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Opening Bell: 8.17.17

Jamie Dimon makes bold stand against Nazis; Steve Bannon (accidentally?) grants lengthy interview on America First trade policy; Ackman uses protection; the perils of butt-dialing; and more.
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JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Issues Sharp Rebuke of Trump (Fortune)
In a message to employees, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said he “personally supported” the decision. He also spoke out against the president’s comments. “I strongly disagree with President Trump's reaction to the events that took place in Charlottesville over the past several days,” he wrote. “Racism, intolerance and violence are always wrong. The equal treatment of all people is one of our nation’s bedrock principles. There is no room for equivocation here: the evil on display by these perpetrators of hate should be condemned and has no place in a country that draws strength from our diversity and humanity.”

Steve Bannon, Unrepentant (The American Prospect)
“I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense; I’m getting hawks in. I’m getting Susan Thornton [acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs] out at State.” But can Bannon really win that fight internally? “That’s a fight I fight every day here,” he said. “We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying. We gotta do this. The president’s default position is to do it, but the apparatus is going crazy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s like, every day.” SEE ALSO: Steve Bannon thought he wasn't giving an interview (Axios)

Sale of Once Hot High-Frequency Trading Firm Reflects Industry Troubles (WSJ)
RGM was among the innovators, but its business deteriorated amid the recent lack of market volatility. The firm made around $800 million in trading profits over its lifetime, but this year it has been losing money, prompting its owners to accelerate efforts to find a buyer, a person close to the firm said. RGM has also cut staff to around 70 employees, down from more than 100 a few years ago. This week, RGM agreed to sell the firm for what one person close to the deal said was less than $10 million.

Bill Ackman is getting worried about geopolitical risk, buys protection against market drop (CNBC)
Ackman said the firm took a "small position" in out of the money call options on a volatility index during Pershing Square Capital Management's second-quarter conference call Wednesday. This hedge "will protect against stock market risk," he said, specifically citing a potential conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Public Enemy (Harpers)
THE COURT: The purpose of jury selection is to ensure fairness and impartiality in this case. If you think that you could not be fair and impartial, it is your duty to tell me. All right. Juror Number 1.
JUROR NO. 1: I’m aware of the defendant and I hate him.
[SHKRELI's LAWYER]: I’m sorry.
JUROR NO. 1: I think he’s a greedy little man.
THE COURT: Jurors are obligated to decide the case based only on the evidence. Do you agree?
JUROR NO. 1: I don’t know if I could. I wouldn’t want me on this jury.

Reminder: Your “self-destructing” messages do not actually self-destruct (FT Alphaville)
The SEC is accusing Rivas of using his access to BofA’s tech systems to pass on nonpublic information about 30 deals between 2014 and 2017. The seven people charged (including his girlfriend’s dad, a former treasurer at Tullett Prebon) earned more than $5m from the trades, according to the complaint. Part of this alleged plan involved, hilariously, “encrypted, self-destructing messages”.

Robo Advisors Don’t Beat Traditional Index Funds (PragCap)
If you’re not too lazy to rebalance once every few years you could have allocated your assets across a simple 4 fund global 60/40 index using 30% VXUS, 30% VTI, 20% BND & 20% BNDX. This portfolio did even better with 11.27% 1 year returns and cost you just 0.07% per year. So, if you owned a Robo in the last few years there’s a very good chance that you paid an extra 0.3-0.6% in fees on average to own something that does what existing product wrappers already do. It all begs the question – are Robos a better product wrapper or are they just a product wrapper with better marketing?

Why This Fund's 256,766% Return Still Doesn’t Beat the Market (BBG)
From the late ’20s through July, an index composed of the largest U.S. stocks would have posted a cumulative return of roughly 673,360 percent. The Massachusetts Investors Trust, meantime, returned just 256,766 percent.

Court worker butt-dials reporter, admits he ‘barely shows up’ for $166K job (NYP)
“I spoke to [the reporter] on the record for awhile. I said, ‘I’m in a much less visible position; that doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything,’ ” Bookstaver said. “But, frankly, look, the bottom line: the story’s true. I’m not doing anything. I barely show up to work and I’ve been caught.”

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