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ConnectOne Bancorp to acquire Bancorp of New Jersey; FedNow Service lead named


Insight Weekly: US bank stress tests; cracks in housing market; summer energy supply risks


Breaking into Europe’s Digital Infrastructure Markets: Drivers & Trends


Insight Weekly: US inflation soars; real estate faces slowdown; megadeals drive tech M&A


Breaking into Europe’s Digital Infrastructure Markets: Drivers & Trends

ConnectOne Bancorp to acquire Bancorp of New Jersey; FedNow Service lead named

Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based ConnectOne Bancorp Inc. agreed to acquire Fort Lee, N.J.-based Bancorp of New Jersey Inc. in a deal presently valued at about $113 million. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

Kenneth Montgomery, first vice president and COO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, was named the head of FedNow Service, the central bank's real-time, round-the-clock payments system. In launching FedNow, the central bank said it believed the existing private-sector system handled by the country's large banks would not likely connect to the thousands of small banking institutions in the U.S. to create a truly nationwide system, even over the long term.

To cut or not to cut benchmark interest rates again remains a question for Federal Reserve officials weeks before they meet again in September. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard told Fox Business Aug. 15 he will continue monitoring incoming data. He downplayed the volatility this week in stock markets, which fell sharply Aug. 14 after yields for 10-year Treasury notes briefly slipped below yields for 2-year Treasury notes. That development, known as a yield curve inversion, has historically preceded U.S. recessions. On the other hand, economists still remain optimistic about the possibility of another rate cut in September despite July retail sales increases, saying it's a prudent measure given the risk of a global economic slowdown, Bloomberg News reports.

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Alan Heide, former CFO at 1 Global Capital LLC, with defrauding retail investors, the third SEC action involving fraud at the now-bankrupt Florida-based company. 1 Global allegedly fraudulently raised over $322 million from 3,600 investors between 2014 and 2018. The regulator earlier charged 1 Global and former CEO Carl Ruderman with fraud, and charged Henry Wieniewitz, III with unlawful sales of 1 Global securities.

Craig Wright, an Australian businessman who claims to have created Bitcoin under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, is now facing charges of cryptocurrency and intellectual property theft from the estate of his deceased former business partner, Dave Kleiman, Bloomberg News reports. U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom of the federal court in Florida rejected Wright's motion to dismiss the case, according to the news outlet.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is trying to catch up with the fast-growing cryptocurrency industry, as it has given some cryptocurrency investors a new round of letters pointing out discrepancies between their federal tax returns and data given by virtual currency exchanges, Bloomberg News reports. The IRS, however, admitted in their letters that it could be the trading exchanges' errors and not the taxpayers'.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., asked House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., to hold committee hearings on cybersecurity in the financial industry, CUInsight reports, citing a letter McHenry sent to Waters. McHenry cited the recent data security breach at Capital One Financial, which compromised the personal information of more than 100 million accounts and credit applications, as an indication of a growing critical concern for the industry.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and prosecutors are not seeing eye to eye on the extent of the involvement of Andrea Vella, the bank's former top investment banker in Hong Kong, in the 1MDB fund scandal, people familiar with the discussions told Bloomberg News. Authorities have it that Vella knew of the plans of the alleged scam mastermind, Jho Low, to bribe officials, but Goldman Sachs disputes this, saying its senior executives were not aware of the bribery. Goldman Sachs booted Vella out of the bank's leadership in Asia on the heels of the corruption scandal.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Ping An Insurance H1 up 68.1%; MLC to restructure; Japan is top US T-bill holder

Europe: ECB website hacked; Volksbank warns about H2 profit; Latvian bank deemed failing

Middle East & Africa: Provisions dent Hapoalim Q2 profit; KCB H1 profit up; Ghana's liquidity squeeze

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Yield curve warns of greater recession risk, but bond market signal not perfect: While the latest yield curve inversion has caused investors to become pessimistic about the economy, there are reasons to believe it may no longer be an accurate recession predictor that it was in the past.

Community banks in the West outpaced national median loan growth in Q2'19: U.S. community banks and thrifts held $1.873 trillion in loan balances as of June 30. The median sequential growth rate was 1.6%, compared to 0.5% in the previous quarter.

Castine adds to largest position before buyout announced: Boston-based hedge fund manager Castine Capital Management LLC added seven new financial stock positions during the second quarter, according to the firm's latest 13F filing.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.94% to 25,734.22, and the Nikkei 225 inched up 0.06% to 20,418.81.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.65% to 7,112.80, and the Euronext 100 was up 1.20% to 1,029.76.

On the macro front

The housing starts report, the quarterly services report, the consumer sentiment report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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