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John Lothian Newsletter: Unmasking the Men Behind Zero Hedge; Currency Trading’s 20% Drop Raises Specter of Flash-Crash Future; Derivatives houses to open accounts with Federal Reserve

First Read

New Art Just the Latest Amenity in the CBOT Building
John J. Lothian
Glenstar Properties, the owners of the the Art Deco Board of Trade Building, added some new eye-popping art to its second floor lobby that has turned heads and sparked questions. You can’t miss the collection of colorful prints as you exit the elevator lobby after leaving our offices on the 16th floor of the CBOT Building.

The framed posters featuring iconic 1960s and 70s images and others just jump out at you.

A long white wall on the second floor of the CBOT Building has been dressed up with some art prints bought by the CBOT Building manager, and evidently art aficionado, Mike Giese. He bought all the pictures, which happen to be Andy Warhol prints, on Some people think the building sprang for some original art, which is funny since these are popular pop art prints.

Even funnier was one CME Group trader who told a building manager, “Well, who knew the CME had the money to buy this kind of art,” having missed that the CME sold the building in 2012 for $151.5 million.

To read the rest of the article, and to see more photos, click HERE


CME Group sees $5 mln savings a year from shutting New York floor
By Tom Polansek – Reuters
CME Group Inc will save $5 million a year by shutting its New York trading floor, the chief financial officer said on Thursday, as the futures market operator works to cut costs.

***** The savings don’t seem like much, but on a per trader basis for those left on the trading floor it is substantial.


Buffett’s Children Say Both Parents Set Example for Philanthropy
Noah Buhayar, Margaret Collins – Bloomberg
Social justice, equality were part of upbringing, they say; Susan and Peter Buffett appear at panel discussion on giving
Two of Warren Buffett’s children praised their parents’ example in a broad-ranging conversation about philanthropy that touched on their youth and lessons learned in giving away some of their father’s wealth.

****** You don’t have to be rich to give often and much. Here is my story from 2012 titled “The Richness of Giving”


SGX Tees Off Bull Charge 2016 with Charity Golf Event
More than $180,000 was raised at Singapore Exchange’s (SGX) Bull Charge Charity Golf event which took place at the Jurong Country Club today. Over 100 golfers from 27 companies participated in the event.

****** Like the SGX guys need an excuse to golf, but what a great excuse!


Did You Know?
As we rework pages within MarketsWiki, some interesting facts are worth noting. Today’s “Did You Know?” is about the CME Group.

CME reported several records in its Q1 2016 Earnings Did you know that CME reported:

  • Record Average Daily Overall Volume of 16.9 million, up 13 percent from 1Q15
  • Record Options ADV of 3.5 million contracts, up 22 percent
  • Record electronic Options ADV of 1.8 million contracts, up 26 percent
  • Record Interest Rate Options ADV of 2.1 million contracts
  • Record Energy ADV of 2.5 million contracts
  • Hit peak open interest of 116 million contracts during 1Q16
“Did You Know?”
is brought to you by:


The U.S. Is Sitting on a Mountain of Cheese; Move over bacon, we have a new food glut to deal with.
Whitney McFerron – Bloomberg
When bacon was abundant it was everywhere: in your jam, on seemingly every burger, even flavoring bourbon. So if history is any guide, this year’s food trend should be extra cheese.

***JK: In Wisconsin, we dare each other to eat just one cheese curd. Even harder with fried cheese curds and much harder with sausage and beer.


Snapchat User `Stories’ Fuel 10 Billion Daily Video Views
Sarah Frier – Bloomberg
More than a third of daily users create content using feature; Videos expand on Snapchat’s instantly disappearing photos
The majority of people using Snapchat Inc.’s application are making videos, fueling a boom in watching them, the company is telling its investors.

***** At yesterday’s STAC and WILD sponsored panel discussion on marketing headed by Jessica (Titlebaum) Darmoni, I asked the panel whether they had seen any successful Snapchat marketing campaigns. The answer was no, but the values of Snapchat have some value when looking at other platforms. I thought that was a pretty good observation.


Thursday’s Top Three
The top click-getter yesterday was the FT’s ICE’s $650m Trayport deal set for lengthy probe. With a possible fight over the London Stock Exchange Group looming, this investigation comes at a particularly inopportune time. In second place was Andrew Ross Sorkin’s extended piece on Obama’s economic legacy. And in third place, also from the FT, is Prime brokerage reassessed as banks seek growth and stable earnings


Lead Stories

Unmasking the Men Behind Zero Hedge, Wall Street’s Renegade Blog; The veil is lifted on a secretive website
Tracy Alloway, Luke Kawa – Bloomberg
Colin Lokey, also known as “Tyler Durden,” is breaking the first rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club. He’s also breaking the second rule of Fight Club. (See the first rule.) After more than a year writing for the financial website Zero Hedge under the nom de doom of the cult classic’s anarchic hero, Lokey’s going public. In doing so, he’s answering a question that has bedeviled Wall Street since the site sprang up seven years ago: Just who is Tyler Durden, anyway?

Currency Trading’s 20% Drop Raises Specter of Flash-Crash Future
Rachel Evans – Bloomberg
Sudden, disruptive price swings pick up as volumes decline; Yen jumped 2.6 percent in less than 3 minutes on BOJ decision
The world’s biggest financial market has shrunk by 20 percent during the past year and a half. Currency trading via CME Group Inc., ICAP Plc and Thomson Reuters Corp. — three of the largest trading platforms — fell to $538 billion per day last month, from more than $669 billion in September 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The figures show the extent of the slump in a market that this month saw some banks report less client activity, just as the Bank of International Settlements prepares its definitive triennial survey of global volumes.

Maybe Currency Flash Crashes Don’t Matter
By Lisa Abramowicz – Bloomberg Gadfly
The world’s biggest financial market may be destined for a flash-crash future.

Derivatives houses to open accounts with Federal Reserve
Gregory Meyer in New York and Philip Stafford in London – FT
Derivatives brokers choosing where to park their margin money will now have the option of the world’s most powerful central bank.

Finra Issues Report Cards on Superfast Traders
The securities industry’s self-regulator sent out its first monthly “report cards” to brokerage firms warning about manipulative superfast trading practices, marking the beginning of an effort to encourage the firms to cut off traders that aren’t playing fair.

Frontier Vietnam Eyes Step Up to Emerging-Market Big Leagues
Giang Nguyen, Bonnie Cao – Bloomberg
Vietnam says it’s on track to attain the holy grail of emerging-market status, which would put its fledgling capital markets on the radars of the world’s biggest asset managers. Index provider MSCI Inc. isn’t so sure.

CME Group fines, bars two UAE futures traders over ‘spoofing’
Two futures traders in the United Arab Emirates banned from U.S. commodity markets last month for the disruptive practice known as “spoofing” faced additional penalties from CME Group Inc on Thursday.

Robert Linton, Steadfast ’80s Wall Street Banker, Dies at 90
Robert E. Linton, a prominent Wall Street executive who led the swashbuckling investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert in the years before it imploded in scandal but who was largely untainted himself, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 90.

High-Speed Trading Backlash Mounts Pressure on India’s Sebi
Santanu Chakraborty,Rajhkumar K Shaaw – Bloomberg
SEBI panel said to push for more detailed rules on HFT; Regulator’s public silence fuels frustration among brokers
India’s markets regulator is coming under increased pressure to improve its oversight of high-speed trading after allegations of unfair access at the nation’s biggest equity bourse.

One of These People Could Be the Next U.S. Treasury Secretary; Can you hang with the G-7 one minute, a small-town chamber of commerce the next? You’re hired
Michelle Jamrisko Andrew Mayeda – Bloomberg
The role is U.S. Treasury secretary — spokesperson for the world’s reserve currency, economic cheerleader, financial market regulator, signatory of the almighty buck.

Exclusive: China securities regulator confirms order to curb futures speculation
China’s securities regulator on Friday urged commodity futures exchanges to curb excessive speculation following a surge in prices that has sparked fears markets were heading for a dangerous boom-and-bust cycle.

Activists Have Declared War on Hedge Funds — and They Might Be Winning
By Michelle Celarier – New York Magazine
The anti-hedge fund movement at work. Photo: Nadia Damouni / Reuters
When Henry Garrido, the executive director of the largest municipal employees union in New York City, learned a year ago what a raw deal investing in hedge funds had been for his union’s pensioners, he couldn’t restrain himself. In a fit of pique, Garrido suggested it wouldn’t be wrong for his members to conclude that “the system is rigged” after a report by the New York City comptroller concluded that the pension fund had been lining the pockets of hedge-fund managers while the retirees were getting what Garrido termed “lousy” returns.

Sizing Up: The New Trade on the Block
Kapil Phadnis, Bloomberg Tradebook via Tabb Forum
With the introduction of more trading venues than ever before and the increasing fragmentation of liquidity, larger trade sizes are not being optimally sourced. But fragmentation does not preclude sufficient liquidity. Rather, market participants have to start thinking of innovative, data-driven ways to analyze liquidity sourcing techniques.


China warns off commodities market punters
Lucy Hornby and Yuan Yang in Beijing – FT
China’s army of retail investors has been warned off speculative trading in commodity futures as officials attempt to quash what looks to be the country’s latest market bubble.

Markit and ISDA Seek to Settle EU Antitrust Probe on CDS
EU concerned they hindered exchange trading as rival to banks; Licenses to be offered on fair terms, governance changes
Markit Group Ltd. and the International Swaps & Derivatives Association offered to settle a European Union antitrust investigation into their role in the credit-default swaps industry with pledges to change licensing arrangements.

Isda and Markit offer concessions on CDS licensing to address anti-trust concerns
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (Isda) and Markit are promising to implement reforms to the licensing of data and indices on credit default swaps to stave off an ongoing anti-trust investigation by the European Commission.

Testimony of ISDA CEO Scott O’Malia Before the US House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit

FIA president testifies on impact of capital and margin requirements
FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken testified on capital and margin issues affecting the derivatives industry at a hearing of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit. The full text of his written testimony is available below:

FIA President: Basel capital requirements will harm end-users
FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken testified today at a hearing on the impact of capital and margin requirements on end-users, held by the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit.

BCSC Supports Raising The Standards Of Conduct For Registrants
The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) today announced that it strongly supports taking action to strengthen the client-registrant relationship through a sweeping set of targeted reforms to the obligations that registrants owe to their clients (NI 31-103). Proposed targeted reforms to 31-103 were published for comment today in the CSA’s Consultation Paper 33-404: Proposals to Enhance the Obligations of Advisers, Dealers, and Representatives Toward Their Client (the Consultation Paper).

Competition authorities use blame and barriers to thwart challenger banks
Diane Coyle – FT
The authorities supposedly responsible for ensuring competition in banking in the UK are making it harder than ever for new entrants to gain a foothold the market.

EU regulators closer to ending five-year CDS investigation
Philip Stafford – FT
European antitrust regulators have indicated they are moving closer to ending a five-year long investigation into alleged collusion in the credit derivatives markets by settling for more independent decision-making from the organisations that licence the industry’s main data and indices.

Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) Rulemaking and National Market System (NMS) Plans

    • NASDAQ: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Update Public Disclosure of Exchange Usage of Market Data (Release No. 34-77737; File No. SR-NASDAQ-2016-060)


    • NASDAQ: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Amend Nasdaq Rule 7023 (Release No. 34-77736; File No. SR-NASDAQ-2016-058); see also Exhibit 5


    • OCC Advance Notice: Memo: Commissions Request for Additional Information, SR-OCC-2014-811 (File No. SR-OCC-2016-801; April 14, 2016)


Exchanges & Trading Facilities

BME posts EUR42.9 million net profit in the first quarter
Up 4.6% from the previous quarter
BME reported net profit of EUR42.9 million in the first quarter of 2016, a decline of 8.9% on the year ago figure and 4.6% higher than the figure reported in the previous quarter.

Summary of BME 2016 General Shareholders´ Meeting
BME’s General Shareholders Meeting, which was held today in Madrid, today approved the annual accounts and proposal for application of the financial result of the year ended on 31 December 2015, the best result of the company since 2008.
The company’s net profit in 2015 totalled EUR173.5 million, up 5.2% on the previous year. This result has been underpinned by a 0.4% reduction in operating expenses. “We have maintained the cost-control that is a hallmark of BME, despite the efforts involved by some projects such as the Reform of the Clearing and Settlement in Spain, which started just yesterday”, stated Antonio Zoido, during the General Meeting.

BME approves the distribution of a EUR0.93 supplementary dividend, up 4.5% year-on-year
To be paid on May 6th
The Annual General Shareholders’ Meeting of BME today agreed to distribute a gross EUR0.93 per share supplementary dividend, which will be effective on May 6th.

Seabury Global Markets Makes Investment in Spotex
Business Wire
Seabury Group (“Seabury”), a leading global advisory and professional services firm, announced today that its recently formed Seabury Global Markets (“SGM”) entity has made an initial investment and entered into a multi-year, strategic relationship with Spotex, an innovative FX ECN focused on improving foreign exchange and precious metals trading for both buy and sell-side participants.

CBOE Holdings Reports Solid First-Quarter Results
Yahoo Finance
CBOE Holdings, Inc. (CBOE) today reported net income allocated to common stockholders of $49.2 million, or $0.60 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2016, compared with $42.1 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2015. On an adjusted basis, net income allocated to common stockholders was $49.9 million, or $0.61 per share, up 18 percent and 22 percent, respectively, over the first quarter of last year. Operating revenue for the quarter was $162.3 million, up 14 percent compared with $142.8 million in the first quarter of 2015.

**JK: From the release, highlighting $19.3 million in increases in transaction fees. “Transaction fees rose 20 percent in the quarter due to a 19 percent increase in the average revenue per contract (RPC), with total trading volume relatively unchanged versus the first quarter of 2015.”

CBOE Livevol Launches New Data Shop Website
The Chicago Board Options Exchange® (CBOE®) today announced that it has launched a new website, CBOE Livevol Data Shop, which offers clients a full suite of uniquely customizable market data sets.

Stock Markets Steering Committee Of Hellenic Exchanges Athens Stock Exchanges – FTSE/ATHEX Large Cap Index Adjustment
The Stock Markets Steering Committee of Hellenic Exchanges – Athens Stock Exchange, due to the upcoming adjustment of the value of “FTSE/ATHEX Large Cap Index” which will be multiplied by 10 with effect date the 21st of June 2016, approved the readjustment of the derivatives products of “Futures” and “Options” on the aforementioned Index.

HKEX Invites Views On Proposed Revision To Stock Option Position Limit Model
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) published a consultation paper today (Friday) on a proposed revision of the stock option position limit (SOPL) model for its derivatives market.

Re-appointment of Chairman
The Board of Directors (“Board”) of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (“HKEX”) today resolved to re-appoint Mr Chow Chung Kong (“Mr Chow”) as the Chairman of the Board (“Chairman”) for a term to be coterminous with his directorship.

London Stock Exchange Group
Since 2009, 180 million transactions identified in FCA enforcement notices under; Quality assurance testing is regulatory requirement for MiFID II; UnaVista clients benefit from free trial of service
London Stock Exchange Group announced today that UnaVista, its global regulatory reporting platform, has partnered with leading regulatory reporting testing and compliance firm, Kaizen Reporting. The partnership will give UnaVista clients access to Kaizen Reporting’s ReportShield™ service, which offers quality assurance testing of MiFID transaction reports at a field level, as well as governance training and consultancy.

London Stock Exchange clarifies official’s comments
Philip Stafford – FT
The London Stock Exchange Group has put out a second clarification in three days on public comments made by senior executives about its $20bn merger with Deutsche Börse following pressure from the Takeover Panel.


Amazon delivers unexpected $513m profit
Leslie Hook in San Francisco – FT
Amazon reported its most profitable quarter to date on Thursday as sales beat expectations, sending its share price up 12 per cent to value the group at almost $280bn.

LinkedIn Rises on Better-Than-Expected Earnings Forecast
Sarah Frier – Bloomberg
First-quarter revenue from main recruiting business climbs 41%; Redesigned mobile apps increase usage of professional network
LinkedIn Corp. forecast earnings that beat estimates on improved performance from its main recruiting tools, suggesting a surprise slowdown earlier this year was not as dire as analysts feared.

Facebook CEO Sees Bold Moves as Revenue Beats, Shares Rise
Sarah Frier – Bloomberg
Proposed new share class to give CEO more freedom for big bets; Zuckerberg seeks to keep control, sees ‘more bold moves ahead’
Facebook Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg picked a good time to ask for more freedom.


Obama’s Economic Disappointment
By Narayana Kocherlakota – Bloomberg View
President Barack Obama thinks Americans don’t properly appreciate the benefits of his economic policies — a view he most recently expressed in an interview with the New York Times. Isolating the effects of any president’s policies is close to impossible. That said, it’s not hard to see why many people are disappointed with the performance of the economy during Obama’s time in office.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

S&P Bull Market by Numbers: 2,608 Days, 207% Gain; $15 Trillion
Anna-Louise Jackson – Bloomberg
The 2,608-day run since March 2009 includes 108 record highs; If hindsight were 20/20, you could’ve made a 10,148% return
The advance in U.S. stocks that began more than seven years ago is now the second-longest bull market on record. Here’s a look at the advance by the numbers, using the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index as a reference.

The Failure of Hedge Fund Neutrality
By Lisa Abramowicz – Bloomberg Gadfly
It’s been a terrible six months for hedge funds, so bad that Third Point said in a letter on Tuesday that some strategies had become “a hedge fund killing field.”

Stop Blaming Central Bankers
By Nir Kaissar – Bloomberg Gadfly
“My investment returns stink and it’s your fault, central bankers!”

Banks raise prospect of court action over Fed dividend cuts
Ben McLannahan in New York – FT
One of America’s top banking lobby groups has raised the prospect of suing Congress over its decision last year to slash dividend payments made each year by the Federal Reserve to its member banks.

Ex-Merrill’s Wittlin to Shut WCG Hedge Fund After Nine Years
Saijel Kishan – Bloomberg
Fund managed $3.4 billion in regulatory assets as of Dec. 31; Most of the money was in a fund run for Brevan Howard
Barry Wittlin, a former top proprietary trader at Merrill Lynch & Co. who manages money for billionaire Alan Howard’s hedge fund, is closing his firm after almost a decade.

End of Golden Era for Investors Spells Troubles for Millennials
Rich Miller – Bloomberg
McKinsey study sees much lower returns in the future; 30-year-olds may need to save almost twice as much to make do
Turning 30 just got a lot scarier.

Banks & Brokers

UBS to revamp wealth management business to cut costs
Laura Noonan and Ralph Atkins – FT
UBS is planning to merge large parts of the back and middle-office functions in its wealth management business, in a move that will save the Swiss group several hundred million francs a year and will result in hundreds of job cuts in its initial stage.

R.B.S. Losses Widen After Payment to British Government
The Royal Bank of Scotland said on Friday that its losses widened in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, after it made a payment of 1.19 billion pounds, or about $1.7 billion, to the British government to fulfill a condition of its bailout package.

Credit Suisse’s Thiam Signals Tough Year Ahead Amid Overhaul
Jeffrey Voegeli – Bloomberg
First quarter showed `continuation of some negative pressures’; Rohner says market hasn’t yet acknowledged bank’s efforts
Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam, seeking to reassure investors about his ability to turn around Credit Suisse Group AG, pledged to continue efforts to cut costs and steer the bank away from risky activities.

Clearing & Settlement

Russia’s Sole Central Securities Depository Trials Blockchain Voting
The National Settlement Depository (NSD), Russia’s sole central securities depository (CSD), has announced it has tested a blockchain-based voting system. The de-facto securities system by law, the NSD provides settlement services for government bonds, municipal bonds and corporate bonds, accounting for 99% of domestic corporate bond issues.

BaFin Publishes Expert Article on Supervisory Colleges Under EMIR
Dechert, LLP, in Lexology
Supervisory colleges (supervisory boards comprised by members of, inter alia, various relevant supervisory authorities) are a significant element of the supervisory framework overseeing central counterparties (CCPs) which are clearing systems for certain OTC-derivatives. The English article explains the purpose of supervisory colleges for CCPs under a European regime, their underlying laws and regulations, their organization and duties.

ABN AMRO Clearing Sydney Pty Ltd pays $45,000 infringement notice penalty
ABN AMRO Clearing Sydney Pty Ltd (“ABN AMRO”) has paid a penalty of $45,000 to comply with an infringement notice given to it by the Markets Disciplinary Panel (“MDP”).

Indexes & Products

New Suite Of US ETF Reference And Analytics Data Available From XTF
FTSE Russell
FTSE Russell today announced the availability of a new suite of reference and analytics data to help investors research and evaluate the US exchange traded funds (ETF) market. Acquired by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) in December 2015, the XTF business is operated by LSEG’s Information Services Division, which includes FTSE Russell, a global leader in indexes. The XTF products provide comprehensive and objective ETF coverage delivered through data feeds and customized web solutions that are enhanced by LSEG’s technology infrastructure to provide institutional strength security and performance to customers.

McGraw Hill Financial is now S&P Global
S&P Global
We are S&P Global

Equity index options: Weekly Options on the EURO STOXX® Banks Index – Extension of revenue sharing scheme for Market Makers
To further promote the trading activity in options on the EURO STOXX® Banks Index with weekly expirations (Weekly Options), the Management Board of Eurex Deutschland and the Executive Board of Eurex Zürich AG decided to extend the existing revenue sharing scheme for Market Makers without changes from 1 May 2016 until 31 December 2016 in aforementioned products.

Will New S&P Classification Breaking Out Real Estate Boost REIT Stocks?
CoStar Group
As an investment area, real estate has long been lumped together with insurance companies and banks under a broad financial sector bucket such as by two major stock indexes, the S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI Inc. stock indexes. That will change on Sept. 1, when real estate securities will receive their own category within the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS), a group of 10 sectors, 24 industry groups, 67 industries and 156 sub-industries created by Standard & Poor’s in 1999 and jointly operated by Dow Jones Indices and MSCI Inc.


FX: Fired currency traders fight back
By: Farah Khalique – Euromoney
Ex-Citi trader Carly McWilliams’ employment tribunal win will spur on other fired currency traders waiting for their day in court and encourage more women to bring unfair dismissal claims, say legal experts. The banks’ argument that a handful of rogue traders acting behind senior managers’ backs were to blame for the currency rigging scandal is contested.

ASIC restricts Black Mountain Resources from issuing a reduced content prospectus
ASIC has restricted Black Mountain Resources Limited (Black Mountain) from issuing a reduced content prospectus until 22 April 2017.

Turnaround business advisor sentenced for aiding and abetting breach of director’s duty
Following an ASIC investigation, Mr Stephen Charles Hall, a director of Eagle Business Solutions Pty Ltd (EBS) has been convicted and ordered to pay a fine of $6,600 for dishonestly aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring another director to breach their director duties.

Environmental & Energy

World’s Biggest Windmills Now Make Jumbo Jets Look Tiny; A rare look inside the giant installations being developed to withstand the world’s worst climates – even the Arctic.
Jessica Shankleman – Bloomberg
Often derided as a blot on rural landscapes, wind turbines got bigger and stronger than ever anyway. The next generation are even larger and designed to withstand an Arctic battering.

Ecocapsule: A Tiny Solar-and-Wind-Powered Mobile Home; A little off-the-grid place of your own.
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg

Shell chairman joins new climate group involving NGOs
By Pilita Clark – Financial Times
The chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, Charles Holliday, has joined executives from BHP Billiton and other big energy companies on a new body exploring whether some of the fossil fuels that businesses such as theirs produce should stay in the ground.

Stanford board votes not to divest from fossil fuels despite protests
By Sam Levin – The Guardian
Stanford University’s board of trustees has voted not to divest from fossil fuels in a move that has drawn widespread criticisms from students and environmental groups as other colleges across the US have pledged to end oil and gas investments in response to campus protests.


Australia Set to Block China Purchase of Iconic Cattle Ranch
Angus Whitley – Bloomberg
Treasurer Morrison gives buyer until May 3 to respond; Deal `contrary to the national interest,’ Morrison says
Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison is set to block the sale of the country’s most iconic cattle company to a Chinese buyer, avoiding any protectionist backlash at home weeks before elections.

China’s Central Bank Raises Yuan Fixing by Most Since July 2005
Bloomberg News
Greenback fell 1% on Thursday as BOJ decision lifted yen; Offshore yuan’s reaction muted as stronger fixing expected
China’s central bank responded to an overnight tumble in the dollar by strengthening its currency fixing the most since a peg was dismantled in July 2005.

China’s Stocks, Bonds, Yuan Are a Triple Losing Bet This Month
Kyoungwha Kim – Bloomberg
Declines come after China’s markets rebounded in March; Commodities futures lure speculators amid bubble concerns
For the first time in two years, China’s stocks, bonds and currency are all a losing proposition.

Goldman Sachs’ head of Japan securities division exits; Mark Agne leaves after 17 years
Aaron Woolner –
Mark Agne, head of Goldman Sachs’ Japan securities division and co-head of Asia-Pacific equities trading, has left the firm where he worked for 17 years. According to an internal memo seen by, he has decided to retire from the firm he joined as an associate in 1999. After starting on the Japan equity derivatives desk, he became head of Asia-Pacific derivatives trading in 2006, and was promoted to co-head of Asia-Pacific equities trading in

Japanese equity funds hit by further outflows
Eric Platt in New York – FT
The rapid ascent of the yen has fuelled a retreat from Japanese equity funds, with portfolio managers suffering seven consecutive weeks of outflows as investors shift into US stocks.

Social Media, Theme Parks and Kung Fu Panda Led China Growth
Bloomberg News
Cultural industry companies’ revenue up 8.6 percent on year; New economic drivers are shrugging off the nation’s slowdown
The new engines of China’s economy are humming as social media, movie theaters, karaoke bars and art galleries shrug off the nation’s slowdown, according to a new report from the nation’s statistics authority.

China’s Stocks, Bonds, Yuan Are a Triple Losing Bet This Month
Kyoungwha Kim – Bloomberg
Declines come after China’s markets rebounded in March; Commodities futures lure speculators amid bubble concerns
For the first time in two years, China’s stocks, bonds and currency are all a losing proposition.

Frontier Markets

MSCI Peru ruling threatens to unbalance Frontier index
An impending ruling on whether Peru should be demoted from MSCI’s influential Emerging Markets equity index to its lower tier Frontier benchmark might seem an esoteric matter of little wider import. But, as so often in a world where most money is either managed passively or by active managers who hew closely to their benchmarks, even a seemingly small index reshuffle matters.

Global exchanges eye rejig via BSE IPO
Shrimi Choudhary- Business Standard
The much-awaited Initial Public Offering (IPO, of shares) from stock exchange BSE could lead to a rejig of the shareholding in it of two global bourses.


Art Collectors Quit Scandal-Hit Geneva
Hugo Miller – Bloomberg
Swiss customs has increased inspections over past six months; Geneva Free Ports hit by scandals over stolen art, disputes
Art collectors have begun to pull their paintings and sculptures out of Geneva’s secretive free port storage facility as the site once again finds itself under scrutiny following the identification of a $20 million Amedeo Modigliani painting in its tax-free vaults that was allegedly stolen by the Nazis.

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About Author

Doug Ashburn is a former editor-at-large of John Lothian News. He left in late 2016 and is now the managing editor of T3 Custom.