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Congress OKs funding bill; Goldman Sachs to launch cryptocurrency trading desk

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Congress OKs funding bill; Goldman Sachs to launch cryptocurrency trading desk

Both chambers of Congress have passed the bill that aims to fund the federal government through Jan. 19, 2018, in order to avert government shutdown. The bill now awaits President Donald Trump's signature. The funding measure includes temporary spending for the Children's Health Insurance Program.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will likely postpone again the implementation of its prepaid rule after its new acting director, Mick Mulvaney, imposed a freeze on new regulations. The regulator has earlier delayed implementation date to April 1, 2018 from Oct. 1. It expects to issue its final amendments to the rule "soon after the new year."

In banking news, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is creating a cryptocurrency trading desk that could launch by the end of June 2018 or earlier, sources told Bloomberg News. The trading desk would likely be within the company's fixed-income, currencies and commodities unit's systematic trading function. The news came less than a month after Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told Bloomberg that it is too soon for the company to have a bitcoin strategy.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. in October had frozen $22.6 billion in assets held by Kazakhstan's National Fund after the Kazakh government refused to pay around $500 million in damages to a Moldovan investor, Reuters reports. Anatolie Stati and his companies sued the Kazakh government for harassing them to sell their investments in the country's oil and gas industry at a cheaper price. The National Bank of Kazakhstan also filed a lawsuit seeking to block the asset freeze but this was dismissed by a judge in London.

Once the U.S. tax reform bill is signed into law, Associated Bank NA will raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour and distribute a one-time bonus of $500 for all hourly, noncommissioned employees. Western Alliance Bancorp. is also projecting increases in employee compensation and benefits for 2018, particularly for those earning $75,000 or less annually.

In asset management news, Conning is acquiring a 45% stake in investment manager Global Evolution in a deal that is expected to close in early 2018.

Stearns Lending LLC has merged with First Team Real Estate family of companies to form Bankers Lending Center. The new mortgage company is scheduled to officially launch in spring 2018.

Coinbase, Inc. is investigating its employees over allegations of insider trading of Bitcoin Cash. Co-Founder and CEO Brian Armstrong said that employees found to have traded Bitcoin Cash and disclosed the cryptocurrency platform's launch plans will be immediately fired and sued.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: NAB faces UK lawsuit; Taiwan central bank holds rates

Europe: FINMA raps JPMorgan unit; BPCE gets new finance chief; BPI sells card biz

Middle East & Africa: Sanlam details Steinhoff exposure; SARB rebuffs nationalization demands

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.72% to 29,578.01, and the Nikkei 225 increased 0.16% to 22,902.76.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.01% to 7,605.01, while the Euronext 100 was down 0.25% to 1,041.17.

On the macro front

The durable goods orders report, the personal income and outlays report, the new home sales report, the consumer sentiment report, the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.