Opening Bell: 2.27.17

Warren Buffett wrote a thing; Silicon Valley is foisting creativity on everyone; getting hit in the balls is an art form; and more.
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Buffett Stings Hedge Funds Anew Over Their `Misbegotten' Rewards (BBG)
In his well-read annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders on Saturday, he estimated that investors wasted more than $100 billion on high-fee Wall Street money managers over the past 10 years. “The bottom line: When trillions of dollars are managed by Wall Streeters charging high fees, it will usually be the managers who reap outsized profits, not the clients,” Buffett wrote. “Both large and small investors should stick with low-cost index funds.”

Warren Buffett endorses share buybacks (FT)
In his latest annual letter, the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway urged everyone in what he called the “heated” debate over buybacks to “take a deep breath”. He wrote: “Some people have come close to calling them un-American — characterising them as corporate misdeeds that divert funds needed for productive endeavours. That simply isn’t the case.”

Upstart analysts show banks the way in new era for research (Reuters)
Rather than desk-based financial modeling, Hiley sends his analysts out to visit stores and test products. The Analyst was among the first to flag issues at Gowex, a Spanish tech firm it later emerged was faking revenues. "The sell-side and fund managers hadn't done any on-the ground work," Hiley said. "They don't have the time."

Chart of the Day: The BlackBerry’s fall to 0.0 percent market share (Recode)
A decade after the iPhone launched, the BlackBerry platform is all but dead.

Bank Lending Signals Caution (WSJ)
The more worrisome explanation is that political uncertainty is causing companies and banks to put off big decisions until the outlook for trade and tax policy is clearer. The lending slowdown began showing up clearly just before the election last year.

Bond Market Is Flashing Warning Signal on Trump Reflation Trade (WSJ)
Some money managers and traders believe that a rising Treasury bond market, often seen as a haven for investors, is a warning that valuations of riskier assets may be stretched. James Sarni, senior managing partner at Payden & Rygel, is among those who bought Treasurys in recent weeks. “The bond market is showing a more realistic view on the fiscal policy outlook than the stock market,’’ Mr. Sarni said. “The bond market has it right.”

When driverless cars crash, who gets the blame and pays the damages? (WaPo)
If anything about driverless cars can be considered an old riddle it is this one: the car is driving itself down a residential street when a woman pushing a baby stroller suddenly enters a crosswalk. Unable to stop, should the car’s computer opt to hit mother and child, or veer off to strike a tree, almost certainly killing its passengers?

What’s the price of meaningfulness? (Alphaville)
The tech utopians are forcing creativity on everyone. Not everyone is. Humanity is a spectrum of different types of personalities and natural skills. Some people crave order and security. Others love risk, mess and insecurity. To assume humanity is all the latter is ridiculous because actually the demographic evidence suggests most of humanity is pretty mediocre and satisfied with quite ordinary or material things. Ignorance is bliss etc etc.

Kung Fu Master With Iron Crotch Is One Ballsy Martial Artist (HuffPo)
Master Wei has been practicing his ball-bashing form of martial arts for 10 years in the city of Luoyang. “I insist on doing it every day,” he says in the video. “I believe it builds up resistance and I have [gotten] less fever and colds than before.” [...] Here’s one of his students practicing having his privates smashed with a battering ram. Repeatedly.

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Opening Bell: 5.8.17

Warren Buffett said some things; Goldman kicks the Volcker can a bit farther; Ukraine deems Steven Seagal a national security threat; and more.

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Opening Bell: 6.22.17

Warren Buffett comes to the rescue up north; Bill Ackman has a glimmer in his eye; the future of cycling is (literally) shit; and more.

Opening Bell: 04.12.12

Buffett Feasts On Goldman Scraps (WSJ) Details of one trade in particular have recently caused a stir in the market. In November, Goldman sold about $85 million of loans in troubled newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises Goldman sold the debt at about 65 cents on the dollar, having bought it months before at around 80 cents, resulting in a loss of at least $13 million. The buyer: a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., according to several people familiar with the matter. Mr. Buffett has since made a tidy paper profit on the loans, which are now worth about 82 cents on the dollar, the people said. Jim Chanos: Chinese Banks ‘Great Shorts,’ Won’t Be Broken Up (CNBC) Chanos, the head of Kynikos Associates, has been betting against China — despite its role as a global economic leader — primarily because he believes the country is overbuilt and does not have the internal demand to support its ambitious growth plans. Nowhere has that trend been more apparent than in the banking system. "If you looked at the performance of the banks over the last two years...they have been great shorts," Chanos said. "They have been going down — they're down 30 percent over the last two years." George Soros: Exceptional Measures Needed to Save EU (FT) "Other countries have gone through similar experiences. Latin American countries suffered a lost decade after 1982, and Japan has been stagnating for a quarter of a century; both have survived. But the European Union is not a country and it is unlikely to survive. The deflationary debt trap threatens to destroy a still-incomplete political union," he wrote. Blackstone President To Raise For Obama (Morning Money) "Tony James, the president of Blackstone Group LP, has agreed to hold a fundraiser for... Obama’s re-election campaign, according to two people familiar...By agreeing to raise money for Obama, James has diversified Blackstone’s political bets for the November election. Blackstone Chairman Stephen Schwarzman has been raising money for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee." SEC, Goldman to Settle Research Case (Reuters) U.S. securities regulators are preparing to announce that Goldman Sachs will pay $22 million to settle allegations the bank did not have adequate policies to prevent research from being passed inappropriately to preferred clients, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. BlackRock's Street Shortcut (WSJ) BlackRock is planning to launch a trading platform this year that would let the world's largest money manager and its peers bypass Wall Street and trade bonds directly with one another. The electronic trading hub has the potential to reduce a lucrative revenue stream for investment banks at a time when their businesses are being squeezed by lackluster markets and new regulations put in place to curb risk in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The trading platform would be run by the New York-based company's BlackRock Solutions arm and offer 46 clients—including sovereign-wealth funds, insurance companies and other money managers—the ability to trade in corporate bonds, mortgage securities and other assets, company executives say. Under the plan, the platform would seek to match buyers and sellers of the same securities, in a process known as "crossing trades." BlackRock Solutions would charge a small fee for the service that would be much lower than Wall Street's trading commissions. New Yorker breaks up subway scuffle, snacks in hand (NYDN) Sonder, 24, played the role of hungry hero “two or three Thursdays ago” after hopping on an uptown 6 train at Spring St. The calm inside the subway car was shattered a minute later when a tussle broke out between a man and a woman. “I turned around and I saw these two kicking each other pretty viciously,” said the sturdy Sonder, who stands six-feet tall and weighs 200 pounds. “I stepped over and tried to see if I could help.” Mid Pringle, Sonder thrust himself between the pugilists. More chips were eaten, but no other punches or kicks were thrown. “I just got caught up in the moment,” said Sonder, who was also holding a bag of gummy bears during the incident. Dimon Vows Fight Moynihan Lost Over Claims From Mortgages (Bloomberg) “We are going to fight repurchase claims that pretend the steep decline in home prices and unprecedented market conditions had no impact on loan performance,” Dimon, chief executive officer of the New York-based lender, wrote in the April 4 letter. He’ll also oppose “securities claims brought by sophisticated investors who understood and accepted the risks.” Jobless Claims Post Jump; PPI Up, Trade Deficit Down (Reuters) Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 380,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's figure was revised up to 367,000 from the previously reported 357,000. Fur Flies in High-Stakes Airlifts of Animals by Lufthansa (Bloomberg) An African white rhinoceros peers through the bars of its Frankfurt compound, while across the floor a Madagascan chameleon inches around its vivarium and an Andean alpaca plucks hay from a bale. It’s not a scene from the city’s zoo but from Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Animal Lounge, a state-of-the-art complex that’s at the center of the German carrier’s plans to dominate the most specialized part of the $66 billion air-cargo industry. Lufthansa, Air France-KLM Group and Dubai-based Emirates, which transports thoroughbreds for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, horseracing’s leading owner, are competing in a high- stakes market. Premium profit margins come with the risk of an in-flight death involving a beloved family pet, top-ranked stallion or priceless panda. “It’s not like pharmaceuticals, where your main concern is the temperature,” said Animal Lounge Director Axel Heitmann. “If a bag of fish leaks it needs replacing with the right kind of water and the right oxygen. And if something goes wrong you can’t just hand a customer $1,000 and tell him to buy another pet. He wants the dog or cat he’s had for 10 years.” KKR Invests in China Cord Blood (WSJ) Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. will invest $65 million into China Cord Blood Corp., the country's largest operator of services for umbilical cord blood that is rich in stem cells, to capitalize on China's fast growing healthcare services industry. Police: Dealer tied 89 bags to penis, peed at the station (Philly) Police Corporal Christopher Eiserman said another officer was on routine patrol Friday when he pulled Ray Woods over for a broken rear light and found marijuana in his car. When the officer searched Woods before placing him in the police cruiser, he discovered "a large bulge" in the front of his pants, Eiserman said. Police say Woods actually had the balls to deny that there was any contraband down there. “He stopped him for the traffic violation and one thing led to another," Eiserman said. Back at the station, Eiserman said, police discovered that Woods had tied a large plastic bag around his penis that contained a whopping 89 small bags of suspected heroin and cocaine. Then things got messy. “I tried to remove it. Unfortunately, and I don't know if it was nervousness or not, but he started urinating all over," Eiserman said. While it wasn't exactly what Eiserman had in mind when he started his shift Friday, he couldn't help but chuckle at the ingenuity, or lack thereof, of street-level drug dealers. “In 14 years, I’ve seen it down their pants, in their a--, but I've never seen it tied to their penis," he said.

Source: AP

Opening Bell: 6.30.17

Warren Buffett just made a few bucks on Bank of America; hedge funds did naughty things with hot IPO shares; Goop vs Infowars; flying weiners; and more.

cohnilton

Opening Bell: 12.14.16

Trump "smitten" with Gary Cohn; Ubers gonna Uber; Silicon Valley techies use their iPhones to schedule sex; and more.

Opening Bell: 4.2.15

Twitter hedge fund; Silicon Valley Bank; Bonuses; "April Fools' Day prank gone wrong burns Michigan apartment"; and more.

Source: AP

Opening Bell: 5.1.17

Warren Buffett's cash is burning a hole in his pocket; company wellness programs target sales; a mysterious cat-shaver in Virginia; and more.

silicon valley ping pong fire

Opening Bell: 2.7.17

Silicon Valley hedge fund has big red button; Seth Klarman fears Trump; Barack Obama kitesurfs with Richard Branson; and more.