Opening Bell: 12.30.16

Snap says we're not Twitter; Morgan Stanley says more bank layoffs coming ; Hatchimals say "fuck me"; and more.
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Snap’s IPO Roadshow Message: We’re the Next Facebook, Not the Next Twitter (WSJ)

SnapchatIPO

When Snap Inc. goes on the road next year to market its initial public offering, it will be touting more than its popular virtual-messaging service. Evan Spiegel, the company’s 26-year-old founder, is expected to figure prominently in conversations with investors during the marketing process. The pitch is designed to convince investors that the company can evolve from a messaging platform into a content and media powerhouse. The idea is to put the company in a class with Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc., whose shares are up sharply in recent years, while differentiating it from Twitter Inc., which has languished since its 2013 IPO.

Wall Street’s Trump Bonanza Won’t Avert Job Cuts at Banks in ’17 (BBG)

While lower taxes, higher interest rates and lighter regulation under Trump could help boost U.S. banks’ earnings by a median 22 percent in 2018, firms will keep chipping away at costs by using technology to replace traders and branches, analysts at Morgan Stanley said this month. And though rising rates may fatten lenders’ profit margins, they can slow demand for new mortgages and corporate debt issuance. Again, that means fewer staff needed.

For Hire: Retail CFOs (Gadfly)

The finance chiefs of at least 45 retail companies worldwide have exited in the past year, according to a Bloomberg tally. About one-fifth of U.S. retailers appointed new finance chiefs in 2015, compared to 15 percent for all industries, according to search firm Korn/Ferry International.

Bitcoin Price Surges To Nearly $1K As Year Ends (NYP)

In a year when whipsawing markets are poised to end much higher, one of Wall Street’s most curious investments could come out on top: bitcoin. The digital currency is one of the best-performing assets of 2016, rising more than 124 percent since the start of the year — as investors in China and India push the price near all-time highs.

Nomura to Deepen Cost Cuts as CEO Seeks to Keep Ship Afloat (BBG)

After slashing hundreds of overseas jobs since April, CEO Koji Nagai has unveiled his so-called “Waterline Project,” which will attempt to combat waste and improve the cost-effectiveness of the bank’s daily operations over the next three years. “The waterline on a warship will rise a centimeter each year if the crew brings excess baggage,” Nagai said. “Before you know it, the ship will sink.”

China To Relax Curbs On Foreign Investment In Banking, Securities - State Planner (Reuters)

China will focus on freeing up foreign investment in banking, insurance, securities and futures market trading firms as part of a wider opening up of the services sector, the country's state planner said in a document released on Friday.

The Golden Era of Hedge Funds Draws to a Close With Clients in Revolt (BBG)

Drinks flowed as hedge fund titan Robert Mercer, dressed as Mandrake the Magician, partied with Donald Trump, dressed as, well, Donald Trump. The occasion that early December evening was Mercer’s 2016 holiday costume party, an intimate gathering of 250 at his Long Island estate. This year’s theme: “Villains and Heroes.”

Christmas's Hottest Toy Has a Pretty Foul Mouth (VICE)

Few things beat Christmas when you're a kid (if your family adheres to it). Getting up early, surrounding the tree with your loved ones, and of course, opening presents. This is the big moment, that gift from Santa—that money gift—the toy you've waited all season for is finally yours. Then that magical toy says, "Fuck me."

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JPMorgan Loss Claims Official Who Oversaw Trading Unit (NYTimes) The $2 billion trading loss at JPMorgan Chase will claim its first casualty among top officials at the bank as early as Monday, with chief executive Jamie Dimon set to accept the resignation of the executive who oversaw the trade, Ina R. Drew. Ms. Drew, a 55-year-old banker who has worked at the company for three decades and serves as chief investment officer, had repeatedly offered to resign since the scale of the loss became apparent in late April, but Mr. Dimon had held off until now on accepting it, several JPMorgan Chase executives said. Two traders who worked for Ms. Drew also planned to resign, JPMorgan Chase officials said. Her exit would mark a stunning fall from grace for one of the most powerful women on Wall Street, as well as a trusted lieutenant of Mr. Dimon...Former senior-level executives at JPMorgan said it was a shame that Ms. Drew has ended up suffering much of the fallout from the soured trade. They said that Thursday’s announcement of the $2 billion loss was the first real misstep that Ms. Drew has had and said that the position was not meant to drum up bigger profits for the bank, but rather to ensure that JPMorgan could continue to hold lending positions in Europe. “This is killing her,” a former JP Morgan executive said, adding “in banking there are very large knives.” Jamie Dimon: Trading Losses Are Not Life-Threatening (CNBC) “This is a stupid thing that we should never have done but we’re still going to earn a lot of money this quarter so it isn’t like the company is jeopardized,” he said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet with Press.” “We hurt ourselves and our credibility, yes — and that you’ve got to fully expect and pay the price for that.” Yahoo’s Thompson Out Amid Inquiry; Levinsohn Is Interim CEO (Bloomberg, earlier) Thompson, 54, was brought on to orchestrate a turnaround after Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. lured users and advertising dollars. Thompson’s undoing stems from erroneous biographical references to him as holding a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Stonehill College. A former EBay Inc. (EBAY) executive, he earned a degree in accounting from the Easton, Massachusetts- based school, and the information is correctly listed in EBay regulatory filings and some Yahoo press releases. The incorrect degree showed up in Yahoo’s April 27 10-K filing, as well as on the company’s website. As part of the board changes, Daniel Loeb, chief executive officer of Third Point, joins as a director along with Harry Wilson and Michael Wolf. A fourth nominee, Jeffrey Zucker, said in today’s statement that he withdrew his nomination to allow a quick transition. Euro Officials Begin to Weigh Greek Exit (Bloomberg) Greek withdrawal “is not necessarily fatal, but it is not attractive,” European Central Bank Governing Council member Patrick Honohan said in Tallinn on May 12. An exit was “technically” possible yet would damage the euro, he said. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble reiterated in an interview in Sueddeutsche Zeitung that member states seeking to hold the line on austerity for Greece could not force the country to stay. LightSquared Moves Toward Bankruptcy Filing (WSJ) Hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone's LightSquared Inc. venture was preparing Sunday to file for bankruptcy protection after negotiations with lenders to avoid a potential debt default faltered, said people familiar with the matter. LightSquared and its lenders still have until 5 p.m. Monday to reach a deal that would keep the wireless-networking company out of bankruptcy court, and there were some indications over the weekend that a final decision hadn't yet been reached on its fate. Still, the two sides remained far apart, and people involved in the negotiations expected LightSquared to begin making bankruptcy preparations in earnest. Facebook cofounder living large in Singapore as he stiffs US for a possible $600M in taxes (NYP) Saverin is renouncing his US citizenship in favor of Singapore, the Southeast Asian city-state that has no capital-gains tax, where he has lived like royalty since 2009. The move already has saved him about $288 million in taxes, and will save him much more if he chooses to sell his $4 billion personal stake in Facebook, which goes public next week. “This pisses me off,” fellow tech-industry billionaire Mark Cuban spat on Twitter Friday upon hearing news of Saverin’s decision. Saverin’s spokesman has defended the move, claiming he has investments in the Far East, and Europe and the permanent move makes perfect sense. “Eduardo recently found it more practical to become a resident of Singapore since he plans to live there for an indefinite period of time,” Saverin’s spokesman told Bloomberg. JPMorgan Unit's London Staff May Go as Loss Prompts Exits (Bloomberg) The entire London staff of JPMorgan Chase’s chief investment office is at risk of dismissal as a $2 billion trading loss prompts the first executive departures as soon as this week, a person familiar with the situation said. The firm is examining whether anyone in the unit, which employs a few dozen people in London, sought to hide risks, said the person, who requested anonymity because the deliberations are private. In Wake Of JPMorgan Loss, Rivals Fret About New Rules, Downgrades (WSJ) Over the weekend, rival banks scurried to explain why they believe a similar trading loss couldn't happen at their firm. Some companies pointed to moves already taken to reduce risk and sell off volatile and opaque assets such as derivatives on credit indexes. In a statement, Citigroup "has a small amount of straight-forward economic hedges managed at the corporate center to mitigate our credit exposure, principally relating to consumer loans." About half of that total is in cash, with most of the rest in U.S. Treasury bonds and other conservative investments. At Morgan Stanley, the portfolio most similar to J.P. Morgan's investment office is a $32 billion "available for sale" portfolio. The portfolio primarily consists of easily traded U.S. Treasury and government agency securities. It doesn't hold any derivatives instruments, a person familiar with Morgan Stanley's operations said. Goldman Sachs has no similar unit to the one at J.P. Morgan that suffered the loss. Apple Founder Wozniak to Buy Facebook Regardless of Price (Bloomberg) “I would invest in Facebook,” he said in an interview yesterday on Bloomberg Television. “I don’t care what the opening price is.” Missing: Stats on Crisis Convictions (WSJ) It is a question that has been asked time and again since the financial crisis: How many executives have been convicted of criminal wrongdoing related to the tumultuous events of 2008-2009? The Justice Department doesn't know the answer. That is because the department doesn't keep count of the numbers of board-level prosecutions. In a response earlier this month to a March request from Sen. Charles Grassley (R.,Iowa), the Justice Department said it doesn't hold information on defendants' business titles. "Consequently, we are unable to generate the [requested] comprehensive list" of Wall Street convictions stemming from the 2008 meltdown, the letter from the Department of Justice to Mr. Grassley said. 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munch-scream-bitcoin2

Opening Bell: 12.22.17

Michael Milken has a sixth sense for donating bad stocks; banks are already changing their 2018 forecasts; Dalio on tax reform: meh; get fucked by bitcoin (literally); and more.