Opening Bell: 10.26.17

Elon Musk can't predict the future too well; neither can Morningstar; Bill Ackman will gorge himself on Chipotle till the stock reacts; German parents attempt to name kid "Lucifer;" and more.
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Elon Musk Was Wrong About Self-Driving Teslas (BBG)
When Musk was asked in January at what point Full Self Driving features would noticeably depart from Enhanced Autopilot features, he replied, via Twitter, “3 months maybe, 6 months definitely.” Nine months later, it has yet to happen. A Tesla spokesperson said last week that “while it’s taken longer than we originally expected to roll out all Enhanced Autopilot features, the feature already provides significant assistance to drivers,” and added that the company is making “rapid progress” on new updates.

CyborgElon

Uber Faces Engineers' Lawsuit Alleging Gender, Race Bias (BBG)
Uber uses a “stack ranking” system for evaluating employees, which requires supervisors to rank them from worst to best and results in inaccurate and subjective decisions about their performance, according to the complaint. “Female employees and employees of color are systematically undervalued compared to their male and white or Asian American peers because female employees and employees of color receive, on average, lower rankings despite equal or better performance,” according to the complaint.

The Morningstar Mirage (WSJ)
The Wall Street Journal tested Morningstar’s ratings by examining the performance of thousands of funds dating back to 2003, shortly after the company began its current system. Funds that earned high star ratings attracted the vast majority of investor dollars. Most of them failed to perform. Of funds awarded a coveted five-star overall rating, only 12% did well enough over the next five years to earn a top rating for that period; 10% performed so poorly they were branded with a rock-bottom one-star rating.

Ackman: All directors, shareholders 'disappointed' by Chipotle slide (Reuters) Ackman signaled that he was not worried about the safety of Chipotle’s burritos, tacos and salads, noting that he had eaten lunch at the chain on Wednesday. “The entire investment team is going to be eating Chipotle until the stock price is back at $500,” he joked.

The Wonder Drug for Aging (Made From One of the Deadliest Toxins on Earth) (Businessweek)
Scientists differ over how much of the toxin would be required to inflict massive damage. Data on the topic is scarce, and that may be intentional. But a study published in 2001 said that a single gram in crystallized form, “evenly dispersed and inhaled, would kill more than 1 million people.” Experts are divided over what it would take to effectively weaponize the toxin, but the mere possibility of a botulism bomb has the government on edge. That puts Allergan in a remarkable position. The government’s vigilance enhances the company’s own secrecy, and together they give Botox a near-monopoly that is almost unassailable.

Draghi's Day (Marc to Market)
Many observers are not convinced that the asset purchases are doing much good, but they recognize that stopping would be potentially destabilizing. The other important element, if not of greater importance, is what the asset purchases say about rising rates. The ECB has been clear that like the Fed, it will not raise interest rates until after the asset purchases are complete. The longer the asset purchases, the further out lies the first rate hike. Last month, the consensus was for a six-month extension.

Investing In The Ten Most Shorted Stocks On The Nasdaq (JB Marwood)
Investors should avoid holding the most shorted stocks in the market simply because they are the most shorted. It turns out there is often good reason why a stock has a high short interest.

A Look at SSGA's ETF Revamp (FactSet)
Anyone who is seriously considering a switch to one of the rebranded, newly cheap SPDR Portfolio funds risks losing out—on the trading floor and in the portfolio manager’s office...Whatever you do, don’t just look at the expense ratio. That could be tragically short-sighted. There’s no substitute for in-depth, bottom-up ETF due diligence.

Germany: Couple backs off plan to call baby Lucifer (AP)
A baby in Germany won’t be named Lucifer after authorities intervened. A registrar in the central city of Kassel sought clarification from the local district court after a couple sought to give their son the name. Court official Matthias Grund told news agency DPA Wednesday that the registrar suspected the name could endanger the child’s well-being.

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