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Opening Bell: 7.21.15

Human traders: 1, Computer traders: 0; Russian billionaire funds search for aliens; Puerto Rico needs $5 billion; "Suspect leads police on slow-speed scooter chase in Nevada"; and more.
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Traders Beat Computer-Driven Hedge Funds (WSJ)
According to data group Hedge Fund Research, the $272 billion computer-driven sector—also known as CTAs for commodity trading advisers—is on a three-month losing streak. These funds are down 1.8% so far this year to the end of June. They had gained 5% by the end of the first quarter of this year, after a 10.7% advance for all of last year. In contrast, macro funds—which use human judgment to make trades, often betting on a similar range of assets to CTAs, including stocks, bonds, commodities and currencies—have fared better in the past three months. Having last year lagged behind CTAs, macro funds as a whole are down 0.3% so far this year. On average, the wider hedge-fund industry is up 2.5%.

Fed call for extra $200bn in bank buffers (FT)
The eight leading US banks will hold extra capital buffers totalling $200bn under new Federal Reserve rules aimed at preventing a major financial collapse. The Fed on Monday announced final rules that will apply to eight major banks deemed to be globally systemically important. All but one of the banks, which include Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, are already in compliance with the requirements, Federal Reserve officials said. The exception is JPMorgan, which would have a current $12.5bn capital shortfall as a result of the rules.

‘Toxic’ Loans Wallop French Towns (WSJ)
Banks, seeking to boost their profits in a competitive market, pitched the loans to municipalities across Europe, and they became especially popular in France. Municipal bank Dexia controlled almost half of municipal lending market there, and it aggressively marketed the loans to French cities. Now—with the euro having sunk after long enjoying a higher valuation versus the franc—scores of municipalities across France have come to rue the day they accepted the offers.

Yuri Milner, Russian Entrepreneur, Promises $100 Million for Alien Search (NYT)
Extending his idea of philanthropy beyond the Earth and even the human species, Yuri Milner, the Russian Internet entrepreneur and founder of science giveaways like the annual $3 million Fundamental Physics Prizes, announced in London on Monday that he would spend at least $100 million in the next decade to search for signals from alien civilizations. The money for Breakthrough Listen, as Mr. Milner calls the effort, is one of the biggest chunks of cash ever proffered for the so far fruitless quest for cosmic companionship known as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI.

50 Cent: I’m the victim (NYP)
The hip-hop star dispatched his lawyers to Manhattan Supreme Court Monday to demand a mistrial in the sex-tape case because of all the media attention. While Fitty hid out in his chauffeured black Chevy Suburban sipping a soda, his lawyer, James Renard, whined to the judge, “My concern is there might have been exposure to media that might have influenced the jurors.” But Justice Paul Wooten said the Queens-born rapper brought his troubles on himself. The press coverage “is traceable primarily to the defendant, who has been on all sorts of media outlets,” Wooten said in rejecting the mistrial bid.

Puerto Rico Owes Investors $5 Billion in Next Year (Bloomberg)
Puerto Rico faces $5.4 billion of bond payments over the next 12 months, showing the pressure on the Caribbean island as it moves closer toward defaulting on its debt. Puerto Rico and its agencies are on the hook for $635 million in August, the largest monthly bill for the rest of 2015, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in a July 17 report, citing data from Bloomberg and Standard & Poor’s. That includes a $36.3 million payment due Aug. 1 from the Public Finance Corp., which may not be made because the legislature failed to appropriate the funds.

Shake Shack Slides After Disclosing Plans for Stock Offering (Bloomberg)
The Class A shares are being sold by Shake Shack’s backers, the New York-based burger chain said in a regulatory filing on Monday. Shake Shack isn’t selling any stock itself and won’t get proceeds from the offering, which is being managed by Morgan Stanley, Barclays Plc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other banks.

Toshiba CEO Faces Pressure to Quit in $1.2 Billion Scandal (Bloomberg)
In an accounting scandal that has tainted one of the most fabled brands in Japan and brought pressure on its top executives to step down, Toshiba Corp. said it will correct earnings by at least 152 billion yen ($1.2 billion). The company’s top executives set unrealistic profit targets that systematically led to flawed accounting, a summary of a third-party investigation released Monday showed. The irregularities were “skillfully” hidden from outside observers, according to the summary.

First Data I.P.O. Is Likely to Be One of Year’s Largest (Dealbook)
The company, a credit card and payments processor, filed on Monday for an initial public offering, paving the way for its majority owner, the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, to eventually sell off its holdings eight years after buying the company for $29 billion.

Suspect leads police on slow-speed scooter chase in Nevada (AP)
The slow-speed pursuit began Friday when Carson City deputies tried to pull Scurti and his TaoTao scooter over. Deputies say they ran the scooter's registration and learned Scurti had two outstanding felony warrants. Authorities say he drove down Highway 50 then rode onto a sidewalk, hitting a patrol vehicle. The scooter then became stuck underneath the car. Deputies say Scurti then ran but was tackled and handcuffed.


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.

Opening Bell: 8.4.15

Puerto Rico; Pimco; Promontory Financial; 210 year-old bottle of cognac; "No plans to probe hitchhiking robot vandalism"; and more.

Opening Bell: 8.5.15

Puerto Rico; Jeb; Soros 2.0; "Meth lab remnants found inside Iowa Taco Bell"; and more.

By M.Minderhoud (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 6.22.16

Puerto Rico vs bondholders; Brexit, Brexit, Brexit; Man creates smoothie made of McDonald's burgers; and more.

Opening Bell: 4.22.16

Hedge funds want Puerto Rico to pay more cash; Ex-banker charged following IMDB probe; Hamilton’s fifth-great-grandson breathes sigh of relief; Suspect throws meat at Texas police in high steaks chase; and more.

Opening Bell: 6.29.15

Greece, Greece, Greece; Puerto Rico; "CNN mistakes sex toy sign for Islamic State flag" and more.

puerto rico flag

Opening Bell: 6.10.16

Puerto Rico debt crisis bill passes house; Whistleblower aided SEC in Deutsche probe; Man reaches day 322 of eating Chipotle every day; and more.

Opening Bell: 7.29.15

Puerto Rico sitch not great for US; Hedge funds like London; Disneyland Paris probe; Twitter; Yelp; Brazil; "Fugitive-turned-actor arrested after U.S. Marshals read film write-up"; and more.