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Best of the Web, North American financials edition


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Best of the Web, North American financials edition

Three companies are dominating exchange-traded funds, automated trading has hit commodity markets and an elite group of doctors is approaching medicine in the same way an asset manager manages money.

The bloody fight for ETF scraps is about to get even worse

The world of exchange-traded funds is owned by three companies, but littered with dozens of others. BlackRock Inc., Vanguard Group Inc. and State Street Corp. occupy 83% of the U.S. ETF market, and the smaller players are still struggling to close the gap, Bloomberg News reported. Equated to King Kong, Godzilla and Mothra by one analyst, the three companies have dominated a market that investors continue to favor.

Automated trading of commodity futures accelerating

Much of the market has already been exposed to algorithms, high-frequency trading and latency arbitrage. But finally, speed trading is hitting commodity futures markets and causing controversy, the Financial Times reported. A study found automated trading accounts for about half the volume in commodity future markets, and many farmers, ranchers and companies are reportedly taking issue with the automation of trading.

Insurers challenge Walmart's settlement with Tracy Morgan

Liberty Insurance Underwriters Inc. and Ohio Casualty Insurance Co. are suing Walmart, as the retailer looks for reimbursement from its insurance companies to help cover a multimillion-dollar settlement reached with "30 Rock" comedian Tracy Morgan, CBS News reported. The insurers reportedly claim Morgan exaggerated injuries in a 2014 car crash with a Walmart truck that resulted in the settlement.

The doctor is in. Co-pay? $40,000

As a renewed battle over the Affordable Care Act nears, a select group of doctors is streamlining healthcare for some of the nation's wealthiest, The New York Times reported. The doctors are marketing themselves as the asset managers of your body, just as one would pay to have their money managed, they can manage a patient's health for a price tag reaching upwards of $80,000.

What if the bitcoin bubble bursts?

The recent surge in bitcoin's value has many wondering what might happen if the supposed bubble surrounding the cryptocurrency pops. The Economist found that bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies as a whole, might be most similar to the dotcom boom of the late 1990s.

Some inconvenient facts for the Fed

While many project that the Federal Reserve is poised to hike interest rates again in the coming weeks, The Wall Street Journal reports that the central bank may need to reconsider the facts as wage growth remains stagnant and inflation has slowed down. The Journal acknowledges that the developments are not likely to halt a rate hike, but could factor into the Fed's projected rate increases over the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.