Opening Bell: 12.5.17

Mueller is poking around at Deutsche Bank; bankers might be a little too accommodating to hedge fund clients; actual mining company mines bitcoin; Irish villagers face erection epidemic; and more.
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Deutsche Bank receives subpoena from Mueller on Trump accounts (Reuters)
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked Deutsche Bank to share data on accounts held by U.S. President Donald Trump and his family, a person close to the matter said on Tuesday. Germany’s largest bank received a subpoena from Mueller several weeks ago to provide information on certain money and credit transactions, the person added, confirming a report by German daily Handelsblatt published on Tuesday.

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Record Earnings Boost Confidence in Global Markets Rally (WSJ)
The earnings-per-share of a FactSet index of over 20,000 listed companies from around the world has now reached an average of $9.69, increasing nearly 19% in the last year. That is the fastest year-over-year rise since 2011, surpassing the late-2014 high of $9.55. While the FactSet data only stretch back to 2001, increased earnings in emerging markets like China, among other factors, mean that the per-share level has likely never been higher.

SEC Is Said to Probe If Banks Helped Hedge Funds Inflate Returns (BBG)
Wall Street banks are known to fiercely compete for hedge-fund clients because of the lucrative trading profits they provide. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is now investigating whether some banks crossed the line to win business by offering hedge funds bogus price quotes on hard-to-value bonds, said two people familiar with the matter. The SEC’s concern: As a reward for helping hedge funds make money -- by submitting quotes at requested levels -- banks got trades steered their way.

Does Anything Back This Mysterious $814 Million Cryptocurrency? (BBG)
Tether’s website makes a claim that’s unusual among cryptocurrencies: “every tether is always backed 1-to-1 by traditional currency held in our reserves.” The site also says each tether can be redeemed for $1. But its terms of service say: “There is no contractual right or other right or legal claim against us to redeem or exchange your tethers for money. We do not guarantee any right of redemption or exchange of tethers by us for money.” ALSO: This Mining Company Soared 159% After Saying It’s Buying a Crypto Firm

Where Silicon Valley Is Going to Get in Touch With Its Soul (NYT)
Mr. Tauber was a surprising pick to head a retreat center. He had previously founded a real-time celebrity geo-stalking service called JustSpotted when Google hired him and his team in 2011. Soon after, he vacationed in Big Sur and decided his work was causing harm, he said. “I realized I was addicting people to their phones,” Mr. Tauber said. “It’s a crisis that everyone’s in the culture of killing it, and inside they’re dying.”

Aggregate productivity and the rise of mark-ups (VoxEU)
Our results show that this reallocation of market share from low- to high-mark-up firms has considerably improved the allocative efficiency of the US economy over the last 20 years. In fact, improvements in allocative efficiency account for about 50% of the cumulated growth in aggregate productivity during this period. This suggests that ‘true’ technological productivity growth has been even slower than previously imagined.

There’s (STILL) Deflation in Hyperinflation Forecasts (PragCap)
It’s crazy. If there was high inflation then there would almost certainly be rising demand for hyperinflation services. But the exact opposite has happened. The price has deflated despite a rise of 25% in the CPI since 2006 when the first screenshots are available. In other words, the best indicator of low inflation comes from the very people who sell services based on hyperinflation happening.

Irish villagers complain Viagra plant fumes have men and dogs walking around with ‘hard-ons’ (Irish Post)
Villagers claim that Ringaskiddy’s proximity to the plant and its “love fumes” has been giving local men – and even their canine friends – enormous sexual powers. Barmaid Debbie O’Grady told the Sunday Times: “One whiff and you’re stiff. We’ve been getting the love fumes for years now for free.” Ms O’Grady’s mother, Sadie, said that living in Ringaskiddy is a blessing for men who suffer “problems in that department,” adding that there is “something in the air.” The widower added: “I’m a flirtatious woman, a lot of us are. You just have to have a spark, that’s all. There’s a lovely man waiting down the road for me.”

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