Opening Bell: 9.22.17

Goldman is slipping in the I-banking rankings; ETF market effects provide opportunities for active managers; Jamie Dimon still hates bitcoin; Netflix is leading our children into sin; and more.
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Goldman Sachs slumps to its worst ever position in IB ranking (FT)
For the first half of 2017, Goldman came joint third in the rankings compiled by industry monitor Coalition, which is based on revenue for advising on deals and fundraisings as well as selling bonds and shares on behalf of clients. Goldman’s investment bank revenue is now on a par with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and behind JPMorgan and Citigroup, which came first and second respectively. It is the first time Goldman has been ranked lower than second since the rankings began in 2007.

Goldman.JustAddButter

Facebook to Turn Over Russian-Linked Ads to Congress (NYT)
“I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity,” Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said during an appearance on Facebook Live, the company’s video service. He added that he did not want anyone “to use our tools to undermine democracy...That’s not what we stand for.”

SEC Hack Threatens a Bedrock of U.S. Capitalism: Transparency (BBG)
If such breaches continue, or if the SEC is too underfunded or outgunned to fix them, it could undermine company and investor confidence in the agency. That might threaten the regulator’s ability to provide a bedrock principle of the U.S. financial system: market transparency.

Wall Street’s Newest Puzzle: What Passive Buying and Selling Means for Individual Stocks (WSJ)
Roughly $9 billion poured into more than two dozen financial-stock ETFs in the month following the election, according to Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. Melissa Roberts and Pell Bermingham, quantitative analysts at the firm, found that ETF flows had a meaningful impact both on the daily trading volumes and performance of certain financial-sector stocks. Shares of companies included in financial ETFs rose by a median 19.4% over the period, compared with 14.2% for financial stocks not in these ETFs.

Jamie Dimon lays into bitcoin again, says it’s ‘worth nothing’ (CNBC)
"Right now these crypto things are kind of a novelty. People think they're kind of neat. But the bigger they get, the more governments are going to close them down," Dimon said during an interview with CNBC-TV18 in New Delhi, India, on Friday. "It's creating something out of nothing that to me is worth nothing," he said. "It will end badly."

Investors ride more than one cab with stakes in Uber and rivals (FT)
Hillhouse, the Chinese investment fund, is invested in Uber, Didi and Grab, which is locked in a fierce price war with Uber in Southeast Asia. Tiger Global, the hedge fund, has stakes in five car-booking companies, including Uber and its rivals Ola and Grab. Sometimes, these crossholdings can cause unexpected overlaps. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which made headlines last year by investing $3.5bn in Uber, is one of the biggest backers of the SoftBank Vision Fund; the PIF’s chief executive Yasir Al Rumayyan sits on the boards of Uber and SoftBank. ALSO: Uber stripped of its license to operate in London

Let’s Throw Some Keynesian Bombs (PragCap)
It seems like the problem isn’t just that government officials misunderstand Keynesian economics, but economists seem to misunderstand it as well. And while Keynes would have perfectly understood this environment it seems like a lot people use his name to scare the world about government insolvency in a world where the insolvency and inflation never arrives and growth underperforms…..And so here we are muddling along.

The NFL Should Legalize Holding (Deadspin)
So here is what happens if you legalize holding. First of all, you get more downfield offense. All those dinky short passes that everyone hates that artificially inflate completion percentages? Gone. College football is just as evil as the NFL and has far longer games, and yet no one gives them much shit for it because college offenses MOVE. Secondly, you protect quarterbacks better, therefore making them better as well. Third, you reduce penalties. Last of all, you make the game somewhat almost a little bit safer for those poor linemen, because what was once a battle of collisions along the line of scrimmage is now more about close-in grappling instead.

Netflix Pulls Children’s-Show Episode for Inappropriate Drawing (It Was a Penis) (Vulture)
Maya the Bee is an animated children’s show about a talking bee named Maya and her adventures with various other anthropomorphic insects, mostly bees. It’s also, according to some very concerned parents, a filthy, filthy peddler of smut. Although the series has been out since 2012, Variety reports that one mother named Chey Robinson spotted something recently in season one, episode 35. And that something is a very faint line drawing of a penis on a log … in the background … for about half a second.

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Goldman.JustAddButter

Opening Bell: 8.30.17

Goldman Sachs wants to boost trading by tearing down Chinese walls; Warren Buffett leans into BofA stake; map app tries to kill biker by sending him into Lincoln Tunnel; 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.

Opening Bell: 03.05.12

Greek Bond Swap Deal Rests on Knife Edge (FT) People close to some bondholders warned other investors to take seriously threats by policymakers that if the deal fails Greece will default on its debt. “Some investors seem to think they will be rescued. That just isn’t the case,” one said. People involved in the deal denied that there was any nervousness about the outcome but nobody was willing to guess how high the participation rate would be. Slim Beats Gates in First Daily Billionaire Ranking (Bloomberg) If you like obsessively measuring your penis you'll love this: Carlos Slim, the telecommunications tycoon who controls Mexico’s America Movil SAB, is the richest person on Earth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 20 wealthiest individuals...The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world’s wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York. The valuations are listed in U.S. dollars. Zuckerberg Doesn’t Rank on Billionaire Index (Bloomberg) Sad trombone: At the time of the offering, Zuckerberg is likely to sell about $1.75 billion of Facebook stock to pay off the tax obligation he will incur when he exercises options to buy 120 million shares. The combined transactions will dilute Zuckerberg’s stake from 28.4 percent to about 21 percent. If the company maintains its projected $100 billion valuation, that would make Zuckerberg worth about $21 billion, less than the $28.4 billion implied by his stated ownership. At that net worth, Zuckerberg isn’t rich enough to qualify for the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a new daily ranking of the world’s 20 richest people. The 20th spot is currently occupied by L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. AIG to Sell $6 Billion In Asian Insurer's Stock (WSJ) American International Group Inc. kicked off a $6 billion sale of shares in Asian life insurer AIA Group Ltd. on Monday morning in Hong Kong, moving forward with plans to repay another chunk of its 2008 U.S. bailout. AIG said the shares will be placed with institutional investors and expects them to be priced by Tuesday. The 1.7 billion shares up for sale represent around 14% of AIA, less than half the 32.9% stake AIG holds, according to a term sheet. Proceeds from this week's sale have been earmarked to repay the U.S. government, which rescued AIG from near collapse during the financial crisis with a record $182.3 billion bailout that has been partially repaid. The Treasury Department still has to recoup about $50 billion in taxpayer funds, and about $8.4 billion of that amount will be repaid when AIG sells the AIA shares and other assets, including its airplane-leasing subsidiary. The rest of the money—roughly $42 billion—is supposed to come from the government's sale of its 77% stake in AIG. Lenders Stress Over Test Results (WSJ) The 19 biggest U.S. banks in January submitted reams of data in response to regulators' questions, outlining how they would perform in a severe downturn. Now, citing competitive concerns, bankers are pressing the Fed to limit its release of information—expected as early as next week—to what was published after the first test of big banks in 2009. JFK Airport search of drug mule who said she was three months pregnant reveals she carried $20,000 worth of heroin (NYDN) Awoyemi, coming off an Air France flight from Paris to New York and wearing a “loose-fitting dress” was asked whether she was pregnant, and the woman replied that she was three months along, Homeland Security special agent John Moloney stated in a complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court. The customs inspector noted that Awoyemi appeared nervous, so she was selected for a pat-down search. After feeling a “bulge” in Awoyemi’s groin area, the situation escalated to a partial strip-search, according to the complaint. When she dropped her drawers, Awoyemi’s scheme fell apart. Pellets containing brown powder began dropping from her groin area — and the substance tested positive for heroin. Awoyemi was taken to a medical facility at the airport, where the federal cops administered a pregnancy test that came back negative. An X-ray showed more pellets in her intestinal tract, and by the end of the day she had passed about 25 pellets of heroin in a special commode that Customs officials have dubbed the “Drug Loo.” The high-tech toilet sanitizes the incriminating evidence. More On The Morgan Stanley Executive Charged in Cab Hate Crime Attack (Bloomberg) Jennings left a bank holiday party sometime before 11 p.m. and headed to the street, where he was supposed to be met by a car service, Jennings said. He hailed Ammar’s cab after the livery car didn’t appear, according to the report. Ammar said Jennings agreed on the fare and told him he would pay cash. Jennings fell asleep during the trip, the driver said. Once at the destination, though, Jennings said “he did not feel like paying” because he was already home, Ammar told police...When Ammar threatened to call the local police, Jennings said they wouldn’t do anything to help because he pays $10,000 in taxes, according to a report by the Darien police department...The Morgan Stanley executive told police he was afraid to come forward after the incident because the cab driver knew where he lived. He then went on vacation to Florida, police said. Jennings told officers he subsequently called his lawyer after a friend told him police were looking for a suspect in the stabbing incident, according to the report. JPMorgan Star To Launch Own Hedge Fund (FT) London-based Mike Stewart, JPMorgan’s global head of proprietary trading, and former head of emerging markets, is set to start his own new hedge fund, Whard Stewart, in the second quarter, people familiar with his plans said. Mr Stewart’s emerging markets trading team at the bank is expected to join him. The departures come despite word last week that US regulators will probably delay implementation of the so-called “Volcker rule” , under which banks are in effect banned from proprietary trading. Friends With Benefits (NYP) Unlike his fallen pal Raj Rajaratnam, former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta appears to have no shortage of character witnesses willing to testify at his upcoming insider trading trial. Indeed, dozens of well-heeled supporters are already putting their names on the line for the former consulting titan, including world-renowned speaker Deepak Chopra and Mukesh Ambani, the ninth-richest man in the world. “I have never seen him ask for anything for himself, always for the greater good,” Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries, said recently on a little-noticed website called friendsofrajat.com. Cigarettes: The Most Stable International Currency (BusinessWeek) Cartons of Good Cat brand cigarettes are selling for as much as RMB5,600 (US$890) per carton in the city of Xi’an, in Shaanxi Province. The suspicion, according to reports this week, is that they are being used to bribe officials. Election Year Poses Challenge For Stocks (WSJ) The Dow is off to its best start to a year since 1998. But if history is a guide, this exuberance soon could give way to the first pangs of electoral anxiety. In a typical presidential-election year, stocks start well but slip into a funk by spring, according to Ned Davis Research, which has measured election-year trends back to 1900. At least in part, the slump reflects the electoral unknowns, Ned Davis has concluded. In a good year, investors deal with their jitters by late summer or early autumn and stocks recover. People get more comfortable with the November election outlook and put money back into stocks. This year, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 6.2% in just over two months, many investors and analysts expect a pullback soon. The looming election adds to ambient uncertainty about European debt and U.S. and Chinese growth prospects. Tony Welch, an analyst at Ned Davis Research, says the Dow could pull back 5% or 6% in the coming weeks. "We think the election-year trend could be strong this year," Mr. Welch says. "The market prefers certainty. It doesn't like unknowns." Ochocinco was urinated on by a lion and lived to tweet the tale (YS) The New England Patriots receiver was at a charity event in Miami on Saturday night when he ran into the caged animal. According to Ochocinco's Twitter account, the king of the jungle proceeded to become the urine sprayer at the party. Tweets included: "Swear to lil 10 pound bearded baby Jesus I just got peed on by a real "Lion" I'm not lying either. And y'all wonder why I don't go out!!!!!," "It's not funny i have on my good church clothes," and "I wasn't that close, he sprayed like a water gun."

BankerEntourage

Opening Bell: 12.12.16

Wall Street enjoys the Trump Effect; Bezos might crash Trump tech meetup; Uber begs riders not to have sex; and more.

Cryan.CalmDown

Opening Bell: 7.25.17

John Cryan opens up (kind of); Goldman bids adieu to ETF market making; Wisconsin company literally getting under employees' skin; and more.

ackman3

Opening Bell: 2.22.17

Ackman's latest letdown; hedge funds' love-hate relationship with Snap; Jenna Jameson's odd career turn; and more.

larry-fink-goth

Opening Bell: 4.18.17

Larry Fink does not "identify as powerful"; ETFs are taking over Canada; apparently Navy SEALs can't do porn; and more.

(Getty Images)

Opening Bell: 2.28.17

Masayoshi Son invests because the Singularity is nigh; an ETF for homophobes; peeping tom drone strikes NYC apartment; and more.