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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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

Q&A With Steve Schwarzman: “There Are No Brave Old People in Finance” (BBG)
What I’ve found in being around political people is they’re willing to negotiate their ideology somewhere around 5 percent. They believe that’s really stepping out. And it’s really hard to do business when you only move 5 percent from your ideology. So you have to take each of these people as who they are and work with them.

Harvard Endowment Ditches Hedge Fund Run by Alumnus (BBG)
“This is where it’s to Harvard’s advantage to bring in a new broom to sweep clean,” said David Salem, chief investment officer of Windhorse Capital Management in Boston. “It shouldn’t matter what relationship a money manager has to the university.”

Venezuela Tries to Resell $5 Billion Bond at Deep Discount (WSJ)
“It’s like they’re having a going-out-of-business sale,” said Russ Dallen, partner at the brokerage Caracas Capital Markets. “And that’s what buyers should be worried about. Either they’re really desperate or they’re just filling up their credit card with no plans of paying back.”

Outcry Over EpiPen Prices Hasn’t Made Them Lower (NYT)
At one gathering, executives shared their concerns with Mylan’s chairman, Robert Coury. Mr. Coury replied that he was untroubled. He raised both his middle fingers and explained, using colorful language, that anyone criticizing Mylan, including its employees, ought to go copulate with themselves. Critics in Congress and on Wall Street, he said, should do the same. And regulators at the Food and Drug Administration? They, too, deserved a round of anatomically challenging self-fulfillment.

The $110 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia is fake news (Brookings)
I’ve spoken to contacts in the defense business and on the Hill, and all of them say the same thing: There is no $110 billion deal. Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts. Many are offers that the defense industry thinks the Saudis will be interested in someday. So far nothing has been notified to the Senate for review. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the arms sales wing of the Pentagon, calls them “intended sales.” None of the deals identified so far are new, all began in the Obama administration.

Steven Mnuchin faces a big decision on quantitative tightening (FT)
Timing also matters. In the late summer or early autumn, Congress appears destined to once again play a game of chicken with raising the Federal debt limit. As the clock ticks down and investors get increasingly skittish, the last thing the Treasury needs is to have to find more private sector buyers of its debt.

US capex, investment, and growth — re-re-upped (FT Alphaville)
This relationship is further evidence that corporate short-termism — defined here as weak investment growth coinciding with robust buyback activity and dividend hikes — is more a consequence than a cause of weak overall economic growth.

JPMorgan Has a Surprisingly Simple Theory for Low Volatility (BBG)
Volatility stages an uptick when market participants shift positions due to changes such as the release of economic data or a central-bank policy decision that alter the outlook for inflation and growth. The sensitivity to such surprises, in turn, is largely shaped by two factors: the extent to which positions are levered -- if market players are awash with cash, they have the financial firepower to buy the market dip, and cap price moves in either direction -- and the propensity of investors to trade. On all three fronts, tranquil market conditions are vindicated by economic and market fundamentals.

The Reckoning On Round Hill Road (Alpha)
These numbers can't help but bring to mind another Greenwich downturn, when the estates built by the industrialists of the 1920s feel into disrepair during the Great Depression and a more subdued mood took hold. Says one former hedge fund executive of the woodsy, hilly area of town once so popular among titans: “It's a ghost town.”

Elon Musk asks for shareholders’ questions — and answers one about underwear (MarketWatch)
“Wearing anything at all is just a conspiracy by the capitalist running dogs of Big Underwear.”

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Sex in Space (Gizmodo)
Sex in space would likely be very hot, and not in the good way. Picture two swampy bodies pressed against each other, stewing in each other’s bodily horrors. “Because of the micro-gravity environment sweat and tears don’t run down the astronaut’s bodies like it does here on Earth, instead it pools like small ponds of fluid near where it was secreted,” Millis explained.

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

Opening Bell: 5.22.17

Steve Schwarzman finds $20 billion in Saudi Arabia; Ford trades in for a new CEO; Trump gropes the orb of power; and more.

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

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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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.

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Opening Bell: 12.19.16

Apple gears up for Europe tax war; Barclays dumps another 7,000 clients; meat pies in space; 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: 8.17.16

Brevan Howard, Tudor hit hard; Steve Cohen settles with CFTC; Pokémon Go players hit with a laser attack by pig-masked couple having public sex in Sweden; and more.

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Opening Bell: 5.19.17

Ray Dalio ponders impeachment; Leon Cooperman lives to trade again; murder trial hinges on Florida man's endowment; and more.

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Opening Bell: 3.15.17

Jamie Dimon still working on his Business Roundtable talking points; Ackman lost some money; sex toy snoops on users; and more.