Opening Bell: 3.14.17

Robert Shiller is doing that thing he always does; Carl Icahn strikes fear into the heart of AIG; Texas bill would ban male masturbation; and more.
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Why Robert Shiller Is Worried About the Trump Rally (BBG)
The last time Robert Shiller heard stock-market investors talk like this in 2000, it didn’t end well for the bulls. “They’re both revolutionary eras,” says Shiller, who’s famous for his warnings about the dot-com mania and housing-market excesses that led to the global financial crisis. “This time a ‘Great Leader’ has appeared. The idea is, everything is different.”

Trouble ahead for PE investors? (FT Alphaville)
The most reasonable best-case scenario for LPs is that a new downturn hits soon, quickly presenting general partners an opportunity to ramp up their spending without pushing purchase prices even higher than they are today. Whether this is the likeliest scenario is a different question.

TPG Capital scraps plan for IPO: sources (NYP)
No private equity firm has taken itself public since 2014, when Ares Management listed its shares. Since then, Ares has been mired in a buyout of Neiman Marcus that has left the retailer saddled with debt as the luxury market founders. Such disasters haven’t gone unnoticed on Wall Street, according to Oppenheimer’s Kotowski. “The beginning of the end came when [Apollo’s Leon] Black said a few years ago they were selling everything that was not nailed down,” Kotowski said. “Since then, everyone has been asking if this is the right time to own these stocks.”

The Most Important Player in the AIG CEO Resignation: Carl Icahn (WSJ)
Last month, AIG posted one of its worst quarterly results since the financial crisis, with major setbacks in the global insurance firm’s turnaround plan. The AIG directors feared disruption if they didn’t quickly address concerns from Mr. Icahn and some directors about the CEO’s ability to complete the turnaround, people familiar with the matter said. So they pushed for Mr. Hancock to step aside, the people said. A decision “to stand by [Mr. Hancock] would carry the threat if not the reality of a battle with Carl,’’ said a person familiar with the matter.

Tillerson Used ‘Alias’ Email for Climate Messages, N.Y. Says (BBG)
New York says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an email alias to discuss climate change while he was Exxon Mobil Corp.’s chief executive: Wayne Tracker. Tillerson sent messages from the account to discuss the risks posed by climate change, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a court filing about his office’s fraud investigation of the company. Tillerson, whose middle name is Wayne, used the Wayne Tracker account on the Exxon system from at least 2008 through 2015, Schneiderman said.

Drugs, hot tubs and ‘flow dojos’ are part of a CEO’s work life (FT)
Mr Wheal, talking in between heli-skiing outings (he cannot be accused of armchair analysis), says executives and entrepreneurs are “microdosing” on illicit substances and submitting to transcranial magnetic stimulation — normally used to treat depression — in search of creative highs.

JPMorgan aims for cool factor in recruitment battle between tech and banks (CNBC)
Competition between banks and tech companies to snag top talent is nothing new, but it's in part prompting JPMorgan to step up its recruitment efforts by hosting pop-up cafes at campuses from the U.S. to Hong Kong. The events range from offering free made-to-order smoothies to customized notebooks.

SXSW is just one more place to stare at your phone (The Verge)
SXSW is a lot like many other events now, where people pay money to fly in from all over the world to gather in one centralized location and benefit from the exchange of ideas but in actuality are staring at their smartphones a good portion of the time.

Texas State Representative proposes law requiring men to pay fines for unregulated masturbation (Daily News)
Hoping to shed light on the sensitive topic, Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) suggested men be required to pay fines for "unregulated masturbatory emissions.” If the legislation passes, men would also be subject to a rectal examination in order to be prescribed Viagra or undergo vasectomy and colonoscopy procedures.

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Opening Bell: 1.26.16

Ackman regrets not cutting Valeant, Canadian Pacific; Deutsche Bank, RBS earnings will be bleak; AIG tells Icahn to mind his own biz; 112-year-old woman smokes 30 cigarettes a day; and more.

Opening Bell: 11.3.15

AIG fends off Icahn; "Economists Warn of Less Sex on a Warmer Planet"; Paul Singer says run for your lives; "Drunk man woke up with tattooed beer goggles, kept them for 2 years"; and more.

Opening Bell: 09.11.12

Before Scandal, Class Over Control Of Libor (WSJ) At an April 25, 2008, meeting with officials at the Bank of England, Angela Knight, head of the British Bankers' Association, argued that the London interbank offered rate had become too big for her organization to manage, according to minutes of the meeting and a person who was there. Her suggestion went nowhere. Even as Libor's deep flaws became apparent, regulators resisted a greater oversight role, the BBA's member banks clung to control of Libor, and BBA executives bickered with one another over whether to hang onto the lucrative business, according to people who were involved and a Wall Street Journal review of hundreds of pages of emails, meeting minutes and other documents. Treasury Sells Big Chunk Of AIG Stock (WSJ) The Treasury sold about 554 million shares to the public at $32.50 apiece for a total of $18 billion in one of the biggest global follow-on stock offerings since the financial crisis. The offering was the Treasury's fifth sale of AIG stock since early last year and reduced the government's stake in the company to about 22% from 92% in early 2011. The price set Monday was above the government's cost basis of $28.73 a share, meaning taxpayers will earn a profit on the sale. New iPhone could boost U.S. GDP by up to 0.5 percent, JP Morgan says (Reuters) "Calculated using the so-called retail control method, sales of iPhone 5 could boost annualized GDP growth by $3.2 billion, or $12.8 billion at an annual rate," Feroli wrote. That 0.33 percentage-point boost, he added, "would limit the downside risk to our Q4 GDP growth protection, which remains 2.0 percent." Feroli laid out his math. J.P. Morgan's analysts expect Apple to sell around 8 million iPhone 5s in the fourth quarter. They expect the sales price to be about $600. With about $200 in discounted import component costs, the government can factor in $400 per phone into its measure of gross domestic product for the fourth quarter. Feroli said the estimate of between a quarter to a half point of annualized GDP "seems fairly large, and for that reason should be treated skeptically." But, he added, "we think the recent evidence is consistent with this projection." Geithner Holds His Own on Triathlon Front (Dealbook) Geithner participated in the 7th annual Nation’s Triathlon to Benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on Sunday, swimming, biking and running his way through the nation’s capital. The race involved a 1.5-kilometer swim in the Potomac River, a 40-kilometer bike ride through the city and a 10-kilometer run. And Mr. Geithner, 51, can boast of a pretty good finish to his race, completing the course in 2:33:07. He placed ninth in his division, men aged 50 to 54, according to the race’s Web site. Individually, he completed the swim in 29:10, the bike ride in 1:13:52 and the run in 45:51. New Yorker Cartoon Dept Temporarily Banned From Facebook For Violating ‘Nudity And Sex’ Standards (Mediaite) In a post entitled “Nipplegate,” the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Robert Mankoff, detailed how the magazine’s cartoon department became temporarily banned on Facebook: a particular Mick Stevens cartoon violated the social networking site’s community standards on “Nudity and Sex.” Stevens redrew the cartoon, he said, “but the gain in clothes caused too great a loss in humor.” He then noted that Facebook has different standards when it comes to males and females. As “the guidelines say, ‘male nipples are ok.’ It’s the ‘female nipple bulges’ that are the problem.” Big Banks Hide Risk Transforming Collateral for Traders (Bloomberg) JPMorgan and Bank of America are helping clients find an extra $2.6 trillion to back derivatives trades amid signs that a shortage of quality collateral will erode efforts to safeguard the financial system. Starting next year, new rules designed to prevent another meltdown will force traders to post U.S. Treasury bonds or other top-rated holdings to guarantee more of their bets. The change takes effect as the $10.8 trillion market for Treasuries is already stretched thin by banks rebuilding balance sheets and investors seeking safety, leaving fewer bonds available to backstop the $648 trillion derivatives market. The solution: At least seven banks plan to let customers swap lower-rated securities that don’t meet standards in return for a loan of Treasuries or similar holdings that do qualify, a process dubbed “collateral transformation.” That’s raising concerns among investors, bank executives and academics that measures intended to avert risk are hiding it instead. Soros: Germany going into depression in 6 months (MarketWatch) The recession in Europe will spread to Germany, the euro-zone's largest economy, within six months, said George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management. "The policy of fiscal retrenchment in the midst of rising unemployment is pro-cyclical and pushing Europe into a deeper and longer depression," Soros said in prepared remarks for a speech in Berlin Monday. "That is no longer a forecast; it is an observation. The German public doesn't yet feel it and doesn't quite believe it. But it is all too real in the periphery and it will reach Germany in the next six months or so." Lindsay Lohan encourages President Obama to slash taxes for 'Forbes millionaires' (DM) In a tweet fired off on Friday, the 26-year-old actress encouraged President Barack Obama to consider lowering taxes for the one-percenters listed on the Forbes Magazine’ millionaires’ list. Lohan, who has been very active on Twitter recently, was responding to a message posted by the Obama campaign following his Thursday speech at the Democratic National Convention. ‘I’ve cut taxes for those who need it: middle-class families, small businesses,’ the tweet read. About 10 minutes later, the star of the upcoming Elizabeth Taylor biopic ‘Liz and Dick’ put in her two cents on the issue of tax cuts: ‘We also need to cut them for those that are listed on Forbes as "millionaires" if they are not, you must consider that as well,’ her late-night message read. Gross Says Age of Credit Expansion Led Fund Returns Over (Bloomberg) Gross’s outlook follows his commentary last month, which sparked debate among investors and analysts after he declared that the “cult of equity” was dying. In his August comments, he compared long-term returns from equities to a “Ponzi scheme” and said returns of 6.6 percent above inflation, known as the Siegel Constant, won’t be seen again. “Our credit-based financial system is burdened by excessive fat and interest rates that are too low,” Gross wrote. “Central banks are agog in disbelief that the endless stream of” liquidity pumped into the banking sector has not stimulated lending, Gross wrote. Queen's Corgi Buried At Balmor (TDB) The dog, Monty was involved in a fight recently when he was one of a number of dogs which attacked Princess Beatrice's terrier Max over the summer, but it appears the fight - Max came off worst and nearly lost an ear in the fracas - was not a contributory cause of death. Buckingham Palace is not officially revealing how or when the corgi, named Monty (after the American horse whisperer Monty Roberts who has advised the queen on dogs and horses) met his end, but palace sources told the Royalist the animal passed away of old age over the summer. The animal died at the Royal Scottish residence of Balmoral, where, in accordance with tradition, he has been buried in the Royal pet cemetery opened by Queen Victoria when her beloved Collie, Noble, died there in 1887...the Queen is known to take the deaths of her pets hard: Lady Pamela Hicks, the mother of India Hicks once wrote a note when one of the Queen’s corgis died and received a six-page letter back.

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Opening Bell: 9.2.16

Carl Icahn's son wants a promotion; Banks vs stress tests; Pamela Anderson, rabbi pen op-ed saying porn is "for losers"; and more.

Opening Bell: 5.16.16

Ireland wants post-Brexit bankers; Carl Icahn's fund moves to large bearish stance; Florida woman taken to hospital with shark attached to arm; and more.

paul singer

Opening Bell: 8.21.17

Paul Singer upstages Warren Buffett; Goldman looking for commodities traders who can actually make money; Carl Icahn's DC misadventures; seriously, don't look at your phone while driving; and more.