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Opening Bell: 9.22.16

Yellen signals 2016 hike coming; Bill Gross is 'verklempt' after Fed decision; Australian hot dog and hamburger combination 'hamdog' coming to U.S.; and more.
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Divided Fed Holds Fire, Signals 2016 Rate Increase Still Likely (Bloomberg)
A divided Federal Reserve left its policy interest rate unchanged to await more evidence of progress toward its goals, while projecting that an increase is still likely by year-end. “Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in its statement Wednesday after a two-day meeting in Washington. “The Committee judges that the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened but decided, for the time being, to wait for further evidence of continued progress toward its objectives.”

Bill Gross: I'm hardly able to speak after Fed decision (CNBC)
After the Federal Reserve decided to leave interest rates unchanged, bond guru Bill Gross told CNBC he was barely able to speak. "I'm choked with emotion and hardly able to speak," the portfolio manager at Janus Capital Management said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch." "After hawkish talk at Jackson Hole from [Fed Chair] Yellen and [Vice Chair] Stan Fischer, who even said there'd be two hikes in 2016, they've chosen to defer once more a necessary hike to normalize short-term interest rates and provide savers, in my view, with at least a bit of thin gruel to work with to provide for education, retirement and health-care needs."

Former top BofA female banker settles 'bro's club' bias lawsuit (Reuters)
Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) has settled a lawsuit by a former top female banker who had accused it of being a "bro's club" that favored male employees over women, and punishing her because she complained about questionable activity. Terms of the settlement of Megan Messina's lawsuit were not disclosed in a Wednesday filing in Manhattan federal court. The filing said the case was dismissed and cannot be brought again. Messina, a former co-head of global structured products, had in May accused the second-largest U.S. bank by assets of underpaying her and other women relative to men. She also said the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank wrongfully suspended her in retaliation for accusing the other structured products chief, who she said was paid more than twice as much, of improper conduct.

Tiger Cub Citrone Sees Market in Biggest Correction Since 2008 (Bloomberg)
Robert Citrone, the Tiger cub who now runs one of the best-known macro hedge funds, is warning investors that the market moment they’ve been anticipating is at hand. “We believe we are in the midst of the market correction we have been expecting," Citrone, founder of Discovery Capital Management, told investors in an e-mail obtained by Bloomberg. “It will likely persist over the next 3-4 months and be the largest correction since the 2008 crisis,” he said. The firm managed about $12.4 billion at the start of 2016.

Australian hot dog and hamburger combination 'hamdog' coming to U.S. (UPI)
The "Hamdog" a combination between a hot dog and a hamburger created by an Australian man will soon come to the United States. A post on the Hamdog Facebook page announced the food combination would come to South Australia and the U.S. and was seeking retailers in those regions. "America's a bloody big place, they consume around 50 billion burgers a year," inventor Mark Murray told CNBC. "If we pick up even 1 percent of that market, then that's still around $2.5 billion a year." Murray said he came up with the idea for the meat-filled combination, which includes a special bun to accommodate both the burger and the hot dog, while incredibly hungry during a trip to the U.S. in 2004. "I had the idea on holiday when I was leaving a bar in Nashville. I grabbed a burger and a hot dog as I was really hungry," he said. "I was sitting in the car eating them both at the same time and my wife was looking at me like I was an idiot."

Janet Yellen isn't going after Wells Fargo (CNBC)
"Just because an organization is large, doesn't mean it can't live up to the standards" set by federal regulators, she said, responding to a reporter who asked whether she thought Wells Fargo and other large banks may need to be broken up if they cannot adhere to U.S. regulations. "It may be challenging, and that's what we expect." Yellen told another questioner that abuses that hurt consumers ultimately present "safety and soundness issues" at big banks, but it sounds like the Fed is far away from taking any regulatory action directed at Wells Fargo — at least, for now. "I can't really at this point give specifics on that," she concluded.

The big hedge funds are betting big on Hillary Clinton (CNBC)
Overnight federal campaign finance filings show that with additional seven-figure contributions from the likes of George Soros, S. Donald Sussman, and Henry Laufer, Hillary Clinton remains by far the favored candidate among hedge-fund managers. During the August giving period measured by the latest Federal Election Commission filings, Democrat Clinton raised a total of $59.5 million, besting Republican Donald Trump's $41.8 million. And of the money Clinton and super PACs dedicated to her raised, a respectable chunk came from individuals in the hedge-fund industry: $2 million from Paloma Partners founder Sussman, $2.5 million from Soros, and $1 million from Renaissance Technologies director Laufer.

Caesars bankrupt unit ups offer to junior creditors by $1.2 billion (Reuters)
The bankrupt subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment Corp (CZR.O) has offered an additional $1.2 billion to its hold-out creditors in hopes of clearing the way for the casino operator to exit Chapter 11, the company's lawyer told a court hearing on Wednesday. The settlement offer includes contributions by the private equity firms that control Caesars Entertainment, Apollo Global Management (APO.N) and TPG Capital Management [TPG.UL], as well as Caesars' directors, the bankrupt subsidiary's lawyer told a Chicago Bankruptcy Court. The bankrupt unit, Caesars Entertainment Operating Co Inc or CEOC, filed for bankruptcy in January 2015. Creditors have alleged that the parent company and its private equity backers had stripped CEOC of its best hotels and casinos, leaving it unable to pay its $18 billion in debt.

Japan’s Newest Technology Innovation: Priest Delivery (Dealbook)
The stubble-haired Buddhist priest lit incense at a small, cupboardlike altar just as members of his order have done for centuries. As the priest chanted sutras, Yutaka Kai closed his eyes and prayed for his wife, who died last year of complications from a knee replacement. Mr. Kai, 68, set aside his family’s devout Buddhism when he left his rural hometown decades ago to work in a tire factory. That meant Mr. Kai did not have a local temple to turn to for the first anniversary of his wife’s death, a milestone for Japanese Buddhists. Cue the internet. In modern Japan, a Buddhist priest can now be found just a few mouse clicks away, on Amazon.com. “It’s affordable, and the price is clear,” said Mr. Kai’s eldest son, Shuichi, 40. “You don’t have to worry about how much you’re supposed to give.” The priest at Mrs. Kai’s memorial, Junku Soko, is part of a controversial business that is disrupting traditional funeral arrangements in Japan. In a country where regulations and powerful interests have stymied much of the so-called gig economy — Uber, for instance, is barely a blip here — a network of freelancing priests is making gains in the unlikely sphere of religion.

Canadian worker smuggles pounds of gold 'pucks' using his rectum, police say (UPI)
An employee at the Royal Canadian Mint is accused of stealing $180,000 worth of gold by secreting it in his rectum to bypass mint security. The case against 35-year-old Leston Lawrence alleges he smuggled out 18 gold "pucks" weighing 210 grams each (just under a half-pound) and sold them to Ottawa Gold Buyers, according to Global News. "This is the Royal Canadian Mint, your Honour, and one would think they should have the highest security measures imaginable," defense lawyer Gary Barnes said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. "And here the gold is left sitting around in open buckets." Lawrence's alleged smuggling was uncovered by a teller at the Royal Bank who was alerted at the size and number of checks he deposited.

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

Opening Bell: 8.26.16

Carson Block vs St. Jude Medical; What does JP Morgan have to do to get you in a car today; Yellen, Yellen, Yellen; Couple takes wedding pictures on volcano aside hot lava; and more.

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.

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Opening Bell: 9.19.17

Maybe we've got this whole QE unwind thing backwards; Bill Gross is merely average; the sharing economy comes to sex dolls; and more.

Opening Bell: 04.10.13

Trading Case Embroils KPMG (WSJ) Scott London, the partner in charge of audits of Herbalife Ltd. and Skechers USA Inc. until KPMG fired him last week, told The Wall Street Journal Tuesday that "I regret my actions in leaking nonpublic data to a third party." Mr. London said his leaks "started a few years back," adding that KPMG bore "no responsibility" for his actions. "What I have done was wrong and against everything" he believed in, said Mr. London, who was based in Los Angeles for the accounting firm...Neither KPMG nor Mr. London named the recipient of Mr. London's tips. The recipient isn't associated with a hedge fund or other professional investor, said one person familiar with the matter. Obama Proposes $3.77 Trillion Budget to Revive Debt Talks (Bloomberg) Obama’s budget for fiscal 2014 proposes $50 billion for roads, bridges and other public works, $1 billion to spur manufacturing innovation and $1 billion for an initiative to revamp higher education, according to administration officials who briefed reporters and asked to not be identified. It renews his request to raise $580 billion in revenue by limiting deductions and closing loopholes for top earners. Obama again seeks adoption of the Buffett rule, named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, to impose a 30 percent minimum tax on households with more than $1 million in annual income. The administration projects the deficit for fiscal 2014 would be $744 billion, or 4.4 percent of the economy. That would mark the first budget shortfall of less than $1 trillion since Obama took office. Soros Tells Germany It Should Leave The Euro (CNBC) "The financial problem is that Germany is imposing the wrong policies on the euro zone. Austerity doesn't work. You can't shrink the debt burden by shrinking the budget deficit," Soros, the founder and chairman of Soros Fund Management,said during a speech in Germany's financial center of Frankfurt on Tuesday. Ackman Expected To Stick With JCPenney (NYP) The New York hedge-fund tycoon is expected to stay put as JCPenney’s biggest investor, with a nearly 18 percent stake, and back the retailer’s scramble to repair the damage done by ousted CEO Ron Johnson, sources told The Post. That’s despite the fact that it was Ackman who installed Johnson at the helm of the company 17 months ago with an ambitious but doomed plan to overhaul the aging department-store chain. “The priority right now is stabilizing the company and finding a permanent CEO,” according to an insider close to the situation, adding that Ackman appeared to be playing a key role in the process. Blackstone Solicits Partners For Dell Bid (WSJ) Blackstone Group LP is talking to several technology companies about potentially joining its bid to take computer maker Dell private, people familiar with the matter said. Any technology firm that joins the private-equity giant's potential bid for Dell would likely be involved in the company's strategic direction as well as having a financial role, the people said. Blackstone has discussed a number of scenarios with prospective partners, including an equity stake, debt financing or a combination of the two, one of the people said. City officials say they're powerless to stop Time Square's growing hoard of costume-wearing hustlers (NYP) The city used to tell the furry fiends where they could set up. But a court decision last year ruled the characters could not be treated like vendors because they are entertainers who work for tips. “Our ability to treat these characters as vendors was eliminated,” said city lawyer Gabriel Taussig. “And, absent of vending laws, there is no other law that comes close to dealing with where they can be located.” The most recent trouble came when Osvaldo Quiroz-Lopez, who was dressed as Cookie Monster, got into a tussle with the toddler son of Bollywood star Parmita Katkar after the mom said she didn’t have the money to tip for a picture. His bust followed a slew of similar cases, including a man dressed as Super Mario who was accused of groping a woman and an Elmo who went on an anti-Semitic rant. Some Fed Members Fear Monetary Policy Effects (CNBC) Minutes from the most recent Fed meeting suggest that members have grown increasingly concerned that things could get messy if it continues its policies too far into the future. Among those concerns are instability to the financial system, a sudden rise in interest rates and inflation. Bill Gross Raises Holdings of Treasuries to Highest Since July (Bloomberg) Gross raised the holdings of Treasuries held in his $289 billion flagship fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. to 33 percent of assets last month, the highest level since July. JPM On A Whale Of A Roll (NYP) Jamie Dimon is hoping another solid performance from his sprawling bank can finally sink the London Whale. JPMorgan Chase will kick off bank earnings as it nears the anniversary of the embarrassing trading scandal, which Dimon famously dismissed back on April 13 of last year as a “tempest in a teapot.” The bank is expected to benefit from the continuing stabilization of the US economy that could allow it to release capital reserves again — a move that will have the effect of helping boost its overall earnings. Barclays analyst Jason Goldberg estimates that JPMorgan will report earnings of $1.33 a share — 6 cents less than consensus estimates of $1.39 a share. Some analysts believe that the bank will beat the consensus by a few cents after buying back shares and hiking its dividend to 38 cents. Soup heist ends with Tamarac turnpike arrest (Sun Sentinel) A Florida Highway Patrol trooper tracking the rig's GPS signal arrested the driver for the alleged soup heist on Florida's Turnpike in Tamarac about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. Eusebio Diaz Acosta, 51, of Orlando, was charged with two counts of grand theft — one for the tractor trailer and one for the cargo, with a combined value of $350,000. "These are very unusual facts," Broward County Judge John "Jay" Hurley said as he read from Acosta's arrest report Monday morning. "The court has seen many things stolen. … This is the first time the court's ever seen $75,000 worth of soup stolen."

Opening Bell: 11.6.15

Bill Gross 100% of rate hike in December; Goldman pulls out stops for junior bankers; Jim Cramer says he was a moron; "Battery Charge Dropped In Dildo Attack Case"; and more.

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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.

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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Opening Bell: 9.8.17

Potential Yellen replacements are emerging; Equifax execs dumped stock before hack was revealed; Roo, a cartoon kangaroo who teaches college freshmen about sexual assault, is also an acronym for "Rub One Out"; and more.