Reddit’s Profane, Greedy Traders Are Shaking Up the Stock Market

Feb 27, 2020

First Read

Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff

I am back from Washington, DC safe and sound after the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee meeting yesterday. There was a good turnout, though some Chicago travelers had planes cancelled and had to call in for the meeting. I made the motion at the end of the day for the TAC to recommend to the CFTC that it join with the other noted organizations in making a statement of support for the FSSCC Cyber Profile. This was the recommendation of the TAC Cyber Security Subcommittee.~JJL

After listening to the presentation on stablecoins at the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee meeting yesterday in Washington, DC, a thought occurred to me about the best possible private/public stablecoin. What if I were a systemically important financial institution, like an exchange, and say it also owned an FCM and collected collateral at the FCM and put those funds into an account at the U.S. Federal Reserve. And what if the FCM then issued stablecoins against this? The reserves or collateral would be protected by the Fed and are transparent on CFTC reports and seemingly would earn interest paid by the Fed. This could be a stablecoin useful in many different transactions, not just futures margins.~JJL

Chris May, a former Scout of mine and an Eagle Scout, is running in a pre-Olympics trial. He qualified by his time run in the Chicago Marathon. When Chris was a Scout, he wrote a letter to this newsletter to sell popcorn so he could attend the 2010 National Jamboree. Readers responded, including a couple of really cool ones, who wrote a check for his fee for the Jamboree. You are all the best and have helped Chris to be his best.~JJL

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce released a statement Wednesday dissenting from the commission’s disapproval of the Bats BZX Exchange proposal to list and trade shares of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust. She speaks her mind and takes the SEC to task for “imped(ing) innovation in this country.” You can read her statement here.~SR

About 120 Chartered Financial Analysts and guests turned out Tuesday night to hear about investment prospects at a panel titled “Cannabis: Insights and Opportunities.” One of the insights from the upbeat panel is how, with the legalization of adult recreational use, the marijuana market is shifting from a supply-led to a demand-led structure. Previously, customers bought what was available, but now they shop with the effect in mind and can select across strains. The panelists also said that while at one end of the buying spectrum are those who have definite medical needs and at the other are those seeking euphoria, most demand by far comes from those looking for the “wellness” benefits marijuana provides, like sleep improvements, appetite enhancements and reductions in anxiety.~Thom Thompson

Episode 9 of the CryptoMarketsWiki Podcast is up! Check out the link below to listen. In this episode, I interviewed Meltem Demirors. Demirors is passionate about cryptocurrency regulation, privacy, and consumer rights, and was excited to share her views and experiences. Demirors testified before the House Committee on Financial Services about Libra last year; for part of the interview, she revisited her testimony and gave us a bit of a deeper take on the issues she discussed with the committee in 2019.~MR


CryptoMarketsWiki Podcast Episode 9: Privacy Coins vs. Private Money (featuring Meltem Demirors, chief strategy officer at CoinShares)

Meltem Demirors, chief strategy officer at CoinShares, is passionate about cryptocurrency, financial technology, and civil rights – and she wants to share her knowledge as well as her enthusiasm with the world. In 2019, she testified before the House Financial Services Committee for a hearing on Facebook’s proposed digital currency project, Libra. Demirors has appeared on Bloomberg, CNBC, CoinDesk, and the MIT Technology Review – now, she joins us to discuss privacy, mining, and regulation – and of course, Facebook’s Libra.

Click here to listen »


CME posts record trading on coronavirus-driven market frenzy; Chicago trading exchange owners, and likely the local firms that trade on them, are benefiting from the market’s dramatic volumes in recent days.
Lynne Marek – Crain’s Chicago Business
Financial market turmoil in the past few days may be bad for investors, but such frenzied buying and selling is good for Chicago’s exchange operators CME Group and Cboe Global Markets as well as the city’s trading firm industry.

*****Records were broken.~JJL


75 exchanges worldwide will ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality 2020’
The World Federation of Exchanges
The World Federation of Exchanges (“WFE”), the global industry group for exchanges and CCPs, is pleased to announce that members of the WFE will be involved in events in the US, EMEA and Asia-Pacific for the annual ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’ initiative.

****Let equality ring!~JJL


Cryptocurrencies are nothing more than confidence games
John Crudele – NY Post
Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are crap. I’ve been saying this for a long time, although I have explained it more delicately in the past. Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies are nothing more than confidence games. They only have value if someone dumber than you thinks they are worth something and is willing to take them off your hands. I’m bringing this up now because smarter people than me are figuring this out.

*****If there is one thing that is dependable, it is John Crudele dissing cryptocurrencies.~JJL


Pope to Catholics: For Lent, give up trolling
Philip Pullella – Reuters
During Lent, Catholics are called on to give up something, like sweets. On Wednesday, Pope Francis added a modern twist to the list of things to quit during the season and beyond: insulting people on social media.

*****Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit Facebook.~JJL


Army of 100,000 Chinese Ducks Ready to Fight Locust Swarms
Alfred Cang – Bloomberg
The birds are ‘biological weapons,’ Chinese researcher said; Pakistan is facing its worst locust outbreak in decades
Chinese duck platoons are waiting to be deployed to neighboring Pakistan to fight a swarm of crop-eating pests that threaten regional food security.

*****Poised on the border, ready for a quick quack attack!~JJL


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our most read story Wednesday was the Financial News’ ICE shuffles clearing house leadership in US and Europe, with the news that ICE has appointed Hester Serafini as interim president of ICE Clear Europe. Second was Bloomberg’s FCStone Defeats Appeal of Arbitration Decision in Investor Fight. Third was the CME’s page on Third party data – Predata about the eight new alternative data sets CME, working with Predata, added to CME DataMine.


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Lead Stories

Reddit’s Profane, Greedy Traders Are Shaking Up the Stock Market; Chatter on message boards is reshaping the options market and sparking wild rallies.
Luke Kawa – Bloomberg
In a dingy corner of the internet is a message board, soaked in profanity, bro-speak, and greed, where posters with handles such as OverthrowYourMasters and yolo_tron campaign for their favorite stocks, putting up screenshots from their online brokerage accounts of their moonshot victories—or showing off their massive losses like badges of honor. Some of them think they’ve found the key to fast wins on the stock market. Wall Street doubts they’re right, but it’s getting nervous about what it sees there.

Wall Street Seeks the Right Metaphor for the Virus Meltdown; Narratives help investors make sense of the market. Which ones do we use in the coronavirus era?
Michael P. Regan – Bloomberg
Investors love a good metaphor to explain away what often appear to be unexplainable events in financial markets. So you hear about stocks taking the stairs up and the elevator down to describe how a slow march higher in prices can be followed by a sudden drop. Or “dead-cat bounce” will be offered as a dark explanation for a market that makes a small but ultimately futile rebound after a sharp loss, likening the price chart to the way a cat seems to spring off the ground following a fall from a tree—even though it was killed on impact.

Bank of England puts squeeze on Libor lending to encourage shift; Central bank makes it tougher to borrow against the tainted benchmark
Joe Rennison – FT
The Bank of England moved on Wednesday to “turbo-charge” banks’ move away from Libor, by toughening the terms of its lending against the tainted interest rate benchmark.

Citadel Securities Expands an Already Dominant Options Business
Liz McCormick – Bloomberg
Ken Griffin’s Citadel Securities, already a giant in trading U.S. stock options, has a plan to gobble up even more market share in this key derivatives business. The market maker has assembled a seven-person team, led by former Deutsche Bank AG Managing Director David Silber, to win order flow from institutional investors. Launched in January, the venture buys and sells exchange-traded options tied to individual U.S. stocks and equity indexes on behalf of those customers.

Coronavirus threatens cancellation of Tokyo Olympics; Organisers will monitor situation with World Health Organization before making final decision
Murad Ahmed and Oliver Ralph, Leo Lewis – FT
Organisers of the world’s biggest sporting events are counting the cost of the coronavirus outbreak, which is threatening the cancellation of this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo while disrupting competitions around the world.

SEC Quashes Dreams of Bitcoin ETF With Another Rejection
Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Commissioner Hester Peirce doubts a fund will ever be approved; Application by Wilshire Phoenix and NYSE Arca rejected
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission disapproved the last proposal for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, likely destroying any remnants of hope from digital currency fans that a fund would get the green light this year.

Blackstone’s Schwarzman says cannot buy Bloomberg while owning Refinitiv
Blackstone Group Inc (BX.N) Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman said the world’s biggest private equity firm cannot buy Bloomberg should it come up for sale as long as the firm owns competitor Refinitiv.

Cross-border trading could suffer under IM rules; Conflicting US and EU cash reinvestment rules may force buy side to post bonds
Robert Mackenzie Smith –
A discrepancy between the US and European versions of the non-cleared margin rules means asset managers could be prevented from posting cash collateral when trading with foreign counterparties.

ABN Amro Offices Raided by Police in Frankfurt Over Tax Scandal
Nicholas Comfort and Ruben Munsterman – Bloomberg
Police cars and personnel seen at site of Dutch bank’s offices; ABN Amro offices searched by 25 officials during November raid
German law enforcement officials descended onto ABN Amro NV’s offices in Frankfurt for a second time in three months to probe the bank’s involvement in a tax scandal that’s ensnaring a rising number of companies.

What It Means If the Coronavirus Is Called a Pandemic
Sybilla Gross – Bloomberg
Mounting cases of the deadly coronavirus across the Middle East, Europe and Asia are fueling concern the outbreak is widening into a “pandemic” — a situation when an infection spreads around the world. With cases reaching more than 30 countries, the question of whether the World Health Organization will begin to call the novel virus the first pandemic since 2009 might seem like just semantics; many countries have already acted to protect their populations. But that step could help spark more emergency action plans in countries and cities around the globe, bringing more disruptions to daily life.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

SGX RegCo gives additional two months to issuers to hold AGMs due to concerns about large-group meetings amid COVID-19
Singapore Exchange Regulation (“SGX RegCo”) will allow issuers with a 31 December financial year-end, up to 30 June 2020 to hold annual general meetings (“AGMs”) to approve their 31 December 2019 (“FY Dec 2019”) financial results[1] (“Waiver”). This Waiver is being granted due to feedback expressed by shareholders who want to participate in and vote at AGMs but may be concerned about attending large-group meetings amid the COVID-19 situation. Today’s time extension is for issuers, irrespective of their place of business or operations, that need more time to implement measures to address these concerns.

Tokyo Financial Exchange: Extension Of Promotional Period For Discount Program In Three-month Euroyen Futures
This informs Trading Members of the extension of the current Discount Program in Three-month Euroyen Futures (Euroyen). TFX has decided to extend the program until the end of September 2020.

The Royal Mint Lists Gold Backed Exchange Traded Commodity On Frankfurt Xetra
The Royal Mint Physical Gold Securities ETC (RM8U) will list on Frankfurt XETRA this week. The ETC is designed to offer investors an effective way to access the gold market as it tracks the physical price of gold.

Thai Bourse Announces Corporate Restructuring To Drive Inclusive Growth
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) today announced a restructuring plan and executive appointments to boost its strengths and competitiveness to support partnership platform and better serve demands of all customer groups amid changing market environment locally and globally. The new structure will be effective from March 16, 2020.

Approval of Initial Listing (TOKYO PRO-BOND Market): JPY-denominated bond with a total value of JPY 10 billion (Japan International Cooperation Agency)
Today, Tokyo Stock Exchange approved a JPY-denominated bond with a total value of JPY 10 billion (tenor: 10 years, coupon: 0.055%) from Japan International Cooperation Agency for listing on TOKYO PRO-BOND Market.

New CCP 12 report on “Progress and initiatives in OTC Derivatives” published
CCP12 – The Global Association of Central Counterparties – of which Eurex Clearing is a member, has published its second report exploring the current and future ecosystem of OTC derivatives. It complements public sector analysis of the OTC derivatives market in terms of its current state, the trends observed from the data, the impacts of regulation, and the inherent efficiencies and security of the cleared ecosystem.

Eurex EnLight: Product scope extension
As of 6 April 2020, the Eurex Dividend Derivatives, already available for trading in the Eurex order book and on the Eurex T7 Entry Services, will also become available for trading on Eurex EnLight.

Miami International Holdings Executive Thomas P. Gallagher Elected Chairman Of Bermuda Stock Exchange
Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH), the parent holding company of the MIAX Exchange Group™ and majority stock owner of the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX), on February 20 announced that its Chairman and CEO Thomas P. Gallagher has been elected Chairman of the Council (Board of Directors) of the BSX. Outgoing Chairman David A. Brown will remain on the Council as Deputy Chairman, replacing Jeff Conyers.

Cboe Global Markets to Present at the Raymond James Conference on Monday, March 2
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, announced today that Ed Tilly, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Chris Isaacson, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, will present at the Raymond James 41st Annual Institutional Investors Conference on Monday, March 2, at 8:05 a.m. (Eastern Time).

Closing gong with fellow students of ‘New hires Q4-2019’ program of @Optiver.
Simone Huis via LInkedIn
Today we sounded the gong to close the markets at Euronext Amsterdam together with fellow students of ‘New hires Q4-2019’ program of @Optiver.


Kepler Cheuvreux implements execution analytics from big xyt; Agency broker Kepler Cheuvreux has bolstered its analytics with big xyt’s platform and transaction cost analysis.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
European agency broker Kepler Cheuvreux has installed big xyt’s execution analytics, including transaction cost analysis (TCA), as it looks to gain more control over its data.

SimCorp invests in machine learning startup to automate alternatives processes; The recent investment in Alkymi will allow SimCorp to automate certain data processes for clients using its SimCorp Dimension platform.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Trading and investment software vendor SimCorp has participated in a $5 million funding round for New York-based machine learning data startup Alkymi.

Cobalt adds Standard Chartered to expanding shared ledger network; Cobalt has confirmed that Standard Chartered is the latest institution to automate FX post-trade processes using its shared ledger platform.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Standard Chartered has become the latest major institution to sign up to the FX post-trade technology network from Cobalt, enticed by the platform’s cost saving benefits.

Square Earnings Beat Estimates With Focus on Growth in Cash App
Julie Verhage – Bloomberg
Square Inc. reported earnings that beat analysts’ estimates in the fourth quarter and showed significant growth in its payment app.

Chicago’s M1 Finance, a consumer-focused fintech platform, reaches $1B under management
Alex Wilhelm – TechCrunch
Eagle-eyed readers will recall that we mentioned M1 Finance earlier today in our look at a few trends in the fintech industry. We’re back with the firm this afternoon as it has a bit of news that’s worth discussing.
Chicago-based M1 Finance announced today that it has reached the $1 billion assets under management mark, or AUM. Reaching AUM thresholds provides useful milestones that we can use to track the progress of various players in the fintech and finservices worlds.


How charities are using crypto to feed the world; From South America to Africa, crypto charity projects are revolutionising aid donations and impact.
Mathew Di Salvo –
The charity sector is notoriously slow to react to transformative technologies—in the Charity Digital Skills Report 2019, only 12% of UK charities are considering how technological innovations like AI could change their charity. And in the 2019 Global NGO Technology Report, only 34% of NGOs worldwide admitted to understanding blockchain—the lowest stat relating to emerging technologies like the Internet of Things and augmented reality.

Dissenting Statement of Hester M. Peirce in Response to Release No. 34-88284; File No. SR-NYSEArca-2019-39
Commissioner Hester M. Peirce –
Today the Commission once again disapproved a proposed rule change that would give American investors access to bitcoin through a product listed and traded on a national securities exchange subject to the Commission’s regulatory framework. This order is the latest in a long string of disapproval orders that the Commission has issued regarding bitcoin-related products. This line of disapprovals leads me to conclude that this Commission is unwilling to approve the listing of any product that would provide access to the market for bitcoin and that no filing will meet the ever-shifting standards that this Commission insists on applying to bitcoin-related products—and only to bitcoin-related products.

Square sold over half a billion dollars worth of bitcoin in 2019, outpacing broader crypto exchange volume growth in Q4
Ryan Todd – The Block
Payment and mobile financial service company Square reported 4Q earnings this evening, which included another record-breaking quarter of bitcoin purchase volumes. Square reported more than $178 million in bitcoin purchase volumes in the fourth quarter. For 2019 as a whole, the payments firm registered more than $516 million worth of bitcoin sales, translating to $8 million in gross profits – less than 2% of gross profit from subscription and transaction-based services.

Crypto broker Tagomi to join Libra Association
Frank Chaparro – The Block
The Libra Association is reportedly set to add another company to its ranks: the crypto brokerage firm Tagomi. According to a report by TechCrunch, the company was slated to make the announcement as soon as later this week. The news follows the announcement that Shopify has joined the Association. A representative for Tagomi confirmed TechCrunch’s report. In total, the Association has 22 members, including firms like Lyft and Uber, as well as investors like Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.

Ripple claims a big win in the elusive quest to use cryptocurrency in banking
Jeff John Roberts – Fortune
For years, Ripple has tried to make the case that its cryptocurrency network offers a faster and cheaper way to move money around the world than traditional financial institutions. But despite trials with big banks and Western Union, skeptics question when, if ever, Ripple’s service will ever catch on. Now, though, Ripple—which owns a hoard of XRP, the third most valuable cryptocurrency—may finally be making headway on its goal. On Wednesday, it announced a tie-up with Azimo, one of Europe’s biggest money transfer services, and that Ripple recently used XRP to move $24 million between the U.S. and Mexico in a single week.

Iranian General Calls for use of Crypto to Evade Sanctions
Turner Wright – Cointelegraph
This week an Iranian general called for a unique way to bypass the sanctions on his country enforced by the United States. Saeed Muhammad, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, called for Iran to use cryptocurrencies to evade the economic sanctions. According to the Telegram channel of, a crypto news organization based in Iran, the general addressed a crowd on Feb. 26 (translated from Farsi): “We are demanding the creation of a more sophisticated mechanism to bypass sanctions. To circumvent sanctions, we must develop solutions such as the exchange of products and the use of cryptocurrencies with our partnerships [in other countries].”

Bitcoin Isn’t Much of a Haven Asset Right Now. Here’s Why.
Ben Walsh – Barron’s
So much for bitcoin as a haven. As financial markets around the world are in turmoil because of the spread of coronavirus, the cryptocurrency is plunging. The world’s biggest digital currency is down 6.4% in the past 24 hours, according to CoinDesk. At one point earlier Wednesday, it had fallen 7.3%, which was the biggest daily drop since Oct. 23, when bitcoin plunged as Congress grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about his company’s plans for a digital currency. Bitcoin is down about 10% since Monday and has dropped around 15% in the past seven days.

Ripple Can’t Escape XRP Lawsuit It Says Could Topple Market
Malathi Nayak – Bloomberg
Ripple Labs Inc. failed to persuade a judge to throw out a proposed class-action lawsuit that the blockchain payment services provider said could topple the market for XRP, the world’s third-largest virtual currency. A federal judge in Oakland, California, on Wednesday somewhat narrowed the claims against Ripple but left largely intact a complaint by investors accusing the company of selling unregistered securities.

Tim Draper Backed Aragon, Disrupts Traditional Governance With A Decentralized Court
Michael Stephen Haley – Forbes
“I believe that Bitcoin and crypto will drive most of the commerce of the world,” said Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper to Forbes two years ago. A longtime believer in cryptocurrency, blockchain, and other innovations in governance, such as proposing for a 6 state split of California, Draper has since turned his attention to open-source project Aragon’s decentralized court system.

Value Investor Bill Miller Talks About Amazon And Bitcoin At Forbes/SHOOK Top Advisor Summit
Jason Bisnoff – Forbes
Legendary former portfolio manager of Legg Mason Value Trust, Bill Miller was in Las Vegas yesterday at the Forbes/SHOOK Top Advisor Summit at the Wynn talking about his favorite holdings including Amazon and Bitcoin. Miller, who famously beat the S&P 500 every year from 1991 to 2005 is now the chairman of Miller Value Partners, which has some $3 billion under management, and is run similarly to a family office, but does accept outside investors in its two mutual funds and a hedge fund.

Binance CEO’s net worth has doubled in the past year at $2.6B, according to Hurun
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao is the wealthiest person in the crypto and blockchain space, according to the ninth edition of Hurun Global Rich List. CZ’s net worth has doubled in the past year at $2.6 billion, according to the Hurun list published Wednesday. Last year, the CEO was worth $1.3 billion. The second-richest crypto person is Bitmain co-founder Micree Ketuan Zhan who holds a net worth of $1.6 billion, according to Hurun. Notably, Zhan’s net worth has almost halved as compared to last year when he was worth $2.7 billion.

World’s Top Crypto Miners Race to Roll Out Top-of-Line Machines Ahead of Bitcoin Halving
Wolfie Zhao – Coindesk
Two of the largest bitcoin mining equipment manufacturers are in a neck-and-neck race to roll out top-of-the-line machines ahead of bitcoin’s halving event in less than three months. On Thursday, Beijing-based mining giant Bitmain launched its latest AntMiner S19 and S19 Pro models, boasting computing power as high as 110 terahashes per second (TH/s) and an energy cost of 29.5 watts per terahash (W/T).

Ripple Class-Action Lawsuit Can Proceed, Judge Rules
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
A lawsuit claiming Ripple violated securities laws will be allowed to move forward – though with a caveat favorable to the San Francisco-based payments firm. In a ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton, of the Northern District of California, allowed a putative class-action lawsuit by retail XRP (XRP) buyers to proceed. Hamilton said the suit can include claims filed under federal law but dismissed some claims filed under California state law. Plaintiffs can refile some of the claims under California law in an amended complaint within 28 days, she added.

Ukraine Justice System Employee Caught Mining Crypto at Work
Anna Baydakova – Coindesk
An IT staffer at Ukraine’s State Judicial Administration has been charged with illegally mining cryptocurrency at his workplace. The prosecutor’s office of Kyiv reported Wednesday on its Facebook page that, together other agencies, it has completed an investigation into the employee who worked in the data systems division of the court administration department


How coronavirus could upend the US election; Donald Trump has bet his reputation on something he cannot control
Edward Luce – FT
In 2001, George W Bush urged Americans to go shopping. That was after the September 11 attacks. Donald Trump wants Americans to buy stocks on the bet that something bad will not happen: the spread of the coronavirus infections at home. His gamble could pay off.

Donald Trump looks to defuse coronavirus threat and boost markets; President appoints deputy Mike Pence to tackle outbreak as stocks and oil fall in Asian trade
James Politi – FT
Donald Trump tapped Mike Pence to co-ordinate Washington’s response to the coronavirus as the US president sought to defuse criticism of his handling of the health crisis and predicted equity markets would boom again.

Trump’s Crisis Management Put to the Test
Kathleen Hunter – Bloomberg
This time, Donald Trump is facing a crisis not of his own making. The coronavirus’s spread has foisted a fresh challenge upon the U.S. president eight months out from the elections.

Tech Platforms Aren’t Bound by First Amendment, Appeals Court Rules; Judges decided against Prager University, which claimed YouTube didn’t have right to flag videos
Jacob Gershman – WSJ
A federal appeals court in California on Wednesday ruled that privately operated internet platforms are free to censor content they don’t like. Though not unexpected, the unanimous decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco marks the most emphatic rejection of the argument advanced in some conservative circles that YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other giant tech platforms are bound by the First Amendment.

Carney and Lagarde to press for business action on climate change; Challenge to executives on disclosures of climate risk comes ahead of UN summit in Glasgow in November
Leslie Hook – FT
Central bank heads Mark Carney and Christine Lagarde are to issue a fresh call for business action on climate change as they address executives in London on Thursday, urging them to do more on related risk disclosure.

Elizabeth Warren Urges BlackRock’s Fink to Back Disclosure of Climate Risk
Saijel Kishan – Bloomberg
Senators ask asset manager to go beyond sustainability pledge; Law would reveal public companies’ exposure to climate change
Elizabeth Warren and three other Democratic senators are calling on BlackRock Inc. chief Larry Fink to back a proposed law that would require public companies to reveal their exposure to climate-related risk.

How Digital Disinformation Sows Hate, Hurts Democracy: QuickTake
Shelly Banjo – Bloomberg
Disinformation, now known as fake news, has tainted public discourse for centuries, even millennia. It’s been amplified in our digital age as a weapon of fearmongers, mob-baiters and election-meddlers to widen social fissures, subvert democracy and boost authoritarian regimes. Companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google are under pressure to take action.

How Can Bernie Sanders Pay for Spending? Easily, Say Treasury Markets
Ben Holland and Liz McCormick – Bloomberg
Rivals slam Democrat frontrunner over holes in spending plans; Trillion-dollar accusations fly as debt costs hit all-time low
Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders is pledging to spend big and fund it all with new taxes, drawing flak from rivals who say his budget numbers don’t add up.


Opening Statement of Commissioner Brian Quintenz before the CFTC Technology Advisory Committee
Good morning and welcome to our fifth meeting of the Technology Advisory Committee (TAC or Committee). Before we begin, I would like extend a warm welcome to all of our guest presenters, as well as express my gratitude to all of the Committee and subcommittee members for so generously giving their time to participate today.

Updates to ADF User Guide & Specifications
FINRA has updated the Alternative Display Facility (ADF) User Guide and ADF FIX Specification for Trade Reporting to now include the FINRA/Nasdaq TRF Chicago, IEX (Investors Exchange) and LTSE (Long-Term Stock Exchange).

OTC derivative issuer AGM Markets engaged in unconscionable conduct
The Federal Court has found that AGM Markets Pty Ltd (AGM), OT Markets Pty Ltd (OT) and Ozifin Tech Pty Ltd (Ozifin) (the companies) engaged in systemic unconscionable conduct while providing over-the-counter (OTC) derivative products to retail investors in Australia.

G. Jeffrey Boujoukos, Director of the Philadelphia Regional Office to Leave the SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that G. Jeffrey Boujoukos, the Director of its Philadelphia Regional Office, will leave the agency at the end of the month after nearly 11 years of service.

Investing and Trading

Billionaire Bets on a Stock That Muddy Waters Is Short—Again
Lisa Pham – Bloomberg
Chandler’s firm calls short seller’s role in NMC valuable; Clermont Group has built a 3.18% interest in NMC Health
Richard Chandler’s Clermont Group is snapping up shares of hospital operator NMC Health Plc, betting that the second time the secretive billionaire has publicly taken the opposite side of a trade from short seller Muddy Waters Capital LLC will work out better than the first.

The Stock Market’s Pain May Have Only Just Begun; These three charts are a big warning with coronavirus looming.
Mark Gongloff – Bloomberg
The stock market has been pretty miserable lately, with big honking declines on Monday and Tuesday comprising its worst 48 hours in two years, and another loss today that was less-honking but still painful because it head-faked everybody with a gain at first.

Reddit Posters Pick the Stocks Now; Also BlackRock, indexing and New York Fed shares.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
I am biased because I work in the media, and use Twitter, but I cannot shake the assumption that the people pumping stocks on Reddit’s r/wallstreetbets board are in it for the attention. Now obviously they are in it for the money. They are in the business, or at least the hobby, of buying stocks, pumping them up on Reddit, and then, I suppose, profiting. But aren’t they mostly in it for the attention? Now they have a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story. Is that not enough? You have won, “posters with handles such as OverthrowYourMasters and yolo_tron.” You have received your tendies of media attention. Now can it stop?

Sustainable Investing Also Is Risk Management; Using environmental, social and governance factors to screen investments produces higher returns.
Barry Ritholtz – Bloomberg
Investors’ personal values are fine when selecting stocks, but those values can also operate as a risk screen or a strategy to evaluate company risk, says this week’s guest on Masters in Business, Brian Deese, global head of sustainable investing for BlackRock Inc., which manages more than $7 trillion in assets. Deese helps the firm use environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors as a risk measure across all of the firm’s holdings.

Fear Seen All Over Canadian Markets Hit By Virus, Economy Chill
Divya Balji – Bloomberg
The S&P/TSX Composite erased this year’s gain on Wednesday; Volatility has spiked in Canada’s equity and forex markets
Canada’s stock market rally has cracked. Volatility has spiked. And investors have been piling into government bonds, pushing yields to near-record lows.


Watchdog warns banks they must not hike rates and profit as they switch businesses from scandal-hit Libor
The financial watchdog has warned banks it will be watching like a hawk to ensure they play fair, as they shift businesses and borrowers from the discredited Libor interest rate.

Standard Chartered Warns on Coronavirus’s Impact on Growth; Fallout from viral outbreak compounds existing challenges for the Asia-focused bank
Simon Clark – WSJ
Standard Chartered STAN -4.26% PLC said the coronavirus epidemic would slow its profit growth this year, adding to the headwinds the Asia-focused bank faces from social unrest in Hong Kong and the aftermath of the trade war.

JPMorgan’s DFI: financial innovation or development washing? The bank’s new development finance institution sends mixed signals
Daniel Bradlow – FT
JPMorgan Chase galvanised the world of development finance recently by announcing that it would become the first commercial bank to establish its own development finance institution.

Climate Protesters Target Barclays Office Over Fossil Fuel Links
Suzy Waite and Benjamin Robertson – Bloomberg
Extinction Rebellion highlighted bank’s support of polluters; Campaigners planning action during the 40 days of Lent
Climate change protesters staged demonstrations at Barclays Plc’s office in Northampton, U.K. on Wednesday, beginning weeks of action aimed at persuading banks and investors to sever ties with fossil fuels.

Brokerage firm INTL FCStone signs lease at 230 Park Avenue
Lois Weiss – NY Post
A global brokerage and financial services firm, INTL FCStone, is consolidating to 230 Park Ave. The Fortune 500 company will have 73,000 square feet on the entire 10th floor in the 34-story office tower next to Grand Central Terminal.


Russia’s Norilsk says carmakers will not switch from palladium; Miner expects consumption of metal to increase despite jump in prices
Henry Sanderson – FT
Russia’s Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium, says carmakers won’t switch away from the metal in catalytic converters despite a record 80 per cent surge in prices over the past year.

Japan shuts all schools to combat coronavirus; Millions of families affected by unprecedented government order
Robin Harding and Kana Inagaki – FT
Every school in Japan will shut from Monday in an unprecedented move that will affect 13m pupils and leave parents scrambling to find childcare as the country steps up its fight against the coronavirus.

Russia’s Biggest Broker Fires Equity Trading Head for Misconduct
Anna Baraulina and Jake Rudnitsky – Bloomberg
BCS suspended Bachurin after third-party claim, person says; Bachurin joined BCS Global Markets in London in September
Alexei Bachurin, the London-based head of equity trading at Russia’s biggest brokerage, was fired this week for gross misconduct, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Danske Board Is Slammed After Hiking Its Pay Amid Staff Cuts
Christian Wienberg – Bloomberg
The Danish bankers’ union has lambasted Danske Bank A/S after its supervisory board sought to raise its own pay shortly before the lender announced hundreds of job cuts.

Every Other Market Is Buckling And Yet China Is Doing Fine
Rebecca Choong Wilkins, Ina Zhou and Xize Kang – Bloomberg
Record $51 billion dollar bonds issued so far this year; Bank of China prices $2.8 billion in AT1s notes this week
Record sales of corporate debt in China underscore how official support for the nation’s financial markets has boosted their resilience to stress caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

After $180 Billion Return, Norway Fund Makes No Corona Bets
Mikael Holter and Jonas Cho Walsgard – Bloomberg
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund isn’t planning to adjust its portfolio in response to a wave of global panic triggered by the spread of the coronavirus.

Australia Has World’s Best-Performing Stock Market Since 1900
Jackie Edwards – Bloomberg
Australia has the world’s top-performing equity market over the past 120 years, thanks to its ability to largely evade the global financial crisis, according to a new study published by Credit Suisse Group AG.


U.K. Central Banker Sees Investment Surge Driven by Brexit, Budget
Lucy Meakin and David Goodman – Bloomberg
More government spending to boost household confidence; Bank of England chief economist comments in interview
There’s a good chance that U.K. companies will unleash spending this year with a double boost from an expansionary budget and more clarity over Brexit, according to Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane.

Boris Johnson Gives EU Four Months to Make a Brexit Deal — Or He Walks
Robert Hutton, Alex Morales, and Jess Shankleman – Bloomberg
U.K. publishes negotiating mandate for next stage of talks; Sticking points are regulatory alignment and court oversight
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the European Union he’ll walk away from the negotiating table in June if it’s not clear he’s going to get a Canada-style free trade agreement for the U.K. The pound fell.

EU Banks Tell Brussels Markets Are No Place for Brexit Politics
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
European banks are calling on policy makers to avoid Brexit brinkmanship that could damage financial markets. The European Banking Federation, an umbrella group for 32 national banking lobbies and 3,500 lenders across the European Union, soon plans to ask Brussels to ensure that trading and banking services flow smoothly in both directions across the Channel, echoing appeals from the City of London.

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