White House to skip expected mid-year economic projections: Washington Post [Reuters]
The so-called mid-session review typically includes updated projections on unemployment, inflation, economic growth and other economic trends. But economic volatility amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic made such modeling difficult, two unnamed White House officials told the Post…. This year’s review will not include the economic projections, which budget experts told the Post had not been excluded since at least the 1970s, according to the report.

Consumer Spending Fell a Record 13.6% in April [WSJ]
The April decline was the steepest for records tracing back to 1959. Weak April spending adds to the evidence that the U.S. economy is in for a long, slow recovery….
“I definitely decided that big purchase was not going to happen until I have some revenue,” [Tracy Miller] said…. “I’m just trying to stay afloat and not spend a lot,” she said.

Peet’s Coffee IPO Raises $2.5 Billion [Bloomberg]
The coffee giant, carved out of the Reimann family’s investment firm JAB Holding Co., raised 2.3 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in an IPO that took just 10 days, condensing what’s usually a four-week process and attracting investor orders that exceeded the number of shares offered by multiple times.
Coffee consumption has remained resilient during the pandemic, moving from offices and cafes into people’s homes, according to JDE Peet’s, which bills itself as the world’s largest pure-play coffee group…. JDE Peet’s climbed 13% to 35.50 euros at 10:51 a.m. on Friday in its first day of trading in Amsterdam after earlier gaining as much as 17%. The company priced its shares at 31.50 euros each, according to a statement Friday, in the upper half of the marketed range giving it a market value of 15.6 billion euros.

C.D.C. Recommends Sweeping Changes to American Offices [NYT]
Upon arriving at work, employees should get a temperature and symptom check.
Inside the office, desks should be six feet apart. If that isn’t possible, employers should consider erecting plastic shields around desks.
Seating should be barred in common areas.
And face coverings should be worn at all times….
The recommendations run from technical advice on ventilation systems (more open windows are most desirable) to suggested abolition of communal perks like latte makers and snack bins…. Some border on the impractical, if not near impossible: “Limit use and occupancy of elevators to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.”

“It’s Like, ‘Fuck You, America’”: Aided by the Fed’s Cheap Money, Carl Icahn Is Exiting Herbalife and Making a Killing [Vanity Fair]
Now, thanks to the Federal Reserve, the billionaire buddy of Trump has another chance to reduce his stake in Herbalife in an ingenious way. He’s unlikely to get close to the $52 a share he got two years ago, but even a price in the low $40 per share represents a profit for the wily Icahn, who has said he paid an average price for his shares of around $20. The longtime investor is left dumbfounded by Icahn’s skills. “I thought he was going to get stuck holding the bag with this thing,” he tells me. “But he’s just brilliantly been able to kind of quietly exit without doing an open market transaction. He’s exiting at a premium, which is a very difficult thing to do in this kind of circumstance, which I find amazing.” He tells me he’s fairly certain the Fed’s actions in March and April were not designed to allow a multibillionaire to sell his stock back to a company at a profit. He says of Herbalife, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands but headquartered in Los Angeles, “They’re taking the money and using it to buy back the biggest insider, which is just, you know, it’s like, ‘Fuck you, America.’ I mean, it’s really bad.”

Billionaire Cliff Asness pegs AQR rebound on ‘largest opportunity ever’ in value stocks [FN]
Asness said he thought "we are in some kind of large bubble within stocks ... it has been excruciating to get here, I will not downplay it, but we've thrown everything we can at it and it looks like the largest opportunity ever in value, not a strategy that is broken going forward."
Value investing, he added, comprised "a fairly giant bubble. Unless we ever find something — it's not going to come from returns — but something of a story that really makes sense and is supported by the data why things are different now, we will be sticking with this like grim death, and like we have several other times in the past, we will win."

$350 USB Stick That Claims to Block 5G Is Actually a $6 Generic Thumb Drive [PC Mag]
The makers of the “5GBioShield” claim their USB stick can block electrical waves through a “proprietary holographic nano-layer catalyst” technology. It purportedly does this by “balancing” all the existing radiations around you to create a protective bubble 8 meters in diameter, even when the USB drive is unplugged…. Pen Test Partners… ordered the 5GBioShield, and found it's just a cheap unbranded USB stick. Sure, the product does have a cool crystal handle. However, PenTest Partners discovered you can buy identical-looking USB drives on the internet in bulk.
A teardown of the USB stick also revealed no holographic nano-layer catalyst technology. “First, we managed to pull the device off the crystal, which showed nothing other than an LED at the end of the stick, the same as the other ‘crystal’ USB keys we found made in (the Chinese city of) Shenzen. There were no additional components or any connections,” wrote company penetrator tester Phil Eveleigh in the report.



Opening Bell: 1.24.18

Steve Mnuchin graces Davos with his charm and beauty; London fundraiser bacchanal; Jay Powell confirmed; Town holds vigil for burned Taco Bell; and more!

JC Penney Whit walker

Opening Bell: 5.18.20

Jay Powell tells old people we’re screwed; J.C. Penney might be screwed; gold is definitely not screwed, but Elon Musk’s plan to nuke Mars into habitability is (although he’s in line for a consolation prize); and more!

dogecoin 2

Opening Bell: 3.5.21

Jay Powell doesn’t care about your stocks; Reddit ready to become Reddit meme stock; a vacation to make future vacations possible; and more!


Opening Bell: 7.14.20

An ‘incredible gift;’ oat milk investors; Ackman advances; and more!


Opening Bell: 11.20.20

Izzy Englander will have your money for five years or not at all; a parting gift from Jay Clayton; a subpoena for Ivanka; and more!

Former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg (Getty Images)

Opening Bell: 5.10.17

Greenberg won't see any more green; Hertz bet bites Icahn; Jimmy John denies humping shark in the nude; 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."

Opening Bell: 4.12.16

SEC charges Texas attorney general for stock scam; Goldman won't really pay $5.1 billion; Starbucks apologizes for labeling ‘DIABETES HERE I COME’ on Florida man’s coffee order;