Opening Bell: 5.18.15

Greece is screwed; Puerto Rico is screwed; Hedge funds are screwed; "Parrot Won't Stop Cursing In Spanish"; and more.
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Greek Endgame Nears for Tsipras as Bank Collateral Hits Buffers (Bloomberg)
Greek banks are running short on the collateral they need to stay alive, a crisis that could help force Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s hand after weeks of brinkmanship with creditors. As deposits flee the financial system, lenders use collateral parked at the Greek central bank to tap more and more emergency liquidity every week. In a worst-case scenario, that lifeline will be maxed out within three weeks, pushing banks toward insolvency, some economists say.

Debt-Choked Puerto Rico at Fiscal Brink (Bloomberg)
The Caribbean island is hurtling toward the fiscal brink. After years of borrowing to paper over deficits, and with $630 million due to investors on July 1, Puerto Rico may confront the unthinkable: a default. The prospect has set Wall Street on edge as bond yields surpass those of Argentina and Greece; about half of municipal mutual funds hold commonwealth debt.

Human Stock Pickers Gain Against Indexes (WSJ)
The numbers add up to a rare rebound for active fund managers, who long dominated the business but have been losing ground to far-less-expensive index funds, especially since the financial crisis. The stock market’s recent slowdown has given old-school stock pickers more chances to shine.

Hedge Funds Close Doors, Facing Low Returns and Investor Scrutiny (Dealbook)
For decades, nearly everything that the billionaire Julian Robertson touched turned to gold. Mr. Robertson, founder of the hedge fund Tiger Management, seeded a network of hugely successful “Tiger Cubs” — companies that in turn seeded more talent. It became the closest thing the hedge fund industry had to a dynasty. Since the start of this year, however, the managers of three firms spun out of that gilded empire have called it quits after volatile performances and sometimes steep losses. They will return money to investors and focus on managing their own wealth. TigerShark, Tiger Consumer and JAT Capital Management are just three examples among a recent wave of hedge funds that have closed their doors to investors in the face of choppy markets. They are a reminder that the hedge fund industry is not all spectacular returns.

Parrot Won't Stop Cursing In Spanish, Says Neighbor (HP)
A woman in Tracy, California, is fed up with her neighbor's parrot, and not just because it barks, meows and makes sounds like a drill. The bird also allegedly squawks a vulgar word that means "whore" in Spanish. "All day long, the bird is saying that word," neighbor Jessica Baca told NBC-affiliate KCRA. She told the outlet she's concerned because her grandchildren started repeating it. The bird's owner, Rita Canisales, said she's only taught the bird English words and thinks it is saying its own name, Rula, rather than the Spanish word, puta. But the owner admitted to KCRA that the bird may be flirtatious toward women.

Bond-Market Crash Has Wall Street Divided on What’s Next (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. warns that government debt is still expensive, but a growing number of investors are finding value after the four-week exodus sent yields soaring. Prudential Financial Inc.’s Robert Tipp is buying because tepid U.S. growth will keep the Federal Reserve on hold, while Europe remains too weak to sustain higher yields. And don’t forget about central banks in Europe and Japan, which are buying billions of dollars in bonds each month.

Hedge Funds Lose Faith in Oil Rally (Bloomberg)
Speculators are losing faith in the oil rally, judging that OPEC will keep increasing supply from the highest level since 2012. Their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 2.1 percent, as long wagers fell the most in two months and short bets declined to the lowest since August, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

Investment from emerging nations surges (FT)
Foreign direct investment by emerging economies surged by almost a third last year as companies in China and elsewhere sought new opportunities offshore as a respite from slowing growth at home, according to new UN figures to be released on Monday.

Meth lab found in third-grade teacher’s North Carolina home (NYDN)
Lori Whitley has been suspended with pay from her job at Wendell Elementary School, where she's worked as a third-grade teacher since 2002, a Wake County Public School spokeswoman said. She is a "good lady," neighbor Bernard Brodie told the local station. He said he did not know there was a drug operation next door but had recently noticed a strong chemical odor wafting from the house.

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