Who Wins From Brexit? New York

Dec 17, 2020

First Read

$18,761/$300,000 (6.3%)

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Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

We have new remembrances of the late George Gero from Sam Glasser, former energy editor at the Journal of Commerce, former NYMEX member and board member Harvey Wachman, Fred Mascia, Steve & Edie Errera and former SFOA official Paul Meier

It is “How Big is your IPO Business” Day at Nasdaq and NYSE as both exchanges issued press releases (NYSE, Nasdaq) about the success of their respective IPO businesses. The NYSE makes the claim for the most IPO proceeds, while Nasdaq is close behind in proceeds, but focused on the number of IPOs. Oh, and they mentioned the number for firms that switched from NYSE to Nasdaq too.

The NFA’s latest Board Update video is out. It is produced by John Lothian Productions.

I really like the NFA’s theme music. It gives the self regulatory organization a very dynamic feel to it.

Catherine Yoshimoto was a guest on Futures Radio Show with Anthony Crudele. The subject of the podcast is “Keep Your Eye On The Russell 2000.” Speaking of Anthony Crudele and Futures Radio Show, Anthony conducted an interview with the late Geoge Gero in 2018 about trading precious metals.

FIA has published a commentary by the FIA staff titled “Brexit end game: state of play for financial firms.”

Bloomberg said Germany reported over 45,000 cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, its biggest-ever jump in infections. Also, French President Macron has tested positive for the virus. That puts the UK’s Johnson, the U.S.’s Trump and now France’s Macron all among those who have contracted the virus.

Here is what former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says in a national ad video about the virus: “You know, lying in isolation in the I.C.U. for seven days, I thought about how wrong I was to remove my mask at the White House. Today I think about how wrong it is to let mask wearing divide us…Please wear a mask.”

Here is the Season’s Greetings message from the London Metal Exchange. Thank you LME. They have very nice music too, not too heavy on the brass.

Eurex is bringing back “Derivatives Forum Frankfurt 2021 – virtual edition” on Mar 23, 2021 at 7:00 AM – Mar 24, 2021, 12:00 PM

Kassie Davis, the executive director at CME Group Foundation, published a piece on LinkedIn titled “New Study Shows Positive Trends in Chicago Computer Science Education.”

The CME Group Tour Championship LPGA 72-hole no-cut event this year will offer a purse of $3 million.

ADMIS is looking to hire a deputy chief compliance officer.

I don’t know about you, but all this talk of ether puts me to sleep.

Yesterday JLN held a holiday party instead of our usual editorial meeting on Wednesday afternoons. We did a round robin discussion disclosing what our outside activities and hobbies are. Patrick Lothian disclosed he and some widely dispersed friends engage in a game of “for or against” in the form of a podcast. This was a show he and these friends came up with back in 2009ish when they created Maybe Hip TV, their own internet television network. Who knew? Another employee has a koi pond in his backyard. Another one paints pictures and another paints small figurines. I disclosed that I am attempting to build birdhouses.

We had no new donations to our JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by donating to our GoFundMe campaign.

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

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Bitcoin Soars Above $23,000 as More Wall Street Firms Pile In
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Largest cryptocurrency has jumped about 20% this week; Question remains whether the climb will gave way to a bust
Bitcoin breached $23,000 for the first time in history as more Wall Street names crowd into the the world’s largest digital currency up 220% this year. As momentum builds, analysts predict more gains ahead.
/bloom.bg/3muhYJ4

*****The difference this time is the greater fools have deeper pockets.~JJL

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AMERIBOR Benchmark Offers Options for Bank Capital Raises
Dr. Richard Sandor – BankDirector.com
Banks that belong to the American Financial Exchange (AFX) are not waiting until 2021 to make the switch away from the troubled London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, interest rate benchmark for pricing their offerings in the capital markets.
/bit.ly/2KtZQ4U

*****When the Doc speaks, people listen. I know I do.~JJL

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Sweden’s king says country’s coronavirus strategy has failed; Light touch approach has left it with far higher death toll than its Nordic neighbours
Richard Milne – FT
Sweden’s king has admitted that the Scandinavian country has failed with its coronavirus strategy, which has left it with a far higher death toll from the pandemic than its Nordic neighbours. Carl XVI Gustaf told Swedes in his annual Christmas address that the country had suffered “enormously in difficult conditions” and that it was “traumatic” that many relatives of the almost 8,000 people to die with Covid-19 had not been able to say goodbye to them.
/on.ft.com/3p3RrUC

*****The King’s Speech, Swedish Style; hold the meatballs.~JJL

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Global rich must cut their carbon footprint 97% to stave off climate change, UN says
Irina Ivanova – CBS News
This year’s economic shutdowns have done little to reduce the world’s carbon emissions. While pollution has dipped, greenhouse gases keep accumulating in the atmosphere, locking in future decades of climate disruption and extreme weather. A recent United Nations report says the so-called emissions gap — the “difference between where we are likely to be and where we need to be” on climate policy — is as big as ever.
/cbsn.ws/2IUOt5w

*****Alex, I’ll take, “Things That Will Never Happen” for $200.~JB

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Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was How Kelly Loeffler’s Firm Facilitated an Enron-Like Scandal from Mother Jones – its third time in the top three. Second was The Trade’s Cboe to launch crypto indices following major data deal with CoinRoutes. Third was the press release from Cboe on that same news, Cboe Global Markets and CoinRoutes Enter Exclusive Licensing Agreement for CoinRoutes RealPrice Cryptocurrency Market Data.

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Lead Stories

Who Wins From Brexit? New York; However current negotiations between the U.K. and EU end, U.S. swap exchanges stand to gain European business
Rochelle Toplensky – WSJ
In the tug of war Brexit has unleashed between London and other European financial centers, one potential winner is often forgotten: the U.S. More European capital-markets business is done in London than in any other city. Some of that activity will have to move after the end of this year, when transitional arrangements agreed at the time of Britain’s departure from the European Union expire.
/on.wsj.com/38goTRh

Fifty Years of Tax Cuts for Rich Didn’t Trickle Down, Study Says
Craig Stirling – Bloomberg
Paper looks at fiscal policies in 18 countries over 50 years; Governments shouldn’t worry about taxes on rich, author says
Tax cuts for rich people breed inequality without providing much of a boon to anyone else, according to a study of the advanced world that could add to the case for the wealthy to bear more of the cost of the coronavirus pandemic. The paper, by David Hope of the London School of Economics and Julian Limberg of King’s College London, found that such measures over the last 50 years only really benefited the individuals who were directly affected, and did little to promote jobs or growth.
/bloom.bg/34navpc

In the Busiest Year on Record for Initial Public Offerings, The New York Stock Exchange Ranks Number One for IPO Proceeds
The New York Stock Exchange
Exchange drives innovation to meet unique issuer needs during pandemic, emerging the year’s winner with increased interest in SPACs and Direct Listings; Executes biggest U.S. IPO for 8th straight year, 6 of the 7 largest tech IPOs of 2020
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of mortgage technology, data and listings services, ranked once again as the leader in global IPO proceeds for 2020, raising a total of $81.8 billion during its busiest year on record for IPOs. The NYSE executed the biggest IPO for the 8th straight year with Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (NYSE: PSTH) and 6 of the 7 largest technology IPOs of 2020, including DoorDash (NYSE: DASH) and Snowflake (NYSE: SNOW), the biggest software IPO in history.
/bit.ly/3agzRJ7

Nasdaq Welcomed 300 IPOs and 21 Exchange Transfers in 2020
Nasdaq
Leading U.S. exchange by number of IPOs and proceeds raised for the second consecutive year; Largest year for IPOs on Nasdaq in the past decade by number of IPOs and proceeds raised; $278 billion in market value switched to Nasdaq in 2020
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) announced today that in 2020 The Nasdaq Stock Market welcomed 300 initial public offerings (IPOs), raising a total of $77.86 billion. A total of 179 operating companies listed on Nasdaq in 2020, representing an 83 percent win rate in the U.S. market.* Nasdaq extended its leadership to 28 consecutive quarters. In addition to the successful year in IPOs, 21 companies switched their corporate listings from the NYSE to join Nasdaq, and four companies transferred 19 bonds from the NYSE.
/bit.ly/3r38bgJ

Robinhood faces legal action over ‘gamification’ of investing; Massachusetts Securities Division accuses platform of failing to protect inexperienced users
Eric Platt – FT
The Massachusetts securities regulator has launched legal action against the online trading app Robinhood, accusing it of “gamifying” investing and alleging the company did not put in place proper controls to safeguard inexperienced investors. In its complaint filed on Wednesday, the Massachusetts Securities Division said Robinhood had violated state laws and regulations by aggressively marketing itself to investors in the state “without regard for the best interests of its customers”.
/on.ft.com/3oYh0qq

Massachusetts Regulators File Complaint Against Robinhood; Popular trading platform exposed investors to ‘unnecessary trading risks,’ complaint says
Caitlin McCabe – WSJ
Massachusetts securities regulators filed a complaint Wednesday against the wildly popular trading platform operated by Robinhood Financial LLC, alleging the company aggressively marketed to inexperienced investors and failed to implement controls to protect them.
/on.wsj.com/3rg5FUC

Robinhood in regulators’ sights after surge in amateur stock trading; Younger investors are attracted by features such as “fractional trading” on a platform specifically designed for smartphones.
Ian King – Sky
One of the biggest trends of 2020 in markets has been the stunning explosion in stock trading among amateur investors.
/bit.ly/3muHDRU

Antitrust Regulators Ask Whether Index Funds Deserve More Scrutiny; The giant portfolios own stakes in rival companies, raising concerns about competition.
David McLaughlin, Annie Massa – Bloomberg
Since index funds became widely available in 1976, they’ve upended the business of money management and made investing for the masses easier and cheaper. They’ve also had an unexpected side effect: Because they’re so large, index fund families are among the top shareholders in many companies, including those that compete with one another. Despite this, funds’ share purchases get no review from antitrust regulators.
/bloom.bg/2KzB97j

SNB Defies U.S. Criticism to Renew Currency Intervention Vow
Catherine Bosley – Bloomberg
Deposit and policy rate kept at -0.75%, in line with forecast; Switzerland is on U.S. watchlist for currency manipulation
The Swiss National Bank renewed its pledge to use currency interventions to counter upward pressure on the franc just a day after being censured by the U.S. for the practice. SNB officials led by President Thomas Jordan called the franc “highly valued,” sticking with a key phrase they use to signal they remain on alert. They also kept their policy rate and deposit rate at -0.75%, a move expected by economists, citing a bleak outlook for inflation.
/bloom.bg/3gVGhi4

US intelligence agencies warn large-scale cyber attack is ‘ongoing’; Task force set up to assess damage of hack as officials single out Russia
Demetri Sevastopulo and Hannah Murphy – FT
US intelligence and security agencies have warned that the cyber attack on the government and companies revealed at the weekend was “ongoing” as Washington scrambled to ascertain the extent of the damage.
/on.ft.com/34mnW8P

Investment bankers revel in bumper fees from Chinese groups in 2020; Revenues from record share sales near all-time high despite trade tensions
Hudson Lockett and Primrose Riordan – FT
Investment bankers are close to earning record fees from equity deals involving Chinese companies in 2020, underscoring global finance’s growing dependency on the country even as geopolitical tensions rise.
/on.ft.com/385AjqI

Ex-UBS employee and day trader lose appeal over insider trading; Criminal Court of Appeal upholds convictions following high-profile trial last year
Jane Croft – FT
A former UBS compliance officer and a day trader have failed in a bid to have their convictions for insider trading overturned by the UK’s Criminal Court of Appeal. Fabiana Abdel-Malek, who worked at UBS, and Walid Choucair, were both convicted of five offences of insider trading last year after a trial at Southwark Crown Court brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
/on.ft.com/3r35ICV

SEC Approves Scaled-Back Disclosure Rule for Energy, Mining Companies; Latest version of the rule attempts to ease compliance burden while implementing a Dodd-Frank provision that is supposed to combat corruption
Dylan Tokar and Paul Kiernan – WSJ
The Securities and Exchange Commission approved an anti-corruption rule Wednesday requiring natural-resources companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments, though critics contended that it was watered down at the U.S. oil industry’s behest.
/on.wsj.com/2WpOf9G

I Was the Homeland Security Adviser to Trump. We’re Being Hacked; The magnitude of this national security breach is hard to overstate.
Thomas P. Bossert – NY Times
At the worst possible time, when the United States is at its most vulnerable — during a presidential transition and a devastating public health crisis — the networks of the federal government and much of corporate America are compromised by a foreign nation. We need to understand the scale and significance of what is happening.
/nyti.ms/37pgoUL

LiTDX: Buy-side awards shortlists revealed, voting now open; Winners of the Buy-side awards will be announced during a special digital presentation as part of Leaders in Trading: The Digital Experience (LiTDX).
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The TRADE is pleased to announce the shortlist for this year’s Buy-side awards, in partnership with SIX.
/bit.ly/2LzMX9V

Tyson Fires Pork Plant Managers After Probe Into Covid-19 Bets; Seven terminated after investigation into claims that managers wagered on infections among employees, and pressured workers to stay on the job
Jacob Bunge – WSJ
Tyson Foods Inc. TSN -4.41% said it fired seven managers of an Iowa meatpacking plant following the company’s investigation into allegations that they had wagered on Covid-19 infections among employees.
/on.wsj.com/3r5DuaN

SIFMA Statement on Transition From LIBOR to Alternative Rates and ARRC Model Law for New York State
SIFMA
SIFMA today issued the following statement from SIFMA president and CEO Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr. on the transition from LIBOR to alternative rates, in support of the letter from the ARRC on its model law for New York State:
/bit.ly/3r4ZfY5

Cryptocurrency Is Having Another Historic December
Chris Dier-Scalise – Yahoo Finance
December started with some big news for cryptocurrency traders. Not only did bitcoin (BTC) surge past its previous all-time high of $19,783.21, ethereum (ETH), the second-largest digital asset by market cap, launched its Ethereum 2.0 protocol, which impacts hundreds of thousands of digital tokens that are traded on the Ethereum blockchain.
/yhoo.it/34ma92d

IRS is ‘setting the trap’ for bitcoin and virtual currency investors on 2020 tax form
Janna Herron· – Yahoo Money
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is making it harder for taxpayers to conceal cryptocurrency transactions — whether intentionally or not — by adding a new question about it near the top of the new Form 1040.
/bit.ly/2KbpP16

CME Announces Ether Futures Contracts
Omkar Godbole – Coindesk
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) announced Wednesday it will launch a futures contract on ether, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, in February 2021.
/yhoo.it/3r1jk1L

All Aboard the Billionaires’ Bitcoin Bandwagon?
Mark Gilbert and Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
Now that Bitcoin has topped $20,000 for the first time, should you shift your hard-earned cash into digital currencies? History suggests caution should be your watchword, no matter how strong the fear of missing out may be.
/yhoo.it/3r5HqZ7

Coronavirus

Merkel Ties Pandemic Exit to Immunization Rates of Over 60%
Arne Delfs and Raymond Colitt – Bloomberg
Chancellor hints at long road ahead in fight against Covid-19; Germany enters hard lockdown with stores closing on Wednesday
Chancellor Angela Merkel tied an exit from the coronavirus pandemic to immunizing more than 60% of the population, indicating a long fight still ahead. Germany is targeting so-called herd immunity, which means most of the population is resistant to the disease, Merkel said Wednesday in Germany’s lower house of parliament, as a hard shutdown takes effect across Europe’s largest economy.
/bloom.bg/2Wojn9K

WHO team set to visit Wuhan in January to probe Covid origins; US has criticised scope and transparency of agency’s planned investigation in China
Christian Shepherd – FT
A World Health Organization team set up to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic is set to arrive in China in January, amid criticism from the US over the probe’s scope and transparency.
/on.ft.com/2LBBGG6

Sweden’s Covid-19 Policy Comes Under Fresh Scrutiny; Report faults government’s strategy of avoiding mandatory restrictions; prime minister says country underestimated autumn surge
Drew Hinshaw – WSJ
A new surge of Covid-19 cases is increasing pressure on the Swedish government to further tighten restrictions, as an independent report criticized Stockholm’s policy of shunning lockdowns and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said government advisers had underestimated the threat of this autumn’s rise.
/on.wsj.com/2KgJcWy

How Effective Is the Mask You’re Wearing? You May Know Soon; A C.D.C. division is working with an industry standards group to develop filtration standards — and products that meet them will be able to carry labels saying so.
Sheila Kaplan – NY Times
More than 100,000 varieties of face masks are currently for sale. They come in silk, cotton and synthetics; with filters and without; over-the-head and over-the-ears. They have sparkles and sunflowers; friendly greetings and insults; cartoon characters and teeny reindeer.
/nyti.ms/34lmq6J

Pfizer to Complete First Covid-19 Vaccine Shipments in U.S.; Alaska health-care worker who was hospitalized after receiving vaccine recovers from allergic reaction
Jared S. Hopkins –
The initial round of shipments of the nation’s first Covid-19 vaccines to states and hospitals was scheduled to finish Wednesday, as long-term-care facilities and nursing homes began receiving doses.
/on.wsj.com/34mBtx9

Hospitals Discover a Surprise in Their Vaccine Deliveries: Extra Doses; Pharmacists have found that they can squeeze an additional dose from some of the glass vials that were supposed to contain five doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Katie Thomas – WSJ
As boxes of Pfizer vaccines began arriving around the country this week, hospital pharmacists made a surprising discovery: Some of the glass vials that are supposed to hold five doses contained enough for a sixth — or even a seventh — person.
/nyti.ms/388it6C

Merkel Ties Pandemic Exit to Immunization Rates of Over 60%
Arne Delfs and Raymond Colitt – Bloomberg
Chancellor hints at long road ahead in fight against Covid-19; Germany enters hard lockdown with stores closing on Wednesday
Chancellor Angela Merkel tied an exit from the coronavirus pandemic to immunizing more than 60% of the population, indicating a long fight still ahead. Germany is targeting so-called herd immunity, which means most of the population is resistant to the disease, Merkel said Wednesday in Germany’s lower house of parliament, as a hard shutdown takes effect across Europe’s largest economy.
/bloom.bg/2Wojn9K

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

French bank Bpifrance relocates clearing from LCH to Eurex in Brexit preparation; The bank has transferred its entire portfolio of derivatives composed mainly of interest rate swaps from London’s LCH to Eurex Clearing.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
French investment bank Bpifrance has moved its entire portfolio of derivatives from LCH to Eurex for clearing in preparation for the UK leaving the European Union on 31 December.
/bit.ly/34n0x7g

Anticipating Brexit, the French public investment bank, Bpifrance relocates clearing business into the EU; Bpifrance successfully switches swap book to Eurex Clearing.
As the legal and regulatory framework for transactions processed or managed from UK territory will be impacted by Brexit, the French public investment bank Bpifrance has transferred its entire portfolio of derivatives, composed mainly of interest rate swaps, from London Clearing House LCH to EU27-based Eurex Clearing.
/bit.ly/37oDI55

ICE appointed to host UK emissions auctions for the UK Emissions Trading Scheme
ICE Press Release
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of mortgage technology, data and listings services, announces that ICE has been appointed to host emissions auctions on behalf of the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
As announced on December 14, 2020, the UK Government and Devolved Administrations will launch a UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) from January 1, 2021, to replace the UK’s participation in the EU ETS.
/bit.ly/34orFCL

HKEX in 2020: Year in Review
HKEX
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) has had a very busy year, reporting record nine-month results and trading volumes to September 2020, whilst continuing to innovate and strengthen the competitiveness of its markets with the launch of new products and initiatives. This, despite the turbulent geopolitical and economic backdrop, and the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Throughout, HKEX has demonstrated its resiliency and adaptability, reinforcing its role at the heart of Asian financial markets.
/bit.ly/34kVuUR

Nasdaq’s Annual Global Compliance Survey 2020: Accelerating Surveillance Technology Demand From Financial Firms During COVID-19; Investments in data quality and monitoring to take priority in 2021 after core infrastructure focus in 2020
Nasdaq
Today Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) launched its 6th annual Global Compliance Survey produced in collaboration with Greenwich Associates. The survey gathers qualitative and quantitative feedback from more than 200 compliance professionals and executives in the financial industry worldwide, representing sell- and buy-side firms and market infrastructure organizations. Unique to the latest edition of the Global Compliance Survey, respondents cite external global factors as the primary driver of compliance process changes, surpassing regulatory scrutiny as the top driver of compliance process changes, a shift believed to be prompted by the current COVID-19-pandemic.
/bit.ly/2K6C7Im

CME Group to Launch Ether Futures on February 8, 2021; Ether futures to expand CME Group’s robust crypto derivatives offering for institutional traders alongside CME Bitcoin futures
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced it intends to launch Ether futures starting February 8, 2021, pending regulatory review.
/bit.ly/3alQAee

EBS Market Integration onto CME Globex
CME Group
In Q4 2021, subject to applicable regulatory approvals, EBS Market’s Central Limit Order Book and eFix Matching Service will launch on CME Globex. You will receive subsequent notices with additional details and actions required to support the EBS Market integration onto CME Globex.
/bit.ly/3gVgzu5

Fintech

Fintech Company Launches Platform to Assist in Central Bank Digital Currency Development
Sandali Handagama – Coindesk
Fintech company EMTECH is launching a compliance platform that helps central banks tackle compliance issues or safely test their central bank digital currencies (CBDC) in partnership with Microsoft, the firm announced Monday.
/yhoo.it/37rjFTk

How Covid-19 Is Helping Robots Take Your Job; The need to keep businesses open while protecting workers is accelerating the trend toward automation.
Stephanie Flanders and Lucy Meakin – Bloomberg
Adding robots to factories, retail stores or mines was historically seen as a job killer by workers and the unions that support them. But this year, automation has allowed sectors of the economy to continue producing with fewer people, minimizing the coronavirus risk for employees. U.S. economy reporter Olivia Rockeman explains what that might mean in the long term and what needs to happen to help the displaced.
/bloom.bg/3mo20jH

Robinhood stock-trading app faces regulatory heat in Massachusetts
Thornton McEnery – NY Post
Massachusetts state regulators filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Robinhood, alleging that the free stock-trading app aimed at millennials pushed its inexperienced users to buy and sell stocks and failed to enact controls to protect them.
/bit.ly/3r6nPbm

State Street launches cloud-native Alpha data platform; New open architecture platform from State Street in partnership with Snowflake and Microsoft Azure aims to address data demands from the buy-side.
Jon Watkins – The Trade
State Street has launched a new data platform for its front-to-back offering, Alpha, tapping investment information from third-parties and internal sources to deliver an enhanced data management service to buy-side firms.
/bit.ly/3agItiZ

Future focus – RegTech predictions for 2021
Matt Smith, CEO, SteelEye – The Trade
This year has been unpredictable to say the least. It certainly has not been easy, but the financial markets have adapted remarkably well to the many new challenges brought by COVID.
/bit.ly/3oVome0

Cederquist and ZealiD carry out Sweden’s first fully digital new issue
Cederquist
On December 17, the first new share issue signed with a qualified electronic signature will be sent to the Swedish Companies Registration Office. This is possible thanks to a collaboration between the Swedish technology company ZealiD and the law firm Cederquist. In this way, several new opportunities open up for more efficient and secure handling of company documents in accordance with the European regulation eIDAS.
/cisn.co/3nxbXNd

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin Tops $20,000 for First Time
Paul Vigna – WSJ
Bitcoin surged above $20,000 on Wednesday for the first time in its 12-year history, part of a furious rally that has seen the digital currency nearly triple this year. The digital currency rose 9.3% to $21,240 after hitting an intraday high of $21,448, according to CoinDesk. The move above $20,000 is the latest bullish sign for cryptocurrencies, which after years of operating in the fringe are beginning to be taken more seriously by professional investors. A string of well-known investors and companies have publicly unveiled bitcoin holdings this year, including hedge-fund managers Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller, insurance giant Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. and other companies including Square Inc. and MicroStrategy Inc.
on.wsj.com/3gXlkDm

Mike Novogratz Backs Volatility Fund Betting Covid-Hit Trade Rebounds
Donal Griffin and Yakob Peterseil – Bloomberg
Founder Davitt worked at Harvest, Credit Suisse and Malachite; Firm sees demand for short-volatility strategies after crash
Mike Novogratz, the billionaire Bitcoin investor, is wagering on volatility, a market that’s still scarred from the Covid crash earlier this year. Novogratz, 56, is among the backers of Millbank Dartmoor Portsmouth LLC, an investment fund founded by Wall Street veteran Dennis Davitt that seeks to have more than $1 billion under management within the next 12 months. The firm will offer volatility-based strategies to investors such as pension funds and family offices, Davitt said in an interview — including versions of the so-called short-volatility bets that imploded in March.
/bloom.bg/37qBbqN

Guggenheim’s Scott Minerd Says Bitcoin Should Be Worth $400,000
Katherine Greifeld and Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Coin’s scarcity, Fed ‘money printing’ cited as bullish factors; Bitcoin breached $20,000 for the first time after 190% rally
As Bitcoin surges to record highs, Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Investments believes the world’s largest cryptocurrency’s fair value still has a ways to go. Bitcoin’s scarcity combined with “rampant money printing” by the Federal Reserve mean the digital token should eventually climb to about $400,000, Minerd, the firm’s chief investment officer, said in an interview. His comments came on the same day Bitcoin breached $20,000 for the first time, bringing its 2020 gain to 190%.
/bloom.bg/3nwAbXO

Tokopedia confirms public listing plan after Spac interest; Peter Thiel and Richard Li’s Bridgetown has approached south-east Asian start-up
Mercedes Ruehl – FT
Tokopedia, one of south-east Asia’s biggest start-ups, has said it plans to go public in a test of Indonesia’s ability to produce tech champions. The online shopping app, which raised money at a $7.5bn valuation in November from Google and Singaporean state fund Temasek, said it had approached Citi and Morgan Stanley to begin work on a public listing.
/on.ft.com/3oU4LuO

American Express Dives Deeper Into Crypto With Trading Platform Investment
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
American Express Co.’s venture arm has invested in the FalconX cryptocurrency trading platform, another sign that large financial services providers are tiptoeing into the digital-asset sphere. The credit-card provider didn’t disclose the amount invested in the San Mateo, California-based startup, which raised $17 million in May from the likes of Accel, Coinbase Ventures and a fund affiliated with Fidelity Investments’ parent company.
bloom.bg/2KdV37V

Kraken is assembling a team to integrate Bitcoin’s Lightning Network
Saniya More – The Block
Kraken has announced that it is putting together a team that will focus on integrating Bitcoin’s Lightning Network with the exchange. The Lightning Network is meant to provide an accessible way for users to quickly and reliably engage in off-chain payments by adding another transaction layer above the Bitcoin blockchain. Users can create payment channels on this layer between parties.
bit.ly/3p0AJFJ

Northern Trust, Fidelity join small club managing crypto assets
Penny Crosman – American Banker
A handful of big financial firms are plunging into the world of cryptocurrency custody services. Though some government officials had given the OK, many companies have had concerns about regulatory scrutiny and legal liability. They also lacked the technology and expertise that are necessary to do the job and feared the financial or reputational risks associated with such an unproven field. Still, a few companies said this month they’re entering or diving deeper into the business — including Northern Trust and Standard Chartered Bank, which announced a partnership, and Fidelity Digital Assets, which began providing crypto custody to clients who borrow from BlockFi against the bitcoin they hold.
bit.ly/3r7hSLe

CoinFLEX Sets Up Short-Term Lending Facility for Crypto Traders
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Cryptocurrency futures exchange CoinFLEX is setting up a blockchain-based market for unsecured lending as the digital currency boom continues. Firms can borrow U.S. dollars and Bitcoin for short-term trading purposes, with the note tokens expected to offer a yield of 8% to 10%, according to a CoinFLEX statement and Chief Executive Officer Mark Lamb. Lenders will also be compensated with 30% of the borrower’s trading fees for the first 12 months, the statement showed. The product is the latest seeking to tap expanding demand for crypto borrowing and lending, a trend thought to be contributing to the sharp rally in Bitcoin and other digital assets this year. One example of the trend is so-called yield farming, which involves lending a digital coin in return for interest and sometimes fees, but also handouts of units of a new cryptocurrency.
bloom.bg/38aDVI8

$142 million: Paxos inks Series C with backers Declaration Partners, PayPal, Ken Moelis and more
Frank Chaparro – The Block
New York-based Paxos is ending 2020 with one of the crypto world’s biggest funding rounds. The firm’s $142 million Series C funding round will underpin Paxos’s plans to expand its business lines, which include stablecoins, cryptocurrency trading and blockchain-based settlement. The fresh injection of capital brings several heavyweights onto Paxos’ cap table: lead investor Declaration Partners, PayPal Ventures, RIT Capital Partners, and investment banking legend Ken Moelis.
bit.ly/3gVlzPn

Bitcoin options’ daily trading volume crosses $1 billion as bitcoin surges above $23,000
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Bitcoin options’ daily trading volume has crossed the $1 billion mark for the first time, as bitcoin surges past $23,000. Crypto exchange Deribit leads the bitcoin options market, followed by Bit.com and OKEx, according to tracker Skew. Meanwhile, bitcoin is trading hands at around $23,550 on Coinbase, according to TradingView.
bit.ly/3p1xLAO

Zero Hash Announces Partnership with US Broker tastyworks; US broker dealer tastyworks begins digital asset trading through its partnership with Zero Hash
Zero Hash
Zero Hash, the leader in digital trade settlement, today announced a partnership with tastyworks, one of the fastest growing US equity brokerages, to launch digital asset trading to hundreds of thousands of the most active traders in the world. Through Zero Hash technology, tastyworks clients will be able to trade digital currencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum on the same platform and account that they use for stocks, options and futures.
/bit.ly/2LA0ezh

CrossTower and Industry Participants Reach out to Treasury About Rulemaking
CrossTower
Dear Secretary Mnuchin, We are writing on behalf of the Global DCA, its members, and the other industry participants listed below. This letter is in reference to the letter by Reps. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), and Scott Perry (R-Penn.) dated December 9, 2020 to the Department of the Treasury. In this letter, the members of Congress ask Treasury to consult with Congress before issuing new regulations that restrict the use of digital self-hosted wallets.
/bit.ly/2Wr0VwZ

Politics

Trump has reportedly been convinced he actually won, tells advisers he may not vacate the White House
Peter Weber – The Week
President Trump was privately coming to terms with his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, but he “has now reversed and dug in deeper — not only spreading misinformation about the election, but ingesting it himself,” CNN reports, “egged on by advisers like Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis who are misleading Trump about the extent of voting irregularities and the prospects of a reversal.” One adviser told CNN, “He’s been fed so much misinformation that I think he actually thinks this thing was stolen from him.”
/yhoo.it/2WooLto

How Donald Trump orchestrated the ‘lie of the year’
Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Lies have consequences. Misinformation can be deadly. That reality has been driven home in painful ways over these past months, with more than 300,000 Americans dead from a virus that President Donald Trump and his supporters worked to minimize and dismiss for political purposes.
It’s that effort that led PolitiFact, a nonpartisan fact-checking operation, on Wednesday to declare that “Coronavirus downplay and denial” was the “lie of the year.”
/cnn.it/2LKb9Xo

Macron Isolating After Testing Positive for Covid-19
Ania Nussbaum – Bloomberg
France in the middle of second wave, central to Brexit talks; European Union is getting ready to roll out the vaccines
French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for Covid-19, his office said in a statement on Thursday. Macron was tested after showing symptoms of the disease and will isolate for seven days and continue to work, according to the statement. An official at the Elysee Palace
said the symptoms were mild, but declined to provide details on the circumstances of the infection or where the president will be isolating.
/bloom.bg/34kL8nX

Putin Says He Won’t Take Russia Vaccine Yet Because He’s Too Old
Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov – Bloomberg
President says he will take shot when available for his age; Russian leader strikes upbeat tone in annual press conference
President Vladimir Putin said he’s not ready yet to take a Russian vaccine against Covid-19 because at the age of 68, he’s too old for those that are now available. “Experts tell us that the vaccines now available are intended for citizens in a specific age category,” Putin told his annual press conference on Thursday. “The vaccines haven’t reached people like me. I’ll do it as soon as it becomes possible.”
/bloom.bg/3mqPCQ3

Loeffler’s Attacks Show Little Outreach to Georgia Moderates
Billy House – Bloomberg
GOP senator initially appointed to appeal to ‘suburban moms’; Both sides hope to turn out base; neither appealing to middle
Senator Kelly Loeffler’s campaign was designed to broaden the Republican Party’s appeal to voters in Georgia’s increasingly Democratic suburbs — instead the race has turned into a contest in which each side is hardening its core supporters and few undecideds remain.
/bloom.bg/34lpbF4

The US system has held up, but only just; Some Republicans now grudgingly concede that Trump lost the election
THE EDITORIAL BOARD – FT
It has been a close-run thing. Despite the fact that Joe Biden, the US president-elect, clearly won last month’s presidential election — and this week secured the majority of Electoral College votes required to win the White House — it took 41 days for Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, to acknowledge the result. Many of his colleagues have yet to follow suit. Some never will. Last week, more than half of the Republican members of the House of Representatives signed a petition asking the Supreme Court to throw out the results in the five swing states that clinched Mr Biden’s victory.
/on.ft.com/3akK8nu

Regulation

ASIC review of 30 June 2020 financial reports
ASIC
ASIC today announced the results from its review of the financial reports of 170 listed entities (and other public interest entities with larger numbers of users of their reports) for the year ended 30 June 2020. The review was conducted as part of ASIC’s ongoing risk-based reviews of financial reports.
/bit.ly/3oZTuJt

ESMA Recommends More Time to Implement a Mix of Solutions For PSA to Cler
ESMA
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has published today a second report on the clearing solutions for Pension Scheme Arrangements (PSAs) under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).
/bit.ly/3nx126b

ESMA publishes final guidance to address leverage risk in the AIF sector ESMA
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has today published its final guidance to address leverage risks in the Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) sector.
/bit.ly/3noltCe

ESMA Renews its Decision Requiring Net Short Position Holders to Report Positions of 0.1% and Above
ESMA
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has renewed its decision to temporarily require the holders of net short positions in shares traded on a European Union (EU) regulated market, to notify the relevant national competent authority (NCA) if the position reaches, exceeds or falls below 0.1% of the issued share capital. The measure applies from 19 December 2020 for a period of three months.
/bit.ly/3mrVetr

ESMA appoints new chair of its Supervisory Convergence Standing Committee
ESMA
The Board of Supervisors of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has appointed Mr Jos Heuvelman, who is a Member of Executive Board of the Autoriteit Financiële Markten (AFM) of the Netherlands, to serve as the chair of the Supervisory Convergence Standing Committee (SCSC) and as chair of the Senior Supervisors Forum.
/bit.ly/37qatP5

FINRA Seeks Comment on Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic
FINRA
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, member firms have made rapid and unprecedented changes to their business operations in order to prioritize the health and safety of firm personnel and investors, while maintaining the public’s access to capital markets. These changes include widespread use of remote offices and alternative work arrangements and new and expanded methods of engaging with personnel and investors. Member firms have also used new methods of engaging with FINRA and other regulators and complying with regulatory requirements. For its part, FINRA has taken numerous steps to assist member firms, firm personnel and investors as they navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
/bit.ly/37sC6Y8

Proposed Rule Change to Amend FINRA Rule 8312 (FINRA BrokerCheck Disclosure)
FINRA
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) is filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) a proposed rule change to amend FINRA Rule 8312 (FINRA BrokerCheck Disclosure). The proposed rule change would (1) make information about formerly registered individuals subject to a final regulatory action available through BrokerCheck on a permanent basis only for those individuals who have been registered on or after August 16, 1999; and (2) exclude information from BrokerCheck about deceased individuals. The proposed rule change also would make non-substantive, technical changes to FINRA Rule 8312.
/bit.ly/37srZCl

Luckin Coffee Agrees to Pay $180 Million Penalty to Settle Accounting Fraud Charges
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged China-based company Luckin Coffee Inc. with defrauding investors by materially misstating the company’s revenue, expenses, and net operating loss in an effort to falsely appear to achieve rapid growth and increased profitability and to meet the company’s earnings estimates. Luckin, whose American Depositary Shares traded on Nasdaq until July 13, 2020, has agreed to pay a $180 million penalty to resolve the charges.
/bit.ly/3mtWEDN

Order Granting Temporary Exemptive Relief, Pursuant to Section 36 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and Rule 608(e) of Regulation NMS under the Exchange Act, from Section 8.1.1 and Section 8.1.2 of Appendix D of the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit Trail
SEC
/bit.ly/2KD9hik

Order Granting Temporary Conditional Exemptive Relief Pursuant to Section 36 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and Rule 608(e) of Regulation NMS Under the Exchange Act, Relating to Certain Requirements of the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit Trail (Release No. 34-90688)
SEC
/bit.ly/2WoFnkK

Order Recognizing the Resource Extraction Payment Disclosure Requirements of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Canada as Alternative Reporting Regimes that Satisfy the Transparency Objectives of Section 13(q) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
SEC
/bit.ly/3gX9CIV

Order Approving Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Budget and Annual Accounting Support Fee for Calendar Year 2021 (Release Nos. 33-10905; 34-90693)
SEC
/bit.ly/2KwHFLW

Investing and Trading

Investors bet on slow return of dividends after Covid interruption; Payouts expected to remain depressed compared with 2019 levels in UK and eurozone
Naomi Rovnick – FT
Miles Roberts, chief executive of FTSE 100 packaging group DS Smith, admits he put his investors “in real difficulty” in July when the pandemic convinced him to cancel the company’s annual dividend.
/on.ft.com/3akkrDK

Time for UK regulators to open door to Spacs; London listing rules badly need reform to help companies access capital
Hugh Osmond – FT
How many British companies will be able to consider a stock market listing in 2021? Not many, other than a select few in fashionable sectors such as technology. And that’s a problem.
/on.ft.com/34o6G2X

How this stock market rally differs from past cycles; Higher valuation starting point might mean lower returns over medium term
Peter Oppenheimer – FT
This year has seen one of the deepest economic recessions in decades and for some countries, such as the UK, the biggest annual downturn in economic activity since the early 1700s.
/on.ft.com/3r34Fmt

Rio Tinto names finance head as new chief executive; Jakob Stausholm to replace Jean-Sébastien Jacques after outcry over destruction of ancient Aboriginal site
Neil Hume and Jamie Smyth – FT
Rio Tinto has named its finance director Jakob Stausholm as its next chief executive as the Anglo-Australian miner attempts to rebuild its reputation following an international outcry over the destruction of a sacred Aboriginal site.
/on.ft.com/385AnGY

Amazon Has Turned a Middle-Class Warehouse Career Into a McJob; Despite a starting wage of $15 an hour, the company is dragging down pay in the logistics industry and bracing for a fight with unions.
Matt Day, Spencer Soper – Bloomberg
Amazon.com Inc. job ads are everywhere. Plastered on city buses, displayed on career web sites, slotted between songs on classic rock stations. They promise a quick start, $15 an hour and health insurance. In recent weeks, America’s second-largest employer has rolled out videos featuring happy package handlers wearing masks, a pandemic-era twist on its annual holiday season hiring spree.
/bloom.bg/2KcoNSE

Go Ahead and Spend Your Children’s Inheritance; It’s mostly the super-rich who can afford to leave money to their kids.
Teresa Ghilarducci – Bloomberg
Bold retirees sport the bumper sticker “I am spending my children’s inheritance.” The sentiment might seem selfish, but it’s good financial planning. Trying to leave a bequest could put older people in a tight spot. Finance author Chris Farrell once told me about a panicked 83-year-old woman with four kids who was on track to run out of money in three years because she was trying to save for her kids’ inheritance. She is not atypical.
/bloom.bg/3aeThOy

Should You Borrow to the Hilt and Put It All Into Stocks? Experience of one notable investor shows the opportunities and pitfalls of borrowing for the long run
James Mackintosh – WSJ
The bond market has a message for every issuer: Borrow! More! Money! Yields are close to as low as they have ever been. Should you be loading up on debt to pour into stocks, property and other things that might produce a return above the cost of repaying the loan? One notable investor shows how getting everything right can deliver fat returns—but still come with a hefty drawback.
/on.wsj.com/2LKF81n

The EBA Continues To Call On Banks To Apply A Conservative Approach On Dividends And Other Distributions In Light Of The COVID-19 Pandemic
Mondovisione
In its 12 March statement, the EBA urged banks to follow conservative distribution policies and use capital for ensuring the continuous financing of the economy. Banks in the European Union have been able to continue supporting businesses and mostly remained with strong levels of capitalisation.
/bit.ly/3r8pxZs

Fed’s Powell Says Treasury Market Will Eventually Stand on Its Own Again; The Fed is buying $120 billion a month in Treasurys and mortgage bonds
Michael S. Derby – WSJ
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is fairly confident the Treasury market over the long run can operate without the central bank’s assistance.
/on.wsj.com/38gHEUu

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Why Going Green Saves Bond Borrowers Money; Surging demand for eco-friendly investments is reducing borrowing costs for environmental projects, potentially influencing the behavior of corporations and governments
Matt Wirz – WSJ
Cash is pouring into investments intended to combat climate change and otherwise benefit society. Now, evidence is emerging that all of the money is starting to have an impact. A growing body of research shows that companies and governments that borrow using so-called green bonds can save a bit of money. The market for these bonds, which fund environmental objectives such as renewable power, is booming. All that money is driving up the prices and pushing down yields on the bonds, making borrowing slightly cheaper.
/on.wsj.com/2LLoNcM

How a resistance to ESG investing is hurting your portfolio. Plus, why Enbridge is a buy, and top stock picks from portfolio managers
Scott Barlow – The Globe and Mail
Morgan Stanley published a report entitled Key Investor Debates Likely to Drive Stocks in the Coming Year and I read all 75 pages so you don’t have to. By far the most stunning data point was provided by U.S. electric utilities analyst Stephen Byrd: “Clean tech stocks have surged in 2020, with our coverage up between 60% and >600%.” The worst performers in the pure play, clean power technology sector were higher by more than 50 per cent.
/tgam.ca/34lqsMp

Bank regulator races to enact lending rule that would deal a blow to ESG
Lindsey White and Robert Clark – S&P Global Market Intelligence
An Alaskan wildlife refuge is at the center of an escalating, highly politicized sustainability debate that has pulled in big banks, federal regulators, Congress, climate activists, the oil-and-gas industry and the local Native community.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency introduced a polarizing proposal that would require big banks to reverse course on lending policies introduced to combat climate change. With just three weeks to go before the comment deadline closes, the banking industry and sustainability community are locked in battle with the oil-and-gas industry and an outgoing Republican administration that has made moves to dismantle policies seen as friendly to the environmental, social and governance, or ESG, movement.
/bit.ly/387CwlG

Retail ESG mutual funds have better financial performances, but monitoring supply is needed
Vincenza Di Lorenzo, Alessio Iacopino, Annalisa Molino and Lorenzo Prosperi – Bobs Guide
ESG investments are growing fast, supported by regulatory initiatives and increasing interest in sustainability issues. The pandemic-induced crisis has further highlighted the importance of business models with solid ESG factors to address the changes taking place. Our sample (based on Assogestioni, Morningstar, Refinitiv and mutual funds information documents) covers retail mutual funds in which we identify as ESG those that are labelled this way or that declare to have investment policies based on such criteria. According to Prometeia’s estimates the assets invested in ESG retail mutual funds reached EUR27bn in June 2020, equal to five percent of mutual funds in the portfolios of Italian households.
bit.ly/3nuprJI

Institutions

T. Rowe Price Executive Stares Down Threat From Private Markets; Stephon Jackson is preparing to run a new division of the $1.3 trillion fund management firm as many companies choose to stay private longer.
Annie Massa – Bloomberg
One point seems to be lost in the mania over index-based investing: Stockpicking can actually be a lot of fun. At least this is how Stephon Jackson feels about the subject. As he becomes head of a new investment adviser at T. Rowe Price Group Inc., due to transition in 2022, he’s looking to work with managers who share his enthusiasm for active management. The strategies that will move to the new division accounted for about $167 billion as of Sept. 30. The group, called T. Rowe Price Investment Management (TRPIM), will pursue six strategies and operate as a standalone business, providing portfolio managers with more freedom to control the size of stakes they take in certain companies.
/bloom.bg/3p4uhhd

Goldman Says Tesla Inclusion Won’t Make S&P 500 Much Pricier
Namitha Jagadeesh – Bloomberg
Tesla Inc.’s entry into the S&P 500 Index next week won’t make the U.S. benchmark as expensive as investors might expect, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says. Although the electric carmaker’s eye-watering rally has pushed its shares near 170 times the consensus 2021 earnings estimate, its addition will only have a minimal impact on the benchmark’s valuations because of a nuance in index metric calculations, confounding the “instinctive conclusion” of many investors, Goldman strategists led by David J. Kostin wrote in a Dec. 16 note.
/bloom.bg/3alH8HM

Europe’s Direct Lenders’ 2021 Prospects Depend on Damage Control
Rachel McGovern – Bloomberg
The ability of Europe’s non-bank lenders to build on their gains in 2021 will depend on how well they manage the damage done to their credit portfolios by the coronavirus pandemic. With expectations for economic recovery buoyed by progress on mass vaccination programs, the prospects for private credit firms looks rosy — as long as they’ve done their homework on risk control, said Robin Doumar, who founded Park Square Capital LLP in 2004. “There are some lenders who have portfolios that are less good,” said Doumar, also managing partner of the London-based firm with about $10 billion of assets under management. “But for people who stuck to high quality businesses — and critically, in stable sectors — we are emerging from this much stronger.”
bloom.bg/38jcuMy

Regions

Inside the Cutthroat World of China Mutual Fund Livestreaming; Foreign firms are being forced to get hip with social media to break into a $2.8 trillion industry.
Bloomberg News
In a Shenzhen milk-tea shop popular with social media influencers, mutual fund manager Deng Jingdong pins a lapel mic to his shirt, stares down the barrel of a camera, and starts livestreaming to his 400,000 viewers.
/bloom.bg/3nuoKjB

Istanbul New Eurobonds Sale Delayed by ‘Politics,’ Mayor Says
Tugce Ozsoy – Bloomberg
A planned sale of Eurobonds by Turkey’s largest city is being held up as authorities wait for government approval, said Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, a key opposition figure. The application by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to sell bonds worth about 300 million euros is “in suspension,” Imamoglu told Halk TV on Wednesday. “I’m very sad. Please do not let politics interfere with real work.”
/bloom.bg/3ntuMAY

Germany to Sell Record Debt of Up to $576 Billion in 2021
Brian Parkin and James Hirai – Bloomberg
Government borrowing surging to help tackle coronavirus crisis; Finance agency to sell debut 30-year green bond next year
Germany will sell a record amount of federal debt in 2021 to help prop up the economy in the second year of the coronavirus crisis. Europe’s benchmark issuer plans to sell as much as 471 billion euros ($576 billion) in bonds and bills, easily exceeding a previous high of 407 billion euros sold this year, according to the Federal Finance Agency’s provisional calendar published Thursday.
/bloom.bg/37rY9Oz

Brexit

MPs prepare for pre-Christmas push to sign off Brexit trade deal; Westminster told to ready for recall on possible EU-UK agreement despite rift over fishing rights
George Parker and Sebastian Payne and Jim Brunsden and Sam Fleming – FT
Boris Johnson is drawing up plans to recall MPs from their Christmas break for an emergency session of the House of Commons next week to approve a trade deal with the EU as hopes rose that an agreement can be sealed by the weekend.
/on.ft.com/2K3xTRL

The UK will now count the cost of Brexit sovereignty; Boris Johnson’s government is about to exchange real power for a chimera
Philip Stephens – FT
Finally. In two short weeks the UK will reclaim its liberty. Brexit has so far been a story of rancorous division, shaking political fists and fractured ties with old allies. The union of Britain and Northern Ireland has been put in peril. But the glittering prize that will make it all worthwhile is now in sight.
/on.ft.com/37poahg

Brexit stockpiling triggers cross-Channel freight crunch; Delays caused by pre-Christmas rush and race to beat introduction of new UK-EU border
Victor Mallet and Peter Foster – FT
A surge of stockpiling by UK companies before the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1 has triggered road congestion and costly delays in northern France and southern England as lorries queue for cross-Channel ferries and the tunnel on one of the world’s busiest freight routes.
/on.ft.com/3rdf1Az

EU chief von der Leyen sees narrow path toward Brexit deal
Raf Casert – Associated Press
After weeks of relentless pessimism, the European Union said Wednesday there was now a clear, if narrow, path to reaching an agreement with the United Kingdom on a post-Brexit trade deal that should avoid costly chaos on the borders at the end of the year. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she is seeing clear progress in the talks held in Brussels, saying that “the good news is that we have found a way forward on most issues.” Von der Leyen confirmed that the major sticking points had been reduced to just two — fair competition in the EU market and fishing rights for EU vessels in U.K. waters.
bit.ly/3r8t9uw

Brexit trade talks: ‘Last stumbling blocks remain’, says Michel Barnier.
BBC News
“Good progress” has been made on a post-Brexit trade deal, but the “last stumbling blocks remain”, says EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier. Talks in Brussels are continuing, with two weeks to go before the UK leaves EU trading rules. Earlier, Michael Gove said the UK government would do “everything to secure a deal” with the EU. He also told MPs they could be called back from their Christmas break to approve a deal if one was agreed.
bbc.in/3mtL5MS

European parliament sets Sunday deadline for post-Brexit trade deal
Daniel Boffey – The Guardian
Michel Barnier has told MEPs that striking a post-Brexit trade and security deal by Friday is “difficult but possible”, as the European parliament said it needed agreement by midnight on Sunday to hold a consent vote this year. During a briefing with leaders of the parliament’s political groups, the EU’s chief negotiator cautioned against setting a deadline that could not be met after Manfred Weber, head of the centre-right European People’s party, said Friday should be the cut-off point. Barnier said he could relay that message to the UK negotiators but he suggested that pushing the parliament’s deadline back to the end of the weekend would be wiser, given the remaining difficulties in the talks over EU access to British fishing waters.
bit.ly/34im7K0

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CME to permanently close most trading pits

CME to permanently close most trading pits

First Read $40,626/$300,000 (13.5%) Anonymous ++++ Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff Without fanfare or amplification from its executives, the CME Group shut the books on most -- but not all -- of its floor trading history Tuesday afternoon with the...

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