Mary Jo White’s announcement yesterday that high-frequency trading, dark pools and the industry around the avant-garde in market structure are now officially under review brought us some sports analogies.
The PGA tour sets a limit of 14 clubs in the bag.
Nascar and other racing classes require restrictor plates at some tracks.
You can’t compete in the Tour de France with a motorcycle.
Getting the theme?
Before he was scrambled back to the newsroom yesterday to handle White’s announcement, market structure team leader Nick Baker was at the Trading Show in Chicago, where outfits were hawking the figurative equivalent of golf bags with concealed pockets, fake intake manifolds and one of those bikes people thought Fabian Cancellara was riding a few years ago.
The conference had “a room full of vendors selling gear for the speed-of-light era,” Baker told us in a memo. He noted especially Spectracom, which helps traders synchronize clocks with a precision of about 15 nanoseconds, and Cielo Networks, touting its gear for microwave towers that can receive and then relay your cross-country trading in 170 nanoseconds. Then he asked us, “Do you know what a nanosecond is? Can you really grasp it?”
No, we can’t. But the SEC is starting to.
There’s still some “squishiness” to what White is laying out ahead, he says. “But it feels more tangible than some of the previous announcements that have come from the SEC. So it does feel stronger, which I think maybe surprised some people.”
It’s not the technology she’s targeting, it’s the fairness of how it’s used. And she picked the right audience, the Sandler O’Neill & Partners Global Exchange and Brokerage Conference.
“The event is for exchange leaders to speak, so you can’t assemble a much more relevant crowd than that,” Baker says.
The monthly jobs report comes at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and the economists are forecasting a gain of 215,000. If they’re right, or even roughly half-right, total employment would be back above the peak of 138.4 million in January 2008, just before, well, you know. Payrolls totaled 138.3 million in April, Victoria Stilwell reports today. We’ll also get consumer credit figures at 3 p.m.
Bloomberg TV’s guests today include Alan Krueger, a Princeton University economics professor; Rick Rieder, co-head of fixed income Americas at BlackRock; U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez; Jon Favreau, the actor-director-producer, not the former Obama speechwriter; Chrisopher Kay, CEO of the New York Racing Association; Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the legend Jacques; and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein.
+ A shooting at a Seattle Christian college has left one dead, three wounded.
+ North Korea has arrested an American tourist, the third now being held there, AP says.
+ The Texas Republican Party adopted a proposed plank last night endorsing the use of “reparative therapy” to persuade gay people they’re not gay, thumbing its nose at laws in California and New Jersey banning such psychological counseling, the AP reports. At the same time and at the same convention, the party has tentatively approved stripping the platform of language that says “homosexuality tears at the fabric of society.” Both positions are up for a full vote on Saturday. Now who’s confused?
Looks as if Hollande’s dinner with Obama in Paris didn’t exactly achieve its goal. If Hollande and the sans culottes behind the cause of BNP Paribas (BNP) intended the dinner as an opportunity to break the U.S. siege on the French bank, no one told Ben Lawsky.
Not that anyone was going to. As expected, Obama said, hey, I can’t meddle in prosecutions. These folks have their jobs, I have mine. Comprenez?
So it must sting a little bit more that Hollande returns to the pitchfork club to say that not only did that go nowhere, but that just a short time later New York’s banking regulator rolled a guillotine out onto the platform.
Tough to remember exactly where this started out -- it was, like, a guilty plea and a couple billion dollars, right? Same as Credit Suisse. No plea forthcoming, it became $5 billion. Further recalcitrance ensued, now it’s $10 billion and the proposed suspension of dollar-clearing for the bank in the U.S.
Now Lawsky wants heads. Not sure what the next level is if this drags on much longer. Firing squad?
For the French who insist the BNP Paribas enforcement is some kind of retroactive show by U.S. prosecutors making up for a lack of action taken against U.S. banks, Bank of America might beg to differ. And so might JPMorgan Chase.
This probably puts a chill on today’s commemoration ceremonies for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Obama and Hollande are ticked at each other, Obama and Putin are ticked at each other, Hollande just went ahead with its warship supply contract to Russia, so at least he and Putin will be talking, although there’s the Ukraine thing.
Why, again, is Putin at the D-Day event? We’re looking at the Operation Overlord map and we see U.S. forces at Omaha and Utah, and British, French, New Zealand and Canadian forces at Gold, Sword, Juno beaches.
Were they carrying Stoly?
The pope continues shaking up the Vatican, menacing the deeply entrenched, dead wood, old boy, dare we say Cosa Nostra-ish way that place has been run for hundreds and hundreds of years. On his to-do list for some time evidently has been taking out the trash that’s been piling up in the city-state’s financial department, which has been dogged by allegations of money laundering, and yesterday he just sacked everyone in charge of overseeing finances.
The Boston Globe reminds us that financial scandals at the Vatican in the past include Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who steered, then lost, almost $20 million in Vatican bank loans to a friend’s film company.
How do you say defenestrate in Italian?
Today is National Donut Day (or doughnut, for the purists), observed in remembrance of millions of circular delectations that sacrificed themselves for your motivation at the gym.
The losses were vast and indiscriminate of their class, be they glazed or powdered, filled with cream or jelly, or covered in jimmies or chocolate. You needed comfort, and they were there for you.
In honor of their memories, services will be held at various locations around the country, including Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Tim Hortons, Doughnut Plant NYC and Winn Dixie, where more will offer themselves up in tribute.
Some of them free of charge.
Brian Sullivan checking in:
“There is a blob in the Atlantic -- Bay of Campeche to be exact -- that doesn’t have much of a chance to form. Its best chance will be in the next 36 hours and then it will be overland. Tropical cyclones cannot form over land. My prediction is that this won’t do much of anything. It may become a tropical depression but depressions don’t get names. (Maybe that is why they are depressed.)”
In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” the emperor’s closest ally, Brutus, finds himself torn over the presumed elevation of Caesar to king and his devotion to the principles of the republic. A conspirator named Cassius is working him, vehement in his plea that Brutus help his plot to stop this from happening, and he tells Brutus, look, don’t lay this off on fate or crap like that. We need to control our destiny.
Except it comes out on the page as “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Which somehow makes the transition to a perfectly mangled title for the young-adult love story, “The Fault in Our Stars,” opening in movie theaters today, about a mousy yet plucky high-school girl battling cancer and the only-in-fiction, tall, dreamy, perfect white knight with a prosthetic leg who falls in love with her.
Why is it a weepy? Here’s the plot summary from Warner Bros.:
“An alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Major William Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop-forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again...and again. But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Blunt). And, as Cage and Vrataski take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy.
No? Well, we’re crying with laughter. Isn’t this ‘‘Groundhog Day”?
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick obtained permission from his tattooists for their work to be recreated on the CGI version of himself in the upcoming edition of the Madden NFL 15 (or should that be NFL XV?), the popular video game made by Electronic Arts. (EA)
Ira Boudway notes that the tattoos involve a lot of Biblical scriptures, so someone with a higher authority than Roger Goodell (not much higher, but higher) might have something to say about who really holds any copyrights, but whatever.
How far does this go? Grillz? Can they be copyrighted? How about a unique hairstyle?
Also, how did tattoos get past the enforcement arm of the No Fun League? You can’t have a shoelace out of place on the field without some league dick fining you ten grand. Heaven help you if your socks aren’t pulled up or your shirttail’s out. But copyright-worthy works of art on skin is acceptable.
Never thought we’d miss Tom Landry. Actually, we don’t.
San Antonio took advantage of the hothouse flowers from Miami last night to win the opener of the NBA finals 110-95 in a game played without air conditioning, ultimately resulting in LeBron James being carried off the court. The temperature near courtside topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Game 2 is Sunday, when daytime highs are forecast to be 95 degrees, nighttime low of 74. You got two days to fix this, guys.
The University of Kentucky is going to spend $52.5 million on a man to coach its basketball players for seven years.
And now comes the pit in the meaty part of your stomach.
You almost wish California Chrome had lost the Preakness Stakes after some pardonable error like tripping out the gate or being boxed in all the way -- he would have won, couldn’t be helped, let’s watch the Belmont Stakes for fun, have a couple beers and take up the Triple Crown drought next year.
No such luck.
Now you’re going to squirm, like when you’re watching a hockey fight and you find yourself unconsciously tightening up in your chair, moving this way and that in some telepathic sympathy with the combatants, pushing your air like you -- you want to be in it. But you can’t. You’re just watching it, helplessly.
Instead you’re going to experience the Battle of Agincourt or Pickett’s Charge -- the wholesale assault by desperate forces throwing heart and lungs and hooves with abandon against that which must be toppled.
You will be standing for this race, this mile and a half, and will have been before it even starts. Except among those who don’t know better, there will be no breezy, distracted conversation in the last moments before the race, only anxiety.
You’ll shut it for the first quarter mile or so because you’ll be trying to reconcile what you’re seeing with what you want to be seeing, and if those two should intersect, the space you’re in will burst from nervous silence to nervous cacophony.
Your throat will open and close in search of more air and more invectives and amps will be pulsing out into your arms and through your heels and as they come around the back turn you’ll realize you need a cigarette. And you don’t smoke.
Because thundering down the stretch isn’t just a bunch of horses, but history.
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