Opening Bell: 12.13.17

Big upset in Alabama senate race; Google looms over Fidelity; bitcoin shorts only cost you 5x leverage; Dina Powell eyes a return to Goldman; don't check your phone while running from the police; and more.
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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Trump suffers 'big black eye' in Alabama (Politico)
For the president, who ignored the advice of both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his own political team at the White House to stay out of the race, it was a self-inflicted wound. Though he has at times appeared to be able to whip up the support of Republican voters around an issue on a whim, be it to inveigh against the NFL policy on standing during the national anthem or to direct their fury at the press, Tuesday's results demonstrated that he was incapable of rallying his base around the man who was perhaps his most controversial cause. AND: Doug Jones' apparent win makes the GOP's tax reform push even more urgent

Hey Google, Am I Diversified? Why Fidelity Fears Silicon Valley (BBG)
“Alexa...will I meet my retirement goal?” “You are not on track to meet your retirement goal,” replies Amazon.com Inc.’s voice-activated digital assistant, with not a bit of sugar-coating. Then she suggests turning over $76 a month to Fidelity Investments and its advisers. This won’t actually happen if you try it on your Amazon Alexa device at home. It’s a demonstration put on by EMoney Advisor LLC, a company owned by Fidelity.

Indiegogo Goes Where Few Companies Dare: Into Initial Coin Offerings (NYT)
Indiegogo started a new service on Tuesday to vet coin offerings, also known as I.C.O.s, and then help sell them to small and large investors. The first project to use the service, a start-up known as the Fan-Controlled Football League, will begin raising $5 million on Indiegogo this week. The start-up aims to use the money to create a league of football teams that will be guided by people who buy the league’s coins (a crazy-sounding idea that has already been tested).

Bitcoin futures broker to allow negative bets (FT)
Interactive indicated it would move to protect itself by requiring short-sellers to deposit five times the value of their futures contracts to cover potential losses, making negative bets significantly more expensive than positive ones. There is no limit to the potential losses on short positions if prices continue to shoot higher. And Mr Peterffy expressed his doubts about the wisdom of the positions he is allowing clients to take. “I think it’s suicidal to sell this contract, because it can run away with you. How much a bitcoin is worth, nobody knows,” he said.

Dina Powell, Gary Cohn may face headwinds post-Trump if they return to Wall Street (Fox Business)
Powell and Cohn have signaled they want to come back to Wall Street, even though working in the volatile Trump White House might pose more difficulties than what other former executives faced after spending some time in government, these people add. Some people on Wall Street say both will have a difficult time, in particular, returning to Goldman. People close to Cohn say he is unlikely to return to a major investment bank, while those close to Powell say she still has enough support inside Goldman possibly to return if she wants to, though it might not be easy given the internal politics at the big bank.

Former Uber employees have gone into debt to hang onto shares they still can’t sell (Qz)
Two former Uber employees, both of whom left the company in 2016, told Quartz that Uber gave them just 30 days after departing to exercise their options. One of those former employees paid about $100,000 to exercise more than 20,000 incentive stock options (ISOs), plus a tax bill of over $200,000. The other paid about $70,000 to exercise about 5,000 ISOs, and then about $160,000 in taxes. Both former employees took out loans from family members to make the payments, and requested anonymity to discuss their personal financial situations.

Mean Reversion On Equity Index Level (Factor Research)
Short-term Mean-Reversion was consistently unprofitable across markets until the 1970s and then became consistently profitable thereafter, at least before transaction costs. It is rare to observe structural shifts in capital markets, but this seems to have been a permanent change. As we recently showed the cryptocurrency market is currently dominated by short-term Momentum; however, that might change as the asset class matures. Buying the dip will likely become profitable there as well.

Man fleeing police crashed while checking phone (AP)
Milwaukee prosecutors say a man who led police on a high-speed chased told arresting officers he crashed his minivan because he became distracted checking his cellphone for directions. Twenty-year-old Logan Brandenburg made the comment unsolicited while he was being transported from a hospital to the county jail. Brandenburg told officers he had smoked marijuana and was on probation so a “fight or flight mentality kicked in” when a West Allis police officer attempted to pull him over.

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