More on Pluto-esque gullibility

So yes, we’re glutton for inter-planetary punishment. But step back and down for a moment from that dwarf sphere at the edge of our solar system that may or may not be pink, to a (relatively) pint-sized example of how those interested in the heavens seem to swallow any old crap.

Consider Comet 67P.

And consult the BBC… Read more

Rorschach formation spotted in China stocks

Classic bullish/ bearish signal with obvious buy/ sell implications.

As Bernstein say:

The rebound over the last week means we have entered a period where everyone was right. China bulls can argue that the Shanghai Composite is still up 94% over the last twelve months. China bears can argue that the Chinese regulators have effectively taken the market out of consideration by virtue of the ham-fisted approach to reversing the sell-off. However, “I told you so” doesn’t constitute an investment recommendation.

 Read more

FT Opening Quote – Parcels perk up at Royal Mail

No surprise packages in Royal Mail’s latest trading update, but there’s an encouraging rise in parcel revenues and volumes. FT Opening Quote is your early City briefing. You can sign up for the full newsletter here. Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Tuesday,

- Tsipras: The man who cost Greece billions.

- Dan Davies: But really, what would the German export sector look like outside of the euro?

- So… volatile commodity prices aren’t a very good guide to policy?

- Price stickiness is not a mystery, and it is not psychology.

- “Beijing is enacting a Simpsonian financial policy to contain the stock market fall.” Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Greek banks opened for the first time in three weeks on Monday in an attempt to bolster savers’ confidence in the country’s crippled lenders. However, with Greece down to its last EUR1bn in available cash last week, potential bail-ins of depositors and loan defaults could still lie ahead.

There are also questions over whether the stock market will remain closed. Staff at the Athens bourse are at work, waiting for a decision from the Ministry of Finance as to whether it will extend its cautious relaxation of capital controls. (FT)

In the news Read more

Brace yourself. The next Gate Ventures episode airs tomorrow

One day, someone might pen a musical farce, destined for a premier West End stage, featuring a geriatric lovie whose listed theatre production company is hijacked by mad Chinese investors intent on turning his corporate baby into some sort of escape hatch for businessmen fleeing the Peoples’ Republic.

In the meantime, Gate Ventures seems to have decided to go ahead and try this for real. Read more

The evisceration of one Mike Rees

In one chart. Click to enlarge.

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China and those (more severe) capital outflows

According to our estimated EM capital flow shown in Figure 3, EM economies saw in Q2 the weakest capital flow since the Lehman crisis, driven by China.

That’s from JP Morgan’s Flows & Liquidity team. As is this on China potentially wiping out all of its previous capital inflows back to 2011 (again, with our emphasis): Read more

Markets Live: Monday, 20th July, 2015

Live markets commentary from 

China’s thawing, yet still very worthy of scare quotes, “market”

From the Peterson Institute:

Does this mean anything? Yes, probably. It just doesn’t mean as much as it would if the government wasn’t dominating the market at the moment. Read more

FT Opening Quote – British Land’s Cheesegrater 90% full

Demand for office space in the City has helped its tallest building – the “Cheesegrater” – to a 90 per cent occupancy rate, although there’s a worrying report on bankers’ jobs at Barclays this morning. FT Opening Quote is your early City briefing. You can sign up for the full newsletter here.  Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Monday,

- Pettis: Interpreting information in China’s stock markets.

- Stowaways and crimes aboard a scofflaw ship.

- Gavyn Davies: Are we entering another of those exceptional periods during which the Fed surprises the markets by tightening more than expected?

- Alice in Schäuble-Land: Where rules mean what Wolfgang says they mean.

- Schäuble: “There is no German dominance.”  Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, appears to be preparing the nation for a snap general election this autumn after carrying out a government reshuffle that removed dissident ministers from his leftist Syriza party. The changes mean that Mr Tsipras now controls a cabinet more loyal to him and more committed to his path of adopting economic reforms demanded by Greece’s eurozone creditors in return for a new rescue deal worth up to EUR86bn.

Meanwhile Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said that while discussions to ease debt repayment terms are an option if Athens complies with the conditions of a third bailout, Greece cannot receive a debt writedown as a member of the eurozone. A Grexit remains a strong possibility, writes the FT’s Wolfgang Münchau. (FT)

In the news Read more

Alphachat: the artisanal economy, Treasury flash crash (still not) explained, campaign Twitter spats

Some quick news first. The honchos who run this joint have given us the resources to produce Alphachats more frequently and regularly, and we plan to spend the rest of the summer tinkering with different ideas for content and length. But we’d also really like to know what you want to hear.

You have a few options: leave ideas in the comments section below, email us at alphachat [at] ft [dot] com, call us at 917-551-5012 (a US phone number), or tweet at me directly at @cardiffgarcia. You can find Alphachat on iTunes and StitcherRead more

Ooma, oops!

Not all US tech IPOs head directly to the moon…

 Read more

Plus500: close but not closed

Shareholders of Plus500, the London-listed but Israel based contract for difference broker, this week voted to approve its sale to PlayTech, the Isle of Man registered but London-listed gaming group controlled by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi.

As Plus500 is incorporated in Israel it is not subject to the takeover code, so there is no merger document online. However the merger arbitrage team at Makor visited Herbet Smith Freehills to take a look at the document, and found there are some other consents needed: Read more

Markets Live: Friday, 17th July, 2015

Live markets commentary from 

FT Opening Quote – 888 trumps GVC to win bwin

888 has played a better hand than GVC to win bwin, even though it was outbid. FT Opening Quote is your early City briefing. You can sign up for the full newsletter here.  Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Friday,

- Samsung wants shareholders to have cake and vote, too.

- “What market monetarists want you to believe is that there is no need to worry about fiscal austerity in a liquidity trap, because an independent monetary policy can and will always offset its impact. This is wrong…”

- DeLong: Notes on Trekonomics.

- “The Maoist toolbox into which Xi now seems to reach with increasing frequency when problems occur provides him with few suitable tools for handling many of the complexities of 21st-century economic markets.” Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Days after Greece appeared to escape crashing out of the euro, hawkish German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has put Grexit back on the political agenda, raising tensions in Berlin and across the EU. Speaking before a key Bundestag vote on Friday, Mr Schäuble said voluntary departure from the eurozone “could perhaps be a better way” for Greece than a proposed EUR86bn bailout package. Mr Schäuble’s manoeuvre makes clear he is leaving open a Grexit option, even as he is formally backing the latest rescue plan to keep Greece in the eurozone.

Meanwhile, Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, affirmed his faith in Greece remaining in the euro as the central bank raised its limit on emergency loans to Greek banks by EUR900m. (FT)

In the news Read more

So, Jamie Dimon came to Europe

Fine… he runs JPMorgan Chase, it’s a big bank. What’s so interesting about him getting on a plane?

He went to Amsterdam and hosted a dinner at the fancy Museum van Loon (pictured right) and a group of Dutch executives got invites.

Potential clients had a good dinner, what’s wrong with that?

It took place on June 30 and the chairman of the NL Financial Investments, the independent body that manages the Dutch government’s stakes in companies, including ABN AMRO, attended. His name is Michael Enthoven. Read more

El-Erian: Reaction to an insightful ECB press conference

The writer is Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser to Allianz and chair of US President Barack Obama’s Global Development Council.

Here are three quick takeaways from today’s press conference by the European Central Bank: Read more

Eventually, the ECB will have to make a choice…

Easier than grabbing from the wires, from @ecb:

And on that choice…. This, from RBS’s Alberto Gallo, is timely: Read more

Why you can’t technically default on the IMF

It’s a nuance, but an important nuance.

The IMF isn’t a creditor in the usual sense of the word. It’s a collateralised bilateral swap agent that exists to help countries balance international payment obligations so that they don’t have to start wars, grab resources or asset-strip trade partners when they abuse their trust.

The clue comes in the ‘F’ of the IMF acronym, which of course stands for fund not force.

But even that is a misdirection, since the fund is actually made up of capital commitment quotas, not pre-paid lump sums of capital. Pre-paying would be dumb, you see — a waste of perfectly good capital. What if there’s no crisis to allocate the funds to? That capital just goes to waste, unused. Read more

Markets Live: Thursday, 16th July, 2015

Live markets commentary from 

Insys Therapeutics vs Roddy Boyd

Here’s one to watch from the world of speculative US healthcare: Insys Pharmaceuticals.

A $2.8bn market capitalisation and a stock price chart which, well, apply your gravitational defiant metaphor of choice to the chart on the right.

The chairman, John Kapoor, owns 59 per cent of the stock, with the next two biggest holders Janus, with 5 per cent, and healthcare specialist Consonance Capital with 4 per cent.

On the other side? About 23 per cent of the free float is sold short, according to Markit.

Enter Roddy Boyd of the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation… Read more

Twitter leads suitors

Or, at least, it might according to the ECB’s Huina Mao, Scott Counts and Johan Bollen.

Naturally, this breaks down in China, where Weibo is your friend… Read more

FT Opening Quote – Ofcom suggests BT breakup option

Will anyone have the nerve to break up BT after Ofcom’s tentative suggestion this morning? Anglo American has warned of $3bn-$4bn in writedowns and Dixons Carphone and Sports Direct have announced stonking profits. FT Opening Quote, with commentary by City Editor Jonathan Guthrie, is your early City briefing. You can sign up for the full newsletter here. Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Thursday,

- David Miles looks back.

- History lessons for euro debtors.

- Our new service economy: Hot sauce sommeliers and sandcastle butlersRead more