The Crypto Collapse and the End of the Magical Thinking That Infected Capitalism

Jan 16, 2023

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the U.S. and the U.S. markets are closed. The JLN team is taking the rest of the day off after publishing JLN this morning and will return for tomorrow’s newsletter. There will be no JLN Options published today.

If you missed the last part of our interview with Gilbert Leistner from his Open Outcry Traders History Project interview, don’t. He talks about estimating the cost to firms of running the CME trading floor and why open outcry was doomed. He ultimately became one of two consultants to Eurex in their early days and has stories that are politically incorrect today and were then. Gil taught me all about options and is a great Chicago markets storyteller.

Citadel’s Ken Griffin unloaded another piece of his Chicago real estate portfolio, this time selling his 66th floor Park Tower condo for $11.2 million. He bought the unit in 2012 for $15 million, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Jamie Dimon was being very frank when he said JP Morgan’s Frank acquisition was a “huge mistake,” Bloomberg reported. It is nice to see Dimon be so candid, direct, forthright, plain-spoken, straightforward, straight from the shoulder, explicit, unequivocal, unambiguous and unvarnished about the Frank acquisition.

Keith Cacciola is starting a new position as chief customer officer at Sterling Trading Tech.

The home of the basketball team the Miami Heat will no longer be named the “FTX Arena” and instead have the temporary name of Miami-Dade Arena, the New York Post reports. The FTX name is plastered all over the arena, which is going to take some doing to get rid of.

The legendary Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida has died at the age of 95. Besides being an actress alongside the likes of Rock Hudson and Humphrey Bogart, she was a sculptor, painter and photographer, Bloomberg reported.

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

*****

Ceres Global is convening March 22-24, 2023, in New York City at the New York Marriott Marquis. Institutional investors, C-Suite executives, policymakers, and other capital market participants will discuss how to advance solutions for creating a more just and inclusive zero emissions economy. Topics covered include the role of business in creating just and inclusive economies; decarbonizing high emitting sectors; sustainable finance and investment; climate policy; valuing water; and nature and biodiversity. You can view the agenda and register to attend here.~SAED

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Marex’s Guy Wolf talks about ESG and carbon markets at FIA Expo 2022
JohnLothianNews.com

Dr. Guy Wolf, Global Head of Market Analytics at Marex, spoke with John Lothian News at FIA Expo 2022 about ESG – particularly the environmental part. He said Marex is looking to be carbon neutral this year and has invested in a mangrove restoration and reforestation project in Indonesia to offset its own footprint. Becoming carbon neutral is also critical for the company’s clients, who are heavily involved in commodities.

Watch the video »

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Just How Common Is Corporate Fraud?; A new study estimates that on average 10 percent of public companies commit securities fraud each year.
Ephrat Livni – The New York Times
On a recent visit to Salt Lake City, Alexander Dyck ordered Chinese takeout and received a branded fortune cookie wishing him wealth and promoting FTX, presumably packaged before the crypto empire’s epic collapse. “I should have saved it,” he said regretfully. Mr. Dyck is a professor of finance at the University of Toronto, who just published a provocative new study on the pervasiveness of corporate fraud. The study has been passed around in the world of academia in recent weeks, and has become a fascination among general counsels, corporate leaders and investors.
/jlne.ws/3IViBua

****** How common is stupidity is a better question.~JJL

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Former FTX US President Accuses SBF of ‘Gaslighting and Manipulation’
Andre Beganski – Decrypt
Former President of FTX US Brett Harrison shared details of his tenure under Sam Bankman-Fried on Saturday, distancing himself from the disgraced crypto mogul who’s been charged with a series of financial crimes. In a flurry of Twitter posts, Harrison accused Bankman-Fried of “gaslighting and manipulation,” claiming he was isolated as a leader while working to build out the defunct cryptocurrency exchange’s presence in the U.S.
/jlne.ws/3ZBVdrz

***** I always liked Brett Harrison and I became very suspicious of FTX when he left. It just did not make sense, other than burnout of drinking from the firehose of the life of crypto and FTX. It was kind of like when Refco executive William Sexton suddenly resigned in September before the Columbus Day announcement that Refco CEO Phillip Bennett had “improperly taken on $430 million in bad debts owed to the company,” as the Wall Street Journal reported. I had that feeling of deja vu when Harrison resigned suddenly.~JJL

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Sam Bankman-Fried was a spiteful and insecure boss who gaslit anyone that challenged him, FTX’s former US chief says
George Glover – Business Insider
Sam Bankman-Fried was a spiteful and insecure manager who reacted badly to any conflict or criticism, according to a former top executive for FTX’s US-based operation. Brett Harrison, who was the president of FTX US between May 2021 and September 2022, slammed the disgraced former crypto billionaire in a series of tweets Saturday.
/jlne.ws/3w6G4kt

***** SBF is failing in so many ways. Here is another example.~JJL

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Climate Activists Say Big Oil Is Taking Cycling Fans for a Ride; Sports sponsorships have emerged as a major battleground in the push to ban fossil fuel companies from advertising their brands.
Oscar Boyd and Laura Millan Lombrana – Bloomberg
It was around noon on Sunday and the crowds had gathered in Adelaide for the first day of Australia’s Tour Down Under. As the cyclists whizzed past, a group of elderly women turned their backs and pulled down their skirts. Beneath their naked bottoms, six big letters spelled out Santos – the oil and gas company sponsoring the first major race on the professional cycling calendar – to chants of “we got rid of Big Tobacco, we’ll get rid of Santos too.”
/jlne.ws/3Wk8odH

****** This is one way for the end of big oil.~JJL

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Davos Confronts a New World Order; The Covid-19 pandemic, invasion of Ukraine, trend toward autocracy and economic inequalities challenge the World Economic Forum’s relevance.
Roger Cohen – The New York Times
The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, finds itself navigating troubled waters. Long the affluent symbol of a globalizing world where the assumption was that more trade would bring more freedom, it now confronts international fracture, ascendant nationalism and growing protectionism under the shadow of war in Europe and sharp tensions between the United States and China.
/jlne.ws/3ZI3ni3

****** There are several JLN readers at Davos this year. I hope they can make a difference.~JJL

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F@*$#*!; 2022 was a record year for earnings call swearing
Robin Wigglesworth – Financial Times
Look, we’ve all sworn at inopportune times. It’s entirely understandable that even chief executives and CFOs occasionally find themselves cussing on quarterly earnings calls. Especially these days. Unfortunately, many services that transcribe earnings calls are a bit censorious, and render the occasional swear word as [expletive]. But that allows us to track how often people let rip without having to manually put together a list of all potential “bad” words.
/jlne.ws/3H81Z0X

****** The FT’s Phil Stafford had the best comment on Twitter, something to the effect that this record was made without Phupinder Gill as CEO of CME Group.~JJL

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Friday’s Top Three
Our top story was The Only Living Boy in Palo Alto, subtitled “Scenes from a surreal, often sad, otherworldly visit at home with Sam Bankman-Fried,” from Puck. Second was Coinbase Strikes a Massive Blow to Bankman-Fried and FTX, subtitled “Cryptocurrency exchange CEO Brian Armstrong delivers a scathing critique of his rival,” from The Street. Third was a tie between Business Insider’s Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents, who bought him a dog while he’s under house arrest, are some of the only people he still speaks to. Here’s what we know about the Stanford Law professors and – breaking from the Sam Bankman-Fried theme – A millennial founder who sold her company to JP Morgan for $175 million allegedly paid a college professor $18K to fabricate 4 million accounts. Their email exchange is a doozy, from Fortune.

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MarketsWiki Stats
27,128 pages; 242,297 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

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Lead Stories

The Crypto Collapse and the End of the Magical Thinking That Infected Capitalism
Mihir A. Desai – The New York Times
At a guest lecture at a military academy when the price of a single Bitcoin neared $60,000, I was asked, as finance professors often are, what I thought about cryptocurrencies. Rather than respond with my usual skepticism, I polled the students. More than half of attendees had traded cryptocurrencies, often financed by loans. I was stunned. How could this population of young people come to spend time and energy in this way? And these students were hardly alone. The appetite for crypto has been most pronounced among Gen Z and millennials. Those groups became investors in the past 15 years at previously unseen rates and with exceedingly optimistic expectations.
/jlne.ws/3XxKfS3

Why central banks should not push ahead with CBDCs; The huge undertaking of digital currencies is not worth the costs and risks
Tony Yates – Financial Times (opinion)
The private sector crypto world might be imploding in flames, but around the world central banks are pushing on with their own digital asset projects. China has rolled out its central bank digital currency (CBDC) to several cities and it was available for use at the Winter Olympics. Many other central banks – including the Bank of England – are thinking about it and seem well disposed. The list of other enthusiast banks includes those of the eurozone, US, Sweden and Canada. India has already launched a pilot scheme, while Mexico has confirmed the launch of a digital peso by 2024.
/jlne.ws/3w8GW88

CME Group SOFR Futures and Options Trade a Record 7.56 Million Contracts on January 12
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today announced new milestones in the growth of its SOFR derivatives contracts, with a single-day record of 7,558,467 SOFR futures and options traded and record open interest (OI) of 35,698,298 contracts on January 12. Individually, SOFR futures reached a record of 4,513,725 contracts traded on the same day. SOFR options traded a record 3,044,742 contracts and reached record OI of 26,258,989 contracts on January 12.
/jlne.ws/3ZI2Bl9

Congress ‘long overdue’ to ban stock trading, Abigail Spanberger says
Rich Calder – NY Post
A Virginia pol says it’s time for Congress to finally pass her stalled bill banning fellow members and their families from trading stock while in office, after a new report found dozens of lawmakers beat the market in 2022 despite Wall Street suffering its worst year since 2008. “These numbers illustrate the obvious – that we are long overdue for a vote on legislation to ban” stock trading in Congress – the Trust in Congress Act, Rep. Abigail Spanberger told The Post.
/jlne.ws/3QG9Oy9

The lure of Singapore: Chinese flock to ‘Asia’s Switzerland’; Geopolitical tension has increased the city-state’s attraction as a financial outpost and safe haven. But can it maintain its neutrality?
Mercedes Ruehl and Leo Lewis in Singapore – Financial Times
Shortly after opening its doors on a Tuesday morning in mid-December, the Rolls-Royce showroom in Singapore’s Redhill neighbourhood was already bustling. US-China tensions remain high, financial markets are skittish, the risk of global recession looms heavily: it is the perfect time to put down an $80,000 deposit on a hot pink Phantom.
/jlne.ws/3QHgFaq

Germany joins battle against EU ban on financial product commission
Huw Jones – Reuters
Banning commission-based sales of financial products from banks and insurers would be a “serious setback” to the European Union’s capital market and limit choice for consumers, Germany’s finance minister Christian Lindner has said. EU financial services chief Mairead McGuinness set out last month a detailed case in favour of banning “inducements”, or commission paid by a bank or insurer to financial advisers who have sold their products.
/jlne.ws/3XgJ0XC

What the end of the US shale revolution would mean for the world; Fracking catapulted America to the top of the energy hierarchy, but low yields and a lack of reinvestment threaten that position
Derek Brower and Myles McCormick – Financial Times
When the Decathlon, a 274-metre-long tanker, powered into the German port town of Wilhelmshaven last month it was tangible evidence of American geopolitical power. Days earlier, an EU embargo on Russian seaborne crude had come into force, threatening yet more disruption in global energy markets. As the Decathlon unloaded its cargo, American oil was arriving in the nick of time.
/jlne.ws/3iAIGnP

US regulators crack down on private equity securitisation vehicles; Insurers would no longer be allowed to rely on rating agencies’ assessments of collateralised fund obligations
Kaye Wiggins – Financial Times
US regulators are cracking down on a type of investment vehicle used by private equity groups over fears that rating agencies are downplaying the dangers of the products and exposing insurers to under-appreciated risks. The vehicles are known as “collateralised fund obligations” and echo the “collateralised debt obligations” that played a central role in the 2008 financial crisis. They parcel up stakes in hundreds of private equity-owned companies into products that are meant to diversify risk and win stellar credit ratings as a result.
/jlne.ws/3ZyqmMF

EU Commission wants first joint purchases of gas by summer
Reuters
The European Commission aims for EU countries to start jointly buying gas “well before summer”, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said on Monday, an attempt to help countries refill storage and avoid a supply crunch next winter. Following a first meeting of European Union country representatives to coordinate the planned purchases, Sefcovic said he had urged member states to swiftly engage with market players in their countries to estimate the volumes of gas they will jointly purchase.
/jlne.ws/3w2KxVv

Bloomberg, WSJ, CoinDesk Among the Media Outlets Seeking to Know Who Bailed Out Sam Bankman-Fried
Jack Schickler – CoinDesk
A wide range of major media groups has taken legal action to reveal the identities of the two non-parental parties who co-signed Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bail bond. Following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas and then extradited to the U.S. to face a number of charges from federal prosecutors. A U.S. judge in late December released Bankman-Fried on $250 million bail backed by his parents and two other parties whom his lawyers requested remain anonymous, citing privacy and safety concerns.
/jlne.ws/3izGH36

An Iowa Farmer Tried to Dodge Stock-Market Turmoil. It Cost Him $900,000.
Jason Zweig – The Wall Street Journal
Over the past two years, bonds have lost almost 15% and stocks have barely gained 5%, whipsawing investors along the way. That’s what markets do. As a result, financial firms are pile-driving their clients into assets that have no market. Over the past two years, investors bought an astonishing $878.9 billion in so-called Regulation D private offerings of debt and equity that don’t trade, according to SLCG Economic Consulting, a research firm in McLean, Va.
/jlne.ws/3XzKAE0

Owners of Chicago Board of Trade Building cede control to lender
David Roeder – Chicago Sun Times
The trouble that has afflicted businesses and property owners along La Salle Street has hit the venerable symbol of Chicago’s historic financial corridor. Owners of the Chicago Board of Trade Building, 141 W. Jackson Blvd., have surrendered its deed to their lender, New York investment firm Apollo Global Management, Cook County property records show. In turn, Apollo has hired a Chicago-based developer, R2, to plot next steps for the landmark building. Locally, R2 is involved in a range of projects, including what it calls the “Salt Shed,” a conversion of an old Morton Salt warehouse into a music and dining venue.
/jlne.ws/3w68NWB

Scott Minerd, a Force, and a Voice, on Wall Street, Dies at 63
Maureen Farrell – The New York Times
Scott Minerd, who helped transform a small investment firm of the Guggenheim family into a global financial behemoth, becoming one of Wall Street’s leading voices in the process, died on Dec. 21 in Vista, Calif. He was 63. In a statement, Guggenheim Partners said the cause was a heart attack he suffered during a workout. As the global chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners, Mr. Minerd was a regular commentator on Bloomberg Television and CNBC and a fixture at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His financial prognostications were closely followed by investors. He was also a key adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on financial markets.
/jlne.ws/3WivtgW

Yellen warns of U.S. default risk by early June, urges debt limit hike
Kanishka Singh and David Lawder – Reuters
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Friday the United States will likely hit the $31.4 trillion statutory debt limit on Jan. 19, forcing the Treasury to launch extraordinary cash management measures that can likely prevent default until early June. “Once the limit is reached, Treasury will need to start taking certain extraordinary measures to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations,” Yellen said in a letter to new Republican House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other congressional leaders.
/jlne.ws/3GL5Kbc

California lashed by fresh rain, snow and wind
Nathan Frandino – Reuters
A new weather system packing rain, snow and strong winds moved into storm-lashed California on Saturday, the latest in a parade of atmospheric rivers that have wreaked havoc across the state in recent weeks. While next week should bring some respite, the first of two systems expected to hit California over the U.S. holiday weekend pushed onshore on Saturday, unleashing more heavy rain, the National Weather Service said.
/jlne.ws/3XaAtpc

Sam Bankman-Fried’s father, Joseph Bankman, lawyers up as FTX probe progresses
Thomas Barrabi – NY Post
Stanford law professor Joseph Bankman has reportedly lawyered up as the feds move forward with their probe into his disgraced son Sam Bankman-Fried’s doomed cryptocurrency empire. Bankman, who purportedly leveraged his connections and legal expertise to advise his son on running FTX, has hired Sean Hecker of Kaplan Hecker and Fink LLP to represent him, according to Reuters.
/jlne.ws/3QFxEdr

Goldman Sachs’ ‘skimpy’ bonuses could lead to another 800 workers leaving company after bloodbath
Lydia Moynihan – NY Post
Goldman Sachs shed more than 3,000 employees this week – but some insiders claim the bank has a plan that will soon raise that number to 4,000. Reports surfaced in December that Goldman planned to ax as many as 4,000 workers this month. When the bloodbath came to a head on Wednesday, however, sources said no more than 3,200 got pink slips.
/jlne.ws/3iDt2rM

Flood watches in effect for more than 26 million people in California
Meredith Deliso – ABC News
Flood watches are in effect for more than 26 million people in California, which has already been ravaged by a series of catastrophic storms. Two Pacific storm systems are forecast to bring precipitation to most of the state through the weekend. The widespread deluge is leading to flooding concerns in many spots that have already been inundated recently.
/jlne.ws/3IW7u4p

Ukraine Invasion

Sunak confirms UK will send tanks to Ukraine ‘to push Russian troops back’
Michael Savage – The Guardian
Britain plans to send tanks to Ukraine, Rishi Sunak has confirmed, in a move that will heap further pressure on Germany to approve a wider delivery of the vehicles this week. In a call with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the prime minister confirmed for the first time that it was Britain’s intention to provide a small number of Challenger 2 tanks to help push back Russia’s invasion. It would make Britain the first western power to supply the Ukrainians with main battle tanks, which would be used to help train Ukrainian troops.
/jlne.ws/3w6YHF2

The War in Ukraine Upended Energy Markets. What Does That Mean for the Climate?
David Gelles – The New York Times
As world leaders, chief executives and nonprofit leaders descend on Davos, Switzerland, for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum next week, war will be raging about 1,000 miles away. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine almost one year ago has reordered the geopolitical landscape, sent ripples through the global economy and brought trench warfare back to Europe. Yet beyond the enormous human suffering and catastrophic damage inflicted on Ukraine, its people and its cities, one of the war’s most profound impacts has been on global energy markets, and by extension, on the global fight against climate change.
/jlne.ws/3W8aqha

Rescuers search Dnipro block for survivors of Russian strike; Twenty-five confirmed dead after attack on residential building in central Ukrainian city
Roman Olearchyk – Financial Times
Rescue workers in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro are continuing to search for survivors in the remains of a nine-storey residential building that partially collapsed after it was hit by a Russian missile strike on Saturday. Officials said on Sunday that 43 people from the building remained unaccounted for, while 25 including a child were confirmed to have been killed. Seventy-three people were injured, 13 of them children.
/jlne.ws/3w5URfj

Blasts Rock Ukraine’s Cities as Russia Launches Two Waves of Missile Attacks
Matthew Luxmoore – The Wall Street Journal
Russia launched two waves of missile attacks on Saturday against critical infrastructure in Ukraine’s capital and other cities across the country, seeking to deprive residents of power as it steps up its military campaign in the east. Kyiv and other cities were struck in an early-morning barrage that officials said included ballistic missiles, and a second volley in the afternoon targeted the western part of the country. Across Ukraine, air-defense units scrambled to try to intercept the projectiles.
/jlne.ws/3H7VPxX

How Ukraine became a testbed for Western weapons and battlefield innovation
Katie Bo Lillis and Oren Liebermann – CNN
Last fall, as Ukraine won back large swaths of territory in a series of counterattacks, it pounded Russian forces with American-made artillery and rockets. Guiding some of that artillery was a homemade targeting system that Ukraine developed on the battlefield. A piece of Ukrainian-made software has turned readily available tablet computers and smartphones into sophisticated targeting tools that are now used widely across the Ukrainian military.
/jlne.ws/3w7Z41Y

The Russian missile that wiped out an apartment block was designed to sink aircraft carriers and can’t be shot down by Ukraine, says its airforce
Bethany Dawson – Business Insider
At least 23 people have died after a Russian missile strike destroyed an apartment block in Dnipro, central Ukraine. The building was hit by a Russian Kh-22 missile, a Soviet-era anti-ship missile, which Ukraine has described as an “aircraft carrier killer.” Confirming the death toll on Telegram, Mykola Lukashuk, head of the Dnipro regional council, said “Burn in hell, Russian murderers.”
/jlne.ws/3H758Ov

Russia’s Seaborne Crude Flows Surge to Their Highest Since April
Julian Lee – Reuters
Russia’s seaborne crude exports soared last week to the highest level since April, pulling up the less volatile four-week average to an eight-week high and suggesting that the country has — for now — overcome an initial hit to flows that followed European sanctions.
/jlne.ws/3iHIIu2

Analysis-Europe boosts Russian diesel buying ahead of ban set to rock market
Rowena Edwards, Ron Bousso and Ahmad Ghaddar – Reuters
European traders are rushing to fill tanks with Russian diesel as the clock runs down on a Feb. 5 European ban expected to tighten supplies, re-draw global shipping routes and increase price volatility.
/jlne.ws/3Zz8EZv

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Deutsche Boerse Photography Foundation and Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Photographie (DGPh) award prizes for scientific writing about photography; dr Charlotte Bruns receives the research award “Thinking Photography”; Jackson Davidow is awarded the prize for innovative journalism “Writing Photography”.
Deutsche Boerse
The Deutsche Boerse Photography Foundation and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Photographie (DGPh) have jointly awarded their two prizes for research and journalism in the field of photography. The awards honor contributions that enrich and promote scientific dialogue on the medium of photography.
/jlne.ws/3Wk8bHA

DTCC’s Alternative Investment Product Reaches New Milestone, Processing Over 500 Million Transactions Since Inception
DTCC
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today announced that its Alternative Investment Product (AIP) service has reached a new milestone, successfully processing over 500 million transactions since its inception as service adoption continues to increase. Today, AIP has over 8,000 unique funds leveraging the automated service to modernize trading and post-trade reporting of alternative investment products.
/jlne.ws/3FwP0nM

Sales tax charge added to invoices beginning with January 2023 invoices
MIAX Exchange Group
As previously announced in the November 9, 2022 Alert, the MIAX Options, MIAX Pearl Options, MIAX Emerald Options and MIAX Pearl Equities Exchanges began collecting state-specific sales tax on January 1, 2023.
/jlne.ws/3CSUmca

Exchanges develop ESG metrics for GCC-listed firms
Nik Pratt – Funds Global MENA
An association of Mena-based exchanges has published a set of ESG disclosure metrics for listed firms in the region. The GCC Exchanges Committee stated that the metrics comprise 29 standards aligned with the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative developed by the World Federation of Exchanges. These standards cover GHG emissions, energy and water usage, employee turnover, gender diversity, data privacy, ethics and more.
/jlne.ws/3XvS0YK

Tehran Stock Exchange Weekly Market Review Ended On 11 January 2023
Tehran Stock Exchange – Mondovisione
Tehran Stock Exchange’s weekly market review.
/jlne.ws/3Hac6mc

Webcast Details For Half-Year Results And 2023 Key Dates
ASX
ASX is scheduled to announce its financial results for the half-year ended 31 December 2022 on Thursday, 16 February 2023. The 2023 key dates and information on the half year results briefing by webcast are set out below.
/jlne.ws/351gPmZ

MARF admits a new Commercial Paper Programme from Linkfactor Trade Receivables EUR 1
BME-X
BME’s fixed income market, MARF, has admitted to trading Linkfactor Trade Receivables EUR 1 Securitisation Fund’s new Commercial Paper Programme for a maximum outstanding amount of 150 million euros. The Fund’s assets will consist of a portfolio of receivables arising from the provision of financing and invoice discounting services that have been acquired by the transferor, Linkfactor PYMES, under a factoring contract and that meet the eligibility criteria set out for the Fund. Linkfactor Trade Receivables EUR 1 Securitisation Fund will be the beneficiary of an insurance policy provided by Euler Hermes France.
/jlne.ws/3XtSsqm

Circular of Shanghai International Energy Exchange on Trading Adjustments for Spring Festival 2023
Shanghai Futures Exchange
Shanghai International Energy Exchange has released its Circular on Trading Adjustments for Spring Festival 2023 as follows: In accordance with Trading Schedule during National Holidays for Year 2023, Shanghai International Energy Exchange (hereinafter referred to as “INE”) hereby notifies the trading adjustments for Spring Festival 2023 as follows:
/jlne.ws/3GHAudb

Fintech

The dawning of the quantum age; It is time to consider the opportunities, and risks, of a new form of computing
Financial Times
It is a quarter of a century since the first quantum bits, or qubits, were hooked together to make a rudimentary quantum computer. With their ability to represent both the ones and zeros in traditional computers at the same time, qubits are the most basic components of systems that could far surpass today’s computers in solving certain types of problem. Since then, headway has depended less on hard science than on applied engineering: creating more stable qubits that can hold their quantum state for more than a tiny fraction of a second, linking them together in larger systems and coming up with new forms of programming to exploit the characteristics of the technology.
/jlne.ws/3WdSQs7

Chips Are the New Oil and America Is Spending Billions to Safeguard Its Supply
Asa Fitch and Greg Ip – The Wall Street Journal
Only in the past two years has the U.S. fully grasped that semiconductors are now as central to modern economies as oil. In the digitizing world, power tools commonly come with Bluetooth chips that track their locations. Appliances have added chips to manage electricity use. In 2021, the average car contained about 1,200 chips worth $600, twice as many as in 2010. The supply-chain crunch that created a chip shortage brought the lesson home. Auto makers lost $210 billion of sales last year because of missing chips, according to consulting firm AlixPartners.
/jlne.ws/3XieX22

Microsoft’s $10bn bet on ChatGPT developer marks new era of AI; Tech giants race to stake out their place in new field of generative artificial intelligence
Richard Waters and Tabby Kinder – Financial Times
The $10bn investment that Microsoft is considering in San Francisco-based research outfit OpenAI looks set to become the defining deal for a new era of artificial intelligence. If the US software giant is right about the far-reaching implications of the technology, it could also trigger a realignment in the AI world as other tech groups race to stake out their place in the new field of generative AI.
/jlne.ws/3CUO8IT

Alarmed by A.I. Chatbots, Universities Start Revamping How They Teach; With the rise of the popular new chatbot ChatGPT, colleges are restructuring some courses and taking preventive measures.
Kalley Huang – The New York Times
While grading essays for his world religions course last month, Antony Aumann, a professor of philosophy at Northern Michigan University, read what he said was easily “the best paper in the class.” It explored the morality of burqa bans with clean paragraphs, fitting examples and rigorous arguments. A red flag instantly went up.
/jlne.ws/3XyzBdL

How ChatGPT Hijacks Democracy
David Szakaly – The New York Times
Launched just weeks ago, ChatGPT is already threatening to upend how we draft everyday communications like emails, college essays and myriad other forms of writing. Created by the company OpenAI, ChatGPT is a chatbot that can automatically respond to written prompts in a manner that is sometimes eerily close to human.
/jlne.ws/3w7Fe7a

Tanzania Plans ‘Cautious’ Central Bank Digital Currency Launch; Nation wary of disruptions to financial stability of economy; Exploring issuance of different types of digital currencies
Fumbuka Ng’Wanakilala – Bloomberg
Tanzania’s central bank said it’s working toward a “phased, cautious and risk-based” introduction of a digital currency for the East African nation. The Bank of Tanzania “will continue to monitor, research and collaborate with stakeholders, including other central banks, in the efforts to arrive at a suitable and appropriate use and technology for issuance of Tanzanian shillings in digital form,” it said in a statement on its website.
/jlne.ws/3kjm1Nh

Cybersecurity

Norton LifeLock says thousands of customer accounts breached
Zack Whittaker – TechCrunch
Thousands of Norton LifeLock customers had their accounts compromised in recent weeks, potentially allowing criminal hackers access to customer password managers, the company revealed in a recent data breach notice.
/jlne.ws/3XBMVhp

Top 10 SaaS Cybersecurity Threats You Must Know in 2023
Preethi Cheguri – Analytics Insight
Modern businesses are increasingly turning to the cloud to reap the operational benefits of outsourcing critical business functions. Many businesses are now utilizing cloud computing, such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) services. SaaS solutions assist organizations in achieving critical goals such as cost reductions and faster time-to-market. However, they do introduce SaaS cybersecurity threats and risks.
/jlne.ws/3XA8Zcp

Ransomware has now become a problem for everyone, and not just tech
Danny Palmer – ZDNET
It’s a new year, a time when many people look to turnover a new leaf and make some positive changes. Sadly, not everyone. In particular, it seems that ransomware gangs show no signs of letting up on their criminal activity in 2023. Then again, why would they?
/jlne.ws/3CQYmtK

The big risk in the most-popular, and aging, big tech email programs
Elizabeth MacBride – CNBC
Back in January 2021, Microsoft announced that its software, specifically the software running some Microsoft Exchange servers, had been hacked by a criminal group sponsored by the Chinese government. Further, the company said, everyone using the software was vulnerable until it was patched.
/jlne.ws/3H7T0Nr

Cryptocurrencies

FTX’s Japan Unit Draws Interest From Online Brokerage Monex
Takashi Nakamichi and Nao Sano – Bloomberg
Monex Group Inc. is keen on the Japanese subsidiary of Sam Bankman-Fried’s crumbled FTX crypto empire that’s up for sale, according to the Tokyo-based online brokerage’s chief executive officer.
/jlne.ws/3H4Zsoh

As U.S. probes FTX collapse, employees turn to law firm Covington
Luc Cohen and Jody Godoy – Reuters
Several FTX employees have turned to law firm Covington & Burling to help them deal with questions from U.S. authorities investigating the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange and actions by its founder Sam Bankman-Fried, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Arlo Devlin-Brown, a New York-based Covington partner and former Manhattan federal prosecutor, is acting as so-called pool counsel representing current FTX employees as individuals being asked to share information with prosecutors and regulators, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
/jlne.ws/3H9rVsY

Coinbase and Binance diverge in outlook for 2023; World’s largest exchange seems impervious to crypto pressures plaguing its US competitor
Scott Chipolina – Financial Times
January is a period for looking forward and setting targets for the next 12 months. Few predicted the extent of last year’s carnage in crypto markets so a little caution is understandable. Still, it’s striking how differently two of the industry’s biggest exchanges, Coinbase and Binance, are planning for the coming year. Coinbase has had a rocky start. After settling a fine with the New York attorney-general’s office last week over poor compliance standards, its rough January continued when it announced on Tuesday that it would cut a fifth of its workforce – amounting to almost 1,000 employees.
/jlne.ws/3H5G4rm

Licking its FTX Wounds, Bahamas Steps Up Push for Digital Fiat; FTX collapse creates headache for the nation’s CBDC rollout; Two years after Sand Dollar’s debut, adoption is sluggish
Jim Wyss – Bloomberg
Before FTX Co-Founder Sam Bankman-Fried made the Bahamas synonymous with the crypto crash, the country was known as a pioneer of digital fiat. In 2020, the island nation launched the world’s first central bank digital currency, or CBDC, called the Sand Dollar. But two years after the Sand Dollar’s debut, adoption has been sluggish. And the FTX debacle isn’t helping.
/jlne.ws/3XzAYcd

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Challenged Anew by Osprey Overhaul Plan; Rival proposes taking over, lowering fee, seeking redemptions; GBTC is trading about 40% below the value of Bitcoin it holds
Katherine Greifeld and Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Crypto asset manager Osprey Funds is the latest to call out Barry Silbert’s Grayscale Investments over its Bitcoin trust’s deep discount, announcing that it asked to be installed by its bigger rival as the sponsor of the beleaguered product in order to spur changes that could help narrow that gap. Osprey, writing Friday in an open letter to Silbert, said it would reduce the management fee of the $12 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) to 0.49% from its current 2%, which has been a sore point with some of its investors.
/jlne.ws/3XveBEM

Meet Sam Trabucco, the Alameda exec who oversaw the development of the crypto hedge fund’s ultra-risky trading strategies
Morgan Chittum – Business Insider
Sam Trabucco stepped down as the co-CEO of trading firm Alameda Research in August, just months before Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire filed for bankruptcy and lost $8 billion of customer money. Around the time of his departure in late August, he tweeted, “But if I’ve learned anything at Alameda, it’s how to make good decisions – and this is the right one for me.” Whereabouts of Trabucco, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, are unclear. Here’s what we know about one of the top executives at Alameda Research.
/jlne.ws/3H7jXk5

Scaramucci Invests in Crypto Firm Set Up by Ex-FTX US Head; Skybridge founder says he’s deploying personal money; Harrison is said to have been seeking funding for new company
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Anthony Scaramucci said he is investing in a company set up by Brett Harrison, the former president of defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX US. Scaramucci will be using his own money for the venture to show support for Harrison, he said in an email. Harrison had been seeking funding for a crypto software company at a valuation of up to $100 million, Bloomberg News reported last month. The proposed idea was for software that crypto traders could use to write algorithms for their strategies and to access different types of crypto markets, both centralized and decentralized, two people familiar with the matter said at the time.
/jlne.ws/3izKm0Q

Enron, Madoff and now FTX: New York’s Belfer family strike out again
Joshua Olive – Financial Times
A New York oil dynasty that was a client of the legendary fraudster Bernard Madoff and lost billions in the demise of Enron has been embroiled in the collapse of FTX, according to court documents. Investment firms for the Belfer family, whose name sits above galleries at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, were included in a list of shareholders of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX and its US business that were released in court documents this week.
/jlne.ws/3XDg7F7

Politics

GOP Rep. George Santos raised money for a company that the SEC called a Ponzi scheme: report
Kenneth Niemeyer, John L. Dorman – Insider
New York GOP Rep. George Santos persuaded at least one person to make a six-figure donation to a company that the SEC says was a “Ponzi scheme,” according to The Wall Street Journal and court documents viewed by Insider. Santos has repeatedly refused to resign after several current and former congressmen have called for his resignation after a bombshell New York Times report revealed that he fabricated a large portion of his resume, including two fake degrees from New York University and Baruch College, both of which he never attended.
/jlne.ws/3GLx6xT

George Santos Raised Money for Company the SEC Says Was a Ponzi Scheme
Byron Tau – The Wall Street Journal
Embattled Rep. George Santos persuaded at least one person to make a six-figure investment in a Florida-based company that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission later said was a Ponzi scheme, according to people familiar with the matter and documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Santos was hired in 2020 to raise capital for the company, Harbor City Capital, and landed at least one significant investment from a wealthy investor, the people said. When the investment failed to deliver on the promised returns, according to one of the people, Mr. Santos sought to reassure the investor by saying he had personally raised nearly $100 million and had invested his own family’s money in Harbor City.
/jlne.ws/3GJrG6D

Santos to be removed from U.S. Congress if he broke campaign finance laws -Comer
Reuters
U.S. Representative George Santos, who lied about much of his resume and life story, will be removed from Congress if found to have broken campaign finance laws, fellow Republican and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer said on Sunday.
/jlne.ws/3kgrd4m

‘The American people are tired’: Lawmakers introduce bill to finally stop politicians from insider trading. Here’s how it would force Congress to put the people before their portfolios
Bethan Moorcraft – Moneywise
Thirty-seven members of Congress are hoping the third time’s the charm for their bill that seeks to prevent insider trading from members of Congress. The Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust in Congress Act, or TRUST, was first introduced in June 2020 and brought it back to the House floor in January 2021. However, it never went further than that.
/jlne.ws/3Xgekpo

Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen Sends Letter to Congressional Leadership on the Debt Limit
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Today, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen sent a letter to all members of Congressional leadership regarding the debt limit. Public Law 117-73 increased the statutory debt limit to approximately $31.381 trillion on December 16, 2021. As you know, the debt limit is the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments.
/jlne.ws/3wczxoh

Who Benefits When Salary Info Is Public?
Sarah Kessler – The New York Times
This month, laws went into effect in California and Washington State that required companies to post salary ranges on job listings. Like similar rules in New York City and Colorado, lawmakers passed them on the premise that pay transparency helped reduce wage gaps. There’s little debate among researchers that this is the case. “It is totally 100 percent true across all the studies I’ve seen, with very few exceptions,” Zoe Cullen, an economist at Harvard Business School, said. Pay transparency laws are “very good” at reducing wage disparities, she added.
/jlne.ws/3WdHSCW

‘Playing chicken’: Republicans draw battle lines over US debt ceiling
James Politi, Lauren Fedor, Colby Smith and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson – Financial Times
US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen on Friday fired her first warning shot of the year to Congress about the need to raise America’s debt limit – and she minced no words about the potential peril ahead. “Failure to meet the government’s obligations would cause irreparable harm to the US economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability,” Yellen wrote to lawmakers. At 76, and with a career spanning the White House, the Federal Reserve and now the Treasury department, Yellen has seen plenty of fiscal fights in Washington.
/jlne.ws/3IQSYdS

Blasts Rock Ukraine’s Cities as Russia Launches Two Waves of Missile Attacks
Matthew Luxmoore – The Wall Street Journal
Russia launched two waves of missile attacks on Saturday against critical infrastructure in Ukraine’s capital and other cities across the country, seeking to deprive residents of power as it steps up its military campaign in the east. Kyiv and other cities were struck in an early-morning barrage that officials said included ballistic missiles, and a second volley in the afternoon targeted the western part of the country. Across Ukraine, air-defense units scrambled to try to intercept the projectiles.
/jlne.ws/3H7VPxX

Republican Lawmakers Push Crypto Regulation With New House Subcommittee
Andr̩ Beganski РDecrypt
After assuming control of the House of Representatives, Republicans are forming what they are calling a first-of-its-kind congressional group focused on digital assets. The new Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion was announced Thursday by Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), as other subcommittees for the House Financial Services Committee were put forth.
/jlne.ws/3iJQgfN

GOP Lawmakers ‘Won’t Budge’ on Debt Limit Softened by McCarthy; Battle lines drawn for risky talks to avoid US payment default; McCarthy optimistic he can negotiate with Biden over spending
Victoria Cavaliere and Christopher Condon – Bloomberg
House Republicans “won’t budge” on demands for federal spending cuts in return for agreeing to lift the debt ceiling and avoid a US payment default, GOP Representative James Comer said. As the federal government moved closer to breaching its statutory debt limit, lawmakers on Sunday mostly talked past each other: Republicans renewed demands for cuts and Democrats insisted the government be allowed to honor commitments made by previous Congresses.
/jlne.ws/3ZDlS7m

Brexit Talks Are Closing In on a Possible Customs Solution; UK’s Cleverly due to speak with EU’s Sefcovic on Monday; Envoys aim to move negotiations into more intensive phase
Alex Morales and Kitty Donaldson – Bloomberg
UK and European Union negotiators are closing in on a resolution to end their long-running dispute over post-Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland. After sealing an agreement last week on real-time trade data, the two sides are also nearing agreement on customs aimed at reducing frictions between Great Britain and Northern Ireland since the UK left the bloc.
/jlne.ws/3H75moP

Hong Kong’s financial hub is at a crossroads; Can Asia’s key capital market maintain its international outlook?
Patrick Jenkins – Financial Times
Look for a senior job in Hong Kong these days on LinkedIn and you’re unlikely to find any openings unless you’re a speaker of Cantonese or Mandarin, or both. “That’s a big change,” confides a longtime British expat in the territory. “It’s understandable. But it’s a big change.” The evolving jobs market is just one of the visible signs of the tilt to mainland China that promises to redefine Hong Kong’s role as a global financial centre.
/jlne.ws/3HaeLwc

Regulation

Commissioner Goldsmith Romero to Discuss Blockchain for Public Institution Applications at GBBC’s Blockchain Central Davos 2023
CFTC
Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero will discuss Blockchain for Public Institution Applications at Global Blockchain Business Council’s Blockchain Central Davos 2023.
/jlne.ws/3H9rMWs

Former SEC Lawyer Says Agency Pushing to Be Crypto Regulator With Gemini/Genesis Suit
Fran Velasquez – CoinDesk
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may be looking to cement itself as the leading regulator of the digital-asset industry with its case against crypto firms Gemini Trust and Genesis Capital, Howard Fischer, a former SEC attorney, told CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” on Friday. “The SEC has been trying to stake out its ground as the regulator for crypto,” Fischer said. On Thursday, the SEC sued crypto exchange Gemini and crypto lender Genesis Global Capital for allegedly selling unregistered securities to customers of the Gemini Earn interest-bearing product.
/jlne.ws/3ZFoQsc

U.S. SEC awards $5 mln to tipster
Reuters
The top U.S. markets regulator on Friday announced a $5 million award to a whistleblower whose tip-off it said had resulted in a successful enforcement action. The whistleblower not only provided helpful information but “substantial ongoing assistance,” Creola Kelly, head of the whistleblower office at the Securities and Exchange Commission, said in a statement. Under sweeping reforms to securities laws known as Dodd-Frank and enacted following the 2008 global financial crisis, the SEC can reward whistleblowers with moneys drawn from a fund comprising monetary penalties collected by the agency.
/jlne.ws/3IT8Ix8

SEC Announces Departure of Renee Jones; Erik Gerding Named Director of Division of Corporation Finance
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Renee Jones, Director of the Division of Corporation Finance, will depart the agency to return to her faculty position at Boston College Law School, effective Feb. 3, 2023. Erik Gerding, currently the Division’s Deputy Director, will be appointed Director of the Division, effective upon Ms. Jones’s departure.
/jlne.ws/3w2asN3

SEC Awards More Than $5 Million to Whistleblower
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an award of more than $5 million to a whistleblower whose information led to a successful SEC enforcement action.
The whistleblower provided a tip and additional information that helped SEC staff shape its investigative strategy, identify witnesses, and draft document and information requests. The whistleblower also internally reported concerns prior to submitting information to the SEC.
/jlne.ws/3H8N0E3

SEC Obtains Final Judgments Against Former Executives for Corporate Expense Abuses
SEC
On November 30, 2022 and December 13, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey entered Final Judgments against Gerard R. Hug and Kurt W. Streams, former executives of SITO Mobile, Ltd., a mobile advertising provider based in Jersey City, New Jersey.
/jlne.ws/3WermCA

India moves to tighten controls on index providers; Proposals spark concerns about potential burden on funds tracking overseas indices
Peter Ortiz – Financial Times
The Securities and Exchange Board of India has unveiled a proposed regulatory framework aimed at creating greater transparency around the operations of local and foreign index providers. India’s regulator argues that as index providers exercise discretion through changes in methodology that result in the inclusion of a stock in the index or change in the weightings of the index, there should be greater oversight and assessment of the decisions that are made by these companies.
/jlne.ws/3Xq8uBI

Australian Mines fined $450,000 for breaching continuous disclosure obligations
ASIC
Australian Mines Limited (ASX: AUZ) has been handed a $450,000 penalty by the Federal Court for breaching its continuous disclosure obligations on three occasions.
/jlne.ws/3XcVDDl

FCA publishes further information about restrictions placed on Micro-E C.I.C
FCA
This follows restrictions placed on the high-cost lender on 16 November 2022.
Micro-E’s director appears to have used the director’s loan account for personal reasons. We have serious concerns that the director does not have a viable plan, or the means, to fully repay the loan within a reasonable timeframe.
/jlne.ws/3Xg52de

Investing and Trading

Meme stocks start 2023 on high note, though ride is a bumpy one
Medha Singh and David Randall – Reuters
Resurgent risk appetite among some investors is fueling rallies in the shares of so-called meme stocks this month after a crushing year for equities, though many analysts are skeptical the most recent moves will last.The volatility often associated with meme stocks has been on display this week. Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond, which had soared earlier in the week, fell more than 30% on Friday. The New York Times reported that the company is in talks with private equity firm Sycamore Partners for the sale of its assets as part of a possible bankruptcy process.
/jlne.ws/3w1rsTv

Big Tech Stops Doing Stupid Stuff; This year it might be smart to invest in companies that think a little smaller
Laura Forman – The Wall Street Journal
The era of moonshots is (mostly) over. This year tech companies are taking a more earthly approach. Stock charts both explain the change in boardroom sentiment and tell the story following an epic Covid-fueled rise and fall. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 33% last year-its worst performance since 2008. Big tech, which spent the past several years spending on big dreams, is starting to think smaller. Last year more than 1,000 tech companies laid off employees, resulting in over 150,000 lost jobs, a tally by layoffs.fyi shows.
/jlne.ws/3ZyAIfz

Private markets are more likely to deflate than implode in 2023; The likely outcome is a low-drama multi-year slow puncture
Katie Martin – Financial Times
Everyone loves a dramatic blow-up in markets – a big moment that we can all point to and say “Look! This thing was silly!” and regulators can stroke their chins and say lessons must be learnt. The finest example in 2022 was, of course, crypto, where the collapse of exchange FTX demonstrated the absurdity of an industry built on top of an asset class with an intrinsic value of zero.
/jlne.ws/3GQDDHY

The price-to-fantasy ratio that beguiles investors; Aggregate forecasts for earnings often exclude extraordinary items, making the market look cheaper than it is
Chris Brightman – Financial Times
Too much financial commentary perpetuates an error when applying the yardstick of a market’s collective price to aggregate earnings. The forward price-to-earnings ratio is perhaps the most common valuation tool around for good reason. Typically based on the consensus of forecasts for earnings for the coming 12 months, the ratio is intuitive and can be compared across markets, sectors and history.
/jlne.ws/3CMqM87

China’s Junk Bonds Are Suddenly the World’s Hottest Credit Trade; Also, banks spur Europe’s busiest week ever for bond sales; Bond buyers brace for more surprises from the Bank of Japan
Shannon D Harrington – Bloomberg
As the meltdown of China’s property sector pushed developers into default and drove the prices of their bonds to pennies on the dollar, hedge funds and other buyers of troubled assets swooped in to make a bet that Beijing would ultimately step in to stem the crisis. The wager is starting to pay off big. After a series of policy steps to ease strains in the nation’s property market, bonds of China’s developers have been surging.
/jlne.ws/3QKePFT

Retail Traders Power Crazed Week as Bed Bath & Beyond Soars 179%; Retailer notches record weekly stock gain despite Friday drop; Investors are also revisiting other so-called meme stocks
Katrina Lewis and Bailey Lipschultz – Bloomberg
It has been a dizzying start to the year for Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. investors after the company’s bankruptcy warning sparked renewed buying by retail traders and fueled a rally reminiscent of the meme-stock frenzy two years ago. Shares in the home-goods retailer soared 179% this week, more than wiping out the share-price drop that followed the company’s warning on Jan. 5 that it may need to file for bankruptcy. While the rally cooled Friday, with the stock falling 30%, Bed Bath & Beyond still notched a record weekly gain.
/jlne.ws/3H5GH4c

Traders Eye Chance of More BOJ Tweaks With ‘Pandora’s Box Open’; December shock has clouded outlook for investor expectations; Bond market liquidity has worsened since curve control tweak
Masaki Kondo, Saburo Funabiki, and Toru Fujioka – Bloomberg
Investors are on high alert for further policy tweaks from the Bank of Japan this week after December’s shock decision to raise the bar on yield movements failed to significantly improve market liquidity. While almost all economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect no change at the two-day meeting finishing Wednesday as their main scenario, market pressure on the central bank’s stimulus framework has intensified since last month’s efforts to ease the side effects of policy.
/jlne.ws/3H3Zr2X

European Assets Are Now All the Rage as US Markets Sputter; Regional stocks extend record outperformance in fourth quarter; Corporate bonds, euro also get bullish calls from strategists
Sagarika Jaisinghani and Tasos Vossos – Bloomberg
After years of playing second fiddle to the US, European assets are now charging ahead and leaving Wall Street in the dust. Euro-area equity markets are up 38% since the end of September in US dollar terms, and enjoying their best start to a new year ever. Meanwhile, the region’s investment-grade credit is ahead of its US peers by 6 percentage points over the same period, and the euro currency has jumped 10% versus the greenback.
/jlne.ws/3CN4rHG

Russian fertiliser export revenue surged 70% in 2022 as prices jumped
Emiko Terazono – Financial Times
Russia’s revenue from fertiliser exports soared last year despite a decline in sales volumes, as crop nutrient prices rose sharply after its invasion of Ukraine. In the first 10 months of 2022, Russian fertiliser exports jumped 70 per cent to $16.7bn compared to the same period in 2021, according to UN data. Import statistics from Moscow’s trade partners show that, in volume terms, overseas sales by the world’s largest fertiliser exporter only fell 10 per cent from the same period the previous year, analysis by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization found.
/jlne.ws/3w4gZqz

BlackRock vs. Goldman in the Fight Over 60/40; Is it time for a new approach to portfolios or was 2022 just a very bad year?
James Mackintosh – The Wall Street Journal
The best-known names in asset management and investment banking are taking opposite sides in the debate over the classic way of building a portfolio-60% stocks and 40% bonds-after a disastrous performance for the 60/40 model last year. BlackRock says the losses-the worst in nominal terms for a 60/40 portfolio since the financial crisis of 2008-9 and the worst in real terms in a calendar year since the Great Depression-show that the structure is outdated.
/jlne.ws/3GHXWHu

IMF Warns Unraveling Economic Ties Could Shrink Global Output; Lender points to rising trade, migration and investment barriers
Daniella Cheslow – The Wall Street Journal
Declining international cooperation and commerce could shrink the global economy, particularly harming low-income countries, the International Monetary Fund said in a new study. The report cited several ways that government policies are driving a reversal of global economic integration, such as by restrictions on trade, immigration and cross-border capital flows. The authors labeled this process geoeconomic fragmentation and warned it could lower global gross domestic product by up to 7% over an unspecified “long-term” period.
/jlne.ws/3k9jO6M

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Relentless Rise of Ocean Heat Content Drives Deadly Extremes; The heat of global warming will keep penetrating deeper into the oceans for centuries after greenhouse gas emissions cease.
Bob Berwyn – Inside Climate News
Ocean heat content reached a new record high for the fourth year in a row, scientists said Wednesday as they released their annual measurements of ocean heat accumulating down to a depth of more than a mile. The findings published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Science show that just in the past year, the planet’s seas absorbed about 10 Zetta joules of heat-equivalent to 100 times the world’s total annual electricity production.
/jlne.ws/3ISkMyM

Vanishing lichens a sign rare B.C. rainforest is approaching ecological collapse; Lichens are a canary in the coal mine for the inland temperate rainforest and their demise is sounding the alarm about widespread biodiversity loss
Sarah Cox – The Narwhal
British Columbia’s rare inland temperate rainforest will suffer ecological collapse in as few as eight years if industrial logging continues, scientists and conservation groups are warning as new clear-cutting plans surface. “The crisis we are predicting in terms of loss of species and collapse of the ecosystem is probably that much closer,” Darwyn Coxson, a professor in the ecosystem science and management program at the University of Northern B.C., told The Narwhal. “I think we’re still going down the same road with our foot on the gas, a blindfold over our eyes and heading for the cliff.” Following decades of industrial logging, less than five per cent of B.C.’s inland temperate rainforest is still standing.
/jlne.ws/3IRmj8j

Schools build consensus for focus on social purpose; Student and employer demand is driving realisation that institutions must adapt or risk disruption
Andrew Jack – Financial Times
In a virtual classroom hosted by Imperial College Business School in London, some 30 consultants from Bain gathered recently for a climate change boot camp. The programme is the latest example of companies seeking deeper insights on pressing societal issues. They are, in turn, triggering changes in the way business education programmes are administered. David Brown, Imperial’s director of executive education, says he crafted the programme alongside Bain’s methodology, so that participants can apply what they learn immediately. They also take part in an “immersion day” with the school’s own climate tech startâEUR’ups. Imperial is one of 12 international business schools selected by Bain as partners for its new Further Academy, designed to provide 40 hours of postgraduate training on environmental, social and governance skills to all of its consultants and advisers around the world.
/jlne.ws/3XkAhnp

Investors sit on a plastic waste ticking bomb
Lisa Jucca – Reuters
Investors should worry about a rising plastic tide. The pandemic and a war in Ukraine have focused money managers’ attention on supply chain disruption and energy security risks. Yet as the world continues to drown in packaging waste, the public and private sectors may come after big users like PepsiCo (PEP.O), Coca-Cola (KO.N) and Mars.
/jlne.ws/3XbUPhO

One year after volcanic blast, many of Tonga’s reefs lie silent
Gloria Dickie – Reuters
One year on from the massive eruption of an underwater volcano in the South Pacific, the island nation of Tonga is still dealing with the damage to its coastal waters. When Hunga-Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai went off, it sent a shockwave around the world, produced a plume of water and ash that soared higher into the atmosphere than any other on record, and triggered tsunami waves that ricocheted across the region – slamming into the archipelago which lies southeast of Fiji.
/jlne.ws/3klSPox

US stockpiles natural gas as warm winter temperatures cut demand
Justin Jacobs – Financial Times
The US normally pulls natural gas from storage sites in the middle of winter, drawing on fuel carefully stockpiled ahead of the heating season. In the first week of January, however, 11bn cubic feet of extra gas was put back underground instead. The net injection – the first the US has recorded in the month of January – testifies to the warm winter across much of the northern hemisphere that has eased worries about a global energy crunch triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
/jlne.ws/3w6A639

Kerry Says Gas Can Help Climate, But Only With Carbon Capture; ‘Gas is clearly part of the transitional effort’: John Kerry; Producers need to do more to capture their emissions, he says
Anthony Di Paola – Bloomberg
The US government’s climate envoy, John Kerry, said natural gas can play a role in slowing the planet’s warming, but only if producers accelerate efforts to capture their carbon emissions. “Gas is clearly part of the transitional effort,” he said in an interview in Abu Dhabi. “But if you’re going to head to net-zero by 2050, you’ve really got to have some serious capacity to be able to reduce emissions.”
/jlne.ws/3QM8ZnE

Agriculture Companies Push Carbon-Capture Farming; Growers Are Skeptical; Executives say programs provide extra cash and offer long-term benefits
Patrick Thomas – The Wall Street Journal
Agriculture companies are investing millions of dollars to develop farming programs designed to capture more carbon dioxide in fields, as a possible solution to mitigate climate change. The challenge: convincing farmers that it is worth their time, the costs of new farming practices and potentially losing out on some of their harvest in the process. Iowa corn farmer Chris Edgington said he has looked at various carbon programs over the past year, calculating the risk of reduced crops as he adjusts the way he manages his crops and the potential compensation for the carbon his fields could capture. So far, he said, he hasn’t signed up.
/jlne.ws/3ZFty9m

New COP28 president wants renewable energy generation to triple by 2030; Sultan al-Jaber says world is ‘way off track’ in meeting its climate goals
Camilla Hodgson and Simeon Kerr – Financial Times
The new president of COP28 has called for a tripling of renewable energy generation by 2030 while highlighting the need for oil and gas from the least carbon intensive producers”, following his controversial appointment to lead this year’s UN climate summit. Sultan al-Jaber, chief executive of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, was appointed to the role by host country the United Arab Emirates earlier this week. In a speech on Saturday he said the world was “way off track” to meet its climate goals and was “playing catch-up”.
/jlne.ws/3GJpFHB

ESG accounts for 65% of all flows into European ETFs in 2022; Proportion has jumped from the 51% recorded last year despite relatively poor returns
Emma Boyde – Financial Times
Exchange traded funds aligned with environmental, social and governance outcomes accounted for 65 per cent of all net inflows into European ETFs in 2022, even as ESG strategies underperformed. The ESG ETFs gathered Euro 51bn over the year out of total flows to European-domiciled ETFs of Euro 78.4bn. The overall totals were down on 2021 when investors poured Euro 160bn into European ETFs, but ESG’s share jumped significantly from the 51 per cent recorded then.
/jlne.ws/3GHj00H

How 4 Chinese enterprises are taking action on sustainable development
Liming Chen – World Economic Forum
Driving one of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies, China’s enterprises have a leading role to play in actions for sustainable development. China’s “dual carbon” goal has sparked a new wave of sustainability practices, with Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOE) continuing to play a leading role as important market players. Here’s how four Chinese state-owned enterprises from energy, finance, automotive and conglomerates are developing sustainability metrics.
/jlne.ws/3iHLLlS

Global CEOs fear SDGs derailed by volatile politics; Majority of CEOs report facing extreme challenges to their businesses
Laura Miller – ESG Clarity
Almost nine in 10 CEOs around the world think current levels of geopolitical instability will limit delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Their concerns come at a time of increased agreement among bosses (98%) that sustainability is core to their role, a sentiment that has grown 15% over the last 10 years. Despite the political turmoil, two thirds of CEOs (66%) say their companies are engaging in long-term strategic partnerships to build resilience.
/jlne.ws/3GNf8uY

Outsourcing of ESG data solutions grows in 2023; Digital tech can incorporate data from multiple providers, types into investment process
Bayani S. Cruz – The Asset
Asset service providers in 2023 are looking to beef up their capabilities to address the increasing interest in outsourced environmental, social and governance (ESG) data solutions by tapping digital technology and fintechs. In an interview with The Asset, Yen Leng Ong, head of Southeast Asia at Northern Trust, says the challenge facing the institutional investors when it comes to developing their ESG capabilities is the data, given the fragmented data sets and the lack of industry consensus around standards.
/jlne.ws/3Xfc2Hg

ESG investors to focus on resilience in 2023
Rhea Nath – Money Management
Amid numerous global events and policy developments, the responsible investment industry in Australia should be looking to steady the ship in the coming year. At the top of their agendas would likely be the development of a Sustainable Finance Agenda and a consultation on a mandatory climate-related financial disclosure, both announced by the Government in December.
/jlne.ws/3XxEeor

North American business schools increase focus on sustainability; Winners of FT responsible business education awards highlight shift towards study of societal impact
Andrew Jack – Financial Times
Academics and students from North American business schools have produced some of the best recent research, teaching and student initiatives on sustainability, according to the FT’s second annual responsible business education awards unveiled on Monday. In the category of academic publications, two of the four winning entries selected by a panel of independent judges included work by researchers from Northwestern’s Kellogg business school, Boston’s Questrom and Rochester’s Simon. There were also American-based co-authors on a further seven of the 18 highly commended runner-up papers.
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Institutions

Wall St banks stockpile funds, see uncertain outlook and competition for deposits
Megan Davies and Lananh Nguyen – Reuters
Wall Street’s biggest banks stockpiled more rainy-day funds to prepare for a possible recession, while showing caution about forecasting income growth in an uncertain economy and as higher rates increase competition for deposits. The outlook for big U.S. banks has been clouded by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and fading economic stimulus measures. Higher borrowing costs as the U.S. Federal Reserve hikes rates have softened demand for mortgages and car loans while raising the cost of deposits for banks.
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Goldman’s Pitch to the Little Guy Turns Costly, as Struggles Mount
Rob Copeland and Emily Flitter – The New York Times
Goldman Sachs is paying for its misbegotten foray into consumer banking. Six years ago, Wall Street’s most elite investment bank made a big pitch to the little guy, rolling out credit cards, high-interest accounts and loans. On Friday, the bank announced that it had lost slightly more than $3 billion tied to that business since December 2020.
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Credit Suisse set to cut 10% of European investment bankers; Swiss lender steps up wave of job cuts as it prepares to announce second consecutive annual loss
Owen Walker – Financial Times
Credit Suisse is gearing up to cut more than 10 per cent of European investment bankers this year, having already let hundreds of staff go in London and Zurich last month, according to people with knowledge of the moves. The crisis-plagued Swiss lender announced in October that it planned to cut as many as 9,000 roles globally over the next three years from its 52,000 workforce. But those plans have stepped up in recent weeks as the bank prepares to announce its second consecutive annual loss next month.
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BlackRock’s Larry Fink warns of ‘substantial’ impact from markets on earnings; World’s largest asset manager posts 15% decline in fourth-quarter revenue
Emma Dunkley – Financial Times
BlackRock’s Larry Fink has admitted that “negative markets had a substantial impact” on the world’s largest fund manager last year, wiping out $1.4tn of its assets and hitting profits. In an internal memo seen by the Financial Times, the chief executive said the operating environment “is unlike anything we’ve seen in decades”. His comments come as asset managers across the industry have suffered steep declines in assets under management amid one of the toughest market environments in recent history. Global stocks and bonds fell last year by nearly 20 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.
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Mather Retires From Pimco After Career Spanning Two Decades; Mather’s retirement follows a leave of absence in October; Portfolio manager was running Pimco Total Return at the time
Miles Weiss – Bloomberg
Scott Mather, once one of the top portfolio managers at Pacific Investment Management Co., formally retired from the firm after taking a personal leave of absence in October. “We can confirm Scott will not be returning from his personal leave of absence,” Pimco said in an emailed statement. Morningstar Inc. put several Pimco funds under review in December after reporting that Mather would retire effective Dec. 31. Eric Jacobson, a strategist for Morningstar, said in an email to Bloomberg that it plans to bring the funds out of review soon and assign ratings to them again.
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Deutsche Bank Urges Judge to Toss Ex-Trader Libor Scapegoat Suit; Connolly sued the bank for malicious prosecution in Libor case; Bank says there’s no evidence it lied about Connolly
Robert Burnson – Bloomberg
Deutsche Bank AG asked a judge to toss out a former trader’s lawsuit that claims the company made him a scapegoat for its manipulation of the Libor market. The bank’s lawyers said in a filing Friday that contrary to Matthew Connolly’s claims, there is no evidence that it “initiated” the trader’s prosecution or made false and misleading statements about him.
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US Banks See Customers Demanding Higher Yields on Deposits
Max Reyes and Paige Smith – Bloomberg
The country’s two largest banks just put rivals on notice: they’re finally prepared to pay out more to savers demanding higher yields on their deposits. After a year of relentless rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. took turns on Friday warning that they’re considering boosting the amount they pay out on the trillions of deposits they have sitting on their balance sheets. The moves are poised to weigh on net interest income, the revenue banks collect from loan payments minus what they pay depositors.
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Quant Fund That Once Lost 92% of Assets Is Making a Big Comeback; Jupiter’s GEAR strategy rebounds in redemption story of sorts; Fund is dialing down pure factors on crowding, volatility risk
Justina Lee – Bloomberg
After enduring a 92% collapse in assets during the quant industry’s dark days, a onetime poster child for everything wrong with systematic investing is mounting a comeback. And the manager of the once-$16 billion equity fund has a message for Wall Street peers hooked on the traditional strategies it once embraced: Ditch the old-school playbook.
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Tanzania Plans ‘Cautious’ Central Bank Digital Currency Launch; Nation wary of disruptions to financial stability of economy; Exploring issuance of different types of digital currencies
Fumbuka Ng’Wanakilala – Bloomberg
Tanzania’s central bank said it’s working toward a “phased, cautious and risk-based” introduction of a digital currency for the East African nation. The Bank of Tanzania “will continue to monitor, research and collaborate with stakeholders, including other central banks, in the efforts to arrive at a suitable and appropriate use and technology for issuance of Tanzanian shillings in digital form,” it said in a statement on its website.

Jamie Dimon Calls JPMorgan’s Frank Acquisition a ‘Huge Mistake’
Hannah Levitt – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon called the firm’s botched acquisition of college financial-planning website Frank “a huge mistake” and vowed to share takeaways at a later date. “I’ll tell you the lessons learned here when this thing is out of litigation,” Dimon said Friday on a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter earnings.
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Credit Suisse Set to Cut 10% of European Investment Bankers: FT
Katharine Gemmell – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse is planning to cut more than 10% of its European investment bankers this year, adding to hundreds of job losses in London and Zurich, the Financial Times newspaper reported, citing people with knowledge of the plans. The Swiss lender has been reducing headcount across its divisions after announcing plans to reduce 9,000 roles globally by 2025 last year.
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Crossover Hedge Funds Lost Big in 2022. They’re Still Launching in 2023.; Managers say opportunities remain despite an uncertain economic outlook
Juliet Chung – The Wall Street Journal
Hedge funds investing in fast-growing public and private companies lost tens of billions of clients’ money last year. That isn’t stopping more “crossover” funds from launching. Mala Gaonkar, 53 years old, a former co-investment chief of Lone Pine Capital LLC, launched her New York-based crossover fund, SurgoCap Partners, on Jan. 3 with $1.8 billion, people familiar with her firm said.
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Asset Management: BlackRock sends a shiver through the funds industry
Plus, the ‘humbling’ of Baillie Gifford, a fillip for junk bonds, and an illuminated giant slinky in London
Laurence Fletcher – Financial Times
It has been one of the biggest winners from the stimulus-fuelled bull market of the past decade or so, but fund giant BlackRock has shown it is not immune to last year’s profound change in market conditions. Chair and CEO Larry Fink has warned that “negative markets had a substantial impact” on the world’s largest fund manager last year, with assets down $1.4tn on the year and Q4 revenues down 15 per cent, reports the FT’s Emma Dunkley.
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HSBC’s £1 Billion Buyout Fund With China Falters as Strains Grow; Fund has raised half of target capital, person familiar says; Worsening geopolitical tensions have hit aspirations
Will Louch – Bloomberg
Right before the pandemic struck, a slated £1 billion ($1.2 billion) buyout fund backed by HSBC Holdings Plc and sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation was hailed as an example of growing business ties between Beijing and London. Three years later, the venture is a mirror to China’s fraying relationship with Europe and the US, as well as the years of upheaval caused by pandemic-era lockdowns.
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BAML sees net income increase despite slowing economic environment; The bank reported a revenue jump of 11%, allowing for a marginal increase in net income by $100 million to $7.1 billion.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Bank of America (BAML) reported a fourth quarter net income of $7.1 billion, an increase of $100 million compared to the net income of $7 billion achieved in Q4 2021, making it one of the few banks to report positive Q4 2022 results. The bank reported a revenue, net of interest expense increase by 11% to $24.5 billion. However, non-interest expenses were up by 6% to $15.5 billion which the bank attributed to investments in the franchise across people and technology, partially offset by lower revenue-related incentive compensation.
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BlackRock reports 8% decline in profit for 2022, but still exceeds analyst expectations; The world’s biggest asset manager delivered a solid report for the past quarter, plus full year results supported by strong sales in technology and ETFs, and record institutional inflows.
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
BlackRock results, released on 13 January, delivered a solid quarter and full year performance that outperformed analyst expectations, despite seeing contractions on the previous year.
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Wells Fargo sees profits halve amid Wall Street slump; The bank became the latest to report a challenging Q4, with net income down 50% compared to Q4 2021 – but banking and markets revenues were up over the same period, suggesting a silver lining.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Wells Fargo reported a fourth quarter 2022 net income of $2.9 billion, a decrease of nearly 50% compared to the net income of $5.8 billion achieved in Q4 2021.
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Work & Management

Ex-Goldman bankers tap LinkedIn, headhunters in frail financial jobs market
Scott Murdoch, Selena Li and Sinead Cruise – Reuters
Newly unemployed Goldman Sachs workers are tapping head-hunters after losing their jobs in its biggest restructuring since the 2008-9 financial crisis, with a sluggish global economy set to make finding comparable roles a challenge, sources said. Goldman stepped up laying off staff on Wednesday in a sweeping cost-cutting drive, with around a third of those affected coming from the investment banking and global markets division, a source familiar with the matter said.
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How to Ask for a Raise, Without Alienating Your Boss Along the Way
Paulette Perhach – The New York Times
Stu Smith still remembers how brazen the ask was. He owned a branding company with 10 employees at the time and brought one into his office to have a difficult conversation. The person’s side projects, outside of his full-time work, had started to drag on his performance. “Just double my salary, and I’ll quit doing all this work on the side,” Mr. Smith remembers his employee telling him. “I was like, ‘No, that’s not exactly how all this works.'” To land a raise, most people would be advised to take the exact opposite approach.
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Wellness Exchange

China COVID peak to last 2-3 months, hit rural areas next – expert
Bernard Orr and Ellen Zhang – Reuters
The peak of China’s COVID-19 wave is expected to last two to three months, and will soon swell over the vast countryside where medical resources are relatively scarce, a top Chinese epidemiologist has said. Infections are expected to surge in rural areas as hundreds of millions travel to their home towns for the Lunar New Year holidays, which officially start from Jan. 21, known before the pandemic as the world’s largest annual migration of people.
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Kraken is dominating U.S. COVID cases, the CDC predicts, as deaths jump 44% in one week
Erin Prater – Fortune
“Kraken” COVID variant XBB.1.5 has achieved projected dominance in the U.S., comprising an estimated 43% of cases this week, according to an updated forecast from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention released Friday. BQ.1.1, also known as Cerberus, came in second, fueling an estimated 29% of cases. It was dominant last week. BQ.1, Cerberus’ parent variant, came in third, at an estimated 16%. All other variants were projected to comprise 3.9% or less of cases. As Kraken continued on its warpath this week, U.S. COVID deaths rose 44%, with the seven-day average ascending upward from 2,705 last week to 3,907 this week.
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Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 accounts for 43% of U.S. COVID cases – CDC
Reuters
The fast-spreading Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 is estimated to account for 43% of the COVID-19 cases in the United States for the week ended Jan. 14, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Friday. The subvariant accounted for about 30% of cases in the first week of January, higher than the 27.6% the CDC estimated last week. XBB.1.5, which is related to Omicron, is currently the most transmissible variant. It is an offshoot of XBB, first detected in October, which is itself made from a combination of two other Omicron subvariants.
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No Increased Stroke Risk Linked to Pfizer’s Covid Boosters, Federal Officials Say; An uptick hinted at in surveillance data was a mirage, the officials said.
Apoorva Mandavilli – The New York Times
Fears that the Covid booster shots made by Pfizer-BioNTech may increase the risk of strokes in people aged 65 and older were not borne out by an intensive scientific investigation, federal officials said on Friday. “It is very unlikely” that the risk is real, the officials said. They urged Americans 6 months and older to continue getting booster shots. Federal officials decided to disclose the concern and the results of their investigation despite worries that the revelation might fuel anti-vaccine sentiment.
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Egg Prices Have Soared 60% in a Year. Here Is Why They Are So Expensive.; Avian flu outbreak keeps egg supply tight as inflation rises
Patrick Thomas and Jaewon Kang – The Wall Street Journal
Egg prices are soaring as the deadliest avian influenza outbreak on record devastates poultry flocks across the country. The price of eggs rose 11.1% last month compared with the month before and was up nearly 60% in December from the prior year, according to Thursday’s consumer-price index, a measurement of what consumers pay for goods and services. Overall inflation eased to 6.5%, according to this week’s federal data. Here’s what you should know.
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China set for historic demographic turn, accelerated by COVID traumas
Farah Master – Reuters
Living under China’s stringent COVID-19 restrictions for the past three years had caused Zhang Qi enough stress and uncertainty to consider not having babies in the country. When China abruptly dismantled its “zero COVID” regime last month to let the virus spread freely, the balance tilted to a definite “No”, the Shanghai-based e-commerce executive said. Stories about mothers and babies not being able to see doctors as medical facilities were overwhelmed by COVID infections were the final straw for Zhang.
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As Humanitarian Crises Escalate, So Do Demands to End Them
Claudia Dreifus – The New York Times
Humanitarian crises – especially the plight of refugees – around the world are once again among the issues on the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos. A report by the International Rescue Committee predicts that in 2023 nearly 340 million people will require some kind of humanitarian aid as a result of civil wars, invasions like the one in Ukraine, poverty, income inequality, climate change and more.
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China reports huge rise in COVID-related deaths after data criticism
Tony Munroe – Reuters
China said on Saturday nearly 60,000 people with COVID-19 had died in hospital since it abandoned its zero-COVID policy last month, a huge increase from previously reported figures that follows global criticism of the country’s coronavirus data. In early December, Beijing abruptly dismantled its strict three-year anti-virus regime of frequent testing, travel curbs and mass lockdowns after widespread protests in late November, and cases have surged since then across the nation of 1.4 billion.
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China’s Hospital Covid Death Data Just a Tenth of Total Toll; Officials reported 59,938 deaths in outbreak’s first 35 days; Deaths appear much lower than in other Covid Zero countries
Bloomberg News
The nearly 60,000 Covid-related deaths China reported for the first five weeks of its current outbreak, the largest the world has ever seen, may underestimate the true toll by hundreds of thousands of fatalities, experts said. China’s abrupt pivot from Covid Zero in early December unleashed a surge of omicron infections and led to 59,938 virus-related deaths in the nation’s hospitals through Jan. 12, the National Health Commission disclosed this weekend.
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China to boost spending for COVID prevention, treatment
Reuters
China’s finance ministry said on Monday it will boost funding for COVID-19 prevention and control, urging local fiscal departments to step up transfer payments to rural and poor areas, it said in a statement.
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What’s the #1 thing to change to be happier? A top happiness researcher weighs in
Ari Shapiro, Megan Lim and Christopher Intagliata – NPR
Happiness can be hard to quantify, because it can mean something different to everyone. But let’s say you could change one thing in your life to become a happier person, like your income, a job, your relationships or your health. What would make the biggest difference? That’s the question that Dr. Robert Waldinger has been investigating for decades as the director of the world’s longest-running scientific study of happiness. Waldinger says it began as a study of what makes people “thrive.”
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Regions

Taiwan’s Health System Runs a National Security Risk; It’s cheap and convenient, yet the lauded health insurance program is packed with sensitive data that can be used against Taipei.
Tim Culpan – Bloomberg
Taiwan’s National Health Insurance program offers its 24 million citizens one of the world’s best and most affordable medical systems. The price could be ongoing risks to patient privacy and national security, as a prosecution investigation revealed last week, amid growing tensions with China and increasing cybersecurity attacks.
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India Now Buying 33 Times More Russian Oil Than a Year Earlier; Nation took 1.2 million barrels a day from Moscow last month; Sanctions from G-7 and EU possibly led to deeper discounts
Rakesh Sharma – Bloomberg
India bought a record amount of Russian oil last month, with the country importing a whopping 33 times more than a year earlier. The world’s third-biggest crude importer purchased an average of 1.2 million barrels a day from Russia in December, according to data from Vortexa Ltd. That’s 29% more than in November.
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Lithuania-Latvia gas pipeline blows up, but no sign of attack
Andrius Sytas – Reuters
A gas pipeline connecting Lithuania and Latvia was hit by an explosion on Friday but there was no immediate evidence of an attack, Lithuania gas transmission operator Amber Grid said. Video published by Lithuania’s public broadcaster LRT showed a fire raging at the blast site in the Panevezys county in northern Lithuania. The fire was put out, the Lithuania pipeline grid operator’s chief executive said.
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Even With the Crowds, Davos Is a Winter Haven
Lindsey Tramuta – The New York Times
It may be synonymous with the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of world leaders, but Davos, Switzerland, is, first and foremost, a winter sports mecca. The highest city in Europe at 5,120 feet above sea level, this modern town in the Swiss state of Graubünden has plenty to offer travelers, from cultural activities to outdoor excursions.
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A United Europe Weathers Crises, but Deeper Challenges Remain
Steven Erlanger – The New York Times
Jean Monnet, one of the founders of the European Union, wrote in his memoirs that “Europe will be forged in crises and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises.” The war in Ukraine is only the latest crisis to confound Europe and rip away its illusions. A return to full-scale territorial warfare rarely seen in Europe since World War II has altered the European Union and NATO, both their present and their future, with consequences still unclear.
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Qatar Says Natural Gas Markets Will Remain Volatile for Years; Not enough supply to meet rising demand, says energy minister; Qatar vies with the US as the world’s top exporter of LNG
Anthony Di Paola and Paul Wallace – Bloomberg
Natural gas markets could whipsaw for the next several years because there’s still too little supply to meet rising demand, according to the energy minister of Qatar. “It’s going to be a volatile situation for some time to come,” Saad al-Kaabi said at an Atlantic Council conference in Abu Dhabi. “We’re bringing a lot of gas to the market, but it’s not enough.”
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Saudi Arabia’s Got the Money. But Can it Draw Foreign Capital?; The oil-dependent kingdom has the chance to be a raw-materials supplier and a key player during the energy transition. Foreigners are slow to embrace the opportunity.
Anjani Trivedi – Bloomberg
As countries and companies rush to get their hands on critical raw materials to bolster supply chains and deal with a rocky energy transition, Saudi Arabia is staking its claim. It stands a real chance, especially with growing discomfort around reliance on China. But are investors willing to trust it just yet? The country’s sovereign wealth fund and state miner are plowing in as much 11.95 billion riyals ($3.2 billion) to create a fund that will invest across the world in resources such as copper, nickel and lithium, as a non-operating partner with a minority equity stake.
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Egypt to sell discounted bread to fight inflation
Sarah El Safty – Reuters
Egypt’s government will start selling discounted bread to people not enrolled in its bread subsidy programme as it battles accelerating inflation, the supply minister said on Monday.m People will be able to buy 90g loaves at cost price using pre-paid “debit cards”, Ali Moselhy said, adding the price was yet to be decided but would be less than 1 Egyptian pound ($0.03), with a trial period starting on Wednesday. “The point is to make this important commodity available without any exaggeration in profits by commercial bakeries,” he said.
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One thing the California storms are good for: vineyards
Esther Mobley – San Francisco Chronicle
California is weathering another wet, stormy week. Many communities across the state are struggling with severe flooding. At least 17 people have died. And the rain is far from over: Another series of atmospheric rivers is expected to hit before early next week. Given the widespread devastation, it’s hard to spin these storms as anything other than bad news. And yet, for one sector of California, these storms have been almost uniformly good news. I’m talking about vineyards.
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Ken Griffin sells 66th-floor Park Tower condo for $11.2M
Bob Goldsborough – Chicago Tribune
Billionaire Ken Griffin on Friday sold an 8,000-square-foot condominium on the 66th floor of the Park Tower building on the Near North Side for $11.2 million – easily the highest Chicago-area home sale price in this new year. Griffin, who recently relocated his hedge fund firm, Citadel, and his own family to south Florida after complaining about crime in Chicago, took a meaningful loss on the unit, which he bought for $15 million in 2012. That means that his sale price on Friday was more than 25% less than he paid for the unit more than a decade earlier.
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US stockpiles natural gas as warm winter temperatures cut demand
Justin Jacobs – Financial Times
The US normally pulls natural gas from storage sites in the middle of winter, drawing on fuel carefully stockpiled ahead of the heating season. In the first week of January, however, 11bn cubic feet of extra gas was put back underground instead. The net injection – the first the US has recorded in the month of January – testifies to the warm winter across much of the northern hemisphere that has eased worries about a global energy crunch triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
/jlne.ws/3w6A639

Corn Arrives to Feed Foster Farm Chickens After Train Delays
Thomas Black – Bloomberg
Union Pacific Corp. and poultry producer Foster Farms said enough corn shipments have been made to replenish feed stocks after delayed trains in recent months caused inventories to drop to critical levels. Millions of chickens at Foster Farms facilities were at risk of going unfed because of the rail delays. The US Surface Transportation Board, which regulates railroads, had ordered Union Pacific to provide trains loaded with corn on Dec. 30 after the poultry farm warned about running out of feed for its chickens and its customers’ dairy cattle. The farm said it needed to divert supplies away from its customers to feeding its chickens, which kill each other when they go hungry.
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Miscellaneous

What difference does it make? The art of quantifying research impact; Focusing on papers in prestigious journals may mean that other avenues of influence are overlooked
Andrew Jack – Financial Times
Anyone who thinks that business school academics are indifferent to sustainability should read some of their recent writings. More open to debate is how to measure the proportion and effect of their work in the field, as well as how to incentivise more such research. In a paper in the American Economic Review, for example, Derek Lemoine from the University of Arizona and Ivan Rudik from Iowa State University make the case that the best policy for tackling global warming is to introduce carbon taxes – but with prices that increase more slowly than the exponential rises that many advocate.
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Music financing boom reverberates to markets

Music financing boom reverberates to markets

First Read Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff Yesterday morning I checked the status of my investment accounts after the market opening as I often do and I was like, "WOW!" But then I saw there were problems with some of the opening auctions at the NYSE and...

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