Opening Bell: 2.15.18

Markets ignoring stagflation; Soros is a crypto bro now; Steve Schwarzman is in a bubble of his own; Olympic dick statues are popular; and more!
Author:
Updated:
Original:

World stocks steam higher as inflation fears suddenly fizzle [Reuters]
Economists were struggling to explain the turnaround except for the argument that historically it’s not unusual for stocks and bond market borrowing costs to rise in tandem with a rapidly expanding economy.
Some just blamed the weather and time of year. They speculated that strong U.S. inflation data on Wednesday that many had predicted could reignite the rout was probably distorted. They also said the looming Chinese New Year may have caused Asian traders to square up.
Whatever the reason, the animal spirits were back.

Bitcoin Trembles at $10,000 Level, Paring Gains With Rival Coins [Bloomberg]
Bitcoin edged lower rather than break above $10,000, triggering a selloff in other large digital coins.
The largest cryptocurrency was up 3.1 percent to $9,573 as of 11:43 a.m. in London, after halting a march higher when it came within 0.3 percent of the resistance level. Ripple erased its increase, while Ethereum and Litecoin retreated from advances of as much as 15 percent.

Soros' fund buys shares of cryptocurrency play Overstock.com, while dumping Facebook [CNBC]
Soros Fund Management held 2,472,188 shares in Overstock at the end of the fourth quarter of 2017, making it the third-largest shareholder, according to regulatory filings released late Wednesday.
These were worth $157.97 million at the end of the last trading day in December and $146.72 million at the close of trade Wednesday.

Here’s an Idea for Goldman: Buy Bank of New York Mellon [DealBook]
There’s a potentially ideal merger partner for the $104 billion Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street firm’s chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, told shareholders on Tuesday that it was already having some success turning around its stumbling fixed-income, currency and commodities trading unit. But buying $56 billion Bank of New York Mellon could be a better fix — if only the asset-management and custody specialist weren’t in a different league.
If the two were to combine, Goldman would get hold of more than $33 trillion in assets under custody and supervision — think clearing, cash management, global payments and the like. Goldman may be able to sweet-talk Bank of New York Mellon clients into sending more trades its way.

Billionaire Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman: Inflation fears should not overshadow benefits of a stronger economy [CNBC]
With inflation on the rise after years of historically low levels, bond yields have been spiking and putting pressure on the stock market.
But Schwarzman encouraged investors not to lose sight of the big picture: "We have to look at what's going on in the world; the real world, not the markets. Markets get ahead of things and markets get behind things."
He added, "The real world looks like it's in fine shape at the moment."

It’s Really Hard Not To Notice All The Penises At The Olympic Ski Jump Center [HuffPo]
The latest meme to emerge from the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, has nothing to do with the athletes or the sports. It’s about a group of statues outside the Alpensia Ski Jump Center.
Called the “Bullet Men,” the statues have phallic heads and, well, actual phalluses. Needless to say, they’re getting plenty of attention on social media, especially in Japan where the images were shared under the hashtag #モルゲッソヨ, which is based on the Korean phrase for “I don’t know.” Tokyo Sports reported that someone asked a volunteer in Pyeongchang about the statues, and that was the reply.

Related

BabeRuth

Opening Bell: 6.8.16

Hillary claims nomination; Brexit fear is spreading; Soros disciple is killing it; Babe Ruth's dick pic; and more.

(Getty Images)

Opening Bell: 5.26.17

Steve Schwarzman, Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman walk into a bar; Wells Fargo smells blood in the water; Texas 7th grader wins ‘Most Likely To Become A Terrorist’; and more.

Opening Bell: 6.3.16

Ex-Barclays employees tell jury of ‘humiliation’ and pressure; Silicon Valley not feeling Trump; 'Selfie Statue' sparks fury; and more.

By Lishabai Yi (Middle Kingdom Media Ltd.) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 5.22.17

Steve Schwarzman finds $20 billion in Saudi Arabia; Ford trades in for a new CEO; Trump gropes the orb of power; and more.

Opening Bell: 07.27.12

Barclays Faces New Scrutiny (WSJ) n what could turn out to be a new black eye for the bank, Barclays said the U.K. financial regulator has started an investigation into four current and former senior employees, including Chris Lucas, Barclays's finance director. The issue centers on the "sufficiency of disclosure" in relation to fees paid when Barclays conducted an emergency £7.3 billion ($11.45 billion) capital increase with Middle Eastern investors in 2008. The cash injection likely saved Barclays from being bailed out by the government and part-nationalized. The Financial Services Authority and Barclays declined to elaborate further the issue. Barclays said in a statement that it was confident it had satisfied disclosure obligations. In a separate debacle, Barclays said it put aside £450 million to cover the misselling of derivatives products to small businesses. Merkel, Hollande Vow to Do Everything to Defend Euro (Reuters) FYI: "Germany and France are deeply committed to the integrity of the euro zone. They are determined to do everything to protect the euro zone," they said in a joint statement. Treasury Eyes Funds Hidden Overseas (WSJ) he Treasury Department released new details Thursday of a plan to ferret out Americans' global tax dodging, though some lawmakers and banks remain concerned about the initiative's scope and regulatory costs. Treasury officials said they hope to finalize the system's basic rules by the fall and expressed confidence it would be on track for implementation by 2014 as scheduled. Congressional experts said the new system would recover $8.7 billion in tax revenues over 10 years. Facebook Growth Slows Again (WSJ) The company swung to a second-quarter loss largely weighed down by expenses from compensating employees with stock upon its initial public offering in May. Revenue in the second quarter was $1.18 billion, up 32% from $895 million a year ago. That revenue growth was the lowest percentage since at least the first quarter of 2011, when Facebook was more than doubling the amount of money it brought in from advertising, and to a lesser extent, the cut of fees it takes from payments on its platform. Facebook Falls After Report Fails To Quell Growth Concerns (Bloomberg) “It took a long time for the TV market and advertising to be truly understood, it took a long time for search, and I think we’re still in that learning curve with a lot of our clients,” COO Sheryl Sandberg said. The Guy In The Clown Nose? He's An Olympian (WSJ) Terry Bartlett is a world-class gymnast who leapt, tumbled and swung for the glory of Great Britain in three Olympic Games. Today, he is also a world-class clown. Ten times a week, he dons a red nose and floppy shoes to elicit chuckles at "O," a Las Vegas water-themed circus run by Cirque du Soleil. "It's better than having a real job," says the 48-year-old Bartlett...A few months after Bartlett's audition, Cirque hired him as an acrobat for a new show in Las Vegas. At first, he says, he had to confront some stigma about joining a circus. "Some people were like, whoa, that's not much of a move from what you've done," he says. But today, he says Cirque is so well-known that he gets few smirks. Spanish Banks Hit By Real Estate Woes (WSJ) Caixabank SA, Spain's third-largest lender by market value, number five bank Banco Popular Español SA, and smaller Banco Español de Credito SA, all said they had set aside most of their profit to bolster their buffers against property sector losses, after the government twice this year raised the minimum required provisioning level for banks. Caixabank said quarterly net profit tumbled 78% to €118 million ($145.1 million) and Popular's profit fell 37% to €75.4 million. Smaller Banesto, which is owned by banking giant Banco Santander SA, said quarterly profit sank 97% to €14.4 million. Goldman PR Guru's Charm School (NYP) Under Siewert, the bank has scheduled weekly roundtable meetings between the media and executives including Goldman President Gary Cohn and CFO David Viniar. In one of those meetings yesterday, rising-star Treasurer Elizabeth “Liz” Beshel Robinson met the press for the first time. Not everyone’s keen on the changes. Goldman’s financial rock star Viniar, sources said, has sworn off appearing on TV. JPMorgan Revamps Business Units (WSJ) The bank said Frank Bisignano, who was tapped in early 2011 to lead J.P. Morgan's transformation of its mortgage banking group, will become co-chief operating officer for the entire company, in addition to continuing as chief administrative officer of the firm. He will transition the mortgage business to Gordon Smith in early 2013. Matt Zames will serve as co-COO, and will remain head of the chief investment office and mortgage capital markets...J.P. Morgan said its investment banks, treasury and securities services and global corporate banks businesses are being combined into the corporate and investment bank unit, to be chaired by Jes Staley, CEO of the investment bank business. Mike Cavanagh, head of treasury and securities, will become co-CEO of the new unit, along with Daniel Pinto, who currently heads EMEA and global fixed income. Romney Riles Londoners With Comments On Olympics Games (Bloomberg) It was supposed to be Mitt Romney’s flawless world stage debut. Instead, the Republican presidential candidate spent the start of his overseas trip fending off a furor over his London Olympics comments and scrutiny of a fundraiser with bankers linked to the Libor rate-fixing scandal. “There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready,” London Mayor Boris Johnson told 80,000 cheering people gathered at Hyde Park for the arrival of the Olympic torch last night. “Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes, we are!” Romney worked to put the controversy behind him today, scheduling an interview at Olympic Park to quell the storm of criticism over his comment that the city was unprepared to host the games. “After being here a couple of days, it looks to me like London’s ready,” he told NBC’s “Today” program. “What they’ve done that I find so impressive is they took the venues and put them right in the city.” In the July 25 NBC interview, Romney described reports of difficulties recruiting enough security staff for the games, which begin today, as “disconcerting” and said, “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out.”

Opening Bell: 10.7.15

Fantasy sports probe; Ackman says GE was too expensive; TPG raises real estate fund; Steve Cohen is loving life; "College bro arrested over mac-and-cheese rant at food court"; and more.

Opening Bell: 4.16.15

Goldman and Citi beat estimates; Ben Bernanke works for Ken Griffin now; Schwarzman describes Blackstone as "earnings machine"; Stripper School shutdown; and more.

By Lishabai Yi (Middle Kingdom Media Ltd.) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 6.6.17

Steve Schwarzman misses all the brave old people in finance; Harvard endowment dumps Eric Mindich; sex in space would be a bodily horror; and more.