Opening Bell 7.16.18

King Solomon prepares for takeover; Elon continues the descent into madness; BlackRock beats expectations; Coin flip cops and more!
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Goldman Said Poised to Take Next Step Toward Post-Blankfein Era [Bloomberg]

Blankfein will stay on at the bank for an interim period, but the plan to elevate Solomon could be announced as early as Monday, the newspaper said. Goldman Sachs spokesman Edward Naylor declined to comment.

It’s a momentous moment for the bank and its industry. Under Blankfein, Goldman Sachs became the most profitable company in Wall Street histdory, but the former commodities salesman also had to navigate the worst financial crisis in 80 years. More recently, it’s had to lean more on its investment banking group -- where Solomon hails from -- and less on the trading franchise.

Musk Labels U.K. Diver as Pedophile in Spat Over Thai Rescue [Bloomberg]

Musk’s now-deleted post on Twitter adds to a long list of news-making tweets by the Tesla Inc. chairman and founder, who unlike most executives don’t hesitate to battle publicly with his detractors. He’s used the social network to promote his companies, spar with short sellers who are betting against Tesla shares and needle journalists who question the businesses’ prospects. Musk has 22.3 million followers on Twitter.

The billionaire offered a “kid-size submarine” to help rescue the boys and their coach after they became trapped in a cave in northern Thailand. A Thai official said the equipment, built by Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., wasn’t practical and it wasn’t used. Musk traveled to the site in Chiang Rai province, but the team was rescued by Thai divers with aid from an international group of volunteers.

BlackRock profit rises as ETF demand continues, iShares flows drop [Reuters]

The company wrestled with difficult market and industry trends during the quarter, including an industrywide slowdown in the demand for its hottest product, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track markets.

BlackRock’s iShares-branded ETFs took in $17.8 billion during the quarter, down from $34.6 billion in the first quarter. The company also cut fees on some ETFs to increase its market share.

Yet even with the slower-than-usual growth in demand for the funds, which are relatively cheap to manage as they gain in size, revenue rose more than 10 percent to $2.9 billion from the prior year. Expenses grew 8.3 percent to $2.2 billion.

Bank of America Profits Rise 33% [WSJ]

Quarterly profit at the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, the second largest in the U.S. by assets, was $6.784 billion, compared with $5.106 billion a year ago. Per share, earnings were 63 cents. Analysts had expected 57 cents per share. Shares rose about 0.6% premarket.

The bank’s second-quarter revenue fell slightly, to $22.609 billion, down from $22.829 billion a year ago, when the bank posted a one-time gain related to the sale of a business. Without that gain, revenue would have been up 3%. Analysts had expected revenue of $22.286 billion.

Trump sits down with Putin after denouncing past U.S. policy on Russia [Reuters]

But, at least in his public remarks at the outset, he mentioned none of the issues that have lately brought U.S.-Russian relations to the lowest point since the Cold War: Moscow’s annexation of territory from Ukraine, its support for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, as well as Western accusations that it poisoned a spy in England and meddled in elections.

Instead, Trump saved his public criticism for his own country, tweeting before the summit: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”

The Russian foreign ministry “liked” his tweet.

The Kremlin has played down expectations. It said before the summit it did not expect much from the meeting but hoped it would be a “first step” to resolving a crisis in ties.

Video shows cops using coin flip to decide whether to arrest [ABC news]

Body camera video shows Georgia police officers laughing as they use a coin-flip app to decide whether to detain a woman during a traffic stop in April.

The video obtained by WXIA-TV shows Roswell police Officer Courtney Brown asking Sarah Webb whether she knew how fast she was going. Webb apologizes, saying she was late for work, and Brown tells her to turn off the car and hand over her keys.

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