Stock market fall 'not the Big One', says BAML (Reuters)
“The recent pullback is a ‘dress rehearsal’ not the Big One,” BAML told clients, noting the fall had been preceded by “insane gains” which had pushed for instance the value of U.S. tech firms and their U.S.-listed Chinese peers past the entire market capitalization of Germany’s DAX index. A meltdown would “require recession risk or moves higher in wage inflation, bond yields and volatility or credit spreads.”
A Requiem For Gary Cohn (Vanity Fair)
“I’m embarrassed for him,” one former Goldman Sachs partner told me. “To say that it’s about farmers, it’s just factually wrong. It’s no more about farmers than the moon landing. A year ago, you thought the president might be surrounded by people who would guide him to good policy. That’s not happening. The president is one large S.T.D., and if you’re in close proximity you’re going to get tainted by it.”
Goldman Sachs draws ire over Verisure bond deal (FT)
H&F, which secured control of Verisure in 2015, is having to pay fees because the terms of Verisure’s existing bonds forbid such a large dividend payment. While the payments promised to holders of Verisure’s senior secured bond amount to just €9.45m, owners of the company’s “private senior” bonds, which include the Goldman Sachs fund, will receive €28m, according to the terms published for the deal. An investor who owns Verisure’s secured bonds said that the different treatment of the two securities was striking. “Is Goldman saying: we would never do this on bonds we own, but we’re asking you to do it?”
Cryptocurrency Mania Fuels Hype And Fear At Venture Firms (Wired)
Bart Stephens has found himself in high demand lately. After four years of investing in cryptocurrency and preaching its gospel, his venture-capital peers are finally listening. During a recent briefing at a storied Silicon Valley venture-capital firm, the young analysts in the room nodded along to his words in excitement, Stephens says. But not everyone was sold. In the middle of his presentation, a gray-haired senior partner stood up, yelled “PONZI SCHEME!” and stormed out. “Most generalist venture capitalists do not believe in this sector,” Stephens says. SEE ALSO: Bitcoin Is No Bubble, Says Investor With $213 Million Stake
Wall Street Fears Nasdaq Proposal Would Expose Trading Secrets (WSJ)
While it wouldn’t reveal the identities of investors, the Intellicator could reveal the “customer type” of buyers or sellers in thinly traded markets. For instance, it could show whether a trade was initiated by a small investor or big money manager, by identifying certain traders as “professional customers” who place larger volumes of orders each day. That could harm pension funds and other institutional investors, for whom it is critical to get big trades done quietly, said Peter Maragos, chief executive of Dash Financial Technologies, an equities and options brokerage.
Snap’s Rise and Fall: How a Big, Splashy IPO Prompted the Doubters to Keep Mum (WSJ)
At a company all-hands meeting in January, a Snap employee said the company would reach a saturation point in the U.S., according to a person present at the gathering in an airplane hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. The employee wanted to know about the company’s growth strategy overseas, since Facebook was imitating many of Snap’s features and signing up droves of users in Asia and India, the person said. Mr. Spiegel’s response: People feel more free to express themselves on networks of close friends, according to a person familiar with the meeting. The CEO has dismissed ideas that rely heavily on data, according to people who have worked with him. He prefers to study the experience of users for cues on revisions and new features, some of the people said.
What Keynes Knew About Bitcoin (Businessweek)
Pelham Smithers Associates used the logic of Sraffa and Keynes, and futures prices on Deribit, a European derivatives bourse for the digital currency, to extract bitcoin interest rates. In a note, published on research website Smartkarma this week, they find interest rates of around 50 percent, and a market in "backwardation," a situation in which futures prices are lower than spot rates. Retracing that analysis, I compute that selling 1 bitcoin for $7,220 on Nov. 4 and simultaneously investing $7,235 ($7,220 plus Libor interest of $15) in a Dec. 29 futures contract would allow for nearly 1.1 bitcoin to be purchased. That's an annualized interest rate of 57 percent.
Mail-Order CRISPR Kits Allow Absolutely Anyone to Hack DNA (Scientific American)
The idea behind the kit experiment is simple. The goal: modify the E. coli so that it can grow on an antibiotic called streptomycin, which normally kills bacteria. With materials and instructions from the kit, I will introduce CRISPR into the bacteria cells, and use it to rewrite a tiny part of their DNA, creating genetically altered cells that happily thrive on streptomycin. In the end, CRISPR will track down and then change only a single base pair out of the 4.6 million base pairs in the E. coli genome. It will swap out the chemical compound adenine for cytosine. Because of that tiny code change, my bacteria cells will make the amino acid lysine instead of another one, threonine. If my gene editing succeeds, this will stop streptomycin from interfering with the E. coli.
The Fungus That Turns Ants Into Zombies Is More Diabolical Than We Realized (Gizmodo)
We’ve known about zombie ants for quite some time, but scientists have struggled to understand how the parasitic fungus, O. unilateralis, performs its puppeteering duties. This fungus is often referred to as a “brain parasite,” but new research published this week shows that the brains of these zombie ants are left intact by the parasite, and that O. unilateralis is able to control the actions of its host by infiltrating and surrounding muscle fibers throughout the ant’s body. In effect, it’s converting an infected ant into an externalized version of itself. Zombie ants thus become part insect, part fungus. Awful, right?