Global News January 19, 2018

  1. BBC
  2. Global News January 19, 2018

“Jon Corzine’s New Hedge Fund Eyes Event Wagers Triggered by Trump.”

Jon Corzine, who held the reins of MF Global Holdings when it collapsed, is making his comeback with a new hedge fund that’s betting the Trump administration will stir up markets.
The JDC-JSC Opportunity Fund, which bears the initials of Corzine’s late son Jeffrey and his own, will launch this quarter and aims to attract $100 million to $300 million in its first trading year, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Corzine and former Taconic Capital Advisors investment director Richard Chappelear will share the chief investment officer role.
Corzine, 71, whose wide-ranging career includes serving as a U.S. senator and governor from New Jersey, is jumping into the hedge fund industry as it struggles to raise money. His fund will make event-driven and macro trades on the expectation that President Donald Trump’s policies will trigger corporate actions and ripple through asset valuations, the person said. Tax reform could spell stock-price divergence in sub-sectors of the small-cap Russell 2000 Index, spurring deals.
The fund will begin with event-driven trades and expand into macro investing — trading interest rates, currencies and stocks — when market volatility returns. Low volatility over the past few years has hindered the performance of most macro hedge funds.
Over the next six-to-twelve months, macro opportunities could include calendar spreads — placing opposite wagers on a security such as a volatility index tracker over specific time frames — and other trades that reflect the difference in turbulence across various markets, the person said.


“China looks to call bluff on Trump trade action.”

As influential voices within the U.S. business community warn China that U.S. President Donald Trump is serious about tough action over Beijing’s trade practices, there is little sense of a crisis in the Chinese capital, where officials think he is bluffing.
In Beijing, many experts think Washington is unwilling to pay the heavy economic price needed to upset prevailing trade dynamics between the world’s two largest economies.
Hanging over trade relations are several inquiries into whether steel and aluminum imports – including those from China – are harming U.S. national security, possible tariffs on imported solar panels, as well as an investigation into potential Chinese abuse of intellectual property. Results in most, if not all, of the investigations are seen as imminent. Trump warned in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday of potentially “big damages” against China as a result of the intellectual property inquiry under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.
People in the U.S. business community say this growing gulf in expectations between Washington and Beijing is fueled in part by the dwindling frequency of talks on commercial issues. The resulting vacuum could set the two governments on a collision course over trade.
The bipartisan group of mostly former senior U.S. officials, including George W. Bush administration veterans Stephen Hadley and Carlos Gutierrez, met with Wang Yang, a member of China’s ruling seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, and Liu He, an economist and ally of President Xi Jinping, among other senior Chinese leaders, the person said.
They delivered a message that trade frictions “are not under control” and that there was a high likelihood of “significant actions” coming soon, according the person who was present at the meetings. “We hear everything from: both sides will lose, to you’ll lose more,” the person said, characterizing the reception the delegation received from Chinese leaders.


BBC News
“Data-stealing spyware ‘traced to Lebanon’.”

A security bug that has infected thousands of smartphones has been uncovered by campaign group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Working with mobile security firm Lookout, researchers discovered that malware in fake messaging designed to look like WhatsApp and Signal had stolen gigabytes of data.
Targets included military personnel, activists, journalists and lawyers. Researchers say they traced the malware to a Lebanese government building.
The threat, dubbed Dark Caracal by the researchers, looks as if it could come from a nation state and appears to use shared infrastructure linked to other nation-state hackers, the report said. The malware takes advantage of known exploits and targets mainly Android phones.
Data was traced back to a server in a building belonging to the Lebanese General Security Directorate in Beirut, according to researchers. «Based on the available evidence, it is likely that the GDGS is associated with or directly supporting the actors behind Dark Caracal,» the report said.
Prof Alan Woodward, a cybersecurity expert at the University of Surrey said it was unclear where the infected apps had been downloaded from. «Google is saying that they were not downloaded from there but it is difficult to know where else they came from. It may be that people are getting suckered into something that looks like an official site. People need to be careful what they are downloading.»


“Clock running out to avert U.S. government shutdown as Trump blames Democrats.”

Although the House of Representatives voted 230-197 on Thursday night for a bill to extend expiring funding through Feb. 16, the measure appeared to be on the verge of collapse in the Senate.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said that on Thursday he was ratcheting up the likelihood of a shutdown from 30 percent to a 50-50 possibility. “The vote this afternoon looks challenging for us to keep the government open,” Trump’s legislative liaison, Marc Short, told Fox News. He expected negotiations to continue up until midnight.
Short and Mulvaney planned to brief the media Friday morning on plans for any possible shutdown.
The Senate was to reconvene later Friday morning. Congress has been struggling since October to resolve the issue and the current bill is endangered because of the deep rift between Republicans and Democrats on immigration issues that have found their way into the funding fight.
Markets were keenly focused Friday morning on the budget woes. The U.S. dollar moving to a near three-year low while Wall Street largely played down any fears of the looming possible shutdown and opened higher.
The government currently is being funded by a third temporary measure since the new fiscal year began in October.