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
Happy April 1st, or April Fool’s Day. No one has listed vibranium futures, which I still think would be a great April Fool’s joke. Here is the best one from the JLN team’s search, the newest in police dogs, Small Area Evacuation Dogs.
Billy Assimos, the manager of Ceres Cafe in the lobby of the CBOT Building for 26 years, announced his retirement to JLN on Wednesday. He is ending his career in financial district restauranteering that began when he was 6 years old in 1964 when he would peel potatoes for Orlando’s, his father’s restaurant at the corner of Wells and Van Buren streets.
I first met Billy when he worked for his father and I was 17 and working as Tom Cashman’s driver and I would join Tom and several traders for breakfast at a big round table at Orlando’s. Our college years would intersect at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where Billy was a senior when I was a freshman and where his father George played college football.
Assimos was a constant presence at Ceres at the CBOT Building, as the restaurant served as a catering venue for the building and Ceres hosted many corporate events. In fact, John Lothian News profiled Assimos in 2016 and gave him the moniker, “The Face of Ceres.” It was our most read story of 2016.
Ceres is famous for its stiff drinks, four ounces of booze in every drink. This boozy tradition was started by Jack Bolling, who owned the Sign of the Trader bar that preceded Ceres in the CBOT Building space and wanted to make his mark. The Sign of the Trader did more cash bar business than any bar in Chicago back in the day. In 1986, Bolling sold his stake to Lou Bournakis, who is 95 and still going strong.
Assimos was at one time a trader, but said he made more money from his memberships than from trading and gave up pit trading to take over managing Ceres. He and his wife hope to return to traveling as soon as the pandemic allows. All the JLN team wishes Billy well.
Steptow, GIR and Lexology are holding a webinar on Thursday, April, 8, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET on “Navigating the Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework from USDOJ and Regulators – Domestically and Abroad.” You can register HERE.
The latest research from the New York Stock Exchange examines NYSE opening auction volume growth and order entry behavior. It says buyers and sellers are meeting earlier in the NYSE opening auction and key points include: the opening auction remains a key liquidity event across sectors, opening auction share of volume has grown the most in some sectors (e.g., health care), which have seen their share of market volume fall. Also, auction volume is pairing up earlier in the morning, providing a valuable liquidity indicator to the market.
Here are the upcoming product launches by the CME Group on Globex: Ukrainian Wheat (Platts) Futures and Options starts trading on April 11, E-mini Nasdaq-100 Monday and Wednesday Options also on April 11, and Freight Route TC18 (Baltic) Futures begin on April 25. Also, Freight Route Liquefied Petroleum Gas (BLPG3) (Baltic) Futures start trading on April 25 and Micro Bitcoin Futures on May 2.
EEX Group is holding a digital conference with the theme of “Building Markets Together 2021,” on April 15, 2021, 6:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m CT.
CME Group is looking for an employee communications manager for their Chicago office.
The World Federation of Exchanges has published a research on global circuit breaker practices. This paper, the first of a two-part series, examines and analyses the kind of circuit breakers and other safeguards that are most prevalent among exchanges today and how they were used during the recent COVID-19 related events.
There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaign.
I have opened a small brokerage account on the trading app Public to join the stock trading game gang. More on this to come.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Boy, everyone’s trying to make a cryptocurrency these days. The children’s television show, “Teletubbies” are releasing a cryptocurrency – not really, April Fool’s! The company that owns the Teletubbies intellectual property, WildBrain, announced that through the power of “HugTech,” the fake cryptocurrency “employs cutting-edge cryptographology to convey the inherent value of Big Hugs! in the form of exchangeable TubbyCoin BigHugs! tokens.” To “mine” these “tokens,” users on social media must write a post to someone they know who “needs a hug,” and that post must be accompanied with the hashtag, “#TubbyCoin.” The fake announcement has some truth to it, however — WildBrain says that they are donating $5,000 to the charity Kids Help Phone, and will add one dollar to their donation for every #TubbyCoin that is shared on social media, up to a maximum of $10,000. I’ve seen a lot of crypto-related hoaxes in my day, but this one is by far the funniest.~MR
JLN Takes ‘A Deeper Dive into the NYSE Group Retail Liquidity Programs’ Research Report with Kevin Tyrrell
Kevin Tyrrell is the head of research for NYSE. He and his team of researchers and economists were intrigued by the market activity during an unprecedented surge in the price of GameStop shares during January 25-29, 2021, and they wanted to see how different OTC trading platforms responded to the order flow, including NYSE’s Retail Price Improvement (RLP) programs.
We cannot afford not to vaccinate the world; ‘If governments have to choose between jabbing their voters or doing the right thing, we know what choice they’ll make’
Simon Kuper – FT
In Soweto, South Africa, 20 years ago, the roadsides were lined with advertising boards for funeral companies: “Motaung Funeral Directors – We Salute the Spirit of Ubuntu!” You could choose 21st Century Funeral Brokers or give your loved one a “Rasta” burial. Drugs to save people with HIV already existed at the time; unfortunately, poorer countries couldn’t afford them, and millions kept dying.
*****We are brothers and sisters and must take care of each other.~JJL
Covid Isn’t Over, and the Next Wave May Be Worse; It’s way too early to talk about the coronavirus in the past tense, even with more widespread vaccinations. The worst outbreaks are accelerating in places least equipped to deal with them.
David Fickling – Bloomberg
With vaccines spreading through rich countries at gathering speed and lockdown restrictions weakening with the spring sunshine, it’s tempting to believe that the long nightmare of Covid-19 is finally ending. In the U.K., 58% of the adult population has received at least one dose of vaccine. In the U.S., President Joe Biden has doubled an original goal of administering 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, which would bring the total to 200 million by the end of April. On Google, the search term “after Covid” has been getting more interest than “Covid symptoms” for the past month, suggesting the world is thinking more about what life will be like when things return to normal.
*****Watch the all the numbers.~JJL
PE groups raise more than $20bn from loan investors to fund dividends; Payouts through such deals reach record quarterly high after vigorous investor demand
Joe Rennison – FT
Private equity groups including Ares and Golden Gate Capital have raised more than $20bn in the US leveraged loan market through the companies they own to award themselves a bumper payday.
*****Something in my gut says this sounds like a Ponzi scheme of a different stripe.~JJL
Hundred Trillion Dollar Non-Fungible Fish Token (NFFT) Saves The Global Economy
Z/Yen, the City of London’s leading commercial think tank, has just issued a non-fungible token in order to save the global economy. A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data on a distributed ledger that represents some unique item or portion of an item. In the case of many NFTs, they represent part of a digital item, e.g. 1/1,000,000th of a photo or work of art. ‘Fungible’ means each unit is interchangeable. For example, a unit of a currency or cryptocurrency is fungible. ‘Non-fungible’ means the token represents a specific item or portion of an item.
*****There is something fishy about this foolish early April story.~JJL
If People Aren’t Bored Anymore, What Happens to the Stock Market? Latest round of stimulus checks hasn’t translated into retail stock purchases, partly because people are starting to have better things to do
Jon Sindreu – WSJ
Many on Wall Street turn to the “boredom market hypothesis” to explain the stunning rally of the past year: Bereft of travel and other pursuits, stimulus-check recipients gambled on hot stocks ranging from GameStop to electric-vehicle startups. As economies reopen, investors will need to grapple with the consequences of more people spending their checks outdoors.
*****I am still bored.~JJL
Wednesday’s Top Three
The most-read story on Wednesday was the Wall Street Journal’s highly informative What Is a Total Return Swap and How did Archegos Capital Use It? The second most popular was from Investor’s Business Daily, ‘No High-Fives Rule” Keeps Tastytrade’s CEO Grounded. And the third most read was another Wall Street Journal story in Archegos, Archegos’ Collapse Is a Wakeup Call for Regulators.