Opening Bell: 8.1.18

Facebook getting tough; Fed getting chill; Trump and China getting hot; Stolen shark getting returned; and more!
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Facebook Identifies an Active Political Influence Campaign Using Fake Accounts
Image [NYT]
The company did not definitively link the campaign to Russia. But Facebook officials said some of the tools and techniques used by the accounts were similar to those used by the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-linked group that was at the center of an indictment this year alleging interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Facebook said it had discovered coordinated activity around issues like a sequel to last year’s deadly “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Activity was also detected around #AbolishICE, a left-wing campaign on social media that seeks to end the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Federal Reserve Likely to Keep Rates Steady [WSJ]
Their estimates of what constitutes neutral vary considerably. At their June meeting, the opinions ranged from 2.25% to 3.5%. Nine of 14 officials projected either 2.75% or 3%—not that far from where the fed-funds rate is now.
One question is whether the Fed will modify its statement to signal rate increases aren’t on autopilot. In testimony to Congress in mid-July, Mr. Powell said the central bank’s rate-setting committee “believes that—for now—the best way forward is to keep gradually raising” its benchmark short-term rate.

Apple delivers a strong earnings report and its shares pop [CNBC]
Shares of Apple rose 4 percent in extended trading, after the company fell right in line with analyst projections of strong upsides for the quarter that ended June 30. EPS grew by 40 percent year over year, and revenue grew by 17 percent year over year.
Many were hanging high hopes on Apple's flagship handset and its climbing average selling price (ASP). The 41.3 million iPhones shipped during the third quarter is basically flat from the year-ago period, but the ASP of $724 is a notable jump from the year-ago period. That ASP bump is likely be because of the pricey iPhone X, which starts at $999.

China vows retaliation if Trump slaps 25 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese imports [Reuters]
China said on Wednesday that “blackmail” wouldn’t work and that it would hit back if the United States takes further steps hindering trade, as the Trump administration considers slapping a 25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
The proposal would increase the potential tariff rate from 10 percent the administration had initially put forward on July 10 for that wave of duties in a bid to pressure Beijing into making trade concessions, a source familiar with the plan said on Tuesday.

Tesla Plans $5 Billion Investment in Chinese Factory [Bloomberg]
The electric-car pioneer is considering raising some of the $5 billion it intends to invest in the plant near Shanghai from local partners, according to a person familiar with the plans, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk secured a preliminary deal to build the factory last month, just days after China’s retaliation against President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes boosted the cost of exporting cars made in the U.S.
Chinese funding partners could enable Tesla -- which is yet to turn a profit -- to share the financial burden of realizing an ambitious expansion plan that includes building a factory in Europe. While analysts say the California-based company will need to raise capital to bring its plans to fruition, so far Tesla has insisted it doesn’t need to do so. The carmaker had just $2.7 billion in cash at the end of the first quarter, and has been spending billions of dollars on accelerating production of its Model 3 sedan.

Former High-Speed Trading Executives Allege ‘Tyrannical Coup’ at Quantlab [WSJ]
The colorful personalities that have run Quantlab for two decades are now sparring over control of it. Quantlab trades on dozens of exchanges and has earned more than a billion dollars of profits over the last two decades. The founders of the firm began to clash in early 2016, according to the court records, and a person familiar with the company.
Co-founder Bruce Eames, 63, and Ukrainian physicist-turned-quant Andrey Omeltchenko say in filings they began to disagree with Mr. Bosarge after discussions to sell a controlling interest in Quantlab’s parent company, Quantlab Group LP, to an undisclosed buyer valued it at between $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion. The deal later fell apart.

The case of San Antonio's stolen shark is solved, a suspect is under arrest and 'Miss Helen' is back home [CNN]
The 16-inch female horn shark was taken during a heist that aquarium officials said was no spur-of-the-moment, let's-steal-a-shark thing.
"The suspects staked out the pool for more than an hour" to wait for the right moment, the aquarium said in a statement.
The search for the young female shark, known to aquarium staff as Miss Helen, led police Monday to the home of a man who maintains an extensive collection of marine life, according to the police chief of the San Antonio suburb where the aquarium is located.

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Photo: Getty Images

Opening Bell: 9.22.16

Yellen signals 2016 hike coming; Bill Gross is 'verklempt' after Fed decision; Australian hot dog and hamburger combination 'hamdog' coming to U.S.; and more.

Mmm...sunscreen. (Getty Images)

Opening Bell: 8.23.16

China's Bank of Tangshan called "mirage" of shadow lending; Trump getting little love from hedge funds; No one wants to buy Lyft; KFC introduces fried chicken-scented sunscreen; and more.