The Man Behind China’s Circuit Breaker Gets Grilled (WSJ)
At an emergency meeting convened by China’s cabinet Thursday, the country’s top securities regulator, Xiao Gang, was in the hot seat. The meeting, in the walled Zhongnanhai compound where China’s top leaders live and where few ordinary Chinese have ever set foot, Mr. Xiao was being grilled on an invention he had championed, a circuit-breaker to prevent a free fall in Chinese stocks and protect investors, according to people with knowledge of the gathering. Ironically, the opposite had just happened. The automated trading halt had made a selloff worse as investors raced for the exits when it looked set to kick in. Trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange lasted only 29 minutes Thursday, the shortest day in the stock market’s 25 years.
Currency Devaluations by Asian Tigers Could Hinder Global Growth (Dealbook)
China’s decision to push the value of its currency lower has opened a new front of worry for global investors: a potential wave of currency devaluations among the so-called Asian tigers — South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. Such an outcome, say a number of foreign exchange specialists, would put a further damper on global growth expectations, which already are being revised downward as China’s once-booming economy retrenches.
Preposterous Rings True to Hedge Funders at ‘Billions’ Premiere (Bloomberg)
“I was sitting on the edge of my seat a third of the time," said Michael Karsch, chief executive officer and founder of Hunter Peak Investments. “I was really intrigued, really riveted by it."
Ratings Agencies Still Coming Up Short, Years After Crisis (Dealbook)
Eight years after these companies were found to have put profits ahead of principle when they assigned high grades to low-quality debt securities, some of the same dubious practices continue to infect their operations. That’s the message in the most recent regulatory report on the companies from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Father And Son Dress In Drag, Rob Convenience Store (HP)
A father-son duo armed dressed as elderly women last year to rob a convenience store in Leeds, England. Talk about family bonding. Then 17-year-old Declan Pick wheeled his 38-year-old father Martin into the store. In a scheme that seems more like sketch comedy than serious robbery, the pair disguised themselves in wigs and overcoats, clutching handbags. Seconds after entering, Grandma Martin jumped up from the wheelchair, whipping out a shotgun that had concealed in his lap, under a blanket. The store owner chased them out, and the entire fiasco was caught on tape. A Leeds County Court sentenced Martin Pick on Wednesday to 18 years in prison. Martin's brother Mark, who manned the getaway car, was also sentenced to 16 years.
Mohamed El-Erian: THIS dwarfs worries about China (CNBC)
The bigger issue for financial markets is that central banks are running out of ammo, the Allianz chief economic adviser told CNBC. "Markets are realizing that central banks can no longer repress financial volatility. And they are repricing to new volatility paradigm," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview. To that end, any shocks to the markets will take longer to reverse themselves, said El-Erian, former Pimco co-CEO. "What we're going to see is every time something happens in the world it's going to take longer to restore stability. That's what we're seeing with China today.
Strong U.S. Job Growth Defies Global Pressures (WSJ)
Nonfarm payrolls increased a seasonally adjusted 292,000 in December, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate, obtained through a separate survey, held steady at 5% last month. The unemployment rate hasn’t been below that mark since 2007.
SNB Suffers Record 23 Billion-Franc Loss on Strong Currency (Bloomberg)
While the SNB doesn’t need to generate a profit for monetary-policy purposes, municipalities have come to rely on an annual handout from the central bank to fund local spending. Their circumstances are already straitened by slower economic growth, brought on by the currency’s ascent from the cap of 1.20 per euro to about 1.09 now.
Massage owner unknowingly helps police bust prostitution ring at his own business (Fox6)
Police say the investigation started after $300 went missing at the massage parlor. According to a criminal complaint, John Sherman went to police in April, to say he was missing $300 from his business "Oriental Massage." Police tracked down a suspect, but had no idea it would lead to a massive investigation...Landry says the thief turned informant told police he stole the money after a massage parlor employee took money from him following a sex act. The man told police customers were getting more than just a massage at "Oriental Massage."