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Bitcoin Exchange Gets $100 Million Investment; VIX Options and Futures Set New Daily Volume Records

First Read

Russell Suite Competition Ambiguity Raises Some Questions; Exclusive. Non-exclusive. Exclusive. CME. ICE. CME again.
By John Lothian

The story of the Russell Index futures complex licensing over the years is a study in ambiguity, changing strategies and partners.

We know the CME Group will win this round as they currently hold the long term license for the products. But what will happen in the short term is ambiguous as these two global exchange giants square off and try to maintain control or pry loose the open interest in the Russell futures products.

After ICE took over an exclusive Russell indexes licensing agreement from CME in 2007, CME returned the favor by recently re-securing the exclusive licensing agreement with FTSE Russell to trade the products starting on July 10. Back in 2007, ICE used the deal to help in its bid to buy the Chicago Board of Trade out from under the CME. ICE did not win the CBOT, but it had a 10-year run with Russell as the only venue to trade its futures and options on futures contracts.

Now a decade later, CME is reunited with FTSE Russell but is tangled in a limited-term competitive duel with ICE. Trading has begun at the CME but it is concurrently trading on ICE potentially through June of 2018 as well – the same product, different exchanges, different clearinghouses and the same owner of the intellectual property.

Since CME has the new long-term contract with FTSE Russell, we know how this competition ends. But between now and year-end when the CME is truly the exclusive venue, there is a question about how we are going to get there. Is what is good for ICE good for customers? Is what is good for CME good for customers? Does FTSE Russell, the owner of the intellectual property licensed to each have a view on how it would like the transition of its products to occur?

The competition pits the short-term interests of the exchanges against the long-term outlook of customers and Russell itself.

For the rest of the commentary, click HERE


Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff

CME Group Foundation Awards $2.6 Million in First Half of 2017 to Support STEM Education in Illinois. ~JB

Some things you just can’t make up: ‘BitCoen’ to become first electronic currency specifically for Jews ~JB

The Securities Traders Association will hold a guided 5k run/3k walk around DC’s National Mall on Friday morning, Sept. 15 as part of their 84th Annual Market Structure Conference. Register for the conference HERE.~JJL

Among other tidbits of information in Bloomberg’s long form about Ray Dalio is this nugget: “Dalio says that as much as 30 percent of the population couldn’t tolerate a Bridgewater-esque environment.” That seems like a rather low percentage… in his mind, 70 percent of Americans are totally cool with rating coworkers on 75 different attributes more than a dozen times a week? And be recorded all the time? ~SD

Would you spend 21 days in prison for $1 million dollars? 2016 Ponzi Scheme Analytics From the link they note that robbers are sentenced to 40,372 months in prison for each $1 million stolen. ~JB


The Fed Has 6,200 Tons of Gold in a Manhattan Basement—Or Does It?
Katy Burne – WSJ
Eighty feet below the streets of lower Manhattan, a Federal Reserve vault protected by armed guards contains about 6,200 tons of gold.
Or doesn’t.

****SD: The real question is how many tin foil hats are in circulation.


Chicago teachers, trading firms may gain together
Lynne Marek – Crain’s Chicago Business
The Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund is making headway battling the biggest banks in the U.S. over interest rate swaps fees, and Chicago’s trading firms may be secretly cheering it on.
A federal judge in New York ruled July 28 that the pension fund’s case alleging the banks have a collusive stranglehold on the interest rate swaps market could proceed. That gives the teachers’ pension, and other institutional investors covered by the class action, a potential billion-dollar payout.

***SR: More competition is always good. Well, isn’t it?


Seeking Opportunity Everywhere in the Market – JJ Kinahan

“The greatest expression I’ve ever heard is, ‘The harder I work, the more opportunity I get.'”

In this video from MarketsWiki Education’s World of Opportunity event in New York, JJ Kinahan, managing director and chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, talks about seizing opportunity in every corner of the markets. Kinahan grew up in a large Irish-American family, and figured he would become a carpenter or an electrician. Instead, he landed a job at the CBOE one summer and never looked back.

Kinahan says in the early part of his career he was never the smartest guy in the room, but he made up for it by working harder than anyone else. Besides outworking everyone, Kinahan believes no one should have a better attitude than you. If you don’t think you’re in the greatest business, doing great things, then you’re making a huge career mistake.

Read the rest and watch the video »


Thursday’s Top Three
Yesterday’s top stories were led by the news of the lawsuit Trading Technologies International sues Vela Trading Technologies over trademark infringement from Second went to The Independent’s retrospective, [[|
I was a trader on the day of the financial crash – this is what really happened]]. Third went to The Trade’s Virtu slashes KCG staff by more than a third


MarketsWiki Stats
105,879,574 pages viewed; 22,671 pages; 207,715 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


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Lead Stories

Bitcoin Exchange Gets $100 Million Investment
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Coinbase Inc., the digital currency exchange that in the past two months suffered a trading crash and upset customers over how it handled the bitcoin split, received a $100 million investment from a group led by IVP.

VIX Options and Futures Set New Daily Volume Records
CBOE Holdings, Inc.
CBOE Holdings, Inc. said today that trading volume in options and futures on the CBOE Volatility Index® (VIX®) each reached new all-time highs on Thursday, August 10. In VIX options at CBOE, a reported 2,562,477 contracts traded on Thursday, surpassing the previous single-day record of 2,382,752 contracts on February 3, 2014. Year-to-date through the end of July, average daily volume in VIX options was 687,181 contracts, 11 percent ahead of the same period a year ago

ICE benchmark chief: Libor is not dead; The FCA wants to explore alternatives to the beleaguered benchmark, but its administrators are not about to give up
By Samuel Agini – Financial News
After almost four years of restoring a measure of integrity to the London interbank offered rate, Intercontinental Exchange’s Finbarr Hutcheson has earned the right to leave it behind. Whether the benchmark itself will survive long after the impending exit of the chief executive of ICE Benchmark Administration remains a thorny question.

CFTC Chairman Readies Swaps Rules Revamp
By Gabriel T. Rubin – WSJ
President Donald Trump’s recently confirmed head of the U.S. derivatives regulator plans to remove restrictions on where swaps can be traded, revising a rule from the Dodd-Frank financial law critics say has diminished market liquidity.

CFTC Staff Grants Relief To Market Participants From Certain Position Aggregation Requirements
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Division of Market Oversight (DMO) today granted relief to market participants in complying with certain position aggregation requirements. This relief is being provided until August 12, 2019. Previous relief was set to expire on August 14, 2017.

ESMA Agrees First Position Limits Under MiFID II
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published today its first three opinions on position limits regarding commodity derivatives under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Regulation (MiFID II/MIFIR).

Wall Street’s ‘Fear Gauge’ Skyrockets as Tensions Rise With North Korea
Exit greed, enter fear. After a record-breaking run of buoyant market behavior, investors appeared unnerved on Thursday by a series of provocative remarks by President Trump and increasing tensions with North Korea.

Exclusive: Foundations for post-Libor system sliding into place
Huw Jones and Marc Jones – Reuters
Critical steps for replacing Libor could be taken by next year, British industry officials told Reuters, increasing the chances of a smooth transition from the interest rate benchmark used to price financial contracts worth tens of trillions of pounds.
When regulators announced last month that scandal-plagued Libor would be replaced by the end of 2021, there was scepticism among some industry players over whether such a huge transition could take place on time – or even at all.

High-speed trading group elevates first female to role as CEO
Sarah N. Lynch – Reuters
Modern Markets Initiative (MMI), a trade group representing several prominent high-frequency trading firms, announced the appointment on Wednesday of Kirsten Wegner as its new chief executive officer.

LPC: CLO market makes room for Libor alternative
Kristen Haunss – Reuters
US Collateralized Loan Obligation (CLO) funds are reworking their documentation to accommodate new benchmark rates following news that the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), which is used to set rates on loans from corporate borrowings to mortgage payments, will be replaced.

Today’s Financial Crisis: We Forgot the Financial Crisis of 2007; Current mismatch between expectations and reality could leave investors disappointed
By James Mackintosh – WSJ
The measure of a true financial crisis is that money itself comes into question. The global financial crisis began 10 years ago this week, when a French bank suspended three money-market funds. What savers thought was money turned out to be merely credit, and the realization rapidly trashed U.S. money-market funds and the global banking system.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

TMX says lower trading volume mostly due to avoidance of pot stocks
TMX Group Ltd’s CEO on Thursday brushed off signs that the grip of Canada’s dominant stock exchange operator on overall trading volumes was slipping, saying recent market share losses were mostly due to its rejection of certain listings.

CME Group Foundation Awards $2.6 Million in First Half of 2017 to Support STEM Education in Illinois
CME Group
CME Group Foundation today announced it will provide strategic support and grants of $2.6 million to 14 organizations in Illinois to support STEM education initiatives from pre-kindergarten through college.

Nasdaq’s Nordic Exchange Seeks to Patent Blockchain Data System
by Wolfie Zhao
Nasdaq Nordic, a subsidiary of global exchange operator Nasdaq, is seeking to patent a blockchain-based computing system in the U.S.

Malaysia’s central bank criticises SGX’s trading of ringgit futures
Malaysia’s central bank Bank Negara Malaysia on Wednesday (Aug 9) hit out at the Singapore Exchange (SGX) after the bourse rolled out the trading of ringgit futures on its exchange last month.

Vietnam launches derivatives market
Vietnam has opened a derivatives market in a bid to draw more investment to its capital markets, with futures contracts set to launch first, the Hanoi Stock Exchange said on Thursday, August 10.

Exchange Updates Guidance to Help Improve Listing Document Quality and Clarity
Exchange recommends page limits for two more listing document sections;
Vetting may be suspended if listing documents are not succinct and focused on material information; GEM Listing applications may be returned if fundamental issues are not clearly understandable after two rounds of comments from the Exchange
Clearly and succinctly drafted listing documents for equity securities of new applicants (listing documents) expedite the vetting process. With the aim of improving the quality and clarity of listing documents, The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the Exchange), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), published today (Friday) two updated Guidance Letters – HKEX-GL86-16: “Guide on Producing Simplified Listing Documents Relating to Equity Securities for New Applications” and HKEX-GL56-13: “Guidance on (i) disclosure requirements for substantially complete Application Proofs; and (ii) publication of Application Proofs and Post Hearing Information Packs on the Exchange’s website”.

HKEX Plans to Implement Proposed After-Hours Trading Enhancements
Enhancements to be introduced in three phases, starting with extension of after-hours trading of index futures to 1 am from 11:45 pm; Second and third phases include inclusion of index option contracts and extension of after-hours trading to 3 am respectively; Changes subject to regulatory approval and market readiness
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) published its consultation conclusions today (Friday) on its proposed after-hours trading (AHT) enhancements.

HKEX and Cyberport Host Seminar on Proposed New Board to Accelerate Growth of Emerging New Economy in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) and Cyberport today jointly hosted a seminar at Cyberport entitled “Hong Kong’s Evolving Regime: New Board for New Economy Companies” that gathered representatives of HKEX, industry leaders and aspiring technology entrepreneurs for a discussion of HKEX’s New Board proposal.

Intercontinental Exchange Prices $1,000,000,000 in Senior Notes and Issues Notice of Redemption of NYSE USD Notes
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, announced today that it priced an underwritten public offering of $1.0 billion in new senior notes.

LendInvest joins London Stock Exchange’s ORB
London Stock Exchange Group
LendInvest is also the first UK company on ELITE, LSEG’s business support and capital raising programme, to access the debt capital markets to support its growth. ELITE offers the UK’s most exciting and ambitious private companies a full programme to help them grow, including education, business support and access to Europe’s financial and advisory community. LendInvest was admitted to ELITE in April 2016 and has since grown rapidly. ELITE’s growing community now includes more than 600 companies in 25 countries across 36 sectors, generating EUR50 billion in combined revenues and accounting for over 215,000 jobs across Europe and beyond.

WFE Report Confirms BSX Is Right On Track
Building on the successful launch of their ‘Own Your Share of Bermuda’ Investor Education programme earlier this year, the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) has received a strong endorsement from the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).


AWS Direct Connect Service now Available in Equinix New York Data Centers
Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), the global interconnection and data center company, today announced the that it has established connectivity into Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect service in the New York region, enabling all Equinix customers in the New York metro the ability to access AWS Direct Connect at all available speeds via Equinix Cloud Exchange™ or Equinix-provided metro connectivity options. The addition of New York brings the total number of Equinix metros offering AWS Direct Connect service to seventeen, globally.

NSFW? Microsoft tries to make blockchains work-appropriate
Penny Crosman – American Banker
With bitcoin near all-time highs, it’s easy to forget how much time and money the financial industry has spent in recent years trying to appropriate the digital currency’s underlying technology.
Executives at banks and other companies have sought to borrow the basic idea of an immutable, distributed ledger where one version of a set of data is shared among several parties, with no need for middlemen. Banks see a way to save money and have fewer disputes, more transparency, faster agreement on and execution of contracts, and better traceability.


Trump and Kim’s War of Words Has Asia Bracing for Conflict
By Jason Scott and Ting Shi – Bloomberg
China’s Global Times: Defend North Korea if U.S. attacks; Japan prepares to deploy missile interceptors: Nikkei
The escalating war of words between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent Asian markets tumbling as the region braced for more provocations from his regime next week.

Trump’s immigration plans would wipe out 1.3 million jobs in a decade, according to his alma mater
Pedro Nicolaci da Costa – Business Insider
President Donald Trump just got a nasty review of his immigration plans from the alma mater he loves to tout.

Polluters Penalized Less Under Trump Than His Predecessors
By Jennifer A Dlouhy – Bloomberg
Report says civil penalties 60 percent below the average; Study compares civil enforcement action at this point in terms
The Trump administration has lodged fewer civil cases against polluters and is collecting smaller average penalties than those of the past three presidents, according to a report released Thursday.


SEC says bond liquidity fears overdone
Christopher Spink – Reuters
US regulators have downplayed the impact of stricter regulation in financial markets, suggesting fears of a subsequent lack of liquidity in credit trading is overblown.

Ex-Nomura Manager Admits to Insider Plot With Wife’s Account
By Erik Larson – Bloomberg; Plot involved trades in NeuStar ahead of Golden Gate purchase
A former risk manager at Nomura Holdings Inc.’s Americas division in Manhattan pleaded guilty to securities fraud, admitting he traded last year using inside information about a private equity fund’s planned takeover of a technology company.

MiFID II’s SI Regime: A New Liquidity Source in Europe’s Equity Market
Tim Cave – TABB Group
Europe has started the final countdown to MiFID II, a new trading rulebook which will overhaul the way all securities trade in the region. In equity markets, an area of intense focus has been the systematic internaliser regime – a regulatory designation for firms that offer capital commitment to clients. Largely under-utilized under the first MiFID in 2007, MiFID II is expected to breathe new life into the regime, with ramifications for every firm in the equity market eco-system, including exchanges, brokers, proprietary trading firms, exchanges and the buyside.

Exchanges and brokers put under pressure as Mifid II incentivises investment banks to get in the game
Lucy White – City AM
Stock exchanges will be forced to innovate and brokers will have to raise the bar when the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid II) comes into force next year, according to a new report from capital markets consultancy Tabb Group.

Who Is Winning With the Fiduciary Rule? Wall Street; Rule requires brokers to act in the best interests of savers and went into partial effect in June
By Lisa Beilfuss – WSJ
The brokerage business fiercely fought the new retirement advice rule. But so far for Wall Street, it has been a gift.

NEX develops reporting service for rewritten EMIR rule; Service applies to OTC derivatives reporting regulation due to come into effect in October.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
NEX Regulatory Reporting has launched a reporting service for the rewritten EMIR regulatory technical standards (RTS) due to come into effect in October.

Firms call on ESMA to review large-in-scale trading obligation; Proposals to force some derivatives trades on-venue could cause problems for large trades.
By John Bakie – The Trade
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has been urged to review its approach to large-in-scale derivatives transactions after it U-turned on whether they should be subject to the trading obligation.

Here’s How America Saves For Retirement. How Do You Save?
The way Americans build their retirement nest egg has changed over the past few decades. Gone are the days where a company pension served as the cornerstone of retirement assets for many Americans.

SIFMA Submits Comments and New Evidence of the DOL Fiduciary Rule’s Negative Impact on Retirement Savers
SIFMA submitted a comment letter and study to the Department of Labor (DOL) in response to the Department’s July 6, 2017 “Request for Information Regarding the Fiduciary Rule and Prohibited Transaction Exemptions.” SIFMA provides the DOL with new data on the rule’s potentially negative impact on retirement savers, reiterates the need to delay the January 1, 2018 applicability date and stresses the need for a workable standard to protect investors.

Investing and Trading

Noble Group rejected takeover offer from London-based fund
Arash Massoudi, David Sheppard and Neil Hume – Financial Times
Noble Group, the commodity trader that is fighting for survival, recently turned down a takeover approach from Centricus, a London-based fund that has close links to Japan’s SoftBank and wealthy investors in the Middle East.
The offer, which would have kept the Hong Kong-based commodity trader’s global operations largely intact, was confirmed by three people close to the deal, though the exact terms could not be determined.

Scoop: Benchmark Capital sues Travis Kalanick for fraud
Lazaro Gamio / Axios
The battle between Benchmark Capital and Travis Kalanick just went nuclear, with the venture capital firm suing the former Uber CEO for fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The complaint was filed earlier today in Delaware Chancery Court.

At Manhattan Rooftop Bash, Dreams of Bitcoin Riches; A record rise in digital currencies bitcoin and Ethereum has entrepreneurs and speculators jumping at new opportunities
By Paul Vigna – WSJ
Digital currency fans are partying like it’s 1999. Late last month, more than 300 people crowded onto a rooftop bar in Manhattan to celebrate Ethereum, the latest cryptocurrency to soar and capture speculators’ imaginations.

Metals Leave Commodity Rivals in Dust as China Flexes Muscle
By Mark Burton and Eddie Van Der Walt – Bloomberg
Top six raw materials on Bloomberg Commodity Index are metals; Aluminum has surged by 20 percent this year on supply cuts
Metals are the undisputed kings of commodities and among the world’s best performing major investments thanks to Chinese state power.

Europe’s Goldilocks Bond Market; The ECB may be able to withdraw its stimulus without roiling the market.
By Mark Gilbert and Marcus Ashworth – Bloomberg
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has pulled off something of a miracle in the euro zone economy. Five years after saying he’d do “whatever it takes” to save the euro, he appears to have engineered a Goldilocks economy, running not too hot and not too cold.

Here Comes the Stock Research Shake-Up; A new rule to reduce conflicts should be good for investors. And for the research providers? “All hell breaks loose.”
By Esha Dey , Felice Maranz , Stefania Spezzati , and Julie Edde – Bloomberg
Peter Sidoti opened his research shop in New York in 1999. Focused on covering small-cap companies, Sidoti & Co.’s business model was simple: Charge for trading, and bundle research into commissions. For about 17 years that approach worked, Sidoti says.


Hedge Funds Return An Average Of +1.21% In July 2017
The hedge fund industry has produced its ninth consecutive month of aggregate gains in July, and the difference between average gains and average losses was relatively narrow during the month. With much of the industry benefiting from surging equity markets, one would expect investors to be satisfied.

Scandal-hit Wells moves to replace chairman; Steven Sanger to step down after new allegations of bank malpractice
Alistair Gray in New York – FT
Wells Fargo is moving to replace chairman Steven Sanger in a boardroom shake-up as new allegations of malpractice hamper the US bank’s efforts to move on from the sham accounts scandal.

Embattled Wells Fargo Board Plans Shake-Up; Stephen Sanger is likely to step down as nonexecutive chairman, replaced by Vice Chair Elizabeth Duke
By Emily Glazer – WSJ
The board of Wells Fargo & Co., grappling with fresh problems even as it tries to move past the bank’s sales-practices scandal, is planning a shake-up that is likely to include Stephen Sanger stepping down as nonexecutive chairman, according to people familiar with the matter.


China ‘granny gang’ jailed in lending clampdown; Elderly female debt collectors intimidated borrowers into paying up
Emily Feng in Beijing – FT
A Chinese court has sentenced 14 members of a roving band of elderly female debt collectors to as many as 11 years in jail, in the latest sign of the country’s clampdown on informal channels of lending.

U.S. Short Sellers Missed Out on Biggest China Slump This Year
By Richard Frost – Bloomberg
The worst selloff in Chinese shares since November took U.S. traders by surprise, with short interest in one of the biggest exchange-traded funds tracking the country’s stocks near a two-year low.

The terrible cost of Scotland’s salmon farms; The veteran angler Jeremy Paxman bemoans the rise of salmon farms and the ‘bleak’ prospects for these wild fish
Jeremy Paxman – FT
Like, I’m sure, most FT Weekend readers, I spent last Sunday at Ikea, on the North Circular Road in Wembley. It is not an experience to be enjoyed by those who appreciate peace and solitude. But at least there is food to be had.

1MDB Makes Payment of $350 Million to Abu Dhabi’s IPIC; 1MDB payment is part of compensation to IPIC for emergency loan and other financial support
By Yantoultra Ngui – WSJ
Malaysia’s troubled state-investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, said Friday that it had paid the equivalent of $350 million to Abu Dhabi’s sovereign International Petroleum Investment Co. after missing a pair of deadlines.


How a plot to stop Brexit is being hatched on a Greek island
Analysis by Jane Merrick for CNN
London (CNN)The campaign to prevent Britain leaving the EU, such as one exists, is not being led by a charismatic politician from Britain, nor even by wistful Eurocrats in Brussels. Instead, the standard-bearer of the anti-Brexit charge — at least while the UK Parliament is on its long summer break and Prime Minister Theresa May is walking in the Alps — is a little-known former political apparatchik vacationing on a Mediterranean island at the other end of the European Union.

Conservatives will never win power again after Brexit ‘disaster’, former Tory government adviser says; ‘The Conservative brand has been damaged to such an extent that the party won’t ever get a majority again’
Rob Merrick – Independent
The “disaster” of Brexit will destroy the Conservative Party’s chances of ever again winning power, former party adviser James Chapman has warned.


More Law Schools Begin Accepting GRE Test Results
Elizabeth Olson – NY Times
Law schools, which have been plagued by a shortfall of students in recent years, are changing their admissions requirements.
Two top-ranked schools — Georgetown University Law Center and Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law — this week joined Harvard Law’s recent move to make it simpler to apply.

Reuters Launches Scholarship Programs At Columbia Graduate School Of Journalism And New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, In Partnership With The National Association Of Black Journalists
Reuters, the world’s largest international multimedia news provider, announced today the launch of two new scholarships in partnership with the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), for graduate journalism programs at Columbia University and New York University. Each scholarship, funded by Reuters and the universities and valued at more than $40,000 in tuition and credits, will be open to all NABJ members applying to Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and NYU’s Business and Economic Reporting graduate program. The scholarship program will begin with applications for the 2018-2019 school year.

Federal Scientists Say Climate Change Is No Hoax, Refuting Trump
By Christopher Flavelle – Bloomberg
2016 was hottest year on record, for third year in a row; More frequent disasters ‘putting a strain on local resources’
Less than a week after President Donald Trump notified the United Nations of his intent to exit from the Paris climate accord, his government’s chief science agency released a report demonstrating that global warming is real and getting worse.

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About Author

Bergstrom is chief information officer of John J. Lothian & Co. He edits MarketsWiki and JLN Options.