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Opening Bell: 1.29.18

Oil still booming; Cryptos, less so; More Brexit drama; Texas inmate escapes for takeout; and more!
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Oil Boom Gives the U.S. a New Edge in Energy and Diplomacy [NYT]
With the price of West Texas intermediate crude above $65 a barrel, a level not seen in almost three years, the United States is becoming a dominant producer. It is able to outflank competitors in supplying growing global markets, particularly China and India, while slashing imports from the Middle East and North Africa.
This year, the United States is expected to surpass Saudi Arabia and to rival Russia as the world’s leader, with record output of over 10 million barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency.

Freed Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed says corruption detention was a 'misunderstanding' [CNBC]
"There are no charges. There are just some discussions between me and the government. Rest assured this is a clean operation that we have and we're just in discussion with the government on various matters that I cannot divulge right now. But rest assured we are at the end of the whole story. And I'm very comfortable because I'm in my country, I'm in my city, so I feel at home. It's no problem at all. Everything's fine," he said.

Bitcoin Price Looking Heavy As News Turns Negative [Coindesk]
Following a hack against the exchange Coincheck last week, CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) turned lower from $11,942 (Sunday high), ultimately hitting a low of $11,110 at 09:59 UTC Monday. Still, what may be more notable is not the recent price (which continues its sideways 2018 trajectory), but the changing narrative for potential buyers.
Though the Coincheck news did not impact bitcoin directly (no bitcoin was stolen), it does appear to have marked a change in a mainstream news narrative that has breathlessly provided tailwinds for the market since late last year.

London’s Bankers Haven’t Been This Gloomy Since 2008 [Bloomberg]
The Confederation of British Industry poll -- based on responses from 92 financial-services firms in the three months through December, before a new year that has seen worries of a hard Brexit recede and the pound appreciate -- showed sentiment at banks has deteriorated for seven of the last eight quarters. Almost a third of the firms saw a high likelihood of financial-market conditions worsening in the next six months.
"Optimism in parts of the sector has been falling for the last two years, whilst firms are nearly unanimous in voicing their concern about the damaging impact of Brexit uncertainty," CBI Chief Economist Rain Newton-Smith said in a statement Monday.

Challenged on all fronts, Britain's May faces pressure over Brexit law [Reuters]
It is yet another battle for a weakened prime minister whose leadership is being questioned after scandals within her party, gaffes and an ill-judged election that lost her party its majority in parliament.
Facing calls to ax her finance minister, who favors a gentle Brexit, and criticism over a lack of big ideas to revive the fortunes of the Conservatives, May needs to drive through legislation to sever ties with the EU before March next year.
The largely pro-EU House of Lords, which will start debating the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill on Tuesday, have made no secret of their opposition to the legislation which they say amounts to little more than a power grab by the government.

Trump hits back at Jay-Z by touting black unemployment numbers [CNBC]
President Donald Trump on Sunday lashed out at musician Jay-Z, demanding recognition for the improved job market for African Americans, in response to the hip-hop mogul criticizing Trump's vulgar outburst against African and Haitian immigrants.
On Saturday, Jay-Z appeared on CNN's "The Van Jones Show," where he called the president's remarks — in which he reportedly describing immigrants from African countries as coming from "s___hole countries" — "hurtful." He added that Trump appeared to be "looking down on a whole population of people."

Steve Wynn Fallout Ripples as Republicans Seek Distance [WSJ]
The allegations against one of Las Vegas’s most powerful figures reverberated in the political world over the weekend, as Mr. Wynn stepped down from his post as Republican National Committee finance chairman. He had donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to GOP candidates and political committees, and a number of Republican officials said they would redirect his contributions to charities.
“If the allegations have merit, then we should return the money,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Sunday on ABC. Federal Election Commission records don’t show that Mr. Graham received any contributions from Mr. Wynn, or the political-action committee affiliated with his company, Wynn Resorts Ltd.

Texas inmate busted while reentering prison with booze, home-cooked meals: cops [FoxNews]
Joshua Randall Hansen, 25, was spotted by sheriff’s deputies and U.S. marshals running out the back of a federal prison in Beaumont on Wednesday evening, the statement said. Hansen picked up a large duffel bag that a vehicle had dropped off at a private property adjacent to the prison, authorities said. The deputies said they arrested Hansen as he was trying to reenter the prison.
The duffel bag contained three bottles of Martell brandy, a bottle of Crown Royal whiskey, multiple bags of Buglar tobacco, salty snacks, fruit, and home cooked foods like BBQ sausage and fried chicken, FOX 40 reported.



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Photo: Getty Images

Opening Bell: 6.23.16

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Opening Bell: 1.16.18

Cryptos in a nosedive; US government shutdown imminent; Ackman in court; car ends up in 2nd floor dentists office; and more!


Opening Bell: 9.12.18

Flo is getting bigger, badder; Brexit making New York more powerful; Dimon is running; Margaritaville smells like pot; and more!