Opening Bell: 12.22.17

Michael Milken has a sixth sense for donating bad stocks; banks are already changing their 2018 forecasts; Dalio on tax reform: meh; get fucked by bitcoin (literally); and more.
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Bitcoin Plunges 25% in 24 Hours in a Cryptocurrency Market Rout (WSJ)
Bitcoin has fallen more than 30% over the past four days, its fifth such decline of that magnitude this year, according to Charlie Bilello, director of research at Pension Partners, an investment-advisory firm in New York. In the prior four instances, it took Bitcoin an average of 38 days to hit a new high.

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Hundreds of People Made Gifts of Stock With Great Timing (WSJ)
When Michael Milken donated $27 million of stock to charity in September 2013, the former junk-bond financier’s timing scarcely could have been better, for tax purposes. Twenty-six trading days later, the shares of K12 Inc., an education company in which he was an early investor, lost 38% of their value in a single day. A decade prior, he donated stock in another company he helped seed, LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., shortly before it fell 25% in one day. That meant Mr. Milken’s stock gifts would have been worth millions of dollars less if made a few weeks later. So would have been his potential tax deductions.

Trump Promised to Protect Steel. Layoffs Are Coming Instead. (NYT)
Layoffs have stunned steelworkers who, just a year ago, greeted President Trump’s election as a new dawn for their industry. Mr. Trump pledged to build roads and bridges, strengthen “Buy America” provisions, protect factories from unfair imports and revive industry, especially steel. But after a year in office, Mr. Trump has not enacted these policies. And when it comes to steel, his failure to follow through on a promise has actually done more harm than good.

The stock rally is unfolding so fast investment banks are already raising their 2018 forecasts (CNBC)
Credit Suisse and Canaccord Genuity joined a growing list of top Wall Street banks that have raised their 2018 outlooks for U.S. equity markets before the year has even started. The two echoed peers in citing the Republican tax bill in adjusting their S&P 500 targets higher, with a reduced corporate tax rate expected to buoy earnings for scores of the nation's largest companies more than they expected when hatching their initial 2018 outlooks.

Eric Schmidt’s surprise Alphabet announcement rekindles ‘womanizing’ rumors (Page Six)
According to another source, “it could be just that, in the current environment we’ve reached a tipping point. It is now unacceptable for the head of a public company to be running around with multiple mistresses while his wife is at home.” Alphabet declined to comment beyond the press release.

The Tax Changes Don’t Do What’s Needed (Ray Dalio)
There’s a tremendous opportunity cost arising from common sense sorts of things not being done or being cut back on—from not investing in infrastructure because of budget concerns and regulatory bureaucracy, to not improving education for similar economic and bureaucratic reasons. So we’ll do the tax adjustment tweak and the regulatory tweak—a little bit here and a little bit there—but we won’t change things materially. In other words, the headline is that we’re still not dealing with the bigger issues.

JPMorgan Dips a Toe Into Analysis of Bitcoin Futures Volatility (BBG)
“The signs of implied risk-reversals rarely change on a high frequency basis, except in the notable case of precious metals. From that point of view, the claims of Bitcoin behaving as ‘digital gold’ find a justification,” the strategists wrote. “Since the value of Bitcoin is highly dependent on market sentiment, one can expect ‘BTC/USD risk-reversals’ to experience significant swings.”

Now You Can Literally Get Fucked by the Price of Bitcoin (Motherboard)
Bitcast is a that service tracks the real-time value of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin on a chart that syncs with a line of internet-connected Lovense sex toys. When the value goes up, the vibrations intensify. When it goes down, the vibes back off. The Lovense connected sex toy line offers standard Fleshlights and dildos, but also more discrete buttplugs, prostate massagers and vibrators, meaning you could feasibly wear a connected toy while you go about your day, sensing every change in Bitcoin price like a horny sixth sense.

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