Opening Bell: 9.5.17

Ray Dalio's Principles make triumphant return; initial coin offerings boosted by Paris Hilton, banned by China; Pope Francis saw a Jewish shrink to "clarify some things"; and more.
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Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio Dives Deeper Into the ‘Principles’ of Tough Love (NYT)
It was a performance review of sorts, and not in a good way. After mentioning his positive attributes, they spelled out the negatives. “Ray sometimes says or does things to employees which makes them feel incompetent, unnecessary, humiliated, overwhelmed, belittled, pressed or otherwise bad,” the memo read. “If he doesn’t manage people well, growth will be stunted and we will all be affected.” To Mr. Dalio, the message was both devastating and a wake-up call. His reaction: “Ugh. That hurt and surprised me.”

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BlackRock Bets on Cross-Selling Blitz (WSJ)
BlackRock has spent much of the past year trying to interest J.P. Morgan, a big trading partner and technology client, in the services of a small business known as Financial Markets Advisory, according to people familiar with the effort. That unit has struggled to match the money it made in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, when it assisted banks with a variety of regulatory and financial headaches.

China Bans Digital Coin Offers as Celebrities Like Paris Hilton Tout Them (WSJ)
Coin offerings this year have raised nearly $1.5 billion, up from $256 million last year. Paris Hilton on Sunday tweeted about a coin offering. Boxer Floyd Mayweather has promoted two separate offerings. Tim Draper, a founder of the Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, has said two of his coin holdings could bring about a “sea change as big as the internet.” SEE ALSO: Bitcoin Tumbles as PBOC Declares Initial Coin Offerings Illegal

Don’t be fooled, the authorities are coming after ICOs (FT Alphaville)
If you’ve been watching the excellent three-part Netflix series ‘Narcos’ on Colombian drug lords in the 80s and 90s, you’ll have learnt by now that when faced with cross-border criminal enterprises of state-undermining proportions, authorities — especially American authorities — have a habit of waiting, watching, collecting evidence and then setting major precedents (usually with the help of ingeniously constructed honey pots). We suspect the free-for-all in ICO issuance will be dealt with no differently.

Finance Geeks Will Love This New Movie About the Tulip Bubble (BBG)
Math is simple. It’s reality, the fundamentals and the underlying supply and demand for whatever’s being traded. The story is where human psychology enters the picture. It’s what causes people to extrapolate wildly, move in herds, and swing from bouts of extreme pessimism to embarrassing optimism. Markets can whipsaw wildly based on story alone, though in the end, raw math eventually wins out. Markets are at their most exciting when the gap between math and story is massive, when humans are fully in the driver’s seat and prices no longer bear any resemblance to reality. With this in mind, a financial bubble is the perfect setting for a romantic drama because, well, love is the other obvious area where the stories we tell and get swept up in can diverge so sharply from actuality.

To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now (NYT)
The $16.60 per hour Ms. Ramos earns as a janitor at Apple works out to about the same in inflation-adjusted terms as what Ms. Evans earned 35 years ago. But that’s where the similarities end. Ms. Evans was a full-time employee of Kodak. She received more than four weeks of paid vacation per year, reimbursement of some tuition costs to go to college part time, and a bonus payment every March. When the facility she cleaned was shut down, the company found another job for her: cutting film.Ms. Ramos is an employee of a contractor that Apple uses to keep its facilities clean. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years, because she can’t afford the lost wages. Going back to school is similarly out of reach. There are certainly no bonuses, nor even a remote possibility of being transferred to some other role at Apple.

Profit rather than culture presents Uber’s biggest hurdle (FT)
Driving people around is a tough business, wherever you are in the value chain. As this becomes clearer, Mr Khosrowshahi must be wondering how long investors, who have sunk more than $15bn into Uber, will keep cutting big cheques. Mutual funds are writing down the value of their stakes already. Uber’s culture and its balance sheet may be reformed less by the choices of its new leader than by pressures from rivals and rationality from investors. It is not clear how much of the business will remain once order has been imposed.

Strategic-Beta Funds Aren't as Distinctive as Advertised (Morningstar)
Strategic-beta funds tend to be more expensive than traditional market-cap-weighted alternatives and are often presented as a better way to invest. But this study suggests that strategic-beta funds aren't as distinctive as advertised. Most of these funds just repackage market risk, along with size and value exposures that simple cap-weighted indexes can offer. This approach can pay off, as a large minority of strategic-beta funds did outperform their replicating portfolios. However, investors shouldn't pay significantly higher fees for these strategies than market-cap-weighted alternatives, which capture the same performance drivers and can replicate most of their returns.

Profit Margins, Bayes’ Theorem, and the Dangers of Overconfidence (Philosophical Economics)
Winning in the investing game isn’t simply about having true prior beliefs about the world. It’s also about efficiently updating those beliefs in response to feedback from reality. The primary mistake that I made in the above scenario was not the mistake of having incorrect prior beliefs about the likely future direction of corporate profit margins–from the perspective of what I knew in 2011, those beliefs were reasonable beliefs to have. Rather, my primary mistake was my failure to properly update those prior beliefs in response to the steady stream of disconfirmation that kept coming in.

Trump’s team and lawmakers making strides on tax reform plan (Politico)
One idea quietly being discussed would be taxing the money that workers place into their 401(k) savings plans up front: an idea that would raise billions of dollars in the short-term and is pulled from the Camp plan. This policy idea is widely disliked by budget hawks, who consider it a gimmick; the financial services industry that handles retirement savings; and nonprofits that try to encourage Americans to save.

Pope Francis saw a Jewish psychoanalyst to ‘clarify some things’ (NYP)
La Stampa, an Italian daily, quoting from some of the conversations Friday, said Francis went to the analyst’s home. Francis was quoted as saying: “One day, when she was about to die, she called me. Not to receive the sacraments, since she was Jewish, but for a spiritual dialogue [...] She was a good person. For six months she helped me a lot,” Francis said.

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Opening Bell: 1.18.17

Ray Dalio frightened by populism; Goldman bored by ‘reflation’; politician emboldened by death of political correctness; and more.

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Opening Bell: 11.7.17

Ray Dalio's number-two is reportedly kinda handsy; Forbes says Wilbur Ross lied to them about being a billionaire for years; Dick Fuld is back, baby; Bjork wants to give you cryptocurrency; and more.

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Opening Bell: 7.27.17

As of 7:55 a.m., Anthony Scaramucci is having a pretty rough day; Deutsche Bank whiffs; Libor going bye-bye; Ray Dalio poetry; and more.

Opening Bell: 2.18.16

Bank stock-rout hits bonuses; Derek Jeter invests in whistleblower app; Ray Dalio says expect lower returns, higher risk; Hookers 4 Hillary Offers 'Extras' To Nevada Clinton Supporters; and more.

Opening Bell: 09.13.12

Ray Dalio: US Economy Out Of Intensive Care (Reuters) Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio said the U.S economy had come out of the "intensive care unit," but he warned against any quick move to "austerity" budget measures. "We were in the intensive care unit," Dalio, who runs the $120 billion hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, told more than 200 guests at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York on Wednesday. "We are largely healed and largely operating in a manner that is sustainable if we don't hit an air pocket." Dalio said a major challenge for U.S. politicians will be dealing with the so-called "fiscal cliff," the year-end expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and previously agreed-upon cuts in defense spending and social programs, a combination which some economists say could lead to a recession. Dalio sided with economists who worry that a sharp reduction in government spending could lead the United States back into recession. "We can't just worry about too much debt," Dalio said. "We have to worry about too much austerity." German Court Clears Rescue Fund (WSJ) Germany's highest court cautiously approved the creation of the euro zone's permanent bailout facility, but insisted that the country keep its effective veto on all of the vehicle's decisions, a ruling that removes a question mark over two crucial elements of the euro zone's plans for mastering its debt crisis. Treasury Backs Plan For Standard Chartered Settlement (NYT) The lawyers approved a potential prepayment amount this week, a crucial step to a final agreement, though it will be much smaller than the $340 million the bank had to pay to New York State’s top banking regulator in a related case, according to three officials with direct knowledge of the settlement talks. The differing penalties stem from determinations by federal authorities and Manhattan prosecutors that the bank’s suspected wrongdoing was much less extensive than the state banking regulator’s claims that Standard Chartered had schemed with Iran to hide from regulators 60,000 transactions worth $250 billion over a decade. Insiders Get Post IPO Pass (WSJ) Wall Street underwriters increasingly are allowing corporate insiders to sidestep agreements that prevent them from quickly selling shares after initial public offerings. In the latest instance, several Wall Street banks on Wednesday allowed early investors and management of ExactTarget Inc. to sell more than seven million shares of the online marketing company a week ahead of the planned end of a "lockup" agreement. Under lockup pacts, underwriters bar company insiders from selling their shares, usually for 180 days after an IPO. The lockup restricts the supply of shares, helping buoy IPO prices; releasing more shares on the market can keep a lid on stock prices. Anna Gristina sits down with TV shrink Dr. Phil, says she won't talk to prosecutors about associate (NYDN) The Soccer Mom Madam's little black book has been whittled down to a single name. In her first major interview since being released from Rikers Island in June, Anna Gristina dishes to TV talk show shrink Dr. Phil about how prosecutors have hounded her for dirt on a just one associate. “They have an agenda to get me to talk about a certain person,” she told the daytime doc. Gristina refused to reveal the mystery man, or woman. Oprah's former head-shrink sidekick, who sat down at the kitchen table in Gristina's Monroe, N.Y. farmhouse, asked why the accused flesh-peddler didn't just save herself and give prosecutors the information they want. “I have a deep sense of loyalty and I'm Scottish." Gristina denied the criminal allegations during the teary interview, maintaining she was developing an online dating site where married men could meet single women. Whistleblower Key To Buyout Probe (WSJ) New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's probe of tax practices at private-equity firms is based on information from a whistleblower, according to a person familiar with the matter. The information came from someone who approached Mr. Schneiderman's office between roughly nine months and a year ago, this person said. Under the state's False Claims Act, the attorney general can investigate alleged fraud against the state basedon a whistleblower's allegations. The ongoing probe is examining whether partners at private-equity firms changed management fees into investment income to delay tax payment and pay less—or avoid taxes altogether. Some private-equity firms use so-called management-fee conversions, while other firms avoid them. Wall Street Hopes for Romney, but Expects Obama to Win (CNBC) In an unscientific poll, 46 percent of respondents to the September CNBC Fed Survey said they expect President Obama to win reelection. Only 24 percent believe Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney will get the job. Longtime Madoff Employee To Plead Guilty (Reuters) Irwin Lipkin, a former controller of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, will appear in Manhattan federal court on Th ursday, prosecutors said in a letter to the judge. He will plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and falsifying documents, prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in the letter. Suspect pulls gun on victim while having sex in a moving car (WNN) The incident began Sep. 2 when the victim and his two friends went to the Paddy Wagon Irish Pub in Port Charlotte. When the bar closed early Monday morning they invited two girls they met to one of the friend’s home on Atlas Street. One of the women and the victim went into a bedroom to have sex. The girl said she needed $250, which he said he didn’t have. She asked how much he had and he gave her $120. The victim then went to the bathroom and when he returned, found the two women had left the home. The victim had obtained the woman’s cell phone number earlier at the bar and called her; they agreed to meet at the Pick N Run store on Peachland Boulevard. When he got there he expected to meet the woman who took the $120. Instead, Linscott walked up to his Nissan Sentra and said the other girl ditched her. Linscott got into his car and as they drove off, he said she began touching him and having sex while he was driving. The victim told detectives she also said she needed money and he told her he already gave her friend $120 earlier. The victim said Linscott then put a .357 Taurus revolver to his head and demanded money. The victim grabbed the gun and a fight ensued in the moving car; he said he punched her in the head so she would release the gun. He told detectives he was in fear of his life and lost control of his car, struck a palm tree, went airborne and then ran across two front yards in the 1200 block of Dewhurst Street.

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Opening Bell: 10.24.17

Mark Johnson ruins it for the rest of the forex world; Klarman has Baupost at 40 percent cash; Ray Dalio is talking wealth transfers; Amazon but for weed; and more.

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Opening Bell: 7.26.17

Gary Cohn might finally get that Fed chair he always wanted; bankers are quitting in search of digital coin riches; here's one way to tip your Uber driver; and more.