E The Donald And A Buffett-y Israeli

The SEC is planning to allow a wider nickel spread between the trading bid and the ask, called the tick size, to increase market liquidity for small-cap shares traded infrequently. The regulator plans to test the easement for a year with a pilot program for stocks priced at $2 or more which trade less than a million shares/day. The test covers shares which have a market capitalization of under $5 bn.

The SEC will test 4 groups of 400 shares each, with different increments: the first with 5 cents minimum increments for quotation, but trades at any price now permitted; the second with 5 cent minimum increments allowing a few exceptions; and the third with the same increments and exceptions as the second, but subject to a trade-at requirement. A trade-at means more access for small investors because it removes minimum order size limits. The fourth group will be a control, using existing rules at penny bid-ask increments. The idea is to see if wider spreads produce more trading.

The way Wall St. is developing, making markets is not where intermediaries make money these days. They are too busy front running and doing high-speed trading.

When the 21-day period for public comment opens, I would like to make sure that foreign stocks which have low US market cap or trading be included in all 4 categories.

Our most popular article in the last couple of weeks was about how the Israeli Warren Buffett was doing a deal with the daughter and son-in-law of Donald Trump. This has a follow-up today for all you gossip-mad readers. It you are a paid subscriber, it is below; if you are a pre-subscriber with a taste for hot celebrity news, pay for a subscription which may also produce some stock gains to fund your retirement or your autograph collection.

More on this for paid subscribers along with news from Britain, China, Portugal, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Israel, Switerland, and the Netherlands.


*To start with the hottest news, Israel's Delek Group is like Berkshire Hathaway because it used the piled up premium income of its insurance arm to acquire a huge portfolio. That is why Yitzchak Tshuva has been called the Israeli Warren Buffett. Unlike the cash-rich Oracle of Omaha, Tshuva has built up a dominant position in Israeli offshore gas for which he now needs more funds, and he arranged to sell Delek's insurer arm, the Israeli company Phoenix Holdings Ltd. The designated buyer is a US real estate family firm headed by Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, daughter of The Donald. (She converted to Judaism to marry Jared.)

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