Opening Bell: 2.13.17

Trump loves Cohn; investors don't love Snap Inc; passengers staged a mutiny on a United flight; and more.
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Trump’s Economic Cabinet Is Mostly Bare. This Man Fills the Void. (NYT)

Mr. Cohn argued that the bold infrastructure projects that Mr. Trump envisioned would need private-industry partners in order to avoid weighing down the government with costs. That got Mr. Trump’s attention. He turned to the other people in the room, surprised that his infrastructure ideas had such a potential downside. “Is this true?” Mr. Trump asked the group, according to those people. Heads nodded. “Why did I have to wait to have this guy tell me?” he demanded.

Gary Cohn Has Emerged as an Economic-Policy Powerhouse in Trump Administration (WSJ)

“In D.C., no one when you meet them says, ‘Nice to meet you,’” Mr. Cohn said. “They say, ‘Good to see you.’ That’s because they pretend like they might have met you before.... Everyone says, ‘Good to see you.’ Well, I know you can see me.”

A $200 Billion Danish Investor Sorts Bad Hedge Funds From Good (BBG)

Svennesen says the trick is to identify hedge funds that actually live up to their mandate of being market neutral, so that they don’t start bleeding money when a sudden shock upends a price trend. He rejects speculation that today’s low-rate environment has undermined the logic of hedge funds, which traditionally charge high fees for their services. “Those that really manage to be market neutral, and go in and operate in the right way, deliver a positive return, and there’s absolutely still a need for that. Especially in the current environment.”

Dan Loeb made a nearly $1 billion bet on Wall Street (BI)

A February 10 regulatory filing shows that Loeb's Third Point took large positions in JPMorgan and Bank of America and, to a lesser extent, Goldman Sachs — investing nearly $1 billion in total in the banks' shares during the fourth quarter of 2016. The JPMorgan position was worth about $453 million; the Bank of America holding about $387 million; and the Goldman holding about $96 million.

How a Jazz Pianist Took a Top Post at Wall Street Hedge Fund (BBG)

Larry Richards, a trained jazz pianist and former phone-company executive, is an unlikely entrepreneur in the esoteric world of stock options. Just three years after taking an online course on equity derivatives, Richards set up his own company in 2013 to develop trading software for individual investors and small funds. At the end of 2016, the 53-year-old sold the firm to Wall Street hedge fund Gammon Capital, becoming that company’s chief technology officer.

How J.P. Morgan Won, Then Lost, Indonesia’s Business (WSJ)

Western diplomats met Indonesian finance ministry representatives to explain the division between research and investment banking and were told: “Yes, but they are the same. They are J.P. Morgan,” according to a person briefed on the conversation.

America’s Biggest Creditors Dump Treasuries in Warning to Trump (BBG)

In the age of Trump, America’s biggest foreign creditors are suddenly having second thoughts about financing the U.S. government. In Japan, the largest holder of Treasuries, investors culled their stakes in December by the most in almost four years, the Ministry of Finance’s most recent figures show. What’s striking is the selling has persisted at a time when going abroad has rarely been so attractive. And it’s not just the Japanese. Across the world, foreigners are pulling back from U.S. debt like never before.

Will Snap Pop? Investors Seem Skeptical (WSJ)

Ahead of the company’s pitch for its initial public offering, which could value it at $25 billion, investors are taking a sober look at the numbers. Among their concerns: a slowdown in daily user growth, competitors such as Facebook Inc. and the implications of near-total control that Snap’s founders will have post-IPO. Nearly a dozen fund managers and analysts across the U.S., including several who focus specifically on tech, say they found Snap’s regulatory filing, made public on Feb. 2, frustrating and disappointing.

A United pilot ranted about Trump, Clinton and divorce. Her passengers fled. (WaPo)

Reiss was the first to evacuate. He got out of his seat, collected his bag and asked the flight crew to let him off. “Okay, if you don’t feel safe, get off the airplane, but otherwise we can go,” the pilot said, still sounding cheerful as the first of her passengers began to revolt.“Disarm the doors,” a flight attendant said. “She’s not mentally fit to fly,” Reiss remembered telling an attendant as he waited for the door to open, he said. The attendant gave him a knowing look, he recalled, but replied, “She’s been cleared to fly.”

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