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Opening Bell: 6.3.16

Ex-Barclays employees tell jury of ‘humiliation’ and pressure; Silicon Valley not feeling Trump; 'Selfie Statue' sparks fury; and more.
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Silicon Valley Finds Trump’s Disruption Unwelcome (Dealbook)
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee wants to restrict immigration while bringing back manufacturing. He compulsively uses tech products like Twitter but is not in awe of the people who built them. He made his fortune the old-fashioned way, by going into the family business, in the old-fashioned industry of real estate. He’s not the valley’s kind of entrepreneur. Worst of all, Mr. Trump is revealing Silicon Valley’s vulnerability. In recent years, technology companies have extended their enormous reach while becoming ever wealthier and more powerful. Yet Mr. Trump has paid no political price for attacking them, with broadsides in recent months against Jeff Bezos at Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and Timothy D. Cook at Apple. For all these reasons, support for Mr. Trump here [in Palo Alto] is minimal.

Ex-Barclays employees tell jury of ‘humiliation’ and pressure (FT, earlier)
Five former Barclays employees on trial for allegedly conspiring to rig interest rates have taken the stand in their own defence, with several telling the jury of the stress and pressure they felt while working at the UK bank.
Jonathan Mathew described how his boss used to call him a “deaf git” and “humiliate” him by “whacking” him on the back of the head with a 12-inch baseball bat. And Alex Pabon testified: “You definitely follow instructions from your boss.” He also fought back tears as he told the jury that by 2006, “I was kind of burnt out and ready to leave.” Mr Pabon, 37, Mr Mathew, 35, Jay Merchant, 45, Stylianos Contogoulas, 44, and Ryan Reich, 34, are all on trial at Southwark Crown Court for conspiring to manipulate US dollar Libor for more than two years before September 2007. They deny wrongdoing.

ECB Stands Pat, Won’t Rule Out Future Stimulus (WSJ)
Despite a recent rise in oil prices, the ECB’s economists barely raised their inflation forecast for this year, and left their projections for next year and 2018 unchanged. That indicates further stimulus may be needed if policy makers are to meet their inflation target of just under 2%. Consumer prices have been falling in the bloc for much of this year.

The death of the boozy business lunch: British workers are too busy to leave their desks (Telegraph)
The glory days of boozy business lunches are long gone because of the time restraints and financial pressures placed on British workers, a new report has claimed. Nearly half of all British workers are too busy to even leave their desks for lunch, according to the results of research conducted by restaurant reservation service Bookatable. The study found that the traditional business lunch has been in steady decline since its “heyday” in the 1980s, despite 40pc of British workers saying lunch with prospective clients is the most important factor in sealing a business deal. And more than a third of workers admitted they would be more likely to renew a contract or use a supplier if they were wined and dined in a restaurant.

Cop-hating vandal paints ‘no cronut’ on NYPD cruiser (NYP)
A man with a taste for high-end pastries — and an apparent hatred of cops — vandalized an NYPD squad car in Brooklyn. The words “Bad Cop” and “No cronut” were discovered spray-painted on the police vehicle parked at Montrose Avenue and Broadway in Williamsburg early Wednesday, police sources said.

JPMorgan sheds light on currency trade practice (FT)
JPMorgan has released new guidelines to provide clarity on why it rejects some currency trades in the latest effort by the world’s biggest banks to improve a public image muddied by scandals. The bank has explained why it sometimes rejects trade requests at the very last moment, shining a light on the controversial practice known as “last look”. The move comes less than a week after the Bank for International Settlements released a code of conduct for the industry.

Steph Curry's New Emoji App Is Making Bank (Bloomberg)
Stephen Curry’s social media following extends to more than 20 million fans, more than enough to make the guard’s new app a top seller in less than 24 hours. The $1.99 Stephmoji keyboard went on sale Wednesday afternoon and, by Thursday morning, was the best-selling paid app in Apple Inc.’s store, beating out Kim Kardashian’s emoji and the mobile version of Minecraft.

Uber owes its drivers millions: lawsuit (NYP)
The suit, by the group of Uber drivers, led by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, will claim that the rideshare app should have classified them as employees — and because they were not, were denied millions of dollars in minimum wage and overtime pay.

'Selfie statue' in Sugar Land, Tex. sparks social media snark (NYDN)
A decision by the town of Sugar Land, Tex. to erect a “selfie statue” showing two women posing for a cell phone self-portrait outside of their City Hall has drawn mixed reactions online. The $32,500 bronze statue was built as part of a series of public art intended to depict “activities common in the plaza,” according to a press release last week announcing its construction. Social media backlash ranged from outrage to amusement at the odd artistic choice. “If sugar land is gonna have a statue of two girls taking a selfie then can I have a statue of me twerking,” Twitter user Lee Drones quipped on social media. The Texas town defended the statue, saying that it “reflects the public’s strong desire for art that beautifies the city,” according to a statement obtained by ABC News.


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Opening Bell: 3.1.17

Uber could use a friend right now; Silicon Valley workers feel poor at six figures; Subway chicken may not be chicken; and more.

Opening Bell: 3.6.15

Stress tests; The next Silicon Valley; Why you should lease a Rolls-Royce ; Emu on the loose; AND MORE.

Opening Bell: 4.2.15

Twitter hedge fund; Silicon Valley Bank; Bonuses; "April Fools' Day prank gone wrong burns Michigan apartment"; and more.


Opening Bell: 12.14.16

Trump "smitten" with Gary Cohn; Ubers gonna Uber; Silicon Valley techies use their iPhones to schedule sex; and more.

Opening Bell: 08.20.12

Diamond Censured Over Evidence in Barclays Libor Probe (Bloomberg) Barclays ex-Chief Executive Officer Robert Diamond was criticized for giving “unforthcoming and highly selective” evidence by a U.K. parliamentary report that faulted the bank for letting traders rig interest rates. The “candor and frankness” of Diamond’s testimony to lawmakers on July 4 “fell well short of the standard that Parliament expects,” the House of Commons Treasury Committee said in a 122-page report today following its inquiry into the bank’s attempts to manipulate the London interbank offered rate. “The Barclays board has presided over a deeply flawed culture,” the panel of British lawmakers said. “Senior management should have known earlier and acted earlier.” Bob Diamond Hits Bank In Rate-Rigging Row (Telegraph) In a statement Mr Diamond hit back at the report. "I am disappointed by, and strongly disagree with, several statements by the Treasury Select Committee,” Diamond said. Deutsche Bank’s Business With Sanctioned Nations Under Scrutiny (NYT) Federal and state prosecutors are investigating Deutsche Bank and several other global banks over accusations that they funneled billions of dollars through their American branches for Iran, Sudan and other sanctioned nations, according to law enforcement officials with knowledge of the cases. JPMorgan Picks Leader For 'Whale' Probe (WSJ) JPMorgan directors have named Lee Raymond chairman of a board committee investigating the bank's multibillion-dollar trading blunder, said people close to the probe. Some Groupon Investors Give Up (WSJ) Some of the early backers of Groupon, including Silicon Valley veteran Marc Andreessen, are heading for the exits, joining investors who have lost faith in companies that had been expected to drive a new Internet boom. At least four Groupon investors who held stock in the daily-deals company before it went public have sold or significantly pared back their holdings in recent months. Since its initial public offering in November, Groupon has shed more than three-quarters of its stock-market value, or about $10 billion...Mr. Andreessen, who rode the 1990s dot-com frenzy to riches at Netscape Communications Corp., was among the investors who helped fuel Groupon's rapid ascent. His firm, Andreessen Horowitz, was responsible for $40 million of the $950 million investors put into Groupon just months before the company's IPO. Andreessen Horowitz sold its 5.1 million Groupon shares shortly after restrictions on selling the stock expired June 1, according to people with knowledge of the transaction. Facebook Investors Brace For More Shares Coming To Market (Bloomberg) While Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg operates the world’s largest social-networking service, he’s facing investor concerns about how it can generate more revenue from its growing user base. That, plus the end of the first lock-up, drove the shares to half the offering price of $38, wiping out almost $46 billion in market value. Queen's corgis 'attack' Princess Beatrice's terrier Max (Telegraph) They may be among the Queen's favourite subjects but her corgis are in the doghouse after getting into a fight with one of Princess Beatrice's pets. Max, an 11–year–old Norfolk terrier, is said to have been badly injured after a "nasty" encounter at Balmoral castle last week. The Princess's pet nearly lost an ear and suffered several bloody bite injuries that had to be treated by a vet, in the latest in a series of scraps between royal dogs..."The Queen's dog boy was taking the corgis for a walk and they were joined by the Norfolk terriers, which came with Prince Andrew," one insider told a Sunday newspaper. "They were being taken along the long corridor leading to the Tower Door before being let into the grounds for a walk, and they all became overexcited. They began fighting among themselves and unfortunately the dog boy lost control. "The next thing we knew there were horrific yelps and screams...there was blood everywhere." EU Leaders Plan Shuttle Talks To Bolster Greece, Sovereign Bonds (Bloomberg) The sovereign-debt crisis mustn’t become a “bottomless pit” for Germany, even though Europe’s biggest economy would pay the highest price in a breakup of the euro region, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Aug. 18 during his ministry’s open day in Berlin. “There are limits,” he said, as he ruled out another aid program for Greece. Hedge 'A-Listers' Include Ackman, Loeb, Chanos (NYP) Influential adviser Cliffwater LLC — which monitors some 1,500 hedge funds and ranks them with an A, B or C grade — keeps a closely guarded list of 90 or so top-rated funds...Cliffwater advises large pension funds in New Jersey, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, among others, and has become one of the industry’s hottest gatekeepers as more big institutions invest directly in hedge funds rather than through funds of funds...An August copy of Cliffwater’s “500 top-rated A or B” funds shows that the company gives high marks to activist funds such as Ackman’s Pershing Square and also to tail risk funds, which aim to protect against disasters. Tucked inside the protected internal document, which compares five-year historical returns to risk, is Cliffwater’s “Select List,” which appears to be the 95 funds deemed worthy of A ratings. Along with Ackman, Dan Loeb of Third Point, the hedgie who recently rattled Yahoo!, famed short-seller Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates and gold hound James Melcher of Balestra Capital, made the short list as well. Spitzer Defends Wall Street Legacy (FT) Last week it emerged that Goldman Sachs had brought the curtains down on its Hudson Street platform, one of the most high-profile independent research projects started by an investment bank involved in the settlement. Other settlement banks, such as UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, are said to have closed or scaled down their own independent analysis projects. Mr. Spitzer was quick to defend the legacy of the global settlement in an interview with the Financial Times. “I think we accomplished something,” Mr. Spitzer said. “There are a lot of independent research firms out there, some doing well and others not. Goldman has other business models and other priorities.” Shia LaBeouf To Have Sex "For Real" While Filming Scenes For Lars Von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" (Complex) "It is what you think it is. There's a disclaimer at the top of the script that basically says, we're doing [the sex] for real. And anything that is 'illegal' will be shot in blurred images. But other than that, everything is happening," LaBeouf said during an interview.

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Opening Bell: 7.5.16

Italian banks are screwed; Barclays traders found guilty of Libor rigging; Can SnapChat survive old people?; Joey Chestnut eats way back to Nathan's hot dog eating title; and more.

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Opening Bell: 2.27.17

Warren Buffett wrote a thing; Silicon Valley is foisting creativity on everyone; getting hit in the balls is an art form; and more.

Opening Bell: 1.14.16

JP Morgan beats expectations; Mike Mayo expects activists to target banks; "Sleazy dirtbags run Silicon Valley"; Australian man stops car theft with flying kick through passenger window; and more.