Opening Bell: 9.29.17

Elon Musk wants to be Rocket Man; Roku IPO goes vertical; the Trump Trade is back; Thomas the Tank Engine is a cruel, repressive nightmare; and more.
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Elon Musk’s Mars Vision: A One-Size-Fits-All Rocket. A Very Big One. (NYT)
The same spaceship could also land on the moon. “It’s 2017,” he said. “We should have a lunar base by now.” Even on Earth, the rockets, traveling at up to 18,000 miles per hour, could make long-distance trips short — New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes, for example. Any two points on Earth would be less than an hour apart, Mr. Musk said.

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Tesla Is 'Structurally Unprofitable,' Chanos Says (BBG)
“Three years ago, this company was supposed to be making money now,” Chanos, who’s betting against Tesla shares, said in an interview Thursday on Bloomberg Television. “Now it’s supposed to be making money by 2020. And I’m guessing by 2019, we’ll hear about 2025.”

Dow Deja Vu: ‘Trump Trade’ Regains Favor (WSJ)
In a throwback to the early days after President Donald Trump was elected, shares of U.S. banks and industrial companies are climbing and small-capitalization stocks are in record territory, while Treasury bonds and their stock-market proxies have fallen out of favor. The U.S. dollar, beaten down for much of 2017, is rebounding.

After booming IPO, Roku says streaming boxes aren’t the future (MarketWatch)
Roku made its debut Thursday after raking in at least $219 million in an initial public offering that valued the company at roughly $1.3 billion, and shares zoomed nearly 68% higher than the $14 IPO price to close at $23.50. The blockbuster first-day performance suggests investors have taken to the company even after it failed to raise private capital at a $1.5 billion valuation earlier this year.

Chaos and hackers stalk investors on cryptocurrency exchanges (Reuters Investigates)
One of the criteria traders say they use to select an exchange is trading volume. From about early 2014 until late January this year, Chinese exchanges accounted for about 90 percent of global bitcoin trading volume. Some of that high volume occurred because traders were attracted by the fact that these exchanges at that time charged no transaction fees. But some of the volume was fake, six former employees at two Chinese exchanges told Reuters. Artificially pumped-up volumes in China could have affected the often volatile price of bitcoin, because investors elsewhere monitor and respond to the activity.

SEC Chairman Froze Agency’s Approval of Chicago Stock Exchange Sale (WSJ)
SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, who has been under pressure from lawmakers from both parties to block the deal, put a hold on his staff’s plan to approve the $20 million sale on Aug. 9, the day it was presented to him, these people said. The chairman’s move to halt the approval was a rare case of commissioners blocking their staff’s decision. Mr. Clayton, a Trump appointee who took over the independent agency in May, was caught off guard by the move to approve the deal, the people familiar with the matter said.

Puerto Rico Rejects Loan Offers, Accusing Hedge Funds Of Trying To Profit Off Hurricanes (The Intercept)
The PREPA Bondholder Group made the offer on Wednesday, which included $1 billion in new loans, and a swap of $1 billion in existing bonds for another $850 million bond. These new bonds would have jumped to the front of the line for repayment, and between that increased value and interest payments after the first two years, the bondholders would have likely come out ahead on the deal, despite a nominal $150 million in debt relief. Indeed, the offer was worse in terms of debt relief than one the bondholder group made in April, well before hurricanes destroyed much of the island’s critical infrastructure.

American Airlines CEO: 'I don't think we're ever going to lose money again' (CNBC)
"The old world was darkness, but now it's light," he said. "I know I sound like an evangelist talking about this."

Millionaire Trump Adviser Says Americans Can ‘Buy A New Car’ With $1,000 Tax Cut (HuffPo)
“If we allow a family to keep another thousand dollars of their income, what does that mean?” Cohn asked. “They can renovate their kitchen. They can buy a new car. They can take a family vacation. They can increase their lifestyle.”

The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” (New Yorker)
In one episode, a double-decker bus named Bulgy comes to the station and talks about revolution—“Free the roads from railway tyranny!” he cries. He is quickly labelled a “scarlet deceiver,” trapped under a bridge, and turned into a henhouse. A recurring storyline involves the “troublesome trucks,” which are disciplined into fearful obedience through public, symbolic punishments. Their leader, S. C. Ruffey, is pulled in two different directions until he breaks into pieces. In another episode, a “spiteful” brake van is crushed into bits.

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