Blankfein disses Trump yet again (NYP)
The Goldman Sachs boss on Sunday condemned Trump’s “equivalency” after the death of a counterprotester at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. “Lincoln: ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ Isolate those who try to separate us,” Blankfein chided Trump in a Monday morning tweet. “No equivalence w/ those who bring us together.”
U.S. Stock Buybacks Are Plunging (BBG)
Share repurchases by American companies this year are down 20 percent from this time a year ago, according to Societe Generale global head of quantitative strategy Andrew Lapthorne. "Perhaps over-leveraged U.S. companies have finally reached a limit on being able to borrow simply to support their own shares," writes Lapthorne. BUT ALSO: the y/y fall in buybacks reversed as of the start of Q3.
Junk Bonds of the Financial Crisis Were the Decade’s Biggest Winners (BBG)
If you’d bought European high-yield bonds the day the global financial crisis erupted, closed your eyes and held onto them through the unprecedented events of the following decade, you would now be sitting on a 100 percent return. On the other hand, if you’d put your money in most major commodities, other than gold, you would have lost 50 percent. The euro and European stocks would have handed you a loss, but most bond markets, U.S. stocks and the dollar would have been a good bet.
Goldman Adds Pay, Perks in Silicon Valley War for Tech Talent (BBG)
Prior to the changes, a beginning engineer in New York could expect to make a base salary of about $83,000, with a bonus of about $12,000, the website’s figures show. That would probably climb to more than $100,000, with a larger bonus under the new policy. “Our intent is to be competitive for the best talent,” Wiesel said. “If we have to change our package, we’ll change our package.” SEE ALSO: Goldman Tops Banks Betting on a New Type of Hedging
Goldman Sachs looks to invigorate its bond trading business (FT)
Goldman used to look down at such humdrum “flow” business, preferring instead to craft complex derivatives for hedge fund clients that would earn the bank big fees. But that is changing, according to people familiar with the revamp, as patchy activity among hedge funds has forced the bank to rethink its business mix. Also part of that effort: getting closer to the likes of Pimco and BlackRock, the mutual-fund groups which have recently benefited from huge inflows of client money in credit.
Japan’s ETF addiction stores up risk for the future (FT)
There was a time when a US president threatening “fire and fury” and footage of children practising nuclear drills might have hit the Nikkei 225 harder than a 2 per cent dip. But that was before the Bank of Japan’s addiction to ETFs. There is no enigma here. Last week, when Japanese investors might reasonably have taken fright, the BoJ unleashed a test launch of its own — a record-breaking grab of more than $2bn of Japanese equity ETFs in 52 hours.
Outraged in Private, Many C.E.O.s Fear the Wrath of the President (NYT)
When I asked one chief executive Monday morning why he had remained publicly silent, he told me: “Just look at what he did to Ken. I’m not sticking my head up.” Which, of course, is the reason he said I could not quote him by name.
Jana Takes Stake in Blue Apron (WSJ)
The activist hedge fund whose investment in Whole Foods Market Inc. catalyzed the natural grocer’s takeover by Amazon.com Inc. has taken a 2% stake in meal-kit maker Blue Apron Holdings. Jana disclosed the investment on Monday in a regulatory filing, sending Blue Apron shares up 5%.
Malcolm Gladwell Takes Surprising Stance Against McDonald’s Beloved French Fries (NYMag)
Before you rush out and declare him un-American, though, realize he means well. Gladwell opens the podcast by telling listeners that “McDonald’s betrayed me so many years ago” when it stopped frying potatoes in beef tallow, so his ultimate goal is to help the fries return to their former glory. But his personal vendetta is woven into the far more interesting story of Phil Sokolof, the drywall magnate who spent millions crusading against saturated fat and cholesterol, and convinced McDonald’s to swap the beef fat for vegetable oil.