Wall Street’s New Favorite Way to Swap Secrets Is Against the Rules (BBG)
Several employees at one multibillion-dollar hedge fund set up a WhatsApp group chat to regularly exchange market intelligence with one another, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. It’s particularly useful if there is a big market move and for money managers traveling to far-flung places who need to be reachable at a moment’s notice. For more sensitive matters, they turn to Signal. The app can be set to delete messages -- from both the sender and receiver -- in as little as five seconds.
Sears and Its Hedge Fund Owner, in Slow Decline Together (NYT)
Mr. Lampert “has stripped Sears of its assets,” Mr. Cohen said. “It’s the longest liquidation in retail history. His reputation in the retail community is that he’s a financial pirate.” Like most hedge fund managers, Mr. Lampert continues to get a management fee no matter how poorly the fund’s assets perform.
Sentiment vs. Reality: The Economy Is Telling Two Different Stories (WSJ)
“The divergence is stunning,” Morgan Stanley wrote to clients this week, noting the spread between hard and soft economic data is at an a record. Either confidence will start waning or it will fuel a material uptick in economic output. That is why Friday’s reports deserve a close look.
Bearish hedge funds suffer as equities rally (FT)
The flagship fund of Crispin Odey, who for several years has been warning of a violent bursting of a bubble inflated by central banks, is narrowly down for the year. The fund endured a nearly 50 per cent decline last year, making it the worst performer among large global hedge funds.
Bearish Hedge Funds Stand to Gain as Trump Rally Fizzles (WSJ)
“At the moment we’re feeling fairly cautious,” said Tom Morris, fund manager at London-based Majedie Asset Management, whose Tortoise Fund is positioned overall to profit from falling prices. “Valuations now look much, much higher across a lot of the market than a year ago.” He added that “a number of new negatives have appeared on the horizon.”
Daimler Shareholder Demands Right to Be Naked at Annual Meeting (BBG)
Wilm Diedrich Mueller, well-known for pranking gatherings at companies ranging from Allianz SE to Bayer AG, used his allotted speaking time to criticize the board because he hadn’t been invited to appear in “species-appropriate attire.” In other words: his birthday suit. “I’m grateful you didn’t already put into action your understanding of species-appropriate attire,” Daimler Chairman Manfred Bischoff responded. “My definition of species-appropriate attire and that of the broad majority of people here, is different than yours.”
Feds probe Bank of Internet for possible money laundering (NYP)
Eshel Bar-Adon, BofI’s chief legal officer, refused to answer questions about any possible criminal probe, but said the company was “completely unaware” of any indictments in the works. “Due to false allegations made in short seller hit pieces and pending litigation, agencies routinely ask questions to assure themselves that such allegations are without basis,” Bar-Adon added.
Reasons to Sell vs Buy (Ritholtz)
Michael Batnick, Director of Research at Ritholtz, created these two fantastic and insightful charts, which reveal some deep psychological truths about how events and the way they are reported impacts many investors’ portfolios. Bad news makes for good headlines, but bad investment strategies:
Mind the gap: high banker pay no guarantee of success (Reuters)
"[Executive] pay tends to be explained as high risk, high reward. But the payouts can remain high, regardless of result," Andrew Gebelin of Glass Lewis, an advisory group influential among investors, told Reuters. "We would anticipate more controversy over pay at banks in the months ahead. There has been quite a growth in shareholder opposition. It is high on their list of concerns."
This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account (Gizmodo)
Digital security and its discontents is in many ways one of the chief concerns of the contemporary FBI. So it makes sense that the bureau’s director, James Comey, would dip his toe into the digital torrent with a Twitter account. It also makes sense, given Comey’s high profile, that he would want that Twitter account to be a secret from the world, lest his follows and favs be scrubbed for clues about what the feds are up to. What is somewhat surprising, however, is that it only took me about four hours of sleuthing to find Comey’s account, which is not protected.