Merrill Lynch Restructures Leadership (WSJ)
Merrill head Andy Sieg, who is roughly three months into his tenure, told the firm’s more than 14,500 brokers that the goal is to get Merrill to “operate more effectively as a business,” according the memo. “Our shared objective is to make the organization feel like a smaller, more tightly integrated firm.”
This Chinese Stock Soared 4,500% on Nasdaq and No One Knows Why (BBG)
“We spent hundreds of hours researching the company, and the story has become one of the most abstract in my career,” analyst William McNarland of Eiffel Peak Capital, a merchant bank in Calgary that doesn’t have a position in the company, wrote in a report this month. “The only period that we have seen a stock at these valuations was a few internet companies in the spring of 2000, and we all know how that story ended.”
Have a Donkey to Trade? China Has an Exchange for That (BBG)
The demand from China is being felt internationally. Niger, the BBC has reported, has banned the export of donkeys to preserve the animal there; Burkina Faso has banned the export of their skins. In some places where donkeys are used in farming and other work, the trade “has inflated prices for donkeys so much that families that depend on them can’t replace their donkeys,” says Mike Baker, chief executive officer of the Donkey Sanctuary, a U.K. charity.
BlackRock’s Larry Fink Is Now a Modern Art Exhibit (WSJ)
Occupy Museums, the group of artists and activists responsible for the exhibit, plotted the growth of BlackRock’s assets on a 17-by-30-foot wall next to measures of student-loan delinquencies and a rise in the price of art. Near the ceiling is a trimmed 2015 quote from Mr. Fink that reads: “The two greatest stores of wealth internationally today [are] contemporary art [...and] apartments in Manhattan.”
Chase Had Ads on 400,000 Sites. Then on Just 5,000. Same Results. (NYT)
JPMorgan started looking into preapproving sites, a strategy known as whitelisting, this month after The New York Times showed it an ad for Chase’s private client services on a site called Hillary 4 Prison. It was under a headline claiming that the actor Elijah Wood had revealed “the horrifying truth about the Satanic liberal perverts who run Hollywood.”
Former Citizens Bankers Say They Faked Data for Customer-Meeting Program (WSJ)
“For a week or so, I had my bankers [try to make] real appointments. No one was picking up the phone,” said a former branch manager in Massachusetts, recalling when the “Citizens Checkup” program was introduced in February 2016. “So we put random people’s names down and said, ‘We have an appointment.’”
Many Happy S&P 500 Revenues (Yardeni Blog)
Now the worst is over for commodity producers, as their prices have rebounded. That’s because they scrambled to reduce output and restructure their operations to be more profitable at lower prices. More importantly, global demand for commodities remained solid. Now with commodity prices, especially oil prices, well below their 2014 highs, consumers are benefitting more than producers are suffering.
The Federal Reserve’s pension fund isn’t trying to tell you anything (FT Alphaville)
The Fed’s policymakers have many ways to tell us what they think about the growth and inflation outlook. The pension plan’s investment strategy isn’t one of them.
People Are Deeply Disturbed By This Hideous Statue Of Cristiano Ronaldo (HuffPo)
By most accounts, Portuguese soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo is handsome. But you might not know that judging by the bust of him that was unveiled at the renaming of the Madeira airport in his honor Wednesday. Visitors at Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo are now greeted by a sculpture of his “face” in front of the terminal.