Opening Bell: 11.30.16

Goldman Sachs back in the limelight; RBS stumbles on stress test; Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo weed to be cloned; and more.
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Goldman Sachs at Center of Politics, Money and Public Furor Once Again (WSJ)

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Heading into the 2016 presidential election, most executives on Wall Street would have said one thing was certain no matter who won: The next Treasury secretary wouldn’t come from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Like so much other conventional wisdom, that has now proved to be wrong. President-elect Donald Trump is set to name Steven Mnuchin, a Goldman alum, as Treasury secretary.

Trump to Outline Plans for ‘Leaving My Great Business’ Dec. 15 (BBG)

He’ll leave his business “in total,” he said in a series of tweets. “While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”

Steven Mnuchin, Expected Treasury Pick, Is an Outsider to Public Policy (NYT)

Up until the last several weeks, Mr. Mnuchin — an entrepreneur, a Wall Street investor and a Hollywood producer — would have appeared an unlikely choice for the position made famous by Alexander Hamilton. Over his business career, he was never particularly involved in politics, nor did he publicly express an interest in public policy. He never ran a large organization or showed himself to be an accomplished economist.

Sleazy treasurer left Westchester Trump Tower a financial mess: suit (NYP)

Frank Palazzolo, a real estate investor who was named one of the city’s 10 worst landlords by a former city housing commissioner, used the condo’s funds as his own personal “piggy bank” and covered his tracks with fake account statements, according to a suit brought by the condo board on Monday.

Europe’s share of investment bank fees falls to all-time low (FT)

Thomson Reuters’ data shows that Europe, the Middle East and Asia (EMEA) accounts for just 24 per cent of the global fees for M&A deals, syndicated loans and underwriting paid so far this year. That’s the lowest since Thomson Reuters began collecting the data in 2000 and just a shade ahead of the 23 per cent of fees generated in Asia so far in 2016.

This Activist Built One of the Foundations of Passive Investing (BBG)

Art Lipson couldn’t have picked two more distinct ways to shake up the bond market. Back in 1973, Lipson first made a name for himself by creating the bond index that grew into the Lehman Brothers Family of Indices. Now the Bloomberg Barclays Indices, they’re the benchmarks for many of the world’s largest fixed-income mutual funds. Among the funds that track them are those of Vanguard Group, the pioneer of low-cost indexing as an alternative to higher-fee active strategies.

RBS Must Add $2.5 Billion in Capital After Failing BOE Stress Test (WSJ)

RBS, still 73%-government owned since bailouts in 2008 and 2009, will outline a new strategic plan early next year as it continues to face headwinds from low interest rates and potentially vast fines from U.S. authorities over the sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities. The plan should raise more than the £2 billion capital shortfall identified by the Bank of England.

Hunter S Thompson's widow plans to clone and sell his marijuana stash (CNBC)

Anita Thompson, who married Hunter in 2003 two years before his suicide, said in a post on her Facebook page that she had found a legal method to extract the DNA from the author's personal marijuana and hashish stash that she had saved for 12 to 15 years.

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Opening Bell: 2.6.17

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