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Opening Bell: 9.18.17

Why does BNY Mellon get to have all the repo fun?; ladies first when it comes to hedge funds; JPMorgan buys bitcoin as Jamie calls it a fraud; guess which body part this guy got stuck in a gym weight; and more.
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Wall Street’s Trillion-Dollar Monopoly Has Repo Traders on Edge (BBG)
The problem isn’t so much that BNY Mellon might abuse its position in what’s become a highly regulated, utility-like part of the repo market. After all, JPMorgan threw in the towel after post-crisis rules made the business costly and onerous. Instead, traders are worried that relying on a single bank for all clearing and settlement -- which involves checking every transaction is valid, transferring money from one account to another and safeguarding collateral backing each contract -- could mean big trouble if something goes wrong.

Female hedge funds outperform those run by men (FT)
The HFRX Women index, which pulls together the performance of female hedge fund managers, has returned 9.95 per cent for the first seven months of the year. This compares with 4.81 per cent for the HFRI Fund Weighted Composite index, a broader gauge of hedge funds. The strong performance comes despite women being under-represented across the hedge fund and wider asset management industry. It also tallies with previous data that show that hedge funds run by women outperform those run by men over five years.

SAC trader accused of insider trading claims Bharara got it wrong (NYP)
Ex-SAC trader Richard Lee said he was preparing for his October sentencing when he received a copy of an instant message exchange he had with Cohen in 2009 which, he believes, throws the government’s entire case against him into question. [...] The IM, which Lee only received ahead of his sentencing, allegedly shows that he talked with Cohen about the Yahoo/Microsoft merger at 9:13 am on July 10, 2009 — roughly two hours before the feds say he received material, non-public information about the tech deal from a Wall Street analyst.

Global debt may be understated by $13 trillion: BIS (Reuters)
The $13 trillion unaccounted-for exposure exceeds the on-balance-sheet debt of $10.7 trillion that data shows was owed by firms and governments outside the United States at end-March. The fact these FX derivatives do not appear on financial and non-financial institutions’ balance sheets under current accounting rules means little is known about where the debt lies.

Chase Bank Buys Bitcoin Even as Jamie Dimon Rejects It (CoinTelegraph)
Chase Bank CEO Jamie Dimon recently rejected Bitcoin as a ‘fraud,” likely causing additional sell offs after the news of the Chinese exchange ban was released. The financial guru commented that Bitcoin was in a bubble not unlike the famous Tulip bubble during the 17th century. However, in a somewhat surprising move, JP Morgan purchased a large block of Bitcoins just after the CEO’s harsh criticisms. SEE ALSO: Biting Back on Bitcoin, Central Banks Chew Over Introducing Cryptocurrencies

Obama Goes From White House to Wall Street in Less Than One Year (BBG)
Hillary Clinton says she made a mistake when she gave speeches on Wall Street after leaving government. Her old boss doesn’t seem to share her concern. Last month, Barack Obama spoke in New York to clients of Northern Trust for about $400,000, a person familiar with his appearance said. Last week, he reminisced about the White House for Carlyle Group, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, according to two people who were there. Next week, he’ll give a keynote speech at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald's health-care conference.

Shiller: Mass Psychology Supports the Pricey Stock Market (NYT)
Mass psychology appears to be in a different, calmer place. Investors do not seem to have the concern they had in 1929 or 2000 that other investors might suddenly sell their holdings and get out of the stock market.

Investing Hot Shots Can't Time, Either (Gadfly)
Investors who can stick to a measured market-timing strategy may be rewarded. But the next time you hear a billionaire investor calling the next correction, remember that they most likely didn’t get rich by timing the market.

Why Listen to Earnings Calls When Artificial Intelligence Can Do It Better? (II)
After an earnings call, Prattle provides a score, as well as the sentiment of every speaker. Schnidman expects its methodology to be highly accurate based on its experience distilling language used by central banks into quantitative sentiment data that projects policy outcomes. So far Prattle has predicted outcomes from the nuanced language of central bankers with 98 percent accuracy in the year and a half it has offered the service.

Anthony Scaramucci Is Thinking About Running For President! (BuzzFeed)
On Sunday, Scaramucci reaffirmed that he was "back in business." In the correspondence, however, Scaramucci says he is working to expand his media profile to lay the groundwork for a future run for office. For now, Scaramucci has generated some attention on Twitter with "The Scaramucci Post," which appears to be some sort of forthcoming new media project.

How Civilization Started (The New Yorker)
For thousands of years, the agricultural revolution was, for most of the people living through it, a disaster. The fossil record shows that life for agriculturalists was harder than it had been for hunter-gatherers. Their bones show evidence of dietary stress: they were shorter, they were sicker, their mortality rates were higher. Living in close proximity to domesticated animals led to diseases that crossed the species barrier, wreaking havoc in the densely settled communities. Scott calls them not towns but “late-Neolithic multispecies resettlement camps.” Who would choose to live in one of those? Jared Diamond called the Neolithic Revolution “the worst mistake in human history.” The startling thing about this claim is that, among historians of the era, it isn’t very controversial.

Man gets body part stuck in a weight at the gym (Fox32)
Firefighters in Worms, Germany were called in to help free a man who got his body part stuck in the hole of a 5.5 pound weight at a gym. With the help of a grinder and a hydraulic saw, they were able to break the weight into 5 parts, freeing the man's penis. On Friday, the fire department released a photo on Facebook, showing the dumbbell disc broken into 5 pieces after the 3-hour ordeal. The message in their Facebook post was clear: "Bitte solche Aktionen nicht nachmachen!" Translation: "Please do not imitate such actions!"

Related

(Getty Images)

Opening Bell: 8.31.17

BNY Mellon has become the one and only repo man; blockchain is coming to trade settlement, for real; feel-good capitalism is in trouble; man bites bird; and more.

By kloniwotski (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 9.11.17

Goldman wants to conquer U.K. retail; China is done tolerating bitcoin; Jamie Dimon's fondness for D.C. grows; don't shoot guns at the hurricane; and more.

YellenMeteor

Opening Bell: 11.21.17

Yellen out; Wells Fargo's equity analyst bot is batting 0-for-1; maybe corporate private jets are good; Jamie Dimon has complex feelings about the national debt; sky penises; and more.

By mattbuck [CC BY-SA 2.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 8.24.17

Credit default swaps are coming back in style; Social Capital wants to end the IPO as we know it; Buddhist bitcoin; and more.

MickMulvaney

Opening Bell: 11.27.17

CFPB succession drama is becoming a sick, sad joke; bitcoin is going up; Druckenmiller is betting the house on FANG stocks; the Mooch is at it again; and more.

(Getty Images)

Opening Bell: 1.4.18

Morgan Stanley calls a top; Jeremy Grantham calls for a melt-up; Merrill Lynch issues fatwa against bitcoin; and much more

Opening Bell: 04.17.13

BofA Misses Estimates as Mortgage Banking Weighs on Results (Bloomberg) Net income advanced to $2.62 billion, or 20 cents a share, from $653 million, or 3 cents, a year earlier, according to a statement today from the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company. The consensus of 25 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted 23 cents a share. Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan, 53, has sold more than $60 billion in assets, settled more than $40 billion in mortgage claims and repaired the bank’s balance sheet since taking over in 2010. He’s now focused on trimming $8 billion in annual expenses and adding revenue, which dropped 8.4 percent on an adjusted basis to $23.9 billion. BNY Mellon Has Net Loss of $266 Million on Tax Expense (Bloomberg) BNY Mellon had a net loss of $266 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with a profit of $619 million, or 52 cents, a year earlier, the New York-based bank said today in a statement. Earnings were cut by $854 million, or 73 cents, because it wasn’t allowed to take foreign tax credits. Excluding the item, BNY Mellon earned $588 million, or 50 cents a share. Analysts had expected BNY Mellon to report an adjusted profit of 52 cents a share, the average of 22 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. IMF Renews Call To Ease Austerity (WSJ) Seeking to keep a fragile global recovery on track, the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday called on countries that can afford it—including the U.S. and Britain—to slow the pace of their austerity measures. The fund warned that "overly strong" belt-tightening in the U.S. will slow growth this year. Across-the-board government spending cuts, known as the sequester, were the "wrong way" to shrink the budgetdeficit, it said in its semiannual report on economic growth. Bitcoin Investors Hang On For The Ride (WSJ) Norman Vialle, a 53-year-old car dealer in Kansas, invested in his share of winners and losers during the Internet bubble of the 1990s. Now he is clinging to a stash of Bitcoin, even though the fledgling virtual currency has lost about 70% of its value in the past week. "It's volatile because it's new, but it's still a lot higher than it was a month ago," Mr. Vialle says. In addition to investing in the currency, Mr. Vialle recently began accepting bitcoins for payment at Overland Park Jeep Dodge Ram Chrysler. One of his customers is planning to pay for a $40,000 Jeep with the currency next month. Grantham man explains why he has Margaret Thatcher tattooed on his leg (ITV) The unusual design features Baroness Thatcher's head sitting on an ice cream cone. Louis Maier, aged 32, wanted to have the six-inch work of art on his right calf to honour her. Cyprus Finance Minister Sees Gold Sale Within Next Months (Bloomberg) The Cypriot government plans to sell part of its gold reserves within the next months, a decision that needs to be approved by the country’s central bank, Finance Minister Haris Georgiades said. “The exact details of it will be formulated in due course primarily by the board of the central bank,” Georgiades, 41, told Bloomberg TV’s Ryan Chilcote in an interview in Nicosia. “Obviously it’s a big decision.” Gold's Fall Costs Paulson $1.5 Billion This Year (FT) The estimated losses for Mr. Paulson, who has made and lost more money on gold than almost any other hedge fund manager, reflect a bold all-in bet on the precious metal While many investors hold some gold in case of financial calamity or a return of the rampant inflation of the 1970s, since 2009 Mr. Paulson has allowed clients of Paulson & Co to denominate their holdings in gold, rather than US dollars. Mr. Paulson enthusiastically embraced the option, according to people familiar with the situation, and has about 85 percent of his personal capital in the firm linked to the gold price. Gold's Great Unraveling Had a Few Harbingers (WSJ) The gold-price rout began taking shape in the early morning hours Monday, after a sharp Friday selloff in a market that had risen steadily for a decade left traders girding for a downdraft. Some in London began arriving at work Sunday night ahead of the market's Asia opening to prepare for the onslaught, while others arrived as early as 4 a.m. Monday, even though a paucity of traders at this time limits most trading options until about 8 a.m. Forget Gold, the Gourmet-Cupcake Market Is Crashing (WSJ) The craze hit a high mark in June 2011, when Crumbs Bake Shop, a New York-based chain, debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol CRMB. Its creations—4" tall, with fillings such as vanilla custard, caps of butter cream cheese, and decorative flourishes like a whole cookie—can cost $4.50 each. After trading at more than $13 a share in mid-2011, Crumbs has sunk to $1.70. It dropped 34% last Friday, in the wake of Crumbs saying that sales for the full year would be down by 22% from earlier projections, and the stock slipped further this week. Crumbs in part blamed store closures from Hurricane Sandy, but others say the chain is suffering from a larger problem: gourmet-cupcake burnout. "The novelty has worn off," says Kevin Burke, managing partner of Trinity Capital LLC, a Los Angeles investment banking firm that often works in the restaurant industry. Crumbs now has 67 locations, nearly double the number it had less than two years ago. "These are singularly focused concepts," says Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic Inc., a Chicago research and consulting firm that specializes in the food industry. "You're not going to Crumbs every day." "It's a short-term trend and we're starting to see a real saturation," he adds. "Demand is flat. And quite frankly, people can bake cupcakes."

(Getty Images)

Opening Bell: 5.24.17

Moody's downgrades China; Ford's ex-CEO got booted over Trump tantrum; Uber, bitcoin called ponzi schemes; there is a blind baseball announcer; and more.