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 architect who designed the Annex to the Chicago Board of Trade Building and the United Airlines Terminal 1 at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Helmut Jahn, has died. He was killed over the weekend in a bicycling accident in the western suburbs of Chicago when he did not stop as he crossed a road and was hit by cars going both ways. — Crain’s Chicago Business
Chris Topple, CEO Euronext London, head of sales Euronext, chairman Euronext FX, chairman Nordpool, chairman Commcise, head of FICC & advanced data services, had this to say (on LinkedIn) about Borsa Italiana Group joining Euronext:
“We are delighted to welcome Borsa Italiana Group to Euronext. This marks a historic day in our ambition to create the leading pan-European market infrastructure, supporting local economies by connecting them to global markets, and building the backbone of the Capital Markets Union in Europe. Borsa Italiana will be a key market in Euronext’s federal model, preserving its Italian identity and strengths to cater to the needs of the Italian community. It will join our Single Order Book, which offers a unique gateway to Italian investors accessing the largest liquidity pool in Europe, and enables international investors to access the Italian market. Together, we will become the leading venue for Secondary Markets in Europe, and we expect to enhance the businesses of all segments, leading to greater benefits for investors, members and issuers alike.”
We missed a recent story from the Wall Street Journal that was an obituary for William Lupien, the former CEO of Instinet and technology pioneer who died at the age 79. — WSJ
The Financial Times has a Special Report on Exchange Traded Funds FT. The titles of the articles include:
- ESG benchmark divergence no barrier to investor demand
- Spectre of inflation puts fixed income managers on edge
- Tilt towards value weighs on Ark funds but investors hold fast
- Cannabis investors bet on regulatory softening
- Should thematic ETF investors be worried about liquidity?
- China stocks defy US blacklisting surging by nearly 20% this year
- Silver ETF assets surge to all-time high as retail investors pile in
- US takes active ETFs to next level while Europe stays cautious
The New York Times has a podcast titled “Who Wins in a Meme Stock World?” — NY Times
HKEX won the In-House Communications Team of the Year award in the Asia-Pacific Association of Communication Directors #APACD 2020 Awards, which celebrate excellence among in-house communications professionals and teams across the region.
Congratulations to David Hoag, OCC’s chief information officer, for his nomination as a finalist for the 2021 National CIO of the Year ORBIE Awards for the Corporate category, which includes CIOs for organizations up to $1 billion in annual revenue. This nomination recognizes Hoag’s excellence in technology leadership and innovation at OCC.
Corn prices are up 50% in 2021 and the options trading floor pits are closed, never to reopen. — WSJ
Peter Tuchman, the NYSE trader referred to as “the most photographed man on Wall Street,” is profiled in an NPR story titled “I Came Close To Dying: Wall Street’s Most Photographed Man Is Ready For Normalcy.” — NPR
Joshua Brown, the Reformed Broker, says “Saturday Night Live is the modern day Shoeshine Boy,” noting Elon Musk’s hosting of SNL. — The Reformed Broker
CME Group is looking for a TPRM Client Response Analyst, which is an “entry/junior role in our risk & compliance team for an enthusiastic new graduate….they will interact with clients and learn about many different aspects of a corporate environment, as well as operational functions such as information security and business continuity.” Hat tip to CME Group Managing Director Carrie Di Santo — https://bit.ly/33yPJCd
There was a whale stuck in the Thames in London over the weekend. It has been freed. No word on if it works for JP Morgan. — CNN
Fact of the day: “In 1966, an RJO employee, 22-year-old Sandra Stephens, becomes the first woman ever to work on the floor of CME. Robert O’Brien, Sr. and Leo Melamed were instrumental in advancing the role of women on the trading floor.” — RJO via LinkedIn
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
With so much talk about all the “retail” business flooding into the futures markets recently, let’s take a quick look at the state of the event and other retail-focused contracts that the average punter is supposed to be eager to trade more of. Kalshi, the events market designated by the CFTC last November, still has not listed its first contract despite pumping event trading ideas about COVID vaccination rates, greenhouse gas emissions, and economic growth on its website. ErisX withdrew its proposed football sports betting contracts in March at about the same time the Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX) was successfully certifying its corporate tax rate futures contract that is set to launch on May 24. In the meantime, Nadex, home of exotic retail derivatives since 2004, reported trading in 64 different contracts on May 6. There were 16 trades in three employment number event contracts that day, the day before April U.S. unemployment data was published.~Thom Thompson
ISDA kicks off its 35th Annual General Meeting today (it extends through Wednesday, May 12). Among its offerings are new 2021 ISDA interest rate derivatives definitions that the group says reflects changes in market practices. To better explain why the definitions were changed and how to access them, ISDA produced a brief animation video. You can watch it here.~SC
CME announces close of most of its trading pits; Cboe dabbles in ESG – The Spread
This week on The Spread, the CME Group announces it’s keeping most of its pits closed for good, Cboe announces it’s getting into ESG derivatives, and more.
It’s not a ‘labor shortage.’ It’s a great reassessment of work in America.
Heather Long – The Washington Post
From Wall Street to the White House, expectations were high for a hiring surge in April with potentially a million Americans returning to work. Instead, the world learned Friday that just 266,000 jobs were added, a massive disappointment that raises questions about whether the recovery is on track.
President Biden’s team has vowed that its massive stimulus package will recover all the remaining jobs lost during the pandemic in about a year, but that promise won’t be kept unless there’s a big pickup in hiring soon. There are still 8.2 million jobs left to recover. At the same time, business leaders and Republicans are complaining that there is a “worker shortage,” and they largely blame the more generous unemployment payments and stimulus checks for making people less likely to take low-paying fast food and retail jobs again. Democratic economists counter that companies could raise pay if they really wanted workers back quickly.
*****The pandemic was an inflection point in a lot of people’s lives about what is important and what is not. Changes in careers are bound to be part of that. ~JJL
The Personality Traits That Make Lockdown Coping Easier; Character plays a huge role in resilience. But not in the way many of us thought a year ago.
Andreas Kluth – Bloomberg
In March 2020, still early in the pandemic, I opined that for introverts quarantine can be a liberation. I was extrapolating from personal experience and historical examples. And many other pundits had a similar hunch. But we were speculating before we had empirical data. Now that such information is available, what does it say? By and large, the research shows that I was wrong. But I couldn’t be happier because what the evidence actually says is that the truth, as usual, is more complex, more subtle and more interesting.
*****Being like Little Orphan Annie has its advantages. THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW.~ JJL
Vlad the vaccinator: Dracula’s castle lures visitors with COVID-19 jabs
Luiza Ilie – Reuters
Visitors to Dracula’s castle are more likely to find puncture marks in their arms than their necks this month, after medics set up a COVID-19 vaccination centre at the Transylvanian attraction.
Doctors and nurses with fang stickers on their scrubs are offering free Pfizer (PFE.N) shots to all-comers at 14th century Bran Castle, which is purported to be an inspiration for the vampire’s towering home in Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula”.
*****OK, this pandemic just got really weird.~JJL
Creative destruction is the silver lining of the Covid-19 crisis; Post-pandemic business is growing, and so are the policy challenges
Rana Foroohar – FT
If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 crisis, it is the remarkable creativity shown by the many businesses that have thrived by transforming themselves in unexpected ways during the pandemic. The examples I’ve come across are numerous. There is the airport security company that made plans to launch a vaccine tracking app after the travel business tanked. Or the mall and store owners renting out empty retail areas to schools that need more space for students to social distance during lessons. Or the digital businesses that can barely keep up with their own growth.
*****This is the force that rules your life. The more you embrace creative destruction, the more you can move on. The floor traders on the CME Group trading floor who will not be returning to the floor because their pits are permanently closed never quite caught on to the idea. ~JJL
Friday’s Top Three
Our most clicked story on Friday was our lead story, the Wall Street Journal’s From Dutch Tulips to Internet Stocks, How to Spot a Financial Bubble, which compared cryptocurrencies and SPACs with past “investment crazes.” Second was an editorial from Bloomberg called Why Congress Should Care About the Laws of Physics, about the discovery in Batavia, Illinois of an anomaly that “might hold the key to explaining the deepest mysteries of the universe.” Third was an opinion piece from David Brooks at the New York Times, Our Pathetic Herd Immunity Failure.