Opening Bell: 11.27.17

CFPB succession drama is becoming a sick, sad joke; bitcoin is going up; Druckenmiller is betting the house on FANG stocks; the Mooch is at it again; and more.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

CFPB Official Sues Trump Administration Over Agency Leadership (WSJ)
An Obama-era official sued the Trump administration on Sunday night to block budget director Mick Mulvaney from taking control of the CFPB. Leandra English, a career staffer appointed Friday to lead the CFPB by former director Richard Cordray, filed the lawsuit the night before the bureau was set to reopen with dueling temporary leaders vying to take it over. In doing so, she touched off a legal fight that will trigger court interpretations on how different statutes regarding succession apply to the unusual struggle over control of a federal agency.

MickMulvaney

Veteran investors in vanguard of big bet on technology shares (FT)
When technology shares tumbled from sky-high valuations in 2000, Stanley Druckenmiller, then second-in-command to George Soros at his famed Quantum Fund, suffered the fate of having held on too long. Nearly two decades on Mr Druckenmiller holds vast amounts of his wealth in technology shares that have risen massively in value over the past year. In the third quarter Mr Druckenmiller’s Duquesne Family Office held 41 per cent of its long US equity holdings in just five technology shares — Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba and Alphabet.

The Economy Is Humming, but Businesses Aren’t Borrowing (WSJ)
While loan balances are still rising, the slowing rate of growth has defied the expectations of bankers. Many have spent the year looking for growth-reviving catalysts that never came and remain puzzled by the slowdown. Even more surprising is that falling rates of loan growth are occurring as many signals point to a more buoyant U.S. economy.

$10,000 in sight for bitcoin as it rockets to new record high (Reuters)
Bitcoin’s vertiginous ascent showed no signs of stopping on Monday, with the cryptocurrency soaring to another record high just a few percent away from $10,000 after gaining more than a fifth in value over the past three days alone.

Initial Coin Offerings Horrify a Former S.E.C. Regulator (NYT)
“I.C.O.s represent the most pervasive, open and notorious violation of federal securities laws since the Code of Hammurabi,” Mr. Grundfest said in an interview. “It’s more than the extent of the violation,” he said. “It’s the almost comedic quality of the violation.”

Inside the Revolution at Etsy (NYT)
By some important metrics, Etsy appears to be improving under Mr. Silverman’s leadership. By other measures, however, Etsy is barely recognizable. The “Values-Aligned Business” team, which oversaw the company’s social and environmental efforts, was dismantled. A new focus on profitability has sapped many employees of their enthusiasm. A workplace that once encouraged workers to express their feelings has clammed up. Etsy is no longer a B Corp.

New York Startup Unleashes Big Data on Art Investing (BBG)
Arthena analyzes hundreds of thousands of data points on works of art—artist, style, medium, size and so forth. Adding a touch of human insight, the company picks pieces it says will generate handsome returns for investors. Arthena currently manages several funds, ranging from low-risk ones that invest in modern art to higher-risk funds that buy works from emerging artists.

The Flattening Yield Curve Is Not A Threat to US Equities (Fat Pitch)
The one exception was in 1973: between November 1972 and October 1973, the Fed more than doubled short rates, from 5% to 11%, to combat a spike in inflation, from 3% to 8%. This situation is not analogous to today. In the past 40 years, it has typically taken 7 months for the yield curve to go from flat to inverted and then another 14 months for a recession to begin. The shortest span from flat to a recession was 10 months, in 1978. During that period, the Fed increased short rates from 6% to 10% and inflation was running at 8%; again, this was not an analogous period to today.

Anthony Scaramucci Threatens to Sue Tufts Student Over Op-Ed in School Newspaper (NYMag)
After more than 240 students and administrators signed an online petition calling for Scaramucci’s removal, the school announced that he had been invited to speak on campus. Caballero responded with a second op-ed, which referred to Scaramucci’s “unethical behavior.” Days later, Scaramucci sent Caballero an email in which he took issue with the 26-year-old’s use of that phrase. “So either back it up or you will hear from my lawyer,” Scaramucci wrote. “You may have a difference of opinion from me politically which I respect but you can’t make spurious claims about my reputation and integrity.”

KFC 'Internet Escape Pod' blocks wireless signals (UPI)
Fast food chain KFC is encouraging customers to spend some time in meatspace with an "Internet Escape Pod," a tent that blocks wireless signals. The fried chicken eatery's online store is offering the "Internet Escape Pod" for $10,000, and the indoor tent features the likeness of Colonel Sanders spreading his oversized arms and torso over the structure.

Related

Getty Images

Opening Bell: 11.29.17

Barclays doesn't want to burden everyone with bonuses this time around; Goldman thinks stocks too high; have you heard of this bitcoin thing?; Tufts ditches Mooch; and more.

munch-scream-bitcoin2

Opening Bell: 11.30.17

Grandma wants bitcoin; hedge funds are betting on cheese; get ready for the end of the credit rally; even rats don't like to go to midtown, says science; and more.

(Getty Images for New York Times)

Opening Bell: 2.8.17

Druckenmiller buys something shiny; hedge fund scams 9/11 heroes; Harambe-shaped cheeto attracts $100k; and more.

(Getty Images)

Opening Bell: 12.4.17

Meet the mother of all cyber risks; quants are wracking their brains over bitcoin; Winklevii become billionaires; the curve flattening is pretty "meh" so far; buy a digital cat for $113,000; and more.

By D J Shin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 9.27.17

Man Group is taking the man out of Man Group; why you should go buy a bunch of crypto derivatives; guess which stocks finance professor Lily Fang likes; and more.

lynntiltonbestof

Opening Bell: 1.17.17

Lynn Tilton sued over $1 billion; flash boys take over bitcoin; eat a golden shower burger; and more.

Goldman_Sachs-bitcoin

Opening Bell: 10.3.17

Goldman Sachs is going crypto (maybe); Tesla shorts are finally seeing blue skies; the Mooch has no idea what he's doing, still; George Foreman wants to fight Steven Seagal; and more.

Opening Bell: 5.5.16

Stanley Druckenmiller sees shades of '08 crisis; Visium clients pull $1.5 billion; ECB kills 500-Euro note; Florida lawyer who had sex with her clients in jail disbarred; and more.