Opening Bell: 5.1.17

Warren Buffett's cash is burning a hole in his pocket; company wellness programs target sales; a mysterious cat-shaver in Virginia; and more.
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Source: AP

Source: AP

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."

Related

Source: AP

Opening Bell: 6.30.17

Warren Buffett just made a few bucks on Bank of America; hedge funds did naughty things with hot IPO shares; Goop vs Infowars; flying weiners; and more.

Source: AP

Opening Bell: 12.5.16

Buffett bounce on Trump trade; Mnuchin's brush with Blankfein; nude selfies used as loan collateral leaked; and more.

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Opening Bell: 5.8.17

Warren Buffett said some things; Goldman kicks the Volcker can a bit farther; Ukraine deems Steven Seagal a national security threat; and more.

Opening Bell: 3.2.15

Warren Buffett hates investment bankers, loves Ajit Jain and Greg Abel; Citi CEO might get to keep his job, might not; Dennis Kozlowski is a free man; Wall Street burger club; Cap'n Crunch Donut Holes; 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.

cohnilton

Opening Bell: 7.12.17

Gary Cohn could actually be Fed chief; Paul Singer wants to see Warren Buffett talk dirty; your sous-vide circulator doubles as a pawn in a global bot war; and more.

Opening Bell: 04.20.12

Gupta Lawyers Cite Fourth Goldman Insider (WSJ) Gary Naftalis, the lead attorney representing Mr. Gupta, said in court Thursday that prosecutors informed him late Wednesday night that federal prosecutors in Los Angeles were investigating another Goldman employee for passing inside information about two public companies to Mr. Rajaratnam. U.S. Investigates a Goldman Executive Over Insider Trading (Dealbook) The new evidence could help Mr. Gupta’s defense, by suggesting that Mr. Rajaratnam had other possible tipsters inside Goldman Sachs. The Goldman executive under investigation in California was not named. “The wrong man is on trial,” Gary P. Naftalis, a lawyer for Mr. Gupta, said in a previous hearing. Mr. Naftalis has called the government’s charges baseless. Bond Trading Surge Boosts Wall Street Banks (FT) Wall Street has enjoyed its best quarter for bond trading in two years, rounded off with a surge in revenues at Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, in spite of a steep decline in risk-taking and the introduction of new regulations. Morgan Stanley and BofA both beat expectations, with each bank’s fixed income, currencies and commodities businesses driving the outperformance. Credit Suisse said the five biggest banks generated combined revenues of $20bn from their so-called FICC divisions in the first three months of this year, the best since the start of 2010. “We’re all making significantly more amounts of money with less risk,” said Bruce Thompson, chief financial officer at BofA, whose FICC division’s revenues rise 10 per cent to $4.1bn, or 170 per cent higher than the miserable final quarter of last year. World’s Richest Worth $1 Trillion on Billionaire List (Bloomberg) Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim, 72, remains the richest person in the world, with a fortune of $68.8 billion, down $572.3 million for the day. Second is Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates, 56, with $62.7 billion, followed by Warren Buffett, who’s worth $44.6 billion. Mark Zuckerberg is 25th on the ranking. Based on a roughly $100 billion valuation the Menlo Park, California-based company was trading at in the private market when it ceased trading April 3, Zuckerberg may be worth $20.5 billion, or about 25 percent less than previous estimates, once Facebook holds its initial public offering. Barclays Investors Force Bonus Changes (FT) After a series of bruising meetings with Barclays’ biggest shareholders over the past few weeks, Bob Diamond, chief executive, volunteered on Thursday to forgo half his 2.7 million pounds bonus for 2011 until Barclays had improved profitability. In Euro Zone, Who Will Renege Budget Targets Next? (CNBC) France is likely to be the next country to move its budget goalposts, particularly if Socialist Francois Hollande gets into the Elysee in May, according to analysts and economists. The Netherlands is also believed to be in line for changes to its budget targets after an analyst at credit rating agency Fitch warned of possible negative risks to its rating from the country’s heavy debt pile and potential property market devaluation. “The Netherlands has a rather Anglo-Saxon tendency in terms of the property market, and now it’s risking a property bubble,” Jeremy Stretch, head of currency strategy at CIBC, said. “This all shows that problems are getting closer to the core and lapping at the toes of Germany.” Woman entitled to compensation for sex injury suffered on work trip, judge rules (AAP) A public servant servant injured on a work trip while having sex with an acquaintance in a motel room is entitled to compensation, a judge has ruled...The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had challenged the rejection of her workers' compensation claim for facial and psychological injuries suffered when a glass light fitting came away from the wall above the bed as she was having sex in November 2007. The judge said the tribunal erred in finding it was necessary for the woman to show she had been taking part in an activity which led to her injury "which was expressly or impliedly induced or encouraged by her employer." “If the applicant had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room she would have been entitled to compensation” even though it could not be said her employer induced or encouraged that activity. Nine U.S. Banks Said to be Examined on Overdraft Fees (Bloomberg) The agency, which will decide by the end of the year whether to write new rules, is scrutinizing nine banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and Bank of America Corp., said four people briefed on the examination. The inquiry focuses on how financial institutions persuade customers to enroll in what they call overdraft protection programs. Examiners are looking at online and mailed marketing material as well as scripts used by the banks’ customer-service representatives to determine whether they could be confusing to consumers, said the people. Lagarde: IMF loan for Egypt won't be enough (Reuters) Egypt's request for a $3.2 billion IMF loan will not be enough to meet the country's financial needs and will require additional resources from donor countries, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday. "It will not be sufficient, and everybody knows that, so it will require other donors, other participants to also come to the table to help Egypt," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told a news conference before the start of the IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington. "As is always the case, we will play the catalyst role that we always play," she added. Doritos tacos spur rebound in Taco Bell sales (NYP) Taco Bell's introduction of Doritos Locos Tacos in early March has been "enormously successful," Carucci told industry analysts Thursday, one day after Yum reported sharply higher first-quarter earnings on the strength of robust overseas sales and a rebound in its U.S. performance. Rollout of tacos that use shells made of Nacho Cheese Doritos came late in the first quarter, so their full impact will be felt in the current quarter. Taco Bell also said at the time of the rollout that Cool Ranch flavored shells are in the works.

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Opening Bell: 2.27.17

Warren Buffett wrote a thing; Silicon Valley is foisting creativity on everyone; getting hit in the balls is an art form; and more.