Opening Bell: 6.13.17 - Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 6.13.17

Inside Gary Cohn's unenviable White House job; Tim Cook dishes on Apple's autonomous car project; a thing called "potcoin" sent Dennis Rodman to North Korea; and more.
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Gary Cohn Has Profited From Big Mistakes. So Why Not Go Work for Trump? (NYMag)
This spring, things started to turn, as they do in the volatile market of the Trump White House. Cohn and his team, according to sources, had for months tried to get Trump’s attention on the particulars of tax reform, to no avail. Until, suddenly, they had it, when Trump promised to deliver the biggest tax cut “ever.” The subsequent press conference, at which Cohn and Mnuchin circulated a vague one-page wish list they’d evidently cooked up over the weekend, was widely ridiculed. “We will get back to you with definitive answers on all these details,” Cohn said. “We have a broad-brush view.” And finally: “Look, we will give you more details as we have them.” “What’s it like working for that guy?” Cohn’s Wall Street buddy asked when he ran into him at their local diner. Cohn smiled, or maybe gritted his teeth. “You can imagine,” he said.

Cook Says Apple Is Focusing on Making an Autonomous Car System (BBG)
“We’re focusing on autonomous systems,” Cook said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “It’s a core technology that we view as very important.” “We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects,” Cook said in his most detailed comments to date on Apple’s plans in the car space. “It’s probably one of the most difficult A.I. projects actually to work on.”

Wall Street’s self-regulator blocks public scrutiny of firms with tainted brokers (Rueters)
At Long Island-based Joseph Stone Capital, 71 percent of the firms’ 59 brokers had FINRA flags on their records. Joseph Stone was investigated by the state of Montana after one of its sales representatives, Lawrence Sullivan, cold-called Patrick Navarro, an employee at the office of Montana’s Commissioner of Securities and Insurance. [...] During the call, Sullivan pitched Navarro on an investment in Paypal stock, the report said. After Navarro informed Sullivan that he worked for the state’s securities regulator, Sullivan blurted out “Happy New Year!” and hung up.

SoFi has applied for a bank charter (TechCrunnch)
The company has a long way to go if it’s actually going to become a bank, and it’s facing an uphill battle. That’s because there haven’t been any new industrial loan company (ILC) charters approved in about a decade.

U.S. Lawsuit Links $2.2 Billion Deal to Malaysian 1MDB Scandal (WSJ)
U.S. authorities are investigating the $2.2 billion purchase of a U.S. energy company by a Middle Eastern government investment fund that was arranged by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS -0.24% and netted one investor a $300 million windfall in less than a week, according to a government lawsuit and people familiar with the investigation.

Just Five Stocks Account for Nearly 75% of the Nasdaq's Plunge (BBG)
This selloff was “way overdue given the extreme out-performance and positioning in technology shares,” Morgan Stanley analyst Michael Wilson wrote in a note to clients Monday, Shares of Apple, for instance, are still up 25 percent this year, giving them room to fall. But while Wilson expects the drubbing to continue in the short-term, he doesn’t think the market has seen a peak in tech shares. “We would be surprised if this is the end for technology stocks given the very strong earnings growth we are witnessing,” he wrote.

A Series Of Rolling Mini-Bubbles (Macro Tourist)
As ugly as the Nasdaq looked on Friday, it didn’t reflect a systemic collapse in equities, but the shaking out of yet another hedge fund induced mini-bubble. I have seen this scenario play over time and time again. The trades the hedge funds are most enthusiastic about, are the very ones you should avoid the most.

Bitcoin Is Helping the Pot Business Get Over Its Banking Problem (BBG)
“There’s no industry -- whether it’s the production and sale of cannabis or the production and sale of a cup of coffee -- that can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions and traditional services,” said Jon Baugher, co-founder of POSaBIT, whose technology is used by 30 dispensaries in Washington state. “That’s where we thought we could leverage the use of digital currency.”

Potcoin sponsoring Rodman’s North Korea trip (AP)
A cryptocurrency for legalized marijuana is sponsoring former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s latest trip to North Korea. Rodman tweeted Tuesday “I’m back! Thanks to my sponsor Potcoin.com” with a photo of himself holding an itinerary from the North Korean airline Air Koryo.

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They seek damages that could reach into the tens of billions of dollars from financial institutions that help determine the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. Barclays, RBS and UBS already have paid about $2.5 billion, and admitted wrongdoing, to settle rate-rigging allegations by U.S. and U.K. regulators. In court filings, lawyers for the 16 banks accused of wrongdoing say the lawsuits have no legal validity. The lawyers say regulatory settlements reached so far don't support the central allegation in most of the civil suits that banks engaged in illegal, anticompetitive behavior. 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A full Senate vote is likely to be scheduled in a couple of days and held sometime next week. Larry Summers: Sequestration 'Meat Cleaver' Is Irresponsible (CNBC) Avoiding the "sequester" is "round three" in the debt-reduction debate, former Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers told CNBC Tuesday, arguing for a "balanced approach" because President Barack Obama has agreed to more spending cuts than revenue during the process. In a "Squawk Box" interview, Summers said the funding constraints of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — which resolved that year's debt ceiling crisis — were round one. "You had spending cuts that were far larger from the discretionary side, that were far larger than anything [on revenue] that happened in December. Right now, we're way in balance toward more spending cuts." Dominique Strauss-Kahn seeks to ban 'half-man half-pig' book (Telegraph) The "biographical novel" by Marcela Iacub, a lawyer and journalist, recounts her seven-month affair with the 64-year-old Mr Strauss-Kahn last year. It is due to be published on Wednesday under the title, Belle et Bête, or Beauty and Beast. But the one-time Socialist presidential hopeful will this morning seek to have the book banned for "violation of the intimacy of private life" and the author and her publisher fined 100,000 euros (£88,000) in damages...In the work, she claims Mr Strauss-Kahn would have transformed the Elysée Palace into a "giant swingers' club" had he been elected French president. In fresh accounts by those who have read the book yesterday, the last chapter narrates the pair's final encounter, ending in Miss Iacub receiving treatment in casualty after "the pig" left her with an "eaten ear". 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