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JPMorgan's Dimon seeking new China venture structure with 100% control

On Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s Venezuelan bond deal:

Sources for The Wall Street Journal note that Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP executives were informed of the controversial purchase of Venezuelan state oil company bonds only after the deal had been completed. The transaction was also not reviewed by Goldman Sachs' companywide standards committee, which usually digs into deals with backlash potential.

On the other hand, sources told Reuters that Goldman Sachs had recently declined Venezuela's request to convert $5 billion in sovereign bonds into marketable securities. Opposition politicians had warned the company that it could be seen as aiding President Nicolas Maduro's administration, which grapples with accusations of human rights violations and economic mismanagement.

In separate news, Goldman Sachs has filed an application to Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority for an equities trading license, Reuters' sources say.

Additionally, some White House officials disclosed that the Trump administration is concerned about any such actions that provide "a financial lifeline to Venezuela's government," Reuters reports.

In more banking news:

Speaking to Bloomberg Television in Beijing, JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Jamie Dimon said that he wants the New York-based company to increase its businesses in China, particularly through a new venture which would allow it "a certain amount of management control." "My longer-term dream is that we have, we own, 100 percent of something," Dimon told the network. "The issue of control" had pushed JPMorgan late last year to exit JPMorgan First Capital Securities Co. Ltd., its joint venture with China's First Capital Securities Co., the news agency notes.

S&P Global Ratings affirmed its BBB- issuer credit rating on Astoria Financial Corp., reflecting its view that the Lake Success, N.Y.-based company's plan to be acquired by Sterling Bancorp will not affect the rating agency's currently low investment-grade ratings on Astoria. It removed the ratings from CreditWatch with developing implications.

In the broker/dealer scene, KCG Holdings Inc. plans to exit its business in Asia by ceasing operations of its wholly owned subsidiary, KCG Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.

Elsewhere, Crossroads Capital, Inc.'s shareholders voted to no longer have it operate as a business development company.

And in conjunction with its July 2016 acquisition of Arbor Commercial Mortgage LLC's agency platform, Arbor Realty Trust Inc. exercised the option to purchase the existing management contract and fully internalize the management structure.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn data requested by the Financial Times show that the website saw advertisements for more than 1,000 blockchain-related positions last week. "It is a hot market at the moment because most of the large corporates want to be able to say they have a blockchain team," a consultant said.

Coinbase Inc. is reportedly looking to secure at least another $100 million in a new round of funding, which is the biggest ever for any cryptocurrency business. This would give the firm a $1 billion valuation, say sources for the WSJ.

And in government news, President Donald Trump is expected to nominate Randal Quarles and Marvin Goodfriend to the Federal Reserve Board, sources told The New York Times. The nominations, however, haven't been confirmed.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: CIC, Blackstone ink deal; NAB, Israeli equity platform to collaborate

Europe: RBS settlement stalemate; SocGen launches ALD IPO; BNP Paribas fined

Middle East & Africa: S&P acts on Bahrain, South Africa; Kuwait values bourse for potential IPO

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.24% to 25,862.99, and the Nikkei 225 was down 0.03% to 20,170.82.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 dropped 0.26% to 7,527.73 and the Euronext 100 had fallen 0.37% to 1,026.57.

On the macro front

The productivity and costs report, the Gallup US consumer spending measure report, the PMI services index, the factory orders report, the ISM non-Mfg index, the Federal Reserve's labor market conditions index and the TD Ameritrade IMX are due out today.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

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