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Opening Bell: 10.16.17

The stock market is crazy, if you haven't heard; Jim Grant performs ritual apology on live TV for Dalio; millennials mentor CEOs; woman trades her car for a packet of McDonald's sauce; and more.

A ‘Crazy’ Stock Market Is Punishing Sellers (Businessweek)
At Credit Suisse Group AG’s prime brokerage desk in midtown Manhattan, the phone hardly seems to ring anymore. Its hedge fund clients don’t call about Donald Trump’s tweetstorms and the stock market or ask what to do when terrorists attack. And there was barely a whiff of panic when North Korea erupted in August. “Two rockets flew over the land mass of Japan and nothing happened,” says Mark Connors, Credit Suisse’s global head of risk advisory. “There were no calls. That’s absolutely crazy.”

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The Mystery Of Wilbur Ross' Missing Billions (Forbes)
Between the November election and January inauguration, Ross had quietly moved a chunk of assets into trusts for his family members, leaving more than $2 billion off of his financial disclosure report—and therefore out of the public eye. Ross revealed the existence of those assets, and the timing of the transfer, when Forbes asked why his financial disclosure form listed fewer assets than he had previously told the magazine he owned. The hidden assets raise questions about whether the Secretary of Commerce violated federal rules and whether his family owns billions in holdings that could create the appearance of conflicts of interest.

The Crash of '87, From the Wall Street Players Who Lived It (BBG)
LEWIS: It makes everybody uncomfortable when something dramatic happens with prices, and no drama in the world could explain such movement. It makes the market seem absurd. And so that was the feeling. To me it was like, Corporate America is not worth whatever percent less today than yesterday.
MARKS: People think that if stocks went down 20 percent in a day, it must be the end of the world. That is, they impute intelligence to the market—and that’s a mistake.

Jim Grant says he was wrong to imply something suspicious was going on at Bridgewater (CNBC)
"We were wrong to question the relationship between the auditor and Bridgewater," Grant said. "Bridgewater is a secretive and eccentric firm and I let my suspicions of that get in the way of our ordinarily comprehensive due diligence." ... "Our failure to get the facts ... It pains me greatly," he added. "I ought to know better."

Everyone’s Fed Up With GE’s Accounting Tricks (BBG)
Last quarter, GE reported earnings of 28 cents a share. Also 13 cents a share, 19 cents a share and 15 cents a share -- all at the same time. The numbers represent profit that includes or excludes certain items, such as pension costs and discontinued operations. While most big U.S. companies release adjusted earnings that deviate from generally accepted accounting principles, GE stands out for the sheer head-scratching complexity of its quarterly reports. It’s one of only 21 S&P 500 companies that release more than one adjusted EPS figure.

Executive Mentors Wanted. Only Millennials Need Apply. (NYT)
Companies like Mastercard, Cisco Systems and Mars Inc. have experimented with these mentoring programs. Inga Beale, 54, the chief executive of the insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London, has said that her junior mentor, who is 19, has a “totally different perspective” and leaves her “inspired.” Melanie Whelan, 40, the chief executive of SoulCycle, holds monthly meetings with her younger mentor, whom she has credited with helping her get ��hip with what the kids are doing these days.”

The Coming Renaissance of Macro Investing (Barron's)
Recent developments in technology and geopolitics, however, have already ignited a process to bring an end to the financial system predicated on petrodollars, which will have a profound impact on global financial markets. The 40-year equilibrium of this system is being dismantled by the exponential growth of technology, which will have a bearish impact on both supply and demand of petroleum. Moreover, the system no longer is in the best interest of key participants in the global oil trade. These developments have begun to exert influence on financial markets and will only grow over time. The upheaval of the petrodollar recycling system will trigger a resurgence of volatility and new price trends, which will lead to a renaissance in macro investing.

First Evidence That Online Dating Is Changing the Nature of Society (Technology Review)
Loose ties have traditionally played a key role in meeting partners. While most people were unlikely to date one of their best friends, they were highly likely to date a friend of a friend, for example. In the language of network theory, dating partners were embedded in each other’s networks. This has long been reflected in surveys of the way people meet their partners: through mutual friends, in bars, at work, in educational institutions, and so on. Online dating has changed that. Today, online dating is the second most common way for heterosexual couples to meet. For homosexual couples, it is far and away the most popular.

Peak Zuckerberg: There’s a new digital magazine coming that only analyzes photos of Mark Zuckerberg (Recode)
Hwang posted a call for entrees in July, and says he’s received between 60 and 70 submissions for the magazine, which will publish the best half dozen or so essays in early November. Some of the submissions focused on images you may have seen: young Zuckerberg sitting at a picnic table in front of a Stanford frat party; Zuckerberg strolling past the virtual reality army he’s helped create; Zuckerberg sweating profusely onstage at the D Conference in 2010.

Woman Trades Packet Of McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce For New Car (HuffPo)
The 23-year-old graphic designer is a huge fan of “Rick And Morty,” which featured the condiment as a key plot device in the Season 3 premiere, which aired in April. In the episode, series lead Rick Sanchez declares it his life mission to get the sauce, which was made in 1998 to promote the Disney animated feature “Mulan.” Since then, fans have craved the sauce ― including Marie. “When McDonald’s said they were bringing it back, I thought it would be cool to get a sauce,” she told HuffPost.

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Opening Bell: 6.22.16

Puerto Rico vs bondholders; Brexit, Brexit, Brexit; Man creates smoothie made of McDonald's burgers; and more.

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Opening Bell: 5.12.17

Millennial investors are ditching Snap; J. Peterman from Seinfeld is hawking a questionable IPO; the lengths we go for beer; and more.

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Opening Bell: 3.22.17

JPMorgan still top dog; Doug Kass says short banks; fake strongmen "Chop" and "Steele" pump up morning TV; and more.

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Opening Bell: 3.13.17

Buying Snap stock is a millennial lifestyle choice; TD Bank gets Wells Fargo treatment; radioactive boars plague Japan; and more.

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Opening Bell: 3.23.17

How to fool the Securities and Exchange Commission; how to short Uber; how to air porn on a fundamentalist Islamic TV station; and more.

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Opening Bell: 8.29.17

Gary Cohn pulls a Leona Helmsley; hedge funds are gorging on bespoke data; Yale owns a forest; millennials are taking their toll on doorbells; and more.

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Opening Bell: 1.9.17

Inside the feds's pursuit of Steve Cohen; Goldman Sachs is tackling fake news; Alexa is listening to your TV; and more.

Opening Bell: 03.08.13

Stress Tests Show Banks On The Mend (WSJ) The central bank said 17 of the 18 largest U.S. banks have enough capital to keep lending in a hypothetical sharp economic downturn, a sign the financial system is better prepared to weather a shock without resorting to a large, 2008-style infusion of government support. But the "stress test" figures released Thursday also showed that the Fed is paying special attention to the capital strength of companies with large trading operations, a group that includes Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan. That scrutiny could make it harder for those firms to win regulatory approval to increase dividends and buybacks, and could bruise the companies' recovering reputations with investors. Shares of Goldman and J.P. Morgan have been trading at their highest levels in a year, but both companies dropped more than 1% in after-hours trading following the Fed release. Citi Bests Stress Tests, Discloses Buyback Plan (CNBC) Where stress tests are concerned, call Citigroup "most improved." The bank posted an 8.3 percent tier 1 common capital ratio - the highest of its peers - under the Federal Reserve's annual stress tests. Unemployment Falls To 7.7% (WSJ) U.S. job growth jumped ahead in February, a sign of a steadily improving labor market and stronger economic gains. Employers added 236,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate, obtained by a separate survey of U.S. households, fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 7.7%, the lowest level since the end of 2008. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast that nonfarm payrolls would rise by 160,000 and the unemployment rate would fall to 7.8%. Chanos Has Ackman's Back On Herbalife Bet (NYP) Famed short seller Jim Chanos yesterday voiced his support for Ackman’s short position — and revealed he made money from shorting the Los Angeles-based company last year. “I think Bill Ackman is correct in his analysis” of Herbalife, Chanos said in a TV interview. “I’m not crazy for this multi-level-marketing business,” Chanos added...Chanos said on CNBC yesterday morning that he had shorted Herbalife last year, when it was around $50 — but got out when the price fell by half after Ackman went public with his short bet. Firms Send Record Cash Back To Investors (WSJ) Companies in the S&P 500 index are expected to pay at least $300 billion in dividends in 2013, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices, which would top last year's $282 billion. Goldman Symbol Gets More Elusive (WSJ) Upending a closely watched ritual in place since 1996, the New York securities firm told employees Thursday it now plans to promote a new crop of managing directors every two years, instead of each year. The change will start with the group selected later this year. The coveted title, which comes with a base salary of $500,000, elevates the chosen few at Goldman one step closer to the even higher rank of partner. In the memo, Goldman Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd C. Blankfein and President and Chief Operating Officer Gary D. Cohn said the move would help the firm devote more time to the selection process. "A biennial process will allow us to invest more in the managing director selection process so that it will continue to be a disciplined and rigorous exercise," they wrote. "This will help to ensure that the managing director title remains as aspirational as it should be for our top performers." Hooters Is Chasing Women — as Customers (CNBC) The chain's waitresses are as buxom as ever but its sales have "flattened out," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at research firm Technomic. Revenue peaked in 2007 at nearly $1 billion but had fallen to around $850 million last year, he estimated. (The privately-held company doesn't release sales figures.) The brand recently announced an overhaul aimed at making Hooters more mainstream than man-cave, adding more salads to its menu, remodeling stores and rolling out a series of ads last week to tout the changes. Icahn Bid Rattles Dell Plan (WSJ) Activist investor Carl Icahn said he would push to replace Dell's board and pursue "years of litigation" if the computer maker refused to accept his demand for a refinancing that would pay a hefty dividend to shareholders. Prodding the company to reject a $24.4 billion buyout offer that it agreed to last month and endorse his alternative, Mr. Icahn disclosed he owns a "substantial" stake in Dell and unleashed his trademark attack on directors and on the management-backed offer. "We see no reason that the future value of Dell should not accrue to all the existing Dell shareholders," Mr. Icahn wrote to a Dell special board committee, insisting it agree to his conditions or hold a vote for a replacement board that would. Ferrari $1.3 Million Hybrid Hits Resurgent Luxury Market (Bloomberg) At the Geneva Motor Show this week, Ferrari showed a 1 million-euro ($1.3 million)hybrid called LaFerrari. Bentley exhibited a revamped four-door Continental Flying Spur. Jaguar debuted the XFR-S, its fastest sedan ever. Rolls-Royce is adding a 245,000-euro coupe called the Wraith to its lineup. Companies Expand Offshore Cash Hoard By $183 Billion (Bloomberg) Microsoft, Apple, And Google each added to their non-U.S. holdings by more than 34 percent as they reaped the benefits of past maneuvers to earn and park profits in low- tax countries. Combined, those three companies alone plan to keep $134.5 billion outside the U.S. government’s reach, more than double the $59.3 billion they held two years earlier. Broker who managed money for NFL players bootled from securities industry after big loss (NYP) A Florida broker who managed money for dozens of prominent National Football League players — includingSantana Moss and Plaxico Burress — has been banned from the securities industry after putting the group into a high-risk investment that lost them a total of $40 million. Jeff Rubin, 38, directed some 31 NFL players into an illegal gambling operation in Alabama — which went bust two years later, a Wall Street regulator said yesterday. One of the players, Samari Toure Rolle, a former cornerback with the Baltimore Ravens, lost $3.2 million, the bulk of his liquid assets, to Rubin, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which imposed the ban.