Week InReview
Friday | Feb 12, 2021
Face masks go high-tech, but do you need one?
Photo: F. Martin Ramin/WSJ, Illustration: Serge Bloch
The Wall Street Journal tested a few ‘smart,’ app-enabled masks to see if they’re too much trouble — or a breath of tech air.

let's recap...
Jerome Powell, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve/
Photo: Bloomberg 
Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. job market remains a long way from a full recovery, noting that employment last month was almost 10 million jobs short of last February’s level. “Achieving and sustaining maximum employment will require more than supportive monetary policy.” While echoing President Joe Biden’s arguments in support of his $1.9 trillion Covid bailout bill, Powell also delivered a nuanced rebuttal to some Democrats (like former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers) who view that relief proposal as too large. (Bloomberg Economics | Feb 10)

The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq have sued their regulator over new rules that would force them to share more data in an effort to increase competition in the sector. The exchanges, along with Cboe Global Markets, filed court petitions against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday over an attempt by the regulator to make them provide expanded access to their data feeds. (Financial Times | Feb 9)

The Securities and Exchange Commission will give more power to its enforcement staff to launch investigations, an early sign it plans to become more assertive under the Biden administration. The move by Wall Street’s main regulator allows more enforcement supervisors to authorize investigations, permitting about 36 senior officials at the agency to subpoena companies and individuals for records or testimony. (The Wall Street Journal | Feb 9)

The Federal Reserve is at risk of getting schooled in a classic adage: Be careful what you wish for. Daniel Tenengauzer, head of markets strategy at Bank of New York Mellon Corp., is warning that if inflation gets hotter than the Fed’s new policy is aiming for, it may trigger widespread bond selling that ripples throughout other markets. That may force the central bank to adopt a tool to cap long-term yields — known as yield-curve control, or YCC, he says. (Bloomberg Economics | Feb 9)

The Securities and Exchange Commission urged companies to provide specific disclosures if they plan to sell equity during periods of extreme market volatility. The move came as U.S. regulators evaluate actions to take in response to the recent surge in the share prices of GameStop Corp. and other companies. (The Wall Street Journal | Feb 8)
the cyber cafe
Attempted shakedown of global finance
Late last year, more than 100 financial-services companies across the world received threats from a group of hackers who claimed destructive attacks would follow unless large payments were made. Demands started to arrive in late summer, and it quickly became clear they were from the same source, according to a cybersecurity consortium of nearly 7,000 financial companies.

Didn’t see it coming? 
Hackers behind the corruption of SolarWinds Corp. networking software used some techniques that security experts had warned of for years. Now U.S. government agencies are debating how to respond and strengthen defenses. There is little agreement, and some officials are concerned that intruders are laying low inside corporate and agency networks.

Cyber expert to lead response to SolarWinds hack
Anne Neuberger, a top National Security Agency official, will lead the U.S. response to the sprawling SolarWinds hack, a decision disclosed after growing pressure from lawmakers for more information about the breach.
binge reading disorder
OpenLux: the secrets of Luxembourg, a tax haven at the heart of Europe
Multinationals, billionaires, artists, sportsmen, criminals: an investigation by Le Monde reveals for the first time exhaustively what the Grand Duchy’s financial center conceals, thanks to its tax advantages.
— Le Monde

Robinhood wants more female investors. So does everyone else.
Attracting more women will be key to its growth. But getting more women to trade can be a tall task for all online brokerages.

Amsterdam ousts London as Europe’s top share trading hub
Amsterdam surpassed London as Europe’s largest share trading centre last month as the Netherlands scooped up business lost by the U.K. since Brexit. The shift was prompted by a ban on EU-based financial institutions trading in London because Brussels has not recognized U.K. exchanges and trading venues as having the same supervisory status as its own.
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