Buffett's $86 Billion Cash Pile Has Some Dreaming of a Huge Deal (BBG)
There are no signs that anything is on the immediate horizon, but Buffett fans can’t resist fixating on the record amount of cash piling up at Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. -- conceivably enough to manage a transaction with a 12-figure price tag. That would put a takeover of, say, Nike Inc. or Costco Wholesale Corp. in range, to cite examples of companies that might appeal to Buffett’s tastes.
US ultra-long bonds: a tricky temptation for Trump (FT)
The 30-year Treasury yield yields less than 3 per cent, compared with its long-run average of 6.8 per cent. Ultra-long bonds would probably only cost slightly more, with analysts predicting that a 50-year Treasury would yield roughly 3 per cent to 3.25 per cent. “If I was the government I would want to issue it,” says Karyn Cavanaugh, a market strategist at Voya. They can secure low rates and “be laughing all the way to the bank, paying it for 50 years.”
The 93 Words That Could Unlock $200 Billion in Bank Capital (WSJ)
Jamie Dimon lashed out at the requirements in his recent annual letter to shareholders, saying regulators’ approach “should be significantly modified if not eliminated.” At the bank’s investor day in February, he called operational risk a “false number.” The letter highlights that operational risk in 2016 increased JPMorgan’s assets adjusted for risk by $400 billion. Mr. Dimon added that U.S. banks now hold about $200 billion in capital against operational risk.
93 words, most of them wrong (John Cochrane)
No bank "holds" capital, and I hope Mr. Dimon didn't actually say that, as much as he would like lower capital requirements. Capital is not "held" like reserves.
The five universal laws of human stupidity (Quartz)
3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses. Cipolla called this one the Golden Law of stupidity. A stupid person, according to the economist, is one who causes problems for others without any clear benefit to himself.
Most VIX Analysis Is Outright Nonsense (Barron's)
If more people realized the VIX is basically designed to move in the opposite direction of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, the cottage industry that breathlessly comments on the fear gauge would implode under the weight of its own nonsense. Instead, investor knowledge is lessened by scores of meticulously researched, data-centric commentaries that are often filled with so many charts and dates and inferences about the future and past that necromancers and tarot card readers likely study them for tips.
Wall Street Wellness Programs Are Being Used to Drive Sales (BBG)
The sales people at ING no longer have individual revenue targets. Instead, each person wearing a tracker gets a “wellness quotient,” a number between zero and 1,000 that claims to measure the participant’s current state of well-being. The healthier a person gets, the higher the number climbs, and in theory, the better a worker they become. Hulack’s WQ has gone from 560 to 588 in just a few weeks, but he still trails his boss: De Boer is up to 655. (The program isn’t mandatory, ING says, adding that it doesn’t collect individual data.)
Twitter Teams Up With Bloomberg for Streaming News (WSJ)
The channel, which has yet to be named and is expected to begin operating this fall, won’t simply rebroadcast footage from Bloomberg’s existing television operation, but will be made up of live news reporting from the news outlet’s bureaus around the world, as well as a curated and verified mix of video posted on Twitter by the social-media platform’s users.
MYSTERY IN VIRGINIA: SOMEONE IS SHAVING OTHER PEOPLE'S CATS (AP)
Police Capt. Kelly Walker said Friday that all the cats have been returned otherwise unharmed, but some seem bothered. Walker says all the cats clearly had owners - they were well-groomed and wearing collars. He says police aren't sure what crime has been committed, but the owners "would just like it to stop."