Bitcoin bounces back; Southern community banks merge

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Moving forward: Deutsche Bank reported second quarter net income of €401 million ($469 million) — down from the year earlier period, but much better than earlier estimates — as it continued cutting expenses. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times

Going up!: The price of bitcoin climbed above $8,000 on Tuesday, its loftiest level in two months. The digital currency has gained more than $2,000 since the end of last month. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times

One reason offered for the improvement is that Bitwise Asset Management Inc., a San Francisco asset manager, has filed an application with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch an exchange traded fund that would track an index of the most popular cybercurrencies. The proposal “is a sign that bitcoin fever isn’t going away anytime soon,” the Wall Street Journal says.

Wall Street Journal

Light at the end of the tunnel: Democrat Dan Berkovitz and Republican Dawn Stump are expected to soon win Senate confirmation to fill two vacant seats on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the paper says, although the vote has yet to be scheduled. If confirmed, the agency would be fully staffed for the first time in four years and would “allow the CFTC to work on some complex rules that had been temporarily shelved by CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo, who has said he wants a full commission to address the issues. Those rules include position limits in derivatives trading.”

Financial Times

M&A day: The southern community bank sector had a busy day Tuesday as three deals were announced. Georgia-based Synovus made a $2.9 billion offer to buy Florida-based FCB Financial. Shares in both banks fell about 10% on the news. Dallas-based Veritex agreed to buy Green Bancorp, another Texas bank, for $1 billion. The deals are “the latest sign dealmaking in the fragmented sector is gathering pace.” And Mississippi-based First Bancshares has agreed to buy FMB Banking in Florida.

New tech chief: Morgan Stanley has hired Sigal Zarmi to head the bank’s technology transformation arm. She had been PwC’s chief information officer.

New York Times

Who’s behind the curtain?: The Main Street Investors Coalition — “a Washington organization that purports to represent the little guy — the retail investor that it says has no voice in corporate America” — actually “has nothing to do with mom-and-pop investors” and is “funded by big business interests that want to diminish the ability of pension funds and large 401(k) plans — where most little guys keep their money — to influence certain corporate governance issues,” the paper says. The National Association of Manufacturers “helped start it and is among its largest funders.”


Strike two?: The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office wants to reopen a criminal case it brought against Barclays that was thrown out by a London court two months ago. "The case centers on agreements between Barclays and Qatari investors during two fundraisings in June and October 2008." As a reault of its dealings with the Qataris, the bank avoided a state bailout, Reuters says. “The SFO is attempting a second bite of the cherry, which could be a high-risk strategy and viewed as a misstep,” said Charles Kuhn, a partner at the law firm Clyde & Co.


“Many hedge funds have been challenged on the performance front and hedge funds also attract the same capital charges as private equity and other equity products that have achieved higher net returns.” — Steve Goulart, chief investment officer at MetLife, which with several other large insurance companies has pulled billions of dollars out of hedge funds over the past several years.

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