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Thursday, 6 February 2014

Feb 6, 2014: News Updates

U.S. bank leverage rules to include global revisions: Fed governor

ReutersReuters – 3 hours ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top U.S. bank regulator plans to tell lawmakers on Thursday that final leverage rules for U.S. banks will incorporate recent revisions to a global capital standard, which likely means tougher requirements for the institutions.

Factbox: Members of U.S. Congress who are leaving office

WASHINGTON Tue Feb 4, 2014 3:07pm ES

(Reuters) - Forty U.S. representatives and senators have announced plans to leave their seats in Congress in advance of mid-term elections in November, including 22 Republicans and 18 Democrats.

 Hedge Funds Rework Currency Positions in Market Drop

By John Detrixhe Feb 6, 2014 9:24 AM GMT+0100
Traders who anticipated a year when riskier bets would pay off are overhauling their foreign-exchange positions after an emerging-markets rout led to the worst start to the year for currency funds since 2004.

 Goldman Cash Brings Relief to Dong CEO as Deal Is Completed

By Christian Wienberg Feb 6, 2014 1:56 PM GMT+0100

After weeks of turmoil that ended in street protests and a government split, Dong Energy A/S Chief Executive Officer Henrik Poulsen says a cash infusion from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) will resurrect the Danish utility.
Denmark last week pushed through a $1.5 billion sale of an 18 percent stake to Goldman to prop up the state-controlled company after it hemorrhaged money on natural gas projects.

(cdn)Military defeated in war over procurement reform

Control over military procurement seized by Public Works' contract officials

AnalysisFeb 06, 2014 5:00 AM ET
The Canadian military was defeated Wednesday in the final battle of its years-long war with civilian bureaucrats over how best to reform and control military procurement.

The conflict has been taking place in the conference rooms and back halls of government offices in Ottawa for more than three years now. It was fought between generals and officials inside the Department of National Defence and the civilian bureaucrats at Public Works, the government's contracting ministry, and Industry Canada, the department responsible for economic and industrial development.

The feud concluded, finally, when Public Works Minister Diane Finley took to the small stage at an Ottawa hotel Wednesday and pronounced to the audience of defence industry insiders that from now on, when it comes to accountability for defence procurement, “The buck stops right here."!/content/1.2524296

Struggling US Postal Service looks to bitcoin for new revenue

Published time: February 06, 2014 00:18

Amid a rise in popularity of cryptocurrency, the financially floundering US Postal Service is considering the possibility of adding a bitcoin exchange to its current roster of non-bank financial services.

Zoning proposal to allow medical marijuana facilities

Ottawa city planners suggest licenced medical marijuana facilities in industrial zones

Feb 06, 2014 7:17 AM ET
Ottawa's planning committee will consider a new zoning proposal that would allow federally-licensed medicinal marijuana facilities to set up in the city's industrial areas.

City planners drafted the proposal after Health Canada changed the system through which patients obtain medicinal marijuana.

Rob Vanderkuip, owner of a laminating and braille signage company called Terra Reproductions, says he prefers commercial growers of medical marijuana.(Kate Porter/CBC)
Patients will no longer be able to get licences to grow plants in homes as of Apr. 1, 2014. Instead,  licenced commercial growers will produce and ship medicinal marijuana directly to patients.!/content/1.2524837/

 Dutch Bankers Swear to God as Trust in Lenders Slumps

By Maud van Gaal Feb 6, 2014 11:23 AM GMT+0100
“I swear that I will do my utmost to preserve and enhance confidence in the financial-services industry. So help me God.”

The oath, the first of its kind in Europe, became binding on board members of Dutch banks last month as the government sought to rein in an industry with assets more than four times the size of the country’s economy. All 90,000 Dutch bank employees must take the pledge, or a non-religious affirmation, starting the second half of this year.

Feb. 6, 2014, 11:48 a.m. EST

Boehner doesn't rule out 'clean' debt-limit bill

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday did not rule out voting on a no-strings-attached increase in the U.S. debt ceiling. Asked by reporters about a "clean" debt-limit bill, Boehner said discussions among Republicans are ongoing. He repeated that the U.S. won't default on its debt and added he trusts Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew's timeline on the debt limit. Republicans are still looking for "the pieces to the puzzle" on how to proceed, he said.

US successfully tests B-61 atomic bomb

The US has successfully tested an updated version of a B-61 atomic bomb in defiance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which calls for nuclear disarmament.

The National Nuclear Security Administration said in a statement that the test was conducted on Tuesday by the Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories, National Journal reported.

Why Fed volatility is emerging markets' 'poison'

The notion that markets will return to 'normal' this year is pure fiction, one analyst told CNBC on Thursday, noting weaker emerging markets are still vulnerable to volatility stemming from the Federal Reserve's monetary policy.

Gold bugs, be patient: Your time is coming

By Dhara Ranasinghe 14 hours ago

Gold bugs, be patient: Your time is coming

Demand for physical gold has soared. Okay, so that hasn't shown up significantly in the spot gold price yet but that's likely to come soon, some analysts say.

"Physical gold is disappearing off the market at a terrible rate. As soon as that really starts to hit I think gold goes through the roof," Jim Walker, founder and CEO of Asianomics told CNBC. "That's one of our biggest longs for the year."

 February 6, 2014 4:39 pm

Leaked Ukraine recording reveals US exasperation with EU

A leaked recording of a telephone conversation allegedly between US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and the US envoy to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who should be in Ukraine's next government has, according to The FT, threatened to fuel east-west tensions over the troubled nation's future. In apparent frustration with the EU – which has failed to join the US in threatening sanctions against Ukraine’s leaders if they violently crush the protests – the voice resembling Ms Nuland at one point exclaims "Fuck the EU". As the two US diplomats decide whether "Klitsch" or "Yats" should be 'in' or 'out', listeners will be reminded (uncomfortably) that the governments of Ukraine and Russia previously alleged that the protests are being funded and orchestrated by the US.

Ukraine Imposes Limits On Interbank Operations

 02/06/2014 13:35 -0500

Keep those dominoes steady... steady... and nobody exhale:


There is of course, good news:


Just like in Cyprus.

Luxembourg Takes Tough Line on EU Bank Secrecy

Premier Sets Condition for Agreeing Tax Evasion Deal

Feb. 6, 2014 12:40 p.m. ET

BERLIN—Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said on Thursday that his government would maintain its tough line on bank secrecy, pledging to block a European Union-wide deal to curtail tax evasion as long as Brussels didn't make progress on reaching a similar accord with five non-EU members.

"We won't pursue a blockade just for the sake of it," said Mr. Bettel at a news conference in Berlin following talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "We won't wait until everything has been wrapped up. but it is...

 Ex-SAC Fund Manager Martoma Found Guilty in Insider Case

By Bob Van Voris Feb 6, 2014 8:24 PM

Former SAC Capital Advisors LP fund manager Mathew Martoma was found guilty in the most lucrative insider trading scheme ever as federal prosecutors racked up a seventh conviction in their six-year probe of the hedge fund and its billionaire founder, Steven A. Cohen.

EU asks Britain to explain new 'allowances' in bankers' pay

Thu, Feb 06 10:58 AM GMT

LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has asked the Bank of England to explain how new allowances in British bankers' pay comply with an EU bonus cap, an official at the bloc's executive said, a new flashpoint of friction over the reach of financial control.

Under EU rules, from 2015 bonuses cannot be more than fixed salary, or double this amount with shareholder approval, and most of the bankers affected are based in London.

Banks including Barclays, HSBC and Goldman Sachs are expected to raise the non-bonus part of remuneration with, for example, monthly or quarterly "allowances".

In One Month, Everyone In Iceland Will Own Cryptocurrency

The cryptocurrency craze spun into a new realm of ridiculous with Kanyecoin, Dogecoin, Ron Paul Coin and the bounty of other clone-coins that sprung up to ride the Bitcoin wave. But the latest altcoin to enter the market, Auroracoin, wants to take the futurist trend back to its cryptoanarchist roots. The altcoin was designed specifically for Iceland, and the creator plans to give every citizen of the Nordic country a digital handful of Auroracoins to kickstart their use.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Stock Market In Japan Is COLLAPSING

Did you see what just happened in Japan?  The stock market of the 3rd largest economy on the planet is imploding. On Tuesday, the Nikkei fell by more than 610 points. If that sounds like a lot, that is because it is. The largest one day stock market decline in U.S. history is only 777 points. So far, the Dow is only down about 1000 points during this "correction", but the Nikkei is down more than 2,300 points. The Nikkei has dropped more than 14 percent since the peak of the market, and many analysts believe that this is only just the beginning.

 Goldman to Fidelity Call for Calm After Global Stock Wipeout

By Weiyi Lim and Inyoung Hwang Feb 4, 2014

Panic is making an enemy of telephones for Catherine Yeung, the director for equities at Fidelity Investment Management Ltd. in Hong Kong.

US ambassador to Russia stepping down

February 4, 2014 - 12:05 PM

MOSCOW (AP) — U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, the architect of President Barack Obama's effort to reset relations with Russian, announced on Tuesday that he is stepping down after two turbulent years in Moscow.

TOM DEMARK: The Next Two To Three Days Are 'Extremely Critical' For The Stock Market — It May Crash 40%

Feb. 5, 2014, 11:20 AM   
Noted market-timer Tom DeMark did not sound optimistic about the prospects for stocks in an interview with CNBC this morning.
DeMark compared today's market to that preceding the Black Friday crash in 1929.

Exclusive: Deutsche Bank fires Argentine trader in wake of FX probe: source

NEW YORK Wed Feb 5, 2014 4:54pm EST

(Reuters) - Deutsche Bank has fired a currency trader in Argentina amid investigations by global regulators into alleged manipulation of the foreign exchange market, according to a source familiar with the matter, bringing to four the number of traders the bank has dismissed.

Ezequiel Starobinsky, a vice president, at Deutsche office in Argentina, is no longer working at the bank, the source said on Wednesday, after investigations into the fixing rate of the Argentine peso against the U.S. dollar.

Turkish government approves restrictions on Internet

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's Parliament on Wednesday officially approved legislation that will tighten the government's control over the Internet.

With a show of hands, the legislators late Wednesday endorsed allowing Turkey's telecommunications authority to block websites for a privacy violation without a prior court decision.

 Lawsky Said to Open Currency Probe of Over Dozen Banks

By Greg Farrell Feb 5, 2014 5:53 PM GMT+0100
Benjamin Lawsky, New York’s top financial regulator, has asked more than a dozen banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Deutsche Bank AG (DB) for documents related to their currency trading practices, a person familiar with the matter said.

 Goldman Sachs Currency Traders Cho, Lim Said to Depart

By Michael J. Moore Feb 5, 2014 5:35 PM GMT+0100
Steven Cho and Leland Lim, Goldman Sachs (GS) Group Inc. partners in its currency-trading business, have left the firm, according to a person briefed on the matter.

Cho was global head of spot and forward trading of G-10 currencies in New York, while Lim was co-head of macro trading, which includes interest-rates and currencies, for Asia ex-Japan, said the person, who asked to remain anonymous because the departures weren’t public. Cho and Lim were both named partners in 2010.

Deutsche Bank Is Said To Fire 3 Currency Traders In New York - Presented by: The Aol. On Network

Deutsche Bank has fired three currency traders in New York as regulators worldwide ramp up their investigations into potential manipulation of the $5-trillion-a-day foreign exchange market. The three employees include the head of Deutsche Bank’s emerging markets foreign exchange trading desk in New York and two traders. Deutsche Bank, the largest trader of currencies, with about 15.2 percent of the market, placed several traders in New York on leave in January.

UK watchdog says forex probe to stretch into 2015

LONDON Tue Feb 4, 2014 12:23pm
(Reuters) - Britain's financial watchdog said it was unlikely to reach any conclusions this year in its probe into potential manipulation of foreign exchange markets.

Benchmark foreign exchange rates are used to set the value of trillions of dollars of investments and regulators are looking at whether traders at some of the world's biggest banks colluded to manipulate the rates.

 5 February 2014 Last updated at 03:34

YouTube starts auditing video views

The video-sharing website YouTube said it has started to "audit" the number of views a video has received.

The move is aimed at preventing users from artificially inflating view counts which, YouTube said, mislead people about the popularity of a video.

Lawmakers hear warnings of U.S. companies' lax data security

WASHINGTON Wed Feb 5, 2014 5:43pm EST

(Reuters) - The Illinois official who is leading a multi-state probe into recent high-profile data breaches told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday that companies whose systems have been hacked often have failed to take basic security precautions.

Iraq Stock Exchange goes electronic

The Iraq Stock Exchange is switching from writing on a big board to computers.

The ISX launched electronic trading on Sunday, raising hopes the faster method will attract foreign investment to this burgeoning but cash-strapped economy.

ECB Keeps All Rates Unchanged

 02/06/2014 07:47 -0500
For once, the vast majority of economists was correct, with 62 of 66 predicting accurately what the ECB would do today: nothing. At least so far - moments ago Mario Draghi's central bank just announced no cuts across all three major rates.

Frontrunning: February 6

02/06/2014 07:45 -0500

  • Draghi as ECB Master of Suspense Keeps Investors on Edge (BBG)
  • Abe lays out detailed plan for expanding defense powers (Nikkei)
  • Inflation Fuels Crises in Two Latin Nations (WSJ)
  • Obama walks into crossfire of Asian tensions (FT)
  • Harvard Makes Professor Disclose More After Blinkx Slides (BBG)
  • Hedge Funds Rework Currency Positions in Market Drop (BBG)
  • Canada, U.S. Strike Tax-Information Sharing Deal (WSJ)
  • Indonesia calls for greater clarity from Fed on tapering (FT)
  • Sony to cut 5,000 jobs, split off PC, TV operations (Reuters)
  • US shale under fire over thirst for water (FT)
  • Carney must avoid another unforced error (FT)
  • Australia’s Exports to China Still Firing (WSJ)
  • Carney Seeks to Maintain Low-Rate Outlook as U.K. Economy Gains (BBG)