“Russian Markets Slide After U.S. Ups Ante With the Worst Sanctions Yet.”
The most punitive U.S. sanctions yet to descend on Russian companies and oligarchs are battering the nation’s assets as the Kremlin scrambles to contain the damage. In the first trading day since dozens of Russian tycoons and companies were slapped with penalties, Moscow-traded stocks headed for the biggest drop in four years, the currency slid the most in the world and the nation’s credit risk soared.
Among those named by sanctions were Oleg Deripaska, who owns aluminum giant United Co. Rusal. Revealing the potential ripple effect of being cut off from its western clients, Rusal said on Monday it was highly likely to default on debt. Its shares tumbled 28 percent in Moscow.
While Russian companies have faced a slew of sanctions since the conflict with Ukraine sparked the worst standoff with the U.S. and Europe since the Cold War, the latest penalties are markedly more devastating. For the first time, major publicly traded Russian companies with global clients are on the black list.
Even the Kremlin’s attempt to assuage concerns by promising to protect billionaires couldn’t slow the investor flight. The benchmark MOEX Russia Index sank 8.6 percent, the most since March 2014 at the height of the Crimea conflict. The ruble weakened 3.1 percent by 4:26 p.m. in Moscow, crossing 60 per dollar for the first time since November.
Part of the worry is that Putin’s hands will be tied on how much he can help out targeted companies. Even state-controlled banks may not be willing to take the risk of continuing to do business with the industrial giants targeted by the U.S. for fear of repercussions.
“As elections near, many older, educated, white voters shift away from Trump’s party.”
Older, white, educated voters helped Donald Trump win the White House in 2016. Now, they are trending toward Democrats in such numbers that their ballots could tip the scales in tight congressional races from New Jersey to California, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll and a data analysis of competitive districts shows.
Nationwide, whites over the age of 60 with college degrees now favor Democrats over Republicans for Congress by a 2-point margin, according to Reuters/Ipsos opinion polling during the first three months of the year. During the same period in 2016, that same group favored Republicans for Congress by 10 percentage points.
The 12-point swing is one of the largest shifts in support toward Democrats that the Reuters/Ipsos poll has measured over the past two years. If that trend continues, Republicans will struggle to keep control of the House of Representatives, and possibly the Senate, in the November elections, potentially dooming President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda.
The potential impact of any swing to Democrats is magnified given that older, educated adults are reliable voters. They also make up a sizeable portion of the voting population in many districts where elections are close. How they vote could decide elections in as many as 26 competitive congressional districts where Democrats have a shot at winning a seat. A Reuters analysis of U.S. Census data shows highly educated older voters make up about 5-10 percent of the population in those areas. Democrats need to pick up 24 seats to win control of the House of Representatives.
“Facebook: Cambridge Analytica warning sent to users.”
Facebook members will find out from 17:00 BST whether they are among the 87 million potential users whose data was shared with Cambridge Analytica. Every account holder will receive one of two notices informing them whether their data was breached.
The tech giant said people will also be shown what apps they use and what data those apps may have gathered. Facebook has additionally suspended a data analytics firm called Cubeyou, ahead of an investigation.
The tech giant will look into into whether Cubeyou collected data for academic purposes and then used it commercially, following a partnership with Cambridge University in the UK. The investigation follows allegations reported by CNBC, regarding a personality quiz called «You Are What You Like», also known as «Apply Magic Sauce».
Cubeyou denies the allegations. Both the firm and Cambridge University state that the app made it clear that data was for use in both academic and business purposes.
In an emailed statement received by Bloomberg, Ime Archibong, vice-president of product partnerships, said Cubeyou’s apps would all be banned from the platform if the data firm «refuses or fails» the audit.
Cubeyou said it has always complied with Facebook’s rules. The news comes as Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg prepares to give two days of testimony to US Congress in Washington regarding the recent data scandals.
“Winklevosses’ Gemini to Offer Cryptocurrency Block Trading.”
Gemini, the digital-asset exchange run by the Winklevoss twins, is introducing a service that will allow investors to make big trades outside of the firm’s order books.
The service will allow traders to buy or sell large quantities of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies and will compete with companies that cater to large institutional traders. Block-trading companies have recently popped up in Hong Kong, Australia and other markets to meet demand from hedge funds and similar institutional buyers. One such service, Circle Trade, is already directly moving more than $2 billion a month in crypto assets.
Due to go live at 9:30 a.m. New York time on April 12, the Gemini Block Trading service will electronically broadcast orders to participating market makers simultaneously, the company said in a blog post Monday. Trade information will be published on Gemini’s market data feeds 10 minutes after the transactions are executed.
Exchanges that list contracts in a so-called central limit order book are useful for trades under certain sizes, which is determined by underlying demand — whether for corn futures or IBM stock. Orders beyond those limits move the market in ways that hurt the trader or signal to others the direction prices are headed.
To avoid that, block trades are employed. A block trade’s size and price are negotiated privately off the exchange and then announced on the market in one fell swoop, often with a time delay to avoid triggering an outside price effect.
Cryptocurrency markets like Gemini, which typically use order-book trading, are joining equity and futures markets in offering blocks. Until recently, block trades have only been possible over the counter, through market makers or investors willing to take the risk of dealing outside an exchange.