Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
Craig Donohue has been re-elected as the OCC Executive Chairman and OCC elected its member and public directors at the 2022 stockholder meeting on April 29. The Class III Member Directors elected were Stuart M. Bourne of Bank of America and Kurt M. Eckert of Wolverine Trading. Bourne joined the board in 2019 and Eckert in 2017.
Also, Susan E. Lester, who joined the board in 2016 as a public director, will continue serving on the board and continue to chair the audit committee. Mark F. Dehnert joined the board as a public director after having previously served as managing director of execution and clearing for Goldman Sachs. He will become the chair of the Risk Committee.
Ron Pankau‘s funeral in Galva, Illinois, was a standing-room only affair with guests coming from as far as Colorado and Florida to attend. The CME Board, past and present, was well represented as was the Eurodollar pit (past) and the CME Group in general. A group of friends of Ron’s from Glenview, Illinois that included some men I used to play basketball with was also well represented.
Ron’s son Matt gave an emotional remembrance of his father, as did his brother Brett, among other speakers. You could not have come away from that service without the deepest respect for the brother, son, husband, father, friend, businessman and genuinely kind person Ron was. You realize what a loss it is in his passing, but also how knowing him makes you a better person and prepares you to lead a better life.
I was very pleased I attended, though the drive was long and on the way back I drove through several Illinois counties under tornado watches. One of three tornados that would be spotted Saturday hit Oakbrook, about a mile and a half from my home, though no damage was reported.
The Wall Street Journal says inflation is causing banks to get more business, but in this case it is food banks. Food banks are serving more people again as inflation is squeezing budgets, the story said. Higher cost and supply chain problems are straining organizations trying to meet the higher demand.
The airline Qantas revived plans for the world’s longest direct flights. They will now fly Airbus 350s from Sydney to London and New York non-stop. Qantas ordered the Airbus jets for the ultra-long services and will begin commercial services in late 2025, if you can wait that long.
ALTSO has raised $18,201 of its $30,000 goal for Mobility Awareness Month and to open a new program in Vietnam to reach more Coolkids in need. Can you help them with a donation?
Robby Lothian turns twenty-one today, which means I can now buy all of my children an alcoholic drink legally. We will see Robby next week when he travels to San Antonio for the Options Conference to assist Alex Perry and Katherine Lothian in the interviews we will be conducting there. Robby is also the editor of The Spread video series we publish weekly. He regularly edits Alex’s Optiontopia series and my John’s Take.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
FIA’s International Derivatives Expo is returning to The Brewery in London this coming 6-8 June. Standing still is not an option in today’s evolving cleared derivatives environment. Without adapting to new products, processes, technologies and regulations, your business won’t meet the needs of tomorrow’s industry. We’re bringing together industry leaders, vendors and policymakers to discuss what’s “now” in derivatives, and what lies ahead. Sign up here.
The Plan to Make Michigan the Next Space State; Residents are up in arms about a proposed spaceport project, the first of its kind in the Midwest, which would involve launching rockets near the shoreline of Lake Superior.
David Rompf – The New Yorker
One of the largest log cabins in the world can be found in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, on the edge of Lake Superior. The property, called Granot Loma, is twenty-six thousand square feet, and it belongs to Tom Baldwin, a sixty-five-year-old former bond and commodities trader. Baldwin made his fortune in the Treasury-bond pit at the Chicago Board of Trade, where his colleagues referred to him as the King. He was known for trading two billion dollars’ worth of bonds in a single day. Last fall, I drove to see him at Granot Loma, in Powell Township, seventeen miles north of the city of Marquette. He gave me directions over the phone, telling me to turn off the main road and onto County Road KE. “Essentially, it’s my driveway,” he said. He wasn’t exaggerating. I continued down the road for more than a mile until I reached a locked gate, which opened a few seconds after I arrived.
****** Here is your Tom Baldwin update.~JJL
Hacking Russia was off-limits. The Ukraine war made it a free-for-all.; Experts anticipated a Moscow-led cyber-assault; instead, unprecedented attacks by hacktivists and criminals have wreaked havoc in Russia
Joseph Menn – The Washington Post
For more than a decade, U.S. cybersecurity experts have warned about Russian hacking that increasingly uses the labor power of financially motivated criminal gangs to achieve political goals, such as strategically leaking campaign emails. Prolific ransomware groups in the last year and a half have shut down pandemic-battered hospitals, the key fuel conduit Colonial Pipeline and schools; published sensitive documents from corporate victims; and, in one case, pledged to step up attacks on American infrastructure if Russian technology was hobbled in retribution for the invasion of Ukraine.
*****Who let the hackers out? Woof!~JJL
Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger Takes Another Swipe at Robinhood; Warren Buffett’s right-hand man says the ‘unraveling’ of the trading platform after last year’s boom is a sign ‘God is getting just’
Ginger Adams Otis – WSJ
Charlie Munger’s opinion of Robinhood Markets Inc. hasn’t improved in the past year. If anything, it has become more negative. The vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. blasted the trading platform while addressing thousands of shareholders at the company’s annual gathering in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday. He said Robinhood is losing ground since going public in July 2021.
******Charlie Munger needs to be careful. If he thinks God needs a spokesperson on such matters, God might just make that happen in a heavenly kind of way. ~JJL
Warren Buffett Says Markets Have Become a ‘Gambling Parlor’; Berkshire Hathaway chief addresses shareholders at annual meeting in Omaha, Neb.
Akane Otani – WSJ
As recently as February, Warren Buffett lamented he wasn’t finding much out there that was worth buying. That is no longer the case. After a yearslong deal drought, Mr. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is opening up the spending spigot again. It forged an $11.6 billion deal to buy insurer Alleghany Corp., poised to be Berkshire’s biggest acquisition in six years. It bought millions of shares of HP Inc. and Occidental Petroleum Corp. And it dramatically ramped up its stake in Chevron Corp., making the energy company one of Berkshire’s top four stock investments.
***** I will give you three to one odds that Buffett is wrong.~JJL
Western leaders must prepare public for a war economy; The cost of living crisis is likely to get worse before it gets better
Martin Sandbu – FT
The expression is ugly and its content even uglier, but “Ukraine fatigue” is a real risk in western democracies. Their citizens are repulsed by Vladimir Putin’s war of unprovoked aggression and are full of sympathy for the Ukrainian people. Their leaders have surprised even themselves with the strength of their support for Kyiv. But as things drag on, challenges closer to home could increasingly steal their attention.
****** Get ready for the truth, the darn truth and the hard truth.~JJL
Friday’s Top Three
Our top story Friday was the Wall Street Journal opinion piece Putin Really May Break the Nuclear Taboo in Ukraine. Second was John Lothian’s Boca interview video, Copper.co’s Betty Sharples Weighs In On Digital Asset Protection & Navigating The Regulatory Landscape, from JLN. Third was ADM Names New President of ADMIS, an ADM press release about John Stott, who is replacing Tom Kadlec in the role.
26,828 pages; 238,363 edits
Russia Recasts Fight in Ukraine as War With the West; Ahead of Russian May 9 holiday, Moscow links current conflict to Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany
Ann M. Simmons and Evan Gershkovich – WSJ
Moscow is recasting its fight with Ukraine as a broader war between Russia and the West, as Kremlin leaders and state propaganda outlets warn Russians that the conflict with its smaller neighbor could spill over into a global clash. The Kremlin and state-controlled media have warned in recent days that the West ultimately seeks to contain—or even destroy—Russia and have threatened retaliation, including the possibility of nuclear strikes.
Wall Street Reluctantly Embraces Crypto; Money managers want banks to store and trade crypto for them
Justin Baer – WSJ
Wall Street has a message for its many clients that have been eager to invest in cryptocurrencies: OK, OK, we hear you. The largest U.S. banks, securities firms and custodians, many of whom once greeted the emergence of digital assets with skepticism, are now showcasing their forays into the market. “It’s a moment in time when the traditional industry has woken up and more broadly accepted this is happening,” said Walt Lukken, president and chief executive of the Futures Industry Association, a large trade group for the derivatives markets.
The failures of stakeholder capitalism; ESG investing is missing the realities of market power in an age of corporate concentration and rising profits
Rana Foroohar – FT
People who care about creating a fairer and more sustainable market system tend to think about things like “ESG” investing (environmental, social and governance issues) and “stakeholder capitalism”. But what they need to start thinking about is power. Consider Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. Tesla ranks above average on many metrics tallied by JUST Capital, an influential non-profit focused on stakeholder capitalism. But its chief executive is preparing to sell a big chunk of his stock in the electric carmaker, a company that could actually do some good in the world, to buy a social media platform which has arguably made it worse. Musk, who plans to take it private, may, for example, re-enable the former Tweeter-in-chief, Donald Trump.
Beijing teeters on edge of Covid lockdown; Gyms and cinemas shut as data reveal consequences of restrictions on China’s economy
Edward White, Eleanor Olcott and Cheng Leng – FT
The coronavirus pandemic is creeping closer to the halls of power in Beijing as authorities rush to avoid an uncontrolled Shanghai-style Omicron outbreak in China’s capital. Beijing is tightening coronavirus restrictions after reporting 41 cases on Sunday. Officials in the city of 22mn, which is also home to the ruling Chinese Communist party’s senior leaders, closed gyms and cinemas and raised Covid-19 testing requirements in an effort to avoid the situation in Shanghai, where tens of millions have been restricted to their apartments.
Germany Calls for Russian Oil Embargo as EU Prepares New Sanctions; Momentum in Europe is building for a phased-in embargo on Russian oil, although Hungary and some others remain wary of energy sanctions
Laurence Norman and Bertrand Benoit – WSJ
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said her country wants a phased-in oil embargo on Russia, as the European Union prepares to target Russia’s energy revenues with a new round of sanctions. Confirming signals last week that Germany has changed its mind on sanctioning Russian oil, Ms. Baerbock said Berlin supports an embargo as part of the EU’s next sanctions package.
EU steps up action on Russian oil sanctions; Berlin speeds up timetable for phasing out energy imports as Brussels tries to reach deal on toughest measures yet
Guy Chazan, Henry Foy and Marton Dunai – FT
Germany has called for a phased-in ban on Russian oil imports into the EU, stepping up pressure on Brussels to find a deal between divided member states ahead of a crunch week for the bloc’s policy on Russian energy.
Warren Buffett gives his most expansive explanation for why he doesn’t believe in bitcoin
Tanaya Macheel – CNBC
Bitcoin has steadily been gaining acceptance from the traditional finance and investment world in recent years but Warren Buffett is sticking to his skeptical stance on bitcoin. He said at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder meeting Saturday that it’s not a productive asset and it doesn’t produce anything tangible. Despite a shift in public perception about the cryptocurrency, Buffett still wouldn’t buy it.
Warren Buffett says he wouldn’t pay $25 for all the bitcoin in the world — and Charlie Munger blasts the crypto as ‘stupid’ and ‘evil’
Theron Mohamed – Business Insider
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger slammed bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies; Buffett said he wouldn’t pay $25 for the world’s entire supply of bitcoin; Munger blasted bitcoin as “stupid,” “evil,” and something that makes its owners look bad.
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger opened fire at bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency industry during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting on Saturday “If you told me you owned all the bitcoin in the world and you offered it to me for $25, I wouldn’t take it,” Buffett said. “What would I do with it?”
Russia’s War in Ukraine Is Straining Global Economic Cooperation; Indonesia’s invitation of Vladimir Putin to Bali meeting of Group of 20 in November is latest point of tension
Yuka Hayashi and Andrew Duehren – WSJ
A rift between Western democracies and Russia and China is forcing policy makers to figure out how to keep conversations alive among nations with diverse views as they face economic challenges arising from the war in Ukraine. Indonesia’s announcement Friday that it has invited the leaders of Russia and Ukraine to a November meeting of the Group of 20 economic powers underscored the complex task facing the U.S. and its Western allies. They must not only confront Russia but also work with nations caught in the middle and concerned about being left out of policy talks.
Musk Joins Moguls to Kill S.E.C. ‘Gag Orders’ at the Supreme Court; Elon Musk joined an amicus brief that could have big implications for how the S.E.C. brings cases and whether defendants who settle can ever talk about them.
Ephrat Livni – NY Times
Elon Musk is in another fight about free speech — this time, not on Twitter, but in the Supreme Court. Quietly, amid all of the noise about Mr. Musk’s proposed acquisition of Twitter, he joined a little-noticed amicus brief filed last week that could have profound implications for how the Securities and Exchange Commission prosecutes cases and whether defendants who agree to settle can ever talk about them.
Biggest Treasury Buyer Outside U.S. Quietly Selling Billions
Michael MacKenzie and Chikako Mogi – Bloomberg
In times of Treasury turmoil, the biggest investor outside American soil has historically lent a helping hand. Not this time round. Japanese institutional managers — known for their legendary U.S. debt buying sprees in recent decades — are now fueling the great bond selloff just as the Federal Reserve pares its $9 trillion balance sheet.
The global stagflation shock of 2022: How bad could it get? The double blow of pandemic and war has caused inflation to surge and growth to slow around the world. But experts do not expect a return to the 1970s
Valentina Romei and Alan Smith – FT
Only last year, many economists were expecting 2022 to be a period of strong economic rebound. Businesses would return to full operation post-Covid. Consumers would be free to splash their accumulated savings on all the holidays and activities they had not been able to do during the pandemic. It would be a new “roaring twenties,” some said, in reference to the decade of consumerism that followed the 1918-21 influenza.
Elon Musk’s Twitter deal rewards risk-taking at Morgan Stanley; US bank’s central role in $44bn bid caps long effort to cement ties with the billionaire
Joshua Franklin, Eric Platt and Sujeet Indap and Miles Kruppa – FT
When Twitter’s board agreed to sell the company to Elon Musk last week, one Wall Street bank was at the centre of the deal: Morgan Stanley. Its role in the $44bn bid caps a years-long effort to cultivate ties with the world’s richest person. The terms of the financing underscore the risks investment bankers are willing to shoulder in order to win lucrative clients in the technology sector.
Surge of investment into carbon credits creates boom time for brokers; Resellers operating in opaque and unregulated market accused of cashing in at expense of environmental causes
Camilla Hodgson – FT
When a prospective buyer approached a group that restores Myanmar’s endangered mangroves about purchasing the credits used by companies to offset their carbon emissions, they were told the tokens had sold out. The carbon credits could be bought via a reseller but at a big mark-up — $30 each compared with $15 quoted by Worldview International Foundation, the conservationist. The price was almost three times what the reseller agreed to pay WIF for the credits in the first place.
Business cannot brush off ESG as a mere PR challenge; Managers must engage employees and align social responsibility with what their company actually does
Stefan Stern – FT
The writer is author of ‘How to Be a Better Leader’ and is a visiting professor at Bayes Business School, City, University of London Marks and Spencer is hiring. It needs a new ESG communications manager. The British retailer is looking for a “stellar candidate who combines substantial knowledge of issues such as plastics, human rights, climate change and diversity and inclusion”. You would have to be pretty stellar to have substantial knowledge of all those subjects.
Ukraine says it destroyed Russia’s Izyum command center, killing 200 but just missing Russia’s top general
Peter Weber – The Week
Ukrainian officials said an attack on a key Russian command center in the eastern city of Izyum on Saturday evening killed about 200 Russian troops, including Maj. Gen. Andrei Simonov, but just missed hitting the chief of the general staff of the Russian military, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, who had just concluded a secret visit to the army and airborne command center. Earlier, unconfirmed reports suggested Gerasimov was wounded in the strike.
Mass flight of tech workers turns Russian IT into another casualty of war; About 10 percent of the tech workforce is projected to leave Russia before the end of May
Anthony Faiola – The Washington Post
RIGA, Latvia — In his two-bedroom Moscow apartment, 35-year-old start-up wizard Pavel Telitchenko spent years mulling a move from Russia, fearing the gradual rise of a police state. Then, three days after the Kremlin’s tanks rolled into Ukraine, he made the hard choice — packing up his young family, along with his prized vinyl-record collection, and joining a historic exodus that includes a massive outflow of Russia’s best and brightest minds in tech.
Putin’s efforts to conceal the deaths and economic fallout from the Ukraine war will stop fooling Russians very soon, ex-Kremlin insider says
John Haltiwanger – Business Insider
It’s only a matter of time until Russians begin to see through Russian President Vladimir Putin’s propaganda on the Ukraine war, according to a former Kremlin insider who spoke to the Washington Post. “In three months, the shops and factories will run out of stocks, and the scale of deaths in the Russian military will become clear,” Sergei Pugachev, once part of Putin’s inner circle, told the Post. Pugachev, formerly known as “Putin’s banker,” fled to London in 2011 after falling out with the Russian leader. The ex-Russian banker, who’s been accused of embezzlement by the Russian government, has said the deterioration of his relationship with Putin made him fear for his life, per BBC News.
A Russian general who commanded electronic warfare units was killed in a strike that killed 100 soldiers, top Ukraine official says
Alia Shoaib – Business Insider
Russia has lost another general in Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to top Ukrainian officials, The Kyiv Post has reported Maj. Gen. Andrei Simonov was killed near the city of Izyum in the Kharkiv region, which is currently occupied by Russian forces, Ukrainian authorities said. The Ukrainian military attacked a field command post of the Russian 2nd Army on Saturday, striking more than 30 Russian armored vehicles, including tanks, according to the paper.
Sunflower Oil ‘Vanishes’ as Ukraine War Grinds On; Several British supermarkets have joined other chains around the world in asking shoppers to limit their cooking oil purchases, as supplies dwindle and prices rise.
Christine Hauser – NY Times
First the coronavirus, then the war. Just as the pandemic caused shortages of essential items, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted important food supplies, driving up prices of staples like cooking oil in supermarkets around the world. Before the war, Ukraine was the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil. The conflict has now paralyzed harvests and left many nations with limited stocks of edible oil and soaring prices for what’s left — worsening a food crisis in East Africa and leading to export restrictions in Indonesia. Some shoppers, most recently in Britain, are being limited in their purchases of cooking oils, as supermarkets and restaurants adjust to the climbing costs.
EU is expected to approve a Russian oil embargo in a bid to halt the Ukraine war, a report says
Sam Tabahriti – Business Insider
The European Union is expected to approve a Russian oil embargo in a bid to halt the Ukraine war. The New York Times and other outlets first reported the story. EU ambassadors are expected to meet on Wednesday to finalize the proposal, weeks after EU countries discussed the measure. The move would facilitate a quick approval and avoid the time-consuming process of gathering leaders, the Times reported.
Russia will pull out of the International Space Station over economic sanctions: report
John L. Dorman – Business Insider
The head of Russia’s space agency on Saturday said that the country would leave the International Space Station, which Moscow said is the result of economic sanctions imposed as a result of the country’s conflict in Ukraine, according to Bloomberg. Two Russian state news agencies — Tass and RIA Novosti — on Saturday reported that Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview that the decision had already been affirmed.
Putin’s war creates schism in Russian Orthodox Church
Last weekend, at a special midnight service in a packed church in Udine, in northeast Italy, a priest led his flock of Ukrainian, Russian and Eastern European immigrants through their usual Orthodox Easter traditions. But recently, he’s also accompanying them on a much less familiar path, sparked by the war in Ukraine.
Ex-NATO commander: Loss of top Russian officers amid invasion unprecedented in modern history
Chloe Folmar – The Hill
Retired Adm. James Stavridis, former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, claims that the Russian military’s “amazing incompetence” in Ukraine has resulted in a loss of generals and other top officers that is unprecedented in modern history.
Ukraine Central Bank Draws Red Lines for Its Bond Purchases; Bank is among largest contributors to Ukraine wartime funding; Policy makers urge Kyiv to rely on other sources of finance
Volodymyr Verbyany and Maciej Onoszko – Bloomberg
Sign up for the New Economy Daily newsletter, follow us @economics and subscribe to our podcast. Ukraine’s central bank warned that its financial lifeline to the government has its limits and urged the finance ministry in Kyiv to lean on outside help in efforts to shore up the economy as Russia presses forward with the invasion.
Russia bids to avoid dollar debt default with last-minute payment; Sanctions have constrained Moscow’s ability to meet bond obligations
Tommy Stubbington, Max Seddon and James Politi – FT
Russia appeared on the brink of averting a widely anticipated debt default on Friday after claiming it had made two overdue dollar bond payments previously blocked by western sanctions, despite what the central bank governor described as “a zone of colossal uncertainty” in the economy.
Russia could still default this week; Even if it is likely to be shortlived one (for now)
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
Last Friday, Russia did a reverse rug pull. After weeks of moaning about sanctions it unexpectedly said that it would make $649mn of bond payments originally due on April 4. The last-gasp attempt to stave off a formal default when the one-month grace period expires this Wednesday was unexpected. And that’s putting it mildly.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
OCC Re-elects Donohue as Executive Chairman, Elects Member and Public Directors at 2022 Stockholder Meeting
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, announced the election of two Class III Member Directors and two Class I Public Directors to its Board of Directors. In addition, Mr. Craig S. Donohue was re-elected as Executive Chairman of the Board. The vote took place during OCC’s annual stockholder meeting on April 29.
Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture – Effective May 02, 2022
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below.
Cash market sales statistics for April
Deutsche Börse Group
A trading volume of EUR150.3 billion was achieved on Deutsche Börse’s cash markets in April (previous year: EUR147.1 billion).
Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash | Updates May 2022
Dear Eurex Participant,
With this Newsflash, we would like to draw your attention to the upcoming publications, events and necessary actions for the ongoing initiatives:
Trading Overview in April 2022
Japan Exchange Group released Trading Overview in April 2022.
Cash Equity Market – In April 2022, the daily average trading value for the Prime Market (domestic common stocks) was JPY 3.0343 trillion; The daily average trading value for the ETF market was JPY264.1 billion.
NYSE Arca – Equities Fee Changes Effective May 2, 2022
Subject to effectiveness of a filing with the SEC, NYSE Arca intends to make the following changes for shares priced at or above $1.00, beginning May 2, 2022:
NYSE – Fee Changes Effective May 2, 2022
On May 2, 2022, pending effectiveness of a regulatory filing, the NYSE will be making the following revisions to its Equities Price List for shares with a price of $1.00 or above.
Boerse Stuttgart records April turnover of over EUR 6,7 billion; Securitised derivatives show increase in trading volume compared to the same month of the previous year
Based on the order book statistics, Boerse Stuttgart generated turnover of over EUR 6,7 billion in April. Securitised derivatives made up the largest share of the turnover. The trading volume in this asset class increased slightly compared to the same month of the previous year to around EUR 3,1 billion. Leverage products generated turnover of around EUR 2,3 billion. Investment products contributed around EUR 792 million to the total turnover.
Apple Inc., ‘After Steve’; A new history of the trillion-dollar company in the wake of Steve Jobs.
Clay Shirky – NY Times
Between 2001 and 2010, Apple launched the iPod, the iPhone, the MacBook Air and the iPad; each redefined its product category. Of these, the iPhone was the most important. Its obvious superiority forced every other company selling expensive phones to copy Apple’s design or collapse. (Nokia, BlackBerry and Palm were gutted within years.) The Apple of 2010, at the end of its decennium mirabilis, had a record of hardware innovation no other electronics firm could match. Including the Apple of 2020.
How Technocrats Triumphed at Apple; The man who helped give the world candy-colored computers eventually walked out the door. What does that mean for the company’s next big thing?
Tripp Mickle – NY Times
After two years of development, thousands of engineering hours and countless days agonizing over the suppleness of leather and strength of gold for Apple’s bold new product, the company’s design chief, Jony Ive, was thrust into a high-stakes debate over the most primitive concern: a tent.
How Twitter’s Board Went From Fighting Elon Musk to Accepting Him; It’s highly unusual to move from a “poison pill” to a $44 billion deal in under two weeks. But Twitter’s board ran out of options.
Lauren Hirsch and Mike Isaac – NY Times
Twitter’s board had reached the end of the road. It was April 24. Ten days earlier, Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, had made an unsolicited bid to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share. Alarmed by the out-of-the-blue proposal and uncertain if the offer was for real, the social media company had adopted a “poison pill,” a defensive maneuver to stop Mr. Musk from accumulating more of its shares.
Can Elon Musk Make Twitter’s Numbers Work?; Financially speaking, the billionaire’s buyout of the social media network breaks all the usual rules.
Anupreeta Das and Lauren Hirsch – NY Times
At the peak of the buyout boom in 2007, private equity firms including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts bought the Texas energy giant TXU for $45 billion. It was — and remains — the largest deal of its kind in American history. Now, a single billionaire is inching toward that record. Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, said this past week that he would pay roughly $44 billion to take Twitter private. If the deal closes, it would become the country’s second-largest buyout on record.
Financial-Technology Firms Tap AI to Reach More Borrowers; Access to more diverse sets of data and algorithms help fintech companies create alternative credit scores for underserved loan applicants
Angus Loten – FT
With an uptick in consumer lending, financial-technology companies see a chance to grow by filling gaps for underserved borrowers, online lenders and industry analysts say. Rather than relying on traditional credit scores, many fintech lenders are feeding a wider range of data into platforms powered by artificial intelligence to present a broader picture of applicants who might otherwise be turned away by banks.
Apple Hit With EU Antitrust Complaint Over iPhone Payments; EU sends Apple statement of objections in Apple Pay probe; Apple says its contactless pay system helps protect users
Stephanie Bodoni and Jillian Deutsch – Bloomberg
Apple Inc. was hit by a formal antitrust complaint from the European Union for restricting access to technology and services that allow users to make payments direct from their iphones.
Apple charged by Brussels with abusing its market power in mobile payments; EU preliminary findings say US group limits rivals’ access to ‘tap and go’ technology
Javier Espinoza – FT
Brussels regulators have charged Apple with breaking EU competition law by abusing its dominant position in mobile payments to limit rivals’ access to contactless technology. Antitrust investigators are concerned that the US tech group is preventing competitors from accessing “tap and go” chips or near-field communication (NFC) to benefit its own Apple Pay system, the European Commission said in a statement on Monday.
Nobody Knows Where the Red Line Is for Cyberwarfare; Is offense the best defense? Or would threats of retaliation keep an enemy in check?
Katrina Manson – Bloomberg
A common explanation for why the Soviet Union never used nuclear weapons during the Cold War was the expectation that any attack would likely prompt a devastating nuclear response. The fear of mutually assured destruction was enough to keep both the USSR and the U.S. from launching a nuclear attack, even as they spent decades building up huge stockpiles of weapons.
Cybersecurity metrics corporate boards want to see
Pete Lindstrom – CSO Online
Cybersecurity pros interested in metrics and measures frequently ponder and pontificate on what measures would be best to show the board of directors. That can be a tricky proposition because “we have to speak like the business” is also a mantra. Coming up with cybersecurity metrics from a business perspective can be a challenge. So how can we solve this problem and provide useful insight?
ETR Technology Survey Cites Cybersecurity as Highest Priority for IT Spending
Enterprise Technology Research (ETR), a technology market research firm, released its latest Technology Spending Intentions Survey (TSIS). The TSIS shows cybersecurity leads as the highest IT priority, followed by a significant increase in network spending. The survey also reveals that tech hiring is at the highest levels ever reported in TSIS, and 64% of the workforce will embrace some form of remote work permanently.
Cybersecurity and the Pareto Principle: The future of zero-day preparedness
Jeremy Colvin – VentureBeat
It’s a 40-year reunion sequel to the movie “War Games.” The scene starts as everyone is getting ready for Christmas break and a community of mischievous Minecraft players makes an unbelievable discovery: a systemic software exploit in the open-source Java logging library embedded as a core component of most internet workloads. The vulnerability is easy to exploit and enables remote-code execution, leaving IT and security teams around the world scrambling. Instead of science fiction, this was reality as thousands of security teams around the globe worked through the holidays to determine the extent of their dependency on Log4j and quickly patch together fixes for the initial disclosure and permutations thereafter.
Mining $140 worth of bitcoin a month: A miner explains how he started by using his work computer and then scaling to a GPU rig. He also shares the software he used to increase hash rates.
Laila Maidan – Business Insider
About a year into lockdowns, Vic Laranja found himself struggling with “Covid boredom”. He was working on social media content for marketing campaigns and wanted an additional hobby. So in October of 2021, he decided to try his luck with crypto mining out of his home in Sarnia, a town in Ontario, Canada. Since he loves building things, he thought it might be a fun project to pass time.
Crypto and the Dollar Are Partners, Not Rivals; The disruptions of Covid and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have shown the strength of the Western system and the weakness of China’s.
Niall Ferguson – Bloomberg
“My hope is that it creates world peace or helps create world peace.” That’s what Jack Dorsey, the former Twitter Inc. chief executive and now head of the digital payments company Block Inc., said about Bitcoin at a webinar in July 2021. It is more likely that war creates a bigger global appetite for Bitcoin. Times of tumult are often associated with monetary transformations. A classic example is the way, in the time of the Black Death and the Hundred Years’ War, the English monetary system was fundamentally altered.
Crypto VC Firm Archetype Set to Close $150 Million Fund
Hannah Miller – Bloomberg
Archetype, an early-stage crypto venture capital firm, plans to close a $150 million fund on May 2. It will be the second fund for the year-old firm, which named Katherine Wu as a venture partner earlier this year after poaching her from Coinbase Global Inc. The new fund will focus on startups in a variety of different areas of the crypto industry, said Archetype founder and general partner Ash Egan. Egan said in an interview that crypto is on the brink of greater mainstream adoption.
Bitcoin-Bond Sale Flop Deepens Debt Market Rout in El Salvador; Plan to sell $1 billion Bitcoin-backed bonds has stalled; El Salvador has $800 million bond coming due in January 2023
Michael D McDonald – Bloomberg
For five months now, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has been trying to hawk a Bitcoin-backed bond to international investors. This, he’s insisted, is a better option than turning to multilateral lenders in Washington for more conventional financing.
Solana Suffers Seven-Hour Outage as NFT Demand Spills Over; Bots flood network with record-breaking number of transaction; Latest blackout adds to ongoing Solana stability woes
Emily Nicolle – Bloomberg
The Solana blockchain is recovering after going dark in a seven-hour outage, caused by a significant rush of bots trying to mint nonfungible tokens on the crypto network. An NFT minting program for Solana called Candy Machine struggled under a tsunami of traffic from bots seeking to push through transactions late Saturday, which caused Solana’s mainnet to fall out of consensus and crash as nodes belonging to validators collapsed under the weight. Validators are computers that verify transactions to maintain the integrity of the blockchain.
Bored Ape Metaverse Frenzy Raises Millions, Crashes Ethereum; Users scramble for NFT deeds to 55,000 plots of virtual land; Prices soar in secondary market, Ethereum gas fees jump
Olga Kharif and Jialiang David Pan – Bloomberg
Yuga Labs, the creator of the popular Bored Apes Yacht Club collection of NFTs, launched a sale Saturday of virtual land related to its highly anticipated metaverse project, raising about $320 million worth of cryptocurrency in the largest offering of its kind. Demand was so strong that activity related to the event caused ripple effects across the entire Ethereum blockchain, disrupting activity and sending transaction fees soaring.
Twitter Isn’t for Quitters; One thing that unites conservatives and liberals? No matter how loudly they denounce the social media platform, they don’t actually leave.
Jeremy W. Peters – NY Times
It was the moment conservative Twitter tried to cancel itself. Major social media networks were moving aggressively to crack down on serial spreaders of false and potentially inciting information, as myths about Covid and voter fraud swirled around the 2020 election. Right-wing commentators and activists vowed en masse to delete their accounts.
‘American democracy is not a reality show’: Biden roasts, and reflects, at WHCD; Amid the jokes, the president often struck a serious tone.
Myah Ward – Politico
President Joe Biden used Saturday night’s return of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner to reaffirm the role of the free press — a stark contrast to his predecessor’s toxic relationship with the media and refusal to attend the event during his four years in office. “The free press is not the enemy of the people, far from it,” Biden said, in a nod to one of former President Donald Trump’s favorite media attack lines. “The truth matters. American democracy is not a reality show. It’s not a reality show. It’s reality itself.”
‘Ridiculous’: Rand Paul’s comments on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine blasted as echoing Putin’s propaganda
Morgan Watkins – Louisville Courier Journal
Sen. Rand Paul got flak Tuesday for his comments on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with some people criticizing him for echoing one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s talking points. During an exchange with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Paul pointed out that Russia’s attacks, in the recent past, have been on countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. Putin has publicly dismissed Ukraine’s right to function as a sovereign nation separate from Russia.
Hungary Floats Veto Threat as EU Works to Ban Russian Oil
Zoltan Simon – Bloomberg
Hungary would be ready to veto European Union sanctions on Russia’s oil industry if the measures restricted Budapest’s ability to import energy, according to a senior official in Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government.
Germany to Woo India With G-7 Invite in Bid to Isolate Putin; Berlin also asking South Africa, Senegal, Indonesia to meeting; Chancellor Olaf Scholz hosts India’s Modi in Berlin Monday
Michael Nienaber – Bloomberg
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz plans to invite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as special guest to a Group of Seven leaders’ summit next month as part of an effort to forge a broader international alliance against Russia. Germany, which currently holds the rotating G-7 presidency, will also welcome the leaders of Indonesia, South Africa and Senegal to the gathering in the Bavarian Alps June 26 to June 28, Scholz’s spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said Monday at a regular news conference in Berlin, confirming a Bloomberg report published Sunday. The German leader is hosting Modi for talks in Berlin later on Monday and there will also be a joint German-Indian cabinet meeting.
Europe Is in Danger. It Always Is.
Caroline de Gruyter – NY Times
In July 2020, along with European officials and experts, I was asked to take part in a policy game. Convened by a German think tank, we were asked to play out what would happen if either Matteo Salvini or Marine Le Pen, the far-right leaders in Italy and France, came to power. We spent a few hours frenziedly debating how the European Union would respond to each occurrence. Of one thing we were sure: It would be a disaster.
SEC Commemorates Financial Capability Month with Robust Slate of Investor Education Events and Resources; Chair Gary Gensler: “Take advantage of free tools and unbiased information on Investor.gov”
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) commemorated National Financial Capability Month by hosting a slate of outreach and education events for investors. In addition to the events, Chair Gary Gensler released a video message to mark April as Financial Capability Month. “Investors across our country use our capital markets every day to prepare for retirement, save for education, or prepare for bumps along the way,” said Chair Gary Gensler in the video message. “I encourage you all to take the time you need when making investment decisions and take advantage of the free tools and unbiased information on Investor.gov.”
Small Business Advisory Committee to Host Virtual Meeting to Discuss Proposed Rules on Climate Disclosures and SPACs
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee today released the agenda for its virtual meeting on Friday, May 6, which will examine the Commission’s proposed rules on climate-related disclosures and Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs).
Investing and Trading
April Extends Bond Investors’ Woes; Growing expectations for interest-rate increases send the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to its biggest monthly gain in 13 years
Matt Grossman – WSJ
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note logged its biggest monthly increase in more than a decade in April, lifted by mounting expectations for higher interest rates that have deepened the pain for debt investors. Bond yields, which rise when bond prices fall, have been surging since the start of the year, with few signs of slowing down. Inflation has remained stubbornly high and analysts have ratcheted up forecasts for how aggressively the Federal Reserve will act to tame it.
How to Figure Out if You Can Actually Afford That New Home; It’s tempting to jump into the home-buying frenzy. But with prices up and mortgage rates surging, make sure you do the math first.
Tara Siegel Bernard – NY Times
High inflation often translates to high anxiety, which is why many Americans are striving to lock in the cost of one of their most basic, most human needs: a home. But with housing prices already at lofty levels and mortgage rates spiraling, many buyers may be tempted to jump in before they’re ready — or because they fear the situation will only get worse.
The Stock Market Isn’t Falling Like It Did In the 1970s—It’s Even Worse
Ben Levisohn – Barron’s
It was the worst first four months of the year for the stock market since the 1970s! No, the 1930s! Can’t we just say it was a really bad start to the year? “Bad” might not do it justice. After dropping 3.3% this past week, the S&P 500 index has fallen 13% during the first four months of the year, its worst start since 1939. But the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after falling 2.5% for the week, has slumped 9.2% in 2022, its worst start since 2020. Not to be outdone, the Nasdaq Composite tumbled 3.9% during the week, putting it down 17% for the first four months of the year. That’s its worst start to a year on record going back to 1971.
Fed Prepares Double-Barreled Tightening With Bond Runoff; Officials’ plans for their $9 trillion asset portfolio reflect many similarities—and differences—from earlier experiment to shrink holdings
Nick Timiraos – WSJ
To support financial markets and the economy during the pandemic, the Federal Reserve more than doubled its asset portfolio of mostly Treasury and mortgage securities to a mammoth $9 trillion. This Wednesday, officials are to announce plans on how they will shrink those holdings. Expect the process to be faster and potentially more disruptive to financial markets than last time.
Berkshire Hathaway Reports Drop in Earnings, Driven by Investment Losses; Warren Buffett, at the conglomerate’s annual meeting, said Berkshire had been buying stock in the video game company Activision. And dissident shareholder proposals failed.
Stephen Gandel – NY Times
Berkshire Hathaway, the insurance and investing conglomerate that is run by the billionaire and investment legend Warren E. Buffett, reported on Saturday a significant drop in earnings in the first quarter. Profits at the company, which owns a diverse array of American brands from the car insurer Geico to the ice cream chain Dairy Queen, fell to $5.4 billion. That was down 53 percent from the nearly $12 billion that it earned in the same three months a year ago. Those profits were also lower than the $6 billion that analysts had expected the company would earn in the quarter.
In Markets, the Spring of Our Discontent Is Happening; A cruel April put an end to many pandemic-era expectations. With sentiment this negative, more big adjustments can be expected.
John Authers – Bloomberg
April Really Was the Cruelest Month
Great poetry can lead to some inaccurate cliches. Any number of winters are dubbed a “winter of discontent,” for example. And then there is the notion that “April is the cruelest month,” the opening line from T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland.” It’s trotted out every year, even though April tends not to be cruel. For the stock market, it tends to be one of the kindest months. History’s big stock market selloffs have mostly come in the second half of the year. Remarkably, 2022 was the worst April for the S&P 500 since World War II:
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Conservation Tax-Break Deals Keep Flowing Despite IRS Crackdown; Officials, citing abuse, persist in protracted wrestling match with promoters offering clients huge tax deductions
Richard Rubin – WSJ
More than six years into an Internal Revenue Service clampdown on what the agency says are abuses of land-conservation tax incentives, the deals keep coming. IRS officials had hoped to shut down the most aggressive operations in a mini-industry built around tax breaks. Instead, they are in a protracted wrestling match with deal promoters. Government scrutiny pushed out some deal makers, but that ceded the market to others, who set aside reserves for legal expenses and risks and bet on beating the IRS through litigation.
Record Fertilizer Prices Drive Investors, Farmers to Microbes; Startups pitch alternative fertilizers for crops as a cheaper and more environmentally friendly option
Patrick Thomas and Amrith Ramkumar – WSJ
Startups marketing alternative crop fertilizers said they are gaining traction among U.S. farmers and investors, pitching themselves as a potentially cheaper option as prices for traditional fertilizers surge. Companies such as Pivot Bio, Kula Bio and Anuvia are pushing development of farm fertilizers by harnessing microbes or plant-based products to deliver nutrients that corn and other crops need. They aim to replace traditional fertilizers produced from natural gas or mined underground, prices of which have hit records this year due to supply-chain constraints and Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Tariff Probe Casts Shadow on U.S. Solar Build-Out; NextEra, Xcel and Southern cite delays as Commerce Department investigates Chinese manufacturers
Katherine Blunt – WSJ
American utilities are anticipating a significant slowdown in the build-out of new solar farms amid a U.S. probe into Asian solar panels that has created uncertainty for developers and manufacturers and caused widespread delays and cancellations. Companies including NextEra Energy Inc., Xcel Energy Inc. and Southern Co. have recently flagged the effects that the solar panel probe, led by the Commerce Department, could have on projects in the works this year, with several anticipating monthslong delays in completion.
Exxon Mobil’s Shade of Green Is What Investors Want; Russia exit and disappointing refining profits led to a mixed quarter, but buyback should be enough to quell investors
Jinjoo Lee – WSJ
There is nothing like flashing some green to excite energy investors these days, so long as it is the hue of cold, hard cash. Exxon Mobil’s first quarter was something of a mixed bag. The company posted a quarterly net profit of $5.5 billion the first quarter, well short of the $9.5 billion analysts polled by Visible Alpha had been penciling in. The big gap was due to a hefty after-tax charge related to Exxon’s exit from Russia (which accounted for less than 2% of production last year), but even without that impact, its earnings would have been about $700 million below expectations.
Rich Nations Scramble to Seal Coal Transition Deals Before COP27; Talks over multibillion-dollar packages ahead of the United Nations climate summit in November have been hindered by national politics and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Jess Shankleman, Jennifer A Dlouhy, and Archana Chaudhary – Bloomberg
As they prepare for the next round of global climate talks in November, officials from rich countries are trying to pull together a series of multibillion-dollar packages to help poor countries phase out coal. But negotiations have been snarled by national politics and Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has made the dirtiest fossil fuel a lucrative commodity to mine and export, according to people familiar with the talks who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
ESG Investing Is Hard. Doing It via ETFs Is Harder; Passive funds with a do-good focus have become one of the hottest corners of finance.
Natasha White – Bloomberg
Over the past 15 years, two accelerating trends have reshaped finance: passive investing via funds that track broad indexes, and a focus on enterprises deemed sustainable, using so-called ESG, or environmental, social, and governance criteria. These days, the two frequently come together in the form of ESG exchange-traded funds that aim to marry sustainability considerations with the risk-balanced advantages of index investing. Last year, almost two-thirds of new ETFs had ESG ambitions, says David Hsu, an ETF specialist at Vanguard. Such funds are “by far the largest category of product being launched,” he says.
Mitsui & Co. Profit Hits Record, to Stay Involved in Russian Gas; Company to continue involvement in Sakhalin-II project; Trade house to buy back 3% of shares to reward investors
Masumi Suga and Grace Huang – Bloomberg
Japanese trading giant Mitsui & Co. nearly tripled its full-year profit to an all-time high on soaring energy and commodity prices, and said the company will keep its involvement in liquefied natural gas projects in Russia.
Deutsche Bank AGM Shouldn’t Absolve Leaders, Advisor Says; Glass Lewis lists probes against bank’s asset management unit; Deutsche Bank’s offices in Frankfurt were raided last week
Alexander Michael Pearson and Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here. Deutsche Bank AG shareholders shouldn’t sign off on management’s actions for the past year, an influential advisory firm recommended, citing ongoing legal investigations against the lender.
Sieving the alphabet soup of banks’ capital requirements; Ideas to simplify lenders’ buffers have merit but important caveats
The editorial board – FT
Less is more, as every good designer knows. When it comes to bank capital’s blueprint, the UK’s top supervisor of lenders has suggested going back to the drawing board. It is a beguiling concept: complexity can bring cost, inhibit scrutiny and facilitate gaming of the system. Sam Woods, a Bank of England deputy governor, instead wants simplified but more swingeing capital requirements for big banks around the world. His ideas are kite-flying rather than formal proposals. Or as he put it, akin to a concept car designed to prompt a conversation rather than be roadworthy. Still, they are worth examining.
China meets banks to discuss protecting assets from US sanctions; Officials concerned that measures taken against Moscow could also be applied to Beijing
Sun Yu – FT
Chinese regulators have held an emergency meeting with domestic and foreign banks to discuss how they could protect the country’s overseas assets from US-led sanctions similar to those imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, according to people familiar with the discussion.
Covid-19 Cases Rise in the U.S., With Limited Impact; Hospitalizations are climbing, but with comparatively fewer severe cases or fresh mitigation efforts
Brianna Abbott and Jon Kamp – WSJ
As new Omicron variants further infiltrate the U.S., a jumble of signals suggest the latest increase in Covid-19 infections hasn’t sparked a commensurate surge in severe illness even as risks remain. Covid-19 virus levels detected in wastewater in the Northeast, the first region to see significant concentrations of the easily transmitted Omicron BA.2 variant, appear to have flattened out in the past two weeks. Covid-19 hospital admissions have risen in the region, but they remain far below levels during earlier surges that indicated widespread severe illness and taxed healthcare facilities.
Pfizer’s Covid-19 Pill Failed Study Testing Its Preventive Use; Paxlovid, authorized to treat high-risk people early in infection, didn’t meaningfully reduce illness in exposed adults
Jared S. Hopkins – WSJ
The Covid-19 pill from Pfizer Inc. failed to prevent symptomatic infections in adults who had been exposed to the pandemic virus, a late-stage study found. Pfizer said Friday that the drug, named Paxlovid, failed the study’s main objective of meaningfully reducing the risk of confirmed and symptomatic Covid-19 infections in adults who were exposed to the virus by someone in their household. Paxlovid was cleared for use in December by U.S. health regulators to treat people 12 years and older early in the course of their disease who are at high risk of developing severe Covid-19.
China COVID hard line eats into everything from Teslas to tacos
Zhang Yan and Brenda Goh – Reuters
When Tesla’s Shanghai plant and other auto factories were shut over the last two months by emergency measures to control China’s biggest COVID-19 outbreak, the burning question was how quickly they could restart to meet surging demand. But with the Shanghai lockdown grinding into its fourth week, and similar measures imposed in dozens of smaller cities, the world’s largest boom market for electric cars has gone bust.
China’s Manufacturing Activity Pummeled by Covid Restrictions; Data offer early glimpse of the coming economic toll from strict zero-tolerance lockdowns in Shanghai, other cities
Jonathan Cheng – WSJ
Readings of Chinese factory and service-sector activity worsened dramatically in April, falling to their lowest levels since the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak, as recent lockdowns in dozens of cities across the country shut factories and pummeled consumer spending. China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday that its official manufacturing purchasing managers index dropped to 47.4 in April, from 49.5 in March, falling to its lowest level since February 2020. The result fell short of the median forecast of 48.0 among economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, and well below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.
Beer, Chicken Price Hikes Show Japan Inflation at Tipping Point
Shikhar Balwani and Hideyuki Sano – Bloomberg
Shares of Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. jumped as much as 7% last Wednesday after the company said it would raise prices for its ‘Super Dry’ beer and other beverages for the first time in years. Convenience-store operator Lawson Inc. earlier this month said it would increase rates for its popular “Karaage-Kun” fried chicken for the first time in 36 years. While inflation in Japan is still muted versus other nations, energy and input prices for businesses have been climbing at the fastest pace in over four decades — thanks to supply disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine and the yen’s plunge.
Qantas Revives Plan for World’s Longest Direct Flights; Airbus A350s will fly Sydney to London and New York non-stop; ‘Project Sunrise’ had been derailed as Covid smashed aviation
Angus Whitley – Bloomberg
Qantas Airways Ltd. revived a plan to start direct flights connecting Australia’s east coast with New York and London as it finally ordered Airbus SE jets for the ultra-long services. The airline said Monday it’s buying 12 A350-1000s that can fly non-stop from Australia to any city in the world. Commercial services will start from Sydney in late 2025, Qantas said.
Australia Wealth Fund Posts Biggest Quarterly Loss in Two Years
Matthew Burgess – Bloomberg
Australia’s sovereign wealth fund suffered its largest quarterly loss in two years amid renewed geopolitical and monetary policy risks. Future Fund lost 1.5% in the three months to March 31, the biggest drop since the same period in 2020, causing its main fund to shrink to A$201 billion ($141 billion) from A$204 billion, it said in statement Monday. At the same time, the fund reduced its cash holdings as allocation into Australian and developed market stocks and so-called alternative assets increased, the statement said.
Putin’s Efforts to Save Ruble Spurs Zimbabwe’s President to Act; State to reverse trend and will prefer local unit to greenback; Zimbabwe dollar is Africa’s worst-performing currency
Ray Ndlovu – Bloomberg
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa is trying to emulate Russian President Vladimir Putin in his attempt to revive Africa’s worst performing currency. Mnangagwa’s administration may announce plans as early as this week for government departments in Zimbabwe — under U.S. sanctions for economic mismanagement and human rights violations for the past two decades — to show “high preference” for the Zimbabwe dollar in the payment of services, according to Persistence Gwanyanya, a Harare-based economist and member of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Monetary Policy Committee.
Once a Money-Laundering Risk, Latvia Looks to Rebuild Reputation in Face of Russia Sanctions; In Latvia, some banks have stopped processing Russia-related transactions, only to see their clients attempt to reroute payments through other countries
Dylan Tokar – WSJ
Latvia’s banking sector was once viewed by some as a hub for dirty money flowing out of Russia. Now, with the U.S. and Europe imposing an array of economic sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the former Soviet republic faces a new challenge: proving it can enforce the punishing measures. The country is among a number of Baltic and Nordic nations on the front line in the economic war being waged against Russia. Many businesses in those countries have longstanding ties with their neighbor to the east, and the banks that service them have grappled with thorny questions in recent weeks about how to navigate an increasingly complex array of prohibited transactions.
The Great Resignation is becoming a “great midlife crisis”; Older, more tenured people are increasingly quitting their jobs.
Rani Molla – Vox
With prices soaring and analysts predicting a recession on the horizon, it might not seem like the best time to quit your job. But that’s not keeping American workers, especially older, more tenured ones, from doing so.
The Pros and Cons of Starting a Business With Your Spouse; For some people, there’s nothing better than working with their best friend. But there’s such a thing as too much togetherness.
Molly Baker – WSJ
You’re supposed to choose a business partner just like you choose a spouse. Somebody you know well, who shares your values, whom you can trust implicitly. So, why not just choose your spouse? It is a choice that plenty of entrepreneurs have made—and seen great success. Both partners are fully invested in the business, full time. There is always someone to talk about the business, day or night. You have someone who understands what you’re going through at work and at home.
Apple employees refuse office return because it will make company ‘whiter, more male-dominated’
Joe Pinkstone – Telegraph
Employees of the tech giant Apple are revolting against a plan to get staff back into the office for three days a week, claiming it will make the company “younger, whiter and more male-dominated”. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has said his proposed “hybrid working pilot” for US, Europe and UK employees is an attempt to balance the corporate benefits of in-office working with the personal advantages that working from home gives staff members.
Should People Combine Their Money After Marriage? Modern couples have lots of options for handling their finances. What matters most is getting the communication started.
Erin Lowry – Bloomberg
There is one way a married couple is supposed to handle money: jointly. Well, that’s how it used to be — after all, women needed a male co-signer to access credit until 1974. Today’s married couples have more options when it comes to how to manage their money. The classic of being completely joint remains. It’s streamlined, it’s simple, it’s what you might’ve grown up with. The second option is some level of separation. This has sometimes been advised in secret: Mothers would warn daughters to squirrel some money away in case they needed to escape a bad marriage.