Opening Bell: 12.1.17

Seth Klarman feels kinda bad about Puerto Rico; Republicans are taking an improvisational approach to the tax bill; meet the Juicero of mind-altering substances; Navy sky penis Christmas ornament; and more.
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How Hedge Funds Hurt Puerto Rico (Alpha)
“There are probably hundreds of people in this room who are owners of this debt,” Klarman told the group of about 1,000 people at the Robin Hood conference. Given that all Puerto Rico bonds are at historic lows, it seems likely almost everyone invested in Puerto Rico is losing money, and could lose even more. “They made a bet; they got it wrong,” says one hedge fund manager.

Republicans rewriting tax bill — with fight pushed into Friday (Politico)
Members of the group also said they opposed amendments that would raise the proposed corporate income tax rate above 20 percent, and bristled at the idea of a delayed cut, which the Senate's bill does largely due to budgetary rules. "It's a great strategy if you’re looking to put the Democrats in the majority and give them credit for what we did," Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said of the Senate's proposed one-year delay to a corporate tax cut.

'Every day is truly insane': Why BlackRock's $1.7 trillion bond chief gets up at 3:30 a.m. (BI)
One weekend a month, on both Saturday and Sunday, Rieder wakes up at 4 a.m. and works straight until 6 p.m. He spends that time poring over charts and tables to crystallize the firm's big-picture framework. In his mind, if he didn't do this work, he'd be woefully unprepared for his big monthly meeting. "You get these aha moments when you stare at so many things and they start to come together," he said. "If you didn’t do the work you’d never get there. It’s not the most socially enhancing experience, but I have to do it."

Will Uber Ever Stop The Bleeding? (BBG)
We're getting this information now because SoftBank and Dragoneer finally launched their bid to buy Uber shares at an implied $48 billion valuation. I'm getting messages from former employees who are trying to figure out the deal. One wrote, “Uber. Where longterm former employees ask reporters for information about their tenders.”

This start-up raised millions to sell 'brain hacking' pills, but its own study found coffee works better (CNBC)
In 2016, HVMN set out to prove itself by testing one of its supplements, a "cognitive enhancement" called SPRINT, against caffeine in a landmark clinical trial. It commissioned a study in collaboration with Maastricht University in the Netherlands. HVMN was hoping to support its claim that SPRINT can help people "conquer a big project, a long day at work or any other mentally demanding task." The results? In most areas, the supplement tested was less effective than sipping a cup of coffee.

Finance Pros Say You’ll Have to Pry Excel Out of Their Cold, Dead Hands (WSJ)
Last week, The Wall Street Journal published a short article with the headline "Stop Using Excel, Finance Chiefs Tell Staff.” This humble story stirred up a tempest that grew to include hundreds of online comments, emails and social-media posts. Arguments erupted on LinkedIn and Reddit that, some readers say, continued at the Thanksgiving table. The mere suggestion that it might be dead, said Robert Cline, 72, an energy-industry professional, “sent shudders through my body.” Steven Yacht, 50, a certified public accountant in Denver, tweeted: “You can have my excel, after you ripped it from my cold, dead hands.”

Corporate Taxes: Facts vs Fiction (Yardeni)
Yesterday’s GDP release for Q3 included corporate pretax and after-tax corporate profits. The data show that corporations paid $472.9 billion in taxes over the past four quarters through Q3. Dividing this tax series by pretax profits of $2281.4 billion over this same period shows that the effective tax rate has been significantly below the statutory rate since the start of the previous decade. During Q3, it was only 20.7%!

Navy's sky penis gets its own Christmas ornament (Washington Examiner)
"Bring some Holiday Cheer with PLANEFORM custom Christmas Ornaments — this wood ornament is exactly what it looks like," according to a listing on the PLANEFORM website. "Precisely laser cut using our Epilog CNC Laser, you'll get an amazingly accurate depiction of the most ridiculous moment in aviation for all of 2017."

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