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Opening Bell: 6.27.17

More on the Biden-Ackman affair: “If I could, I’d punch you in the face”; Europe demands Google pony up $2.4 billion; Uber for poop; and more.
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What Really Happened Between Joe Biden and Bill Ackman (NYMag)
Biden started talking about Syria and then maneuvered the conversation back to Trump. “At this point, I’m not going to say anything more,” Biden said. Then Ackman said to Biden, “Why start doing that now?” — a reference to the vice president’s well-known penchant for speaking his mind. One source at the table tells New York he heard it as an attempt to lighten the mood. Ackman confirms that this was his intent. “Who’s this wiseass,” Biden then said. He turned to Ackman and added, “Do you want to take this outside?” Ackman thought Biden was kidding, and others in attendance had the same impression.
ALSO SEE: Joe Biden wanted to ‘punch’ hedge fund billionaire in the face.

ackman-biden-beach

EU fines Google €2.4bn over abuse of search dominance (FT)
The commission’s decision is the first time a big competition regulator has sanctioned the way Google operates and lays the foundations for cases about the company’s behaviour in other specialist search markets. The commission found Google “systematically” gave prominent placement to its own in-house service, demoted rival comparison shopping services in search results, so “even the most highly ranked rival service appears on average only on page four of Google’s search results”.

Ethereum Drops 24%, Bitcoin Loses, Too, Amid Cryptocurrency Selloff (WSJ)
The most prominent drop came in ether, the digital currency used on the Ethereum network that is still reeling from trading problems last week. Ether fell 24% Monday to $231, and has now lost 41% of its value from its peak June 14, according to data from Coindesk. Meanwhile, bitcoin was down 7% at $2,424. They were not alone. Thirty-eight of the top 40 digital currencies listed on the site Crypto Market Cap were all down, including other prominent coins like ripple, down 8.6%, and litecoin, down 14%.

Deutsche Bank Wasn’t Only ‘Mirror’ Trader: Russian Central Bank (BBG)
The regulator said in a statement to Bloomberg that it had found about 750 billion rubles ($13.5 billion at average exchange rates over the period) in the transactions from 2014 to 2016, but didn’t break down the figure by individual banks. Deutsche Bank’s internal investigation found about $10 billion in trades through its Moscow office from 2011-2015.

If You Think Stocks Are Dull, Look at the Economy (WSJ)
Over the past three years, the standard deviation of the annualized change in U.S. gross domestic product—how far it has tended to swing each quarter from its underlying trend—is just 1.5 percentage points, or about as low as it has ever been. It is a trend that is being matched elsewhere, with global GDP exhibiting the lowest volatility in history.

$3.7 BILLION HEDGE FUND: This market doesn't make any sense (BI)
"One of today’s greatest market inefficiencies may stem from the scarcity of capital devoted toward long-term, fundamental investing," [Tourbillon Capital's Jason] Karp wrote. "The risk/reward of holding stocks decreases with time horizons, and our work continues to support the fact that fundamentals grow more, rather than less effective as time horizons increase."

A (Long) Chat With Peter Bernstein (Jason Zweig)
In 1703 the mathematician Gottfried von Leibniz told the scientist Jacob Bernoulli that nature does work in patterns, but “only for the most part.” The other part — the unpredictable part — tends to be where things matter the most. That’s where the action often is.

On Blockchain, Intermediaries, and Hype (Zach Korman)
Blockchain attempts to solve a problem that you didn't know you had: the problem of the trusted intermediary. As a programmer, I've never gone on Stack Overflow and asked, "I need to design a system that works like a database but guarantees no one can control it, including myself." I've never seen that question asked, either. And as an individual consumer, I've never thought, "What I don't like about this product/service is that it has a trusted intermediary." These things just don't come up.

Can't Find a Public Bathroom in NYC? Hail This Toilet Van (NBC New York)
Toilet paper company Charmin has been rolling an on-demand mobile bathroom called Charmin Van-GO around Manhattan as part of a two-day pilot program -- though whether the intent is to make the Uber-style bathroom service a regular option, we're not entirely sure.

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Looking a little sadder than usual. Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Frankfurt am Main, Skulptur -Bulle & Bär- -- 2015 -- 6763” / CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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