Opening Bell: 4.7.16

Yale scored 93% a year on venture capital in past two decades; Blackstone to close fund; Yellen says rate hikes on track; Macaulay Culkin says he’s ‘essentially retired’ from the acting world; and more.
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Yale Made 93% a Year on Venture Capital in Past Two Decades (Bloomberg)
Yale University’s original $2.7 million investment in LinkedIn Corp. produced $84.4 million in gains for the school’s endowment after the company went public in 2011. It’s one example of how venture capital helped propel performance at the second-richest U.S. college endowment of $25.6 billion. Venture capital earned an annual average of 93 percent over the past 20 years, according to the Ivy League school’s 2015 investment report posted on its website.

Yellen, alongside Fed alum, says rate hikes on track (Reuters)
The U.S. economy is on a solid course with some hints of inflation so the Federal Reserve is on track for further interest rate hikes, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Thursday in a defense of her decision to tighten policy late last year. In a rare spectacle, Yellen spoke on a New York panel alongside her three predecessors who ran the world's most powerful central bank. She said that, seven years after the brutal financial crisis, the U.S. labor market was now "close" to full strength, again arguing that inflation would not be held down much longer by the strong dollar and low oil prices.

Blackstone to Shut Mutual Fund After Fidelity Pulls Out (Bloomberg)
The Blackstone Alternative Multi-Manager Fund will no longer accept new money and will be liquidated by May 31, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. The fund’s investment adviser will seek to convert all of its holdings to cash and cash equivalents to meet anticipated redemption requests.

Investors stick with Pfizer CEO after Allergan deal scrapped (Reuters)
While failure on that scale often puts CEOs in jeopardy, 10 investors and portfolio managers told Reuters that Read still has their support. Read, they said, has a deep reservoir of goodwill after tackling many problems he inherited since taking over in 2010, including re-energizing Pfizer's faltering research and development operations. In addition, many of them blame the U.S. government, not Read, for the Allergan deal's demise.

‘American Psycho’ is leaving audiences a bloody mess (NYP)
Audiences at “American Psycho” complained about being splattered with (fake) blood, and the production’s taking precautions. A Schoenfeld Theatre manager sent a memo to staffers saying, “Last night, a patron came to me to complain about being hit by the stage blood. Not only was her sweater stained, but also her Burberry cashmere scarf and more importantly (she cried when she showed it to me) her leather Louis Vuitton bag. I told her that we will pay for the cleaning of her items.” The show’s implementing measures to avoid further carnage.

E.C.B. Rules Out Free Money as Antidote to Falling Prices (NYT)
“It’s not on the table,” Peter Praet, a member of the E.C.B.’s executive board, said of the helicopter idea, so named because of the image of showering money on the populace from the sky. “It’s not even discussed informally,” he said at the conference.

CEO Pay Shrank Most Since Financial Crisis (WSJ)
Median pay for the CEOs of nearly 300 large publicly traded companies slipped 3.8% to $10.8 million last year from $11.2 million in 2014, a Wall Street Journal analysis of compensation data from MyLogIQ found. Half of those CEOs saw total pay either decline or rise by less than 1%—also the worst showing for S&P 500 chiefs since the 2008 crisis.

Morgan Stanley Paints Bleak Outlook for Twitter on Few New Users (Bloomberg)
Morgan Stanley analysts came down hard on Twitter Inc., lowering their forecasts for the social media company’s stock price, on projected slower growth in new users, revenue and earnings. “Engagement and new user trends remain troubling,” the analysts, led by Brian Nowak, said in a note to clients Thursday.

Macaulay Culkin says he’s ‘essentially retired’ from the acting world (NYDN)
"I'm a man in his mid-30s who's essentially retired," the former child star said in a recent sit-down with Vulture. "I kind of go where the wind takes me a little bit." Culkin said he now spends most of his days writing, painting and "whatevering" while continuing to call NYC his home.

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Opening Bell: 2.10.16

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By Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 8.31.16

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Opening Bell: 9.22.16

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Opening Bell: 11.6.15

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Opening Bell: 03.13.12

Bond Trading Revives Banks (WSJ) Gains in the financial firms' fixed-income businesses, which can account for as much as half of revenue, are putting companies including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and the J.P. Morgan unit of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. on track to report their strongest numbers since the first quarter of 2011, said bankers and analysts. Trade Fight Flares on China Minerals (WSJ) The Obama administration Tuesday intends to escalate its trade offensive against China, a move heavy with political overtones, by pressing the World Trade Organization to force the export giant to ease its stranglehold on rare-earth minerals critical to high-tech manufacturing. The announcement, which will be made by President Barack Obama, marks a new front in the administration's election-year effort to turn up the heat on China, amid competition from the president's potential Republican rivals on the matter. It could also pressure China to respond to the WTO on an issue that is of high importance to a range of manufacturers. The U.S., joined by the European Union and Japan, plans to ask the WTO, the international arbiter of trade practices, to open talks with China over its restrictions on exporting the rare-earth minerals, administration officials said. New York City Tops Global Competitiveness, Economist Report Says (Bloomberg) New York City ranks first among 120 cities across the globe in attracting capital, businesses and tourists, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit report commissioned by Citigroup. London was the second most-competitive city, followed by Singapore, with Paris and Hong Kong tied for fourth place, according to the report, which was released today. Among U.S. cities, Washington, Chicago and Boston made the top 10. The report cited New York’s diverse economy, driven by media, arts, fashion, technology and finance. In 2010, New York was second only to California’s Silicon Valley as a source of venture capital in the U.S., according to the report. Ex-Lehman exec arrested again (Stamford Advocate) Bradley H. Jack, a former investment banking chief at Lehman Brothers and an owner of the most expensive residential property in Fairfield, has been charged for the second time in less than a year with forging a prescription for a controlled substance. Jack, 53, of North Avenue, was charged Friday by Westport police with second-degree forgery in connection with an incident last November when he is said to have forged the date of a prescription for a controlled substance at a CVS pharmacy that was made out to him by a Fairfield doctor. Euro-Zone Ministers Press Spain for a Deal on Deficits (WSJ) Euro-zone finance ministers on Monday pressed a budget plan on Spain—regarded as a key test of ambitious new rules for the currency bloc—that would allow the government some leeway on its budget deficit for this year but would keep a tough deficit target for 2013. The plan would mean Spain would still have to embark on a bruising austerity program over the next two years that would cut nearly 6% of gross domestic product off its deficit. The program would be particularly challenging given Spain's contracting economy and 23% unemployment rate, Europe's highest. Ministers said after the meeting that Spain had agreed to consider the proposal. Greek Students Fight Stray Dogs and Despair Amid College Cuts (Bloomberg) Higher education in Greece, as in much of Europe, has been battered by the recession and austerity measures. 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"Mid-statement, all the players got up and left," former Power center Beau Elliott told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Every player got up and left while he was still talking. There were 15 to 20 angry, large individuals." Tainted Libor Guessing Games Face Replacement by Verified Trades (Bloomberg) The London interbank offered rate, the benchmark for $360 trillion of securities, may not survive allegations of being corrupted unless it’s based on transactions among banks rather than guesswork about the cost of money. “The methodology used to formulate Libor is totally unsuitable for the modern world,” said Daniel Sheard, chief investment officer of asset manager GAM U.K. Ltd., which manages about $60 billion. “The British Bankers’ Association needs to come out on the front foot and say ‘this is a system that was appropriate 20 years ago but is no longer appropriate and we are going to change it.’” SEC set to file charges over private trading (FT) The Securities and Exchange Commission is close to filing civil charges tied to the trading of private stocks against at least three executives, making it the first case since regulators began reviewing secondary markets more than a year ago. The fresh scrutiny comes as Congress weighs laws to loosen restrictions on private trading, allowing private groups to have more shareholders and market their stock to a wider range of investors, to make it easier for start-up companies to raise capital and create jobs. It also comes just months ahead of an expected initial public offering for Facebook, which has been the most heavily traded private stock. Ruth Madoff Moves To Greenwich (Greenwich Time) While some Old Greenwich residents said they did not like the idea of Madoff taking up residence in the neighborhood, others shrugged off the news that Madoff was living in town. Neil Lucey, a semi-retired investment banker who has lived in Old Greenwich for 15 years, said he had "no adverse reaction" to hearing Madoff had moved in. Researchers say long-lost Leonardo may have been found (Reuters) Art researchers and scientists said on Monday that a high-tech project using tiny video probes has uncovered evidence that a fresco by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci lost for five centuries may still exist behind a wall of Florence's city hall...Researchers used tiny, medical-style endoscopic probes and other high-tech tools inserted through existing cracks in the outer wall holding the Vasari fresco and took samples of substances. "We found traces of pigments that appear to be those known to have been used exclusively by Leonardo," said Maurizio Seracini, an engineer and expert in art diagnostics who has been on the trail of the "Lost Leonardo" for three decades. "These data are very encouraging," he said, adding that one black pigment found was believed to be of the same type used by Leonardo on the Mona Lisa.

By Federalreserve (FED_9638) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 6.16.16

Turnaround bankers are so hot right now; Janet Yellen say sit tight; Man converts tree stump into tribute to Boston sports teams; and more.

Opening Bell: 9.28.15

Market has trust issues with Fed; Dudley sees hike in 2015; "Wall Street banks are tracking everything employees do"; Why Warren Buffett was suited up for the Dolphins game; "Man Tries To Kill Spider With Lighter, Starts Gas Station Blaze"; and more.

Opening Bell: 9.16.15

AB InBev wants SABMiller; Kynikos gains; Bridgewater loses (and tells investors to f*ck off); Young Wall Street has no idea what a rate hike looks like; "Man Throws Brisket At Woman During Beef At BBQ Fest, Police Say"; and more.