Regulators across Europe clash over bans on short selling; Euronext confirms it will not make bid for BME

Mar 31, 2020

First Read

Hits & Takes
By John Lothian & JLN Staff

Pat Arbor is the subject of the latest MarketsWiki Education Open Outcry Traders HIstory Project video. Arbor, the longtime chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade in the late open outcry and early electronic trading era is a controversial figure, both for his leadership of the exchange during a tumultuous period, and for his storied personal life. You know the story of his spending time in jail in Chicago as a result of a messy divorce. Here is his story. Actually, there is a lot more story for Arbor to tell, and we have even more video to release. But we will start here.

We are ready to release our Spoofing Special Report tomorrow morning. If all goes well, it will go out by email at 2 AM Chicago time. We want to thank our sponsors of the Special Report: Born Technology, Eventus Systems, Thompson Coburn LLP and Trading Technologies. I also want to thank Suzanne Cosgrove and Thom Thompson for all their hard work writing the white paper on spoofing and all their work on the special report. They did outstanding work and JLN is blessed to have such talented and experienced professionals as Suzanne and Thom.

If anyone has any reminisces to share about Jefferies’ Peg Broadbent, who passed away recently from the coronavirus, we will be glad to aggregate them and share them with the newsletter audience. Email them to me at johnlothian@johnlothian.com.

From now on when I go out in public, I will be wearing a mask, or at the very least a bandana over my face. This is Personal Protective Equipment, not a disguise. I am hard to disguise anyway.

Sometime today, MarketsWiki will pass the 175 million pageview mark since it was created in 2007 and launched in 2008.~JJL

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Ten days after the CME Group auctioned its portfolios, Ronin Capital disappeared from the list of CME clearing members on Monday. ~Thom Thompson

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Pat Arbor: Open Outcry Traders History Project
JohnLothianNews.com

Pat Arbor answered a blind ad in the Chicago Tribune for a grain trader at Uhlmann Grain at the CBOT in 1962, and the rest was history – quite a bit of history. He made several big mistakes at first, such as selling his CBOT membership in 1968 to pay back a $14,000 debt, but he wound up back at the CBOT again, eventually becoming the longest-running chairman in the exchange’s history. Arbor talked to JLN for the MarketsWiki Education Open Outcry Traders History Project about his love of floor trading, which back then was an all-male hotbed of gossip, camaraderie, and fighting – but success was based on merit. He goes over a long and rich history, including exchange politics, historic events and how he eventually made money when he learned how to spread.

Watch the video »

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Justice Department Investigating Lawmakers for Possible Insider Trading; FBI contacted Sen. Burr in inquiry into whether lawmakers traded based on confidential briefings
Aruna Viswanatha and Dave Michaels – WSJ
The Justice Department is examining whether lawmakers traded ahead of the market turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic based on confidential briefings they received, according to a person familiar with the matter. As part of that inquiry, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has reached out to Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.), said the person.
/on.wsj.com/3bFhs64

******Not a political issue now, a criminal one.~JJL

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Surveillance firm Eventus moves into Europe
Wendy Lisney – FOW
Eventus Systems has established a presence in Europe with its first key hire in the UK, saying the appointment continues the trade surveillance firm’s growth plans in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
“Since we have never marketed directly in the UK, we consider this a greenfield opportunity,” the Texas-based firm’s CEO Travis Schwab told Global Investor. “We expect to have a handful of hires out in the UK before the end of the year to address the significant opportunity for customer expansion in the region”.
/bit.ly/2WYJF3J

*****Our friends at FOW opened up this story about Eventus. We thank them.

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FIA Tech teams with Baton on streamlined brokerage settlement solution; Atlantis platform targets shorter payments cycle by Q3
Jeff Reeves – FIA
FIA Tech, a provider of financial technology solutions for the futures industry, has revealed plans to accelerate brokerage payments and shorten the settlement cycle for customers on its Atlantis platform through a partnership with Baton Systems, a fintech startup that specializes in payments technology.
/bit.ly/2Uw7YEz

***** It was bound to happen. A better payments system just makes sense in this era of fintech.~JJL

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Goldman Sachs Sees 34% Plunge in U.S. GDP and 15% Unemployment
Alaa Shahine – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expects the U.S. economy to experience a far deeper slump than previously anticipated as the coronavirus pandemic hammers businesses, causing a wave of mass unemployment.
/bloom.bg/3bIX3wT

****** My kingdom for some decimal points!!!~JJL

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D.I.Y. Coronavirus Solutions Are Gaining Steam; From Ireland to Seattle, makers and engineers are creating open-source versions of much-needed medical equipment.
Alexandra E. Petri – NY Times
There are moments when Gui Cavalcanti feels like he woke up in a dystopian universe — a guy with no background in medical or disaster response, suddenly leading an international effort on Facebook to design medical equipment to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, the gravest public-health threat of our time.
/nyti.ms/2Ut9FTg

***** I am working on turning my furnace filter into a stunning work from home helmet.~JJL

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Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was JLN’s Not the Ronin Death Watch, Thom Thompson’s follow-up to his earlier article on Ronin Capital. Second was the sad news Jefferies Group CFO Dies From Coronavirus Complications, from Bloomberg. Peg Broadbent, the CFO, was 56. Third was Crain’s Chicago’s story on another coronavirus death in the industry, Carole Brookins, a pioneering woman on CBOT’s trading floor, dies after COVID diagnosis. This virus is truly wreaking havoc everywhere.

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MarketsWiki Stats
174,849,215 pages viewed; 24,077 pages; 223,708 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

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CryptoMarketsWiki Website»
CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.Recently Updated Pages

Recently updated pages include
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CryptoMarketsWiki Stats

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Lead Stories

Regulators across Europe clash over bans on short selling; Some countries prohibit bets on lower prices, while others warn bans make matters worse
Philip Stafford, Laurence Fletcher and Robert Smith – FT
When share prices tumbled at record speeds in February and March, some regulators in Europe turned to a playbook used in the last two financial crises, and banned the short selling of shares.
/on.ft.com/2wOts6s

Euronext confirms it will not make bid for BME; Euronext has pulled out of the race to acquire Spain’s BME after SIX Group gained regulatory approvals for the takeover last week.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Euronext has said it will not make an offer to acquire Spanish stock exchange Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (BME), shortly after SIX Group gained approval in Spain for the takeover. The pan-European exchange group confirmed in a statement that despite seeing significant potential synergies for the merger, a competing offer would not create value or generate adequate returns on invested capital for the exchange group’s investors.
/bit.ly/2UwQbxe

Dealmaking grinds to a halt on coronavirus impact; M&A activity plummets as executives shift focus to seeing their companies through crisis
James Fontanella-Khan and Arash Massoudi – FT
A multiyear boom in mergers and acquisitions activity came to a halt by the end of March, as the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic ravaged corporate share prices and redirected the focus of executives towards saving their own companies instead of trying to buy others.
/on.ft.com/2R0PmdF

World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Dragged Closer to Dumping Assets
Mikael Holter – Bloomberg
Norway government looks set to withdraw $25 billion from fund; Current crisis is much worse for Norway than previous slumps
Norway’s $950 billion sovereign wealth fund — the world’s biggest — is about to make history as it prepares to liquidate assets to cover government withdrawals. The crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic is playing out very differently for the giant investor than the 2008 great recession. Back then, Norway’s wealth fund used the global sell-off to buy up cheap stocks. This time, the fund will probably need to offload a sizable chunk of its bond portfolio.
/bloom.bg/2QXXuM8

SEC Chairman: Government Shouldn’t Ban Short Selling in Current Market; Short selling needed to facilitate ordinary market trading, Jay Clayton says
Paul Kiernan – WSJ
Wall Street’s top regulator said he doesn’t believe the U.S. should try to prevent investors from betting against the stock market, as more countries look to short selling bans amid extreme volatility.
/on.wsj.com/33Ua6ct

Euronext statement in relation to Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (“BME”)
Euronext
Euronext has been reviewing in detail a potential offer for Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (“BME”). Euronext has analysed all the available facts and data, including market and competitive conditions. Euronext is convinced of the strong industrial benefits that a combination between BME and Euronext would bring to the Spanish capital markets and the wider European capital markets, in particular to build the backbone of the Capital Markets Union within the European Union. However, after careful consideration, Euronext announces today that it does not intend to make an offer for BME.
/bit.ly/2JtifeA

Big banks left hanging after ‘disaster’ in risky loan market; Wobbles in collateralised loan obligations pose problems for lenders
Robert Smith and Joe Rennison – FT
Big banks that help asset managers package risky loans into investment products are sitting on billions of dollars of debt linked to companies most exposed to an economic downturn.
/on.ft.com/3dHRII2

Nightmare Haunting Euro Founders May Be a Reality With Italy
Alessandra Migliaccio and John Ainger – Bloomberg
Sustainability depends on European support, economists say; Italian debt is on track to reach or exceed 150% of GDP
Two decades since the euro began, one of the principal worries of its founders is materializing as the coronavirus rages through the region’s third-largest economy. The longstanding suspicion that Italy’s profligate borrowing could ultimately become the whole of Europe’s problem was the recurring nightmare of German finance officials throughout the 1990s.
/bloom.bg/3bEaXQX

France to Push G-20 for Emergency Aid to Developing Nations
William Horobin – Bloomberg
Le Maire says SDRs should be increased by $500 billion; Says crisis may be ‘extremely violent’ in developing nations
France will propose on a call of Group of 20 economy chiefs Tuesday that the International Monetary Fund increase its special drawing rights by $500 billion as part of an aggressive push to assist developing nations battered by the coronavirus crisis.
/bloom.bg/3dEdOLE

The U.S. weighs the grim math of death vs. the economy
Ann Saphir, Jeff Mason – Reuters
Hollstadt Consulting CEO Molly Jungbauer has had to let go 30 of the 150 employees at her St. Paul, Minnesota firm to weather the drop in revenue from travel industry clients because of the coronavirus.
/reut.rs/2ynK1H0

Wall Street Is Quietly Telling Companies Not to Draw Their Loans
Michelle F Davis and Paula Seligson – Bloomberg
Profitability, more than liquidity, is driving force of push; Some lenders offering short-term bridge financing instead
The biggest U.S. banks have been quietly discouraging some of America’s safest borrowers from tapping existing credit lines amid record corporate drawdowns on lending facilities, according to people familiar with the behind-the-scenes conversations.
/bloom.bg/2ynF4Op

S&P Global Foundation Announces USD $2 Million in Funds to Support COVID-19 Response Efforts
S&P Global
S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) today announced that the S&P Global Foundation, the Company’s charitable giving arm, has allocated an initial pool of USD $2 million in funds to support the global response to the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
/bit.ly/2Jt13Wq

Russia, World’s Biggest Buyer of Gold, Will Stop Purchases
Yuliya Fedorinova, Elena Mazneva, and Anna Andrianova – Bloomberg
Analysts say Russia doesn’t need to hold more gold in reserve; There’s intense demand for the metal among global investors
Russia spent more than $40 billion building a war chest of bullion over the past five years. Now, it’s calling it quits. The central bank announced on Monday that it would stop buying gold starting April 1, but didn’t explain the move. Analysts say Russia already has a lot of gold stashed in reserves and likely doesn’t need more.
/bloom.bg/2QYNfXQ

The Lost Month: How a Failure to Test Blinded the U.S. to Covid-19; Aggressive screening might have helped contain the coronavirus in the United States. But technical flaws, regulatory hurdles and lapses in leadership let it spread undetected for weeks.
Michael D. Shear, Abby Goodnough, Sheila Kaplan, Sheri Fink, Katie Thomas and Noah Weiland – NY Times
Early on, the dozen federal officials charged with defending America against the coronavirus gathered day after day in the White House Situation Room, consumed by crises. They grappled with how to evacuate the United States consulate in Wuhan, China, ban Chinese travelers and extract Americans from the Diamond Princess and other cruise ships.
/nyti.ms/2QZUCOE

Coronavirus Will Change Us in Ways We’re Just Discovering; From delivery vans to our couches, things won’t be the same.
Mark Gongloff – Bloomberg
The headlines these days are full of stories promising coronavirus will change us forever. They’re probably not wrong. It’s a bit early to tell what will stick — shoe bumps replacing handshakes? toilet paper silos in every home? — but we can already see some changes coming.
/bloom.bg/2R0nYfY

Coronavirus Lockdown Has Emptied London’s Bustling Streets
Hayley Warren – Bloomberg
Just two months ago, the U.K. was yet to see its first case of Covid-19. Now with nearly 20,000 cases and more than 1,200 deaths, Britain has transformed under an unprecedented national shutdown.
/bloom.bg/3azdAmW

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

3rd Medium-Term Management Plan Update for FY2020, FY2019, FY2021
Japan Exchange Group, Inc.
/bit.ly/2R0b6q1

JPX/TSE Publish “Practical Handbook for ESG Disclosure”
JPX
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) and Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE) have today published a “Practical Handbook for ESG Disclosure”. In the last few years, more and more investors have begun taking into account ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) factors when evaluating a company’s mid- to long-term corporate value. Listed companies have also been acting to step up their ESG-related activities and information disclosure.
/bit.ly/2QXsoUX

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

ACRA, MAS and SGX RegCo update guidance on general meetings; Joint Statement by Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, Monetary Authority of Singapore and Singapore Exchange Regulation
SGX
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) have updated the guidance for issuers on safe distancing measures when conducting general meetings.
/bit.ly/3bFNMG5

Deutsche Börse’s audit for supervisory boards complies with the requirements of the reformed German Corporate Governance Code;As of now, supervisory boards should report on training and further education
Deutsche Börse
The reformed German Corporate Governance Code (DCGK), which came into force on March 20, recommends supervisory boards to report on their training and further education measures. With the examination for a qualified supervisory board, Deutsche Börse offers recognized evidence through its Capital Markets Academy to meet this obligation.
/bit.ly/3bI7tgz

Equity index options: Extension of non-disclosure limits to index options on DAX, Euro STOXX Banks and SMI
Eurex
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland decided with effect from 4 May 2020 to extend non-disclosure limits to index options on DAX, Euro STOXX Banks and SMI.
/bit.ly/2QX1Qmy

Eurex supports FIA Atlantis service and the usage of the Execution Source Code
Eurex
Eurex & Eurex Clearing support the Atlantis service from the FIA Technology Services, Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of FIA (Futures Industry Association). The Atlantis service (formerly known as eGAINS) is aimed to address inefficiencies in the brokerage, billing and payment process related to the processing of give-ups to allow for an electronic handling, reconciliation and break-management between executing and clearing brokers.
/bit.ly/2QZPcTV

Euronext launches consultation on shorter market hours; Market participants were sent the consultation this week to provide feedback on shorter trading hours by mid-May.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Pan-European exchange group Euronext has officially launched its consultation on whether markets should shorten trading hours, The TRADE understands.
/bit.ly/3bEhoDB

Fintech

Coronavirus lockdowns and social-distancing fuel surge in use of fintech apps
Lina Saigol – MarketWatch
The coronavirus pandemic has fueled a 72% surge in the use of fintech apps in Europe in the past week as consumers adjust to social distancing, self-isolation and lockdowns, according to new research by deVere Group. “The world has changed in the last few weeks. The measures we’re now all taking to help the fight back against coronavirus are affecting the way we interact, live, work, and take care of our finances,” James Green, group divisional manager for the Swiss-based financial services company said on Monday. “A new era has already begun, with digitalisation and new technologies driving the shift,” Green said. “Fintech is fast-becoming the new normal.”
/on.mktw.net/2UOvyLM

Japanese Fintech Startup Raises Funds Despite Virus Chilling VCs
Pavel Alpeyev – Bloomberg
Kyash Inc., a Tokyo-based digital banking startup, has raised $45 million from investors at a time the coronavirus outbreak threatens to dry up venture capital funding. The Series C round was co-led by Greenspring Associates Inc. and Goodwater Capital, bringing the total raised by the company to date to $73 million, Kyash Chief Executive Officer Shinichi Takatori said in an interview. Kyash, which also counts Jafco Co. and Japanese banks Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. among its investors, will use the funds to expand its digital banking offerings.
/bloom.bg/2w16ade

Cryptocurrencies

Vitalik Buterin Net Worth: Google Wanted To Hire Ethereum Founder For Intern’s Salary
Ernesto Soliven – International Business Times
Vitalik Buterin’s net worth is $100 million. But all that could have changed had he accepted an offer from Google before. Buterin gained fame after co-founding Ethereum and Bitcoin Magazine. Back in its heyday, when bitcoins were all the rage, founders of companies that mine them can easily build billions in net worth. According to Celebrity Net Worth, in 2011, Buterin started writing blogs about bitcoin. In a way, he pioneered the bitcoin information drive almost 10 years ago.
/bit.ly/2X3KrN7

Binance is launching a new exchange in South Korea next week
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Binance is launching a new crypto-to-crypto exchange in South Korea next week. Announcing the news on Tuesday, Binance said the new exchange, Binance KR, would open for registration and deposits on April 2. Trading would open on April 4, while withdrawals on April 9. Binance KR would support Binance KRW (BKRW) stablecoin at launch. The stablecoin is backed by South Korean won (KRW) and recently got listed on Binance.com. Korean users will be able to convert KRW into BKRW stablecoins, which can then be used for trading bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), Binance coin (BNB) and BKRW.
/bit.ly/2QYTYkA

Bitcoin enthusiasts, liberal lawmakers cheer a Fed-backed digital dollar
Chris Matthews – MarketWatch
Negotiations over the $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package signed by President Trump on Friday weren’t just historic for the cost, nor the speed with which it was reached. Though not included in the final package, Congressional Democrats used the debate to push for the creation of a “digital dollar,” that would be backed by the Federal Reserve, along with accounts for every American at the central bank — a historic step forward in support for widespread digital currency use that has been lauded by progressives and cryptocurrency enthusiasts alike.
/on.mktw.net/2QYU9wg

Mt. Gox Deadline Extended Again After Creditors Criticize Refund Proposal
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
The submission deadline for the Mt. Gox rehabilitation plan has been pushed back again after a draft proposed last week was met with opposition from numerous creditors. In the plan, proposed to Mt. Gox creditors at a March 25 meeting, rehabilitation trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi said he would, if authorized by the court, sell off some of the recovered cryptocurrencies in order to settle prioritized fiat currency claims.
/bit.ly/2UO53WS

Tokyo court approves submission deadline extension for Mt Gox bitcoin exchange rehabilitation plan
Michael McSweeney – The Block
The court-ordered submission deadline for defunct bitcoin exchange Mt Gox’s civil rehabilitation plan has been extended to July 1.
/bit.ly/2UQJZid

Binance is set to acquire CoinMarketCap, the deal could be worth as much as $400 million
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Binance is in the final stages of talks to acquire CoinMarketCap, The Block has learned. The crypto exchange is looking to pay as much as $400 million for the deal, people familiar with the deal told The Block. The cash-and-stock deal is expected to be announced this week. When completed, that would make it one of the largest acquisitions in the crypto space.
/bit.ly/2w2kodT

Mainbloq and TradingScreen Partner on Buy-Side Targeted Crypto Trading
Traders Magazine (press release)
TradingScreen (TS), the cloud-based multi-asset Order and Execution Management System (OEMS) provider, and digital currency trading platform Mainbloq, have today announced a strategic partnership to integrate TS’s leading OEMS solution, TradeSmart, with Mainbloq’s cryptocurrency trading technology. Driving the partnership is increasing demand among the buy-side to trade multi-asset classes via one centralised platform, enabling greater operational efficiencies and the seamless integration of workflows.
/bit.ly/2yfTMH0

Election App Voatz Just Got Kicked Out of a Major Bug Bounty Program
Danny Nelson – Coindesk
Bug bounty platform HackerOne severed ties with Medici Ventures-backed Voatz, the blockchain-based mobile voting app for breach of partnership standards. The removal cuts off Voatz’ access to HackerOne’s network of “ethical hackers” who trade their expertise in finding code faults for cash. HackerOne partners with corporations interested in shoring up potential security vulnerabilities. Across 1,800 total relationships and eight years, though, it’s never before kicked a partner out, said representative Samantha Spielman.
/bit.ly/2Rf94Tl

Fidelity, Coinbase And Highland Capital Take Part In $6 Million Funding Round For Coin Metrics
Darryn Pollock – Forbes
The continued growth and expansion of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency into the mainstream and enterprise space has accelerated the desire for stronger and more robust analytics in the industry. The technology alone makes it quite amenable to the analysis of the tokens and transactions on different platforms, and firms like Coin Metrics look to be providers of such data.
/bit.ly/2WUZcS3

Coinbase says retail customers bought bitcoin during this month’s market crash
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Crypto exchange Coinbase has said that its retail clients bought bitcoin the most during this month’s market crash. In a report published Tuesday, Coinbase said its customers typically buy 60% more than they sell, but during the crash, that figure jumped to 67%. Bitcoin (BTC) was the most favored cryptocurrency among Coinbase buyers, with over half of both total deposits and trades. Ether (ETH) and XRP cryptocurrencies followed bitcoin, respectively.
/bit.ly/2UtIqYF

Lawsuit alleges that Binance confiscated nearly $300k in crypto from former community moderator amid dispute in 2018
Michael McSweeney – The Block
A new lawsuit alleges that Binance confiscated the funds of a community moderator and admin who was also a user of the crypto exchange after a dispute between the two sides The lawsuit was filed on March 27 by Steven Reynolds against Binance Holdings Ltd in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco. In the complaint, Reynolds – who is represented by Anne Edwards of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP – says that in mid-2017, he began to provide services “to support Binance’s online communications with English speaking customers,” including the operation of community and media channels.
/bit.ly/3byMMn0

Politics

Donald Trump must drop political bias in virus response; Allocating resources by partisan criteria is self-defeating and wrong
The editorial board – FT
Donald Trump has decided not to press ahead with his threat to relax social distancing rules. Americans have federal scientists to thank for his change of heart. The president was shocked by their projections of more than 2m American deaths. Even if the US sticks to scientific guidelines, it could face between 100,000 and 200,000 fatalities. Mr Trump can help by fixing the mess in federal procurement.
/on.ft.com/33XsJw5

Orban Takes Sole Command of Hungary With Emergency Law
Zoltan Simon and Arne Delfs – Bloomberg
Parliament hands PM extra powers indefinitely to fight virus; Merkel’s government stresses the importance of rule of law
Hungary’s parliament handed Prime Minister Viktor Orban the right to rule by decree indefinitely, effectively putting the European Union democracy under his sole command for as long as he sees fit.
/bloom.bg/2WWc5eI

Regulation

Facilitating capital raisings during COVID-19 period; ASIC is committed to refocusing its regulatory efforts on challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
ASIC
In line with this approach, ASIC is helping listed companies raise capital quickly by giving temporary relief to enable certain ‘low doc’ offers (including rights offers, placements and share purchase plans) to be made to investors, even if they do not meet all the normal requirements. This will assist companies that need to raise funds from investors urgently because of the impact of COVID-19.
/bit.ly/2xAzzeL

ASIC provides information on funeral expenses reform
ASIC
ASIC has today issued an information sheet for providers of funeral expenses facilities. Recent changes to the Corporations Regulations mean that entities who sell funeral expenses facilities will generally be required to hold an Australian financial services licence from 1 April 2020.
/bit.ly/3aBknN6

SEC Awards $450,000 to Whistleblower
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an award of $450,000 to a whistleblower whose significant information helped focus an ongoing investigation on the violations that were ultimately charged.
/bit.ly/2WWcdLe

Investing and Trading

Wheat and Rice Prices Surge in Coronavirus Lockdown; Countries that rely on imported grains to feed their populations have ramped up purchases to ensure they have sufficient stockpiles to see out the pandemic
Kirk Maltais and Joe Wallace – WSJ
Consumers are loading up on pasta, rice and bread. Farm supply lines are disrupted. Countries are restricting agricultural exports.
/on.wsj.com/2WY4tbM

Oil industry facing historic production shutdown; Crude oil in Texas was changing hands for as little as $7 a barrel on Monday
Derek Brower and David Sheppard – FT
The world’s oil market once fixated on how Saudi-led Opec would tweak supply in small increments to boost prices. That concern suddenly feels quaint: the size of the global drop in consumption triggered by the coronavirus pandemic may be equivalent to the cartel’s entire output.
/on.ft.com/2UTlCRj

Visa Says Consumer Spending Has ‘Sharply Declined,’ Even Online
Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
Card company lowers its revenue-growth outlook a second time; Spending impacted by social distancing, lock-down orders
Visa Inc. once again lowered its outlook for revenue growth in the fiscal second quarter, saying the coronavirus pandemic has led to a sharp decline in cardholders’ overseas spending.
/bloom.bg/2WVVYOg

Worst Quarter for European Stocks Is Nearly Over. What’s Next?
Michael Msika and Jan-Patrick Barnert – Bloomberg
Strategists divided about where market bottom lies after rout; Investors shouldn’t bet against central banks, Eurizon says
European equities are on track for their worst quarterly performance on record after a steep plunge triggered by the spread of the coronavirus outside of China erased all the gains made by the region’s benchmark since 2012. Now market participants are divided over whether the worst is over.
/bloom.bg/39vBwqd

UBS Says Investors Should Prefer Green Bonds Over Regular Debt
David Caleb Mutua – Bloomberg
Sustainable notes more resilient than non-green, data show; Issuance shouldn’t be hurt as projects are happening, UBS says
Sustainable bonds are a “defensive opportunity” that credit investors should favor over non-green, investment-grade corporate notes, said UBS Global Wealth’s head of credit, Thomas Wacker.
/bloom.bg/2X42z9g

Institutions

BlackRock chief warns too few asset managers have invested to build resilience; Chief executive at BlackRock Larry Fink said not enough buy-side firms have invested in technology since the financial crisis.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Not enough asset managers have invested in innovation and technology since the financial crisis to build resilience, the chief executive of BlackRock has warned.
/bit.ly/2yeIsuL

UK banks expect regulator to order dividend freeze Action likely this week to shore up lenders’ capital levels for coronavirus outbreak
David Crow and Stephen Morris – FT
Banks in the UK are braced for the country’s top financial supervisor to put a stop to £7.5bn of dividend payments due over the next few weeks in a move designed to shore up capital levels during the coronavirus outbreak.
/on.ft.com/2Jy2UZT

ECB financial supervisor urges banks to cut back on bonuses;Andrea Enria calls on lenders to show ‘extreme moderation’ on pay to conserve capital
Martin Arnold – FT
Europe’s top financial supervisor has warned banks to exercise “extreme moderation” on their bonus payments this year and threatened to intervene if they failed to show restraint with payouts.
/on.ft.com/3aA7F0Y

BlackRock’s Fink keeps door open to acquisitions; Chief of world’s largest asset manager strikes a cautiously optimistic note about markets
Eric Platt and Richard Henderson- FT
BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink has raised the prospect of a return to dealmaking by the world’s largest asset manager as it navigates upheaval in financial markets and intense competition.
/on.ft.com/2wTnYr4

Europe’s Banks Are Scrapping Dividends. Bonuses Could Be Next
Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Spain’s top banks already agreed to cuts for highest managers; Credit Suisse CEO also signaled lender may curb variable pay
European banks are scrapping payouts to protect their capital cushions because of the fast-deteriorating economy. Cutting bonuses could be next on the to-do list.
/bloom.bg/2WYYmno

Regions

Saudi-Russia oil war is a game theory masterstroke; The sell-off has hit high-cost producers while US shale can no longer be a free-rider
Antoine Halff – FT
On the face of it, the idea of Saudi Arabia and Russia starting an oil price war in the middle of a global pandemic is as dumb as it gets. From a game theory perspective, it is a masterstroke.
/on.ft.com/340on7y

BOJ’s $185 Billion Bank Funding Fix Upends Money Markets
Stephen Spratt, Takashi Nakamichi, and Taiga Uranaka – Bloomberg
Bank of Japan encouraged banks to borrow dollars, people say; Pre-emptive move had knock-on effects in money markets
The Bank of Japan went to such lengths to ensure local banks had enough dollars to weather a global liquidity crunch that it may have inadvertently contributed to a surge in repo-market rates to a record.
/bloom.bg/3bDEtGx

Germany Pays Workers to Stay Home to Avoid Mass Layoffs; The post-World War II Kurzarbeit program lets companies keep employees and their know-how.
Stefan Nicola, Carolynn Look – Bloomberg
Kaluza + Schmid GmbH, a company in Berlin that helps organize trade fairs, corporate retreats, and other events, was having a good year. Managing director Ruediger Koch says his schedule was so full that he had to turn away business. Then, toward the end of February, as governments in Germany and elsewhere began stepping up efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, cancellations began rolling in. In the space of a few days, the 80-person outfit lost some 30 projects worth EUR1.6 million ($1.8 million)—roughly a sixth of its yearly sales.
/bloom.bg/33WIfYW

Dubai Gets Flashback to Property Prices Year After Default Scare
Nicolas Parasie and Abeer Abu Omar – Bloomberg
S&P warns prices could fall to 2010 crisis level or even lower; Virus will add pressure on sector grappling with oversupply
A decade after the global financial crisis pushed Dubai’s real estate sector — known for its outlandish projects such as man-made palm-shaped islands — to the brink of collapse, the deadly coronavirus pandemic threatens to send it back there again.
/bloom.bg/3dI1LwT

Brexit

Delay Brexit deadline amid coronavirus, say MEPs
BBC News
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged by a group of MEPs to delay his Brexit deadline as countries around the world battle the coronavirus. The European Parliament’s largest group of MEPs said the pandemic puts pressure on the chance of securing a trade deal by the planned date. The PM’s spokesman insisted there were no plans to change the timetable. It comes as EU and UK representatives met to discuss implementing the Brexit withdrawal agreement over video link.
/bbc.in/2UwEF4M

Extend Brexit transition by years over coronavirus, UK told
Jennifer Rankin – The Guardian
The largest group in the European parliament has urged the UK government to do the “responsible thing” and extend the Brexit transition period, as coronavirus plays havoc with the timetable for an EU-UK deal. The centre-right European People’s party (EPP), which unites the parties of 11 EU leaders, including Angela Merkel and Leo Varadkar, issued a statement on Monday calling on the government to extend the Brexit transition beyond the end of the year.
/bit.ly/2UVQDUK

EU Presses Boris Johnson Over Irish Customs Checks After Brexit
Ian Wishart – Bloomberg
The European Union warned the U.K. to set out what steps it will take to prevent a hard border in Ireland after Britain’s final break with the bloc at the year-end — a sign that of the most explosive arguments in Brexit is still far from resolved. Members of the joint EU-U.K. committee on implementing the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement held their first meeting by teleconference on Monday, according to a statement released by the EU on Monday.
/bloom.bg/2QXALQn

Brexit hit farms hard. Coronavirus may leave food rotting in the fields
Gian Volpicelli – WIRED
First came Brexit. Then the coronavirus. And now, there’s the very real prospect that mountains of perfectly good food will be left to rot in fields up and down the UK. The reason? We don’t have the people to pick it. Yet. Eating your greens is important. Even during a coronavirus lockdown, you cannot subsist only on stockpiles of penne, baked beans, and toilet paper, and hope to stay reasonably healthy. The problem with fruits and vegetables, though, is that – before appearing daily on your supermarket’s shelves – they need to be picked from the field.
/bit.ly/3bIkw1A

Miscellaneous

Scooter Companies Pull Out of Cities Worldwide Amid Pandemic; After months of industry turbulence, the likes of Lime and Bird are rethinking their business strategies as travel demand plummets.
Laura Bliss – Bloomberg
Dockless scooter companies charged into cities in 2018, promising a mobility revolution with cheap, clean rides and billions in venture capital backing. Yet they soon faced roadblocks, including shaky business models, safety concerns, and fast-moving city regulators. At the start of 2020, cash-losing operators were shrinking their headcounts and vehicle fleets.
/bloom.bg/2QZfmX3

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