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Opalesque Futures Intelligence

News Briefs: Renaissance Technologies, Carbon permits and more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Renaissance Liked Goldman, Annaly

Renaissance Technologies held relatively big positions in certain financial firms in the midst of the financial sector meltdown in the first quarter of the year, according to the most recent holdings report. Financial stocks bounced back strongly in the rally since early March.

Among Renaissance's holdings were Annaly Capital Management Inc. – an asset manager – and Goldman Sachs. The hedge fund also had positions in pharmaceutical companies Abbot Labs and Wyeth and tech companies Apple and Google. Energy giant ConocoPhillips and tobacco biggie Lorillard Inc. were other stand-outs in the portfolio as of March 31st.

Renaissance, with around $20 billion in total assets, is possibly the largest quantitative shop with a short-term trading orientation.

US Carbon Permit Plan Proceeds

A cap-and-trade bill that is the first step in creating national carbon allowance trading and related futures markets is moving through Congress. Last week President Barack Obama praised Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and sponsor of the bill, for having “brought together stakeholders from all corners of the country – and every sector of our economy – to reach an historic agreement on comprehensive energy legislation.”

Controversy rages, however, as to whether the newly created emission permits should be given away free or auctioned.

Las Vegas Commodity Pool Operator Charged with Fraud

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission got a court order freezing the assets of Gordon Driver and his Las Vegas-based companies Axcess Automation and Axcess Fund Management. The regulator says Mr. Driver fraudulently solicited commodity pool participants, misappropriated funds, and issued false statements in a $13.5 million fraud involving more than 100 participants in the US and Canada.

MF Global Disagrees with Verdict

Futures brokerage MF Global says it will appeal a UK judge's decision with regard to Parabola Investments, even though insurance will cover most of £20 million in damages the judge ordered the firm to pay a plaintiff. The case involves a broker who joined MF Global through an acquisition in 2001 and that year misrepresented a client's account performance and balance.

The firm says it is a different company under a different management structure now and in the last year alone invested over $200 million to improve employee training, compliance and risk management.

ICE Futures Volume Up

IntercontinentalExchange, an operator of futures exchanges and over-the-counter markets, reported that the April 2009 average daily volume for all ICE futures contracts is up 14% to 983,928 from a year ago.

ICE Futures Europe, a London-based energy futures exchange, had a reduction in total contract volume compared to 2008 but open interest was higher. Volume and open interest records were established for several coal and emissions contracts during April.

This article was published in Opalesque Futures Intelligence.
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