Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 05.16.14

Euro-Zone Economy Shows Weak Expansion (WSJ)
Euro-zone GDP has risen only 1% since the first quarter of 2013, the lowest point of the bloc’s six-year slump, and remains 2.5% below its peak in early 2008. Economists reckon output would have to rise at closer to 2% a year to make a meaningful dent in euro-zone unemployment, currently 11.8% of the workforce.

SAC’s Steinberg loses bid for insider trading acquittal (Reuters)
U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan rejected various arguments by Steinberg’s lawyers, including that a jury could not have rationally found he knew corporate insiders were receiving benefits to provide illegal tips. “On the facts presented at trial, a rational jury could find that (Steinberg) knew or was willfully blind to the fact that the tippers breached duties of trust and confidence by disclosing material nonpublic information for their personal benefits,” Sullivan wrote.

SAC Fund Manager’s Backers Cite Charity Before Sentencing (Bloomberg)
From co-founding a group that’s donated more than $8.7 million for work such as providing clean water and medicine in Africa, to raising money for a friend’s organ transplant with a bake sale, Steinberg has shown he deserves leniency at his sentencing today in Manhattan federal court, his supporters told the judge.

At SALT Conference, Stocks Induce Anxiety (Dealbook)
“There seems to be a general unease that with central bank policy, the only thing it is impacting are financial markets,” said Jim Chanos, president of Kynikos Associates and a well-known short-seller. “It’s not transmitting to the economy, and I think that is a real, real growing concern.” “You sort of get a growing sense that this grand experiment may be quite inconclusive when it comes to monetary policy and financial markets,” Mr. Chanos added, speaking on the sidelines of the conference on Thursday.

Investors Reject Chipotle Chiefs’ Pay Plan (Dealbook)
Investors in Chipotle Mexican Grill voted overwhelmingly on Thursday against the company’s executive compensation plans, sending a strong rebuke to a company that had awarded more than $300 million to its co-chief executives in recent years. More than 75 percent of investors voted against Chipotle’s say-on-pay measure, which asked investors to ratify a compensation plan that would continue such payments to Steve Ells, Chipotle’s founder, and his co-chief, Montgomery F. Moran, over the next few years. That was the highest vote against any say-on-pay measure among the country’s largest 3,000 companies this year.

U.S. Takes a Shot at Latte Art Championship (WSJ)
Latte art has gained steam in recent years. The whimsical, swirly designs, like tulips and hearts, drawn with the steamed milk and foam that is poured over a shot of espresso to make a latte, have tens of thousands of online fans and enthusiasts. But the final stages of the contest are stripped of whimsy. Six finalists each received eight minutes to complete two “free pour” lattes, using just swirling milk and gravity to make four drinks: two lattes and two macchiatos, which are half the size of a latte and therefore considered the most difficult…Donald Morrison says he tries to take his latte art to the dark side. His signature drink featured a winged bat. “I wanted to do something that wasn’t so cute—a little more punk rock,” he said. But it was Mr. Bricker’s twin latte phoenix, whose tail-curls were sharpened with the tip of a golf tee, that earned him the top score at the U.S. competition. He will be up against the world’s best at the championship which ends Sunday. Read more »

Opening Bell: 05.15.14

Nervous Investors Pile Into Bonds (WSJ)
Global bond rates dropped to their lowest levels of the year Wednesday, as central bankers signaled their determination to jolt the world’s largest economies out of their malaise. Investors piled into U.S., German and British government bonds—used to price everything from mortgages to car loans—driving down their yields. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury dropped to as low as 2.523%, its lowest level in more than six months. In Germany, 10-year bund yields fell to their lowest point in a year.

Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley Bonds Have Investors Hitting the Gas (WSJ)
The worlds of high finance and high-end cars intersected Wednesday, as investors grabbed bonds backed by loans to buyers of Lamborghinis and Bentleys. Investors bought $488.3 million of the bonds sold by Porsche Financial Services GmbH, a unit of sports-car maker Porsche AG. The firm for the first time expanded its bond issuances to include loans tied to the two exotic car makers, in addition to its Porsche models. The market for bonds supported by all types of car loans is accelerating, with sales of $39 billion worth of securities this year, according to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Issuance is on pace to exceed last year’s $78.9 billion.

David Tepper on the market: ‘I think it’s nervous time’ (CNBC)
“I’m not saying go short, I’m just saying don’t be too fricking long right now,” the head of Appaloosa Management told a few thousand of his colleagues Wednesday at SkyBridge Capital’s SALT 2014 conference in Las Vegas.

Lunch with Ben Bernanke goes for $70K (TFT)
An anonymous bidder will pay $70,500 for lunch with Ben Bernanke, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke will choose the restaurant, according to the auction listing. The final bid to break bread with Bernanke topped an auction for a lunch for two in New York City with former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, author of the new memoir Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crisis. The Geithner auction drew a winning bid of $50,000.

Mozzarella arrests made after counterfeit cheese found in Italy (LA Times)
TThe discovery of alleged counterfeit buffalo mozzarella cheese at a factory in Italy has led to the arrests of 13 people, including two public health service veterinarians who allegedly warned the factory of future inspections, reported the Associated Press…The buffalo mozzarella at the factory, near Caserta in the Campania region of southern Italy, is traditionally made with local buffalo milk. Police concluded the buffalo milk was actually being cut with cheaper cow milk. Buffalo mozzarella made in Italy is certified by the European Union with a Denominazione d’Origine Protetta, or DOP seal. The cheese is most commonly used to make Caprese salad (tomato, cheese and basil) in Italy. Seven stores selling cheese from the factory were shut down Monday. Read more »

Opening Bell: 05.14.14

Geithner Must Provide S&P With Documents in Fraud Lawsuit (Bloomberg)
Ex-U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner must comply with Standard & Poor’s demand that he provide documents related to its claim the U.S. sued the company in retaliation for downgrading government debt. Geithner is the highest former government official the McGraw Hill Financial (MHFI) Inc. unit has pursued for information to support its allegations. S&P, the only credit rating company sued by the Justice Department for allegedly giving fraudulent ratings to mortgage-backed securities, has said it was singled out because of the downgrade.

For BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Too Big to Jail Gets Lost in Translation (BusinessWeek)
While Lawsky has indicated he plans to pursue individuals at the companies who were involved in the alleged wrongdoing, possibly requiring that they lose their jobs and return back compensation, the Justice Department is seeking settlements with the banks rather than charges against individuals—so those eye-popping fines will be paid by the corporation, but no one is threatened with jail. Remarkably, the two banks faced with pleading guilty to an actual crime are both non-U.S. institutions. This can’t be a coincidence: Not only is it less painful politically to extract a guilty plea from a European company, but the effects on the rest of the U.S. financial system would be far less than they would be for an American bank of similar size.

Tech Firms’ Cash Piles Cool Fears of a Meltdown (WSJ)
The two-month swoon in technology stocks has given investors flashbacks to the dot-com meltdown. But at least one harbinger of trouble is absent today: tech firms in danger of collapse. A Wall Street Journal analysis of 148 U.S. tech companies with recent or pending initial public offerings found none on a path to burn through their cash within a year, based on their pace of spending in 2013. Those findings are in contrast to the health of young tech companies during the last run-up of U.S. technology stocks, which peaked in March 2000. A cover story that month in the financial magazine Barron’s spotlighted how one-quarter of 207 Internet companies were on track to run out of cash within a year. And many did.

Fed Warns Of Crackdown On Takeover Deals (WSJ)
The statements by a Fed official in remarks prepared for a regulatory conference were the latest warning that U.S. regulators want banks to end practices they see as risky in so-called leveraged lending markets. The Fed and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency told banks in March 2013 to avoid funding takeover deals that would leave companies with high levels of debt. “Judging from aggregate market data, it appears that many banks have not fully implemented standards set forth” in the March 2013 guidance, said Todd Vermilyea, senior associate director in the Fed’s Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation, at a Charlotte, N.C., event hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

Alec Baldwin arrested for disorderly conduct after flare-up with New York cops (NYDN)
Alec Baldwin…went on a New York City-dissing Twitter tear — after he was busted Tuesday for flipping out on two cops who were just doing their jobs. “New York City is a mismanaged carnival of stupidity that is desperate for revenue and anxious to criminalize behavior once thought benign,” Baldwin wrote. Then, in a subsequent tweet, Baldwin gave up the name and badge number of the female officer who ended his foul-mouthed tirade by cuffing him. And finally, incredibly, Baldwin boo-hooed that “the police did nothing” about the photographers who were drawn by his bad behavior to his East Village building. “Meanwhile, photographers outside my home ONCE AGAIN terrified my daughter and nearly hit her with a camera,” he tweeted…Baldwin’s latest blow-up came after he was stopped at 10:15 a.m. for riding his bicycle against traffic on Fifth Ave. near 16th St. in the Flatiron District. When the cops asked him for identification, Baldwin lost it on them, sources told The Daily News. “He became belligerent, yelling and screaming at the officers, ‘I don’t have ID. Just give me the f—–g summonses,’” one police source said…Baldwin was still seething when he arrived at Manhattan’s 13th Precinct and was charged with disorderly conduct.
“How old are these officers?” Baldwin groused. “They don’t even know who I am.” Read more »

Opening Bell: 05.09.14

As One-Time Gains Fade, Fannie and Freddie Face a Less-Profitable Future (WSJ)
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had another blockbuster quarter and will deliver $10.2 billion in dividends to the U.S. Treasury next month, but earnings reports Thursday hinted that their recent run of profitability could soon moderate as a string of one-time gains fades. The mortgage-finance firms, which the government seized in 2008 to prevent a broader market meltdown, notched combined first-quarter net income of $9.3 billion, driven by legal settlements with big banks on lawsuits that were filed by the companies’ regulator. Fannie and Freddie reported $4.1 billion and $4.9 billion, respectively, from those settlements…The companies—which don’t make mortgages but instead buy them from lenders and package them for issuance as securities—warned that profits aren’t likely to remain at such lofty levels, in large part because many of the unusual benefits will run their course. That will leave the firms heavily dependent on the fees they charge banks to guarantee mortgages, especially as they wind down the large mortgage portfolios that have historically been a larger source of core earnings.

Could take 5-8 years to shrink Fed portfolio: Yellen (Reuters)
The U.S. Federal Reserve is in no rush to decide the appropriate size of its balance sheet, but if it ultimately shrinks it to a pre-crisis size, the process could take the better part of a decade, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Thursday. Yellen, in testimony to a Senate panel, said no decision had yet been made on the central bank’s portfolio of assets, which has swollen to $4.5 trillion from about $800 billion in 2007. Three rounds of asset purchases meant to stimulate the economy in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis have boosted the balance sheet to this record level. Unsatisfied with the U.S. recovery, the Fed is still adding $45 billion in bonds each month, though the purchases should end later this year. Yellen said the portfolio should start to shrink once the Fed decides to raise near-zero interest rates.

Geithner in Book Says U.S. Considered Nationalizing Banks (Bloomberg)
Geithner disagreed when Lawrence Summers, then head of the White House’s National Economic Council, suggested to President Barack Obama that the administration “pre-emptively nationalize” banks including Citigroup and Bank of America Corp., or try to embarrass them into changing their pay structures, according to the Times. The article includes quotes from the book, “Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises,” and interviews with Geithner. Geithner feared “fueling unrealistic expectations about our ability to eradicate extravagance in the financial industry,” he wrote in the book, to be published May 12. “I did not view Wall Street as a cabal of idiots or crooks,” Geithner wrote. “My jobs mostly exposed me to talented senior bankers, and selection bias probably gave me an impression that the U.S. financial sector was more capable and ethical than it really was.”

Bankers risk reprisals if they skip Russian summit (MarketWatch)
Those who decide to attend the May 22-24 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum probably won’t risk much pushback from the Obama administration, which according to media reports is pressuring executives not to participate in the annual event held to showcase the Russian economy, says John C. Coffee Jr., a law professor at Columbia University. But Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, who faces increasing economic sanctions for the Ukraine crisis, could be a different matter, Coffee says. “Russia has no hesitation about retaliating, because that is way they operate,” he explained. The risks depend on the companies’ stakes in Russia, experts say. JP Morgan recently revealed its exposure to Russia was $4.7 billion at the end of the first-quarter and it is closely monitoring the Ukraine situation. “There is all [kinds of] injuries that could occur from this,” said Coffee. “The most serious is if you had a serious business negotiations going on right now.”

Ex-NFL pro warns rookies: Watch your millions (CNBC)
“Let’s just hope that this year’s rookie class understands the reality behind the numbers and takes measures to save and invest their earnings, keeping in mind that, on average, their career will only last shortly over three years,” said Jack Brewer, a former NFL player who now runs The Brewer Group, an investment company that caters to athletes.

Happy birthday, Cronut! A look back at the pastry’s first year (NYP)
May 10, 2013: Pastry chef Dominique Ansel debuts the Cronut, a doughnut-croissant hybrid, at his eponymous Soho bakery. Mid-May, 2013: Cronut mania strikes the city full-on. People line up for hours before the bakery opens. Ansel reports customers crying and insulting staff when they run out of Cronuts, which they are only making a few hundred of each day. June 2013: Ansel institutes a two-Cronut-per-customer limit in an attempt to crack down on scalpers, who are reselling the $5 pastry for as much as $100 a pop. “Waiting in line for two Cronuts isn’t a very profitable business,” Ansel says of his scalper crackdown. April 4, 2014: The NYC Health Department shuts down Dominique Ansel Bakery over a “severe” mice infestation. “The pastries are delicious, so I can’t blame the mice,” quips a customer. April 8, 2014: The bakery reopens after passing a 2 ¹/₂ hour health department inspection. Read more »

Opening Bell: 05.08.14

World Economy Stabilizes in Great Moderation 2.0 (Bloomberg)
Volatility in growth among the main industrial countries is the lowest since 2007 and half that of the 20 years starting in 1987, according to Bloomberg calculations based on International Monetary Fund data. Investors also are becalmed, with a risk measure that uses options to forecast fluctuations in equities, currencies, commodities and bonds around the weakest level in almost seven years.

Hedge Funds Extend Their Slide (WSJ)
Big stumbles by some star managers drove hedge funds to back-to-back monthly declines for the first time in two years, according to researcher HFR Inc. The lackluster showing—the average hedge fund trailed benchmarks for both stocks and bonds in April—was a blow for an industry that charges more than other fund managers but pitches steady returns in both good times and bad. Hedge funds on average dropped 0.17% in April, HFR said Wednesday, following a 0.33% decline in March. Funds hadn’t turned in two consecutive losing months since April and May of 2012, HFR said.

Son Makes $58 Billion on Alibaba With Buffett-Type Return (Bloomberg)
With Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. filing to go public, the biggest winner won’t be founder Jack Ma or his fellow executives or even venture capital backers like Silver Lake Management LLC. It’ll be Japan’s Masayoshi Son. Fourteen years ago, Son’s SoftBank Corp. (9984) started with a $20 million bet on a then-unknown Web portal connecting Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers. That site evolved into China’s biggest Internet shopping mall and SoftBank’s stake is now estimated to be worth about $58 billion, an exceptional return even by Silicon Valley’s standards. The IPO burnishes Son’s reputation as one of the world’s savviest investors and provides more capital to a man on the hunt for deals. After taking control of the U.S. carrier Sprint Corp. last July, Son made no secret of his interest in T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS) Analysts say he may also pursue European wireless operators or take another look at music labels, after his $8.5 billion bid for Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group was rebuffed.

Meet the eccentric founder of Alibaba (NYP)
Ma has been described as an eccentric and a “scrappy fighter” who practices kung fu and other Chinese martial arts. Last year, he opened a tai chi school with Jet Li, the Hong Kong star who starred in “Hero” and other martial arts classics…Ma indicated that he is fretting the trap doors that lie within the US capital markets, and not the other way around. In a letter to employees on Tuesday, Ma warned of “unparalleled ruthlessness … lying behind the massive allure of the capital market.” To combat it, he reminded his employees’ to stick to the company’s principle of “customer first, employee second, shareholder third.”

Seeking Tough Justice, but Settling for Empty Promises (Dealbook)
The Justice Department is talking tough. In an unusually frank video statement, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. proclaimed that he was personally overseeing major financial investigations and that his department was poised to bring charges against several large institutions. The United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, gave a rousing speech several weeks ago, declaring that the era of “too big to jail” is over…Despite Mr. Holder’s tough-sounding video appearance, it is clear that prosecutors are twisting themselves into awkward yoga poses to minimize the damage any charges against companies might inflict on the larger economy. That’s prudent, of course, but it also suggests that the companies still have considerable leverage in preserving their essential profit centers.

Dog driving car one of a few odd calls for Alamance law enforcement (NR)
Burlington police issued a BOLO, or “be on the lookout,” for a black vehicle apparently being driven by a canine Tuesday afternoon. “There was a car in the area of Cum Park Plaza driving recklessly, and it appeared a dog was driving the vehicle,” Long said. A description of the dog was unavailable, and as of late Tuesday afternoon, police had not located the vehicle. “We have not been able to confirm that the dog was not driving,” Long said. Read more »

Opening Bell: 05.07.14

Fat-Destroying Machine Doubted by Stock Traders (Bloomberg)
The way Shimon Eckhouse sees it, his company’s fat-busting technology gives him a direct line into what he calls one of the holy grails of beauty treatment. Everyone, he says, is worried about being overweight. So when Syneron Medical Ltd. (ELOS), the Israeli company Eckhouse co-founded in 2000, failed to rally in the stock market after the U.S. approved the ultrasound device on April 14, he was surprised. “I expected to see much more of a jump in the stock,” Eckhouse, Syneron’s chairman, said in a May 2 phone interview. There is “huge potential” in the business, he said…Now that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the device, Syneron will begin selling UltraShape machines to a limited group of doctors in the second quarter of 2014 to test its model of revenue sharing, Eckhouse said. The company plans to apply the model to Syneron’s other products, which include devices for skin whitening, wrinkle treatment, and hair-removal. The UltraShape machine painlessly destroys fat cells by heating them with ultrasound waves that penetrate 1.5 centimeters (0.6 inch) below the skin, according to a company presentation.

Regulators Step Up Probe Into Bank Hiring Overseas (WSJ)
The Securities and Exchange Commission in early March sent letters to a group of companies including Credit Suisse Group AG , Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and UBS AG seeking more information about their hiring in Asia, according to the people. It is examining whether the banks or their employees violated antibribery laws by hiring relatives of well-connected officials.

UBS, Barclays Contrast Shows How Slimmed-Down Investment Banking Bolsters Bottom Line (WSJ)
At Zurich-based UBS, which significantly curbed its trading operations after the financial crisis, first-quarter earnings beat analysts’ expectations. The bank’s shares gained 1.2% By contrast, Barclays, which is still to shrink its securities unit, missed forecasts amid a collapse in operating profit at its investment bank. London-based Barclays’s shares fell 5.2%. Since the start of the year, investors have sent UBS stock up by about 9% while Barclays’s has fallen by a similar amount. The contrast reflects different approaches at the two banks since the financial crisis. UBS, laid low by the crisis in 2008, bit the bullet of a major revamp. The bank has undergone years of restructuring that curbed its presence in investment banking, particularly in the costly and relatively high-risk debt-trading business, and refocused its efforts on wealth management and private banking.

As Lockup Expires, Twitter Holders Fly the Coop (WSJ)
The expiration of the six-month “lockup” imposed by the securities firms that sold the Twitter initial public offering freed holders of 83% of shares outstanding to sell for the first time. Tuesday’s decline, Twitter’s second-biggest one-day percentage drop, marked the worst performance for a technology stock on its lockup-expiration day since at least the start of 2013, according to data provider Dealogic.

Insight: Pimco’s bad bets on emerging markets add to firm’s troubles (Reuters)
In particular, it has made made some ill-timed bets in the Brazilian, Mexican and Russian debt markets. It made substantial investments in some companies that have gone belly-up, such as Brazilian oil company OGX Petróleo e Gás Participações SA, which was controlled by Eike Batista, who only two years ago was estimated to be the world’s seventh-richest man but whose business empire has now largely crumbled.

World’s largest legal pot facility to open (NYP)
CEN Biotech — a nutrition company best known for an amino acid supplement — is working on opening the “largest and most advanced” legal marijuana production facility in the world. The Ontario site will be able to grow 1.3 million pounds of pot from 50,000 plants — an operation that could produce $5 billion in sales per year when it starts producing in a few weeks after it passes government inspections. No more hiding grow lamps in closets: This $20 million facility will churn out pot like other factories churn out aspirin. And it has plans to expand to the US. Read more »

Opening Bell: 05.06.14

Credit Suisse Said Near U.S. Tax Deal for Over $1 Billion (Bloomberg)
Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), facing a U.S. criminal probe of whether it helped Americans evade taxes, is close to resolving the case with an agreement that may include a penalty of more than $1 billion and a guilty plea, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are confidential, didn’t specify whether the plea would be entered by the entire firm or a subsidiary. Credit Suisse, the largest of 14 Swiss banks facing criminal tax probes by the U.S., was told in 2011 that it was a target of prosecutors.

UBS First-Quarter Profit Up (WSJ)
Swiss bank UBS AG said Tuesday that first-quarter net profit was 1.1 billion Swiss francs ($1.25 billion) compared with 988 million francs reported a year earlier and against analyst forecasts of 838 million francs.

Einhorn Plays Athenahealth for Laughs and Decimates Its Shares (BusinessWeek)
As he dismantled the bull case for Athenahealth and then mounted a lengthy bear case, Einhorn repeatedly turned for help to none other than Athenahealth Chief Executive Jonathan Bush when he played embarrassing video clips of the high-strung CEO. Bush was shown spouting techo-verbiage at various interviewers and acknowledging that his company was not worth its valuation. The snappily cut footage, complete with freeze frames of Bush looking foolish with his mouth open, lent the presentation a Daily Show-esque vibe. It’s a new way for Einhorn and his $10 billion Greenlight Capital hedge fund to publicize short sales.

Three Bankers Bolster Blankfein as Goldman Trading Sinks (Bloomberg)
Led by David M. Solomon, Richard J. Gnodde and John S. Weinberg, the investment-banking division last year generated the second-highest revenue and profit since the firm went public in 1999, trailing only 2007, when the volume of global mergers was almost twice as high. The unit boosted revenue and market share in each of its three businesses: underwriting equity, advising on mergers and acquisitions and underwriting debt. Its share of fees from debt underwriting was the greatest since 1999, and it made about $2 billion from advisory work, 50 percent more than its closest competitor, JPMorgan Chase & Co. — a $660 million gap, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The dominance was even more pronounced in the first quarter of 2014, when Goldman Sachs almost doubled the advisory revenue of every other bank and led in total investment-banking fees for the first time since the financial crisis.

Calstrs to Vote Against BofA Directors in Proxy Campaign (WSJ)
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System pension fund voted against four members of Bank of America Corp.’s board in response to the bank’s announcement last week that it had miscalculated capital levels. The move is largely symbolic, because many big shareholders have expressed support for Bank of America’s management and are expected to vote for the current board.

Grilled cheese set to parachute into New York City (USAT)
The Australian pop-up restaurant Jafflechutes has announced plans to bring its parachute-delivered grilled cheese sandwiches to New York City. The Melbourne group raised funds to bring its whimsical sandwich delivery system to North America — possibly this month, according to a Facebook post — but they say they aren’t in it for the money. “We do this purely for fun,” Adam Grant, one of Jafflechutes’ founders, told Fast Company in April. If you’d like to catch an airborne jaffle (that’s an Australian word for grilled cheese), Jafflechutes says they will announce the next drop one day in advance on Twitter and Facebook. Interested parties can then order via Paypal, $5 for cheese and tomato and $6 for cheese and ham. At a predetermined time the following day, stand on an “x” marked on the street at a secret location and look to the sky. Jafflechutes will drop the sandwich, complete with its own tiny parachute, into waiting hands below. Read more »