Wall Street Erases the Line Between Its Jocks and Nerds

Aug 20, 2018

Wall Street Erases the Line Between Its Jocks and Nerds

Aug 20, 2018

First Read

Report from the International Blockchain Congress
By Chuck Mackie and Sarah Rudolph – JLN

The second International Blockchain Congress (IBC) took place on Friday at the Aon Center in Chicago. Topics ranged from crypto trading to smart contracts to the regulations surrounding ICOs. While the Congress was run much more efficiently than the first version, which fell hours behind schedule, this iteration saw much less in the way of attendance and speakers from outside the U.S. That said, a couple of speakers from Asia shed interesting light on cryptocurrency markets that those in the West rarely see or understand. Highlights from IBC included:

Panel: Crypto Trading 2018

Somewhat surprisingly, the Crypto Trading panel actually had very little to say about trading cryptocurrencies. Part of this stemmed from the fact that the panel was moderated by Tom Sosnoff from TastyTrade. Sosnoff is a very active trader himself, making between 10 and 15 thousands trades each year, but crypto trading will not appeal to him because the current composition of the crypto market bears little resemblance to the highly-regulated, centralized futures, equity and options products that he routinely transacts in. Simply put, there is a large gulf between crypto markets and the markets that Sosnoff is used to.

To read the rest of this report, go HERE.


Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff

I will be in the JLN CBOT Building offices this afternoon. This will be my first visit since my hip replacement surgery on August 2. I am down to using just one crutch to get around.~JJL

The New Yorker’s George Packer has written a retrospective on the 2008 financial crisis.~JJL

It is not too early to sign-up for FIA EXPO in Chicago on October 16-18. The early bird rate is good through August 31.~JJL


The Spread – Caddyshack Market – 8/17


Another week, more Turkey worries. We don’t talk about that at all in this week’s options news recap, instead taking a peek at security, average bid/ask spreads and regulation.

Watch the video and see the stories referenced here »


Can’t Afford a House? Blame the Apocalypse; New Zealand’s ban on foreign property buyers is crude, but it’s hard not to feel some sympathy.
Chris Bryant – Bloomberg
If one day you’re banned from buying your dream second home (or third, or tenth, or whatever) in the country of your choice, you’ll know whom to blame: tech tycoon Peter Thiel.

****** When the apocalypse comes, ownership comes from lead, not paper.~JJL




ICO Halted; Misappropriation of Client Funds Not Halted; Rogue Trading
Gary DeWaal – Bridging the Week
The Securities and Exchange Commission banned the founder of a company that it claimed was involved in an illicit initial coin offering of a new digital token from ever serving as an officer or a director of a publicly-traded or reporting company. Importantly, although this action involved an ICO, the relevant digital token was not associated with any proposed new application on any blockchain. The SEC also fined a combined investment adviser and broker-dealer for not having written policies and procedures designed to detect misappropriation of customer assets by rogue representatives. And, unfortunately, misappropriation occurred.


Friday’s Top Three
Two of our top three stories on Friday had readers thinking about our moral compass over the weekend. Our top read story of the day was Business Insider’s piece Emails show RBS bankers joked about crashing the US housing market before 2008. Traders joke about just about everything. Sometimes it ain’t so funny. Second went in a more positive direction, The Trade’s NYSE veteran Peggy Sullivan joins exec team at Vela. Third went back to the compass in the New York Post’s Whistleblower makes shocking IRS, insider trading allegations for alleged doings in 2003 to 2005. Could the SEC investigate the IRS? TBD.


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Lead Stories

Wall Street Erases the Line Between Its Jocks and Nerds; There used to be a strict hierarchy: Traders made money and won glory while programmers wrote code and stayed out of sight. Those days are over.
Liz Hoffman and Telis Demos – WSJ
Meet the straders. Part risk-taking trader and part computer-whiz “strategist,” they are prowling the halls at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., GS 0.16% erasing a once-religious line between the jocks and the nerds. “You say ‘trader’ and I don’t even know what we’re talking about,” said Adam Korn, a 16-year Goldman veteran. “Everyone who comes to sales and trading needs to know how to code.”

Britain is digging in for civil war over Brexit, destroying the pound
Jeremy Warner – Telegraph
Have no fear; everything will be fine. That has been the message over the past week from any number of politicians and commentators urging a clean, Leave means Leave, no-deal divorce from the European Union. It is not, however, what foreign exchange markets – in a characteristically cold, dispassionately calculating manner – are saying.

Bloomberg: Euronext considering $1B+ bid for IHS MarkitSERV
Seeking Alpha
Bloomberg reports that Euronext is the lead bidder to acquire IHS (INFO +0.1%) business MarkitSERV for at least $1B. The London Stock Exchange is also reportedly interested.
IHS initiated the sale process for the derivatives processing business back in May.

Cobinhood Founders Raise $20 Million for Blockchain That Processes 1 Million Transactions Per Second
The founders of cryptocurrency exchange Cobinhood are commissioning the development of a new blockchain capable of processing 1 million transactions per second, a massive undertaking given that Bitcoin transaction can take hours to complete and Ethereum transactions range from 1-5 minutes, with even Visa’s ~2000 tx/s being dwarfed in comparison.

Tariffs Will Hurt U.S. More Than Rest of World, Maersk Says
Christian Wienberg – Bloomberg
The U.S. economy will be hit many times harder than the rest of the world by an escalating global trade war, according the chief executive officer of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S.

Gold Investors ‘Give Up Hope’ as Biggest Short in History Builds
Ranjeetha Pakiam, Elizabeth Burden, Yakob Peterseil, and Eddie van der Walt – Bloomberg
Gold is hitting new milestones of misery.
Exchange-traded funds tracking the metal have bled assets for 13 consecutive weeks, the longest run in five years, investors have placed the biggest gold short on record, and bullion’s chief foe — a strong dollar — is extending its market grip.

Beijing Enjoys the Bluest Skies in a Decade
Bloomberg News
Pollution readings fall since last summer as gas replaces coal; China’s clean air targets boost gas and steel rebar prices
Beijing residents have been breathing some of the cleanest air in a decade as they begin to reap the benefits of China’s anti-smog push.

JonesTrading Names Cabot Henderson As Market Strategist
JonesTrading Institutional Services LLC named Cabot Henderson as Risk Arbitrage Market Strategist. This enhances JonesTrading’s capabilities as the leading block trading firm in risk arbitrage and event driven trading situations.

Gundlach Warns Record Treasury Shorts Risk Pain on Squeeze
Adam Haigh and Ruth Carson – Bloomberg
DoubleLine Capital CIO sees risk of Treasuries short squeeze; Net short speculative positions hit highest on record
A giant of fixed-income markets is warning that a build-up of speculative short positions in the U.S. Treasuries market is setting those traders up for pain ahead.

Mifid II impact on small and mid-cap brokers fuels consolidation talk; New European investment research rules trigger sharp drop in commissions
Hannah Murphy – FT
The UK’s small and mid-cap stockbrokers have begun to feel the impact of new European markets rules, prompting predictions of consolidation across the industry.

Stock Market Is Taking Cues From the Private Market; Ample venture capital and low rates offer companies myriad options for raising capital without going through expensive IPOs
Ben Eisen – WSJ
The rise of private markets where companies are free from the constraints of quarterly reporting is already reshaping the makeup of the public stock market.

The Woman Who Has a Plan for Wall Street to Help Cure Blindness; Karen Petrou spent years trying to hide her blindness. Now she has come up with a plan to get private investors to bankroll a cure.
By Christina Rexrode – WSJ
Karen Petrou, an influential adviser to bankers and regulators, has made a career of deciphering complicated financial regulations. Now she’s trying to decode another type of puzzle.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

The World Federation of Exchanges proposes enhancements to FSB’s Cyber Lexicon
The World Federation of Exchanges (“WFE”), the global industry group for exchanges and CCPs, has today published its response to the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Cyber Lexicon Consultation.

CME extends bitcoin futures incentive scheme | News
Global Investor Group
The exchange is also listing E-mini S&P Communication Services Select Sector Index futures

Rubber futures to trade on MCX; Trading to start Aug. 16; to help ‘price discovery, hedging’
The Hindu
The Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX), the country’s largest commodity exchange in terms of market share, will commence trading in rubber futures contracts from August 16

BSE, NSE to suspend trading in up to 9 firms from Sep 10; While both BSE and NSE will together suspend Gitanjali Gems, Amtek Auto, Easun Reyrolle and Panoramic Universal, BSE will suspend trading in 5 other companies
Business Standard
Leading exchanges BSE and NSE will suspend trading in shares of as many as nine firms, including banking fraud accused Mehul Choksi’s Gitanjali Gems, from September 10 for not complying with listing norms pertaining to submission of financial results.


Bank of England chief economist warns on AI jobs threat
Kamal Ahmed – BBC
The chief economist of the Bank of England has warned that the UK will need a skills revolution to avoid “large swathes” of people becoming “technologically unemployed” as artificial intelligence makes many jobs obsolete.

Citi invests in fixed income e-trading technology startup; TransFICC has secured a strategic investment from Citi and has become the first external company to join its Innovation Lab in London.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Citi has made a strategic investment in an electronic trading technology startup for fixed income and derivatives markets, The TRADE can reveal.

Let’s Get Personal: How Fintech Will Save The High Street
Madhvi Mavadiya – Forbes
UK high street retailers are struggling with customer footfall because of technological advancements in recent years, ensuring that consumers have easier, faster and cheaper ways of purchasing what they need.
While this is just a marker of transformation through innovation, what hasn’t changed is that customers still want to use services provided by companies that they trust and it is clear is that the high street need to introduce new innovative rewards for it to thrive again.

As financial technology pushes ahead, push for updating regulations grow
Brian Croce – Pensions & Investments
A number of new reports and proposals are calling for an update to regulations surrounding fast-changing financial technology, a move that institutional investors said would bring certainty to the market and increase efficiencies.

FIS signs big office lease in Milwaukee
Sean Ryan – Milwaukee Business Journal
Fidelity National Information Services is moving its Milwaukee-area offices to West Parkland Avenue from Menomonee Falls.


Crypto is Taking Over Venezuela, Due to the Country’s Destroyed Fiat System
Thomas Delahunty – NewsBTC
Venezuela is facing hyperinflation and international sanctions that have brought the economy and its people to their knees. In response, President Nicolás Maduro recently mandated that his Petro crypto will become the nation’s second official currency starting tomorrow, August 20.

Study claims that over 60% of the top 100 currencies don’t have a working product
Richard Allen – Chepicap
Of the world’s 100 biggest cryptocurrencies by market cap, research has shown that just 36% of them have what the researches call a “working product.”

Wall Street Interest in Crypto at All Time High
Speculation surrounding Wall Street and cryptocurrencies continues to be at the heart of crypto markets. It is being reported that Wall Street interest in crypto is as an all time high.
Although the general crypto markets have seen an 80% decline throughout 2018, Wall Street firms are showing particular interest in bitcoin and crypto related products such as, crypto custody and asset management.

Bitcoin’s energy usage is huge – we can’t afford to ignore it
Alex Hern – The Guardian
The cryptocurrency uses as much CO2 a year as 1m transatlantic flights. We need to take it seriously as a climate threat
Bitcoin’s electricity usage is enormous. In November, the power consumed by the entire bitcoin network was estimated to be higher than that of the Republic of Ireland. Since then, its demands have only grown. It’s now on pace to use just over 42TWh of electricity in a year, placing it ahead of New Zealand and Hungary and just behind Peru, according to estimates from Digiconomist. That’s commensurate with CO2 emissions of 20 megatonnes – or roughly 1m transatlantic flights.

What next for cryptocurrencies after bubble bursts?; Bitcoin, the original and most valuable crypto, has plummeted from $19,000 to $6,000-$8,000
Chloe Cornish and Hannah Murphy in London – FT
The cryptocurrency bubble has burst. In January, the total market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies had climbed beyond $800bn, up from just $18bn a year earlier according to data provider CoinMarketCap. Now the market has lost three-quarters of its value to stand at $200bn.

Coinbase Isn’t Adding 50k Users Each Day, But Blockchain’s Wallet Is
Nick Chong – Ethereum World News
Earlier this week, Ethereum World News reported that Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong explained in an interview that his cryptocurrency platform was receiving an influx of “more than 50,000 (people) a day signing up.” Many individuals saw this as a bullish sign, with many noting that this figure indicates that the market is continuing to garner the interest of individuals, despite the overall downtrend in prices.

What It’s Like to Be a Woman In China’s Get-Rich-Quick Crypto Culture
Sa Wang – Coindesk
We hear a lot about women (or the lack thereof) in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.
Confirming what many of us already suspected, CoinDesk’s Q2 2018 State of the Blockchain Report found that only 4 percent of crypto investors are women. In tandem, reporters regularly call the “blockchain bros” on the carpet for elbowing women out of yet another lucrative emerging industry.

As Iran turns to Bitcoin and its own cryptocurrency to avoid sanctions, maybe it’s time to build another Stuxnet
Morgan Wright – The Hill
Iran is doing what every respectable state sponsor of terrorism does when their economy is going down the drain. They turn to bitcoin. Just like North Korea did (and still does). As bitcoin outpaces the Rial (Iran’s currency), the next wave of ransomware attacks will be coming soon, courtesy of Iranian hackers. And the payment will, of course, be in bitcoin.

China’s biggest-ever bitcoin heist: three held over theft of US$87 million in cryptocurrency; Suspects detained in coordinated raids on suspicion of stealing millions in virtual money from computers
Alice Yan – South China Morning Post
Three men have been detained on suspicion of hacking into computers and stealing about 600 million yuan (US$87 million) worth of virtual currency, police in northwest China said.

4 Women Who Make a Difference in Blockchain
Avi Salzman – Barron’s
Big technology companies have routinely failed to hire women for new projects, or promote them to management and board positions. But with blockchain, women have led the way on some of the most important projects, both at tech companies and start-ups.

A team at Northwestern think they have solved one of bitcoin’s biggest problems
Aaron Hankin – MarketWatch
A problem tied to how bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions are processed and completed has long dogged enthusiasts of the digital-asset community, but a group of scholars believe that they may have a solution.


Vernon Jordan: ‘It’s not a crime to be close to Wall St’; The White House and Wall St powerbroker on race, his friends the Clintons and being a Beltway insider
Sujeet Indap – FT
We have barely sat down and the mobile phone of one of the most connected men in America is ringing. Vernon Jordan and I have just arrived at San Pietro, the homey Italian power lunch spot in Midtown Manhattan where he is a regular. He apologises but really must take this call. Is it perhaps a senator or captain of industry? By the time the call ends San Pietro is humming with Masters of the Universe, and I soon have to move to Jordan’s side of the table to hear him above the din. My back is to the throng, but occasionally I turn my head and confirm that — yet again — he is the only black person in the room.

Trump Tax Cut Unlocks Millions for a Republican Election Blitz
Jim Tankersley and Michael Tackett – NY Times
Republicans are struggling to make the $1.5 trillion Trump tax cuts a winning issue with voters in the midterm congressional elections, but the cuts are helping the party in another crucial way: unlocking tens of millions of dollars in campaign donations from the wealthy conservatives and corporate interests that benefited handsomely from it.

Who Is ‘Q’? Behind the Conspiracy Theory Erupting at Trump Rallies
Amid the “Trump 2020” placards, the “Women for Trump” signs and the “CNN SUCKS” T-shirts, the most inscrutable message that came out of Donald Trump’s Tampa rally on Tuesday evening was a letter.

Lieu: Giuliani saying ‘truth isn’t truth’ is another step toward ‘authoritarianism’
Brett Samuels – The Hill
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said Sunday that Rudy Giuliani’s argument that he’s hesitant to allow President Trump to interview with the special counsel because “truth isn’t truth” harkens back to former President Nixon’s defense of his actions during the Watergate scandal.

From Alternative Facts to “Truth Isn’t Truth”
Ros Krasny and Mark Niquette – Bloomberg
Lawyer says sitting down with Mueller may be a perjury trap; Says 2016 NYC meeting with Russia was to seek Clinton dirt
“Truth isn’t truth,” Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Sunday in discussing why having the president be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for the probe into election interference isn’t a good idea.

Why Trump Should Stay the Course With Mueller; It’s clear that ending the investigation would make matters worse for his administration.
Jonathan Bernstein – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump’s supporters are pushing hard for him to do something about Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The president himself and his legal team are stressing cooperation, though that position can change in a matter of hours in this administration (and may have changed if Thursday night’s comments on the Justice Department are any guide).

David Stockman: ‘Unhinged White House’ to cause stock market crash
Stephanie Landsman – CNBC
Just days before the anniversary of what’s expected to be the longest bull market in U.S. history, David Stockman is warning investors a crash is inevitable.

Carbon emission proposals to boost Trump’s drive to revive coal; Release of plans coincides with rally in West Virginia heartland ahead of midterm elections
Ed Crooks in New York – FT
The US administration has drawn up proposals to replace Obama-era rules on carbon dioxide emissions with measures to support coal-fired power plants, as President Donald Trump seeks to fulfill his campaign pledge to “put our miners back to work”.

Democracy Needs the Press as the ‘Opposition Party; The Founding Fathers understood opinion journalism as key for informing the public, by presenting another point of view than the president’s.
Noah Feldman – Bloomberg
What’s the main value in a free press? To hear the press tell it — as in many of the 350-plus editorials published in coordination last week in response to the president’s anti-press rhetoric — the answer is factual, objective coverage of events.


After the Financial Crisis, A Decade of Damage
Jacob Soll – The New Republic
We already know much of the story that Adam Tooze tells in Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World, his ambitious study of the causes and effects of the financial meltdown that caused the Great Recession. The opening pages of his book recount the events of September 16, 2008, “the day after Lehman.” In a matter of hours, the Dow Jones plummets “778 points, wiping $1.2 trillion off the value of American businesses.” The entire financial system begins to unravel and it becomes clear that the mortgage-based CDOs and credit default swaps that underpinned world banking are nearly worthless. Mutual funds pull back from investing and banks face an immediate shortage of funding. World lending begins to freeze altogether. European countries face capital shortages. The entire world economic system is on the edge of collapse.

British watchdog says cryptocurrency scams on the rise
Reuters Staff
Cryptocurrency scams are using images of celebrities and upmarket London addresses to hoodwink consumers into parting with cash, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority has said.

Brussels to act against tech groups over terror content; Threat of fines after commission sees insufficient progress on voluntary action
Mehreen Khan in Brussels – FT
Brussels plans to force companies including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to identify and delete online terrorist propaganda and extremist violence or face the threat of fines.

‘Useless and toothless’ UK accounting regulator fines KPMG £2m for ethical standards breach
Karin Matussek – BusinessDay
For KPMG, another week, another rebuke from UK accounting regulators.
KPMG was fined £2.1m by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) following its admission of misconduct on Ted Baker’s financial statements in 2013 and 2014. In addition, a KPMG partner, Michael Francis Barradell, was reprimanded by the regulator and fined an additional £46,800.

SEC Adopts Amendments to Simplify and Update Disclosure Requirements
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has voted to adopt amendments to certain disclosure requirements that have become duplicative, overlapping, or outdated in light of other Commission disclosure requirements, U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), or changes in the information environment.

Reminder – FINRA Changes to FIX Trade Reporting Related to Processing of Execution Time
FINRA reminds clients that beginning Monday, August 20, 2018, a change to all FIX trade reporting related to the processing of execution time during Daylight Savings Time (DST) will go into effect. This update affects clients’ transaction reports for all FINRA Multi Product Platform products (MPP), including TRACE, the OTC Trade Reporting Facility (ORF), and The Alternative Display Facility (ADF).

Reminder – Equity Short Sale Validations
FINRA reminds clients that effective Monday, August 20, 2018, validations will be applied to the OTC Trade Reporting Facility (ORF) and the Alternative Display Facility (ADF) for equity transactions submitted with the Short Sale Indicator.

Investing and Trading

The Case for a 50-Year Bull Market
Steve Garmhausen – Barron’s
As head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Andy Sieg oversees the so-called thundering herd of 14,820 financial advisors, the second-largest workforce among the big brokers.

JPMorgan to Shut Investment Accounts for Foreign Retail Clients
Michelle Davis – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. retail clients who don’t live in the U.S. will no longer be able to keep investment accounts as the bank shuts a business that it’s operated for decades.

Too close for comfort: the incestuous ties that bind auditors and watchdogs; Concerns that audit market is too beholden to the clients whose numbers it vets
Madison Marriage and Jonathan Ford in London – FT
Stephen Haddrill has the look of a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. At his most recent public appearances, the 62-year-old boss of Britain’s accounting watchdog appeared tired and grey.

The Biggest Risks for U.S. Equity Investors; Diverging growth in the global economy tops the list; Turkey is at the bottom.
Mohamed A. El-Erian – Bloomberg
In recent weeks, U.S. stock markets have moved up and down in response to issues that go well beyond the traditional direct drivers of economic growth and corporate earnings. These “known unknowns,” to borrow a phrase from former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, include the aftermath of the currency crisis in Turkey, the trade tariffs and sanctions skirmishes, the more uncertain outlook for the global economy and the exit from unconventional monetary policy.

What connects God, speeding and ‘the next epic economic crisis’
Shawn Langlois – MarketWatch
The Wall Street Journal once described him as “perhaps the most powerful journalist in America.” President Donald Trump, however, isn’t nearly as impressed, having called him a “political moron.” Oh, and “a total dope” and “a loser.” With mixed reviews like that, it’s no wonder George Will’s colorful prediction of a looming fiscal crisis stirred up plenty of buzz over the weekend.

U.S. value stocks capitalize on ‘FANG’ stumbles, with room to run
James Thorne – Reuters
The summer roller-coaster in two of the four big-cap ‘FANG’ names – Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Netflix Inc and Google-parent Alphabet Inc – has led to a shift, albeit slight, into value stocks.


State Street acquires FX TCA startup BestX; State Street makes another move into front office trading technology with acquisition of FX TCA provider BestX.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Boston-based custodian giant State Street has acquired a transaction cost analysis (TCA) specialist for foreign exchange (FX) markets in the bank’s latest move to boost front office capabilities.

State Street acquires London foreign exchange startup BestX; Acquisition follows State Street’s purchase of Charles River Development for $2.6bn
Samuel Agini – Financial News
State Street has acquired a London-based forex startup in a deal that underscores how fund managers are turning to new technologies to help gain an edge in markets and stay on the right side of regulation.

Former UBS worker calls for police investigation into alleged assault; ‘I want some form of justice — he wronged me’
Laura Noonan in London – FT
A former UBS employee has asked UK police to investigate an alleged sexual assault by a more senior colleague after deciding the bank had failed in its attempts to deal fairly with her case.

Former Lehman Brothers staff are hosting a secret party on the 10-year anniversary of the bank’s collapse
Will Martin – Business Insider
The 10-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers is just weeks away and, for most people, it will be a reminder of the banking excesses that led to the financial crisis.

Credit Suisse Sees Asia Wealth Race Shift From Offshore Hubs
Chanyaporn Chanjaroen and Alfred Liu – Bloomberg
Seeking at least $10 billion of assets in each Asia market; Credit Suisse APAC wealth head de Ferrari speaks in interview
After years of racing to accumulate assets in the key offshore centers of Singapore and Hong Kong, the challenge for wealth managers in Asia is shifting to cities such as Manila, Jakarta and Shanghai.

BNP Paribas Sees Profit Revival in Asia’s Best Equity Market
Santanu Chakraborty – Bloomberg
Nifty 50 earnings growth to hit 25% in FY19, analysts predict; BNP’s Shah says consumer stocks will give “good growth”
Earnings at companies listed in India, Asia’s best-performing stock market this year, can return to 2006 highs if the nation doesn’t enact any more “disruptive” economic policies, according to BNP Paribas Asset Management.

Goldman Faces Losses on Venezuelan Bond Deal That Drew Criticism; Venezuela bond declines underscore the risk Goldman and its clients took on with an opportunistic investment in a country facing challenges
Matt Wirz – WSJ
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s GS 0.16% approximately $865 million purchase of bonds from Venezuela’s central bank last year attracted criticism from around the world.

Deutsche Bank CFO Urges Staff to Travel Less to Hit Cost Targets
William Canny and Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Deutsche Bank AG’s chief financial officer wants staff to think twice before booking a flight.


Trade war imperils foreign banks’ China plans; Scramble to take majority stakes in mainland operations under threat
Martin Arnold in London and Gabriel Wildau in Shanghai – FT
As the trade war between the US and China intensifies, there is a growing expectation that collateral damage could spill on to Wall Street, disrupting US banks’ plans to expand in mainland China.

Venezuela’s 95% Devaluation Adds to Chaos After Drone Attack
Eduardo Thomson and Fabiola Zerpa – Bloomberg
Harsh economic measures may test Maduro’s grip on power; Inflation likely to worsen after devaluation, wage increase
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro carried out one of the greatest currency devaluations in history over the weekend — a 95 percent plunge that will test the capacity of an already beleaguered population to stomach even more pain.

Hong Kong Bears Pile Into Short Bets on Chinese Automakers
Jeanny Yu and Cindy Wang – Bloomberg
Several Chinese automakers are among the worst performers in Hong Kong’s equity markets this year, and their slump may be far from over.
Bets to go short BYD Co. soared to the highest in at least 12 years this month, according to IHS Markit Ltd. data, turning the Warren Buffett-backed Chinese manufacturer into the second-most shorted stock in the city. Bearish wagers on Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. are near the highest in more than six years. Since May, investors have also boosted short interest in Great Wall Motor Co. as a percentage of shares outstanding to a one-year high after their bets surged more than a year ago, Markit data show.

Turkey Gets Swap Deal With Qatar to Bolster Lira as Markets Fret
Constantine Courcoulas – Bloomberg
Traders brace for thin liquidity amid weeklong public holiday; First phase of deal expected to be $3b, according to Anadolu
Qatar agreed to help the Turkish economy weather a currency rout with a credit line to backstop its financial system, the first concrete measure after the Gulf nation pledged as much as $15 billion of investment in Turkey.

U.K. Home Prices Dip With London Leading `Late Summer Sale’
Karoliina Liimatainen – Bloomberg
August drop was the biggest for the month since 2001; First-time homes are now the cheapest since 2015 in London
U.K. home sellers are offering the deepest summer price cuts on record as they try to get rid of their homes during the holidays.

Indian Markets Look Headed for Further Extremes
Andrew Peaple – WSJ
“Incredible India,” goes the tourism ad jingle. Incredible is one word for markets in the giant Asian economy right now.

Iran lawmakers target Rouhani’s finance minister as sanctions bite
Reuters Staff
Iranian lawmakers launched impeachment proceedings against the finance minister on Sunday, ramping up pressure on the president who is already facing attacks from hardliners over his handling of the economy in the face of new U.S. sanctions.


Buy-side looks to keep location of trading desks in spite of Brexit; Study by Liquidnet found that 87% are not looking to relocate trading desks ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU, but this could be temporary.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The majority of asset managers and hedge funds are looking to keep trading desks where they are despite many institutions establishing bases in Europe outside of the UK ahead of Brexit.

EU migrants will be given right to stay in event of no-deal Brexit, Cabinet papers reveal
Steven Swinford – Telegraph
Britain will give EU migrants a unilateral right to stay in the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit amid concerns that failing to do so would lead to labour shortages, leaked Cabinet papers reveal.

No-Deal Brexit: A Lose-Lose for UK and EU Financial Stability
John Glover – Insurance Journal
With Brexit talks back from the summer holidays, it’s worth considering one way in which failure to reach a deal before the U.K.’s departure in March would also be bad for the European Union.
Such an outcome would unsettle the City of London, the motor of the British economy. But the danger for the EU is that Britain responds by emulating the U.S. in cutting taxes and deregulating. A low-regulation nirvana would go against the EU’s desire for a “level playing field” after Brexit, while also threatening financial stability in the other 27 member states — just as the bloc is being sucked into a trade war with Donald Trump.


Think you can spot a fraud? This $80 million art scam fooled the experts
Scott Cohn – CNBC
The biggest art fraud in modern U.S. history was shockingly simple. Yet it went on for 15 years, duped some of the world’s most sophisticated collectors, brought down a 165-year-old New York gallery, and brought in more than $80 million. It is also a cautionary tale for anyone thinking of dabbling in the art world.

Why it’s so hard to resist the lure of #fakenews
Quentin Fottrell – MarketWatch
President Trump’s relationship with the media just reached a new level of acrimony. On Thursday, some 350 American newspapers published editorials taking issue with Trump’s description of the media as “the enemy of the American people.” Earlier this month, The Boston Globe reached out to editorial boards to send a message to the White House. ”We are not the enemy of the people,” Marjorie Pritchard, deputy managing editor for the editorial page of The Boston Globe, told the Associated Press. Trump’s tweet referenced what he called “fake news.”

Control Alt Delete, by Tom Baldwin; A personal memoir of the fake news crisis in British and American journalism
Review by George Parker – FT
Tom Baldwin has a lot to get off his chest. When we first met some 25 years ago, he and I were regional newspaper hacks sharing a crowded Victorian office at Westminster; Baldwin would smoulder with frustration in the corner, behind a yellowing pile of old papers, occasionally erupting with a splutter of indignation as he chronicled the activities of his local MPs.

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GameStop and Bitcoin Renewed a Push to Digitize the Stock Market

GameStop and Bitcoin Renewed a Push to Digitize the Stock Market

First Read $34,126/$300,000 (11.4%) ++++ Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff There is a new Van Gogh exhibit in New York billed as Van Gogh - The Immersive Experience. The site of this exhibit is the former trading floor of the NYMEX. The NYMEX trading floor...

SGX and NZX seal partnership on dairy derivatives to unlock growth

SGX and NZX seal partnership on dairy derivatives to unlock growth

First Read $34,126/$300,000 (11.4%) Andrew Mauck, Ernesto Pinto and Brian Rice ++++ Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff The NFA is holding a Town Hall Webinar on Tuesday, April 20, at 9:30 a.m. CT. NFA Board Chairwoman Maureen Downs, NFA Public Directors Ron...

John Lothian Newsletter

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CEO, Trading Technologies

Past JLN Newsletters

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