Opening Bell: 5.3.17

Steve Schwarzman wants better PR; London greets Ackman with stiff upper lip; man honors friend by flushing him down every toilet in baseball; and more.
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By Lishabai Yi (Middle Kingdom Media Ltd.) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Lishabai Yi (Middle Kingdom Media Ltd.) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Super-rich private equity stars rue 'lousy' reputation, say they are misunderstood (Reuters)
"The idea that you can do all that and have great success and be perceived at best in a marginal way in terms of contribution to society, you've got to really wonder who’s doing the PR," Schwarzman said during a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

Ask a “Bond Vigilante”: Is the US budget really going to cause trouble? (FT Alphaville)
“People have been talking about the return of the bond vigilantes for 20 years now. In that time, we’ve seen zero, negative, and falling term premia, and negative bond yields as well. If any country generates some inflation, bond yields will react to that in a rational way. That’s all it is, really, rather than any concerted [effort from markets].”

U.S. SEC approves request to list quadruple-leveraged ETFs (Reuters)
"We're excited about it," said Sam Masucci, chief executive officer at Exchange Traded Managers Group LLC, which is distributing the product, though he said the product is "not going to be for everybody....But for those people that are looking for the leveraged exposure to the S&P and they're not looking to do it by way of a futures product here you have a publicly listed security."

I Never Knew How Screwed Up Global Banking Was Until I Started My Own Bank (ValueWalk)
As technology improved, banks continually patched and updated their systems. But they eventually ran into limitations in terms of how much they could modernize the software. In the software industry, developers recognize this limitation. That’s why from time to time they stop supporting obsolete versions of their applications and reengineer new versions with the latest technology. But that didn’t happen across most of the banking sector. Instead, banks kept patching and upgrading outdated software. Simply put, the most important functions in the banking system are powered by decades-old technology.

Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square makes modest debut on LSE (FT)
Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Holdings has made a modest debut on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday, closing on the lows of the day with less than £1m worth of shares changing hands, as the investor talked up the attractions of his £3.6bn closed-end fund.

Tim Cook: Everyone talking about next iPhone hurting sales (NYP)
On a conference call with analysts, Cook griped that an endless barrage of leaks about the next iPhone — branded alternately by Apple watchers as the “iPhone 8” or the “iPhone X” — appear to have curbed sales of the current iPhone 7. “We are seeing a pause in purchases of the iPhone due to earlier and much more frequent reports about future iPhones,” he said.

Tesla is most painful stock for short sellers in 2017 (Reuters)
Overall this year, short sellers betting against Tesla have lost $3.7 billion, far more than has been lost shorting any other U.S. stock, according to S3. The next three most painful stocks for short sellers this year have been Apple, Amazon.com and Netflix. Short sellers have lost $1.5 billion betting against Apple, $1.1 billion betting against Amazon.com and $776 million on Netflix.

Honoring a Fellow Fan, One Ballpark Bathroom at a Time (NYT)
The New York Mets were leading the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1, after two innings when Tom McDonald stood up from his upper-deck seat at Citi Field. Nature was calling, and so was his obligation to his childhood friend and fellow Mets fan Roy Riegel, whose death nine years ago left Mr. McDonald, 56, vowing to honor their baseball bonds in an unconventional way: by disposing of Mr. Riegel’s ashes in ballparks across the country

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By Lishabai Yi (Middle Kingdom Media Ltd.) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 6.6.17

Steve Schwarzman misses all the brave old people in finance; Harvard endowment dumps Eric Mindich; sex in space would be a bodily horror; and more.

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Opening Bell: 2.15.18

Markets ignoring stagflation; Soros is a crypto bro now; Steve Schwarzman is in a bubble of his own; Olympic dick statues are popular; and more!

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Opening Bell: 2.9.18

Shutdown over fast; Global stocks still getting hammered; Brexit still a mess; Florid woman mercy flushes emotional support hamster; and more!

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Opening Bell: 1.27.17

Ackman tries subtlety for a change; hedge funds hit paydirt tracking planes; at least one Burger King has a secret weed menu; and more.

(Getty Images)

Opening Bell: 5.26.17

Steve Schwarzman, Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman walk into a bar; Wells Fargo smells blood in the water; Texas 7th grader wins ‘Most Likely To Become A Terrorist’; and more.

Opening Bell: 6.23.15

Ben Bernanke says keep Hamilton on 10 dollar bill; Ackman launches $1B bond; Short sellers are lonely; P. Diddy beats son's coach with a kettlebell; and more.

Opening Bell: 07.10.12

Diamond To Forgo Deferred Bonuses (WSJ) Former Barclays Chief Executive Robert Diamond has given up bonuses of up to £20 million ($31 million) in an apparent effort to shield the lender as the bank looks to defuse anger following the rate-fixing scandal...According to Mr. Diamond's contract, he will receive up to 12 months' salary, pension allowance and other benefits. Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius said that this amounts to around £2 million. Paulson Funds Fell In June As Rally Undercut Euro Wager (Bloomberg) The $22 billion firm had losses in all its funds last month as stock markets rose. The losses were led by a 7.9 percent drop in his Advantage Plus Fund, according to an update to investors obtained by Bloomberg News. That leaves the fund, which seeks to profit from corporate events such as takeovers and bankruptcies and uses leverage to amplify returns, down 16 percent this year. Einhorn says Fed stimulus counterproductive (Reuters) "I think it's actually counterproductive," Einhorn said of the stimulus program, adding that it lowers the standard of living and drives up food and oil prices. He said he would suggest a rise in interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds to "a reasonable level" of 2 to 3 percent. Einhorn said Apple, which he praised at this year's Ira Sohn investing conference, was "the best big-growth company we have." "We're two, three years into the Apple investment, and the way it seems headed it's likely we'll be there for a good while longer," he said. "I think the stock is very very substantially undervalued." He said Amazon.com Inc was "tough on its competitors" because it does not "feel the need to make a profit." "It's very hard to compete against somebody who doesn't feel the need to make a profit," he said, adding that he is not "short" Amazon. Investment Bankers Face Termination As Europe Fees Fall (Bloomberg) Credit Suisse and UBS face the most pressure to boost efficiency as that country runs ahead of others in introducing tougher capital and liquidity rules to curtail risk-taking, making some businesses unviable...While the situation may be most acute at the Swiss banks, similar dynamics are at work at other firms as the debt crisis drags on, capital requirements ratchet higher and economic growth grinds to a halt. “Bankers are really gloomy and a lot of people are worried about their jobs,” said Edward Cumming-Bruce, a partner at London-based advisory firm Gleacher Shacklock LLP who has more than 20 years’ experience. “Banks are under remorseless pressure to cut costs and balance sheets as we witness a significant change in the way the financial industry works.” Sitting for More Than Three Hours a Day Cuts Life Expectancy (WSJ) Sitting down for more than three hours a day can shave a person's life expectancy by two years, even if he or she is physically active and refrains from dangerous habits like smoking, according to a study to be published on Tuesday in the online journal BMJ Open. Watching TV for more than two hours a day can exacerbate that problem, decreasing life expectancy by another 1.4 years, said the report, which analyzed five underlying studies of nearly 167,000 people over a range of four to 14 years. Futures Broker Freezes Accounts (WSJ) Peregrine, based in Cedar Falls, Iowa, couldn't be reached for comment on the NFA action, but in an earlier statement to clients said "some accounting irregularities are being investigated regarding company accounts." "What this means is no customers are able to trade except to liquidate positions. Until further notice, PFGBEST is not authorized to release any funds," said PFGBest in its statement. Also in the statement, the firm said Russell R. Wasendorf Sr., its founder, chairman and chief executive, had experienced a "recent emergency" and described it as a "suicide attempt." A spokeswoman for PFGBest said Mr. Wasendorf was in critical condition in a hospital. Four Companies Break Through IPO Drought (WSJ) What do two fast-growing technology companies, an iconic guitar maker and a skin-infection specialist have in common? All four aim to break the latest dry spell in the IPO market. Fender Musical Instruments Corp., which has supplied guitars to rock artists from Buddy Holly to Kurt Cobain and John Mayer, network-security firm Palo Alto Networks Inc., travel website Kayak Software Corp. and pharmaceutical firm Durata Therapeutics Inc. said Monday that they plan to push ahead with initial public offerings in coming weeks. JPMorgan Silence On Risk Model Spurs Calls For Disclosure (Bloomberg) The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is probing JPMorgan’s belated May 10 disclosure that a change to its mathematical model for gauging trading risk helped fuel the loss in its chief investment office. While the SEC would have to prove that the biggest U.S. bank improperly kept important information from investors, regulators probably will press Wall Street firms to tell more about the risks they’re taking, three former SEC lawyers said. Would You Stress Over A Millionaire Wife? (CNBC) The study, conducted by SEI and Phoenix Marketing, found that a third of the women who are the financial leads in millionaire households say their partner feels “stressed” by their financial roles. By contrast, only 14 percent of males in male-led millionaire households said they feel tension from their partner. Actor who kicked in doors to Ed Sullivan theater escapes jail time (NYDN) The struggling actor who kicked in the glass doors to the Ed Sullivan Theatre and urinated on the lobby floor last year got lucky with a no-jail sentence Monday. But he had to pay $7,377.28 in restitution. James Whittemore, 23, who now deejays in Massachusetts under the name DJ Nutron, never formally apologized to David Letterman face to face, but he said he'd like to..."Someone stole my iPhone, I quit my job, my girlfriend broke up with me, I was having a rough day," he said.