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Mar 26, 2019

FX | Currencies | Dollar gains as US yields stabilize, weak data have little impact

Kelly Olsen

Reusable cable dollar pound sterling
The U.S. dollar inched higher against a basket of currencies on Tuesday as benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury debt yields rebounded from 15-month lows due to stock gains on Wall Street as investors brushed aside disappointing domestic data on housing starts and consumer confidence.
The U.S. yield curve remained inverted after interest rates on three-month Treasury bills moved above the yields on 10-year notes for the first time since mid-2007 last Friday.
This market phenomenon, which has preceded every U.S. recession over the past 50 years, triggered a dramatic selloff in stock markets across the globe late last week and a stampede into longer-dated U.S. government debt, putting some pressure on the greenback.
Still, the selling in dollars has been modest as the U.S. economic expansion is still on track to reach a record-long run this year despite evidence of flagging since late 2018, analysts said.
“There is a reluctance to buy dollars, while the bar for selling dollars has been relatively high because people have been burned before,” said Steven Englander, global head of G10 FX research at Standard Chartered Bank in New York.
An index that tracks the greenback against a basket of major currencies was 0.22 percent higher at 96.78. It touched 96.745 earlier on Tuesday, near a 1-1/2-week peak.
Ten-year Treasury note yields were 2.414 percent in late U.S. trading, holding above a 15-month low of 2.3770 percent set on Monday. The premium on three-month T-bill rates was a little more than 4 basis points, about half a basis point more than Monday, Refinitiv data showed.
The dollar held steady despite a government report that showed U.S. developers broke ground for single-family homes at the slowest pace in over 1-1/2 years in February. The Conference Board said its gauge of American consumers’ mood dipped to 124.1 in March, falling short of a 132.0 forecast.
The euro slipped on Tuesday, reversing some of Monday’s gains tied to a stronger-than-forecast German business confidence survey.
The euro was down 0.34 percent at $1.1272.
With the dollar mixed across the board, risk appetite recovered, helping to lift the Australian dollar, the Swedish crown and the Norwegian crown.
On the other hand, reduced safe-haven bids caused the yen to fall 0.52 percent to 110.52 per dollar after touching a six-week peak on Monday.
Meanwhile, sterling gained 0.03 percent at $1.3206 after two eurosceptic lawmakers indicated they could agree to support British Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal to leave the European Union rather than risk the British parliament cancelling Brexit altogether.
British lawmakers will vote Wednesday on a range of options, giving parliament a chance to indicate whether it could agree on a deal with closer ties to Brussels and then try to push the government in that direction.

Source: CNBC

Bond Yields Report on March 26, 2019 | US Treasury yields tick higher as investors await economic data, auctions

Sam Meredith

U.S. Markets Overview: Treasurys chart

US 3-MOU.S. 3 Month Treasury2.468-0.0020.00
US 1-YRU.S. 1 Year Treasury2.4310.0030.00
US 2-YRU.S. 2 Year Treasury2.2660.010.00
US 5-YRU.S. 5 Year Treasury2.200.000.00
US 10-YRU.S. 10 Year Treasury2.4190.0010.00
US 30-YRU.S. 30 Year Treasury2.8720.0050.00
At around 11:01 a.m. ET, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to price, was higher at around 2.434 percent, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also higher at 2.878 percent.
Tuesday’s uptick in yields comes a day after the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to its lowest level since December 2017 as fixed-income investors continued to worry about global growth and a potential deceleration in the U.S. economy.
Those fears continue to keep parts of the Treasury yield curve inverted, with the yield on the 3-month bill above that of the 10-year note.The short-term rate first exceed that of several longer-term securities last week in a phenomenon known as inversion and viewed by many as a recession predictor.
Housing starts fell 8.7 percent in February, falling well short of market expectations. Building permits declined, but at a slower rate than forecast by economists. Consumer confidence declined in March to 124.1 from 131.4 in February, according to data from The Conference Board.

Source: CNBC

Wall Street Closing Report | S&P 500 rises for first time in 3 sessions, but worries over economy dampen Street sentiment

Fred Imbert

Stocks rose on Tuesday but sentiment on Wall Street was dampened by lingering fears that the economy is slowing down.
At 2:19 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 63 points higher, well off its session high. The 30-stock index rose as much as 279.46 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 was up 0.4 percent after trading 1.1 percent higher. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3 percent.
The major average pared their gains along with the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield. The benchmark rate sat at 2.409 percent in afternoon trading, about 5 basis points below its session high. That move comes a day after reaching its lowest level since December 2017. The 10-year’s decline caused a so-called yield-curve inversion as the 3-month Treasury bill yield moved above the benchmark rate. Investors see a yield-curve inversion as a signal that a recession may be on the horizon, so a rise in long-term rates is being viewed as a positive right now.
The yield curve inverted amid the release of weak economic data from the U.S. and around the world as well as a downgraded U.S. economic outlook from the Federal Reserve.
“There’s lots of angst about global economic growth. That’s understandable because it has been slowing significantly since early 2018,” Ed Yardeni, president and chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research, wrote in a note. “Furthermore, we can all observe that ultra-easy monetary and debt-financed fiscal policies aren’t as stimulative as policymakers have been hoping.”
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as the Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell holds a news conference on December 19, 2018 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
Housing starts fell 8.7 percent in February, widely missing expectations. Building permits declined, but at a slower rate than forecast by economists. Consumer confidence declined in March to 124.1 from 131.4 in February, according to data from The Conference Board.
The Dow closed Monday with a small gain. News that special counsel Robert Mueller did not find evidence that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential race bolstered the markets by removing some uncertainty. Investors were also hopeful that with the Mueller investigation out of the way, Trump will turn his attention to cementing trade deals.
However, concerns regarding the global economy capped market gains in the broader market.
“Expectations are for a pretty weak first quarter overseas to go along with a fairly weak U.S.,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research. “The real question is whether it’s just a weak first quarter and then it recovers. Our expectation right now is that it is more of a soft landing.”
“I think we’re just going through a pretty healthy digestion of gains,” Stovall said. “Q1 softness will probably be followed by a recovery in Q2, both on an economic perspective as well as an earnings outlook. I would tell investors you are probably better off buying than you are bailing.”
Equities rallied to start off 2019, with the S&P 500 rising more than 11 percent year to date.
Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond skyrocketed more than 22 percent after The Wall Street Journal reported three activist investors are trying to replace the company’s entire board of directors.
Nvidia shares rose 0.9 percent after Piper Jaffray initiated coverage of the chipmaker with an overweight rating, noting its attractive valuation.
—CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.

Source: CNBC

Press Release | FDIC Names Nick Podsiadly as General Counsel - Announces Two Additional Senior Personnel Changes

6-7 minutes


March 26, 2019
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Jelena McWilliams today announced the appointment of Nick Podsiadly as General Counsel. In addition, FDIC veteran Harrel Pettway has been promoted to Senior Deputy General Counsel, and Leonard Chanin, has joined the FDIC as Deputy to the Chairman.
"I have had the privilege of working with Nick, Harrel and Leonard, and I know firsthand the tremendous wealth of knowledge that they bring to the table. The FDIC is fortunate to have them," said FDIC Chairman McWilliams.
Mr. Podsiadly will start on April 8 and replace Charles Yi, who announced in early March that he planned to step down as General Counsel at the end of the month. Mr. Podsiadly is currently serving as the Deputy General Counsel and Senior Vice President for Fifth Third Bancorp, Cincinnati, OH, where he oversees regulatory legal matters, supervisory examinations, regulatory interactions, and government affairs. Prior to joining Fifth Third in July 2017, he was Senior Vice President for Regulatory Policy at Regions Financial Corporation, Birmingham, AL, and served as Vice President and Senior Counsel, Office of Legislative Affairs and Chief Counsel at the American Bankers Association in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Podsiadly began his career working for two Senate committees. He served as Investigative Counsel for then-Chairman Charles E. Grassley on the Senate Committee on Finance and as counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee to then-Ranking Member Sen. Charles E. Grassley. In these roles, he served in various capacities including as lead counsel overseeing the Committee's national security, criminal justice, constitutional law, drug policy, and homeland security portfolios.
He received a Juris Doctor from Drake University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Iowa State University.
Mr. Pettway was Deputy General Counsel in the FDIC's Legal Division prior being named as Senior Deputy General Counsel. He joined the FDIC in July 2015 as an Assistant General Counsel for Labor, Employment and Administration. A year later, Mr. Pettway was promoted to Deputy General Counsel for Corporate Operations, where he was responsible for advising the FDIC Chairman and Board members on corporate authorities; labor and employment law; contracts and procurement; the Freedom of Information Act; privacy; information security; ethics; dispute resolution; and litigation.
Prior to joining the FDIC, Mr. Pettway was Deputy General Counsel at the Defense Logistics Agency in Fort Belvoir, VA. He was also Chief Legal Officer at the Defense Technical Information Center, Fort Belvoir, VA.
Mr. Pettway received a Juris Doctor from George Mason University School of Law; a Post-Graduate certificate from Harvard University; a Master of Business Administration from Troy University; a Master of Science in Joint Strategic Leadership from The Air War College; and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Economics from the State University of New York. He also is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Chanin joined the FDIC on March 18 as Deputy to the Chairman. In that capacity, he will advise the Chairman on consumer protection issues, including further expanding access to banking services for unbanked and underbanked consumers, strengthening consumer research functions at the FDIC, and building upon the activities of the FDIC Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion (ComE-IN). He will also provide advice on FDIC Tech Lab's (FDiTech) efforts to promote the adoption of innovative and transformative technologies in the financial services sector.
Prior to coming to the FDIC, Mr. Chanin was Deputy General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Fifth Third Bancorp. He joined the bank in 2017 where he advised the bank on federal consumer protection laws. Prior to Fifth Third Bank, Mr. Chanin advised financial institutions and other businesses on consumer protection laws as a partner at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP in Washington, D.C.
His federal service includes his role as Assistant Director of the Office of Regulation at CFPB, where he was responsible for implementing federal consumer financial services laws, and two decades in the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs at the Federal Reserve Board, most recently as the division's Deputy Director. During his tenure at the Fed, Mr. Chanin provided legal opinions and policy recommendations to the Board of Governors, drafted and reviewed rules implementing federal consumer financial services laws, and worked with other federal banking agencies.
Mr. Chanin holds a Juris Doctor from Washington University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in political science, cum laude, from American University.
# # #
Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's banks and savings associations, 5,406 as December 31, 2018. It promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars—insured financial institutions fund its operations.
FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at, by subscription electronically (go to and may also be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200). PR-23-2019.

Source: FDIC

National Emergency | House fails on vote to overturn Trump's border emergency veto


Nancy Pelosi
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top deputies have been billing the disapproval measure as a constitutional duty, and Democrats plan to hammer House Republicans who don’t vote to block the veto. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Updated 2:15 p.m.
The House failed to override President Donald Trump’s veto of legislation blocking his national emergency declaration at the border, capping off a months-long congressional battle over the president’s signature issue.
Story Continued Below
Fourteen Republicans joined all Democrats on the 248-181 vote, far short of the two-thirds majority needed to overturn the first veto of Trump's presidency.
The fight over Trump's unilateral move to build his wall now falls to the courts, where its fate is uncertain.
The House on Tuesday will try — and fail — to overturn President Donald Trump’s veto of a congressional resolution killing his national wall emergency, capping off a months-long congressional battle over the president’s signature campaign issue.
But even as some members of the GOP face a backlash for defying Trump, few if any House Republican defectors who supported the disapproval resolution are expected to flip their votes and side with the president in the override vote, according to lawmakers and aides.
After the effort to block Trump’s veto fails, the fight over his attempt to use executive action to build a border wall will shift to the courts, where its fate is far less certain.
Still, Tuesday’s override vote will hand the president yet another victory this week following the conclusion of special counsel Bob Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, adding a cherry on top of what is undoubtedly the GOP’s best stretch since losing their House majority last fall.
“It will fail,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) confidently told reporters of the vote. “I feel very strongly that they will be far short of the number to override the veto. The Democrats… have tried to block [Trump] at every turn.”
Trump vetoed the disapproval resolution last month, after it passed both chambers with bipartisan support in an embarrassing and unprecedented rebuke of the president.
In the House, 13 Republicans joined all Democrats in rejecting Trump’s national emergency declaration, which he issued after Congress refused to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. House Democrats need a two-thirds majority to stop the president’s veto, meaning they will likely be over 40 votes shy of succeeding.
The GOP defectors were mostly centrists like Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania or Will Hurd of Texas, or constitutionalists like Michigan Rep. Justin Amash and Kentucky’s Thomas Massie. But all of them were deeply concerned that Trump’s use of executive action could set a dangerous precedent for future Democratic presidents, who they worry could use a national emergency to enact priorities from climate change to gun control.
Other Republicans who backed the resolution include Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the ranking member on the Energy and Commerce Committee; Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, a former member of GOP leadership; and Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, a former committee chairman.
Democrats plan to hammer House Republicans who don’t vote to block the veto and make it as politically painful as possible for the GOP, which had pleaded with Trump not to declare a national emergency. But many of them also acknowledged it was the only way to get the strong-willed president to avoid another government shutdown.
Story Continued Below
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top deputies have been billing the disapproval measure as a constitutional duty, rather than as a partisan ploy by newly emboldened Democrats who seem eager to humiliate Trump. And Democrats have also suggested that they may bring up the resolution for a vote every six months, which is allowed under the National Emergencies Act and would repeatedly pose an uncomfortable loyalty test for the GOP.
“The House and Senate resoundingly rejected the President’s lawless power grab, yet the President has chosen to continue to defy the Constitution, the Congress and the will of the American people," Pelosi said in a statement announcing the vote. “House Republicans will have to choose between their partisan hypocrisy and their sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution.”
To bolster their case, Democrats will also point to the big bipartisan vote in the Senate, where 12 Republicans bucked Trump to back the resolution.
But some of the most vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection in 2020, including Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Cory Gardner of Colorado, voted against the measure, underscoring the fear in the GOP of standing up to Trump.
In fact, Tillis — who may be facing a primary challenge next year — initially announced he opposed Trump’s emergency declaration, but ultimately didn’t support the resolution of disapproval amid intense pressure from conservatives.
Many Republicans are worried about facing primary challenges and other forms of punishment for bucking Trump, especially when it comes to one of his top priorities.
Already, some GOP defectors have faced repercussions for their vote on the resolution. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), for example, was recently disinvited from a local GOP event for his support of the measure, according to McClatchy. A member of the Christian County Republican Central Committee reportedly ripped into Blunt in an email, saying the senior senator was no longer welcome at a Lincoln/Trump Day Dinner being held on April 6.
"I am so disappointed in you now that I can hardly speak," wrote Wanda Martens, the committee's event chair.

Source: Politico

Metals | Spot Prices as of the Close of Trading in New York

Spot Prices as of the  close of trading in New York
Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Oil Price Report | US oil rises 1.7%, briefly breaks above $60 as supply cuts outweigh economic worry

Tom DiChristopher

RT: Oil Iraq OPEC flames 161014
Flames emerge from a pipeline at the oil fields in Basra, southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, October 14, 2016.
Essam Al-Sudani | Reuters
Oil rose sharply on Tuesday as OPEC supply cuts and expectations of lower U.S. inventories outweighed concern about weaker demand due to an economic slowdown.
The price of global benchmark Brent crude has risen about 25 percent in 2019, supported by supply curbs by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus allies, and involuntary losses due to U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
Brent was up 48 cents at $67.69 a barrel, not far from its 2019 high of $68.69 reached on March 21. U.S. crude added $1, or 1.7 percent to trade at $59.82. WTI traded above $60 earlier in the day.
“It appears that concerns about demand have taken something of a back seat,” Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said. “Instead, market participants are focusing on the tight supply situation again.”
Expectations of a further drop in U.S. inventories also supported prices, suggesting the OPEC-led curbs were helping to avert a buildup of excess supplies.
The first of this week’s supply reports, from the American Petroleum Institute, is due at 2030 GMT. U.S. crude inventories are forecast to have fallen by 2.4 million barrels in what would be a third straight weekly decline.
Further price support came from another power cut in Venezuela, the second to hit the OPEC nation this month, raising concern about the country’s oil exports.
Worries about demand have limited oil’s rally as manufacturing data from Asia, Europe and the United States pointed to an economic slowdown, although bullish bets by some investors are rising.
“So far, demand concerns have not proven too much of a headwind,” analysts at JBC Energy wrote.
Investor concern over the global economy had intensified on Friday after disappointing German and U.S. factory data led to an inversion of the U.S. Treasury yield curve, which some see as a leading indicator of recession.
“Recession risks have risen to the highest since 2008,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

Source: CNBC

Gold Price Report | Gold dips as dollar rebounds, risk appetite improves

Jeff Daniels

RT: Gold Bullions 170616
Gold on Tuesday retreated from the more than 3-week highs touched in the previous session after the dollar rebounded and risk appetite and bond yields recovered, easing nerves over recession worries.
Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,315.30 per ounce, after hitting its highest since Feb. 28 at $1,324.33 on Monday.
U.S. gold futures were down 0.6 percent at $1,315 an ounce.
“The trend of the U.S. dollar has reversed a little bit and at the same time there was a bounce back from the lows across yield curves,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities in Toronto.
Benchmark bond yields ticked higher on Tuesday after a few days dominated by recession worries, which prompted investors to seek safe-haven assets such as gold. An inverted yield curve is widely seen as indicating an economic recession.
“The firm U.S. dollar remains a big impediment (for gold),” Melek added. “Even with a very dovish U.S. Federal Reserve, the market is still looking at other asset classes such as equities. Until that turns a little sour, we should probably not see huge inflows into gold.”
The dollar index was up 0.2 percent. A higher greenback makes gold expensive for buyers holding other currencies.
Gold has gained about 14 percent since touching more than 1-1/2-year lows last August, on the back of a dovish U.S. Fed and global growth concerns.
Calm returned to global markets on Tuesday, with gains on European and Asian bourses and higher benchmark bond yields.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield edged up, having fallen below the yield for three-month bills on Friday for the first time since 2007, inverting the yield curve.
“Overall, though, conditions remain supportive for both gold and to a lesser degree, silver to stage a rally. We need to see further price action and some technical confirmation to increase our conviction that gold and silver are indeed headed higher,” Fawad Razaqzada market analyst with wrote in a note.
“The fact that gold has held key support around the $1,275-$1,285 area is bullish, as the move below the long-term pivotal $1,300 hurdles proved to be temporary.”
Investors are also watching for the latest round of China-U.S. trade negotiations, scheduled to start on Thursday in Beijing, and British lawmakers’ bid to find a way through a deadlock over Britain’s plans to leave the European Union. The lawmakers will vote on a range of Brexit options on Wednesday.
Palladium slipped 1.9 percent to $1,546.16 per ounce, after touching its lowest in about two weeks at $1,532.56 in the previous session.
Silver was down 0.6 percent at $15.45, while platinum rose 0.4 percent to $858.60 an ounce.

Source: CNBC

TECH | EU lawmakers approve copyright reforms that could have a big impact on Google, Facebook

Ryan Browne

GP: Social media apps 190326
Social media apps are seen in this photo illustration in front of a European Union flag.
Omar Marques | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images
European lawmakers have approved sweeping copyright reforms that could have far-reaching consequences for the business models of tech giants like Google and Facebook.
The law is aimed at bringing the EU’s rules on copyright into the 21st century to help artists and publishers whose works have been widely dispersed on the internet.
A first reading of the new copyright directive was passed Tuesday in Strasbourg by lawmakers at the European Parliament. But it still needs to be ratified by ministers at the Council of Europe — this is the institution that brings together the different EU ministers according to their portfolios.
The planned reforms, which have been in the making since 2016, have led to a heated battle that pits large tech companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter against artists and media firms.
Google has been particularly critical of the law, which threatens to impact the business model of its video sharing service YouTube and news aggregation platform Google News.
Following the vote in the European Parliament, the tech giant said the new law has seen improvement from an original draft, but will still lead to legal uncertainty and hurt the creative industries.
“The details matter, and we look forward to working with policy makers, publishers, creators and rights holders as EU member states move to implement these new rules,” a spokesperson for the company told CNBC.
Facebook and Twitter declined to comment.
One section of the law could result in the implementation of pre-filtering systems that block internet users from sharing memes and other content containing copyright-protected material.
Another part of the copyright overhaul would require news aggregation services like Google’s to negotiate commercial licenses with publishers in order to post snippets or links to articles.
‘Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley’
On the tech side, Google and a number of high-profile figures including internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales have railed against the new EU copyright directive. In the media corner, famous artists from ex-Beatle Paul McCartney to Blondie singer Debbie Harry have argued in favor.
According to the European Parliament, the new directive specifies that uploading works to online encyclopedias in a non-commercial way, such as Wikipedia, or open source software platforms, such as GitHub, will automatically be excluded. Start-up platforms will be subject to lighter obligations than more established ones.
“What we have approved is sensible, proportionate and sees the law finally catching up with the digital age,” Sajjad Karim, a member of the European Parliament representing Britain’s Conservative Party, told CNBC.
“The emergence of new business models and platforms has led to an uneven playing field and change is essential.”
Pro-internet freedom activists claim the new law will censor everything from memes to snippets of music and film. Supporters of the law, meanwhile, argue that people and companies in the creative industries are being starved of revenues lost to the sharing of their intellectual property on online platforms.
“The main problem I can see is it’s very unclear how tech companies are supposed to comply with those obligations,” Kathy Berry, an intellectual property lawyer at Linklaters, told CNBC ahead of the vote.
Berry, who characterized the episode as “Hollywood versus Silicon Valley” said questions remain unanswered over how tech companies should take a “proportionate response” against copyrighted material online.
—CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this article.

Source: CNBC

Europe Markets Closing Report on March 26, 2019 | Europe stocks higher as US recession fears fade; Wirecard shares jump 25%

Chloe Taylor, Ryan Browne

European equities were higher on Tuesday as fears over a possible recession faded and investors concentrated on corporate news.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

FTSEFTSE 100FTSE7207.4029.820.42348727364
The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index was higher by 0.8 percent during afternoon deals, with major bourses and sectors mostly in positive territory. Media stocks jumped more than 1 percent after the European Parliament approved an overhaul to EU copyright law that could mean big tech will have to pay media producers for their content.
Wirecard shares surged to the top of the index during afternoon deals, with shares gaining more than 25 percent after a legal probe cleared the firm of criminal wrongdoing. The Munich-based firm had faced allegations that accounting staff in its Singapore office carried out sham transactions to bulk up its profits.
Elsewhere, Ocado shares jumped almost 5 percent after it signed an e-commerce partnership with Australia’s Coles.
Medical devices maker Convatec also climbed towards the top of the index after it announced Genus boss Karim Bitar would take charge as CEO in September, and amid reported interest from a Swedish private equity firm. Shares of the London-listed stock gained 5.5 percent.
Airbus shares were up by more than 2 percent after China agreed to buy 300 of its planes in a deal worth tens of billions of dollars.
More generally, traders have been taking cues from debt markets in recent days for an indication of economic sentiment. Part of the U.S. bond yield curve — which plots yields from shortest maturity to highest — inverted on Friday, with the 10-year yield dipping below the yield on the 3-month paper for the first time since mid-2007. A yield curve inversion is generally seen as a sign that a recession is coming.
On Monday, the yield on the 10-year note fell to its lowest level since December 2017 — but it was a different story on Tuesday, with the 10-year yield rising to about 2.439 percent. Stocks on Wall Street were trading higher on Tuesday as Treasury yields stabilized.
Elsewhere, investors monitored the latest Brexit developments. U.K. lawmakers voted to seize control of the Brexit process on Monday evening, taking it away from Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.
An amendment was passed that allows lawmakers to set a timetable for debate and subsequent votes — expected to take place on Wednesday — on alternative outcomes for the EU withdrawal deal.
In other political news, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited France on Monday. The two countries signed 15 commercial deals, including a 300-plane order with Airbus and a 1 billion euro ($1.1 billion) deal for EDF to build an offshore wind farm in China.
In terms of economic data, French figures confirmed GDP growth of 0.3 percent in the final three months of last year. Meaning the economy grew 1.6 percent over the course of 2018. Another survey released Tuesday morning showed French industrial morale unexpectedly fell in March.

Source: CNBC

Press Release | CFTC’s Agricultural Advisory Committee to Meet April 11 in Overland Park, KS.

3-4 minutes

March 26, 2019
Washington, DC — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) announced today that it will hold a public meeting on April 11, 2019 in Overland Park, Kansas. This meeting precedes AgCon2019, the second agriculture commodity futures conference hosted by CFTC and the Center for Risk Management Education and Research at Kansas State University (see CFTC Press Release 7885-19).
CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo is the sponsor of the AAC and Charlie Thornton, Director of the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, is Designated Federal Officer for the AAC.
The AAC will discuss items related to futures commission merchants (FCMs); innovations in agricultural cash markets and futures market operations; as well as potentially identify work streams and/or subcommittee groups that can help generate actionable recommendations to the Commission on select issues.
The meeting is open to the public with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Persons requiring special accommodations to attend the meeting because of a disability should notify Charlie Thornton at (202) 418–5145 by March 30, 2018.
What: Agricultural Advisory Committee
Location: Marriott Kansas City Overland Park
10800 Metcalf Avenue
Overland Park, Kansas 66210
Date: Thursday April 11, 2019
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  (CT)
Viewing/Listening Instructions: For agenda updates and instructions to access the meeting (forthcoming), please visit the AAC committee site at:
Public comments can be submitted, identified by ‘‘Agricultural Advisory Committee,’’ by any of the following methods: CFTC website: mail to: Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20581, Attention: Office of the Secretary; electronic mail to:; or hand delivered/courier service at the address above.
Members of the public can submit written statements by April 18, 2019. Statements submitted in connection with the committee meeting will be made available to the public, including publication on the CFTC website, Use the title "Agricultural Advisory Committee” on the statement submitted.
CFTC’s Advisory Committees were created to seek input and make recommendations to the Commission on a variety of regulatory and market issues that affect the integrity and competitiveness of U.S. markets. The committees facilitate communication among the Commission and U.S. markets, trading firms, market participants, advocates and commercial end-users.
See Agenda under Related Links

Source: CFTC

GoldSilver Video | Silver Bullion Is Cheaper Than DIRT - Mike Maloney

Analysis | The Technology 202: Apple's push into subscriptions raises new competition concerns, antitrust experts say

By Cat Zakrzewski Cat Zakrzewski Technology 

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Oprah Winfrey prepare to embrace at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new products Monday, March 25, 2019, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Ctrl + N

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple’s push into subscription services could raise new competition concerns, antitrust experts tell me.
Apple’s App Store has long been the means for news, video and gaming companies to deliver their content to iPhones and other Apple devices around the world. But now that Apple just announced paid subscription services in these industries, antitrust experts are wary of the possibility the tech giant could use its position undercut other businesses that are new rivals. 
Sally Hubbard, a director of enforcement strategy at the Open Markets Institute, said she’s concerned about how the company could abuse its perch as operator of the App Store to prioritize its own new services over its competitors.  
“My concern is that it can be the gatekeeper to those industries,” Hubbard said. “It can pull little levers and be able to advantage themselves.”
“When you have the actual platform beginning to compete with companies that depend on the platform you have an inherent conflict of interest,” she said. “It’s not a level playing field for competition.” 
So far, most of Washington's focus has been on Facebook, Google and Amazon as a broader conversation about whether current antitrust law needs to be changed to address Silicon Valley's power heats up in Washington. Now Apple could find itself drawn deeper into that debate. 
And depending on how Apple approaches the rollout of its new services, its latest moves could raise some of the same questions regulators in Europe have about Amazon's products, Hubbard said.
The European Union currently has a preliminary investigation in "quite advanced" stages into whether the e-commerce giant is using the data it collects from businesses on its platform to inform its own product sales and undercut rivals.
Apple declined to comment for this article.
But it's already on defense against an antitrust complaint in Europe -- where music streaming service Spotify is accusing the company of abusing its power over the App Store. In a press release announcing the complaint, Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek accused the company of playing the role as both "player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers." Apple then accused Spotify of trying to reap the benefits of the App Store ecosystem without making any contributions to it.
"We want more app businesses to thrive — including the ones that compete with some aspect of our business, because they drive us to be better," the company said in a statement.
And antitrust concerns about Apple could gain more prominence in the political arena heading into the 2020 presidential election in the U.S.
One candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is increasingly scrutinizing technology companies that act both as the platform that other businesses rely on to deliver their services and also a competitor to those businesses. Though Apple was not one of the three companies Warren singled out in her initial proposal to break up Big Tech, she did tell me in a recent interview Apple should "be on the list."
"Apple can run the platform or they can sell the apps," she told me. "But they can't compete with other individuals on selling the apps at the same time that they're running the platform and sucking all the information off the platform and making decisions about whose apps are going to be at the top of the platform and who's going to be way in the back where you never find them."
To be sure, Warren’s plan to break up Big Tech would require changes to antitrust law, and the senator has not yet introduced any legislation to that effect.
Apple’s own history also raises competition concerns as it pushes into new services, experts tell me. Generally, a company’s entrance to new areas of business results in more competition in the marketplace, said Chris Sagers, a professor of law at Cleveland State University. But there can be problems when a company does things to “ease its entry that restrain existing competition.”
“In fact, Apple has built up a bit of a record of conduct showing that Apple’s entry is not always good,” Sagers told me.
Sagers pointed to Apple’s approach to e-books as an example of this anti-competitive behavior. The U.S. Department of Justice brought a suit against Apple in 2012 for conspiring with publishers to raise the price of e-books. After the Supreme Court declined to review an appeals’ court decision in 2016, Apple had to pay a $450 million settlement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new products Monday, March 25, 2019, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
BITS: Apple put privacy front and center as it rolled out services ranging from a credit card to a gaming subscription service, Buzzfeed's Katie Notopoulos writes. The repeated theme underscored how the iPhone maker was trying to differentiate itself from other technology giants.
"Apple didn’t mention Facebook or Google during the event, but its digs at those companies' privacy and user data practices were clear," Notopoulos wrote.
The company emphasized that its News subscription service won't share your data with advertisers, or that its Apple Pay-connected credit card won't track data about your transactions. But the companies' new services will accumulate data.
"So today the company was all about reassuring people: Don’t worry, we’re still the good guy," writes Notopoulos. "Apple has long taken a protective stance on privacy, but it’s now using its approach to user data as a powerful marketing tool to sell more of its laptops, phones, news subscriptions, and entertainment services."

A man holds a rosary and burning candle, as he prays for victims of the mosque attacks, at a flower tribute area at Botanical Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
NIBBLES: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government is working on new legislation that would penalize social media companies that "undermine public safety," reports Bloomberg's Jason Scott. 
Morrison is meeting with representatives from the social media companies on Tuesday following the attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 50 people dead.
The legislation will “seek to apply criminal penalties to companies that don’t act in the interests of the safety of Australians,” Scott reported that Morrison told reporters. “What I’m looking for is for these companies to come to the table as responsible corporate citizens and make sure their products are safe here in Australia.”
Facebook and other technology companies face increased scrutiny of their efforts to stamp out violence on their platforms after the shooter live-streamed the attack on Facebook. Copies of the video proliferated on Facebook and other platforms like YouTube for days after the attack.

Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
BYTES: Facebook announced today it removed accounts linked to Iran, Russia, Macedonia and Kosovo, citing coordinated inauthentic behavior. Facebook pulled down 2,632 Groups, Pages and accounts, according to a company blog post.
Facebook did not find links between these sets of activity, but it did say “they used similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.”
513 of the accounts were tied to Iran, while 1,907 were linked to Russia, Facebook said. 
Facebook has been increasingly  cracking down on such behavior as it faces increased scrutiny for how foreign powers tried to influence its platform in the 2016 elections. 
"While we are making progress rooting out this abuse, as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge because the people responsible are determined and well-funded," Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook Head of Cybersecurity Policy, wrote in the blog post. "We constantly have to improve to stay ahead."
Tech news from the private sector:

With its IPO expected this week, Lyft will stand as the biggest test of the public market’s appetite for money-losing companies since the dot-com era.
Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are joining forces in the consumer credit business, launching the Apple Card for iPhones.

A group representing French Muslims is suing Facebook and YouTube over their handling of a video showing the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this month.
The Hill
Government tech news:

The Pentagon cited a law permitting government agencies to block the disclosure of records that pertain to “critical infrastructure security information.”
The Intercept

More than half a million articles have been published on the topic.

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from Amazon's online shoe retailer Zappos, a move that will allow a class-action lawsuit.
The Hill
— News about tech workforce and culture:

As high-profile start-ups like Lyft, Pinterest and Uber prepare to go public, Silicon Valley venture capitalists are using the moment to shine the spotlight on themselves.
The New York Times

In January, 25 autonomous delivery robots descended on George Mason University’s campus. Today, the company that managed the machines, Starship Technologies, revealed how they've changed student behavior.
Peter Holley

A growing number of games are taking on mental health issues like depression, anger and post-traumatic stress disorder.
New York Times
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