Tag Archives: Markets coverage
by Chris Roush
The Wall Street Journal‘s “Heard on the Street” department is looking for two new staffers — an Asia editor to be based in Hong Kong and a tech columnist to be based in New York.
In an email to the staff, co-deputy editoers David Reilly and Liam Denning write, “Please feel free to forward to folks you think might be interested, internally or externally. For those interested in applying, please email Heard co-editors Liam Denning and David Reilly — firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com –with a cover letter, resume and clips.
Editor, Heard on the Street, Asia
Heard on the Street is looking for an energetic and ambitious Hong-Kong-based editor and columnist to lead its Asia team. The position involves commissioning, writing, and editing incisive financial commentary for all editions of The Wall Street Journal, Newswires and WSJ.com.
The successful candidate will have a front-row seat for one of the most important news stories of the day. China’s rapid economic development has been staggering and its companies are among the most powerful in the world. Japan’s economy is at a critical point as the government seeks to implement “Abenomics” and the country remains home to some of the world’s biggest brands. Meanwhile, countries ranging from established leaders such as South Korea to frontier economies such as Myanmar offer a wealth of companies and themes for the Heard to identify and explore.
Candidates should be deeply analytical and able to take a reported view on complex topics. The ability to work under tight deadlines and on a wide range of topics is critical, as is a high level of financial and economic literacy. The successful candidate needs to be comfortable building sources at the very highest levels and should relish setting the agenda on corporate and financial stories.
As Asia Editor for the Heard, the candidate would lead a regional team of columnists, forming an integral part of the global Heard team. The candidate would be expected to plan coverage of the region’s most important financial topics and work with columnists to develop their stories and skills, as well as liaise with Heard teams elsewhere to add Asian input to columns on global themes. In addition, he or she will champion the Heard brand in Asia.
Tech Columnist, Heard on the Street, New York
Heard on the Street is looking for an energetic and ambitious New York-based tech columnist to join its global team. The position involves writing incisive financial commentary for all editions of the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and on WSJ.com.
Candidates should be deeply analytical and able to take a reported view on complex topics. The ability to work under tight deadlines and on a wide range of topics is critical, as is a high level of financial and economic literacy. The successful candidate needs to be comfortable building sources at the highest levels and should relish setting the agenda on corporate and financial stories.
In this role, the candidate would be responsible for coverage of the technology sector from a HEARD perspective. Familiarity with that industry’s key topics, biggest companies, emerging trends in mobile, social media and the Internet, financial and valuation metrics, as well as a strong set of relevant sources are a must. The beat touches on a wide variety of companies and areas ranging from software to hardware to social networking to Big Data.
The Heard columnist must be able to write authoritative analysis of news and developments at companies and within the broad tech sector. The ideal candidate will have several years of experience as a reporter or columnist, or a background in finance and strong writing ability.
by Chris Roush
Josh Brown, who blogs about the financial markets at The Reformed Broker, writes about how the biggest player in the bond market has turned against the financial media.
Brown writes, “The Bond Kings have it in their heads that the media is spinning a false narrative about the riskiness of the bond market and driving investors out of fixed income funds…
“Here’s Doug Hodge, the COO at PIMCO, as quoted by CNBC yesterday:
“In the aftermath of the financial crisis,the media—which play a large role in setting the tone of the markets and the psyche of investors—went from being cheerleaders for bonds, stressing their virtues and role in maintaining a diversified portfolio, to romancing the notion that bonds are riskier than stocks.”
“There’s some truth to it, but the very same media did the opposite for the prior ten years – it obsessed over the risks for equities and drove a trillion dollars into bond funds, the prime beneficiary of this largesse being none other than PIMCO itself.
“The financial media is not a toy to be used and discarded as you please. It is very serious about itself and it will swing its big, fat pendulum extraordinarily far in both directions – too far, eventually – thank you very much. This is how it works. We have some money with PIMCO and I have a great deal of respect for that firm. They are the largest bond manager, so I use them as an example here.
“The media was absolutely culpable in both the creation of the Bond Kings mythology as well as the notion that plowing huge chunks of one’s portfolio into low-yielding investments with interest rates having no eventual direction but up was somehow safe. At the top of the bond market earlier this year, investors were actually paying the government, in real terms, to hold onto their cash – and there’s no question that the media was somewhat culpable in feeding into the idea that this was somehow ‘conservative.’”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Lawrence Delevingne, whose last day at work at Absolute Return was Tuesday, has been hired by CNBC.com as a staff writer.
Delevingne, who had been covering hedge funds for Absolute Return, will cover a broader “big money” beat at CNBC, he posted on Twitter.
He starts at CNBC.com next week.
Prior to journalism, Delevingne worked in communications, specializing in corporate responsibility at Burson Marsteller. He holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
At Georgetown, he studied international affairs, focusing on Africa.
by Liz Hester
While it’s debatable, the biggest business story Thursday was the three-hour trading halt at Nasdaq Stock Market.
The Wall Street Journal called the problem “unprecedented” for a U.S. exchange, leaving many to wonder what exactly is happening:
A technical glitch knocked out trading in all Nasdaq Stock Market securities for three hours Thursday afternoon, an unprecedented meltdown for a U.S. exchange that paralyzed a broad swath of markets and highlighted the fragility of the financial world’s electronic backbone.
Nasdaq officials scrambled to figure out what happened and resume trading. They shared few of their findings with trading firms or the public during regular trading hours, sowing confusion across Wall Street and leaving many investors frustrated.
The decision to reopen trading with about 35 minutes to go before the close came after exchange officials were sure that banks and brokers had enough time to prepare for securities to trade again, people familiar with the discussions said. Some hiccups persisted after Nasdaq reopened trading, though Nasdaq told traders that the markets closed normally Thursday.
“Our systems, and the industry’s, have to get to a higher level of robustness,” said Robert Greifeld, chief executive of Nasdaq parent Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., in an interview.
Nasdaq said it plans to work with other exchanges to investigate Thursday’s outage, which centered on a problem with the data feed supplying U.S. markets with trade information, and supports “any necessary steps to enhance the platform.”
Nasdaq officials internally pointed to a “connectivity” problem with rival NYSE Arca, according to people familiar with the matter, that led to price quotes not being reported. Nasdaq officials say their technicians should have been able to manage the problems and avoid the halt. A person close to NYSE Euronext said the exchange was confident that regulators will review the outage thoroughly.
The beginning of Bloomberg’s story chose to focus on the names that trade on the exchange and the volume that was lost:
Many of the country’s most-traded shares, from Apple Inc. (AAPL) to Intel Corp. and Facebook Inc., ground to a virtual standstill as brokers were unable to execute customer orders. Nasdaq equity indexes didn’t update during the outage and volume in stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange also dwindled as liquidity dried up around the country.
“The real fear is that we get stuck wearing some kind of risk because of an interruption that is not of our doing,” Max Breier, a senior equity derivatives trader at BMO Capital Markets Corp. in New York, said in a phone interview. “Any halt in information or ability to trade is going to hinder our ability to manage our risk and take positions.”
The malfunction in the data feed system known as the securities industry processor was fixed in the first 30 minutes and a regulatory halt for all Nasdaq-listed securities was issued to “protect the integrity of the markets,” Nasdaq said in a statement after the close of trading.
The New York Times story offered this context about how often trading glitches happen and how the increasing reliance on technology can sometimes cause problems:
The breakdown came just two days after Goldman Sachs accidentally sent out a barrage of errant trades that disrupted the exchanges where options are bought and sold. The two episodes have amplified questions about the reliability and integrity of financial markets that companies depend on to raise money and Americans trust with their retirement savings.
More than a year ago, the eagerly awaited market debut of Facebook shares was marred by a delay and technical problems. In May 2010, computer malfunctions were blamed for the “flash crash” when a flurry of stocks plunged to $1 or less and the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted more than 700 points in a matter of minutes.
While regulators and market participants have taken several steps to strengthen their systems, the problems this week suggest that the flaws in the markets have not been repaired, and may actually be getting worse.
The persistence of technical flaws — each seemingly coming from a different part of the system — has been blamed on the complexity of the trading technology and the fragmentation of the market itself. In contrast to the days when the New York Stock Exchange competed only with the Nasdaq, today there are 13 public exchanges competing in a fast-changing and low-margin business.
The USA Today story chose to focus on the reputational risk that Nasdaq faces as trading was halted:
The question is whether this latest issue may cause problems with Nasdaq as it courts traders to use the system and young companies to list their shares at the exchange. Problems have periodically plagued the Nasdaq. Most recently, there were trading problems with the initial public offering of Facebook in May 2012. Nasdaq was widely panned for its handling of the IPO, which opened with delays and caused errors with trading and quote systems.
Nasdaq OMX, the company that operates the Nasdaq exchange, had become synonymous with bringing high-tech to the markets. Its reputation as a technologically advanced exchange helped it lure top tech firms to trade there, including Microsoft, Intel and most recently, Facebook.
It’s premature to say that Nasdaq’s business will take a hit from the latest problem, (Gaston Ceron, analyst at Morningstar) Ceron says. Nasdaq isn’t the only exchange that has had problems. The Flash Crash of 2010, when the Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 1,000 points, dragged down all U.S. markets in about 15 minutes before recovering.
While it might be early to tell the repercussions, it does seem that Nasdaq’s track record as the scrappy exchange with the best technology is slowly eroding as problems occur. It might not have cost Wall Street firms a lot of money, but what about the person looking to sell stock for a down payment on a home or to pay bills? Obviously not the end of the world, but it’s definitely yet another blow to investors’ confidence – one that’s likely not needed.
by Chris Roush
Lauren Tara LaCapra of Reuters reports that Bloomberg LP will appoint an ombudsman and create a task force to review the way the company gathers news after a report confirmed its journalists routinely looked at client information intended for customer support employees.
LaCapra writes, “The report, which Bloomberg commissioned and released on Wednesday, found that journalists could gain access to data including clients’ log-in history, contact information and messages that customers left when they were moving firms.
“Reporters could also get into anonymous chat rooms set up for commodities traders, who were never explicitly told that journalists could see their chats, according to the report from consulting firm Promontory Financial Group and law firm Hogan Lovells.
“While the practice of journalists getting access to client data and chat rooms raised questions among some customers, it is not illegal.
“Bloomberg blocked reporter access to the data in April 2013 after a customer complained.
“A separate review by Clark Hoyt, a former public editor at the New York Times, also commissioned by Bloomberg and released on Wednesday focused on recommendations to ensure the company’s commercial and news gathering operations were sufficiently independent.”
Read more here.
by Liz Hester
The latest hedge fund manager to come under fire from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is Harbinger Capital Partners’ Phil Falcone. What’s different about this civil settlement is the admission of “wrong doing,” something that hasn’t typically occurred in the past.
Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal:
Hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone admitted wrongdoing as part of a civil settlement with securities regulators, a landmark in the government’s new drive to push defendants to acknowledge their bad behavior.
As part of the settlement, disclosed Monday, Mr. Falcone and his hedge-fund firm, Harbinger Capital Partners, will pay more than $18 million and Mr. Falcone will be banned from the securities industry for at least five years.
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White said after taking office earlier this year that she wanted more defendants to have to admit wrongdoing. Monday’s civil settlement marks the first time an individual or firm has made such an admission in a deal with the SEC, except in cases where they had previously pleaded guilty in a criminal proceeding or been criminally convicted.
The settlement was the resolution of two civil lawsuits filed by the SEC against Mr. Falcone and Harbinger last year. The suits alleged, in part, that they had duped investors about a $113 million personal loan Mr. Falcone took out from a Harbinger fund to pay his own taxes, even as other investors in the fund were prevented from pulling their money. They also accused Mr. Falcone of manipulating the bond prices of MAAX Holdings, Inc., now called MAAX Corp., a maker of bathroom fixtures.
While this might be the first admission of guilt under the new SEC chairman, the New York Times reported that this may not be the last time:
The new, tougher terms reflect a wider policy change that Ms. White outlined this year, aiming to shift the burden of admission of guilt onto the defendant, overturning a longstanding policy of allowing defendants to “neither admit nor deny” wrongdoing.
The agreement on Monday sets a potential precedent for the regulator, which is busy with investigations involving JPMorgan Chase and the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors.
While going after a hedge fund manager is different than pressing a giant bank, the agency is said to be to seeking an admission of wrongdoing from JPMorgan in a settlement over a multibillion-dollar trading loss last at a bank unit in London, in an episode known as the London Whale.
“This is evidence of a tougher policy,” John C. Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University, said about Monday’s settlement. “This is a case where the S.E.C. should have been greatly embarrassed by original settlement.
Bloomberg said that Falcone will be able to work at a publicly traded company, a concession likely extracted during negotiations:
The settlement, in which the SEC described Falcone and his funds as acting “recklessly,” is pending approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The settlement marks the first use of the new policy under White to seek admissions of fault in some cases. At the same time, it doesn’t bar Falcone from working as an officer or director of a public company, and doesn’t include an injunction barring him from future violations of securities laws.
Ceresney said in May the SEC would better tailor injunctions to the misconduct observed in specific cases.
“So it’s possible there was more than the usual horse-trading in this settlement, where the SEC gave up some of its usual relief in exchange for setting the precedent for admissions of wrongdoing,” said Russell G. Ryan, a former SEC enforcement attorney and now a partner in Washington at King & Spalding LLP.
The agreement is a “step in the right direction” because it shows the SEC can carry out White’s policy, said James Cox, a professor at Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina, who specializes in securities law. Banning Falcone from the industry for five years, instead of simply fining him, constitutes “real repercussions.”
“Where we are more likely to see cases like this are in the investment-adviser and broker-dealer, market-professional areas, where the damages are more confined and contained, and the fear of mega-liability and private suits is more limited,” Cox said.
MarketWatch wrote in a commentary piece that while the admission of guilt and the ban were stricter than usual penalties, it likely wasn’t enough to actually kill Falcone’s career:
Upon return (and yes, odds are he will, see Frank Quattrone and more), Falcone will have a fresh start if he wants it. You don’t run what was once a $26 billion investment fund without making enough friends to get you back in the game. Unlike Fuld, Falcone’s alleged wrongdoings didn’t help bring down the financial system — it just may have ripped off a few clients.
It’s that possibility that will make this settlement tough to take for fair market enthusiasts. Until penalties are harsh enough, it’s hard to believe future Falcones will check their behavior. Falcone, it can be guessed, knows it.
“I believe putting these issues behind me now is the best course of action for me and our investors,” he said in a statement.
In other words Falcone isn’t getting away with it, but in time, he can come back.
I’m not so sure about that. It would be a huge risk for any public company to have him as a board member or a director after admitting to violating securities laws. As he liquidates his hedge fund, that money will obviously be reinvested in other funds and locations, making it potentially difficult for him to get new capital in five years when the restrictions are lifted. While I know his track record is one of success, I find it hard to believe that investors will be willing to put money with him again simply because the risk to their reputations would be so great.
by Chris Roush
Rob Cox, the editor of Reuters Breakingviews, sent out the following staff announcement on Monday:
I’m pleased to announce some exciting organizational changes that will further strengthen Reuters Breakingviews’ coverage of global finance.
• In Hong Kong, we are pleased that Una Galani will assume the new role of Asia corporate finance columnist starting in September. Una, who joined Breakingviews in 2006, has spent the past few years in Dubai covering the economy and financial markets of the Middle East in the immediate aftermath of the Arab uprisings. Her assignments have taken her to Egypt, Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Previously she wrote on mergers and acquisitions, mining, and media from London, where she received a commendation in the category of Young Financial Journalist at the Harold Wincott Awards for 2009.
• Also moving to the Breakingviews team in Asia is Ethan Bilby, who joins from the Brussels bureau of Reuters where he has spent the past year covering foreign affairs, trade and investment. He recently delivered a series of exclusives about growing trade tensions between the EU and China. Ethan completed Reuters graduate trainee program and is a fluent Mandarin speaker, which will serve him well as a corporate China columnist, backing up Peter Thal Larsen in Hong Kong and John Foley in Beijing from later this month.
• In London, Swaha Pattanaik begins this month as markets columnist. Swaha has covered financial markets and policy making for almost two decades in Europe. As financial markets editor for EMEA, she has most recently overseen Reuters forex, bonds and stock market teams in the region. Swaha brings a wealth of insight and experience to our markets coverage at a time of significant financial, economic and regulatory change. I am personally delighted to once again be working with Swaha after a near-20 year hiatus.
• Also in London, after a year-long stint as a research assistant, Viktoria Dendrinou is joining our writing team to cover macroeconomics while also continuing to support the production desk. Viktoria has written regularly on macroeconomics and the euro zone crisis. In her new role, she will also support the production desk in London while continuing to write views both on economics and more broadly.
• I am pleased to welcome Kevin Allison stateside, where next month he will become a corporate columnist looking after consumer and industrial companies and commodities from Chicago, a major global center for the commodities industry. Kevin has written about the scramble for natural resources since joining us in London in 2011. Prior to that, Kevin worked at a bank and as a reporter and Lex columnist for the Financial Times in London and San Francisco.
• Finally, Fiona Maharg-Bravo returns to Madrid as a part-time columnist covering Spain after a year out in California. I have had the pleasure of working with Fiona since she joined Breakingviews in London in 2003 after a stint in investment banking and after receiving the Nico Colchester Fellowship at the Financial Times.
By strategically deploying our people in the world’s most important financial capitals, and by cycling talent from news to agenda-setting opinion, these moves position Breakingviews for even greater success in the months and years ahead. Please join me in congratulating these colleagues on their new roles as we continue our work to provide high-value global analytical financial commentary to Reuters customers around the world.
Unrelated to these changes, I want to let you know that Agnes Crane has decided to leave Reuters after four years for a buy-side opportunity. Please join me in thanking Agnes, and watch for an update on our capital markets coverage in the coming weeks.
It’s the first major personnel reorganization at Reuters Breakingviews since Cox took over in December.
by Chris Roush
The Financial Times announced Monday the appointment of Robert Armstrong as head of Lex, the flagship daily opinion column available to premium FT.com subscribers and located on the back page of the newspaper.
Armstrong assumes this role with immediate effect and in January 2014 will relocate from New York to London, where he will manage Lex’s renowned team of columnists based throughout the globe.
“Robert brings clear and practical knowledge of global companies and markets,” said Lionel Barber, editor of the FT, in a statement. “He has already been instrumental in shaping the most respected business column in the world. His appointment ensures that the FT’s financial commentary will remain sharp and indispensable across all platforms, especially as Lex enters the next phase of digital development.”
“Since joining the FT in 2011, Armstrong has served as U.S. Lex editor and U.S. Lex columnist, focusing on US technology, health care and consumer goods companies. Prior to this, he was a senior columnist at Dow Jones Investment Banker and an equities securities analyst at Seminole Capital Partners.”
by Chris Roush
Investor Doug Kass, who is a contributor to CNBC, tells the New York Post that the business media is in danger of misleading many investors.
Claire Atkinson of The Post writes, “He was particularly irked about the reporting surrounding Icahn’s Apple position, which helped push up the stock, and he was disappointed by outsize coverage of Omega Advisors’ 31,000-share Apple buy this quarter.
“‘My criticism is of the entire media business. The reason I point this out is because the small investor piles in when Apple is up 10 percent. It’s caveat emptor, but the poor lemmings pay top dollar.’
“Kass went so far as to email CNBC’s ‘Halftime Report’ host, Scott Wapner, who’s been in the thick of things, to complain about the coverage.
“Omega boss Leon Cooperman was on the air last week discussing his view that Apple stock was cheap.
“Kass blasted Wapner with an email headlined: ‘Lee purchased only 31,000 shares of APPLE!’ He wrote: ‘I think your emphasis on Apple/Omega is hyperbolic and in the interests of good reporting you should quantify the importance of his Apple buy.’
“Kass says he’d like to see reporters show how significant — or insignificant — such positions really are when viewed against the backdrop of total funds under management.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Michael Teague of Equities.com writes about the latest overused buzzford in financial journalism.
Teague writes, “But clichés can metastasize beyond their descriptive purpose, and financial journalism and commentary are no less replete with examples than any other faction of the media. This is especially evident in instances where a particular turn of phrase has become so in vogue, so thoroughly over-used by so many different people that it almost becomes meaningless.
“Presently, the best example of this is the word ‘taper.” Shortly after stocks began their epic ascent at the start of the year, investors began to worry that the Federal Reserve would get the idea that the economy was improving, and that the time might well be nigh for it to put an end to its $85 billion-dollars in monthly bond purchases. For the Central Bank to do this all at once would clearly be disastrous, however, and so the end of quantitative easing had to be a gradual process, a ‘tapering.’
“This is not to say that many other terms are not also being used to describe the Fed’s inevitable and unenviable task of weaning the economy off of its support. ‘Drawing down,’ ‘winding down,’ and ‘pulling back’ are all commonly used as well; it’s just that ‘taper’ has emerged the official word. And while just about everyone who follows stocks probably knows that ‘taper’ refers to a process of gradually reducing asset purchases, there is an implicit connotation to the word that makes it particularly suited to its task. Indeed, the word ‘taper’ is often used by addicts to describe the gradual process of reducing one’s depedence on a drug.
“So it may not be an accident that ‘taper’ has become the preferred expression, as it is a nicer way of saying that that financial markets are going to have to go through a process of withdrawal from their dependence on the Federal Reserve’s open wallet. This also puts the pun ‘taper tanrum’ into perspective, as we are likely familiar with that scene in the movie, itself perhaps a cliche, in which a character frantically tears his or her house/apartment to bits looking for their stash, like Frank Sinatra’s character in ‘The Man With The Golden Arm.’”
Read more here.
- See more at: http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/economy-markets/wall-street/the-cliches-of-late-financial-journalism#sthash.ZXKwIoMz.dpuf