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Opening Bell: 11.20.17

Jes Staley is swimming upstream; blockchain gets high marks on Wall Street; Venezuela's debt talks will be a nightmare; a literal interpretation of "the jig is up"; and more.
(Getty Images for Yahoo Finance)

(Getty Images for Yahoo Finance)

Can Barclays Afford to Compete Against U.S. Investment Banks? (WSJ)
Currently, the British retail unit is much more profitable than the investment bank. It made a return on equity of 18% in the last quarter, three times that of the corporate and investment bank. Yet some 60% of Barclays’s capital is locked up in the latter unit. The attention and capital being lavished on the investment bank have left some executives in the retail unit feeling sidelined, according to people familiar with the bank.

Blockchain Gets a Wall Street Win: 'We Know the Thing Works Now' (BBG)
The prospect of blockchain technology remaking financial services just moved a step closer to reality after banks including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase completed a successful six-month test in the $2.8 trillion equity swaps market. The program, managed by blockchain startup Axoni, kept track of the swaps contracts after they were executed, recording things like amendments or termination of the deals, stock splits and dividends, and achieved a “100 percent success rate,” Axoni said in a statement. RELATED: These Doomsday Preppers Are Starting To Switch From Gold to Bitcoin

A Hedge Fund Manager Committed Fraud. Would the U.S. Let Him Go? (NYT)
Before Mr. Baker left Chicago to begin serving his sentence, he received a bill from the Justice Department for $154,831,682.32 in restitution. “We strongly urge you to pay this debt immediately,” the bill said. He also received divorce papers from his wife.

Debt restructuring battle is brewing over Venezuela (FT)
People in the industry say one person is emerging as a potentially crucial player in the messy situation: a mysterious, art-loving Mexican billionaire called David Martinez. Mr Martinez runs a hedge fund called Fintech Advisory, and has been involved in almost every sovereign debt restructuring in the past quarter century, according to a rare comment piece he wrote for the Financial Times in 2013.

Venezuela: So You Want To Default on Your Sovereign Debt? (Buy The Dip)
1. Make sure you can cope day-to-day cut off from global debt markets. There are two ways around this one: Either make sure you have more revenue than expenditure on the fiscal side; or a current account surplus even after netting capital flight out of the capital account. Venezuela Grade: F-. The only crumb of comfort is that Venezuela hasn’t had a functioning domestic debt market in a decade.

There Is No Inflation Puzzle (PIIE)
Based on the Phillips curve, we would expect inflation to rise by about half a percentage point over the next year. But historical experience suggests that inflation may end up anywhere from 1 percentage point lower to 3 percentage points higher. In other words, the Phillips curve remains an important fundamental driver of inflation, but we should not overstate the precision with which it operates.

Delivering Negative Alpha (Pension Partners)
Back in the day, long/short equity funds (the largest hedge fund strategy by assets) actually used to hedge. They used to take risk. They used to look quite different than the overall stock market. And they used to deliver alpha. How do they look today? In aggregate, like a lower beta version of an index fund. With a correlation of 0.87 to the S&P 500 over the past few years, they pretty much move in lockstep with the market.

Suspect dances for Texas officers before police dog ends jig (AP)
A man who led police on a nearly 20-mile chase through Houston was taken into custody only after dancing for a time once he stepped out of his car. The unidentified suspect came to a stop early Thursday before striking spike strips police had laid across Interstate 45. He eventually complied with police orders to step out of his car but rather than lay on the ground, the man began a dance with arms above his head. The episode concluded when a police dog attacked him.

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Opening Bell: 5.2.17

Jes Staley is in the hot seat again; Goldman is finally becoming a real bank; the only good outfit at the Met Gala; and more.

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Opening Bell: 4.11.17

The Justice Department wants a word with Jes Staley; is Harvard Business School…bad?; sometimes the deer runs over you; and more.

Opening Bell: 10.13.15

Barclays to appoint Jes Staley CEO; Fortress will shutter macro hedge fund; Ex-chief of Anglo Irish Bank arrested; "Porn Shoot Accidentally Allowed At LA High School"; and more.

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Opening Bell: 4.10.17

Bank of England futzed with Libor; Jes Staley goes vigilante; Disney's humanoid robots to feature "fluid-filled voids"; and more.

ElonMusktoinnette

Opening Bell: 11.3.17

Tesla still trying to figure out how to put cars together; Venezuela is restructuring some of its debt; Twitter employee mercifully rids Twitter of Donald Trump (for 11 minutes); and much more.

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Opening Bell: 7.28.17

Barclays hits the skids; Scaramucci gets a few things off his chest; robbing bank, stripping nude and throwing cash actually comedy routine, says guy; and more.

Opening Bell: 10.04.12

France’s LBO Firms See ‘Death’ From Hollande’s 75% Carry Tax (Bloomberg) Hollande, who released his first annual budget on Sept. 28, plans to tax fund managers’ share of the profit from their investments, known as carried interest, at a rate of as much as 75 percent, part of a wider effort to increase taxes on the wealthy and narrow the country’s deficit. France also plans to as much as double taxes on capital gains and restrict the amount of debt interest payments a company can deduct from its taxable income, a measure that will reduce returns on leveraged buyouts. Facebook Test Turns Users Into Advertisers (FT) Facebook is testing a new product in the US that allows ordinary users to pay to promote their own status updates, marking a shift in the social network’s willingness to charge its users for a core service. The product has potential to generate revenues, analysts said, but could also threaten the organic feel of the site as people pay to market their own social lives. Mark Zuckerberg Confirms: 'I wear the same thing everyday' (DL) "I mean, I wear the same thing every day, right? I mean, it's literally, if you could see my closet," Zuckerberg starts to explain, as Lauer asks if he owns 12 of the same gray t-shirt. "Maybe about 20," Zuckerberg admits, somewhere between discussing the future of Facebook, his daily routine, the iPhone 5, and his wedding to college sweetheart Priscilla Chan last May. The Facebook CEO says that he doesn't really have much in his closet — it's mainly used by his wife, who graduated from medical school at the University of California at San Francisco shortly before their marriage. Instead, Zuckerberg's identical t-shirt collection lives in the one drawer he's allotted. Tiger Global Up 22.4 Percent (Reuters) Tiger Global, one of the world's best-performing hedge funds, ended the third quarter with strong gains, leaving the fund up 22.4 percent for the year, two people familiar with the numbers said on Wednesday. The roughly $6 billion fund, run by Chase Coleman and Feroz Dewan, has been the darling of the investment community for its string of strong returns at a time when the average hedge fund is delivering only low single-digit returns. In 2011, when most funds nursed losses, Tiger Global captured headlines with a 45 percent gain for the year after having made a good chunk of money on the short side, people familiar with the portfolio said. 'Dark Pool' And SEC Settle (WSJ) The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in its order that Boston-based broker-dealer eBX LLC allowed the third-party operator of its trading platform, called LeveL ATS, to use details on client orders, including the stocks involved and whether they were buy or sell orders, to its own advantage. That operator is Lava Trading, an electronic-trading unit of Citigroup, according to eBX. eBX agreed to pay $800,000 to settle the SEC's allegations. It did so without admitting or denying wrongdoing. Mohamed El-Erian: No corner offices at PIMCO (Fortune) "It doesn't matter whether you're CEO or whether you're an associate, you have the same size office. No corner offices. Just a conference room. And then I knew that I had made the right decision when my very first outing with PIMCO, I had come from the IMF, 15 years working on emerging markets. I had a swagger, I thought I knew what I was talking about. I put forward my view, and this summer intern felt safe enough to get up and say, "You know what? Mohamed is wrong and this is why he's wrong." The fact that PIMCO had created this safe zone where a summer intern could get up and question someone who was supposed to be an expert confirmed to me that I was in the right place." Bank-Friendly U.S. Regulator Shifts Focus to Revamp Reputation (Bloomberg) In a stately hearing room stuffed with senators and bankers, Thomas Curry began his apologies. His agency should have stopped a major bank from helping drug cartels launder cash. The violations went on for years while his agency was overly passive. “I deeply regret we did not act sooner,” he said. Curry had been on the job for just over three months on that day in July, so the mistakes hadn’t been made on his watch. His apologies were less a confession than a signal the new Comptroller of the Currency -- long seen as the most bank- friendly of U.S. regulators -- was changing course. “I’m not interested in what people thought about in the past,” Curry said in an interview. “My focus is going forward.” Since he took over in March, at least two key staff members closely associated with the agency’s pro-industry stance have departed, notably chief counsel Julie Williams. Williams, a 19- year OCC veteran, was known for helping nationally chartered banks resist state regulation by arguing they were preempted by often less-stringent federal rules. Curry has also raised the profile of consumer protection and shifted focus toward “operational risk” -- the idea that bank practices and management can pose as much of a threat to safety and soundness as external forces. Argentine Navy Ship Seized In Asset Fight (FT) An Argentine naval vessel crewed by more than 200 sailors has been seized in Ghana as part of an attempt by the US hedge fund Elliott Capital Management to collect on bonds on which Buenos Aires defaulted in 2001. A Ghanaian court ordered an injunction and interim preservation order against the ARA Libertad, a 100-metre long tall ship, following an application by Elliott subsidiary NML Capital on Tuesday. The hedge fund, run by the US billionaire Paul Singer, has been closely monitoring the course of the Libertad, according to sources familiar with the firm. Elliott had been waiting for the ship to stop in a port where it would have a chance to enforce legal judgments previously awarded by UK and US courts. The hedge fund declined to comment. Argentina slammed the interception of the Libertad as a “trick which these unscrupulous financiers” had pulled, adding that it “violates the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity”. Morgan Stanley commodities talks with Qatar hit snag (Reuters) Morgan Stanley's talks with Qatar's sovereign wealth fund over the sale of its commodities business have run into difficulty, and the deal may need to be reworked if it is to go ahead, banking sources said. One of the top banks in commodity trading over the past 30 years, Morgan Stanley has been in discussion for more than a year with Qatar over the sale of at least a majority stake in the energy-focused trading business, the bankers said. "There have been some differences, and Qatar is a bit lukewarm about it," one said. "It's not dead yet but definitely not imminent." Maple syrup stolen in Quebec seized by police in New Brunswick (The Star) Quebec police have seized between 700 and 800 barrels of maple syrup from a New Brunswick exporter, linking the drums to August’s massive heist of the sweet stuff. Étienne St-Pierre, owner of S.K. Exports in Kedgwick, N.B., told the Star that police executed a search warrant Sept. 26 and hauled away the barrels. “They said they were searching to find some stolen drums from Quebec,” he said. “It was a surprise. That was the first news I received.” St-Pierre said each barrel weighs about 270 kilograms and holds 170 litres of syrup, meaning police seized at least 119,000 litres of gooey Quebec gold. A spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec, Sgt. Bruno Beaulieu, confirmed a search warrant had been executed in Kedgwick but said he could not comment on the investigation. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers has never revealed the amount of syrup stolen from its secure St-Louis-de-Blandford, Que. warehouse in August. The facility held about 3.75 million litres of syrup, enough to fill one and a half Olympic swimming pools. St-Pierre said he obtained the barrels from a regular Quebec supplier, who he refused to identify.

(Getty Images)

Opening Bell: 6.16.17

Neel Kashkari isn't here to make friends; Jes Staley is in trouble again, again; coming soon to a major metropolitan area near you: Teen PD; and more.