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Opening Bell: 11.14.17

The SEC doesn't need your stinkin laws; AT&T is willing to go to war over CNN; maybe low volatility is totally fine; New Yorkers don't give a shit about LeBron riding the subway; and more.
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Wall Street Fines Fall During First Year of Trump Administration, Research Shows (WSJ)
Fines against companies have particularly fallen off under Mr. Clayton, with the median fine down 35% compared to the same period one year earlier. Mr. Clayton “has nearly wholesale stopped enforcement against large financial firms” without explaining his strategy or preferences, she writes.

AT&T Ready to Probe the White House’s Role in Time Warner Deal (BBG)
AT&T Inc. will try to dig into whether the White House influenced the Justice Department’s review of the company’s planned takeover of Time Warner Inc. if the government sues to block the deal, according to people familiar with the matter. In the event of a trial over the $85.4 billion deal, AT&T intends to seek court permission for access to communications between the White House and the Justice Department about the takeover.

Wall Street's Invasion of the Legal Weed Market (II)
Robert Hunt, an attorney and former partner of Tuatara Capital who is now president of cannabis biopharmaceuticals company Teewinot Life Sciences, sees change coming to the California cannabis market, and it will presage what happens nationally. He predicts massive M&A opportunity as organizations try, and fail, to go legit. Over the next two to three years, one cannabis retailer, for example, may buy up several smaller companies and build a 60-store chain. “This will obliterate the cannabis market that exists today and create a brand new one run by adults,” says Hunt.

DEUTSCHE BANK: Something 'very unusual' is happening in markets (BI)
The S&P 500 has not fallen by 3% to 5% for 12 months. The historical average is every 2 to 3 months on average, Deutsche Bank observed. If the current streak without a pullback that large continues for two more weeks, it would become the longest-such rally ever.

Goldman Sachs marks stake in Weinstein Co down to zero (Reuters)
Last month, Goldman Sachs said it was trying to find a buyer for its stake in the Weinstein Company. A Goldman Sachs spokesman had said at the time that the bank valued the stake at less than $1 million.

Kremlin tells companies to deliver good news (Reuters)
“Life for the majority of people has become calmer, more comfortable, more attractive. But many such examples often escape the media’s attention,” said the first document. “Our task, through a creative and painstaking approach, is to select such topics and subjects and offer them to the media.” That document said the news items to be supplied were to feed a “positive news wire” and should correspond to two themes: “Life is getting better” and “How things were; how they are now.”

You Probably Tend Not to Read Articles With Headlines That Are This Long, But Maybe You Should (WSJ)
Reporters know that stories with short punchy headlines are the ones that get read. Tarik Umar is an economist so he isn’t allowed to just follow the received wisdom, but a randomized analysis he did of posts on crowd-sourced investment research site Seeking Alpha showed what reporters have always known in their guts is right: Short headlines, especially short negative headlines, draw more readers.

The Low Volatility Puzzle: Are Investors Complacent? (Liberty Street Economics)
On one hand, we present a view suggesting that historical volatility may have been abnormally high, rather than current volatility being abnormally low. On the other hand, we find that estimates of the volatility risk premium are somewhat low, which is consistent with the view that investor risk tolerance has increased.

LeBron James, Cavaliers ride the subway before Knicks game, fan doesn't recognize LeBron because he doesn't watch 'football' (NYDN)
The team, which was almost too big for the subway car, was squishing together for the ride after getting on at the 34th Street-Penn Station stop. LeBron panned the camera next to a random man sitting next to him who did not want any part of the NBA All-Star's video. "Can you not," the passenger said before moving his seat.

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Spain Expects to Tap About $75 Billion in Rescue Financing for Its Banks (NYT) Spain expects to use about 60 billion euros, or $75 billion, of the 100 billion euros of bank rescue financing offered by European finance ministers in June, according to the Spanish economy minister, Luis de Guindos. UK Investment Bankers Prefer Singapore (FT) The southeast-Asian city state has become the most favored location for investment bankers who are based in London, research by financial services recruitment firm Astbury Marsden shows. Of the 462 investment bankers that were asked, 31 percent said they would most like to work in Singapore. By comparison, only a fifth preferred New York and only 19 percent opted in favor of London. 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The couple have two children. She’s not the first in the family to do so: in 2010, her sister-in-law made a similar court application. Suits Mount In Rate Scandal (WSJ) It won't be easy for the plaintiffs to win in court even though financial institutions are likely to reach settlements with regulators in coming months totaling billions of dollars, according to people close to the Libor investigation. The plaintiffs must prove that banks successfully manipulated interest-rate benchmarks such as the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, and caused the plaintiffs to suffer a loss. Still, some investors and analysts are forecasting huge damages despite the legal hurdles. In a July report, Macquarie Research estimated that banks face potential legal liability of about $176 billion, based on the assumption that Libor was "understated" by 0.4 percentage points in 2008 and 2009. Carlyle Group marketed $25 million deal without license: Kuwaiti firm (AP) A Kuwaiti company suing the Carlyle Group over a $25 million investment that went bad is now accusing the private equity firm of marketing the deal without a license as it seeks to have its case heard in Kuwaiti courts. The latest claim by Kuwait's National Industries Group adds a new twist to its more than two-and-a-half year legal challenge to Carlyle, and could complicate the American company's relationships with other wealthy Mideast investors. NIG's lawsuit focuses on a Carlyle investment fund that was one of the earliest casualties of the financial crisis when it collapsed in 2008. The fund has been the subject of multiple lawsuits against Washington-based Carlyle. Couple in court for disturbing the peace for 'screaming, moaning and swearing during seven-hour sex romps five nights a week' (DM) Jessica Angel and Colin MacKenzie had been issued with an order requiring them to prevent ‘screaming, loud moaning, swearing and raised voices’ after police were called to their flat 20 times in just four months. However, following further complaints from neighbours, the couple were charged under the Environmental Protection Act. They face a £3,000 fine if convicted...Mr MacKenzie, 45, from Sturt, South Australia, said: ‘How can you live in a place where you can’t have sex? It’s ridiculous. Anyway, it’s mostly Jessie. The sex goes from four to seven hours, five nights a week. 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She told members of her governing coalition to stop talking about Greece leaving the euro. “We are in a decisive phase in the battle against the euro zone debt crisis,” Ms. Merkel told ARD television. “Everyone should weigh their words very carefully.” Fed mulls open season on bond buys to help economy (Reuters) The Federal Reserve is considering a new approach to unconventional monetary policy that would give it more leeway to tailor the scale of its stimulus to changing economic winds. While fresh measures are not assured and the timing of any potential moves are still in question, some officials have said any new bond buying, or quantitative easing, could be open-ended, meaning it would not be bound by a fixed amount or time frame. "I am inclined to think that if the Fed decides on more QE it would be of the open-ended variety," said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan and a former Fed economist. 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Perhaps I needed what felt at the time like some of the worst experiences in my life to come to a place where I could be grateful for the life I had. I had to learn to begin to appreciate what was left. At the end of the day, that is the best guidance I can give. Whatever valuable advice I have about managing a career, I am only now learning how to manage a life." Paper Trail Goes Cold in Case Against S&P (Reuters) In early 2007, as signs of distress began appearing in securities backed by residential mortgages, executives at Standard & Poor's began advising analysts responsible for rating mortgage bonds that they should put the phrase "privileged and confidential" on emails to one another. Analysts working for the McGraw Hill Cos division also were discouraged from doodling on notepads and official documents during meetings to discuss pending deals and existing ratings, several former S&P employees said. 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Average staffing in commodities trading declined 5.9% last year at major banks, according to Coalition. Artist Teaches George W. Bush How To Paint (Fox5) An artist in Cumming, GA spent a month teaching former President George W. Bush how to paint. Bonnie Flood said that President Bush has a passion for painting and shows real potential as an artists. "He started off painting dogs. I think he said he painted 50 dogs," Flood said. "He pulled out this canvas and started painting dogs and I thought, 'Oh my God, I don't paint dogs!" Flood, who does most of paintings at her home in Cumming, occasionally conducts workshops in Florida. That's where the former President heard about her. The next thing she knew, she was packing up her paints to spend a month in Boca Grande with President Bush. She said that she spent about six hours a day with the President, mixing paints and teaching him proper brush strokes. She says she wasn't intimidated but admits she really didn't know what to call him until she found the magic number. "I called him '43' because that's the way he signed his paintings. "When I really wanted him to do something, I would say, 'Mr. President you know that you don't do it that way.'" She says the President learned quickly and soon started painting fewer dogs and more landscapes. "He has such a passion for painting, it's amazing," Flood said. "He's going to go down in the history books as a great artist." Hostess Creditor, Private-Equity Firms Show Interest in Twinkies Brand (Reuters) Hostess Brands creditor Silver Point Capital and hedge fund Hurst Capital have expressed interest in buying Hostess's snack cake brands, including Twinkies, the New York Post reported. 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Twitter, Social Media Are Fertile Ground For Stock Hoaxes (Reuters) "Twitter pump and dump schemes are obviously something for the market to be concerned about, even if they are just a new way for people to do schemes that have been done forever," said Keith McCullough, chief executive officer at Hedgeye Risk Management in New Haven, Connecticut. He uses Twitter and has more than 22,000 followers. In such hoaxes, anonymous users set up accounts with names that sound like prominent market players, issue negative commentary, and spark massive declines. The selling that follows shows how the rapid spread of information on social media can make for volatile trading, and is a warning to investors who trade on news before fully verifying the source. SEC: Goldman Cannot Ignore Proposal to Split Chairman, CEO Roles (Reuters) SEC staff sent a letter to Goldman internal counsel Beverly O'Toole this week, saying the agency is "unable to concur" with Goldman's view that the shareholder proposal does not warrant a vote. El Paso Sheriff's deputies arrest 2 ice cream men for possession of pot (EPT) Saturday afternoon, Sheriff's deputies spotted a purple ice cream truck with a cracked windshield and an expired registration sticker along the 8600 block of Alameda. During the traffic stop, one of the occupants left the vehicle and led deputies on a brief foot pursuit before being caught. Two tupperware bowls containing a green leafy substance, believed to be marijuana, was found on the man, who was identified as 19-year-old Elijah Sanchez. The second occupant, identified as 29-year-old Anthony Arellano, was also charged with possession of marijuana after deputies found marijuana inside the vehicle. 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