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HK billionaire Li Ka-shing's tech fund is Israel’s biggest foreign investor for upstarts
Venture Capital
<p>Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures Ltd, which invests in technology companies such as Facebook, Slack and Spotify, is the biggest source of foreign investment for a number of tech startups in Israel.</p> <p>Citing data from market tracker IVC Research Center, the WSJ says Horizons has invested in at least 28 tech startups in Israel including Corephonotics, designer of dual-lens system for mobile-phone cameras, and Kaiima, a seed-technology company. In fact, startups from Israel now accounts for more than a third of the tech venture-capital fund’s more than 60 portfolio of startups, it says.</p> <p>The latest information comes as no surprise as Li, ranked the second richest man in Asia according to Bloomberg, has been aggressively expanding his empire all over the world. Just this week, Li’s Hutchison Whampoa sealed a deal with Spain’s Telefonica to acquire its British mobile phone unit O2 for 10.25 billion pounds (US$15.3 billion).</p> <p>Hutchison has been active in Israel way ahead of Horizon. Hutchison has established its presence in the country for more than a decade while Horizon, the first major Asian investor to put up money in Israeli tech companies, only did so in 2011, the WSJ says.</p> <p>Hutchison owns stakes in Partner Communications, Israel’s No.2 mobile-phone company, and in SDL Desalination, a water company, the report says.<br /> Photo: Ron Shoshani</p>
Barclay hedge fund index drops 2.45% in August; emerging markets off 10.46% in past 3 months
Hedge Funds
<p>Here's a big whoopee: Hedge funds were down only 2.45% in August compared to a drop of 6.26%  for the S&amp;P 500. Of course, most broad stock market investors weren't paying huge upfront fees.</p> <p>Hedgies took smaller losses than the MSCI emerging markets index. In August the Barclay EM index fell 5.39% vs 9.04% for the MSCI EM index. In the past three months, the MSCI EM index tumbled an impressive 17.55% vs 10.46% for the funds in the Barclay universe.</p> <p>The Barclay Hedge Fund Index compiled by BarclayHedge is hanging on by its nails to a gain for the year, up 0.23%. Here's what the data collector had to say:<br /> “A surprise currency devaluation by the People’s Bank of China on August 11 was interpreted by investors as an indication of a weakening economy, and sparked a global sell-off of risk assets,” says Sol Waksman, founder and president of BarclayHedge.</p> <p>Fifteen of Barclay’s 18 hedge fund indices had losses in August. The Emerging Markets Index dropped 5.39%, its largest loss since May of 2012 when it dropped 5.39%. Emerging Markets have fallen 10.46% in the past three months.</p> <p>“Emerging markets were hit especially hard as concerns of a global slowdown provoked fears of contagion and triggered sell-offs in commodities as well as Asian currencies, credits, and equities," says Waksman.</p> <p>Healthcare &amp; Biotechnology lost 4.38% in August, Distressed Securities fell 4.28%, and the Equity Long Bias Index was down 3.37%.</p> <p>The Equity Short Bias Index was the big winner in August, with an 8.75% gain. Equity Market Neutral was up 0.42%, and Fixed Income Arbitrage added 0.12%.</p> <p>At the end of August, the Healthcare &amp; Biotechnology Index is up 9.96% for the year, Pacific Rim Equities have gained 5.19%, Merger Arbitrage is up 4.74%, and European Equites have gained 4.39%.</p> <p>The Distressed Securities Index has lost 5.63% year to date, Emerging Markets are down 3.15%. and the Event Driven Index has lost 0.53%.</p> <p>The Barclay Fund of Funds Index lost 2.10% in August, but is still up 0.92% in 2015.<br /> Photo: SteFou </p>
Daily Scan: Lockhart says rate hike coming this year; Walker drops out of presidential race
Capital Markets
<p>Updated throughout the day</p> <p>September 21</p> <p>Good evening,</p> <p>Stocks opened up Monday, with the Dow gaining 0.77% by the close. The Nasdaq barely scraped a 0.04% boost, and the S&amp;P 500 added 0.46%. Biotech stocks took a hit after Hillary Clinton tweeted her plan to attack the "price gouging" of specialty drug makers. Oil added more than 3%, closing above $46/barrel. Both commodities and dollar rebounded overnight despite disappointment that the Federal Reserve refrained from raising interest rates last week. December, that's the ticket, traders have decided. And we're off to another stretch of "Will they or Won't They?" -- the ongoing reality central bank show.</p> <p>Here’s what else you need to know:</p> <p>Volkswagen under criminal probe for lying to EPA. The company admitted that it tricked the Environmental Protection Agency so its diesel vehicles would pass emission tests. The Hill</p> <p>Rate hike coming this year. Really. So says Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart in a speech Monday. "“I put most of [last week’s] decision weight on prudent risk management around recent and current market volatility. As things settle down, I will be ready for the first policy move on the path to a more normal interest-rate environment." Lockhart is a voting member on the Federal Open Market Committee. MarketWatch</p> <p>And then there were 15. Scott Walker is dropping out of the Republican presidential race. Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, entered the race as a front runner in July, but was quickly hurt by his mediocre performance during the two Republican debates. In a weekend poll, Walker didn't even register 0.5% of support from GOP primary voters. CNN</p> <p>CEOs won't make the best presidents. That's what JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon says. Corporate CEOs have some leadership qualities similar to running a country, but politics are best left to the politicians. "When I go to Washington, I don't walk away saying, 'It's terrible,'" he says. "I'm saying, 'my God, they're dealing with some really complex stuff, and it's not that easy to do.'" US News</p> <p>Home sales drop. August posted a more drastic drop in home sales in the U.S. than expected. The 4.8% fall to 5.31 million units is still up more than 6% from a year ago. Economists had predicted 5.5 million annualized in August, down from 5.59 million in July. Reuters</p> <p>Big read: The bond market is bigger and more fragile than ever, contends a new series. It's bigger than ever-- $39.5 trillion. And in more hands of individual investors. And now the Fed is getting ready to throw a monkey wrench into this little growth machine: higher interest rates. Wall Street Journal (paywall)</p> <p>The Pope meets Fidel Castro. After addressing tens of thousands in Revolution Square, the Pope had an informal meeting with the ailing Cuban revolutionary. The pair exchanged books. BBC</p>
Video: Money managers still positive about 2015
Capital Markets
<p>Despite the market volatility, issues in Europe, and problems in China, the money managers on this week's Wall Street Week are still positive about the end of 2015. The fundamentals of the economy are still strong, and investors shouldn't be too shaken about the end of August market dip, says Steve Tananbaum, founder of GoldenTree Asset Management. "We went a long time without a correction and we were due," he says. Investment firms need to preempt conversations with clients to ease their fears and keep their investments on track, says Mary Deatherage, Morgan Stanley financial advisor.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Why this China ETF should keep working
Asset Management
<p>Over the past month, exchange-traded funds tracking Chinese A-shares, stocks trading on the mainland of the world's second-largest economy, figure prominently on the top 10 list of worst-performing non-leveraged ETFs.</p> <p>Of course, that is good news for the Direxion Daily CSI 300 China A Share Bear 1X Shares(NYSE: CHAD), a fund that has been highlighted multiple times in this space over the past two months.</p> <p>With Friday's gain of about 2.4 percent, CHAD is up nearly 7 percent over the past month and more than 21 percent over the past 90 days. Those are not staggering gains, but remember CHAD is not a leveraged ETF. In a perfect world, when China's widely followed CSI 300 Index falls 1 percent on a particular day, CHAD should rise by the same amount.<br /> What It Means<br /> As A-shares have tumbled in recent months, ...</p> <p>Full story available on Benzinga.com</p> <p>Photo: Dhi</p>
Video: St. Louis Fed prez says October rate hike is on the table but not a shoo-in
Capital Markets
<p>In an interview with CNBC, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard says an October rate hike is possible. "[But] the problem with going from one meeting to the next is how much information has really changed," he said Monday on Squawk Box. Bullard also said the September decision was a "close call."</p> <p>Bullard, who is not a voting member of the FOMC, says he would have voted against standing pat on rates this month.</p>
Video: The rise of the private IPO
Venture Capital
<p>Frederic Kerrest, COO and Co-Founder, of Okta, a unicorn and red-hot identity management company, sat down with Fortune journalist Dan Primack and Anand Sanwal, CEO and Co-Founder of CB Insights, the venture capital research company. First question: Would you invest in an index comprised of unicorns? How would you answer?</p>
What commodity status means for Bitcoin
FinTech
<p>It’s official, Bitcoin is now a commodity after getting the nod from the US Commodity Future trading Commision (CFTC) last week. But what does that mean?</p> <p>The ruling came in the form of a slap on the wrist for US startup Coinflip, which was alleged to have allowed users to trade options based on bitcoin via its platform; Derivabit. By ruling that Bitcoin is a commodity, the CFTC brought Coinflip under its purview.</p> <p>On the plus side this extra oversight can help clean up trade in Bitcoin, and bring the crypto-currency even closer to legitimacy. It also means less chance of blow ups like Mt. Gox, the Japanese bitcoin trading platform that lost 850,000 Bitcoins (then worth $500 million) when it imploded early last year.</p> <p>At the same time Bitcoin startups can expect greater pressure from regulators, which means the cost of doing business with Bitcoin could creep higher. Here is what Aitan Goelman, the CFTC’s Director of Enforcement, had to say:<br /> “While there is a lot of excitement surrounding Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, innovation does not excuse those acting in this space from following the same rules applicable to all participants in the commodity derivatives markets.”<br /> Photo: BTC Keychain</p>
UK asset managers are not happy with Yellen
Asset Management
<p>While fund managers in the U.S. were a little more simpatico with Janet Yellen’s decision to keep rates on hold, across the pond, British money runners were apparently not that happy.</p> <p>According to the Financial Times, several U.K.-based asset managers found the Fed’s recent decision not only “frustrating,” but also a blow to the central bank’s creditability.</p> <p>Luca Paolini, Pictet’s chief strategist, said that by keeping the status quo, the Fed has only made things worse: “The uncertainty is worse than a rate hike. A Fed hike could have been a major turning point for emerging markets. Now the concerns about global growth will intensify.”</p> <p>Kevin Adams and Kevin O’Nolan meanwhile both agreed that the move was “pretty frustrating,” with Adams – head of institutional fixed income at Henderson – adding that it “massively undermines [the Fed’s] credibility,” while O’Nolan – a portfolio manager at Fidelity – stated that this just means that “uncertainty [over emerging markets] will remain.”</p> <p>And they do have a point. While the buyside did push spoos higher after the announcement, fear and loathing eventually overcame the equity markets and bathed it in a sea of red. The only things bidding up right now are safe havens such as the swissie, the yen, and gold. Heck, even the euro – a currency not known for its stability and virtue – actually managed to post some gains.</p> <p>All is not lost however. While it did spike January Fed fund rates after she insisted on a 2015 rate hike, the market still hasn’t voted against Yellen in a real way. So while things may get a little choppy, it could be much worse.</p> <p>Her belief in the Phillips Curve should be of some concern though.<br /> Photo: Brookings Institute</p>
Hong Kong Cyberport startups scoop UK fintech awards
FinTech
<p>Five start-ups based in Hong Kong technology hub Cyberport clinched prizes at  the UK Trade &amp; Investment (UKTI) Fintech Awards 2015 last week. The event - attended by The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of the City of London Alan Yarrow -was intended to promote links between London's burgeoning fintech industry and Asia.</p> <p>UKTI says  the UK fintech market is now worth about 20 billion pounds ($31 billion) in annual revenue, making it the fastest growing fintech industry in the world by deal volume. In all two grand prizes, and three runner-up merit prizes, were awarded. The grand prize winners were given a 5-day trip to London and Manchester with business class flights and accommodation. They also bagged three months free co-working space at WeWork in London and free access to the global innovation conference "Innovate UK" in London. All winners will get to have dinner with British Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macau at the Consul General’s Residence with VIPs from UK and Hong Kong financials institutions.</p> <p>Here are the winners in full:</p> <p>Grand Prize </p> <p>  Lattice -  A capital-markets fintech company, focusing on developing front-office portfolio decision-support platform. <br />  Ironfly Technologies -  A combined order and execution management system for equities and equity derivatives.</p> <p>Merit Prize</p> <p> Argentum Code -  An information technology company developing innovative open accounting products.<br /> Bitspark -  An end to end money transfer platform leveraging Bitcoin.<br /> Innopage -   The company behind stock portfolio management app Ticker.</p> <p>Photo: UKTI</p>