Opening Bell: 3.20.17 - Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 3.20.17

Deutsche Bank is getting more creative; apparently there was a Trump rally; gigantic swastikas brighten Phoenix's skyline; and more.
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Deutsche Bank Looks to Lend Its Way Out of Mortgage Mess (WSJ)
Deutsche Bank AG has been offering attractive financing terms to help investors and other banks buy soured mortgages, a bid by the German lender to help fulfill terms of its recent $7.2 billion mortgage settlement with the U.S. government, according to people familiar with the matter. The reason: Deutsche can get credit toward the settlement if it helps others buy troubled loans and those parties then provide relief to the borrowers, another bizarre echo of the housing crisis and the huge settlements that resulted.

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Once Upon a Time, There Was a Trump Rally ... (BBG)
Narratives impose a rationality on market action that is random and meaningless. This is especially true of the daily action, which is noisy and irrational. Investors are not fond of admitting this, so instead, they construct stories to convince themselves that (a) what is going on is rational; (b) they understand what is driving the market at any given moment; (c) they are well positioned to take advantage of it. For most people most of the time, that story belongs in the fiction section. No one likes to admit they live in a random and meaningless universe.

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness (in America) (BBG)
“The predominant political discourse in the United States is aimed at raising economic growth, with the goal of restoring the American Dream and the happiness that is supposed to accompany it,” wrote Jeffrey D. Sachs, one of the editors of the report. “But the data show conclusively that this is the wrong approach.”

Amazon is going to kill more American jobs than China did (MarketWatch)
About 12 million jobs in retail are facing increasing competition from Amazon, particularly the 6.2 million people who work in the kind of stores that are typically found at malls or shopping centers — furniture, appliance and electronics, clothing, sporting goods, bookstores, and general merchandise stores — what the statisticians call GAFO (General Merchandise, Apparel and Accessories, Furniture and Other Sales).

Activist Investor Takes a Page From Greenpeace, Pushing Companies for Change (WSJ)
Clifton S. Robbins is already known as the nice-guy activist investor. Now he’s trying to be the socially conscious one. Mr. Robbins’s Blue Harbour Group LP told investors it will urge companies to focus more attention on environmental and social issues such as climate change, diversity and employee well-being. The move builds on the traditional activist strategy of agitating to improve a company’s financial metrics and operations to increase value for shareholders.

“This is why I left J.P. Morgan’s tech team” (EFC)
“It just became unsustainable,” she explains. “For ten years I woke up at 4:30am to go to yoga class at around 5:30am, do yoga until 7am and then be at my desk by 8am, and then work until about 7pm and get home by 8pm. It got to the point where yoga just didn’t merge with my banking life. They were such separate environments and they were starting to grate.”

Uber president Jeff Jones is quitting, citing differences over ‘beliefs and approach to leadership’ (Recode)
“It is now clear, however, that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride sharing business,” he said in a statement to Recode.

What’s Attacking the Web? A Security Camera in a Colorado Laundromat (WSJ) While Bea Lowick’s customers were busy folding clothes last year, the security system at her Carbondale, Colo., laundromat was also hard at work. Though she didn’t know it, Ms. Lowick’s Digital ID View video recorder was scanning the internet for places to spread a strain of malicious software called Mirai, a computer virus that took root in more than 600,000 devices last year.

London Calling: Ex-Rocker Leads Capital’s Financiers Into Brexit Battle (WSJ)
With a European offensive in full swing to lure finance jobs away from London, some were surprised by the choice of Parmley. Frankfurt’s finance lobbyist-in-chief, Hubertus Vaeth, laughed when he heard about his new musical opponent. It is an appointment “that truly rocks London,” the German joshed. Frankfurt, he added, “will remain that little bit more conventional.”

Owner of Swastika Trump billboard: It will stay up as long as Trump is president (NBC)
"I think a lot of people are feeling this way and I'm just trying to express what I think is on a lot of people's minds these days," the billboard's artist, Karen Fiorito, said. "Something that really concerned us was this idea of a dictatorship where things were going in a certain direction." But look closely at the mushroom clouds and you'll see clown faces. There's a Russian flag on Trump's lapel. "I tried to put a little bit of humor in things that are really dark and hard to take," Fiorito said.

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