The surge of trading in offbeat stocks is duping inexperienced investors into high costs and a battle with Wall Street that they cannot win, according to the founder of one of the largest trading firms in the world.

Zero-commission trading helps to build an illusion that amateur investors have never had it better, Alex Gerko, co-chief executive of London-based XTX Markets, told the Financial Times in an interview.

But the way retail brokerages sell on their customers’ orders and a “very poor benchmark” mean that the smallest investors together shell out billions of dollars in hidden costs every year when buying or selling US equities, he explained.

“The GameStop episode made it obvious that the retail part of the market is particularly broken,” Gerko said, referring to the huge spike in the console store chain’s shares in January. “The incentives are there to create a lot of churn in very illiquid stocks, which is exactly what we are seeing this year.”

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Cloud glitch brings down thousands of websites A Silicon Valley-based internet infrastructure provider called Fastly is believed to be behind the outage this morning. Various well-known sites went offline for almost an hour, including several of the world’s largest news websites, streaming services, online retailers and even the UK government.

G7 targets Amazon in corporate tax plan Finance ministers are plotting a raid on Amazon’s lucrative cloud-computing business to ensure it pays more corporate tax under the new G7 agreement on a global rate. Chris Nuttall has more on the taxing times ahead for Big Tech in the latest #techft newsletter. Sign up here.

Alzheimer’s drug wins US approval Regulators have approved the first treatment for the disease in almost two decades, giving a green light to a drug developed by Biogen despite scientific debate over whether the medicine even works. The Massachusetts-based biotech’s decision to price the treatment at $56,000 a year has reignited the debate over the cost of drugs in the world’s largest and most profitable healthcare market.

Europe risks falling behind China and US in renewables CEOs of Siemens Gamesa, the wind turbine maker and BASF, the chemical company, call for a shake-up of national planning rules, and greater coherence in energy investment across the EU.

Stock pickers shine after record May performance Last month, 70 per cent of active fund managers outperformed the Russell 1000 index, making it “one of the best months in history”, according to Bank of America, and the strongest May in at least three decades.

SoftBank-backed Katerra files for bankruptcy The US construction start-up backed by SoftBank’s Vision Fund has filed for bankruptcy with more than $1bn in liabilities. It blamed Covid-19, the “unexpected insolvency” of its former lender Greensill Capital and an inability to secure financing.

Apple WWDC 2021 At its annual developer conference, Apple said it would add user privacy protections after coming under pressure following experts’ warning that thousands of apps were continuing to collect data from users who had opted out of tracking. (Reuters, FT)

France fines Google €220m Competition regulators fined Google €220m for abusing its dominant position in the online advertising market and imposed changes to how it operates in the country for three years.

Marqeta IPO pricing The debit card company’s initial public offering is due to be priced as it aims to complete one of this year’s largest fintech listings. Marqeta gets most of its business through Jack Dorsey’s payments processor Square.

Colonial Pipeline chief testifies Joseph Blount will testify before the US Senate today and House tomorrow about the ransomware attack that forced his company to shut down its fuel supply last month and pay $4.4m to hackers. US officials said they had recovered $2.3m from the ransom payment.

US economic data Economists have forecast a narrower trade gap in April but the overall figure is expected to remain elevated as reopening strengthens. (WSJ)

Former Bosnian Serb commander’s final appeal The final verdict in the trial of Ratko Mladic will be decided at The Hague today. Mladic had appealed against a 2017 decision that found him guilty of war crimes, including genocide during the Bosnian war, and saw him sentenced to life imprisonment. (AP)

Carmakers try to spark US love affair with electric pick-up trucks Electric versions of these vehicles have been developed by Ford, GM and Tesla. Can a crowded field of new electric pick-ups be a profitable line of business for carmakers? There are also questions about customer acceptance in parts of the US where pick-ups are popular, but political conservatism feeds scepticism of electric vehicles.

Bill Ackman’s Universal Music deal heralds the era of Spac 2.0 The hedge fund manager has already once tried — and failed — to redefine the Spac. Now he is trying again. Ackman’s special purpose acquisition company, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings, which raised $4bn last year, was not just the largest blank-cheque vehicle ever launched. It did away with some of the perks for founders, such as free shares, which have given the Spac phenomenon a bad name in some quarters.

How clean energy is driving a commodities supercycle As governments launch huge stimulus programmes focused on job creation and environmental stability, the coming together of such demand and potential supply shortages has many on Wall Street and in the City of London hailing the arrival of a commodities supercycle, and asking: is copper set to become the new oil?

Brexit: can Northern Ireland sticking points be resolved? Britain and the EU have become locked in a row over trade rules ahead of crunch talks this week and Joe Biden’s arrival in the UK for the G7 summit. In a sign of growing tension, EU capitals have hit back at UK Brexit minister Lord David Frost’s suggestion in the FT that the bloc needs to compromise. The FT View is that the imbroglio is not for the US to solve, but the protagonists.

UAE resets decade of foreign policy For a decade, the Gulf state has been the Arab world’s most muscular regional actor, deploying its petrodollar wealth and military power to bolster allies and weaken foes. But after coronavirus hit its economy, underscoring its links to global trade, the UAE is shifting focus from robust intervention to “economic” diplomacy.

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