Opening Bell: 9.20.18

Trump shades OPEC; Tilray still batsh!t; S&P tech scene getting funky; Florida coastline covered in pot; and more!
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Trump says OPEC 'monopoly' must get prices down [Reuters]
U.S. President Donald Trump linked American support for Middle Eastern countries to oil prices on Thursday as he again urged OPEC to lower prices.
“We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

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It's not a trade war, it's a trade skirmish, JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon says [CNBC]
"It's not a trade war, I call it a trade skirmish," he told CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan in New Delhi.
"The American government, our president, is right to raise the issues (about fair trade practices) with China," he said, although he added that he "may have used a different strategy to go about fixing it."
"It's unclear where we're going to get to," he added.

Tilray Shares in for Another Wild Ride as Pot Mania Persists [Bloomberg]
The weed stock that took investors on perhaps the wildest day yet for the nascent industry has registered huge swings in premarket trading Thursday, falling as much as 7 percent before trading higher by 11 percent as of 8 a.m. in New York. More than 300,000 shares traded hands. Canopy Growth Corp.’s American depository reciepts rose 3.1 percent while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest exchange-traded fund added 4.1 percent.
“When you get big moves like this, you suddenly have a lot of people paying attention,” said Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. “People are going to be watching a little closer and there probably will be more human involvement today than yesterday. ”

Inside Italy’s Shadow Economy [NYT]
Home work — working from home or a small workshop as opposed to in a factory — is a cornerstone of the fast-fashion supply chain. It is particularly prevalent in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China, where millions of low-paid and predominantly female home workers are some of the most unprotected in the industry, because of their irregular employment status, isolation and lack of legal recourse.
That similar conditions exist in Italy, however, and facilitate the production of some of the most expensive wardrobe items money can buy, may shock those who see the “Made in Italy” label as a byword for sophisticated craftsmanship.

Tech Redefined: S&P 500 Companies Worth Combined $2.7 Trillion Change Sectors [WSJ]
Investors on Friday will have to contend with the scheduled rebalancing of several major indexes, and the expiration of heavily traded futures and options contracts, a quarterly collision that traders call “quad witching.” That’s in addition to big changes by two of the world’s largest index providers to a widely used system that organizes companies based on where they fit in the global economy.
The reshuffling, which will affect 23 S&P 500 companies --all together worth $2.7 trillion-- is tied to changes in the way index providers classify companies according to industry. Although a seemingly esoteric exercise, it has real-world implications, especially for stocks such as Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Google-parent Alphabet Inc. that will leave the technology sector to join a new “communication-services” segment.

Jack Ma walks back promise to create 1M US jobs [NYPost]
The founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant said he couldn’t follow through on his promise because of the soured US-China trade relations, according to a report.
In January 2017, just before President Trump was sworn in, Ma met the then President-elect at Trump Tower and laid out his company’s plan to bring 1 million small US businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years.

Giant Packages Of Marijuana Washed Up In Florida [HuffPo]
Large packages of marijuana washed up on beaches in Flagler, St. Johns and Volusia counties last week, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release sent to HuffPost on Wednesday.
Authorities in Flagler County found an estimated 100 pounds of the narcotics wrapped in bundles, which tested positive for marijuana, over two days after receiving reports last Thursday of “multiple packages, presumably containing marijuana” on the beach near Jungle Hut Park.

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Opening Bell: 3.19.18

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Opening Bell: 9.6.18

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Opening Bell: 11.05.12

Wall Street Pay Rises (WSJ) Wall Street pay will bounce in 2012 from last year's sharply reduced levels, but bonuses will be lower and have more strings attached than before the financial crisis, the latest tally of finance-industry compensation shows. So-called incentive-based pay, which includes cash and stock awards, is set to be flat to up 5% to 10% from a year earlier, according to a forecast set to be released Monday by consulting firm Johnson Associates. At the same time, financial firms are keeping a lid on cash outlays by deferring more pay and trimming their workforces...Many securities-industry employees still rake in far more in pay than most other professions. But gone are the days when scores of star traders would get million-dollar, year-end windfalls. The average managing director is set to take home about $930,000 in total pay for 2012, up 3.3% from $900,000 a year ago but down about 23% from $1.2 million in 2010...Reflecting a big rebound from last year's plunge, the survey said bond traders—among the hardest hit in terms of pay in 2011—could see their bonuses rise 10% to 20%, even though several firms are scaling back fixed-income trading operations. Investment bankers and equity traders may receive as much as 10% less in bonuses than last year. Equity volumes remain weak, while global merger and acquisition volume is down 16% to $1.7 trillion through the first nine months of the year, according to Thomson Reuters. Goldman Sachs Partner List Drops 31 Since February, Filing Shows (Bloomberg) Some of the names missing from the latest filing had already been reported, such as former Securities Division Co- Head David B. Heller and Lucas van Praag, the former head of corporate communications. Others hadn’t been announced. Economy Set for Better Times Whether Obama or Romney Wins (Bloomberg) Mitt Romney says Barack Obama’s policies will consign the U.S. to an extended period of sluggish economic growth, at best. The president says his Republican challenger’s plans will sow the seeds of another mammoth recession. Both are wrong. No matter who wins the election tomorrow, the economy is on course to enjoy faster growth in the next four years as the headwinds that have held it back turn into tailwinds. Consumers are spending more and saving less after reducing household debt to the lowest since 2003. Home prices are rebounding after falling more than 30 percent from their 2006 highs. And banks are increasing lending after boosting equity capital by more than $300 billion since 2009. “The die is cast for a much stronger recovery,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist in West Chester, Pennsylvania, for Moody’s Analytics Inc. He sees growth this year and next at about 2 percent before doubling to around 4 percent in both 2014 and 2015 as consumption, construction and hiring all pick up. Chanos Unmoved by Chinese Banks’ Biggest Rally Since Jan. (Bloomberg) The biggest monthly surge in Chinese banks since January isn’t enough to stop Jim Chanos from shorting the financial shares as the portfolio manager wagers the country faces a credit crisis as bad loans increase. “You can’t look at a month and say that’s the trend, or something’s changed,” Chanos, who oversees $6 billion as the founder and president at Kynikos Associates Ltd., said in a Bloomberg television interview. Bad loans peaking at 3 percent, “seems awfully Pollyannic,” he said. Merkel: Euro Debt Crisis Will Last 5 Years Or More (Reuters) Merkel says the continent is on the right path to overcome the crisis but "whoever thinks this can be fixed in one or two years is wrong." Europe's Bank Reviews Collateral (WSJ) The issue involves about €80 billion in Spanish Treasury bills the ECB accepted as collateral for its loans. The ECB applies different discounts, or haircuts, to collateral based on the quality of the asset being posted. The Treasury bills under question were given the highest collateral rating, but Welt am Sonntag's research suggests many of the securities should have been given a lower rating, meaning more bills would have needed to be posted to obtain the same amount of ECB credit. If the ECB eventually were to downgrade the securities, banks would have to provide additional collateral to cover the nearly €17 billion in ECB loans they have received. The issue could prove to be embarrassing to the ECB if it is forced to admit it wasn't strict enough in enforcing its rules. Jeep Driven By Suspected Smugglers Gets Stuck Atop U.S.-Mexico Border Fence (TSG) A harebrained attempt by suspected smugglers to drive a Jeep Cherokee up and over a U.S.-Mexico border fence failed early Tuesday when the vehicle got stuck atop the 14-foot tall barrier. As seen above, the teetering SUV was spotted by U.S. Border Patrol agents after it had been driven up a makeshift ramp, but could not complete the trip’s final leg into Arizona. When agents approached the vehicle, two individuals on the fence's Mexican side fled. Investigators suspect that the Jeep likely contained narcotics, which were offloaded when the vehicle became stuck. Rochdale Says Bad Apple Trade Led to Rescue Bid (WSJ) "Rochdale had an unauthorized trade that left us with a negative capital position. We are in talks that would result in a healthy balance sheet, and we expect to be trading maybe as early as Monday," said Rochdale President Daniel Crowley. He said the unauthorized trading was in shares of Apple, and that, as of Saturday evening, the company was in talks with two firms for a possible injection of capital. He declined to offer more details on the unauthorized trading. S&P Found Liable by Australia Court for Misleading Rating (Bloomberg) Standard & Poor’s misled investors by giving its highest rating to securities whose value plunged during the global credit freeze, a judge ruled in an Australian case that may be cited in lawsuits around the world. S&P was “misleading and deceptive” in its rating of two structured debt issues in 2006, Federal Court Justice Jayne Jagot said in a summary of her ruling released today in Sydney. The Australian municipalities that brought the case are entitled to damages from the credit ratings company and two other defendants, ABN Amro Bank NV and Local Government Financial Services Pty., according to the ruling. Banks Going Low-Tech In Aftermath Of Sandy (WSJ) Sandy's devastating force has led many of the banks lying in its path to resort to old-fashioned, low-tech ways of serving their customers—including stocking up on cash and recording transactions by hand with ink and paper. Hulk Hogan: Bubba the Love Sponge and I 'are NOT friends and never will be friends' after sex tape leak (NYDN) They may have settled their sex tape brawl, but Hulk Hogan and Bubba the Love Sponge Clem aren’t rekindling their former friendship, the wrestling star claimed Friday. “Just for the record, Bubba and I are NOT friends and never will be friends, we are NOT friends,” Hulk Hogan said of the Florida shock jock in a Twitter message. 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Opening Bell: 12.12.16

Wall Street enjoys the Trump Effect; Bezos might crash Trump tech meetup; Uber begs riders not to have sex; and more.