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Sep 17, 2019

World News: U.S. wants to seize all money Edward Snowden makes from new book

3 minutes - Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked secret documents about U.S. telephone and internet surveillance in 2013, saying his new book violates non-disclosure agreements.
Edward Snowden speaks via video link as he takes part in a discussion about his book "Permanent Record" with German journalist Holger Stark in Berlin, Germany, September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
The Justice Department said Snowden published his memoir, “Permanent Record,” without submitting it to intelligence agencies for review, adding that speeches given by Snowden also violated nondisclosure agreements. In 2013, Snowden wrote “Everything You Know about the Constitution is Wrong.”
The United States is seeking all proceeds earned by Snowden for the book, the Justice Department said. The lawsuit also names the “corporate entities” behind the book’s publication as nominal defendants.
Ben Wizner, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents Snowden, said the lawsuit was without merit.
“This book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news organizations,” he said in a statement, adding that Snowden would have submitted it for review if he thought the government would review it in good faith.
Representatives for the book’s publisher, Macmillan Publishers, and its unit Henry Holt & Co, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Snowden has lived in Russia since he revealed details of U.S. intelligence agencies’ secret surveillance programs.
Though he is viewed by some as a hero, U.S. authorities want him to stand in a criminal trial over his disclosures of classified information.
Speaking by video link at an event in Berlin to promote the book, Snowden said that while he had signed a non-disclosure agreement to maintain secrecy, he had also sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
“You’ve told the government you’re not going to talk to journalists. You’ve told them you’re not going to write a book,” Snowden said. “At the same time you have an oath to defend the Constitution. And the secret that you are asked to protect is that the government is violating that Constitution and the rights of people around the world.”
Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington and Paul Carrell in Berlin; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Lisa Shumaker

EU - FX | Currencies: Dollar slips ahead of Fed rate decision

3 minutes - Source: CNBC

GP. Background of dollar bills. American Dollars Cash Money. One Hundred Dollar Banknotes. Hundred Bucks. Benjamin Franklin's portrait
Alena Vikhareva | iStock | Getty Images
The dollar fell on Tuesday in choppy range-bound trading on the eve of an expected U.S. interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve, with markets anxious about an overnight spike in dollar funding costs.
The overnight rate, or the cost for banks and Wall Street dealers to borrow dollars, surged to 10% on Tuesday, the highest since at least January 2003, according to Refinitiv data. Analysts attributed quarterly corporate tax payments and settlement of $78 billion in Treasuries supply for the spike on Monday in interest rates in the repurchase agreement (repo) market.
“This morning’s funding squeeze has put some upward pressure earlier in the dollar, but that is not likely to be a longer-term driver,” said Erik Nelson, currency strategist, at Wells Fargo Securities in New York.
He added that the reaction in the FX market after key events is not always cut and dry. “We also have the Fed tomorrow and market participants are marking time ahead of the decision. So it’s pretty much back and forth right now,” Nelson said.
Though investors expect a 25 basis points rate cut, some believe this may be the last rate cut for a while absent more evidence of a U.S. economic slowdown. Money markets are pricing in about an 80% probability of another rate cut by year end.
“If the Fed does cut 25 bps, then we think it will be the last time until we really do see signs of recession,” Brown Brothers Harriman strategists said in a note.
Against a basket of its rivals, the greenback edged 0.3% lower to 98.27.
Geopolitical tensions on Monday supported the dollar against some currencies after weekend attacks on a Saudi Arabian oil field. The yen, also a safe haven, also did well.
Though oil prices pulled back slightly from Monday’s four-month highs, they remained about 15% higher than Friday’s close on wariness that attacks on Saudi Arabian crude oil facilities could trigger a military response.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he did not want to go to war but also said Washington was still investigating if Iran was behind the strikes.
In other currencies, the euro was up 0.6% at $1.1065, catching a bid after an influential survey showed a brightening in German investor confidence

Bonds | Treasury Yields Report: US Treasury yields fall ahead of Fed decision, continued Saudi angst

Sam Meredith

U.S. government debt yields fell Tuesday as investors monitored geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and awaited the first of a two-day meeting between policymakers at the Federal Reserve.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note slipped to 1.803%, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also lower at around 2.27%.
The potential of a military response to attacks on two critical oil refineries in Saudi Arabia fueled a modest bid for Treasurys to start the week and lingered in fixed income markets on Tuesday. While Yemeni rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, top White House officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have both blamed Iran for the strike.
The attack wiped out 5.7 million barrels per day of daily crude production — or 50% of the kingdom’s oil output. It has raised the prospect of a major supply shock in a market that had been focused on demand concerns in recent months.
Those fears abated later Tuesday after Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that the kingdom’s oil supply would be fully back online by the end of the month.
Elsewhere, investors are likely to closely monitor the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting this week. The U.S. central bank is expected to cut the overnight lending rate by 25 basis points at the conclusion of its meeting on Wednesday.
Traders are beginning to see the market for what it truly is, “and that is primarily a place to hide,” wrote Kevin Giddis, head of fixed income capital markets at Raymond James. “It doesn’t really matter whether it’s a global slowdown, fear of a tariffs, or the potential for conflict in the Middle East, the response is the same: buy U.S. government debt out on the curve.”
The Fed’s decision will likely not be unanimous, however, as multiple FOMC member have signaled the need for patience amid stronger U.S. growth data and modest inflation.
The central bank also tries to foster maximum employment through tweaking interest rates; the unemployment rates was last seen at 3.7%, near historic lows.
“If you closed your eyes and thought about just the data you have seen in the last two weeks, forget all of the noise around you, would you actually lower interest rates right now?” Giddis wondered. “I feel like I am one of the few remaining bond bulls left on the planet, and even I could only get my arms around cutting rates in here for reasons of inflation, or the lack thereof.”

US 3-MOU.S. 3 Month Treasury1.9970.0050.00
US 1-YRU.S. 1 Year Treasury1.8710.0030.00
US 2-YRU.S. 2 Year Treasury1.735-0.030.00
US 5-YRU.S. 5 Year Treasury1.664-0.0380.00
US 10-YRU.S. 10 Year Treasury1.81-0.0330.00
US 30-YRU.S. 30 Year Treasury2.276-0.0350.00

U.S. Markets | Wall Street Closing Report: Stocks rise slightly ahead of the Fed's decision on interest rates

Fred Imbert

Stocks were little changed on Tuesday as the Federal Reserve kicked off a two-day monetary policy meeting.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded just above the flaline. The S&P 500 rose 0.1% while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.2%.
The meeting is scheduled to end Wednesday, when the central bank is expected to announce its latest decision on monetary policy. The Fed is largely expected to cut rates by 25 basis points. That would be the central bank’s second rate cut of 2019.
“The drama is centered on just how strongly the Fed will signal that it’s going to cut rates again by the end of 2019,” Tom Essaye, founder of The Sevens Report, said in a note. “It’ll be the ‘dots’ and statement that determine whether the Fed meets market expectations (and spurs a short-term rally) or if we see another ‘hawkish’ cut and uptick in volatility.”
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on July 10, 2019.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
Bank stocks fell broadly. The SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) dropped 1.3% as Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America all slid at least 0.5%. Regional banks also pulled back. The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) slipped 1.4%.
The dots refer to the Fed’s projection of the overnight rate, which is also set for release Wednesday.
Wall Street ended lower on Monday amid ongoing fears over a potential increase in oil prices, after drone strikes in Saudi Arabia. U.S. President Trump said he is not in a rush to respond to the attacks. Monday’s decline snapped an eight-day winning streak for the Dow.
U.S. crude futures skyrocketed more than 14% on Monday, their biggest one-day gain since December 2008, after the attacks. Energy stocks got a boost from the higher oil prices, with the sector gaining 3.41%. Crude plunged more than 5% on Tuesday after the Saudi energy minister said the country’s oil supply will be back online by the end of the month.
The major indexes were within striking distance of their record highs. The Dow and S&P 500 were about 1% below all-time highs set in July while the Nasdaq was 2.1% below its record mark.
“We’re right near that resistance level on the S&P 500,” said Sandy Villere, partner at Villere & Co. “We’re waiting for the markets to come back down a bit. Then we can buy some of the growthier names that have been beaten up over the last few days.”
Value stocks have outperformed their growth counterparts this month, rising nearly 7% through Monday’s close. Growth stocks, meanwhile, are down 1.2%. This is a reversal from an overarching trend seen over the past few years.
The iShares Edge MSCI Value Factor ETF (VLUE) is up about 30% over the past five years. The iShares Edge MSCI Momentum Factor ETF (MTUM) has surged over 80% in that time.
Stocks briefly jumped after President Donald Trump said a U.S.-China trade deal could come soon.
Trump told reporters that China was buying U.S. farm products in a “big league” way, noting a deal could come before the 2020 election or a day after. Both countries have been engaged in a trade war since last year. The two sides are expected to hold negotiations next month.
Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, said China’s economy is showing signs of “cracking,” noting this could lead to a “relaxation” of some tariffs by the Chinese.
—CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report. 

Press Release: The FTC Testifies before Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights

4-5 minutes

In testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, the Federal Trade Commission detailed recent victories in stopping anticompetitive mergers and conduct, as well as significant policy initiatives, advocacy work, and engagement with antitrust enforcement agencies abroad.
Testifying on behalf of the FTC, Chairman Joseph J. Simons noted that in FY 2018, the agency took action to protect consumers in 22 merger cases, across a wide variety of industries. The agency compiled an impressive record of success in both contested merger challenges and important conduct cases. The Commission secured preliminary injunctions in two federal court merger cases, and in two other merger matters, the parties abandoned their plans after the Commission voted to initiate litigation. The Commission successfully litigated in federal court a monopolization case involving sham litigation, and issued administrative decisions in two other major conduct cases involving online advertising and pharmaceuticals.
The FTC has long prioritized combatting reverse payments and other types of anticompetitive behavior in the pharmaceutical industry. In March, the Commission issued a unanimous decision holding that Impax Laboratories and Endo Pharmaceuticals had entered into a reverse payment arrangement that delayed entry of generic competition for Opana ER, an extended release opioid used for pain relief. In its first “product hopping” case, the agency alleged that Reckitt Benckiser engaged in a scheme to shift patients away from its branded opioid-addiction treatment, Suboxone, which was facing generic competition. The Commission alleged that the company used deceptive means to transfer patients to a more lucrative version of the drug that enjoyed patent protection, while providing no legitimate health benefits.
The Commission also sued to block Evonik Industries AG’s proposed acquisition of PeroxyChem Holding company. The Commission alleged that the merger of the chemical companies would substantially reduce competition in the Pacific Northwest and the Southern and Central United States for the production and sale of hydrogen peroxide, a commodity chemical used for oxidation, disinfection, and bleaching. The agency has asked the court to preliminarily enjoin the merger pending the outcome of an administrative trial.
The Commission also filed an administrative complaint to block the merger of title insurance providers Fidelity National Financial, Inc. and Stewart Information Services. The parties have since abandoned the transaction.
The FTC also is committed to maintaining competition in technology markets. It recently voted unanimously to sue Surescripts, a major player in two markets associated with electronically transmitted prescription information, in federal court. The Commission complaint alleges that Surescripts, the operator of several multi-sided platform markets, engaged in exclusive dealing and other forms of exclusionary behavior to suppress competition and preserve its monopoly. Also this year, the agency’s Bureau of Competition established a Technology Task Force to consolidate and coordinate agency work in this increasingly important sector of the U.S. economy.
The Commission voted 5-0 to approve the testimony and include it in the formal record.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about how competition benefits consumers or file an antitrust complaint. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

News & Notices: NFA bars Chicago, Ill. commodity trading advisor Systra LLC and its principal Robert H. Kopp from membership

News & Notices | NFA

For Immediate Release
September 17, 2019
For more information contact:
Kristen Scaletta, 312-781-7860,
Karen Wuertz, 312-781-1335,
NFA bars Chicago, Ill. commodity trading advisor Systra LLC and its principal Robert H. Kopp from membership
September 17, Chicago—NFA has permanently barred Systra LLC (Systra), an NFA Member commodity trading advisor located in Chicago, Ill., and its sole principal and associated person Robert H. Kopp from membership and from acting as a principal of an NFA Member.
The Decision, issued by NFA's Business Conduct Committee (BCC), is based on a Complaint issued by the BCC. The BCC found that Systra and Kopp provided false information to NFA concerning Kopp's trading activities on behalf of a pool managed by Systra. The BCC also found that Systra and Kopp failed to cooperate with NFA in its May 2019 examination of Systra by failing to produce documents requested by NFA and failing to make Kopp available for questioning by NFA.
For more information, read the Complaint and Decision.