US prosecutors are investigating whether North Korea orchestrated the theft of $81 million from a Bangladeshi account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, sources say. Chinese middlemen reportedly will be the target if charges are filed.
Stock markets were mixed Friday in Asia-Pacific after the postponement of a health care vote that investors see as a test of whether President Donald Trump can implement his agenda. Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.9%; Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.1%; Australia's S&P/ASX rose 0.8%; China's Shanghai Composite added 0.6%; South Korea's Kospi gave up 0.2%; and India's Sensex was up 0.3%.
US investor optimism is at the highest level since November 2000, at the end of the tech boom, according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index. The benchmark is at 126 for the first quarter, a 30-point increase from Q4's reading.
The Securities and Exchange Commission's money market rules are achieving their objectives, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report. The rules dictate that prime institutional money market funds, which invest in short-term corporate debt, and institutional municipal money market funds could no longer maintain a consistent $1 share price but must fluctuate to reflect the true value of underlying holdings.
The derivatives industry needs guidance from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on how to address conflicts of interest that confront swap-execution facilities, said CFTC member Sharon Bowen. The issue is one of several that will be addressed in a corporate-governance proposal that Bowen plans to submit this year to acting Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo, she said.
BlackRock's iShares has brought to NYSE Arca an exchange-traded fund buying equities of companies with small, middle and large capitalization in developed economies outside the US. The iShares Core MSCI International Developed Markets ETF selects investments from the MSCI World ex USA Investable Market Index.
The EU's equivalence regime will not work for Britain and should be adapted to accommodate the financial hub, says Gerard Rameix, head of France's financial-market regulator.
The outcome of Brexit negotiations and the pound's performance are intertwined, says Ben Broadbent, deputy governor for monetary policy at the Bank of England. "It's possible Brexit won't be as bad as foreign exchange markets believe ... if the government succeeds in negotiating a free agreement with the EU and opening up trade with non-EU countries," Broadbent said.
The collapse of a central counterparty could result in losses for buy-side clearing firms, says Elke Koenig, head of the Resolution Steering Group at the Financial Stability Board. "There is clearly no miracle wand to make losses disappear," she said.
Eton Park Capital Management founder Eric Mindich is closing the $7 billion hedge fund because of poor performance, which he says has "challenged our ability to continue to maintain the scale and scope we believe necessary to pursue our investment program." The number of hedge funds in operation is the lowest since 2012, according to Hedge Fund Research.