Opening Bell: 10.2.18

Amazon ups minimum wage; Trump focusing on China; The Mooch getting actively active; Kinky goats can't stop licking; and more!
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Amazon to raise minimum wage to $15 for U.S. employees [Reuters]
The move comes at a time when the “Fight for Fifteen” movement — a union-led push for a $15 minimum wage — has been gaining traction in cities across the country.
Amazon, which became the second company to cross $1 trillion market value last month, on average paid employees $28,446 last year. The company is led by Jeff Bezos, who is the world’s richest man with a net worth of $150 billion, according to Forbes.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Bezos said. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

Bezos.Inferno

Trump Clears Deck for China Trade War With New Nafta Deal [Bloomberg]
U.S. negotiators clearly had China in mind when they hammered out the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement that Trump labeled a disaster.
The agreement’s rules of origin, which govern how much value of a car needs to be made in the region, have been touted by the Trump administration as a tool to keep out Chinese inputs and encourage production and investment in the U.S. and North America.

Hedge funds in the business of breaking up deals see big payoff, study finds [CNBC]
On average, so-called activist arbitrageurs create an extra, risk-adjusted, 5.7 percent bounce in the shares of acquirers in the 20 days following the activists' disclosures, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University and the University of Florida. On an annualized basis, the average gain in the period after the deal announcement to a resolution of an activist fight is about 5.5 percentage points higher than what shareholders in an acquirer would see without activist intervention, according to the researchers, led by Wei Jiang, Chazen Senior Scholar at Columbia.
"Our evidence indicates that activist M&A arbitrage serves as a governance remedy for acquiring firms' shareholders, as well as a profitable investment strategy for the activists themselves," the authors wrote.

Pfizer’s Departing C.E.O. Will Be Known for the Deals He Didn’t Complete [DealBook]
Mr. Read, an accountant by training, was outspoken in his defense of such deals. The United States tax code, which taxed American companies’ profits worldwide and at a higher rate than other countries, left his business at a disadvantage to foreign rivals, he argued. He said it was in his shareholders’ best interest to try and get the company the equivalent of a new passport.
“Our competitors don’t have to pay the penalty imposed on U.S. corporations bringing earnings back to America,” he wrote in a 2016 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. “We can invest less — because of a broken tax system.”
The attempted deals drew anger from both ends of the political spectrum. Hillary Rodham Clinton decried such transactions, which she said eroded the tax base. Donald Trump called Pfizer’s bid for Allergan “disgusting.”

The Mooch wants to help laid-off Toys ‘R’ Us workers [NYPost]
Laid-off Toys ‘R’ Us workers who have been trying to get the bankrupt company to pay them severance have a friend in Anthony Scaramucci — the short-lived White House communications director.
His hedge fund, SkyBridge, an investor in a company that invested in Toys ‘R’ Us’ debt, wants the firm to fork over some cash to a hardship fund for laid-off workers.
Last week, the Mooch encouraged Solus Alternative Asset Management to give up some dough, according to an e-mail exchange between him and Jim Baker of the Private Equity Stakeholder Project — an initiative that is advocating for the 33,000 workers who lost their jobs in June.

‘Aggressive’ Mountain Goats Are Thirsting For Human Pee And Sweat [HuffPo]
Washington have developed such a taste for human urine and sweat that they’re starting to cause problems. And now, wildlife officials are having them airlifted out of the park and away from areas where humans roam and pee.

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Opening Bell: 11.6.18 (Is Something Happening Today Edition)

Election day is here; China trade war still a thing; Amazon HQ2 qill be 2 HQ...2s; Woman blames boyfriend's wounds on possessed doll; and more!

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Opening Bell: 9.18.18

China ready to fire back on trade; Gary Cohn loves justice; People willing to bank with Amazon; Billionaire paying Elon Mush to shoot him to the moon; and more!

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Opening Bell: 11.27.17

CFPB succession drama is becoming a sick, sad joke; bitcoin is going up; Druckenmiller is betting the house on FANG stocks; the Mooch is at it again; and more.

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Opening Bell: 6.8.17

Bill Gross remains less than optimistic; Amazon wants to eat your lunch; Paul Singer is a “pain in the ass”; weed pizza; and more.

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Opening Bell: 12.15.17

JPMorgan likes the look of that there stock market; Deutsche Bank misses having the dirtiest bank in the world as its customer; maybe low wages lead to slow productivity, not vice versa?; finance bros dig crystals now; and more.

Opening Bell: 05.01.12

US Considers Notes That Float (WSJ) After a series of meetings early this week, Treasury officials will decide whether to start issuing floating-rate debt for the first time ever. Instead of the interest rate being fixed throughout the life of the notes, the rate would move up and down as overall rates move higher and lower. The change would be the first new addition to the Treasury's arsenal of debt products in 15 years. Analysts are widely expecting Treasury officials to sign off on the program. Fed Said to Criticize Banks on Risk Models in Stress Test (Bloomberg) The Federal Reserve criticized how some of the 19 largest U.S. banks calculated potential losses and planned dividends in this year’s stress tests, people with knowledge of the process said. The critiques will be part of feedback letters sent to the lenders this week that cover everything from data collection to risk measurement, said three of the people, who declined to be identified because communications with the Fed are private. Flaws included marking down all housing prices at the same rate, rather than matching them to specific regions, and planning dividends that could drain needed capital. Greeks To Protest Austerity In May Day Rallies (Reuters) Greece's two major private and public sector unions GSEE and ADEDY plan to hold a rally in Athens to mark the national holiday, while the Communist-affiliated PAME group was also scheduled to hold a separate rally. Police prepared for the violence that has come to mark many such rallies once demonstrators reach the main square in front of parliament, though Athens has not seen major clashes since an unpopular austerity bill was approved in February. Athens buses, trains and the subway came to a standstill as transport workers staged a 24-hour strike, while Greek seamen held a four-hour stoppage. Public sector offices were shut and hospitals worked on emergency staff. Occupy Wall Street denies link to May Day white powder bank scare (AP) Police say seven envelopes were sent Monday to several Wells Fargo branches, a JP Morgan Chase branch and an office building. Telephone calls to Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase were not immediately returned. Police say the suspicious envelopes caused evacuations of several bank branches, but no injuries were reported. Police had no suspects. Representatives at some of the banks involved told CBS News the envelopes contained a note stating "Happy May Day." The envelopes were sent on the eve of planned May Day protests around the country. Bill Dobbs, a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street, said the prank had nothing to do with their protest movement. He said the incidents distract from the May 1 events. Man Group Has $1 Billion Outflows (Bloomberg) The company reported that net cash fell 56 percent to $250 million in the three months ended in March, raising concern that it’s spending too much money at a time when profits are falling. Finance Director Kevin Hayes said on a call with analysts that staff bonuses, taxes and loans to some of Man Group’s funds accounted for the lower cash reserve. Calif. Man Sues BMW For Persistent Erection (CBS via Consumerist) enry Wolf of California is suing BMW America and aftermarket seatmaker Corbin-Pacific claiming his issue began after a four-hour ride on his 1993 BMW motorcycle, with a ridge like seat. Wolf is seeking compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, emotional distress and what he calls “general damage.” He said he’s had the erection non-stop for 20 months. And it comes with another side effect: The lawsuit says Wolf is “now is unable to engage in sexual activity, which is causing him substantial emotional and mental anguish.” Icahn: No feud with Phil (NYP) Investor Carl Icahn yesterday downplayed the notion that he’s in a feud with hedge fund bigwig Phil Falcone over wireless venture LightSquared. Speaking at an activist investing conference in Midtown, Icahn said newspapers that have been writing about his standoff with Falcone “are making this into this huge shoot-out that it’s really not.” “We don’t call the shots in that deal,” he said at the conference, hosted by 13D Monitor, when asked about his plans for LightSquared. “We have one seat on the committee out of six.” Groupon Board Regrouping (DJ) The young daily deals company, which went public just six months ago to much fanfare, is adding financial expertise to its board as it tries to clean up an accounting mess that rapidly deflated its stock. Groupon yesterday appointed financial heavyweights Daniel Henry, chief financial officer of American Express, and Robert Bass, vice chairman of Deloitte, as directors. The two are replacing Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is stepping down, and venture capitalist Kevin Efrusy, who won’t stand for re-election. Analysts See Record S&P 500 (Bloomberg) FYI: Analysts predict U.S. shares will rise enough this year to boost the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a record, even as Wall Street strategists say the best is already over for American equities. Judge rejects 'Hail Mary' motion for diplomatic immunity from DSK (NYP) The former International Monetary Fund chief tried to claim the protection in the civil case filed against him last August by chambermaid Nafissatou Diallo, who claims he sexually assaulting her in a "violent and sadistic attack" in the Midtown Sofitel hotel nearly one year ago. DSK was cleared of all criminal charges in the incident, but not before resigning from his post as chief of the IMF. “Confronted with well-stated law that his voluntary resignation from the IMF terminated any immunity which he enjoyed...Mr. Strauss-Khan, threw [legally speaking that is] his own version of a Hail Mary pass,” Judge Douglas McKeon wrote in his decision, handed down today. DSK did not claim immunity when Manhattan DA Cy Vance was pursuing the criminal charges against him, McKeon pointed out. “Mr. Strauss-Khan cannot eschew immunity in an effort to clear his name only to embrace it now in an effort to deny Ms. Diallo the opportunity to clear hers,” McKeon wrote. McKeon’s decision began with a quotation inserted in to the IMF’s 2011 annual report: “The reputation of a thousand years may be determines by the conduct of one hour."

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Opening Bell: 9.5.17

Ray Dalio's Principles make triumphant return; initial coin offerings boosted by Paris Hilton, banned by China; Pope Francis saw a Jewish shrink to "clarify some things"; and more.

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Opening Bell: 1.30.17

JPMorgan borrows a page from Amazon; John Taylor returns; French hamsters are taking up cannibalism; and more.