A star trader and US head of equity derivatives just quit Bank of America Merrill Lynch after less than 2 years at the bank

A 35-year-old stock-trading star and head of equity derivatives in the Americas has quit Bank of America Merrill Lynch after a year and a half at the firm.

William “Bill” Hillegass ditched Barclays to run equity derivatives in the US for Bank of America in August 2017, but now he’s leaving the bank to join a top buy-side firm, according to people familiar with the matter.

It wasn’t immediately clear which firm Hillegass is headed to.

A Bank of America spokeswoman declined to comment. Hillegass did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hillegass is one of a slew of top equity derivatives traders to switch posts in the past year amid a rebound in the business and a war for talent.

As volatility surged back in early 2018 and stoked the derivatives markets, a merry-go-round of traders swapped seats at big banks. Bank of America, for instance, lost Ross Mtangi last spring to Credit Suisse, which hired him as global head of flow derivatives. Shortly after, the bank turned around and hired David Kim away from JPMorgan Chase.

Some are predicting another rash of moves in equities now that bonuses for 2018 – a stellar year for equity derivatives revenues – have been announced or paid out at most banks, and Hillegass may just be the first domino to fall.

The trader started his career at UBS in 2003, before joining Lehman Brothers in 2007 just prior to the financial crisis, according to his LinkedIn profile. Hillegass then spent eight years at Barclays.

This story is developing.

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Any new US tariffs on Chinese goods will be ‘catastrophic’ for global stocks: China state-run media

“In terms of avoiding such blows, the Trump administration is probably the most pressured,” the Global Times claimed. “Thus in general, by the end of the trade negotiations, China and the US have become more psychologically equal.”

Trade tensions escalated last year when the Trump administration applied tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, while Beijing retaliated with its own duties on $110 billion worth of U.S. goods. At issue are the U.S. trade deficit with China and complaints about the way foreign companies are treated by the Chinese system. Such grievances allege market-distorting subsidies, the coerced surrender of proprietary technology and the trampling of intellectual property rights.

During a G-20 meeting late last year, Trump agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping not to raise tariffs if the two sides could reach a resolution on those issues within 90 days.

But with little more than a week before the March 1 deadline, there’s been little public indication of significant progress.

Meanwhile, China is struggling with its own economic slowdown and could face greater challenges from declining demand from its largest trading partner, the U.S. Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura, said in a report last week that Chinese export growth will likely slow in coming months, especially since a rush to buy up goods ahead of possible tariff increases has essentially ended.

The S&P 500 is up almost 10.9 percent so far this year, while the Shanghai composite has gained more than 10 percent.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the S&P 500 is up almost 10.9 percent so far this year.

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Alfonso Ribeiro denied copyright of “Carlton” dance used in Fortnite

Alfonso Ribeiro’s “Carlton” dance became popular when he starred as Carlton Banks on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”  Ribeiro filed to secure a copyright for the “Carlton” but was denied. The U.S. Copyright Office claims the denial is due to the dance being simple, rather than a choreographed routine. 

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Breaking Down Teams That Should Take Quarterbacks in the 1st Round

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Here’s the most important objective for any NFL team: Find your franchise quarterback. Sure, we hear that defense wins championships, but a prolific passer can puncture the stingiest units.

    The player under center can significantly limit or elevate an offense—just look at Patrick Mahomes. In one year, the Kansas City Chiefs went from seventh to third in passing yards per game and from No. 10 to No. 1 in touchdowns through the air. By the way, Mahomes was the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft. 

    Teams that may select a quarterback in the first round of April’s draft in Nashville, Tennessee, don’t have to start their signal-callers right away. In fact, two of the clubs listed below should sit their rookie passers, if they take them, for at least a year because of their roster makeups. In other cases, the teams have nothing to lose and much to gain in terms of experience and development. 

    All five quarterback-needy teams have draft picks within the top 15—three are within the top 10. Unless there’s a strong pull toward one prospect, front offices won’t necessarily need to trade up and sacrifice Day 2 picks. Remember, it’s not an overly impressive group. However, selecting a quarterback has intriguing upside for the following clubs.

         

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    New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning

    New York Giants quarterback Eli ManningBill Kostroun/Associated Press

    First-Round Draft Position: No. 6 overall

    It’s unlikely the New York Giants will unseat quarterback Eli Manning with a veteran acquisition. According to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, Big Blue seem comfortable with him and potentially a rookie understudy.

    “The Giants are not expected to be looking for a replacement via trade or free agency,” he wrote. “Much more likely, they’ll seek his heir in the draft.”

    A two-time Super Bowl champion with 242 starts over the last 15 years between the regular season and playoffs for a franchise with high expectations, Manning profiles as an ideal veteran to serve as an example for the next man up. If the Giants select a signal-caller in the first round, the rookie would benefit from watching the 38-year-old as a professional.

    We can view the Giants’ prospective situation similar to the Chiefs’ transition between Alex Smith and Mahomes—with one notable difference. New York wouldn’t have to trade Manning at the end of the 2019 season. He can walk into the sunset after his deal expires, which opens an opportunity for a young passer to usher this franchise into a new era. 

    This is an old-school approach, which goes against the norm. Rookie passers often take the field in their first years. Don’t dismiss the idea, though, especially if there’s a feeling none of the incoming quarterbacks has the collegiate experience and tools to start Week 1. 

    A team source close to Vacchiano doesn’t see the 5’10” Kyler Murray as an option.

    “They are still early in their evaluation process and obviously haven’t seen Murray at the combine or his pro day yet, but in general, a team source said he’s ‘probably a little too small’ for them,” he wrote.

    Secondly, head coach Pat Shurmur said he preferred tall quarterbacks, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Based on the buzz, we can focus on Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (6’3″), Missouri’s Drew Lock (6’4″) and Duke’s Daniel Jones (6’5″) as first-round targets. 

    The Giants selected Kyle Lauletta (6’2″) in the fourth round of last year’s draft, but it doesn’t hurt to have multiple options competing to take over for their franchise cornerstone.

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    Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles

    Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake BortlesTim Warner/Getty Images

    First-Round Draft Position: No. 7 overall

    The rumor mill connects the Jacksonville Jaguars to quarterback Nick Foles, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. The Philadelphia Eagles declined to pick up his $20 million option, which makes sense for the backup to Carson Wentz. Philadelphia can still franchise-tag Foles before the March 5 deadline and then trade him, though.

    For now, the Jaguars have a void under center. Jacksonville is expected to move on from Blake Bortles, whom the team benched for Cody Kessler during the 2018 term. Neither player projects as a long-term asset. Based on that premise, the Jaguars must do their homework on incoming prospects. 

    Perhaps the Jaguars would have interest in Murray. The Oklahoma product is a dynamic quarterback capable of moving the chains with his arm and his legs.

    This is overlooked, but Bortles ran for 1,775 yards and eight touchdowns in 75 contests. The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner is a stronger threat as a ball-carrier with an accurate arm, and he rushed for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns while completing 69 percent of his passes in his one year as the Sooners’ primary starter. 

    If Murray isn’t available and they miss out on Foles, the Jaguars would likely take someone else in the draft. The team has the type of scenario that would be ideal for a first-year signal-caller, who would be able to lean on running backs Leonard Fournette and Carlos Hyde and Jacksonville’s strong defense to win games.

    But perhaps lingering issues between Fournette and the organization will lead to a split.

    The team waived the guaranteed money on the remaining years of his deal after executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin expressed displeasure in the running back’s behavior in the season finale. The two sides patched up their differences, but a turn toward disharmony would place more pressure on the quarterback’s arm.

    Murray would still have premier players on the defensive side who can limit opponents’ scoring opportunities and keep scores close while the offense progresses.

    Cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye along with pass-rushers Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue give this team a chance to compete with just a competent offensive attack. It doesn’t have to be Foles-or-bust; a high-potential prospect at No. 7 could put the Jaguars back in contention for the AFC South title.

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    Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum

    Denver Broncos quarterback Case KeenumDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    First-Round Draft Position: No. 10 overall

    President of football operations and general manager John Elway made the first major (unofficial) offseason splash. The Denver Broncos sent a fourth-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for quarterback Joe Flacco. The transaction will be complete March 13, the first day of the new league year.

    The Broncos’ move doesn’t close the books on their quarterback situation, however. The 34-year-old Flacco, like Case Keenum, isn’t a long-term hold. When healthy for nine games last season, he didn’t light up the field. The strong-armed signal-caller recorded 12 touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 61.2 percent of his passing attempts. 

    Flacco worked with a revamped pass-catching group during his final year with the Ravens. The front office signed wideouts Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead IV and selected two tight ends (Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews) in the last draft. Chemistry could’ve been the cause of Baltimore’s mediocre passing performances in the first half of the 2018 campaign.

    Flacco is on the books until the 2022 term, but the Broncos can release him at any time and not incur any dead cash, per Spotrac. In other words, if the acquisition doesn’t work out, Denver could cut ties and avoid future cap charges. In the worst-case scenario, it’s best to have a Plan B.

    Instead of pushing all his chips to the middle of the table on Flacco, Elway can target a quarterback with the No. 10 overall pick. There’s chirping that he’s fond of Drew Lock, per Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. If true, why shouldn’t Denver take a swing and potentially stumble upon its future franchise centerpiece?

    After acquiring Peyton Manning in 2012, Elway doesn’t have a strong track record with quarterbacks. Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Keenum haven’t panned out, but the front office has to continue its search until it finds its long-term starter.

    At his age, Flacco isn’t the answer; one of the top 2019 prospects may end an underwhelming search.

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    Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill

    Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan TannehillTom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    First-Round Draft Position: No. 13 overall

    In January, the Miami Herald‘s Armando Salguero shot down Foles and Teddy Bridgewater as quarterback options for the Miami Dolphins. He also dismissed Ryan Tannehill as the team’s starter in 2019. 

    “The Dolphins aren’t planning on letting Ryan Tannehill remain as the starter in 2019, either, by the way,” Salguero wrote. “After seven years with the club, the people who run the organization, including owner Stephen Ross, are agreed they are moving on from Tannehill.” 

    If this holds, general manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores will remodel the offense with a brand-new vision—presumably with a rookie. 

    There’s no rush to tab a franchise player. In the summer, the Dolphins could open an intense competition with inexperienced passers and take a long look at the winner. If that signal-caller falls flat, Miami can embrace a lost season, a full rebuild and land a top-five pick for the 2020 draft. 

    Before looking 14 months ahead, the Dolphins could attach their future to a quarterback in April. The front office can use the No. 13 overall pick to move up if it has a preference for a passer projected to come off the board in the top 10. 

    Someone has to take snaps under center. Osweiler and David Fales will become unrestricted free agents in March. Assuming Salguero is right and the Dolphins don’t pursue the top veteran signal-callers on the free-agent market, it’s unlikely Grier will go into the upcoming campaign with 2018 sixth-rounder Luke Falk as the starter. 

    Miami could shake up the draft order with a strong move for a quarterback prospect. Don’t rule out a move to the top spot. If not, Drew Lock may be available with the 13th pick if the Broncos pass on him at No. 10.

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    Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith was carted off the field in Week 11

    Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith was carted off the field in Week 11Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    First-Round Draft Position: No. 15 overall

    Smith’s unfortunate situation puts the Washington Redskins on this list. He suffered a compound leg fracture, and the team doesn’t expect him to play in 2019, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The organization can’t leave the offense in limbo while its starting quarterback is dealing with a career-threatening injury.

    The Redskins have put together back-to-back 7-9 seasons under head coach Jay Gruden. The team hasn’t won more than nine games or a playoff contest during his five-year tenure. Washington’s lead skipper should be pounding the desk to select a passer with the No. 15 pick. That could extend his expiration date. 

    If an incoming quarterback fares well, the projected development is enough reason to keep Gruden around even after a losing season. Furthermore, a positive outlook would give this organization hope to compete in the short term without Smith, who has $71 million guaranteed in his four-year deal. 

    The money tied to Smith’s contract hinders the Redskins from splurging on a player at the position. Keenum had one strong season with the Minnesota Vikings and no Pro Bowl years but signed a two-year, $36 million deal with Denver last offseason.

    Imagine what Foles, the Super Bowl LII MVP, will cost? There may be a bidding contest for Bridgewater if the New Orleans Saints want to keep him as the heir to 40-year-old Drew Brees. The Jaguars may have interest in the 26-year-old as well.

    Washington isn’t a lock to select a quarterback in the first round, but the front office shouldn’t hesitate to choose its guy at No. 15 or trade up to acquire him in order to move along its 28th-ranked passing offense in 2019. If Dwayne Haskins emerges as the top prospect at the position, watch out for him as a target in a trade scenario at No. 1 overall.

    Player contract details provided by Spotrac.com.

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Khloé Kardashian And Tristan Thompson Have Reportedly Split After Yet Another Cheating Scandal

The rocky romance between Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson may have finally reached its breaking point. According to a new report from TMZ, the couple — who share 10-month-old daughter True — have broken up after Thompson cheated on her (again). And this time, it was allegedly with someone very close to the Kardashian clan.

TMZ reports that Thompson was seen “snuggling up” and “making out” with Jordyn Woods — a.k.a. Kylie Jenner’s BFF — at a house party over the weekend. Kardashian reportedly dumped the NBA star on Monday (February 18) after finding out. A source told the outlet that there’s little chance of reconciliation, saying, “She has had enough.”

Shortly after that damning report broke, Thompson tweeted a two-word response: “FAKE NEWS.” That tweet has since been deleted (but not forgotten; thank you, internet), and also gone are the comments on his Instagram, which were quickly filling up with angry Khloé fans defending her honor.

Though Woods and Jenner have stayed silent about the rumors, Kardashian all but confirmed them on Instagram. She commented a string of shouting emojis underneath a Hollywood Unlocked post about the reports, and her close friends Malika Haqq and Larsa Pippen commented as well, writing, “STRONG FACTS” and “Amen!!!” respectively. The reality star also recently posted a series of quotes on her Instagram Story alluding to heartbreak. “Sometimes God breaks your heart to save your soul,” one said. “And to love in this wild world is the bravest thing you could ever do,” another read.

If all of this is true, it wouldn’t be the couple’s first cheating scandal. In April 2018, just days before Kardashian gave birth to their daughter, Thompson was seen kissing another woman. The story became a focal point on that season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and in June, Khloé defended her decision to stay with Thompson, tweeting to a critical fan, “You have no knowledge of what goes on in our household or the enormous rebuilding this takes to even coexist. I’m proud of my strength. I appreciate your opinion and I hope you hold that same opinion to everyone else who has stayed in situations.”

Until further details about this latest scandal are revealed, rest assured we’ll all get the full story on the next season of Keeping Up.

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Skills shortage is stopping many Asian companies from embracing A.I., study shows

Microsoft and IDC surveyed business leaders and workers in 15 Asia Pacific countries for the “Future Ready Business: Assessing Asia’s Growth Potential Through AI” report.

Innovation, competitiveness, customer engagement, higher margins and employee productivity were some of the reasons given by companies for adopting AI.

“Asia Pacific is not ready yet for AI,” Victor Lim, vice president for consulting operations at IDC Asia Pacific, said in a statement. He added that businesses have to continuously invest in the technology, sometimes without immediate returns.

“There is an urgent need for talents and tools to develop, deploy and monitor AI models, along with the availability of a robust data infrastructure with the adequate governance,” Lim said.

For its part, China has embarked on an aggressive push to dominate the AI space through both public and private investments into the technology. Beijing aims to be the leader in AI innovation by 2030.

“I think there’s a lot of engineering capacity and skills in China,” Haupter said, adding that some of Microsoft’s major AI breakthroughs on cognitive services, object and speech recognition came from the company’s research and development team in the country.

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Elon Musk doubled down on a bold claim he made about how quickly Tesla vehicles will be able to drive themselves

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he is “certain” that Tesla vehicles will be able to operate without any driver intervention by the end of this year, pending regulatory approval, during an interview with ARK Invest.

“I think we will be feature-complete full self-driving this year, meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up, take you all the way to your destination without an intervention — this year. I would say that I am certain of that. That is not a question mark,” Musk said.

Musk suggested the update would still require the driver to pay attention to the road, but estimated that Tesla vehicles will be capable of operating themselves without any attention from the driver by the end of next year. He added that both updates would depend on regulatory approval.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more:Elon Musk’s ‘reckless’ comment about the capabilities of Tesla’s Autopilot could put drivers at risk, an analyst says

Musk’s comments were similar to ones he made during Tesla’s fourth-quarter earnings call in January, but his use of the word “certain” was striking. Musk is known for making bold predictions that the automaker sometimes misses, but he has qualified recent projections about vehicle demand and product timelines with more conservative language.

During the fourth-quarter earnings call, Musk referred to his predictions about demand for the Model 3 sedan, Tesla’s timeline for introducing a long-awaited $35,000 base model, and the future average selling price for the vehicle as guesses, rather than assertions.

Developing the autonomous capabilities Musk mentioned by the end of this year would put Tesla at the forefront of the autonomous-driving industry. Waymo, which is seen by experts as the industry’s current leader, is operating an autonomous ride-hailing service, Waymo One, in parts of Arizona where vehicles drive without human assistance, but have in-vehicle safety operators ready to intervene if the vehicle encounters a particularly challenging situation. (A Waymo One rider told Business Insider the safety operator rarely takes control of the vehicle.)

Waymo has not announced a timeline for expanding the service beyond Arizona, and other high-profile rivals, like Uber and the General Motors spin-off, Cruise, have not set public deadlines for autonomous-driving capabilities as aggressive as Musk’s.

But Musk has missed projections about autonomous-driving technology on multiple occasions. In 2015, Musk said Tesla would have fully autonomous driving technology ready in about two years, and Tesla has passed multiple deadlines set by Musk to send a self-driving vehicle across the US.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

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