Vote for Goldman: Bankers Try to Ride an Anti-Trump Wave (BBG)
Seven months after Trump’s triumph left their party in tatters, Democrats are desperate to chip away at his influence. There are only half a dozen big elections left this year, a handful of chances to loosen the Republican grip on power. Two of the Democratic nominees, Parnell and Murphy, worked for the same Wall Street firm whose alumni now stock the Trump administration. So many people from Goldman Sachs have won so many seats of power in the U.S. that they cover the political landscape.
Banks Were Told to Keep Skin in Game. They Securitized That Too (BBG)
Few would argue with the stated mission of the The Academy Group: to educate, mentor and find jobs for underprivileged youth. But along the way, the Chicago non-profit is also doing something a bit less lofty -- helping Wall Street sell collateralized loan obligations, a cousin of those complex debt instruments that went horribly wrong during the 2008 financial crisis. The foundation and its chief benefactor, the billionaire Mark Walter, committed $160 million for an investment in a Chicago money manager that uses financial engineering to transform junk-rated loans into bonds rated as high as AAA. For the charity, the deal brings the prospect of steady cash flows and, Walter says, a future employer for its graduates. For the CLO manager, it means a deep pocket that enables the firm to comply with post-crisis rules intended to make the instruments less risky.
Hedge fund manager John Paulson joins Valeant board (FT)
Valeant said on Monday that John Paulson, the billionaire hedge fund manager, will be joining its board, sending shares in the struggling drugmaker climbing. Joseph Papa, Valeant’s chief executive, said Mr Paulson’s experience would be “especially valuable as we continue to execute on our transformational strategy to turnaround Valeant”.
Amazon Is Leading Tech’s Takeover of America (WSJ)
Imagine a future in which Amazon, which already employs north of 340,000 people world-wide, is America’s biggest employer. Imagine we’re all spending money at what’s essentially the company store, and when we get home we’re streaming Amazon’s media. The latest update from the Amazon News Network features a smiling Jeff Bezos, president of the newly formed North American Union. I’m joking, of course—but only a little.
I’d like to solve the puzzle, Pat (Josh Brown)
There has never been an asset bubble in which the industry that catered to that asset didn’t participate. Wall Street has never had an extended bull market during which everyone spent the entire time worrying. Can you imagine a real estate boom where the brokers and mortgage people stood on the sidelines, forlorn and only taking part out of obligation? How about a gold boom where the miners told polls every week how bearish they were? Unheard of. Until now.
JPMORGAN: One of the most popular cases against stocks right now is vastly overexaggerated (BI)
The contribution of tech titans Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google is in just the 55th percentile when measured against other groups of top-five contributors going back almost 30 years. When the list is expanded to 25 companies, the dynamic seems even more normal, with the contribution dropping into the 51st percentile, JPMorgan data show. "While equity leadership has been narrowing into growth stocks, history suggests it is not at extreme levels and not far from historic norms," a group of JPMorgan equity strategists led by Dubravko Lakos-Bujas wrote in a client note.
How Companies Actually Decide What to Pay CEOs (The Atlantic)
Benchmarking is one of the main reasons that executives’ pay rises ever higher: Suppose a CEO gets benchmarked at the 75th percentile, which ends up earning him an annual pay package of $30 million. This $30 million works its way back into the peer groups of other CEOs making their pleas to comp committees, which then raises their pay. Their increased pay is then reflected in the first CEO’s own peer group down the line, once more raising his pay. In other words, every time a CEO gets a generously-benchmarked deal, he sets a higher baseline for the next time any leader has pay negotiations.
Idiots Mad Over Trump-Like Julius Caesar Are Sending Vicious Hate Mail to the Wrong Theaters (Jezebel)
One letter sent to Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass. reads: “[H]ope you all who did this play about Trump are the first do [sic] die when ISIS COMES TO YOU [expletive] sumbags [sic].” Another wished the theater “the worst possible life you could have and hope you all get sick and die.” Shakespeare Dallas reports that it’s received around 80 messages, including threats of rape, death and one that hopes that theater staff is “sent to ISIS to be killed with real knives.”