Two Bankers Are Selling Trump’s Tax Plan. Is Congress Buying? (NYT)
Mr. Cohn has also rankled lawmakers in both parties with comments that they suggest betray a lack of understanding about the political process and the intricate policy trade-offs that undergird a large tax rewrite. In a meeting with a group of Senate Democrats this year, according to people who were present, Mr. Cohn jokingly dismissed concerns about the wisdom and cost of repealing the estate tax, remarking, “Only morons pay the estate tax.”
Hedge funds see a gold rush in data mining (FT)
Speaking at a conference, Matthew Granade, Point72’s chief market intelligence officer, bragged that they scrutinise 80m credit card transactions every day. Coupled with satellite images that can scan car parks and geolocation data from mobile phones to show how many people are visiting various stores, the investment group can get a real-time idea of how companies are doing, long before their results are released. One student asked how all this data could help Point72 if everyone had access to the same information. The answer was exclusivity agreements, Mr Granade said: “The great thing about this area is you can arrange deals where you are the only ones who get it.”
BlackRock Finds $5 Trillion Industry Poses More Risk Than in '08 (BBG)
The world’s largest money manager mined regulatory filings of more than 500 insurance companies and modeled their portfolios in a similar downturn. Their stockpiles -- underpinning obligations to policyholders across the nation -- would drop by 11 percent on average, according to its calculations. That’s significantly steeper, BlackRock estimates, than the group’s “mark-to-market” losses during the depths of the crisis.
Why Yale Owns a Forest (Businessweek)
For at least two decades, Yale and its celebrated endowment manager, David Swensen, have led a land rush by the richest colleges. Funds snapped up forests as a way to hedge against inflation and the risks of stocks and bonds, and to take advantage of endowments’ unusual ability to make investments that might not be easy to sell quickly. It paid off handsomely until recently, when returns slumped and exposed more of the downsides of investments that literally grow. One is reputation risk: Some residents of Coos County and a Canadian First Nations tribe are angry that a company hired to manage Yale’s land has signed a lease for a power line that will run through about 24 miles of the university’s forests.
Because penny-stock promoters won’t miss out on a good bubble… (FT Alphaville)
The SEC warning about crypto-related “pump and dump” schemes in the stock market is like a firefighter arriving at a house fire and rushing to warn the neighbors about sparks. Like, sure, maybe the firefighter isn’t 100 per cent confident the house is on his side of the county line, but he should still try to fight the fire. Or at least alert someone who can.
That Totally Fake Shark Photo Isn't From Hurricane Harvey (or Any Other Hurricane) (Gizmodo)
As Snopes pointed out years ago, the great white shark, which appears to be casually swimming down a flooded city street, originates from a 2005 magazine spread in Africa Geographic. It was later photoshopped by hoaxers to make it look like the shark has found its way to an urban setting. Despite being fake, the shark previously went viral during Hurricane Irene in 2011, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and during flash floods in Texas in 2015. BUT SEE: Alligator Sanctuary On Alert As Floodwaters Threaten To Unleash Hundreds Of Gators
Critics of Controversial Insurer Dogged by Mysterious Strangers (WSJ)
Chris Irons, an analyst at research firm GeoInvesting LLC, which has published several reports critical of AmTrust, said he was contacted in July by a woman who identified herself as a London-based consultant to a European software multimillionaire seeking contributors to a new investment website. He agreed to meet at a Philadelphia-area restaurant. At the dinner, Mr. Irons said, the woman, whom he described as gorgeous, plied him with drinks and slipped in several questions about critiques of AmTrust. “It was the second or third follow-up question on AmTrust that gave me a lot of pause,” he said, adding that she “laughed at many things I said that probably weren’t that funny.” But the name the woman gave — Diana Ilic —appears to be a pseudonym.
I’m Buying Gold (Michael Batnick)
Going back to 1970, the average monthly return for gold following a close above the 12-month moving average is 1.47%. The average monthly return following a close below the 12-month moving average is -0.15%. If you used the simplest of trend-following methods, investing in gold when it was above its 12-month moving average, and going to cash when it is below, the results would have been far better than just buying and holding gold.
Ask Not for Whom the Doorbell Tolls. They Won’t Answer It. (WSJ)
There’s no published research about doorbell phobia, but it’s a real thing. In a poll by a Twitter user earlier this month that got more than 11,000 votes, 54% of respondents said “doorbells are scary weird.” Some millennials and Gen Zers say they won’t even consider answering a ring at the door until they’ve checked the security camera.