The John Lothian Daily Update is a podcast turning the daily JLN hits and takes comments, our original content and the stories and quips in the top box of First Read into a daily podcast.
Hits & Takes
The CME set new record volumes in the Ultra 10-Year Note and 30-Year Bond futures on February 23. Ultra 10-Year Note futures reached a record volume of 1.7 million contracts on February 23, surpassing the previous record of 1.5 million set on February 25, 2020. A record 1.8 million 30-Year Bond futures contracts were also traded on February 23, passing the prior record of 1.7 million set on February 25, 2020. What is it about late February for debt volume records?
Do investors know how to short bonds other than selling futures or buying futures puts? What are all those stock investors going to do?
The CME is cancelling the 2021 Annual Meeting of members of Commodity Exchange, Inc. because no petitions were received nominating new COMEX Governors. There must be 40 signatures to nominate a governor. The existing governors will continue to serve until such time as an election can be held at the 2022 Annual Meeting.
Milo Hamilton, the man I call Mr. Rice, is hosting an event called “Farm and Gin Show” today at 12:30 PM.
In surprising news, the site “Hypebeast.com” has a story titled “r/WallStreetBets Erupts as GameStop Stock Soars More Than 100%.”
The United Center in Chicago, the site of Michael Jordan’s triumphs as a Chicago Bull, will be a mass Covid-19 vaccination center, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Chuck Bohm of ED&F Man Capital Markets is the latest to give to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. Chuck is a friend and longtime reader of JLN and former colleague at First American Discount. Thank you to Chuck and all who have given and all who have yet to give. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by donating to our GoFundMe campaign.
I am in the midst of changing all the smoke and CO2 detectors in my house. The company that makes them says they should be replaced every 7 to 10 years and mine were made in 2014.
I did not know that Mr. Potato Head had man parts other than a mustache. Mr. Potato Head has now gone gender neutral and dropped the Mister.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
In the first of a series of London Metal Exchange webinars, Jamie Turner, the LME’s head of market structure, on Thursday reviewed a discussion paper that includes a controversial proposal to permanently shift the exchange to electronic pricing from its 144-year-old tradition of Ring (open outcry) trading. Turner said electronic pricing has served the market well since the Ring was temporarily closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19 safety precautions, including for setting official prices for physical markets. In addition, he maintained that since its implementation, electronic pricing has led to “broader participation in the price discovery process and increased volumes directly contributing to those prices.” Given the overall industry move toward digitalization and transparency, “We think now is the right time to consider making the move permanently to that pricing structure,” he said, “and that likely includes closing the Ring.” Adding a caveat, Turner said, “It’s really important to know that this is a discussion paper. The LME’s recommendations are based on what we think is best for the market as a whole, but we want to get everyone’s opinion.” Read the discussion paper in its entirety here.~SC
Nasdaq Chief Economist Phil Mackintosh’s latest column is called “What is core data?” In the column, he answers the question (from a new IOSCO questionnaire), “What market data is necessary to facilitate trading in today’s markets?” by saying “Not much.”~SR
The Old New York Won’t Come Back; ‘The pandemic changed everything,’ we say. But we have yet to absorb fully everything that means.
Peggy Noonan – WSJ
You can know something yet not fully absorb it. I think that’s happened with the pandemic. It is a year now since it settled into America and brought such damage—half a million dead, a nation in lockdown, a catastrophe for public schools. We keep saying “the pandemic changed everything,” but I’m not sure we understand the words we’re saying.
*****The whole world has changed. Some places more than others.~MR
Bankers Are Finally Welcome at Soho House; The members club is reportedly considering a New York listing. A SPAC might be a better route to market.
Chris Bryant – Bloomberg
When Soho House Holdings Ltd. opened a members club, hotel and restaurant complex called The Ned in London’s financial district in 2017, it marked a striking break with tradition. The group had snubbed finance types, preferring to draw its members from the fun-loving creative classes — advertising, TV and film folk with large expense accounts and sartorial imagination.
Now it’ll have to be more even welcoming of besuited bankers and portfolio managers, at least for the next few weeks. The company has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley ahead of a possible stock market listing in New York, according to The Times newspaper.
*****I liked it before they let bankers in.~JJL
A Diamond the Size of a Ping-Pong Ball Is About to Sell for Millions
Yuliya Fedorinova and Thomas Biesheuvel – Bloomberg
Miner Alrosa to put 242-carat stone up for sale in March; The biggest gems have fared best as sector starts to recover
Russian diamond giant Alrosa PJSC is putting one of its biggest-ever gem-quality stones up for auction just as the industry’s recovery builds momentum. The 242-carat diamond, almost the size of ping pong ball, will be viewable at the company’s sales office in Dubai on March 14-21, with the auction result announced on March 22. The starting price will be a little above $2 million.
*****You know what they say: ping pong is forever.~MR
Historic blackouts push Texas to consider something new: Regulation
All the groceries spoiled and the water was out for days. Then Melissa Rogers, a believer in the Texas gospel that government should know its place, woke up to a $6,000 energy bill before the snow and ice even melted. “The roads were awful, but we were running around town trying to get money from every single bank we could possibly think of,” said Rogers, 36, whose Fort Worth family of four was left with $80 after the charges drained her accounts and took her husband’s paycheck. Now, the emerging response to a winter catastrophe that caused one of the worst power outages in U.S. history is not the usual one in Texas: demands for more regulation.
*****Something, something hell freezes over.~JB
Chicago tops list of most corrupt city in US, report says
A new report from the University of Illinois claims Chicago is the most corrupt city in the US.
*****On the upside the report notes that Illinois is only the third most corrupt state. So we have that going for us.~JB
*****File this story under the dog bites man category.~JJL
Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was the New York Times’ This Is the Coat to Wear to Davos, about a topcoat made by Norwegian Wool. Second was Bloomberg’s Crop Trading Giants Start Blockchain Platform With Brazil Deals, about Covantis. Third was the Financial Times opinion piece, Let the market determine bitcoin’s value.