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Opening Bell: 1.26.17

Dutch regulator accidentally reveals Soros' shorts; Wilbur Ross is an emotionless business machine; a sex line for Afghan youths; and more.
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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Dutch regulator mistakenly reveals Soros short positions (FT)

Market rules introduced after the financial crisis require hedge funds to report their short positions to regulators. But only those that are larger than 0.5 per cent of a company’s outstanding shares are supposed to be made public. The regulator instead published details of all short trades reported in the Netherlands since the new rules came into force, meaning hundreds of previously non-public trades were briefly released into the public domain. Hedge funds whose trades were included in the release were angry. “When a bank or hedge fund makes a mistake they are fined — who will fine the Dutch regulator?” asked one manager.

Will Wall Street Turn On Trump? (VF)

What must be most galling is that these C.E.O.s have to sit there and take direction from a man whose private company has never made a public filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, who has never had to worry about his stock price. Heck, he probably doesn’t even pay taxes, a fact we would know for sure if he only agreed to release his tax returns, a subject he thinks no one cares about except the media. The time for some serious negotiation is nigh.

The Fragile Economic Foundation of Dow 20000 (WSJ)

Britain is leaving the European Union, a protectionist is in the White House, the front-runner in France’s presidential election wants out of the euro. Yet paradoxically, investors have concluded the world is getting less risky, not more. The result: a hunger for shares that carried the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the 20000 mark Wednesday for the first time.

One slip from Trump and this rally will grind to a halt, former Fed governor says (CNBC)

“I think there are very high expectations for executions on some of the economic parts of the program, cutting taxes, trying to rationalize their taxes to bring some of the $2 trillion trapped offshore to onshore, de-regulation. And these things, I think, are considered positive by most market participants. And if somehow there's a slip in execution that's the thing that will cause the markets to pause,” the former Fed governor stated.

Wilbur Ross and the Era of Billionaire Rule (BBG)

Ross wouldn’t comment for this story. After his assistant asked Bloomberg Businessweek not to contact anyone who works or has worked for WL Ross, a spokesman e-mailed a list of outside people Ross wanted to make available. It included two mayors, one governor, and six billionaires, among others. One of the nonbillionaires was C. John Wilder, a colleague Ross picked in 2015 to be executive chairman of the hobbled oil explorer EXCO Resources. “He wants to win, but business to him is not filled with a lot of emotion,” Wilder says. “Very emotionless, very deliberate, very calculated.”

RBS Sets Aside $3.8 Billion for U.S. Mortgage Settlement (WSJ)

The provision will likely push the 72% U.K. government-owned bank to one of its largest annual losses since its taxpayer bailout in 2008, further denting the bank’s prospects for paying dividends in the medium term.

Should regulators stop pushing banks to diversify their lending? (Chicago Booth)

Larger banks tend to collect more documented (or so-called hard) information while smaller banks rely more on conversations and personal relationships. “Concentration fosters lending expertise,” the authors write. “A bank with more exposure to an industry has better information about it, and, thus, less need to obtain high quality (and costly) financial performance information from borrowers in the industry.”

Sexologists are bringing succour to Afghan youths (AFP)

"I cannot do it without Viagra," the anonymous Afghan caller whispered into the phone, wary of being overheard by his family. The voice on the other end of the line was soothing, professional and reassuring: "Dear brother, don't be embarrassed. Your problem is not uncommon. We'll help you find a solution without potency pills."


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By Maggie Hoffman (Tomato Soup Grilled Cheese) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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