Opening Bell: 2.16.17

Snap sets IPO price; solar permabear gets no love from the industry; models make a killing delivering weed; and more.
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Snap Seeks to Raise as Much as $3.2 Billion in U.S. IPO (BBG)

SnapchatIPO

Snap Inc. is seeking to raise as much as $3.2 billion in its initial public offering in what could be the third-biggest technology listing of the past decade. The maker of disappearing-photo application is offering 200 million Class A shares for $14 to $16 apiece. At the high end of the range, that would give it a market value of about $18.5 billion, based on the total shares to be outstanding after the offering.

Frozen Out by CEOs, Solar’s Most-Hated Bear Sticks to His Guns (BBG)

Johnson dismisses talk that he is, as he puts it, similar to a broken clock that gets it right twice a day. “There’s no luck in making a short call,” he says. While most companies ignore his questions, SolarCity is among the exceptions, even if it didn’t invite him to a conference. His bearishness certainly doesn’t diminish his standing where he works, he says. “My boss doesn’t care about my negativity,’’ says Johnson, who says he has about 400 clients, mostly hedge funds. “He just cares that I make commission.”

Lloyd’s of London adopts no-drinking rule for employees (NYP)

One of the world’s biggest names in insurance is saying goodbye to the liquid lunch. Lloyd’s of London, the giant marketplace for many types of insurance, has alerted its 800 employees that they are no longer allowed to drink alcohol from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A $14 billion hedge fund is venturing where others fear to tread (BI)

The strategy – in hedge fund jargon called risk or merger arbitrage – is risky since deals often fall through. Canyon cites the gutting of Wall Street banks' proprietary desks, which used to trade the banks' own money, and the travails of many event-driven hedge funds which have suffered and can't take big positions any more.

Trump Tax Cuts Could Boost Profit $12 Billion at Big U.S. Banks (BBG)

The six largest U.S. banks could see annual profit jump by an average of 14 percent if President Donald Trump delivers on his promise to cut corporate taxes. The lenders, which stand to benefit more than other industries because they typically have fewer deductions, could save a combined $12 billion a year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

North Korean defector Hyeonseo Lee on escape and the secretive state (FT)

Lee was astonished to discover from television and from Google that there were things called “human rights”, even “animal rights”. She suddenly reaches across the table and shows me a picture of a cat on her smartphone. “In New York, last week — it’s my friend’s pet. And on her birthday, often, actually, she eats nice sushi. She loves sushi.” The cat? I ask, incredulous. “Yes. She loves sushi. Then whenever I see those pictures, I feel so sad. People who live in North Korea, they die for food, but living in the free world, the cat even eats expensive sushi.”

Big U.S. banks to push for easing of money laundering rules (Reuters)

Faced with record penalties in recent years over failures to alert authorities to criminal activities, banks say they now over-report, filing hundreds of thousands of SARs out of fear of later falling foul of regulators. “Now we tell banks to file a (report) on everything that might be criminal," said Gary Shiffman, CEO of compliance software maker Giant Oak. “But when everything is a priority nothing ends up being a priority.”

Queens of the Stoned Age (GQ)

The Green Angels, she tells me, are selling a fantasy of an attractive, well-educated, presentable young woman who wants to get you high—a slightly more risqué Avon lady. Not all of the Angels are working models, but they are all young and attractive. In eight years, they have never been busted by the cops. The explanation is simple: Good-looking girls don’t get searched.

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Opening Bell: 09.24.12

Germany Losing Patience With Spain as EU Warns on Crisis Effort (Bloomberg) Germany’s governing coalition showed growing exasperation with Spain, as a senior ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy must stop prevaricating and decide whether Spain needs a full rescue. “He must spell out what the situation is,” Michael Meister, the chief whip and finance spokesman for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said in an interview in Berlin today. The fact he’s not doing so shows “Rajoy evidently has a communications problem. If he needs help he must say so.” Germany Dismisses Talk of Boosting Bailout Fund (WSJ) Europe is discussing ways to leverage the assets of its €500 billion ($649.05 billion) bailout fund through the involvement of private-sector investors, but reports that this could boost the firepower of the European Stability Mechanism to more than €2 trillion are "completely illusory," a spokesman for the German Finance Ministry said on Monday. Cost of Leaving Greece Rises for Crédit Agricole (WSJ) Crédit Agricole will likely have to pour a further €600 million ($779 million) to €700 million into its flailing Greek unit before it will be able sell the subsidiary, according to people from both the private and public sectors with knowledge of the sales process. Under Ben Bernanke, An Open And More Forceful Fed (WaPo) In what might be his final years as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke is transforming the U.S. central bank, seeking to shed its reclusive habits and make it a constant presence in bolstering the economy. The new approach would make the Fed’s policies more responsive to the needs of the economy — and likely more forceful, because what the Fed is planning to do would be much clearer. A key feature of the strategy could be producing a set of scenarios for when and how the Fed would intervene, which would mark a dramatic shift for an organization that throughout its history has been famously opaque. Bernanke has already pushed the Fed far along this path. The central bank this month pledged to stimulate the economy until it no longer needs the help, an unprecedented promise to intervene for years. That’s a big change from the Fed’s usual role as a curb on inflation and buffer against financial crises. “It’s a re-imagining of Fed policy,” said John E. Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo. “It’s a much more explicit commitment than people had thought about in the past. It’s a much stronger commitment to focus on unemployment.” Economists Say US Needs More Taxes, Spending Cuts (AP) A slight majority of respondents — 59 percent — said that current U.S. monetary policy was "about right." The percentage replying that monetary policy was "too stimulative" fell slightly compared with the percentage that held that same view in March, while the proportion answering that policy was "too restrictive" edged up. Flight attendant brings revolver through Philly airport security (NYDN) Republic Airlines flight attendant Jaclyn Luby was walking through airport screening around 6:50 a.m. when she placed her carry-on bag through the X-ray machine. Transportation Security Administration screeners saw the gun, described as a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson Airweight revolver, and notified a Philadelphia police officer. Luby was in another screening room with police when the gun went off. The bullet fired into a TSA break room, where an employee was sitting, police told NBC 10 Philadelphia. The gun discharged when the officer tried to put the safety on. Luby, a flight attendant for more than five years, told authorities that she had a permit to carry a gun — but forgot hers was in her handbag...“We are human and everybody does make mistakes and I understand that, even though she’s a seasoned veteran, she needs to be careful,” US Airways passenger Andrea Burger said, adding, “I’m sure it will be a great learning opportunity for her.” Winkelvoss Twins Weigh In On Facebook IPO (NYP) Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have put their $65 million Facebook lawsuit settlement money to work, starting Winklevoss Capital, a venture-capital firm focused on technology investments. The duo were asked by Yahoo!’s Daily Ticker what went wrong with the Facebook initial public offering. Cameron Winklevoss said the insiders got greedy and didn’t leave something on the table. “I think when you alienate a group of investors, it takes time to build that rapport back.” Tyler Winklevoss thought the hoodie and “hacker way” ethos didn’t play well with public investors. Mark Zuckerberg’s business model “might work in Silicon Valley with venture-capital firms, but when you go public and you’re talking to the Street, they’re much more concerned with numbers and bottom line and accountability.” Hedge Funds Cut Bets as Prices Drop Most Since June (Bloomberg) Hedge funds cut bullish commodity bets for the first time this month as weaker manufacturing from China and Europe eclipsed central banks’ efforts to boost growth, driving down prices the most since June. Money managers decreased their net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options by 1.7 percent to 1.307 million contracts in the week ended Sept. 18, halting two weeks of gains that had sent holdings to a 16-month high, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Wells Fargo Should Buy CIT Group, Says Analyst (Reuters) FYI. U.K. to Set Up Business Bank (WSJ) The U.K. government is investing £1 billion ($1.62 billion) to set up a new state-backed business bank that it hopes will eventually support up to £10 billion of new lending for small and medium-size companies, Business Secretary Vince Cable will announce on Monday. The new wholesale bank, which will operate at arms length from the government, aims to attract more than £1 billion of private-sector capital to help tackle what it sees as the long-standing problem of a lack of credit for smaller companies. Houston Officer Kills Double Amputee in Wheelchair (AP) A Houston police officer shot and killed a one-armed, one-legged man in a wheelchair Saturday inside a group home after police say the double amputee threatened the officer and aggressively waved a metal object that turned out to be a pen. Police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said the man cornered the officer in his wheelchair and was making threats while trying to stab the officer with the pen. At the time, the officer did not know what the metal object was that the man was waving, Silva said. She said the man came "within inches to a foot" of the officer and did not follow instructions to calm down and remain still. "Fearing for his partner's safety and his own safety, he discharged his weapon," Silva told The Associated Press.