The Merchant Banker Who Could Win the Masters

Apr 10, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Cboe Global Markets released an article titled “Debunking Options Myths” on April 9, 2024, aiming to dispel misconceptions surrounding options trading. The article challenges common myths, such as the belief that options trading is only for seasoned professionals, emphasizing that options are accessible and beneficial to a wide range of investors. Cboe highlights the history and evolution of options trading, particularly focusing on the rise of same-day expiring options (0DTE options) and their benefits for investors. Additionally, the article discusses the role of short-dated options in portfolio management, income generation, and speculation, while emphasizing the importance of education and informed decision-making in options trading. Cboe advocates for the recognition of options as valuable and versatile financial tools that can benefit investors of all levels of experience.

One of the examples in the Cboe piece is using options rather than single name equities, especially in volatile market opportunities. There is a story today from Bloomberg with exactly that recommendation titled “JPMorgan Says Use ‘Cheap Options’ to Bet on Chinese Stocks.” In this case, JP Morgan is recommending buying indexes rather than single name options, but the theory is the same. But it is an example of the theory being put into practice.

ESMA has published a risk analysis article on financial innovation titled “Crypto assets: Market structures and EU relevance.” The article examines patterns in crypto-asset secondary markets, noting their growth over the past decade and associated risks highlighted by ESMA. It aims to compare crypto-asset trading with traditional financial markets, identifying risks to consumers, market order, and financial stability. The analysis supports EU’s MiCA regulation. Crypto-asset prices are volatile with boom-bust cycles, often co-moving with equity markets. Market capitalization and trading volumes are concentrated in a few assets, with most transactions occurring within the crypto system. USD and South Korean won dominate fiat currency involvement, with minimal euro transactions despite MiCA. Trading volumes are concentrated in few exchanges, with liquidity higher in larger exchanges. Identifying order flow origin or exchange location remains challenging. Around 55% of trading volume occurs on EU-licensed crypto exchanges, but many transactions likely happen outside the EU.

Mark your calendars! Join us on Friday, June 14, for the annual City against MND Network cricket day, dedicated to raising funds for the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association. The event will take place at Blackheath Cricket Club, The Rectory Field, Charlton Road, Blackheath, London SE3 7EY. Six teams, including KRM22, ICE, ABN AMRO Bank N.V., Trading Technologies, and StoneX Group Inc., will compete for the prestigious David Setters Trophy. Play kicks off mid-morning, and the Bar will open around noon. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to support a worthy cause while enjoying some thrilling cricket action! For inquiries, call 020 8858 1578.

I shop at Costco and also own some stock in the company because I believe in owning what you use. However, I have not gone to Costco to buy gold bars or silver coins, though its selling of 1-ounce bars made of nearly pure 24-karat gold priced at about $2,000 have made the company about $100 million to $200 million, Wells Fargo said in a research report, USA Today reported. The warehouse retailer expanded into the metal market beyond gold by offering nonrefundable tubes of 25 1-ounce Canada Maple Leaf Silver Coins, priced at around $680, which quickly sold out online. Maybe now we know another reason why gold is going up: increased distribution and sales of coins.

Anna Hallgren is starting a new position as director, product marketing at Nasdaq. She was formerly co-head of marketing and communications at Cinnober.

Helena Stenbom is starting a new position as senior manager, retention marketing, financial technology at Nasdaq. She was previously marketing and event manager at Nasdaq Technology.

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

Nasdaq’s report, “2023 Global Net Zero Pulse” found that 88% of companies feel internal and external pressure to set a net zero target as a part of their climate change efforts. The independent study examined how companies are structuring and resourcing their sustainability teams; crafting their ESG and climate risk mitigation strategies; assessing barriers to and drivers of their sustainability agendas; and planning their technology investment plans. Learn more and download the report HERE. ~SAED

Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
– VIX remains above 15 even as market moves muted MarketWatch.
– The Bitcoin halving is coming – How are options traders positioned? from CoinTelegraph.
– Stock-market rally has likely reached a ‘tipping point’ following spike in Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’ from MarketWatch. ~JB

Subscribe to the JLN Options Newsletter HERE (it’s free).


Industry Analyst Larry Tabb Discusses Cryptocurrencies, AI, and Market Dynamics at FIA Futures Conference

At the FIA International Futures Industry Conference in Boca Raton, FL, John Lothian News conducted an interview with Larry Tabb of Bloomberg Intelligence as part of the JLN Industry Leader video series sponsored by Wedbush. Tabb, known for his expertise in industry and market analysis, shared his insights into cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence, equity options growth and increased demand for U.S. equities during non-traditional market hours.

Watch the video »


Euronext CEO Boujnah Discusses AI, Brexit, and ESG at FIA Conference

Stephane Boujnah says you cannot afford to be late to AI, but also that exchange matching engine operators need to be precise, not roughly correct. The Euronext CEO spoke to John Lothian News at the FIA International Futures Industry Conference in Boca Raton, FL, as part of the JLN Industry Leader video series sponsored by Wedbush. Boujnah pulled no punches in addressing the impact of AI, Brexit, geopolitical risks, cybersecurity threats and staying competitive.

Watch the video »


OpenAI and Meta ready new AI models capable of ‘reasoning’; Upgrades are part of a wave of new large language models being released this year
Madhumita Murgia and Cristina Criddle – Financial Times
OpenAI and Meta are on the brink of releasing new artificial intelligence models that they say will be capable of reasoning and planning, critical steps towards achieving superhuman cognition in machines. This week, executives at OpenAI and Meta signalled that they are preparing to launch the next versions of their large language models, the systems that power generative AI applications such as ChatGPT.

*****Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volleyed and thundered; Stormed at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of hell, Rode the six hundred.~Alfred, Lord Tennyson ~JJL


Retiring in your 60s is becoming an impossible goal. Is 75 the new 65?
Chris Stokel-Walker – BBC
People are living longer, and daily life is getting more expensive. It may be time to rethink the timeline for leaving the workforce. Handing in your proverbial badge as a sexagenarian has been the goal for many workers around the world: turning 65 would open a golden portal to retirement. Yet increasingly, the idea of stepping away from the workforce in your 60s doesn’t seem realistic – or even sensible – for many people, especially now. Some major financial figureheads agree.

****** I think this is right. My retirement goal is 72, when I can start to receive Social Security and be old enough to be cute again.~JJL


How a Pioneering Blackjack Master Beats the Odds of Aging; Legendary gambler and hedge fund manager Edward Thorp, 91, shares what he’s learned about exercise, diet and managing risk in all areas of life.
Richard Dewey and Aaron Brown – Bloomberg
The mathematics professor and hedge fund manager Edward Thorp rocketed to fame in the early 1960s by showing readers how to best casinos in blackjack. His book Beat the Dealer laid out a groundbreaking system of card counting, followed by guides to roulette and other gambling games. Thorp also invented or perfected a number of the quantitative hedge fund strategies being used today, and he delivered 30 years of 20% annual returns for the hedge funds he operated, with only a handful of down months, none large.

****** His success is just like in the markets, he thinks for himself. That was the first thing I was taught about trading.~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was ‘I Am Worried’-Fed President Issues ‘Incredible’ Bitcoin Price Prediction Amid Shock Inflation Warning, from Forbes. Second was SIMONE, the AI that nearly took down a bank, an April Fools’ Day story from Third was Citadel Securities moves data and algorithm testing to Google Cloud, from the Financial Times.



Lead Stories

The Merchant Banker Who Could Win the Masters; Stewart Hagestad is a player unlike any other. The 33-year-old amateur will compete at Augusta National this week, then head back to his day job on Wall Street.
Andrew Beaton – The Wall Street Journal
Stewart Hagestad had a compelling reason to ask the merchant bank where he works for some time off this week: He was going to the Masters. What separates him from everyone else on Wall Street jetting down to Augusta National is that he’s not there to take in the action at the first major of the season. Hagestad is actually playing in it. In the 89-man field at golf’s most prestigious tournament, Hagestad is a player unlike any other. He has a business degree and works a full-time job as an associate at BDT & MSD Partners, an investment and advisory firm that has more than $60 billion of assets under management. But once he shuts down his computer at the end of the day, he finds time to play golf.

Carbon Credits Market to Get a Huge Boost as Rules Relaxed; SBTi says credits can now be used to reduce Scope 3 emissions; Carbon Market Watch said it ‘strongly condemns’ the decision
Frances Schwartzkopff, Natasha White, and Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
The world’s main verifier of corporate climate targets will let companies use carbon credits to reduce the full scope of their emissions, relaxing earlier guidance and galvanizing a controversial market for green finance. The United Nations-backed Science Based Targets initiative said it will allow the use of credits to cut emissions from value chains, otherwise known as Scope 3, according to a statement on its website.

Crypto trading concentration a ‘considerable concern’, says EU watchdog
The high level of concentration in crypto trading, with Binance alone accounting for more than half the market, raises concerns about the impact a failure or malfunction would have on the sector, the EU’s securities watchdog said on Wednesday. “While this might be advantageous from an efficiency standpoint, due to economies of scale, it raises considerable concerns regarding the implications of a failure or malfunction at a major asset or exchange for the wider crypto ecosystem,” ESMA said in a detailed overview of the market.

Era of bribes is over, say commodities trading chiefs; CEOs of Trafigura, Vitol and Gunvor say they have learned lessons from the 2010s scandals
Shotaro Tani and Tom Wilson – Financial Times
The days of handing out bribes to secure commodity contracts are over, the heads of the world’s biggest trading companies said, after a series of US bribery scandals put the sector under intense scrutiny. Speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne the heads of Vitol, Trafigura and Gunvor each said they had overhauled trading and compliance processes since the 2010s and that bribery and corruption has no place in commodity trading today.

Banks Strike Back Against Private Credit; Wall Street banks are gaining back ground against nonbank lenders
Telis Demos – The Wall Street Journal
When it comes to financing deals, don’t count out the big Wall Street banks quite yet. A big narrative in recent years has been that America’s biggest deposit-taking investment banks are losing ground to their nonbank rivals, the likes of Blackstone and Apollo Global. One worry for banks was that private credit-meaning, in this context, lending directly to businesses by alternative-asset fund managers, insurers and others-was going to eat into investment banks’ business originating loans and distributing them to investors.

NYSE Executive Says ‘Handful’ of AI Startups Are Exploring IPOs
Jackie Davalos – Bloomberg
Several artificial intelligence startups are looking into the process of going public, according to an executive at the New York Stock Exchange, as the market for tech listings gains steam. “I’d say that the majority of the companies that are truly pure-play, AI-focused are still mostly financing themselves in the private markets,” Michael Harris, global head of capital markets at NYSE, said at the Information’s Private Capital Conference on Tuesday. “But we have seen a handful of companies that are at least exploring going through the process.”

Longtime AI critic Gary Marcus sees a ‘Shakespearean tragedy’ as widespread scraping of copyrighted data comes to light in bombshell report
Paolo Confino – Fortune
Gary Marcus is a leading AI researcher who’s increasingly appalled at what he’s seeing. He founded at least two AI startups, one of which sold to Uber, and has been researching the subject for over two decades. Just last weekend, the Financial Times called him “perhaps the noisiest AI questioner” and reported that Marcus assumed he was targeted by a critical Sam Altman post on X: “Give me the confidence of a mediocre deep-learning skeptic.”

Investors pump $126bn into ETFs in March; Buying spree, which was third-strongest monthly figure since 2021, came even as investors exited tech
Steve Johnson – Financial Times
Investors pumped an outsized $126.5bn into exchange traded funds in March as a series of markets from Wall Street to gold hit record highs, according to data from BlackRock. The buying spree was the third-strongest monthly figure since 2021 – beaten only by a surge in inflows in the final two months of 2023. And even beyond the punchy headline reading there were further signs of bullishness with flows to equity ETFs at $96.6bn accounting for the vast majority of the tally.

Crypto Trader’s $110 Million Haul Was Not a Theft, Lawyer Says
David Voreacos and Chris Dolmetsch – Bloomberg
A jailed trader accused of manipulating the Mango Markets cryptocurrency exchange to steal $110 million was actually executing perfectly legal, high-risk trades and had no intent to defraud anyone, his lawyer told jurors at the start of a criminal trial in New York. Prosecutors accuse Avraham Eisenberg of manipulating Mango Markets futures contracts on Oct. 11, 2022 – when he boosted the price of swaps by 1,300% in 20 minutes – and then “borrowed” against those inflated contracts using anonymous accounts before fleeing the country. The government claims Eisenberg stole the money.

US sets first standard to curb ‘forever chemicals’ from drinking water
Valerie Volcovici – Reuters
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced its first-ever drinking water standard to protect people against toxic “forever chemicals” found in many household and everyday items, and offered $1 billion to states for public water system testing, the agency’s first major move to curb the cancer-causing chemicals. The final rule will affect 6% and 10% of the 66,000 public drinking water systems in the United States and is projected reduce exposure to the group of 15,000 chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for approximately 100 million people. It would avoid tens of thousands of deaths that have been linked to PFAS, according to the agency.

Takeaways from the Swiss women’s climate victory
Gloria Dickie and Kate Abnett – Reuters
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of more than 2,000 Swiss women on Tuesday, affirming their argument that the Swiss government violated their human rights by failing to take sufficient action on climate change. Here are some takeaways from the verdict. Weak Climate Policies Can Breach Human Rights This is the first time a regional human rights court has ruled that countries can violate human rights by failing to reduce their climate-warming emissions fast enough. The Case Could Impact Climate Litigation Worldwide. While the outcome of the Swiss women’s case is not legally binding in jurisdictions outside Europe, experts expect international courts will consider the ruling in future judgments.

Wall Street turns to ‘solar grazing’ sheep in its push to go green; Big business teams up with ranchers to trim around solar panels and win over local communities
George Steer – Financial Times
Wall Street investors are deploying flocks of sheep to trim the grass covering their solar panel installations as they seek to burnish their green credentials and win local support for sometimes divisive new renewable energy projects. Inflation Reduction Act tax incentives and cash injections from the likes of subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway and quantitative hedge fund DE Shaw last year helped the US solar energy industry grow at its fastest ever pace, with enough capacity brought online to power roughly 6mn American homes.

KPMG failed to stop cheating on training exams, hit with $25 million in fines; The fine is more than 3 times larger than the previous record
Chris Matthews – MarketWatch
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board announced Wednesday that it had settled charges with KPMG Netherlands and its former head of assurance for failing to stop cheating on internal training exams between 2017 and 2022. “The PCAOB will not tolerate cheating nor any other unethical behavior, period,” said PCAOB Chair Erica Y. Williams at a virtual press conference. “Impaired ethics threaten the investor confidence our system relies on, and the PCAOB will take action to hold firms accountable when they fail to enforce a culture of honesty and integrity.”

Elon Musk and Jamie Dimon’s AI Predictions and What They Mean for the Future of Humanity; One of the world’s richest people and the head of the nation’s largest bank join a chorus of business executives making bold prognostications about the technology’s potential
Joseph De Avila – Financial Times
Elon Musk and Jamie Dimon say artificial intelligence will be smarter than humans and transform society. The question now is whether the prognostications of one of the world’s richest people and the head of the nation’s largest bank will come to fruition, or turn out to be overstated. In remarks this week, both Musk and Dimon joined a chorus of business executives making bold predictions about AI’s potential for dramatic change.

What Happens if You Don’t File Your Taxes by April 15; Missing the deadline can be costly-even after getting an extension
Ashlea Ebeling – The Wall Street Journal
More than 20 million Americans are likely hitting the tax snooze button this year, with most asking the government for at least six more months to file their returns. This isn’t just procrastination. People living in areas affected by natural disasters were granted extra time. Taxpayers also tend to ask for more time when they have a bigger balance due than expected, or if records and documentation aren’t ready.

A Safe, Profitable Bet on the Green Transition; Midstream energy companies are especially attractive given how difficult it has been to add pipeline or storage capacity
Jinjoo Lee – The Wall Street Journal
Companies in the business of storing and transporting natural gas don’t sound “growth-y” or exciting, but they are businesses with a deepening competitive moat and growing need. Over the last decade, U.S. dry natural gas production has grown 57% and demand (including for exports) has risen 45%, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Over that period, interstate pipeline capacity for natural gas has expanded just 25%, according to Williams Companies WMB -1.26%decrease; red down pointing triangle, citing data from EIA. Meanwhile, natural-gas storage capacity has barely changed.

FCA tables re-bundling to support more ‘flexible’ approach to research; The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has opened a consultation on research payment processes; proposed rules set to make it easier to buy research across borders.
Claudia Preece – The Trade
The FCA’s latest consultation paper highlights what new investment research funding and payment rules are set to look like, with asset managers given greater freedom of choice in terms of how they pay. A key aspect of the new rules is the allowance of ‘bundling’ of payments for third-party research and trade execution. Prevention of payment bundling was introduced in 2018 under Mifid II due to various concerns, including that it could lead to less disciplined spending on duplicative or low-quality research.

Ukraine Invasion

US Slams Strikes on Russia Oil Refineries as Risk to Oil Markets
Peter Martin and Roxana Tiron – Bloomberg
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Ukraine’s recent attacks on Russian oil refineries risk impacting global energy markets and urged the country to focus on military targets instead. As Ukraine’s battlefield situation has steadily deteriorated in recent weeks, the country has increasingly turned to strikes deep within Russian territory, including infrastructure. The strikes are part of a bid to reduce fuel supplies to the Russian military, as well as to cut revenues from exports that Moscow uses to fund the war.

Ukraine developing ‘unstoppable’ AI-powered attack drone with Western backing
Joe Barnes – The Telegraph
Ukraine is developing artificially intelligent drones that will be harder for Russia to shoot down, The Telegraph can disclose. The push to create an image recognition targeting system, which can autonomously hunt and strike targets, is backed by more than £200 million in Western finance from a UK-led drone coalition. Kateryna Chernohorenko,Ukraine’s deputy defence minister, said the system would make one-way attack drones less susceptible to Russian electronic blockers and allow pilots to operate them further from the front line.

Russian Oil Is Once Again Trading Far Above the G-7’s Price Cap Everywhere; Exported Urals crude is near $75 a barrel, about $15 above cap; Almost a quarter moved with western insurance in March
Alaric Nightingale and Julian Lee – Bloomberg
Russian oil is trading far in excess of a Group of Seven price cap that’s supposed to deprive Moscow of revenue for its war in Ukraine, suggesting significant non-compliance with the measure. The country’s flagship Urals grade is fetching about $75 a barrel at the point it leaves ports in the Baltic Sea and Black Sea, according to data from Argus Media, whose price assessments are followed by some G-7 nations involved in the cap. US officials are tracking the price increase, which they attribute to broader geopolitical dynamics, according to a senior Treasury official.

Russian Factories Rush to Buy Drone Defense From Local Suppliers; Tender data shows demand for defense systems has quadrupled; Ukrainian drones have targeted industry, including refineries
Bloomberg News
Intensifying Ukrainian drone attacks are forcing Russian companies to find ways to protect their own plants and factories instead of relying on the military, providing an unexpected boost to radar and warfare-equipment producers. Tender data show that demand for private systems to repel unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, has quadrupled over the past year. At the same time, Russia has managed to at least double output of this sort of equipment since the start of the war, Bloomberg Economics estimates.

Ukraine Moves on Mobilization as Troop Numbers Raise Alarm; Draft legislation could be approved by lawmakers this week; Zelenskiy, leaders had held back amid public resistance
Volodymyr Verbianyi – Bloomberg
Ukrainian lawmakers are forging ahead with controversial legislation to recruit more troops as worries mount that a lack of manpower is hurting the country’s front-line forces. The bill on mobilization aims to tighten registration rules, narrow exemptions from military service and introduce some penalties in an effort to bolster the ranks of front-line troops. Ukrainian forces are grappling with ammunition and personnel shortages as they hold the line against a renewed Russian offensive.

How American Drones Failed to Turn the Tide in Ukraine; Drones from American startups have been deemed glitchy and expensive, prompting Ukraine to turn to alternatives from China
Heather Somerville and Brett Forrest – The Wall Street Journal
The Silicon Valley company Skydio sent hundreds of its best drones to Ukraine to help fight the Russians. Things didn’t go well. Skydio’s drones flew off course and were lost, victims of Russia’s electronic warfare. The company has since gone back to the drawing board to build a new fleet. Most small drones from U.S. startups have failed to perform in combat, dashing companies’ hopes that a badge of being battle-tested would bring the startups sales and attention. It is also bad news for the Pentagon, which needs a reliable supply of thousands of small, unmanned aircraft.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Biden says Netanyahu’s approach to war in Gaza is a ‘mistake’
Kanishka Singh – Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to the war in Gaza is a “mistake,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in an interview published on Tuesday, offering further criticism of Israel’s handling of the conflict. “I think what he’s doing is a mistake. I don’t agree with his approach,” Biden said in comments to Univision, a U.S. Spanish-language TV network. Biden has also previously called Israel’s bombing in Gaza “indiscriminate” and its military actions “over the top.”

Defiant Israel seeks to tough out intensifying international criticism; Tide of censure strengthens Israeli resolve to see Gaza war out to bitter end
Guy Chazan – Financial Times
Israel has rarely been so isolated. But rather than moderate its war aims, it is toughing out the intensifying international criticism of its conduct and hunkering down in defiance. The six-month Gaza conflict has strained Israel’s alliance with the US and brought its efforts to normalise relations with Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia to a juddering halt.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

NYSE Is Trying to Get Japanese Companies to List in the US
Yasutaka Tamura and Min Jeong Lee – Bloomberg
The New York Stock Exchange is actively engaged with a pipeline of Japanese companies, some of which may consider a US listing over the next 18 months, according to the bourse’s vice chairman. Some of these companies are in the technology and health-care sectors, Vice Chairman John Tuttle said in an interview in Tokyo. They are at different stages of growth, and some are “quite sizable” and expanding quickly, he said, without providing further details.

Nasdaq unveils new Swedish small cap index future offering; The solution is aimed at asset managers, retail investors and ETP issuers, set to make it possible for investors to gain exposure in the Swedish small cap market and simplify investment strategies.
Claudia Preece – The Trade
Nasdaq has launched futures on the OMX Sweden Small Cap 30 ESG Responsible Index as it seeks to enhance its offering in the Nordic region. Alessandro Romani, vice president and head of European derivatives at Nasdaq, explained: “The new index future offering is part of Nasdaq Europe’s strategy to support investors with a liquid and diversified product for the Nordic region combined with our strong commitment to ESG.”

Beware of deepfake of CEO recommending stocks, says National Stock Exchange; The exchange said its officials are not authorised to recommend or deal in any stocks
Reuters via Business Standard
India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday cautioned investors against deepfake videos of its chief executive giving stock recommendations. The exchange, the largest in the country, issued the warning after observing that the face and voice of CEO Ashishkumar Chauhan was being falsely used in some investment and stock advisory videos. “Such videos seem to have been created using sophisticated technologies to imitate the voice and facial expressions of Ashishkumar Chauhan,” the NSE said. The exchange said its officials are not authorised to recommend or deal in any stocks.

Caution – fake videos of NSE MD and CEO Shri Ashishkumar Chauhan recommending stocks
National Stock Exchange of India
1.To check NSE’s all official social media handles 2. All investors are requested to take note of the same and verify the information coming from NSE or its officials from its website as the official information. We have observed the use of face/ voice of Shri Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO NSE and NSE logo in a few investment and advisory audio and video clips falsely created using technology. Such videos seem to have been created using sophisticated technologies to imitate the voice and facial expressions of Shri Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO of NSE.

CME Group Micro U.S. Treasury Futures Surpass 100,000 Contracts Traded
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today announced that trading in its new Micro U.S. Treasury futures has surpassed 100,000 contracts since launching just two weeks ago on March 25. “As the world’s most liquid market for U.S. Treasury futures, CME Group is pleased that so many of our global clients are incorporating smaller-sized Micro U.S. Treasury futures into their trading strategies,” said Agha Mirza, CME Group Global Head of Interest Rates and OTC Products. “Amid shifting interest rate expectations, Micro U.S. Treasury futures offer easier access to key 10- and 30-year benchmarks, complementing our broad risk management suite of U.S. Treasury offerings.”

DTCC Collaborates with REGnosys to Support ISDA Digital Regulatory Reporting
DTCC, the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today announced that it is working with REGnosys to support industry adoption of the ISDA Digital Regulatory Reporting (DRR) solution and aid compliance with forthcoming global derivatives trade reporting rewrites. The ISDA DRR establishes a golden-source interpretation of market practices and trade reporting logic, developed through industry consensus.

Nasdaq Launches Futures on the OMX Sweden Small Cap 30 ESG Responsible Index
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today announced the launch of Nasdaq futures on the OMX Sweden Small Cap 30 ESG Responsible Index (Nasdaq: OMXSS30ESG) (Bloomberg Ticker: OMXSMLGI). With over 300 billion SEK in Assets under Management (AUM) of equity funds in Sweden that track the Swedish small cap market segment, this new futures solution offers an important development for asset managers, retail investors, and ETP issuers.


Musk’s Undisclosed Starlink Costs Undercut Profitability Claims
Kiel Porter, Loren Grush and Edward Ludlow – Bloomberg
SpaceX’s prized Starlink satellite business is still burning through more cash than it brings in. People familiar with the finances of one of the world’s most valuable private companies say Starlink has – at times – lost hundreds of dollars on each of the millions of ground terminals it ships, casting doubt on claims by Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk and the company’s top brass that the business is in “profitable territory.”

BNY’s LiquidityDirect to collaborate with cloud treasury and finance solutions business Kyriba; The integration will allow LiquidityDirect to leverage Kyriba’s SaaS to enhance its liquidity performance and increase its cash visibility.
Claudia Preece – The Trade
BNY Mellon has unveiled a new collaboration between short-term investment platform LiquidityDirect and cloud treasury and finance solutions business, Kyriba. The integration is set to allow LiquidityDirect to enhance its liquidity performance and increase cash visibility through leveraging Kyriba’s SaaS. Clients will also benefit from a holistic cash management process, which enhances the operational efficiency of self-directed cash management, payments and investments.

OpenAI Reportedly Transcribed 1 Million Hours of YouTube Videos to Train GPT-4
Maxwell Zeff – Gizmodo
OpenAI reportedly transcribed more than one million hours of YouTube videos to train GPT-4, according to The New York Times on Saturday. The report comes just days after YouTube CEO Neal Mohan said transcribing YouTube videos for AI training would be a “clear violation” of its policies in a Bloomberg interview. “When a creator uploads their hard work to our platform, they have certain expectations. One of those expectations is that the terms of services is going to be abided by,” said Mohan in an interview with Bloomberg last week. “But it does not allow for things like transcripts or video bits to be downloaded.”

Google Shows AI Model Is Enterprise-Ready After Gemini Mishaps
Julia Love and Davey Alba – Bloomberg
Google unveiled a host of updates to its artificial intelligence offerings for cloud computing customers, emphasizing that the technology is safe and ready for use in the corporate realm, despite recent stumbles in consumer-facing tools. At the company’s annual cloud computing conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Cloud Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kurian showed off how Google’s most powerful AI model, Gemini, can be used to create advertisements, ward off cybersecurity threats and spin up short videos and podcasts. The company also touted a new chip designed to handle the massive AI workloads and control the associated rising costs.

Google is building its own AI chips-and it’s a warning shot at Nvidia and Intel
Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez – Fortune
Google announced a proprietary chip Tuesday that could help the company cut back its reliance on heavyweight chipmakers and gain a foothold in the increasingly competitive AI race. The new chip, dubbed Axion, will help handle the massive amount of data used by AI applications, Google said in a Tuesday statement. It’s designed to be grouped into clusters of thousands of chips to improve performance, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Elon Musk says the next-generation Grok 3 model will require 100,000 Nvidia H100 GPUs to train
Anton Shilov – Tom’s Hardware
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and founder of xAI, made some bold predictions about the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) and discussed the challenges facing the AI industry. He predicts that AGI could surpass human intelligence as soon as next year or by 2026, but that it will take an extreme number of processors to train, which in turn requires huge amounts of electricity, reports Reuters. Musk’s venture, xAI, is currently training the second version of its Grok large language mode and expects to complete its next training phase by May. The training of Grok’s version 2 model required as many as 20,000 Nvidia H100 GPUs, and Musk anticipates that future iterations will demand even greater resources, with the Grok 3 model needing around 100,000 Nvidia H100 chips to train.

Speed of AI development stretches risk assessments to breaking point; Artificial intelligence’s complexity exposes flaws in traditional methods used to evaluate safety and accuracy
George Hammond – Financial Times


Cybersecurity Regulations Aren’t Static-Your Practices Can’t Be Either
Conal Gallagher – Forbes
How prepared is your business to comply with current cybersecurity regulations? Are you able to respond in a coordinated, efficient manner to any incident that occurs? Every company must make sure that security practices are keeping up with regulations. The organizational structure must be sufficiently cooperative and integrated to ensure appropriate adherence to rules. In most companies, engineering and security teams typically don’t have an ongoing dialogue with finance. As a result, getting everything and everyone together may pose a significant challenge.

Exclusive: Wiz acquires Gem Security
Allie Garfinkle – Fortune
The first time Gili Raanan ever gave Assaf Rappaport a big check, it was in a gas station. “It was a convenience store in a gas station that didn’t really have tables, and there were two seats we could occupy,” said Raanan, a venture capital investor who was then at Sequoia Capital. The unusual meeting point was a compromise of sorts, halfway between Tel Aviv, where Rappaport lived, and Raanan’s homebase in Mikhmoret, a coastal town 26 miles to the north.


Made (or lost) money on bitcoin or other crypto last year? The IRS wants details
Jeanne Sahadi – CNN
If you’re a crypto investor or have been paid in bitcoin or other cryptocurrency for your services, you’re going to have to report your taxable transactions on your 2023 tax return, which for most people comes due April 15. And – no surprise – you’re also obligated to pay tax on any income or gains you received from your crypto assets last year. The wrinkle is that there are still questions surrounding the rules for tax reporting and the calculations needed in that reporting. While 2023 was supposed to be the year, for instance, that third-party reporting requirements went into effect for crypto brokerage platforms to report on their customers’ transactions to the IRS, the IRS has hit pause on enforcing those rules until the Treasury issues its final regulations, said Miles Fuller, a senior director at crypto tax advisory firm TaxBit. Fuller previously worked at the IRS as senior counsel specializing in virtual currency issues.

Bitcoin ‘Halving’ Rally Is Already Partially Priced In, Marathon CEO Thiel Says; ETFs have already brought in significant demand in Bitcoin; Reduced supply due to halving may have limited impact on price
Sonali Basak and David Pan – Bloomberg
Bitcoin’s “halving” later this month, a software code update that is being championed as a catalyst for further price increases, may already be factored in to a degree, according to the head of the largest US crypto miner. What Is Bitcoin ‘Halving’? Does It Push Up the Price?: QuickTake The original cryptocurrency has rallied more than 60% since the start of the year, driven by optimism over record demand for US exchange traded funds that hold the tokens directly. Bitcoin prices have tended to rise in the months after the three previous halving, which takes place every four years.

China’s Harvest May Get Hong Kong Approval for Spot-Bitcoin ETF Later in April
Bloomberg News
The international arm of Chinese asset manager Harvest Fund Management Co. may get approval from Hong Kong as soon as this month to launch a spot-Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, people familiar with the matter said. The pending green light is the second part of a two-step process for Harvest Global Investments Ltd. to list an ETF in the city that directly invests in Bitcoin, the people said, asking not to be identified as the plan is not public.

Why ‘Tokenizing’ Assets Is Turning Banks On to Crypto
Olga Kharif and Elijah Nicholson-Messmer – Bloomberg
Cryptocurrencies were invented in the heat of the 2008-2009 financial crisis to provide an alternative to banks. The inventors of Bitcoin, who went by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, envisioned a financial system that didn’t depend on “trusted third parties” that they said couldn’t be trusted in the first place. Instead, it would use cryptography and a decentralized ledger called a blockchain to record transactions and provide irrefutable proof of ownership. Crypto evangelists said this would democratize finance and lower the cost of holding and using money.


Fake It Till You Make It: AI’s Disinformation Risk For Elections; Get caught up on the day’s political news
Tiwa Adebayo – Bloomberg
Meta’s Nick Clegg told an event in London the social media giant isn’t seeing artificial intelligence being used a on a “systemic basis” to disrupt elections, arguing that the technology can be a ‘sword and shield’ against harmful content. We discuss the risks posted by AI and social media with our technology reporter Mark Bergen, and Keegan McBride from the Oxford Internet Institute.

America’s moment of truth on Ukraine; Republicans have a stark choice: help Zelenskyy or pay fealty to Trump
Edward Luce – Financial Times
The last time David Cameron, Britain’s foreign secretary, urged Capitol Hill to pass Ukraine aid, he was told to “kiss my ass” by Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the most vocal pro-Russia Republicans. Washington largely treated the Georgia legislator as a joke when she was first elected. Now Greene is threatening the speakership of her party leader, Mike Johnson, if he tries to pass Ukraine funding. Her threat is not empty. Johnson is as keen on remaining speaker as he is lukewarm on Ukraine. His path of least resistance would be to fold.

EU Ramps Up Pressure on China’s Green Tech With Wind Probe; EU’s Vestager set to announce early-stage probe in US speech; Move is latest probe under new rules on foreign subsidies
Samuel Stolton, Ewa Krukowska, and Tom Hancock – Bloomberg
The European Union ramped up pressure on Chinese clean-tech investments potentially squeezing out its local suppliers amid EU efforts to transform the bloc into a green economy. The EU’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager announced an early-stage probe of Chinese involvement in wind parks in Spain, Greece, France, Romania and Bulgaria, in a speech in the US.

UK’s Cameron Says US Aid to Ukraine Is Investment in Security; British foreign secretary fails to meet with House Speaker; Some $60 billion of US aid to Ukraine is snarled up in House
Alex Morales – Bloomberg
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron urged the US Congress to treat aid to Ukraine as “an investment in American security” that will help the war-torn nation repel Russian invaders and stymie Vladimir Putin’s ambitions. Cameron is on a two-day visit to Washington, with a stated aim of urging the US to unlock the flow of more funds to Ukraine to help win the war against Russia. His itinerary included meetings with congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle to “call for them to change the narrative on Ukraine this year” by approving $60 billion of funding that’s snarled up in Congress.

UBS Faces Substantially Higher Capital Rules Under Swiss Proposals; Regulator Finma to get greater powers to intervene in banks; Government publishes roadmap for reforms after Credit Suisse
Bastian Benrath and Myriam Balezou – Bloomberg
UBS Group AG faces a “substantial” increase in regulatory capital requirements under reforms that the Swiss government is advocating for in the wake of the collapse of Credit Suisse. The Federal Council is proposing that systemically-important Swiss banks must hold significantly more capital against their foreign units, according to a wide-ranging report on banking stability released on Wednesday. In addition, bank-specific capital levels should be boosted to take future risks more into account.

China’s Xi says nobody can stop ‘family reunion’ with Taiwan


Oil Broker Charged With Rape to Pay $100 Fine in Plea Deal; Javier Loya pled down to misdemeanor charge of harassment; OTC Global CEO faced charges of rape, sexual abuse in Kentucky
Lucia Kassai – Bloomberg
A top Houston oil broker accused of rape in Kentucky pled down in state court to a misdemeanor charge of physical harassment. Javier Loya, co-chief executive of Houston-based commodities brokerage OTC Global Holdings LP, was charged in August with one count of rape in the first degree and six charges of sexual assault. Those charges were dropped Monday as part of a plea agreement with Loya, who will instead pay a $100 fine to avoid serving 90 days in jail for the misdemeanor charge, Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith said. Loya is barred from contacting the victims for two years, at which point the offense will be removed from his criminal record.

KPMG fined $25mn over exam cheating scandal at firm’s Dutch arm; Penalty is the largest in the US accounting regulator’s history
Stephen Foley and Simon Foy – Financial Times
Hundreds of staff in KPMG’s Netherlands business, including senior partners and managers, cheated on professional exams and misled investigators, according to the US audit regulator, in the latest ethics scandal to hit a Big Four accountancy firm. The Dutch arm of KPMG was on Wednesday fined $25mn by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the largest penalty in the US regulator’s history.

Sicily’s Mafia Is Expanding in White Collar Crime; The booming business of phony invoices is on trial in Palermo.
Rachel Sanderson – Bloomberg
Sicily’s tourist hot spots are living an economic boom thanks to shows like HBO’s The White Lotus, which put the island’s breathtaking vistas on display. But the ancient island’s infamous underbelly remains untouched by the influx of new wealth. In fact, organized crime has only diversified and become more entwined with the legitimate economy. On a recent trip to Sicily, the contrast between the flourishing tourism sector and the declines elsewhere was as stark as I’ve seen in more than 20 years of reporting on the island. In Palermo, the piazza around the cathedral was brimming with activity. Not 10 minutes walk away, burned out cars lined a residential street of dilapidated high-rise apartments. In Taormina, with its Greco-Roman theatre and views over Mt. Etna, locals told me new Louis Vuitton and Prada stores had brought more well-heeled visitors to the hilltop town that has a starring role in the second series of the hit HBO show. Yet down the hill and along the coast, piles of filthy refuse made beaches unusable.

Monaco private bank faces US lawsuit based on anti-mafia laws; The case against CMB centres on a long-running dispute between two Russian businessmen over a property deal
Owen Walker – Financial Times
A court has agreed that a Russian businessman can sue a Monaco private bank under US anti-mafia organised crime legislation from 1970 that has never been used against a bank in Europe. CMB Monaco – which is owned by Italy’s Mediobanca and caters to the ultra-wealthy from its headquarters in Monte Carlo – is set to face the landmark civil jury trial this summer. An attempt by CMB to stop the case going ahead was dismissed by a California judge at the end of March.

Statement of Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson; CCP Resilience, AI and Risk Management Implications, Market Structure Reforms, and Climate Related Market Risks
Good morning, I am honored to welcome you to the first Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC) meeting of 2024. At this meeting, the MRAC will introduce formal recommendations, reports, and presentations with insightful guidance to improve the integrity and stability of our markets. These include an unprecedented analysis of the state of intermediated clearing markets and the significant reduction in the number of FCMs providing trade execution services over two decades. The Market Structure Subcommittee will also examine the U.S. Treasury cash-futures basis trade and risk management implications. The Future of Finance Subcommittee’s AI and Risk Management workstream will share it’s working plan, outlining initial observations and potential suggestions for navigating the complex landscape of AI integration in financial markets.

Office Hours with Gary Gensler: U.S. Treasury Markets
Chair Gary Gensler – SEC
This video can be viewed at the below link.[1] What does the $1 bill have to do with the U.S. Treasury Markets? And what do either have to do with the Securities and Exchange Commission? Well, you see, the federal government borrows from the public in two ways. One: it prints and issues that cash. In fact, look at what’s on the back of the $10 bill, it’s the U.S. Treasury Department. Further, it issues Treasury securities. If you pull a $1 bill out of your pocket, what do you see on the reverse? The great seal of the United States, the eagle on the right, and the pyramid on the left.

SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Synchronoss Controller for Role in Alleged Accounting Misconduct
On April 8, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a final judgment against Joanna Lanni, imposing an injunction and ordering her to pay civil monetary penalties. According to the SEC’s complaint, Lanni falsified Synchronoss’s books and records in connection with a 2016 transaction that resulted in the material overstatement of revenue by Synchronoss.

SEC Charges Canadian Attorney for Selling Billions of Shares of Stock on Behalf of Others in Violation of Broker Registration Requirements
On April 8, 2024, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Canadian attorney Mark Borden with selling billions of penny stock shares on behalf of others without registering with the Commission as a broker, thereby violating the securities laws. Borden has agreed to settle the case by, among other things, paying over $335,000 in disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty.

New way of paying for investment research proposed by the financial regulator
Analysis by the FCA shows that asset managers are largely getting the research they need under the current rules. However, the current options available to UK asset managers can be operationally complex and may, in some instances, favour larger asset managers. The current rules can also restrict UK asset managers’ ability to buy investment research produced outside the UK.

SFC encourages licensed corporations to participate in Anti-Scam Charter 2.0
10 Apr 2024
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) joins other financial regulators to lend full support for the Anti-Scam Consumer Protection Charter 2.0 (Charter 2.0) launched today by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) (Note 1). The new charter has expanded its scope through the participation of more institutions and merchants, with an aim to help the public safeguard their key personal data against scams and phishing messages sent by impersonators of financial institutions and merchants. Such data include information about personal investment, bank, credit card, insurance and mandatory provident fund (MPF) accounts, etc (Note 2). The SFC is pleased that 83 SFC-licensed corporations covering more than 80% of all active clients have already signed up to the new charter (Note 3).

The ESAs launch first recruitments to set up DORA joint oversight team
The European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, EIOPA and ESMA – ESAs) today published three vacancy notices in the context of the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA). This announcement comes as part of the establishment of a fully integrated team within the 3 ESAs (joint oversight team) to carry out the oversight of critical third-party providers (CTPPs) required by DORA. The vacancies published today are for a Director, Legal Experts and ICT Risk Experts.

Investing and Trading

JPMorgan Says Use ‘Cheap Options’ to Bet on Chinese Stocks
John Cheng – Bloomberg
Chinese stock investors should consider using “cheap options” as safer ways to seize gains in the country’s potential cyclical upturn, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. The brokerage’s strategists, including Tony SK Lee, favor buying options on larger cap indexes to position for a potential rebound in Chinese stocks, according to their note issued on Monday. Specific trade recommendations include buying a narrow call spread on H-shares or FTSE China A50, and buying Chinese equities call, contingent on the dollar not falling against the offshore yuan.

Bond Trader Places Record Futures Bet on Eve of Inflation Data
Edward Bolingbroke – Bloomberg
A block trade in US short-term interest-rate futures Tuesday was the biggest on record and helped drive gains for the Treasury market. The trade involved futures on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, the successor product to eurodollar futures, which were retired last year. Launched in May 2018, SOFR futures have taken over as the principal tool for wagers on the interest rate set by the Federal Reserve.

Grifols Plans First Bond Sale Since Short Seller Attack
Rodrigo Orihuela – Bloomberg
Grifols SA is seeking to issue a new bond, in what would be its first debt deal since coming under attack from a short seller in January. The Barcelona-based maker of blood product derivatives is planning to sell senior secured notes with the funds earmarked for refinancing unsecured notes due 2025, it said in a statement Wednesday. A deal to sell a stake in Shanghai Raas to Haier Group is advancing and is expected to close by June 30 as planned, the company.

Shell at disadvantage to US-listed rivals, says former CEO
Shell’s former CEO, Ben van Beurden, said on Tuesday that European oil and gas companies will find it increasingly difficult to compete with U.S.-listed rivals. There are “a deeper pool of investors and capital in New York and the attitude is more positive towards oil and gas companies,” van Beurden, who stepped down in 2021, told the FT Commodities Global Summit

IMF Faces Push to Cut Billions in Fees for Large Borrowers
Eric Martin – Bloomberg
For years, the International Monetary Fund has collected billions of dollars in fees from its biggest borrowers, a practice that penalized those most in need. Now, with its coffers refilling and interest rates running high, the world’s lender of last resort is considering giving them a break. The IMF released a statement last week saying that “a number” of its board members were open to reviewing policies around surcharges, the fees that it charges nations that borrow more than their allotted share or take longer to repay. The rates have climbed above 8% on some loans, with the burden carried by a handful of countries including Argentina, Egypt and Ukraine topping $6 billion.

Costco’s gold bars earn company up to $200 million monthly, analysts say
Anthony Robledo – USA TODAY

Ceci n’est pas un collateral; The treachery of ‘systemic risk’
Alexandra Scaggs – Financial Times

$200 Billion of M&A Wasn’t Enough in US Oil Patch; There are still too many energy companies chasing too little capital.
Javier Blas – Bloomberg

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Trade Error Gives Free Power To Nordic Homes, Again; Day-ahead prices average euro 1.30/MWh in Sweden, Finland; Wind power output climbs fivefold from Tuesday’s levels
Lars Paulsson and Eamon Farhat – Bloomberg
A trading error by Centrica Plc’s Nordic arm may have contributed to power prices plunging so low that some homes in the region will get free electricity at times on Wednesday. The UK utility erroneously didn’t buy enough supplies in an auction on Nord Pool AS, which indicated to the market that demand was extra low at a time when wind power output was surging.

What if global emissions went down instead of up? That turning point could be closer than you think and its consequences may be profound
Pilita Clark – Financial Times
Some time in the near future, perhaps as soon as this year, humans are likely to experience something that has never happened in modern history before. For the first time, global emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases might finally stop rising and head into long-term decline. No one alive today has known a time like this. Nor has any other recent generation because, for most of the last 200 years, emissions have risen steadily on an upward path, interrupted only briefly when something like a financial crisis or pandemic causes a global economic shock.

11 Startups Leading the $1.8 Trillion Climate Tech Revolution; These companies have won BloombergNEF’s annual Pioneers competition for the most promising climate tech.
Brian Kahn and Michelle Ma – Bloomberg
The 2020s are a pivotal decade that will show how serious the world is about stemming global warming. It might seem like the fight is losing steam, given furious backlash from multiple quarters, including investors, farmers and drivers. Yet, a record $1.8 trillion flowed into green technologies last year, helping to grow a generation of startups seeking to cool the planet. That innovation is what underpins BloombergNEF’s annual Pioneers competition, which identifies some of the most promising companies rising to meet the climate challenge.

If US Inflation Reflected Rising Home Insurance Costs, It’d Be Even Higher; Soaring home insurance premiums could have added about 0.8% to last year’s consumer price index increase of 3.4%, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
Zahra Hirji – Bloomberg
If the rising price of homeowners insurance were factored into the US Consumer Price Index – a key metric of inflation – it could have added 80 basis points, or about 0.8%, to last year’s CPI increase of 3.4%, according to an analysis from Bloomberg Intelligence. By not including home insurance, the CPI “ignores climate costs,” writes BI senior analyst Andrew Stevenson in his April 9 note.

Tesla Has Built a Charging Business to Be Taken Seriously; BloombergNEF estimates the company could generate $7.4 billion in revenue and around $740 million in profit by 2030.
Ryan Fisher – Bloomberg
Not Too Shabby. BloombergNEF just published an analysis of how electric-vehicle charging companies are faring financially. Some lesser-known companies in the space – Finnish fast-charging manufacturer Kempower and Dutch fast-charging operator Fastned, for example – are turning a corner with respect to profitability.

Companies get green light to use offsets for supply chain emissions
Simon Jessop – Reuters

Explainer-China’s dominance in wind turbine manufacturing
Andrew Hayley – Reuters

EU Shifts Attention to Industry in Push to Deliver Green Targets; Companies in Europe urge cheaper energy, simpler regulation; EU wants industry, consumers on board for enacting Green Deal
Ewa Krukowska – Bloomberg

Germany’s Mukran LNG terminal receives operating permit

US electric utilities brace for surge in power demand from data centers
Laila Kearney, Seher Dareen and Deep Kaushik Vakil – Reuters

Europe’s wildfires in 2023 were among the worst this century, report says

Mining billionaire Forrest urges China to demand greener nickel; Australian magnate points finger at ‘irresponsible’ standards for processing in Indonesia
Joe Leahy, Nic Fildes and A. Anantha Lakshmi – Financial Times

Biggest North Sea oil find in decades to be drilled for first time
Jonathan Leake – The Telegraph


HSBC pulls out of Argentina as ‘anarcho-capitalist’ president battles hyperinflation
Michael Bow – The Telegraph
HSBC is offloading its business in Argentina at a $1bn (£790m) loss amid a battle to calm hyperinflation by Javier Milei, the country’s new “anarcho-capitalist” president. The bank will sell HSBC Argentina to Grupo Financiero Galicia, the largest private lender in the country.

Barred Morgan Stanley Banker Joins Firm That Got His Trading Leaks; SEC banned Pawan Passi from industry for one year in January; CaaS Capital’s new status allows him to overcome industry ban
Sridhar Natarajan, Ava Benny-Morrison, and Katherine Burton – Bloomberg
A former Morgan Stanley banker who was punished in the block-trading probe that rattled Wall Street joined one of the firms that was the recipient of confidential information he leaked. Pawan Passi was hired by Frank Fu’s CaaS Capital Management, according to people familiar with the matter. CaaS made its name partnering with banks as they sought buyers for block trades, becoming one of the biggest US funds dedicated to buying big chunks of stocks.

Banks say they’re meeting climate pledges. A new report says they’re ineffective
Nicole Goodkind – CNN
The biggest banks in the world have pledged to go green. But a new study, published by the European Central Bank, has found that those promises often amount to more talk than walk. What’s happening: Just over two years ago, the world’s largest lenders and asset managers gathered in Glasgow and pledged to spend a collective $130 trillion (that’s nearly five times larger than the US economy) to tackle climate change. What emerged was the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) – now made up of 675 financial powerhouses spanning 50 countries.

Blackstone Plans to Borrow $1 Billion Against Its Own Investments to Free Up Cash
Allison McNeely and Dawn Lim – Bloomberg
Blackstone Inc. intends to borrow more than $1 billion against investments in an older private equity fund as a once-unorthodox form of lending gains traction among the biggest money managers. The firm has explored borrowing on a so-called net-asset-value loan backed by deals in its $18 billion flagship private equity fund that debuted in 2016, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Work & Management

Is The Return To Work Working?
John Ruthven – Forbes
2024 seems to be the year of the “Great Reshuffle.” While some companies envision a triumphant return to pre-pandemic norms, others face the reality of a workforce hesitant to step back into cubicles. Striking the right balance is crucial. The need of the hour is to orchestrate a data-driven and empathetic response to this dynamic landscape.

Gen Z workers can take criticism. You’re just phrasing it wrong.; Young workers want feedback at work and lots of it. But if you deliver it in the wrong ways, it could backfire.
Danielle Abril – The Washington Post
Your youngest colleagues may be the newest to the workplace, but they have clear expectations about how they would like to receive feedback: It should be timely, collaborative, empathetic and balanced. But if you wait weeks or months to address an issue, fix their mistakes without a conversation or focus only on what went wrong, they just might leave to find a workplace that connects with them better.

Wellness Exchange

Beyond fitness trackers: Where Web3, AI and wellness intersect; The wellness industry faces challenges in user engagement and data privacy despite its projected growth to $111 billion by 2030.
Mike Kara – CoinTelegraph
WELL3 integrates AI and blockchain to offer a holistic wellness journey, enhancing user experience with personalized health missions and secure data ownership through Web3 technology.


Chinese Cement Maker Halted After 99% Crash in 15 Minutes
A Chinese cement producer was in the spotlight after it suspended stock trading Wednesday, following a selloff that nearly wiped out all its market value in the final 15 minutes of the previous session. China Tianrui Group Cement Co. said trading in its Hong Kong-listed shares has been halted from 9 a.m. local time, pending an announcement related to inside information, according to an exchange filing.

Hottest Indian Stock Index Also Has the Best Earnings Potential
Ishika Mookerjee – Bloomberg
The NSE Nifty Next 50 Index is emerging as the hottest stock gauge in India, as investors look for pockets of outperformance in a market that’s been hovering near record highs. Earnings growth is proving to be a key metric. Made up of potential candidates for the benchmark Nifty 50, the gauge has seen its forward profit estimates climb 20% so far this year, far outpacing the 3.5% increase for the larger gauge. The Nifty Next’s biggest components feature industrial and materials firms directly benefiting from an economy expected to grow more than 7% in 2024.

from the artificial intelligence updraft are rushing into funds tracking local tech companies.
Betty Hou – Bloomberg
From early morning to late night, growing numbers of Taiwanese find themselves glued to YouTube videos, Facebook groups or online forums offering tips about exchange-traded stock funds. With much-in some cases all-of their savings sitting in ETFs tracking Taiwanese equities, they’re terrified of missing an opportunity to reap what they’re convinced will be fat profits. “Everyone’s talking about ETFs,” says Annie, a former administrative assistant in Taipei who has plowed her entire NT$3 million ($93,000) retirement account into the funds (and asked to use only her English-language name to protect her privacy). “My children told me this was stupid, but now they’ve all invested too.”

Czech Finance Chief Says ‘Crisis Is Over’ as Outlook Improves
Krystof Chamonikolas – Bloomberg
The Czech government said the economy was on track to recover from two years of post-pandemic stagnation as the growth outlook improved thanks to stronger corporate investments and household spending. The new forecast implies that economic output will finally return to pre-Covid 19 levels in 2024 after lagging most of the European Union over the past years, according to Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura.


Price of Godiva Chocolate Boxes Are Going Up as Cocoa Prices Soar; Other ingredients have also experienced fluctuating costs; Diversifying sources of cocoa is part of future plans
Deena Shanker – Bloomberg
The price of a box of Godiva chocolates will rise due to surging cocoa costs. Godiva’s parent, London-based Pladis Foods, is still finalizing pricing plans but expects percentage increases globally to average in the “high single digits,” said Chief Executive Officer Salman Amin in an interview Tuesday. Amin expects some occasional customers will likely stop purchasing and units will decline. “We are planning for that,” he said.

London’s Martini Scene Is Getting Shaken Up; Forget espresso martinis. The most popular versions of the quintessential UK cocktail are clear, dry, strong and just a little bit dirty.
Bill Knott – Bloomberg
That sound you hear around London is the clinking of cocktail glasses-martini glasses, to be specific. Bartenders all over town are revisiting the classic martini (clear, dry and strong) while adding twists. And we don’t mean strips of lemon zest. The creators of these rogue martinis are taking dirtiness to a new level and in a different direction from the espresso and watermelon “martinis” that have been part of the London bar scene since the 1990s. They’re stripping the drink to its original, classic profile and then making some notable tweaks.

Decaf Is the Hottest Thing in Coffee Right Now; No longer a punch line, caffeine-free is quietly cleaning up.
Matthew Kronsberg – Bloomberg
On a trip to Colombia last year, Weihong Zhang was given a “mysterious bag of coffee” by his friend Francesco Sanapo, a three-time Italian Barista Champion. This was not quite as suspect as it might sound: Weihong is the owner of BlendIn Coffee Club, a roastery with a pair of cafes in Houston. Mysterious bags of coffee are kind of his thing. With its notes of eucalyptus and strawberry, Weihong assumed the bag contained expensive beans like anaerobically fermented Geishas or Sidras. But Sanapo revealed something much more rare for a coffee of this quality: It was caffeine-free.

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Past JLN Newsletters

SEC Charges Intercontinental Exchange and Nine Affiliates Including the New York Stock Exchange with Failing to Inform the Commission of a Cyber Intrusion; The crypto Congress: Momentum builds for ‘most significant’ digital-asset law in history

SEC Charges Intercontinental Exchange and Nine Affiliates Including the New York Stock Exchange with Failing to Inform the Commission of a Cyber Intrusion; The crypto Congress: Momentum builds for ‘most significant’ digital-asset law in history

First Read Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) released new research cautioning against the indiscriminate adoption of technologies like DLT that drastically reduce settlement time at the expense of market quality. The...