World Hits Record Daily Covid Cases as Omicron Mars Christmas

Dec 28, 2021

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

I know you like a good list of books to read and the Wall Street Journal has just the list. Their “Reading Resolutions: 12 Books to Start a Smart New Year” is meant to get you “off on the right foot with these fresh approaches to better thinking—and living—at home and at work.”

The first book on the list you would think came from Donald Rumsfeld, but is from Adam Grant and titled, “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know.” The second title on the list should be popular too: “You’re Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence,” by Jon Levy. But I really like the title of the third book on the list, for obvious reasons, “The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t,” by Julia Galef.

Live from Nassau in the Bahamas yesterday, the omnipresent Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX was on CNBC espousing his regulatory framework ideas and discussing “horror” scenarios he’s hoping regulators will avoid, CNBC reported.

Back when I was working at the Price Futures Group, Tom Madden would come over to the Electronic Trading Division area I led this time of the year and suggest I think about goals for the next year. It was a good exercise. It is a professional version of what are your personal New Year’s resolutions.

Do you have any professional resolutions you have made for 2022? Or is life too uncertain? One of my goals for 2022 is to rebuild the headcount of John Lothian News. Another is to complete more of the documentary series “The History of Financial Futures.” On a personal note, my goal is to lose another 40 pounds and become more active.

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


Among a New York Times list of notable “Artists, Innovators and Thinkers We Lost In the Past Year” were a couple of people associated with Chicago – Dr. Rosalind Cartwright of Rush University Medical Center, who ran a sleep laboratory to study the dreams of divorced women, and Rennie Davis, one of the “Chicago Seven,” who helped organize antiwar activists in Chicago and was beaten and bloodied in the Grant Park rally that turned into a riot. One of the NY Times readers who commented on the article also mentioned Lester B. Fisher, the former director of Lincoln Park Zoo, who died five days ago at age 100. ~SR


It’s December 1999 Based on the NYSE Shares Touching New Lows
Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Amid all the celebration of a rousing year-end in stocks, Doug Ramsey has a sobering observation about a situation below the market’s surface. Last week, when the S&P 500 closed at a 52-week high, 334 companies trading on the New York Stock Exchange hit a 52-week low, more than double the amount that marked new one-year highs. That’s happened only three other times in history — all of them in December 1999, according to Ramsey, who is chief investment officer for Leuthold Group.

***** I remember 1999 well. My son Tim’s college fund did so well I took money out of it and bought him (and me) a computer with it. He was up 100% in 1999.~JJL


Traders turn to derivatives that protect against US market fall; Investors are buying put options in ever greater numbers as they seek to avoid losses after this year’s strong equity rally
Eric Platt and Madison Darbyshire – FT
Investors are increasingly turning to a tool to protect them if the US stock market careens lower in the coming weeks. Traders are buying put option contracts in ever greater numbers, hoping the derivatives will provide a hedge if stocks fall from record territory. The rising use of put contracts, including by the swell of new retail day traders who entered markets this year, has accompanied a surge of volatility in the $53tn US equity market.

***** I guess it is a good thing that regulators changed their minds about puts back in the 1970s.~JJL


Race and finance: asset managers fail to walk the walk; Investment firms promote diversity at other companies but often fall short themselves
Attracta Mooney and Madison Darbyshire – FT
After the murder of George Floyd, the $110tn global asset management industry stood out in its efforts to signal its concerns about racism. Leading institutional investors not only made public promises to foster diversity in their own ranks, they voted in increasing numbers to support shareholder resolutions calling on other managements to do the same.

****** JLN took our first step walking the walk in 2021, but it was not a factor in our hiring decision; pure talent, education and élan were.~JJL


Record Beef Prices, but Ranchers Aren’t Cashing In; “You’re feeding America and going broke doing it”: After years of consolidation, four companies dominate the meatpacking industry, while many ranchers are barely hanging on.
Peter S. Goodman – NY Times
SHEPHERD, Montana — Judging from the prices at supermarkets and restaurants, this would appear to be a lucrative moment for cattle ranchers like Steve Charter. America is consuming more beef than ever, while prices have climbed by one-fifth over the past year — a primary driver for the growing alarm over inflation. But somewhere between American dinner plates and his 8,000-acre ranch on the high plains of Montana, Mr. Charter’s share of the $66 billion beef cattle industry has gone missing.

****** There is a reason Joe Biden is looking at antitrust enforcement to help deal with inflation.~JJL


A Chinese man mysteriously received $15.6 million in his stock trading account on Christmas Day
Matthew Loh – Insider
A man in China discovered on Christmas Day that he mysteriously became a millionaire overnight after a system test for his stock trading app dumped $15.6 million into his account. The man, identified only by his last name Long, realized at 2.30 p.m. on Christmas Day that his assets had surged by 100 million renminbi, or $15.6 million, state media outlet CCTV Finance reported.

******Merry Christmas, not so much on Boxing Day.~JJL


Outlets hurt by dwindling public interest in news in 2021
David Bauder – AP News
The presidential election, pandemic and racial reckoning were stories that drove intense interest and engagement to news outlets in 2020. To a large degree, 2021 represented the inevitable hangover. Various metrics illustrate the dwindling popularity of news content.

****** When you have life or death news stories and democracy under siege there is bound to be a lot of viewership. Keeping that would be difficult. ~JJL


Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was In New Book, “CryptoDad” Giancarlo Misses the Mark, the review by Paul Blustein of J. Christopher Giancarlo’s new book, “CryptoDad: The Fight for the Future of Money,” from the Centre for International Governance Innovation. Second was Miami wants to become crypto’s financial capital. New York’s response? Bring it on, by David Gura on NPR. And third was Matt Levine’s Bloomberg opinion piece, Wall Street Is No Fun Anymore, which was our top story on Thursday, Dec. 23.


MarketsWiki Stats
26,680 pages; 236,635 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

World Hits Record Daily Covid Cases as Omicron Mars Christmas
Jinshan Hong – Bloomberg
Cases jump nearly 50% from a month ago as deaths stay stable; Infections soar more than two years into the Covid crisis
Global Covid-19 cases hit a daily record on Monday, disrupting the holiday season a year after vaccines first started rolling out and two years after the emergence of the virus that many hoped would be fleeting. The more than 1.44 million worldwide infections smashed the prior record after factoring out a day in December 2020 when Turkey backdated a significant number of cases. A more conservative gauge — the seven-day rolling average that smooths out one-time fluctuations and holiday reporting irregularities — is also at an all-time high, owing to a tidal wave of omicron infections.

FactSet to Acquire CUSIP Global Services for $1.925 Billion
Operator of Market Standard Security Identifiers for More Than 50 Years; Consistent Revenue Growth and Robust Margins Highly Complementary to FactSet; Expected to Be Accretive to FactSet’s Adjusted Diluted EPS and Adjusted Operating Margins in the First Year
FactSet (NYSE:FDS) (NASDAQ:FDS), a global provider of integrated financial information and analytical applications, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire CUSIP Global Services (CGS) from S&P Global for $1.925 billion in cash. FactSet also expects to receive an estimated tax benefit of approximately $200 million as part of the transaction.1 The acquisition will significantly expand FactSet’s critical role in the global capital markets, advancing its open data strategy.

CUSIP Global Services and American Bankers Association Joint Statement on FactSet Acquisition of CGS from S&P Global; Global provider of integrated financial information will become only the second operator of the CUSIP system in more than 50 years
CUSIP Global Services and the American Bankers Association welcomed today’s announcement that FactSet has reached a definitive agreement to acquire CUSIP Global Services from S&P Global. The transaction means that FactSet, based in Norwalk, Conn., would become just the second operator to manage the CUSIP system on behalf of ABA.

SGX and SZSE sign MOU to link ETF markets in Singapore and China
Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish an exchange-traded fund (ETF) link, offering investors on both exchanges with a wider range of investment options. Under the agreement, SGX and SZSE will jointly develop and promote the ETF markets in Singapore and China through the listing of feeder ETFs, which link locally listed ETFs to ones listed on the other exchange. This allows domestic ETF issuers to tap on cross-border capital flows, and investors to access overseas-listed ETFs via domestic exchanges.

The end of an era in lending
Felix Salmon – Axios
Banks and regulators around the world have managed to replace the plumbing of the entire financial system, even as almost nobody has noticed. Driving the news: As of Monday, Libor — the interest rate that once underpinned some $300 trillion in financial contracts from derivatives to corporate credit lines — will effectively be dead.

The SEC Is Going Too Easy on Insider Trading; Investors need to know more about executives’ stock-selling plans.
Michelle Leder – Bloomberg
At long last, the Securities and Exchange Commission has sketched out a plan to address a difficult issue in the U.S. stock market: how and when corporate insiders, who inevitably have better information than the investing public, can legally trade in the shares of their companies. The proposal is good, as far as it goes. But it could do a lot more to assure regular investors that insiders aren’t taking advantage of them.

Female Founders Face Disadvantages Raising Capital in Male-Dominated Industries; Underrepresentation in enterprise software affects women as employees but also as founders, says Dana Kanze, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at London Business School
Isabelle Bousquette – WSJ
Women are vastly underrepresented in the enterprise software industry. Less than 2% of all U.S. enterprise technology startups have at least one female founder, according to a report from venture-capital firm Work-Bench. U.S. Labor Department data also found that in 2019, women made up only 18.1% of software developers in the country.

Dubai Can’t Shake Off the Stain of Smuggled African Gold; The UAE rejects any involvement in illegal practices. African exporters say tons of their gold goes missing in Dubai every year.
Simon Marks, Michale J Kavanagh, Verity Ratcliffe – Bloomberg
In the moon-like landscape of northern Sudan, informal gold miners toil with spades and pickaxes to extract their prize from shallow pits that pockmark the terrain. Mining ore in the sweltering heat of the Nubian desert is the first stage of an illicit network that has exploded in the past 18 months following a pandemic-induced spike in the gold price. African governments desperate to recoup lost revenue are looking to Dubai to help stop the trade.

China to ‘strengthen’ Hong Kong as yuan trading hub, diversify forex reserves in 2022; Support for Hong Kong as a yuan trading hub was among the central bank’s 2022 priorities; The People’s Bank of China will also pursue more diversified foreign exchange reserves
Frank Tang – South China Morning Post
China will push for greater international use of the yuan by giving more support to Hong Kong as an offshore trading centre next year, while also diversifying its forex reserves, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has said. Efforts to support the city as a yuan hub were among the central bank’s 2022 priorities, outlined at its annual work conference, and marked a change in tone from the “steady and prudent” economic message in the country’s five-year plan.

China’s cryptocurrency investors keep the faith even as exchanges Binance and Huobi sever ties with mainland users; Chinese cryptocurrency investors say they are continuing to trade their virtual coins on overseas platforms as big exchanges end yuan support; Beijing said this year that overseas platforms serving mainland users are illegal, which came after a widespread bitcoin mining crackdown
Coco Feng – South China Morning Post
restrictions that have effectively outlawed their preferred assets even after Binance and Huobi, two major crypto trading platforms, have vowed to purge mainland users. The platforms’ announcements come at the end of a rough year for Chinese crypto traders, who have seen online communities shut down, pricing websites go dark, and major exchanges severing services. Harsher measures from exchanges come after Beijing specified this year that any offshore crypto platforms serving mainland clients are illegal.

The Fed’s Doomsday Prophet Has a Dire Warning About Where We’re Headed; Thomas Hoenig knew what quantitative easing and record-low interest rates would bring.
Christopher Leonard – Politico
Thomas Hoenig doesn’t look like a rebel. He is a conservative man, soft-spoken, now happily retired at the age of 75. He acts like someone who has spent the vast majority of his career, as he has, working at one of the stuffiest and powerful institutions in America: the Federal Reserve Bank. Hoenig has all the fiery disposition that one might expect from a central banker, which is to say none at all. He unspools sentences methodically, in a measured way, never letting his words race ahead of his intended message. When Hoenig gets really agitated he repeats the phrase “lookit” a lot, but that’s about as salty as it gets.

US Judge Grants Preliminary Approval to $60M Settlement Over Allegations of JPMorgan ‘Spoofing’; If ultimately approved, plaintiffs’ counsel said, the deal would build on an earlier $920 million settlement with the federal government over the investment bank’s use of an outlawed trading practice.
Tom McParland –
Commodities traders have secured preliminary approval of a proposed $60 million settlement to resolve class claims over JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s alleged manipulation of futures markets for precious metals. A Manhattan federal judge said Monday that the agreement, reached last month, had cleared an initial hurdle to approval and scheduled a fairness hearing for July 2.

Companies raise over $12tn in ‘blockbuster’ year for global capital markets; Central bank stimulus programmes contribute to ‘frantic pace’ of equity and debt fundraising
Eric Platt, Nicholas Megaw and Joe Rennison – FT
Companies raised a record $12.1tn in 2021 by selling stock, issuing debt and inking new loans, as a torrent of central bank stimulus and the rapid recovery from the pandemic propelled many global markets higher. With a few days still left in the year, the cash haul is already up almost 17 per cent from 2020, which was itself a historic year, and almost a quarter above the take in 2019 before the coronavirus crisis, according to Financial Times calculations based on Refinitiv data.


As Omicron Surges, Officials Shorten Isolation Times for Many Americans; Hoping to prevent further disruptions to daily life, the C.D.C. reduced the period that certain infected Americans must sequester.
Benjamin Mueller and Isabella Grullón Paz – NY Times
As daily coronavirus cases in the United States soared to near record levels, federal health officials on Monday shortened by half the recommended isolation period for many infected Americans, hoping to minimize rising disruptions to the economy and everyday life. Virus-related staff shortages have upended holiday travel, leading to the cancellation of thousands of flights, and now threaten industries as diverse as health care, restaurants and retail. Yet health experts warn the country is only in the early stages of a fast-moving surge.

These numbers show just how impactful the latest COVID-19 surge is
Dana Farrington, Scott Neuman, Daniel Wood – NPR
COVID-19 cases are up across the country, fueled in large part by the highly contagious omicron variant. Even with a surge in cases and a scramble for more testing, a smaller percentage of infected people are winding up in the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms compared to earlier strains.

– [[|South Africa study suggests Omicron could displace Delta – Reuters]]
Holiday travel nightmare continues with COVID-related flight cancellations – ABC News
Germany Buys Pfizer’s Covid Pill Amid Surging Omicron Cases – Bloomberg
Boris Johnson decides against extra Covid curbs for England before New Year – FT
More Covid-19 Vaccines Are Reaching Poorer Nations, but Slowly – WSJ

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

The Stock Exchanges Of Shenzhen, Shanghai And Hong Kong And CSDC Reach A Consensus On The Overall Plan Of Adding ETFs To Stock Connect Schemes
To continuously optimize the Chinese Mainland-Hong Kong Stock Connect mechanism and enrich existing Stock Connect schemes, according to the joint announcement by the CSRC and the SFC, SZSE, Shanghai Stock Exchange, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, and China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Limited (hereinafter referred to as the stock exchanges of Shenzhen, Shanghai and Hong Kong and CSDC) have reached a consensus on the overall plan of adding ETFs to the Stock Connect schemes.

Borsa Istanbul: Uptick Rule Will Be Applied In The Session Dated 28 December 2021 In The Equity Market
It has been decided that the up-tick rule in short selling transactions to be valid for one day during the session dated 28/12/2021. Please click for the related Announcement.

Equity Total Return Futures: Replacement of Equity Dividend Indices due to corporate actions
Due to corporate actions handling, Eurex Deutschland will replace the Equity Dividend Indices (EDIs) for six existing Equity Total Return Futures (ETRF) products effective on 31 December 2021.

NYSE Group Announces 2022, 2023 and 2024 Holiday and Early Closings Calendar
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
NYSE Group, part of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, announced today the 2024 holiday calendar and early closing dates for its cash equity markets: New York Stock Exchange, NYSE American Equities, NYSE Arca Equities, NYSE Chicago, and NYSE National, as well as the NYSE American Options, NYSE Arca Options and NYSE Bonds markets. The 2022 and 2023 holiday and early closing dates are also set forth below.

Performance Bond Requirements: Energy Margins – Effective December 28, 2021– CME
Change in Regular Firm’s Clearing Agent; The Exchange has been notified that Zen-Noh Grain Corp. has changed its clearing agent to Marex North America LLC for the firm’s transactions. – CME
Change in Regular Firm’s Clearing Agent; The Exchange has been notified that Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. has changed its clearing agent to Marex North America LLC for the firm’s Corn, Soybean, and Wheat transactions. – CME


Fintech in review 2021: A look back at what was hot and what was not; An analysis of the peaks and troughs in European fintech, and a rundown of our top stories this year
Isabel Woodford – Sifted
It’s been another memorable year in European fintech, which has been defined by a relentless wave of funding rounds, mega valuations and IPO announcements. On the flip side, 2021 was also host to the debacles that were Greensill and — to a smaller extent — Lanistar. The sagas didn’t halt the flow of fintech funding, however, and the stream of “soonicorns” graduating into unicorns has continued.

The embedded finance trends we should all be paying attention to in 2022; Why your next loan may be from your tennis club
It’s very likely that you’ll get your next loan from a company other than your bank. In fact, consumers are increasingly making all sorts of decisions about money and executing on them without the help of their traditional financial services provider. The trend highlights the rise of what’s often referred to as “embedded finance”, or “contextual banking”. It points to the integration of financial services — the kinds people usually go to their bank for — into the products and services of non-banks, paving the way for a broadening array of bundles and hybrid approaches, and expanding the boundaries of finance and fintech innovation.

Fintech Stocks Fall Back to Earth; Block, PayPal and Robinhood have stumbled in recent months due to cooling demand and the prospect of higher rates
Peter Rudegeair – WSJ
Financial-technology companies like Block Inc., SQ -0.06% PayPal Holdings Inc. PYPL -0.12% and Robinhood Markets Inc. HOOD -1.19% were some of the biggest winners of the pandemic economy. In a matter of months, they have transformed into laggards. During coronavirus lockdowns, people embraced digital apps that let them transfer money, pay for online purchases, receive stimulus checks and trade stocks. But when life returned to something more normal this autumn, demand cooled.


Congress zooms in on cybersecurity after banner year of attacks
Maggie Miller – TheHill
The past 12 months stand as a banner year in the severity of cyberattacks that wreaked havoc on organizations large and small.
But in the wake of the chaos, a silver lining has emerged around a never before seen level of bipartisan support and genuine interest on Capitol Hill for strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity.

The Unstoppable Rise of the Internet Scammer; There’s a flavour of fraud for everyone, whether you’re an Instagram hacker, a Depop grifter or a fake deliveryman.
Hayden Vernon – VICE
From annoying fake delivery texts, to hackers forcing Instagram users to film hostage-style videos of themselves promoting get-rich-quick schemes, 2021 was the year scamming blew up. As Paul Maskell, fraud and cybercrime prevention manager at UK Finance, puts it: “There’s a flavour of fraud for everyone.”

Cisco Research: Five Key Drivers for Cybersecurity Program Success
D. Howard Kass – MSSP Alert
Nearly 40 percent of security technologies, on average, used by organizations are outdated, according to a recently released Cisco study on best practices to detect threats and ensure business resiliency.
By comparison, organizations with cloud-based architectures are more than twice as likely to refresh than those with more outdated, on-premises technologies, Cisco said in a follow up volume to the vendor’s initial 2020 Security Outcomes Study. That body of work surveying some 4,800 IT security professionals yielded the five best practices that superseded all others in shaping an organization’s cyber hygiene.

No Sign of Reprieve From Ransomware Frenzy for Companies in 2022
Jake Holland – Bloomberg
Supply chain attacks and software exploitations are set to continue next year, and remote or hybrid work may complicate cyber-preparedness, attorneys and cybersecurity professionals say.
Ransomware attacks show no signs of slowing down in 2022, posing legal, reputational, and regulatory risks for businesses. These types of hits grew alongside an uptick in attacks related to remote work during the coronavirus pandemic.


Gibraltar poised to become first cryptocurrency hub; A deal by blockchain firm Valereum to take over the Gibraltar Stock Exchange will make it a global center of cryptocurrency trading.
Roger Cheng – CNET
Gibraltar, once seen as a tax haven, will start a new life as a global hub for cryptocurrency trading. The British overseas territory is reviewing a proposal for blockchain firm Valereum to acquire the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, which would allow the territory to serve as a platform to trade bitcoin and dogecoin alongside traditional bonds, according to The Guardian.

Here are 10 of the most surprising little-known facts we learned about the 29-year-old crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried after months speaking to his closest friends, family, and colleagues
Kari McMahon and Vicky Ge Huang – Insider
The 29-year-old crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried is the only person other than Mark Zuckerberg to have gotten so rich so quickly. His path to riches all started with the opportunity to capitalize on an arbitrage opportunity between Western and Asian crypto exchanges that ended up netting 10% daily gains on million-dollar trades for his crypto-trading shop Alameda Research in 2018.

Binance Gains Regulatory Approvals In Bahrain And Canada To Provide Crypto Services
Zinnia Lee – Forbes
Binance, which runs the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has been green lighted by regulators in Bahrain and Canada for its affiliates to operate in the two countries. The company announced on Monday that it had obtained in-principle approval from Bahrain’s central bank to establish itself as a crypto-asset service provider in the island nation.

The wackiest and worst crypto projects of 2021; Some of the year’s most controversial NTFs, coins, and crypto scams.
Leo Schwartz –
2021 was one of the most volatile years in crypto’s nascent journey. Observers witnessed the extremes of the technology’s adoption: from a countrywide ban of crypto transactions in China to the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador. At Rest of World, we’ve spent the last year following the impact of crypto across the world, from a hacker house in Buenos Aires that created the foundation of the metaverse to the rise of DeFi in Latin America to the trend of low-cost trading in Southeast Asia.


After his wife’s ExxonMobil sale led to a STOCK Act violation, Rep. Peter Welch says he and his wife will no longer trade individual stocks
Bryan Metzger, Dave Levinthal – Business Insider
Rep. Peter Welch said he’d give up individual stock trading after an Insider investigation revealed that the Vermont Democrat was one week late in disclosing his wife’s sale of $6,238 worth of ExxonMobil shares in September. “Rep. Welch has decided to no longer own individual stocks,” Welch’s communications director, Arianna Jones, told Insider. The eight-term congressman made a similar pledge in April 2020, but this time it’s backed up by a new filing indicating that he’s sold off all his individual stocks.

Warren Urges Crackdown on Wall Street Over Climate Change
Kasia Klimasinska – Bloomberg
Senator Elizabeth Warren accused the financial services industry of being a major contributor to climate change and urged U.S. regulators to hold it to account. Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, cited a study by the Sierra Club and the Center for American Progress, which shows that eight of the biggest U.S. banks and 10 of its largest asset managers combined to finance about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s about 1% less than what Russia produced.

Ron Johnson’s Opponent Wants Inside Traders Out of Congress; Mandela Barnes, the Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin and Ron Johnson’s opponent in next year’s Senate election, shares his plan of attack if he wins the seat.
The Daily Beast
Is Ron Johnson the worst senator? That’s what The New Abnormal co-host Molly Jong-Fast wants to know. Naturally, she asks Mandela Barnes, the lieutenant governor of Wisconsin and Johnson’s opponent in next year’s Senate election.

Analysis: Biden’s regulatory agenda to take shape in 2022
Pete Schroeder – Reuters
Next year will be a turning point for U.S. financial policy as Democratic President Joe Biden’s new regulators ready a slew of rule changes that are set to create headaches for Wall Street and corporate America.

Swiss-EU relationship could fall apart if talks fail, EU’s Sefcovic says
The European Union’s relationship with Switzerland could fall apart if negotiations over Switzerland’s place in the EU internal market fail, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, told Der Spiegel magazine.


CFTC Orders Dubai Traders and Their Firms to Pay $100,000 for Wash Sales
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and simultaneously settling charges against Dubai residents Kunal Bansal and Vinit Agarwal and their Hong Kong and Dubai based firms Aralia Securities, Ltd. (Aralia) and Vintage Bullion DMCC (Vintage), respectively, for engaging in wash sales and non-competitive transactions. The order requires Bansal, Agarwal, Aralia, and Vintage jointly and severally to pay a $100,000 civil monetary penalty.

CFTC Swaps Report Update; CFTC’s Weekly Swaps Report has been updated, and is now available.
The CFTC Swaps Report provides a detailed weekly snapshot of the gross notional outstanding as of the Friday two and a half weeks prior to the CFTC Swaps Report’s Monday publication date, as well as a detailed weekly total of the transaction volume (on both a ticket volume and dollar volume basis) ending that same Friday, in three asset classes (interest rate swaps, credit default swaps, and foreign exchange swaps).

Securities Commission Malaysia Charges Serba Dinamik, Its Director And Officers For False Information In Its Financial Statement – Warrant Of Arrest Obtained Against CEO/MD Dato’ Mohd Karim Abdullah
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) today charged Serba Dinamik Holdings Berhad (Serba Dinamik), its director and officers for submitting a false statement to Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad, an offence under section 369(a)(B) of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 (CMSA).

Investing and Trading

Didi Shares Slide to Another Record Low as Post-IPO Lockup Ends; The Chinese ride-hailing company’s shares are now 62% below their IPO price
Rebecca Feng, Dave Sebastian – WSJ
Didi Global Inc.’s shares fell to another record low Monday after a “lockup” period expired following its June initial public offering, even as the Chinese ride-hailing company sought to prevent employees from selling their stock.

Stock Pickers Are Struggling to Beat the Market; Some 85% of active U.S. stock funds were on pace to underperform the S&P 500 this year
Justin Baer – WSJ
It was supposed to be a stock picker’s market. A late 2020 rally by smaller and cheaper stocks, culminating with the meme-stock craze that started in January, raised hopes that active investing would stage a comeback this year. But as 2021 draws to a close, most professional stock pickers find themselves in familiar territory: trailing the benchmark S&P 500 index.

U.S. Treasury Yields Seem Like a One-Way Bet, Until They Aren’t; Investors have become so conditioned to Fed’s low-rate regime that it might be hard for them to bet on yields going up
Justin Lahart – WSJ
It can be hard to make sense of why long-term U.S. Treasury yields are so low. But after so many years where yields were, in retrospect, too high, it is understandable why investors might hesitate to bet on them going up. In theory, the 10-year Treasury yield is supposed to reflect what investors think the return on money continually invested at the risk-free overnight rate set by the Federal Reserve will be, adjusted for a “term premium”—the fudge factor investors build into the yield as insurance against the risk that their rate forecasts are wrong. Lately, yields have reflected investors’ view that the main risk to their forecasts is that they prove to be too high.

Bankers Weigh What’s Next After Historic $5 Trillion M&A Record
Michelle F Davis – Bloomberg
Dealmakers add $1 trillion to previous top annual haul; Return of true blockbusters seen as possibility in 2022
The biggest mergers and acquisition boom in history isn’t showing signs of slowing. Companies announced a mammoth $5 trillion-plus of deals in 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, eclipsing the previous annual record set in 2007 by almost $1 trillion thanks to wave after wave of transformational M&A right up until the holidays.

The three questions that dominate investment; If future returns are going to be low, investors face some very difficult decisions
Philip Coggan – FT
The writer is a financial journalist and author of ‘More: The 10,000-Year Rise of the World Economy’ Three linked questions are at the heart of investment decisions today. What is the risk-free rate of return that investors can now secure? What future return is it reasonable to expect? And what is the prudent level to take or “draw down” from a pension fund or saving scheme? The answers to those questions affect everyone from charitable foundations through giant pension funds to ordinary 60-year-olds contemplating how best to use their pension pot.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Maine farmers concerned about solar developers using up ‘prime’ farming land
Talia Clarke –
There are growing concerns in Maine’s farming community about the increased use of farmlands for large-scale solar development. Carl Wilcox, who owns Intervale Farm in New Gloucester, says he has received more than a dozen offers from solar developers to build on his property but has declined them all. Wilcox isn’t against solar power — he has solar panels on his barn — but says his land is more valuable without solar panels on it should he ever sell it.

ESG investing continued to soar in 2021. The government could boost it even more; It’s a sign of how sustainable investing isn’t just for the morally motivated anymore—it makes financial sense, too.
Talib Visram – Fast Company
Faced with the ongoing calamity of climate change, both seasoned investors and those new to the market are increasingly embracing funds with more sustainable stocks. They’re favoring companies that take action to address the climate crisis and other environmental and social issues, like resource conservation, biodiversity, and human rights—rather than continuing to fund fossil fuel activities.

The TRADE predictions series 2022: ESG and sustainability; With the first trading focused sustainability initiative preparing to launch and swathes of regulation and data focused initiatives being brought to market, these individuals see sustainability at the heart of market discussion next year.
The Trade
It would be hard to look at the year ahead and not recognise sustainability as central theme for 2022. This has predominantly been a theme for stock pickers in the asset management industry until recently, but trading desks, banks, platforms, trading technology companies and exchanges are now starting to come together to see what they can do to further the cause. While these discussions are in early stages, it’s exciting to look ahead and to optimistically see some impactful industry lead, sustainable solutions.


Wells Fargo makes another major change to its return to office plans during COVID
Hannah Lang – Charlotte Observer
After postponing its return to the office three times, Wells Fargo has delayed its return to the office yet again, this time indefinitely, the bank said in a statement Monday. “Given the changing external environment, we are delaying our return to office plans,” the bank said in a statement to the Observer. “We are continuing to closely monitor the environment with the health and well-being of our employees as our priority.”


Hong Kong is clinging to ‘zero covid’ and extreme quarantine. Talent is leaving in droves.
Theodora Yu and Shibani Mahtani – Washington Post
Ellie May Paden, 26, came to Hong Kong over a year ago for a new opportunity and a budding relationship. Her LinkedIn page says she is “fortunate enough to be teaching English as a foreign language in a beautiful city,” with a photo of the glittering downtown skyline.

India Arrests Businessman After Seizing Illegal Cash, 23 Kilograms of Gold
Shruti Srivastava – Bloomberg
India’s tax authorities have seized wads of currency notes running into million of dollars and several kilograms of gold from the premises of a businessman, according to a statement from the finance ministry.

German Agriculture Minister Calls for Higher Food Prices
Zoe Schneeweiss – Bloomberg
Germany’s new agriculture minister, Cem Oezdemir, took to the country’s biggest tabloid over the weekend to call for higher prices for food and agricultural goods, telling Bild am Sonntag that “junk prices” drive “farms into ruin, prevent more animal welfare, promote the extinction of species and pollute the climate.” While that push is in line with his Green party’s standard repertoire, it comes at a time when inflation is at a three-decade high. Compared with European Union peers Germans already paid more than the bloc’s average, according to Eurostat data for 2020.

A $350 Million Turkey ETF Added Most Since 2018 as Lira Rallied
Maria Elena Vizcaino – Bloomberg
TUR got $25 million as steps to boost currency were unveiled; BIST 100 Index is down almost 20% in dollar terms this year
An exchange-traded fund focused on Turkish stocks had its biggest daily inflow in more than three years last week, as government measures to shore up the nation’s battered currency prompted the biggest surge for the lira in decades.

Bank of Japan Set for Smallest Annual ETF Purchase Since 2012
Min Jeong Lee and Toshiro Hoosegow – Bloomberg
$7.6 billion in ETF buying is just a fraction of 2020’s amount; Focus now on what BOJ does with accumulated ETFs: NLI Research
The Bank of Japan is on course to buy the smallest amount of local equity this year since former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office, a far cry from last year’s record haul during the height of the pandemic.


Bright Horizons Is Betting Kids Will Return to the Office, Even If Parents Stay Home; As the child-care industry crumbles, the largest provider of on-site daycare makes its move on corporate America.
Jeff Green – WSJ
Even with catered lunches and two on-site gyms, Bryce Hunt has no interest in working full-time from software maker Podium Corp’s office in Lehi, Utah. But five days a week, the enterprise customer-success director—or her husband, an engineer for a medical device company—still makes the 30-minute round-trip commute to Podium’s headquarters. Why? To drop their 2-year-old daughter at the company’s subsidized day care center before returning home to work remotely.

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