Nvidia has become the U.S.’s most valuable listed company because of the demand for its artificial-intelligence chips, leading a tech boom that brings back memories of one from earlier this century. Nvidia’s chips have been the workhorses of the AI boom, essential tools in the creation of sophisticated AI systems that have captured the public’s imagination with their ability to produce cogent text, images and audio with minimal prompting.

UBS Among Swiss Banks Seeking Delay of Basel Trading Rules; Switzerland set to decide by end of July on postponement; Regulator Finma is against a push-back amid broader overhaul
Myriam Balezou, Nicholas Comfort, Bastian Benrath, and Laura Noonan – Bloomberg
Swiss banks including UBS Group AG are pressing the government to postpone global capital rules for their trading businesses, to avoid being disadvantaged after the European Union decided on a delay. Switzerland is set to decide by the end of July on whether to also push back its implementation date. While several domestic lenders favor waiting, UBS also makes the case that, without a pause, it would be one of very few major global banks forced to adopt the trading rules in January 2025, people familiar with the matter said, who asked not to be named as the interactions are private.

Inside Citigroup’s Most Mysterious Business; Investor day highlights the hidden value of bank’s financial pipes
Justin Baer – The Wall Street Journal
One of Citigroup’s oldest businesses is finally ready for its close-up. For decades, Citi Services has moved money around the world for companies and safeguarded big investor assets. The division, one of five lines of business, makes up half of Citi’s total profit and is crucial to Chief Executive Jane Fraser’s turnaround plan. Touting these businesses might seem like a no-brainer, but they have long stood in the shadows of pretty much everything else in Citi’s vast portfolio, from credit cards to bond trading. And what they do isn’t easy to explain. At cocktail parties and investor meetings, executives tended to go with “we oversee the financial pipes,” a tagline Citi is now eager to retire.

Nvidia’s 591,078% Rally to Most Valuable Stock Came in Waves; Company topped Microsoft in market cap after historic run; Computer gaming and data centers paved the way for AI success
Jeran Wittenstein and Carmen Reinicke – Bloomberg
The year was 1999. Steve Jobs had recently returned to lead Apple. Intel was the dominant force in semiconductors. And a little-known chipmaker named Nvidia made its debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange. It took less than three years for Nvidia Corp. to ascend into the S&P 500 – replacing the disgraced oil-trading conglomerate Enron, no less.

Bank of England’s money-printing losses ‘three times greater than Fed’
Tim Wallace – The Telegraph
The Bank of England’s losses from its money-printing programme “dwarf those of other central banks”, a leading City analyst has warned. Christopher Mahon, at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, has warned that Britain is losing three times more on its quantitative easing (QE) programme than the Federal Reserve in the US. This has significant ramifications for the Treasury, which is obliged to cover tens of billions of pounds in losses as the Bank unwinds its QE programme by selling bonds, a process known as quantitative tightening (QT). Mr Mahon said: “The Bank of England’s approach to QE has led to losses of almost 5pc of GDP versus less than 2pc in the US.”n By contrast, the European Central Bank’s losses are around 3.3pc of GDP.

HSBC ‘seriously violated’ Swiss money laundering rules, regulator says
Lars Mucklejohn – CityAM
HSBC’s Swiss private bank failed to conduct adequate checks on more than $300m (£236m) worth of transactions over the course of 13 years, the country’s banking regulator has found. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) said on Tuesday that the business had “seriously violated financial market law” over its relationship with two unnamed politically exposed customers.

Bond Trading by China’s PBOC Wouldn’t Be Quantitative Easing, Gov. Says; The People’s Bank of China and the finance ministry are studying ways to include treasury bond trading in its policy tool kit, he said
The Wall Street Journal
Trading in bonds by China’s central bank wouldn’t be a form of massive monetary easing, according to its governor, as he responded to speculation that Beijing is eyeing the unconventional policy tool to prop up the economy. The People’s Bank of China and the finance ministry are studying ways to include treasury bond trading in its policy tool kit, said PBOC governor Pan Gongsheng in a finance forum on Wednesday. He rejected the notion that the practice would be equivalent to quantitative easing, when monetary authorities load up on assets like government bonds to push down yields after exhausting more traditional policy tools.

Cargill Plans Atlanta Office to Tap Region’s Growing Tech Talent
Tarso Veloso – Bloomberg
Cargill Inc., the world’s biggest crop trader, is opening an office hub in Atlanta, joining a wave of companies seeking to take advantage of the southern city’s growing tech talent. The company’s Digital Technology and Data group will be the primary occupant of the new facility, which is scheduled to open in the fall, Cargill said in a press release Tuesday. It will hire about 400 workers in data engineering, artificial intelligence and other high-tech fields over the next few years to work in the office.

Explainer: Why cross-border mergers are still a hard sell for euro zone banks
Valentina Za – Reuters
EU policymakers have renewed calls for cross-border bank mergers as they look to address the multi-trillion euro investments needed to finance the bloc’s green and digital transformation. A plan for a fully-fledged banking union has stalled and bankers and supervisors point to the absence of a joint guarantee system for euro zone depositors as the biggest impediment to its progress. Below is an explanation of why little-understood banking rules and the lack of a European deposit insurance scheme (EDIS) make cross-border takeovers a tall order for European bankers, who routinely complain of excessive hurdles.

Ukraine Invasion

Drones in Ukraine Get Smarter to Dodge Russia’s Jamming Signals; Electronic warfare is rapidly evolving, pushing drone makers to swap out parts and make craft more autonomous; Western companies are watching closely
Alistair MacDonald and Heather Somerville – The Wall Street Journal
KYIV, Ukraine-The drones now leaving ISR Defence’s factory in Ukraine look exactly like those made there before Russia’s invasion but the components inside have completely changed. It is an exercise the company has gone through repeatedly to keep its drones aloft. As drones play an increasingly prominent role in the war, both sides are pitched in a constantly evolving battle to down enemy craft and keep their own in the sky. Russia and Ukraine’s ability to wage electronic warfare-disrupting the signals guiding drones and render them mostly useless-has rapidly advanced. And so too have their efforts to stay ahead of that threat

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Israel and Hezbollah Play a Risky Tit-for-Tat, Leaving Region on Edge; Israel could face a second full-blown war, this one against a much stronger foe.
The New York Times
As the war has raged in Gaza, another battle has unfurled in parallel along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon – a risky game of tit-for-tat that has intensified in recent weeks, with a far stronger foe. In a measure of the danger of a full-scale war erupting, President Biden dispatched one of his senior aides, Amos Hochstein, to Israel on Monday and to Lebanon on Tuesday to press for a diplomatic solution.

Netanyahu’s Decision Time for Gaza Is Fast Approaching; Refusal to articulate a day-after plan is becoming increasingly untenable.
Marc Champion – Bloomberg
The big question regarding Israel’s war in Gaza has always been whether Benjamin Netanyahu had any intention of allowing a political settlement to end the fighting – of the kind the US administration has been pushing for and the United Nations Security Council has now demanded. We may soon have more clarity.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

ICE Midland WTI (HOU) Hits Record Open Interest as Market Participants Expand Positions in ICE HOU
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of technology and data, today announced that its ICE Midland WTI (ICE:HOU) crude futures contract hit record open interest of 158,208 contracts on June 13, 2024, after market participants last week added over 100,000 lots of HOU to their books. ICE HOU has grown from average daily volume (ADV) of 1,794 in 2022, to ADV of 6,695 contracts in 2023, to record ADV of 27,560 during the month of May 2024.

Euronext boosts global debt listing leadership with updated GEM Debt Rulebook and the launch of an innovative harmonised digital listing solution, MyEuronext Portal
Updated GEM Debt Rulebook for debt listing enhances market attractivity, accessibility and efficiency. New digital solution offering secure, reliable, and efficient listing and post-listing services. Rules simplification and digitalisation of admission process aligns with Euronext’s strategy to enhance attractiveness, competitiveness and efficiency across its seven European listing venues. Euronext, the leading pan-European market infrastructure, today announced updates to the Euronext Global Exchange Market (Euronext GEM Debt) Rulebook for debt securities, and the successful launch of the MyEuronext Portal for debt listing agents and issuers.

Unscheduled adjustments in MDAX and TecDAX
Deutsche Boerse Group
STOXX Ltd. has announced unscheduled changes to the index composition of the MDAX and TecDAX indices. MorphoSys AG is being removed from the MDAX and TecDAX because the free float has fallen below ten percent. According to the rules , chapter 5.4.2, the company no longer meets the basic criteria for remaining in the blue chip indices (free float of at least ten percent).

Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montreal Exchange Closed for Canada Day
Montreal Exchange
Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montreal Exchange will be closed on Monday, July 1, 2024, for the Canada Day holiday. The Exchanges will re-open and resume regular trading hours on Tuesday, July 2, 2024.


UK Fintech Zilch Taps Deutsche Bank to Raise £100 Million Debt
Charlotte Hughes-Morgan – Bloomberg
British fintech firm Zilch Technology Ltd. raised £100 million ($127 million) in a securitized debt financing deal arranged by Deutsche Bank AG, as the buy-now-pay-later firm seeks to expand before a planned initial public offering next year. The funds will help Zilch develop new products for a broader base of customers, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Can You Replace Google Search With Reddit? I Tried It for a Week; Googling isn’t what it used to be
Ann-Marie Alcántara – The Wall Street Journal
Frustrated by their Google searches, people are funneling their queries to a site that isn’t a search engine at all: Reddit. Earlier this month, that included me. Reddit, which went public in March, is a social network with 82.7 million daily active users who gather and usually post anonymously in groups called subreddits. Users can “upvote” or “downvote” what others contribute, surfacing what are considered the best responses.

Documents Show How Musk’s X Plans to Become the Next Venmo; State license applications give new insight into the company’s plans, as well as its financial woes during the Elon era.
Aisha Counts and Kurt Wagner – Bloomberg
A major plank of Elon Musk’s plan for expanding X into an “everything app” has been grafting a payments network onto its main social networking service. The details of this project have remained blurry, but dozens of documents the company has submitted to state regulators-which have not previously been made public-give a new view of the business. Those plans include a Venmo-like payments feature that will let users store money on their X accounts, pay other users or businesses, and even buy goods and services in physical stores.


Cybersecurity Worker Burnout Costing Businesses Big
Nathan Eddy – Security Boulevard
Medium to large enterprises facing significant financial losses due to stress, fatigue and burnout among cybersecurity workers, with annual losses averaging more than $626 million in the U.S., according to a report from Hack The Box. Nine in ten CISOs surveyed expressed concern about the impact of these issues on their team’s well-being, while nearly three-quarters (74%) of business leaders report that staff have taken time off for stress-related reasons.

Cybersecurity Concerns Test Paris Olympics Preparations
The opening ceremonies of the Paris Olympics are set for just over a month from now, and the event is starting to look a lot like the banking and payments industries: Expect a lot of data, a big dose of AI and the ever-present concern around cybersecurity. Because while the rest of the world is preparing for “faster, higher, stronger” security professionals are preparing for the eventuality of a wide range of scenarios that make a global event a target.


SEC Ends Probe Into Consensys, Won’t Sue Over Ethereum; The U.S. regulator closed its investigation into “Ethereum 2.0,” Consensys said.
Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
The price of ether (ETH) rose after Consensys received letters from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) saying the regulator had ended its investigation into the technology incubator company and was not going to recommend an enforcement action against it. The SEC told Consensys, whose products include the MetaMask wallet, it was not bringing any enforcement actions in a pair of letters sent to its law firms on Tuesday. In a blog post, Consensys said the SEC was “closing its investigation into Ethereum 2.0.”

US SEC closes investigation in Ethereum 2.0, ‘major win’ for industry: Consensys
Danny Park – The Block
Consensys Software Inc. announced today that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division has notified the blockchain company that it is closing its investigation into Ethereum 2.0, which it described as a “major win” for the industry. “Ethereum survives the SEC,” Consensys wrote in its X post. “This means that the SEC will not bring charges alleging that sales of ETH are securities transactions.”

Crypto Token Ether Rallies on Claim About SEC’s Ethereum Probe; Ethereum developer claims SEC is closing probe of blockchain; Regulatory scrutiny added to uncertainty about Ether’s status
Sunil Jagtiani – Bloomberg
The Ether token posted its best climb this week amid speculation that US regulatory scrutiny of the blockchain ecosystem underlying the second-largest digital asset may be easing. The token rose as much as 3.6% on Wednesday before paring some of the advance to change hands at $3,562 as of 12:53 p.m. in Singapore. The rally was a modest tailwind for market-leader Bitcoin and a range of smaller rivals.

Ethereum ETF issuers working to address ‘reasonable’ comments from SEC by Friday: Sources
Tim Copeland – The Block
Prospective spot Ethereum ETF issuers received comments from the SEC last week regarding their S-1 forms with a deadline of this Friday to get them turned around, according to two sources. While the issuers saw their 19b-4 forms approved in May, they still need the S-1 forms to become effective before trading can begin – a process with no strict deadline. These forms are currently being reworked and sent back to the SEC for further comments before being reworked again until they’re ready.

Stablecoin Issuer Circle Increases Staffing by More Than 15%; Stablecoin issuer has added 137 staffers so far this year; The company in January submitted plans to launch an IPO
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Circle Internet Financial Ltd. has increased its staff by more than 15% this year and plans to fill a similar number of positions as the issuer of the second-largest stablecoin prepares to go public. The Boston-based company, which revealed in January that it confidentially submitted plans to launch an initial public offering, has added 137 staffers, and has more than 140 additional open positions in areas such as business development, engineering and marketing, a spokesperson said. The company currently has 882 employees, and 24 more people have already accepted job offers, they said.

The dark side of tokenisation; The financial industry needs to think of resilience as much as efficiency when putting real-world assets on to blockchains
Hilary Allen – Financial Times
The writer is a law professor at the American University Washington College of Law Traditional financial institutions are increasingly showing interest in “tokenising” real-world assets, meaning they are curious about how these assets could be digitally represented by programmable tokens recorded on shared ledgers. There could be real efficiency gains associated with tokenisation, but the drive towards it could also take a dark turn.


Trump Media Sinks as SEC Declaration May Dilute Existing Holders; Shares tumble 17% in late trading following announcement; Ruling lets investors swap warrants for shares in the company
Bailey Lipschultz – Bloomberg
Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. sank in late trading after the US Securities and Exchange Commission declared effective a regulatory filing that could dilute shareholders. The long-awaited clearance lets investors in the firm’s derivatives, known as warrants, swap their holdings for shares in the company which can dilute long-time investors. The social media company that’s mostly owned by former president Donald Trump fell roughly 15% to around $26 in late trading, adding to a 36% slide this month through Tuesday’s close.

Dutchman Mark Rutte, longtime Putin critic, set to lead NATO alliance
Bart H. Meijer – Reuters
Mark Rutte, who looks set to be NATO’s next secretary-general, is a staunch ally of Ukraine and a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who honed his skills as a political dealmaker during nearly 14 years as Dutch prime minister. Rutte, 57, has been one of the driving forces behind Europe’s military support for Ukraine since Russia’s 2022 invasion, and says defeat on the battlefield for Moscow is vital to secure peace in Europe.

Why UK private equity is ‘encouraged’ by Labour’s signals on promised tax crackdown; Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves’s comments were received well by those who believe she has opened the door to less harsh options
Michael O’Dwyer, Emma Agyemang and Kaye Wiggins – Financial Times
The UK’s private equity industry has welcomed as “encouraging” shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves’s suggestion that buyout executives who invest in their funds would continue to enjoy favourable tax treatment. The Labour party has pledged to raise £565mn a year by closing a “loophole” on the taxation of private equity managers’ profits on successful deals, known as carried interest.

Austrian pro-tax heiress gives wealth to social, climate, left-wing groups
An heiress who has denounced the absence of taxes on wealth and inheritance in Austria has given the bulk of her money, 25 million euros ($27 million), to 77 organisations, including social and climate groups, as well as prominent left-wing ones. Marlene Engelhorn, 32, has spent years criticising the birth lottery by which she inherited tens of millions and does not have to give any of it to the state, and calling for change.

Russian Court Sentences US Soldier to Jail for Theft, Interfax Reports; Soldier was detained while on unauthorized visit to Russia; Black will appeal the decision, Interfax says, citing lawyer
Bloomberg News
A Russian judge found US Staff Sergeant Gordon Black guilty of theft and death threats against a local woman he’d traveled to visit, adding to the number of Americans held in the country. Black, 34, was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison, the Interfax news service reported from the courtroom in Vladivostok, in the Far East region. Investigators had accused Black of grabbing his girlfriend by the neck during a quarrel, which she considered a threat to her life, and stole 10 thousand rubles ($117) from her in May of this year.

China Is Targeting Europe’s Soft (Pork) Belly; Trade tensions detour into Spain’s most renowned export.
Javier Blas – Bloomberg
Growing up in Spain, where the farming sector is a powerhouse, the wars I lived through were named for food: the “strawberry war” with the French in 1989, the “tuna war” with the British in 1990, and the “turbot war” with the Canadians in 1995. Still, nothing prepared me for what’s shaping up to be the “ham war” with China.


Exclusive: India regulator plans tweaks to address derivative trading risks
Jayshree P Upadhyay and Ira Dugal – Reuters
India’s markets regulator is considering a series of tweaks to its derivative trading rules, according to two sources, as it seeks to address risks arising from explosive growth in options trading. The new rules could include higher margins for options contracts and more detailed disclosures, and are being considered after a series of meetings with exchanges, brokers and fund houses over the past four months, the sources, with direct knowledge of the matter, said.

The Mega Commission That Got Away From a Veteran Insurance Agent; Real-estate billionaire’s policies set off eight-year battle over payout
Jean Eaglesham – The Wall Street Journal
For 32 years, Richard Reda lived off commissions from selling modest life-insurance policies to middle-class clients. Then a billionaire property mogul showed up offering something far more lucrative. Joseph Moinian and his wife would buy $279 million of life insurance from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, generating a potential $5 million in commissions. The payout for the agents involved would be the biggest ever paid by the insurer for policies written for a couple, one adviser on the deal said in a court filing.

SEC Charges R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. with Cybersecurity-Related Controls Violations
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (RRD), a global provider of business communication and marketing services, agreed to pay over $2.1 million to settle disclosure and internal control failure charges relating to cybersecurity incidents and alerts in late 2021.

A Nonagenarian Talks with a Tricenarian: Remarks at the SEC 30th International Institute for Securities Market Growth and Development
Commissioner Hester M. Peirce – SEC
Earlier this month, we celebrated the SEC’s 90th birthday. Nine decades of regulating the securities markets has taught us many lessons, and I hope that our staff has shared those lessons with you over the last week. These discussions were likely focused and technical, so I want to take a step back and think more broadly about securities regulation and why it matters so much.

Go your own way: departures pose new challenges for CFTC; Loss of Democratic majority would impede chairman’s ambitions for regulatory agenda
Luke Clancy – Risk.net
Breaking up, as the song goes, is hard to do. And when the relationship in question is crucial for the smooth issuance of derivatives regulations, the estrangement is harder still. This month, Risk.net examined the current state of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and drew attention to what our sources – including 12 current and former officials and commissioners – described as an agency paralysed by a divided majority. The divisions are between chairman Rostin Behnam and his fellow Democratic commissioners, Christy Goldsmith Romero and Kristin Johnson. The resulting frictions may help explain why the pace of rulemaking and routine business at the CFTC have slowed in recent years.

Hey, look, there’s a hoof cleaner! Statement on R.R. Donnelley & Sons, Co.
Commissioner Hester M. Peirce and Commissioner Mark T. Uyeda – SEC
As we have noted before, the Commission in recent years has taken to treating Exchange Act Section 13(b)(2)(B)’s internal accounting controls provision as a Swiss Army Statute to compel issuers to adopt policies and procedures the Commission believes prudent.[1] Identifying a link between the Commission’s preferred policies and procedures and accounting controls seems a collateral concern, if it is a concern at all. In today’s settled administrative proceeding against R.R. Donnelly & Sons, Co. (“RRD”),[2] the Commission finds and uses a novel attachment on its multi-use tool-“a system of cybersecurity-related internal accounting controls.”

SEC Charges Former Investor Relations Employee Over Fraudulent Investment Offerings
The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday announced charges against Yanni Tassev for fraudulently offering securities purportedly issued by his then employer.

SEC Charges Colorado Mining Company and its Executives with Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it filed charges against Colorado-based penny-stock issuer Western Sierra Resource Corporation, its Chief Executive Officer Roger Johnson, and its Chief Financial Officer Dennis Atkins for issuing false and misleading statements concerning Western Sierra’s alleged purchase of gold mining claims worth billions of dollars.

Federal Court freezes assets of Shield Master Fund
ASIC has obtained interim orders from the Federal Court freezing the assets of the Shield Master Fund (Shield), a registered managed fund whose responsible entity is Keystone Asset Management Ltd (Keystone). ASIC sought the orders to help protect investor funds while an investigation is continuing.

Financial advice in a changing world
Opening remarks by ASIC Commissioner Alan Kirkland at the Professional Planner Licensee Summit, 18 June 2024.

FMA and XRB issue user guides to help users of climate statements
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana Tatai Hokohoko – and the External Reporting Board – Te Kāwai Ārahi Pūrongo Mōwaho (XRB) – have jointly produced a set of guides designed to help people understand the Climate-related Disclosures (CRD) regime and the information being provided in climate statements which are now starting to be published by climate reporting entities. The “What You Need to Know” guide provides an overview of the CRD regime for people such as primary users (existing and potential investors, lenders, and other creditors) of climate statements, journalists and other intermediaries who use or communicate climate-related information.

Update on the FCA’s review of treatment of Politically Exposed Persons
Last year, we launched a review of the treatment of domestic Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) by financial services firms. We had been on track to publish the findings from this review in line with the end of June deadline set in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023. However, we do not think it is appropriate to publish the review during the pre-election period. We will now publish it in July once Parliament has returned.

SFC’s 35th year and beyond: guiding Hong Kong’s capital markets with mission and vision
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) marks its 35-year history as the guardian of Hong Kong’s capital markets with today’s publication of its Annual Report 2023-24. The Annual Report highlights various initiatives to promote the resilience and sustainable growth of Hong Kong’s capital markets to cement its position as an international financial centre. It also lays out the SFC’s roadmap to prepare the capital markets for future opportunities as well as challenges.

Three sophisticated ramp-and-dump cases transferred to District Court
The Eastern Magistrates’ Court today granted the applications made on behalf of the Secretary for Justice to transfer three large scale and sophisticated ramp-and-dump cases to the District Court for trial following joint investigations by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Police. The first hearing in the District Court will be held on 9 July 2024.

Investing and Trading

Nickel 28 Reaches Settlement With Fired CEO to End Misconduct Claim; Former CEO returns nearly half the shares he owns in company; Milewski says settlement includes mutual release of claims
Jacob Lorinc – The Wall Street Journal
Nickel 28 Capital Corp.’s former chief executive officer agreed to relinquish nearly half the stock he owned in the company that accused him and other ousted executives of “serious misconduct.” Anthony Milewski agreed to return about 4.97 million shares of Nickel 28 as part of a June 17 settlement with the firm that fired him in May, according to a Tuesday statement. Milewski, who helped found the Canadian nickel and cobalt producer, will own and control about 5.72 million shares – or a 6.4% stake – following the disposition. The settlement includes a full and final mutual release of any claims between the former CEO and the company and no admission of any wrongdoing.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

CDP: Companies need credible climate transition plans for long-term financial success; Businesses wishing to float on strong stock indeces in the future will need to produce detailed, credible low-carbon transition plans, CDP has warned.
Sarah George – edie
The corporate sustainability disclosure platform has this week published new data confirming a rapid and wide-reaching uptake of net-zero transition plans by corporates. Transition plans go beyond stating emissions goals for business’s operations and their value chains. They also outline how firms intend to deliver decarbonisation, covering factors such as changes in business models, innovation investments and staffing and skills. Almost half of businesses disclosing through CDP claim to have a transition plan aligned with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C ambition.

Turning Brazilian Farmland Back Into Forest Gains Some Traction; Microsoft says it will buy 8 million tons of carbon offsets in a top agro-state to transform farm acreage into forest. The investment comes as credits to protect existing forests have lost credibility.
Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal
New investment is going into transforming swaths of Brazilian farmland back into tropical forests, following a backlash against projects that claim to protect existing forests. Pledges to protect the world’s forests, a major carbon sink, have been under attack, as accusations fly of doctored results and thin science. But as those projects come under increased scrutiny, money is flowing into others that regrow native vegetation. And despite a spate of greenwashing scandals, Brazil is at the center of these efforts, with its vast territory and many degraded areas in need of revival.

How a Heat Dome Creates Dangerous, Record-Breaking Temperatures; Heat is expected to last in the mid-Atlantic states through the weekend
Eric Niiler – The Wall Street Journal
The atmospheric heat dome that is causing record temperatures in parts of the Northeast arrived earlier than usual, is situated farther north and is the strongest in several decades, according to weather experts. Heat domes usually form in the South and Southwest during the summer and are rarely seen in the Northeast in mid-June. “It is out of the ordinary and is unusual to see this type of intense high,” said Paul Pastelok, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.

The Era of Super-Wild Weather Is Already Here; Extreme floods, wildfires, droughts and heat have become more widespread and more volatile than any time since record keeping began.
Eric Roston, Eamon Farhat, and Brian K Sullivan – Bloomberg
Wildfires in Canada that burned continuously for over a year. Floods that brought Dubai to a standstill. Deadly heat blanketing the streets of New Delhi. The first half of 2024 has laid bare the catastrophic extremes that now characterize the rapidly changing climate on every continent. This week, millions of people along the eastern seaboard of the US – the country’s most populated coastal region – will swelter under a heat dome. Temperatures in Manhattan’s Central Park are set to reach 95F (35C) by Friday. At the southern end of the coast, meanwhile, Florida is in its second week of battling torrential rainfall so intense near Sarasota that it has odds of occurring just once in 500 to 1,000 years. Damages could top $1 billion.

Zero: Climate Change Brings Weird Weather… Everywhere
Akshat Rathi – Bloomberg (podcast)
We are living through the hottest year on record. That’s not news, but growing climate impacts make bigger and bigger news. At 1.3C of warming beyond pre-industrial levels, people are reckoning with a planetary system that’s out of whack. It’s not like the scientists didn’t see worsening impacts coming, but many of them have been surprised by the ferocity of their arrival. On this week’s episode of Zero, Bloomberg Green’s Akshat Rathi speaks with his colleague Eric Roston, and Texas Tech University professor Katharine Hayhoe explains why we’re all experiencing “global weirding.”

Best summer books of 2024: Environment; Pilita Clark selects her best mid-year reads
Pilita Clark – Financial Times
Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet by Hannah Ritchie (Chatto & Windus/Little, Brown) It’s hard to feel hopeful about a planet buffeted by remorseless global warming and wilderness destruction. But data scientist Ritchie makes a convincing case for the progress that has already been made on a host of environmental woes and argues that a sustainable future is still well within our grasp.

Fema petitioned to make extreme heat and wildfire smoke major disasters; Center for Biological Diversity signed a joined petition to recognize the increasing number of heat-related crises
Erum Salam – The Guardian

US judge ends Exxon lawsuit against shareholder over climate activism; A divisive case over climate change and shareholder rights winds down after shareholder agrees to drop effort
Patrick Temple-West and Myles McCormick – Financial Times

Solar Energy Faces Cloudy Prospects on Warehouse Rooftops; Installations are growing, but experts say the benefits of solar panels on rooftops come with significant costs
Liz Young – The Wall Street Journal

Europe’s Gas Traders Are Watching These Five Drivers This Summer; Traders are watching for risks linked to Russia, outages; Futures have been quick to react to news impacting supply
Anna Shiryaevskaya – Bloomberg

Asia’s Family Offices Have a Climate Opportunity, Barclays Says; Private investors can help scale promising technologies; Region is leading in development of transition finance
Sheryl Tian Tong Lee, Shery Ahn, and Paul Allen – Bloomberg


Japan Bank to Overhaul Investments as Wrong-Way Rate Bets Trigger Bond Losses; Bank’s losses ballooned after it misjudged interest rates; Norinchukin plans to sell off foreign bond holdings gradually
Taiga Uranaka – Bloomberg
Norinchukin Bank will consider investing in a range of assets as it braces for massive losses on the sale of roughly 10 trillion yen ($63 billion) in US and European sovereign bonds. Japan’s biggest agricultural bank will dispose of the foreign bonds gradually during the fiscal year ending March, a company spokesman said in an email. It expects a net loss of 1.5 trillion yen for the year, triple the previous estimate of 500 billion yen.

JPMorgan Ignites $40 Billion Rush Into Indian Bonds; Foreign interest is surging as global index providers plan to include the country’s sovereign debt.
Subhadip Sircar and Ronojoy Mazumdar – Bloomberg
For decades, the titans of global finance viewed India as just another emerging market-a place with the potential for substantial gains, but risky enough to be kept at the periphery of a portfolio. Then, as economic reforms picked up around the turn of the century, they jumped in more wholeheartedly, and today the country’s stock exchange is the world’s fifth-largest in market value. Now a similar spotlight is shining on India’s $1.3 trillion in sovereign debt as fixed-income investors seek an alternative to Russia and China. “There is a very strong case for India over the medium to longer term to have more of a place in people’s portfolios,” says Jae Lee, a managing director at US asset manager TCW Group Inc.

JPMorgan Joins Goldman in Scrapping Cap on UK Banker Bonuses; JPMorgan banker bonuses can now be as much as 10 times salary; Move comes after UK scrapped limits on banker pay last year
Aisha S Gani – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. joined rival Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in scrapping a cap on London bankers’ bonuses, paving the way for the firm’s top staffers to potentially earn even fatter paychecks. The move will allow JPMorgan’s bankers to earn a bonus that’s as much as 10 times their base salary, according to a person familiar with the matter. That’s up from a current limit that restricts certain employees’ bonuses to two times their fixed pay and comes after the UK government last year lifted its longtime cap on bankers’ bonuses.

Citigroup and Barclays Try to Make Unsexy Units Cool; Banking giants dress up some of their blandest businesses in hip new packaging.
Paul J. Davies – Bloomberg
Citigroup Inc. and Barclays Plc, two banks that have been battling to boost their stock prices for years, are trying to convince investors they’ve missed the hidden value in unsung businesses: the deeply unsexy activities of managing cash, payment flows and currencies for company finance teams. It’s a good time to highlight these: As large-scale deposit businesses they have seen big revenue gains from higher interest rates over the past couple of years at a time when their more closely watched investment banks have suffered in an industrywide slowdown. There is also a technology facet to payments and the still-evolving world of digital commerce that the banks hope will catch investors’ eyes.

Work & Management

A Google strategy manager says these are the 5 things you should do to stand out in the workplace
Ana Altchek – Business Insider
Herng Lee has seen a lot of top performers in his nearly nine years working on Google’s strategy team. But the employees who really stand out are those who are team players, the Google manager said in his weekly newsletter for high-performing tech professionals. Lee said mastering that part of the job is the hard part.

Why employers wind up with mouse jiggling workers
Emily Peck – Axios
Wells Fargo grabbed headlines last week after firing workers from its wealth- and investment-management unit for using “mouse jigglers” to fake working.

Wellness Exchange

Boston Scientific to Buy Silk Road Medical for About $1.26 Billion; Boston Scientific said the acquisition adds a platform of products to prevent stroke
Colin Kellaher – The Wall Street Journal
Boston Scientific has struck a deal to buy medical-device maker Silk Road Medical SILK for about $1.26 billion, adding a technology for stroke prevention to its vascular portfolio. Boston Scientific on Tuesday said it would pay $27.50 a share in cash for Silk Road, a 27% premium to Monday’s closing price of $21.67 for the Sunnyvale, Calif., company.


Japan Is Said to Consider Issuing Bonds With Shorter Maturities
Erica Yokoyama and Takashi Umekawa – Bloomberg
Japan’s Ministry of Finance is weighing a plan to shift more of its bond issuance to shorter maturities, according to a draft proposal seen by Bloomberg, a major change as the central bank moves to cut purchases of government debt. Finance Ministry officials have prepared a draft proposal that calls for increasing the proportion of issued bonds with shorter maturities. An expert panel is likely to endorse the broad contours of the plan on Friday.

Switzerland could lose wealth crown to Hong Kong, UBS chief warns; Sergio Ermotti says banks must compete internationally as debate rages over direction of country’s financial reforms
Owen Walker – Financial Times
UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti has warned that Switzerland risks being overtaken as the world’s wealth management hub if policymakers overreact to the fall of Credit Suisse. Ermotti, who was drafted back in as head of Switzerland’s biggest lender just days after it rescued its former rival last year, said the country needed its banks to be able to compete globally. “Hong Kong, Singapore and the US are aggressively competing, and making great progress, for the offshore wealth management crown that Switzerland holds today,” he said during a speech at Lucerne university on Tuesday evening.

Korean Secret to Keeping Friendships Strong: Savings Groups; In South Korea, it’s common for friends to form what are known as gyemoim to save for vacations, meals and other social activities.
Krissi Driver – The New York Times
Last fall, Jina Kim and two of her friends splurged on a two-night stay at the Ananti at Busan Cove, a luxury resort in Busan, South Korea. The resort, where rooms start at $369 a night, features infinity pools, spas, eight restaurants, a private coastal walk and beach area, and a 4,600-meter “Water House” – an indoor pool and sauna fed by natural hot-spring water.

Kaisa chairman returns to Shenzhen to meet regulators
Clare Jim and Xie Yu – Reuters
The chairman of defaulted Chinese developer Kaisa Group returned to mainland China from Hong Kong for the first time in almost a decade to get regulatory approval for an offshore debt restructuring, two sources familiar with the matter said. Chairman Kwok Ying Shing travelled to the southern city of Shenzhen, where Kaisa is based, for talks with officials about two months ago and is still there, one of the industry sources close to the company said.

Hong Kong stock markets will continue trading during typhoons, starting Sept. 23
Lim Hui Jie – CNBC
Hong Kong’s financial markets will continue trading even during typhoons and extreme weather starting from Sept. 23, Chief Executive John Lee announced Tuesday. Speaking at his weekly press conference, Lee said there was broad support to allow trading in extreme weather, in line with other cities.

Hong Kong leads gains in Asia; Taiwan stocks hit new record
Lim Hui Jie – CNBC
Hong Kong markets jumped almost 3% to lead gains in Asia on Wednesday, powered by energy and basic material stocks. Mainland China’s CSI 300, however, dipped 0.47% to end at 3,528.75. Stock markets in the region mostly rose after key U.S. benchmark indexes hit fresh highs overnight as artificial intelligence chip firm Nvidia overtook Microsoft to become the world’s most valuable public company.

Coffeeholics in South Africa Feel the Heat of Surging Prices
Ntando Thukwana – Bloomberg
Coffee fans in South Africa, among the continent’s largest consumers of the product, are feeling the ripple effects of a shortage of robusta beans on the price of their favorite beverage. Instant coffee prices rose by an annual 18% in May, from 14% a month earlier, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said Wednesday in a statement on its website. That was significantly above the annual inflation rate that steadied at 5.2% in the month.

Zimbabwe Plans to Install First Floating Solar Panels at Kariba Dam by Early Next Year; Installment of 150-megawatt project possible early next year; Lower dam levels due to drought have resulted in power cuts
Godfrey Marawanyika – Bloomberg
Zimbabwe plans to install floating solar panels by early next year at the world’s biggest man-made freshwater reservoir, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy Development. An initial 150 megawatts of solar on the surface of the Kariba Dam will be the start of the project, Gloria Magombo, secretary for energy and power development, told reporters at a briefing in the capital, Harare. The private sector has applied to install 600 megawatts, she said, declining to provide details.

Opposition to ‘monster pylons’ puts Scotland’s energy transition at risk; Resistance to grid expansion in Aberdeenshire becomes big election issue
Simeon Kerr – Financial Times
As the fertile arable land of historic Kincardineshire meets the foothills of the Grampian mountains, a solitary wind turbine stands 70 metres high. Local residents are up in arms about plans to build “monster pylons” near the designated special landscape area, the Braes of the Mearns, part of a £20bn upgrade to northern Scotland’s national grid critical to connecting 50GW of offshore wind power by 2030. Rising resistance to large pylons across the landscape is a central issue in some northern Scottish seats in next month’s general election and threatens to delay hitting national net zero targets – which envision a three-fold increase in offshore wind power while also providing Scotland with a sizeable industrial opportunity.


US Property Investor Weighs Bid for Historic Red Star FC
Jill R Shah and David Hellier – Bloomberg
Todd Interests is weighing a bid to buy Paris-based football club Red Star FC from fellow US investment firm 777 Partners, people familiar with the matter said. Dallas-based Todd Interests could team up with former French football player Peguy Luyindula for its bid, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.

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The Spread

Traders Betting on China Easing Boost Bearish Options on Banks

Observations & Insight Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH) announced that the SEC has approved MIAX Sapphire LLC's application to become a national securities exchange. MIAX Sapphire, MIH's fourth national securities exchange for U.S. multi-listed options,...

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