Breaking News

Cboe approval shakes up stock market’s closing auction; Euronext Acquires InsiderLog; Goldman Is Worth Less Than Morgan Stanley for the First Time in a Decade

First Read

Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

OCC total cleared volume topped 30.3 million contracts on January 16, the first time since January 2016. Total cleared futures volume at OCC was the fourth highest ever, at 1.1 million contracts.-via Twitter~SD

Peter Lenardos, who served as a managing director at RBC Capital Markets for the past seven years, left the company last week. The well-known analyst, who covers exchanges and other publicly traded firms in the financial services area, will be pursuing other opportunities. His deputy, Elliott Broadbent, is believed to have left as well.~JK

Cboe did have record volume Tuesday in bitcoin futures. December 22, 2017 was the previous record at 13,873 contracts, and January 16, 2018 saw 13,918 contracts traded. You can find daily CFE futures volumes here.~JJL~JK

HKEX reported southbound turnover under #ShenzhenConnect hit a new record with turnover of HK$7.224 billion today. They also set new turnover records in futures and options, with a day session record of 1,757,682 contracts and whole day total turnover of futures and options at 1,817,842.~[JJL]]

Bloomberg is reporting that “Bitcoin Watchers Are Blaming the Slump on the Moon.”~JJL

Think Flu Season Is Bad? It Might Get Even Worse -Bloomberg. ~JB

RE: above flu story. I’m not usually one to assign narratives like this to markets, but the S&P 500 has gained 3.5 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, the main healthcare sector ETF (XLV) is up 5 percent year to date. *nose dripping* Coincidence? *weak cough*~SD

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Intercontinental Exchange and Blockstream Launch Consolidated Data Feed for Cryptocurrencies
ICE
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, and Blockstream, a leader in blockchain technologies and financial cryptography, announced today the launch of the Cryptocurrency Data Feed. ICE Data Services’ new feed offers real-time cryptocurrency information and will initially include data from more than 15 cryptocurrency exchange venues globally. The exclusive agreement between ICE Data Services and Blockstream offers extensive coverage of prices and order book data for bitcoin and several other leading cryptocurrencies.
/goo.gl/A2jUMz

***** A step in the right direction.~JJL

++++

OCC Continues to Advocate for U.S. Exchange-Listed Options Industry
OCC News – January 2018
Articles include: John Davidson, OCC Chief Operating Officer, recently spoke at SIFMA’s Annual Listed Options Symposium and shared his insight on how the exchange-listed options industry could be impacted by various regulations and risks in 2018. Other pieces include: Update from Capitol Hill, OCC’s AA+/Stable rating reaffirmed by Standard & Poor’s, OCC Supports Charitable Organizations Who Help Families and Communities at Risk and OIC Continues to Promote Responsible Use of Exchange-listed Options.
/goo.gl/dpzub1

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Chicago Code: A Profile of DRW’s Seth Thomson
Anthony Malakian – WatersTechnology
Chicago has become the epicenter of bitcoin mania. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Cboe Global Markets were the first exchanges to launch bitcoin futures at the end of 2017. And one of the largest traders of cryptocurrencies is Chicago’s own DRW. Since the firm launched in 1992, one of its key principles has been diversification. That’s where DRW’s chief information officer, Seth Thomson, comes into the picture.
/goo.gl/wAVtQa

**** Here’s just one nugget: For seven years Thomson hosted a cable access show about comic books and owns all the original X-Men back to 1963. Great timing on the story, too, what with the FT article from the start of the week – Filings reveal DRW’s climb into top rank of trading firms.~SD

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The World Federation of Exchanges publishes best practice guidelines for cyber security compliance
WFE
The World Federation of Exchanges (“The WFE”), which represents more than 200 market infrastructure providers including exchanges and CCPs, has today published a set of best practice guidelines for market infrastructures designed to engender a staff culture of cyber security compliance.
/goo.gl/Q5eJrV

***** The WFE continues to step up and be heard.~JJL

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Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top read story by a long shot yesterday was The Trade News’ Hudson River to acquire Sun Trading as HFT continues to contract. Second was Jim Kharouf’s piece You Can’t Rain On Our Parade: Cboe’s Big 2017 Includes Bitcoin Futures. Can It Overcome Regulatory, Margin and Volatility Headwinds?. Coming in third was the New York Times piece, A Wall Street Giant Makes a $75 Million Bet on Academic Philosophy

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Lead Stories

Cboe approval shakes up stock market’s closing auction; Rival hopes to lure lucrative end-of-day business away from NYSE and Nasdaq
Nicole Bullock in New York – FT
Regulators have given Cboe Global Markets approval to create an alternative to closing auctions for the US stock market, in a victory for the exchange that could shake up one of the most important moments in the trading day.
/goo.gl/YaF8fR

Euronext Acquires InsiderLog; Acquisition of 80% of an innovative insider list management solution to complement Euronext’s Corporate Services offering
Euronext
Today Euronext announces the acquisition of 80% of the capital of InsiderLog, a Stockholm-based leading player in the field of insider list management, for a cash consideration of EUR5.8 million, plus an earn-out payment depending on future financial performance.
/goo.gl/2q4mbg

Goldman Is Worth Less Than Morgan Stanley for the First Time in a Decade
Brandon Kochkodin and Dakin Campbell – Bloomberg
It was a nice run. For the first time in over a decade, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is worth less than its longtime rival, Morgan Stanley, at least in the eyes of equity investors.
/goo.gl/xy9zpA

LME hires gold trading architect for top strategy post; Appointment of World Gold Council executive fills strategy role that has been vacant since summer
Samuel Agini – Financial News
The London Metal Exchange has turned to one of the architects of its gold and silver trading project to take on a key strategy position that has been vacant since last summer.
/goo.gl/awKG9X

ICE launching bitcoin data service
By Mark Meltzer – Executive Editor, Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange Inc. is launching a service to bring bitcoin data to hedge funds and other professional trading firms, the latest sign that the once-fringe market for cryptocurrencies is being taken seriously by Wall Street, the Wall Street Journal reports.
/goo.gl/BKGBbw

Cboe gets nod to challenge NYSE, Nasdaq for closing stock orders
John McCrank – Reuters
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday approved a proposal from No. 2 U.S. stock exchange operator Cboe Global Markets Inc to compete for end-of-day orders for stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Inc.
/goo.gl/H4BvUz

South Korea considers shutting down domestic cryptocurrency exchanges
Dahee Kim, Cynthia Kim – Reuters
South Korean policymakers joined the global chorus of virtual-coin critics on Thursday, saying Seoul is considering shutting down domestic virtual currency exchanges as the new breed of market exposes users to speculative frenzy and crime.
/goo.gl/fJ3HBA

Short Seller Who Flagged Steinhoff Irregularities Steps Forward
Anders Melin and Greg Farrell – Bloomberg
Ex-social worker says he’s the founder of Viceroy Research; Big U.S. banks disclosed more than $1 billion of loan losses
The mysterious short seller who flagged financial irregularities dogging Steinhoff International Holdings NV has stepped out of the shadows.
/goo.gl/FtG9CX

Nasdaq Tops Inflation-Adjusted High from Dot-Com Boom
Ben Eisen – WSJ
The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at an inflation-adjusted record for the first time in nearly two decades, passing one of the few elusive milestones during this long bull market.
/goo.gl/FzTkym

The Social Good of Bubbles – Part I
Tiffanie Bederman – Bantix Technologies Blog
Dot Com Stocks. Tulips. Beanie Babies. Railway Mania. Cryptocurrencies. Canadian Cannabis Stocks. Credit. Stocks. Did the bubble just pop? Where are we going (and who’s driving this bus)? The word “bubble” gets thrown around a lot but not a lot of people have a good, working definition of what exactly a bubble is. A sound investment thesis requires a rational framework for valuing the asset in question, a timeframe for the reconciliation of the difference between price and value if any, and a sound understanding of the economic ecosystem that produces different types of price action.
/goo.gl/oLRxmx

****Handy cheat sheet tables of famous bubbles – who’s in question, causes, effects, etc. This one hasn’t gotten to the “social good of” part yet.

Did Bitcoin Just Burst? How It Compares to History’s Big Bubbles
Eric Lam, Mathieu Benhamou, and Adrian Leung, Bloomberg
Bitcoin Loses 50% Since December
Bitcoin’s recent wobbles have given fresh urgency to a question that’s gripped market observers for much of the past year: Will the cryptocurrency go down as one of history’s most infamous bubbles, alongside tulipmania and the dot-com craze?
/goo.gl/DjFb3E

***SR: More about bubbles…and bitcoin.

Bitcoin Volumes
Tod Skarecky – Clarus Financial Technology
We at Clarus track Bitcoin volumes and open interest on regulated exchanges in our SEFView and CCPView products. I thought it would be worthwhile to document some of these numbers, and how it compares to rest of the crypto-world.
/goo.gl/BeSctW

CFTC Chairman Giancarlo Names Maggie Sklar Senior Counsel
CFTC
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo announced today that Maggie Sklar will serve as his Senior Counsel.
/goo.gl/nbgJ43

What’s Bitcoin Worth? A New Plan to Bring Discipline to Crypto Prices; Intercontinental Exchange is jointly launching data feed pulling information from more than 15 cryptocurrency exchanges
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is launching a service to bring bitcoin data to hedge funds and other professional trading firms, the latest sign that the once-fringe market for cryptocurrencies is being taken seriously by Wall Street.
/goo.gl/5nWP7A

Liquidnet arms itself for Mifid II with latest hire; Equities trading expert at the Swiss exchange joins the block trading venue, which could be set to benefit from new EU rules
By Samuel Agini – Financial News
Liquidnet, which operates venues where asset managers can trade large blocks of shares anonymously, has hired an equities trading expert from the Swiss stock exchange as it beds into the new European trading regime.
/goo.gl/UsjtU9

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

NCDEX appoints Vijay Kumar Venkataraman as MD and CEO
By Sutanuka Ghosal, ET Bureau
Agri-commodity exchange, NCDEX, on Thursday announced the appointment of Mr Vijay Kumar Venkataraman as the new managing director and chief executive officer of the exchange, for a period of three years effective January 18, 2018.
/goo.gl/JUD9yo

CCP Disclosures Q3 2017 – What The Data Shows
Amir Khwaja – Clarus Financial Technology
Central Counterparties recently published their latest quarterly CPMI-IOSCO Quantitative Disclosures and in this article I will highlight what the data shows, similar to my article on 2Q 2017 trends.
/goo.gl/eRkTDo

Single Stock Futures: Introduction of three SSFs; Single Stock Dividend Futures: Introduction of two SSDFs
Eurex
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland and the Executive Board of Eurex Zürich AG took the following decisions with effect from 22 January 2018:
/goo.gl/SUAQLJ

MSCI index derivatives: Introduction of two index futures and fee waiver for three index futures
Eurex
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland and the Executive Board of Eurex Zürich AG took the decision to introduce additional index futures on two MSCI Indices, effective 12 February 2018:
/goo.gl/2MQHTb

FTSE Mondo Visione Exchanges Index Jumps From Record High To New Record High
Mondovisione
The FTSE Mondo Visione Exchanges Index hit a new record high closing at 50,968.16 against Tuesday’s 50,710.77.
/goo.gl/nXf49w

Fintech

Bitcoin Buzz Inspires Joke Cryptocurrencies—and Investors Are Diving In; ‘Seriously don’t buy these tokens,’ say the creators of a new cryptocurrency—but investors are taking no notice of the warning
Jon Sindreu – WSJ
Even when a cryptocurrency calls itself “useless,” the money floods in. Regulators have warned that investors who rush to buy freshly created digital tokens could end up holding worthless tokens. The creators of a cryptocurrency launched last July pretty much promise that.
/goo.gl/RaVqy3

Ignore the ‘blockchain gimmicks’ say the men behind the new blockchain ETFs
Ryan Vlastelica – MarketWatch
Some of the most remarkable moves in the U.S. stock market over the past few months have been in companies announcing an initiative related to blockchain, the decentralized-ledger technology best known as the foundation behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
/goo.gl/51hjLW

Ledger CEO Says Bitcoin Wallet Is ‘Impossible to Penetrate’
Bloomberg
Eric Larcheveque, chief executive officer at Ledger, discusses securing cryptocurrencies with the company’s hardware. He speaks with Matt Miller on “Bloomberg Markets: European Open.”
/goo.gl/8K5bmc

DTCC Fosters Industry Discussion on Risk Associated with Innovation
DTCC
Michael Bodson, DTCC President and CEO, has been engaging the industry on fintech, the complementary nature of innovation and stability, and the emergence of fintech as a risk to the financial services industry.
/goo.gl/znB5m7

Blockchain Eyed for Mortgage Bundling That Caused 2008 Crisis
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo, Western Asset among firms in trial; Distributed ledger technology used to simplify securitization
A group of big financial institutions wants to use the blockchain to help resurrect the packaging of home mortgages into securities, a business that almost destroyed the global banking system in 2008.
/goo.gl/JipXbJ

A theory about the recent crypto price plunge
Matthew C Klein – FT
Note: this is just a theory. One of those of things that pops into your head when you’re in the shower after a long run. It may be nuts — and we certainly can’t prove it — but it happens to be consistent with publicly-available information.
/goo.gl/KiMMgH

Politics

One Year in, Trump Has Broken All the Rules; Populist president has scrambled conventional wisdom on every level, with mixed policy results
Gerald F. Seib – WSJ
On the second day of the new year, President Donald Trump uncorked a remarkable string of 16 tweets directly from his personal account. In them, he criticized Pakistan, threatened to take American aid away from the Palestinians, claimed personal credit for a year without commercial aviation deaths, attacked the news media and proclaimed he has a bigger “Nuclear Button” than does the leader of North Korea.
/goo.gl/xBrESZ

Which Colleges Will Have to Pay Taxes on Their Endowment?
Richard Rubin and Andrea Fuller – WSJ
The Juilliard School, New York’s magnet for aspiring artists, is bracing for a 1.4% tax on income from its $1 billion endowment. Three miles away, Columbia University and its $10 billion endowment will remain untouched for now.
/goo.gl/N6qgTK

Trump’s ‘Fake News Awards’ Have a Sinister Subtext; Back off, Mr. President. New libel laws aren’t needed to stop real defamation.
Albert R. Hunt – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump is firing up a stunt on Wednesday to try to shame news organizations he doesn’t like:
/goo.gl/SmEh8z

Capitalism Is Cozying Up to Britain’s Most Powerful Socialists; Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party thinks it’s on the verge of power. Now, Big Business wants to talk.
Thomas Penny , David Hellier , and Svenja O’Donnell – Bloomberg
It says a lot about the turbulent state of British politics these days that one of the most sought-after invitations in business circles is tea with a man who owns a copy of Chairman Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book and lists “fomenting the overthrow of capitalism” as one of his main interests.
/goo.gl/93JBH3

Loneliness is contributing to our increasingly tribal politics
Simon Kuper – FT
Here’s an everyday event in Donald Trump’s America. Two people run into each other in their neighbourhood, or virtually on Facebook, and instantly start discussing the president. If they are liberals, one might say, “Did you see that tweet?!” and the other will tap his forehead meaningfully. If the two support Trump, they might share a grumble about lying media.
/goo.gl/17wCEB

Regulation

MiFID II Data – Bonds On Bloomberg
Chris Barnes – Clarus Financial Technology
We certainly expected some teething problems with ISINs for OTC Derivatives. We didn’t expect there to be SO many problems with them. Because ISINs are the only trade identifiers, OTC data under MIFID II is severely challenged. So let’s cast our eye over an asset class where ISINs make more sense – Bonds.
/goo.gl/mMnWhS

CFTC Commissioner Quintenz to Participate in a Panel Discussion at the ABA Business Law Section Derivatives and Futures Committee Meeting 2018
CFTC
/goo.gl/kBQQNh

Fed fines Taiwan’s Mega Bank $29 million for anti-money laundering failures
Reuters Staff
The U.S. Federal Reserve Board said on Wednesday it had fined Taiwan’s Mega International Commercial Bank Co. $29 million for anti-money laundering violations and required the company to improve its anti-money laundering oversight and controls.
/goo.gl/qDF4mU

ESMA consults on potential CFD and binary options measures to protect retail investors
ESMA
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a call for evidence on potential product intervention measures relating to the provision of contracts for differences (CFDs), including rolling spot forex, and binary options to retail investors.
/goo.gl/g1QMSK

Goldman leads fundraising for research platform after Mifid II; Visible Alpha aims to benefit from regulations facing investment research
Robin Wigglesworth in New York – FT
Goldman Sachs has led a $38m investment round for a research platform already backed by a club of big banks, highlighting how sweeping regulatory changes are forcing investment banks to find a new business model for the analysis they produce.
/goo.gl/et64vk

Investing and Trading

Bitcoin: Deja Vu?; Don’t expect sudden falls to deter this form of gambling.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
A dramatic, unexplained 1,000 percent boom. Then a 50 percent collapse in weeks.
Not Bitcoin in early 2018, but at the end of 2013 and start of 2014. We have been here before. Some things have changed since — not least the ability to profit from the declines — but the same lessons still need to be learned: the crypto-currency remains a very risky bet.
/goo.gl/oCTtxg

Why bitcoin’s ugly rout could get worse before it gets better
Mark DeCambre – MarketWatch
A brutal, sustained rout in the world’s No. 1 cryptocurrency could accelerate, taking bitcoin to around $8,000 before it attempts to stabilize, market technicians said.
/goo.gl/diXR6M

The bitcoin crash could be a blessing in disguise for the US financial system
Pedro Nicolaci da Costa – Business Insider
US financial regulators may have just caught a major break when it comes to overseeing the roughshod bitcoin market.
/goo.gl/f2Z1fa

Citi sees bitcoin potentially halving in value again
Reuters Staff
Bitcoin may lose 50 percent of its value from its current level as fears over regulatory clamp-downs have spurred a rout among cryptocurrencies this week, Citi analysts said on Wednesday.
/goo.gl/UYPWqF

‘This can’t be happening’: Suffering and schadenfreude in crypto community
Shawn Langlois – MarketWatch
It’s tough being a crypto investors these days.
So, what happened to the unflinching bravado that has long been the trademark of the staunchest cryptocurrency supporters? About $400 billion in losses, that’s what.
/goo.gl/ct8sna

How trading bitcoin could actually ruin your mental health; Distress during the ups and downs of trading bitcoin. Where have we seen this before?
Maria LaMagna – MarketWatch
“Bitcoin lowkey made me depressed today,” a Twitter user said Wednesday. “At least when the Beanie Baby bubble burst there was a mountain of soft cuddly stuffed animals that could soak up all your tears and muffle the sounds of you weeping,” tweeted a comedy writer, Mishu Hilmy.
/goo.gl/X41hqm

Cryptocurrencies: Market manipulation a rising fear
CBS News
When members of the Hunt family tried to corner the silver market in the 1970s, the ultra-wealthy Texas clan reportedly flew their holding of 35 million ounces of the precious metal to Switzerland in a chartered plane under the watchful eye of armed Texas ranch hands. By contrast, manipulating the fast-growing market for cryptocurrencies requires just the click of a mouse.
/goo.gl/FmigwQ

$1 Trillion Can’t Answer This Question; Active or passive? Norway has a lesson for all investors.
Mark Gilbert – Bloomberg
The good news for Norway’s citizens is that the nation’s sovereign wealth fund has made a ton of money from actively managing its $1 trillion on their behalf. The bad news for the rest of us is that we’d still probably be better off sticking with a low-cost passive exchange-traded fund.
/goo.gl/tXBxXN

Here’s What Could Make the Next Global Recession Even Worse; This year’s Davos is all about a shared future, but that could mean more extreme ups and downs for the world’s economy.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
Aside from snow, sharing is the most abundant commodity in the Swiss ski village of Davos every January. Coordination, collaboration, and joint commitment are the watchwords of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. This year’s theme, in line with Davos tradition, is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.”
/goo.gl/hJsYZb

Fear the Stock Market’s Exuberance, Not the Economy; A drop in equities isn’t likely to trigger a recession, and the next recession will be milder than the last two.
Tim Duy – Bloomberg
This rally in equities could be described as “frothy,” but that might not be a sufficiently strong adjective. These days often feel like the late 1990s, when it seemed any company that added “dot-com” to its name was instantly rewarded by investors, even if the label amounted to little more than putting lipstick on a pig. That phenomenon isn’t entirely unlike the bounce in Kodak’s stock price after the company announced the launch of its own cryptocurrency.
/goo.gl/8VeKzE

Institutions

Goldman’s Tax Wobble Is a Buying Opportunity; Goldman’s share buybacks will take a hit from tax reform, but the long-run benefits will be substantial
Aaron Back – WSJ
Goldman Sachs GS -1.86% likes to be a little different. Its shareholders found that extended to the short-term impact of the tax bill.
/goo.gl/gJkuJg

Wells Fargo’s chief risk officer to retire
Reuters Staff
Wells Fargo & Co said on Wednesday Chief Risk Officer Mike Loughlin will retire, and a successor will be appointed in the next few months.
/goo.gl/czwW2h

Evercore shuts London trading desk weeks after start of Mifid II; EU’s sweeping new trading rulebook is expected to put pressure on smaller execution providers
Paul Clarke and Samuel Agini – Financial News
Independent investment bank Evercore Partners has closed its European equities execution desk just two weeks after the implementation of sweeping new trading rules that are widely expected to put pressure on smaller firms.
/goo.gl/SXhkqr

Deutsche hires ex-senior Credit Suisse trader in equities revamp; German bank’s CEO has pledged to invest to turnaround equities performance
Paul Clarke – Financial News
Deutsche Bank is continuing its efforts to turn around the fortunes of its struggling equities business, and has just hired the former head of equity derivatives from Credit Suisse in New York.
/goo.gl/K1DesB

Citigroup’s Promise to Close Its Pay Gap Will Only Go So Far
Jordyn Holman and Max Abelson – Bloomberg
Recruitment and promotion are seen by some as more urgent; Current executive said the bank needs more black employees
This week, Citigroup Inc. became the first big U.S. bank to publish its gender and racial pay gaps and commit to closing them, and many applauded the firm’s pledge as a leap forward. Some current and former bankers are less optimistic.
/goo.gl/r4SpMi

Morgan Stanley profit rise despite trading woes
Ben McLannahan – FT
Morgan Stanley has brought down the curtain on a generally positive earnings season for the big US banks, posting a 13 per cent rise in net income, excluding tax effects, despite a big slump in revenue from trading during the fourth quarter.
/goo.gl/BBPHNd

Goldman rebuilds after trading arm suffers a beating; Bank asks for time to find corporate clients to replace hedge funds in core business
Ben McLannahan in New York – FT
It was fitting that Goldman Sachs should have announced a push into home improvement loans, a day before presenting its fourth-quarter profits. There was a lot of rubble and dust in Wednesday’s numbers, caused mainly by tax reform. But the bank remains a fixer-upper.
/goo.gl/FieqPN

HSBC used derivatives to cut exposure to Carillion; Investors left with losses from ‘synthetic securitisation’ sold by the bank
Robert Smith and Miles Johnson in London -FT
HSBC used credit derivatives to reduce its lending exposure to Carillion as early as 2015, with the investors who bought them now facing losses after the UK construction company entered into liquidation this week.
/goo.gl/M3UNfr

Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and others invest $38 million in research tech startup
Anna Irrera – Reuters
Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has led a $38 million investment round by large banks in Visible Alpha, a young New York-based company that helps investment managers better value the equity research services they receive from brokers.
/goo.gl/myLb3Z

Regions

Old hands in South Korea Bitcoin market unfazed by threats of ban
Dahee Kim, Marius Zaharia – Reuters
Threats of a potential cryptocurrency trading ban in South Korea have scared many investors away, but some veterans of the young market are defiant, saying restrictions would be relatively easy to circumvent.
/goo.gl/3bCmkA

Hong Kong fund managers seek more protection for minority investors under dual-class listings regime; HKIFA takes ‘positive approach’ in discussions with regulators over safeguards
Enoch Yiu -South China Morning Post
Some of the world’s largest investment fund managers urged the Hong Kong stock exchange operator, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX), to introduce more safeguards for protecting minority investors’ interests when the bourse allows multiple class shareholding technology companies to list from June, in a seminar on Thursday.
/goo.gl/84iw4o

One in every 10 bitcoin transactions in the world happens in India
Nupur Anand – Quartz
In India, bitcoin is the people’s forbidden fantasy. About 10% of the world’s bitcoin transactions take place in India, Constantin Papadimitriou, president of Pundi X, told Quartz. The Indonesian company, which focuses on offline cryptocurrency sales, surveyed 3,000 respondents across India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the US to understand the rise of alternative currencies among mainstream consumers.
/goo.gl/6v2YUP

OPEC Frets About New Flood of U.S. Oil
Angelina Rascouet – Bloomberg
Group boosts 2018 non-OPEC production-growth forecast by 16%; OPEC, allies to meet in Oman this weekend to discuss strategy
OPEC increased its forecast for rival oil-supply growth for a second month running after a recovery in prices sent Brent crude to $70 a barrel.
/goo.gl/ymK2xd

Russia Taking Wheat Crown Recalls Communist-Era Dominance; Black Sea becomes new focus of wheat market as U.S. share of exports declines
Alan Bjerga and Cynthia Hoffman – Bloomberg
Russia’s emergence as the world’s leading exporter of wheat, a shift that’s reorienting global trade in the grain around the Black Sea region, recalls the Soviet Union’s previous dominance of production — albeit under markedly different conditions.
/goo.gl/4HNu2t

Goldman Sachs Once Looked Invincible. Now It’s Losing Money.
Emily Flitter – NY Times
Goldman Sachs used to seem invincible. In the fourth quarter, it lost money. The Wall Street firm on Wednesday reported its first quarterly loss since 2011. It was the result of a one-time $4.4 billion charge stemming from the new tax law. But even ignoring that unusual event, Goldman’s weak core results showed how far the firm has fallen.
/goo.gl/9aYkkZ

Brexit

With eye on Brexit talks, May offers France money for border security
Elizabeth Piper, Michel Rose – Reuters
British Prime Minister Theresa May will offer France on Thursday 44.5 million pounds ($62 million) to bolster security at French border controls, part of measures to deepen cooperation that she hopes will foster goodwill in Brexit talks.
/goo.gl/W1suhz

Britain’s $55 Billion Brexit Bill Looks Like a ‘Bargain’ Deal
Fergal O’Brien – Bloomberg
Bloomberg Economics: even a basic trade deal is worth it; Brexit bill would pay for itself in less than three years
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has provisionally agreed to pay about 40 billion pounds ($55 billion) as part of the country’s exit from the European Union.
/goo.gl/Aehcyq

Investors Are Ignoring Big Risk Signals in Eastern Europe
Marton Eder and Adrian Krajewski – Bloomberg
Traders look past politics in Poland, Czech Republic, Romania; ECB stimulus, growth have helped countries outperform peers
Political risk is alive and kicking in eastern Europe, but investors couldn’t care less.
/goo.gl/qqMxmv

Miscellaneous

How to Maintain Friendships
Anna Goldfarb – NY Times
Age and time have a funny relationship: Sure, they both move in the same direction, but the older we get, the more inverse that relationship can feel. And as work and family commitments take up a drastically outsize portion of that time, it’s the treasured friendships in our life that often fade.
/goo.gl/KG5c7a

Looking for leadership guidance in classic philosophy; With critical distance, you gain perspective on who you are and what kind of leader you can become, writes Nathan Harter
London School of Economics and Political Science
Some people contend that authentic leadership is more ethical and compelling. Authenticity depends on aligning what you do and say on the outside with who you are on the inside. They recommend looking inward to find your true self and core beliefs. Experts offer to help leaders bring to the surface what they find deep down.
/goo.gl/ekTuAN

Bloomberg Plans to Discontinue Financial Commentary Brand Gadfly; The move is part of the company’s effort to consolidate its news service’s opinion offerings
Dan Strumpf – WSJ
Bloomberg LP is planning to retire a financial commentary brand called Bloomberg Gadfly to consolidate its news service’s opinion offerings, people familiar with the matter said Thursday.
/goo.gl/H3Z92S

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About Author

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