How Bad Is Unemployment? ‘Literally Off the Charts’ [NYT]
The Labor Department said the economy shed more than 20.5 million jobs in April, sending the unemployment rate to 14.7 percent as the coronavirus pandemic took a devastating toll…. The damage has only grown since then: Millions more people have filed claims for unemployment benefits since the monthly data was collected in mid-April….
The only comparable period is when unemployment reached about 25 percent in 1933, before the government began publishing official statistics.

More Than 20 Million People Lost Their Jobs in April. The Dow Just Keeps Going Up. [Barron’s]
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures point to a higher open after payrolls data showed that 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs in April, pushing the unemployment rate up to 14.7%.... “Bottom line, we can analyze the internals every which way but when the jobs lost were due to a purposeful shutdown, it has a different context rather than if it was from a natural economic downturn,” writes Bleakley Advisory Group’s Peter Boockvar. “We need to shift the focus now to how many businesses will reopen in coming months and quarters and how many of these lost jobs will come back.”

Michael Hintze’s hedge fund hit hard by credit bets [FT]
Sir Michael’s CQS Directional Opportunities fund, which was managing more than $3bn in assets earlier this year, posted a double-digit decline in April, according to people familiar with its performance. It follows a 33 per cent loss in a turbulent March as managers were wrongfooted by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

No, Paul Tudor Jones Is Not Buying Bitcoin—He’s Buying Bitcoin Futures [Forbes]
Citing a letter to investors, Bloomberg broke a story earlier today that hedge fund luminary Paul Tudor Jones had purchased “a low single-digit” amount of bitcoin with his fund, Tudor Investment Corporation…. Only he didn’t buy the bitcoin directly on the spot market—he went through the derivatives market…. Jones is actually buying bitcoin futures, though it’s not clear whether these are cash-settled or physically-settled (in bitcoin), he points out. Moreover, Voell writes in the post that Jones (subjectively) ranked bitcoin in his letter as the worst safe haven when compared to financial assets, gold and cash (in that order).

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus files for bankruptcy as it struggles with debt and coronavirus fallout [CNBC]
The luxury department store chain had been struggling with competition from online rivals and dwindling cash before the outbreak. The health crisis exacerbated its problems, forcing it to furlough most of its 14,000 workers and close its 43 Neiman Marcus stores.
It is now the second major retailer to declare bankruptcy during the pandemic, following J. Crew’s filing earlier this week. It is likely not the last. J.C. Penney has also been exploring filing for bankruptcy.

Hedge fund blames U.S. meat processing ‘oligopoly’ for ‘excessive concentration, reduced competition and…a decline in resilience’ [MarketWatch]
Tim Bond, partner and portfolio manager at Odey Asset Management… told MarketWatch that John Tyson, the chairman of Tyson Foods, “only has his own company to blame, along with the three other companies that constitute the oligopoly controlling 85% of U.S. meat processing,” after industry consolidation meant there were fewer larger processing plants, which now find themselves struggling to cope with the impact of coronavirus.
“The industry is a poster child for the trend towards excessive concentration, reduced competition and — as we are now discovering — a decline in resilience,” said Bond.

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez end their quest to buy the Mets [N.Y. Post/Thornton]
That decision was reached after negotiations with potential partners failed to materialize and it became clear that the Wilpons’ reluctance to part with SNY makes it almost impossible for anyone without many billions of dollars to afford owning the team….. “[Steve] Cohen was going to do it, sure,” one banker close to the situation said. “But there is no way this team trades now without SNY. The Wilpons can play hardball as much as they want but no one can afford to own this team without the TV revenue. It literally doesn’t add up.”

Zoom, Xoom, Züm: Why Does Every Start-Up Sound Fast Now? [NYT]
Fast-sounding start-ups, it seems, have bloomed. There’s Zoomd, Zoomi, Zumi, Zoomy, Zoomies, Zoomin, Zoomvy, Zoomly and Zoomph. Zoom.ai offers virtual assistants, Xoom is a payments service, and Zumobi does mobile content marketing. Tractor Zoom, in Urbandale, Iowa, says it is revolutionizing the acquisition of farm equipment at auction….. She did a search and found 575 live trademarks that included “zoom” or “xoom.”
“I’m sure they all thought they were the only one,” Ms. Friedman said.

Related

tiffany

Opening Bell: 6.5.20

Unemployment falls; bankruptcies rise; Slack ain’t Zoom; Musk v. Bezos; Ken Griffin buys a painting; and more!

Uh, where is everybody? where did they go? this is a long caption. really long. does it wrap? By Kevin Hutchinson (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 5.26.20

Stocks jump; unemployment, too; New York commercial real estate not so much; Hertz dies; rats! and more!

polarcave

Opening Bell: 5.11.20

No negative rates; no joy for private equity in retail; no PPP money for restaurants that don’t exist; no privacy at work anymore; no ice cream for you; and more!

nikola truck

Opening Bell: 11.10.20

FTC expects Zoom to be around in 20 years; investors just realized COVID is still bad; Nikola doesn’t report revenue because it doesn’t have any; and more!

goldbars

Opening Bell: 6.11.20

Stocks falls with unemployment claims; New York could literally pave its streets with gold; “Elon making noise;” and more!

Mmm...sunscreen. (Getty Images)

Layoffs Watch '16: Tudor Investment Corp.

Paul Tudor Jones has asked a number of employees to clean out their desks.

Opening Bell: 01.04.13

SEC Drops Case Against Ex-Berkshire Exec Sokol (Reuters) The U.S. securities regulator has decided not to take action against David Sokol, once considered a possible candidate for the top job at Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, Sokol's lawyer told Reuters. In 2011, Buffett said Sokol violated the company's insider trading rules to score a $3 million windfall profit on shares of U.S. chemicals maker Lubrizol, which rose by nearly a third after Berkshire Hathaway announced it would buy the company. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating Sokol's investment in Lubrizol shortly after Sokol resigned from Berkshire Hathaway. Sokol's lawyer Barry Wm. Levine told Reuters late on Thursday that he was informed that the SEC had wrapped up its probe and decided not to take action against Sokol. "SEC has terminated its investigation and has concluded not to bring any proceedings against Sokol," said Levine, a lawyer at legal firm Dickstein Shapiro. Sokol has been "completely cleared" as there was no evidence against his client, Levine said. Cohen’s SAC Tops Most Profitable List Amid Insider Probes (Bloomberg) SAC Capital International, Cohen’s flagship fund, was the world’s most-profitable hedge fund in the first 10 months of 2012, earning $789.5 million for Cohen, 56, and his managers, according to Bloomberg Markets’ annual ranking of hedge funds...SAC Capital International is No. 1 not because of performance; it ties for No. 86 on that measure, with a 10 percent return in the Markets ranking of the 100 top-performing funds. Rather, the fund earned the most money because Cohen charges some of the highest fees on Wall Street. While most funds impose a 1 to 2 percent management fee and then take 15 to 20 percent of the profits, Cohen levies 3 percent and as much as 50 percent, according to investors. Geithner's Planned Departure Puts Obama In A Tough Spot (Reuters) The Treasury Department said Geithner would stick to his previously announced schedule to stay until sometime around the Jan. 21 inauguration. Obama chose Geithner to lead the just-ended negotiations with Congress to avert the Dec. 31 fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax hikes that threatened to push the economy back into recession. But the deal, which preserved most of the Bush-era tax breaks for Americans, sets up a series of crucial fiscal deadlines by delaying automatic spending cuts until March 1 and not increasing the government's borrowing limit. That puts Obama in the tough spot of nominating another Treasury secretary and asking the Senate to approve his choice when lawmakers are in the middle of another budget battle. Egan Jones Says Further US Downgrades Unlikely (CNBC) "This latest round (of negotiations) indicates a sign of health. You have a major ideological clash going on in Congress and many people uncomfortable with it, but it is part of democracy. The more positive light is that we actually have a deal and can move forward," Sean Egan, managing director of Egan-Jones told CNBC on Friday. "We've gotten a lot more comfortable about the U.S. and we probably won't take additional negative actions for the foreseeable future," he added. Almost All of Wall Street Got 2012 Market Calls Wrong (Bloomberg) From John Paulson’s call for a collapse in Europe to Morgan Stanley’s warning that U.S. stocks would decline, Wall Street got little right in its prognosis for the year just ended. Paulson, who manages $19 billion in hedge funds, said the euro would fall apart and bet against the region’s debt. Morgan Stanley predicted the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index would lose 7 percent and Credit Suisse foresaw wider swings in equity prices. All of them proved wrong last year and investors would have done better listening to Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein, who said the real risk was being too pessimistic. The ill-timed advice shows that even the largest banks and most-successful investors failed to anticipate how government actions would influence markets. Unprecedented central bank stimulus in the U.S. and Europe sparked a 16 percent gain in the S&P 500 including dividends, led to a 23 percent drop in the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, paid investors in Greek debt 78 percent and gave Treasuries a 2.2 percent return even after Warren Buffett called bonds “dangerous.” Fed Divided Over Bond Buys (WSJ) A new fault line has opened up at the Federal Reserve over how long to continue bond-buying programs aimed at spurring stronger economic growth. Minutes released Thursday of the Fed's Dec. 11-12 policy meeting showed that officials were divided. Some wanted to continue the programs through the end of 2013, others wanted to end them well before then and a minority wanted to halt the programs right away. Swiss Bank Pleads Guilty In Probe (WSJ) In the latest blow to Switzerland's centuries-old banking practices, the country's oldest bank pleaded guilty to a criminal conspiracy charge in the U.S. on Thursday and admitted that it helped wealthy Americans for years avoid tens of millions of dollars in taxes by hiding their income from secret accounts abroad. Wegelin & Co., founded in 1741, is the latest Swiss bank to reach a deal with U.S. prosecutors as they crack down on Americans who kept their money in secret accounts overseas and the entities which helped them. Three Wegelin bankers also were charged criminally in the U.S. last year. Subway worker tells customer to 'fight me like a man,' during confrontation over ketchup (WFTV) Luis Martinez said he stopped by a Subway shop in a Walmart on South Semoran Boulevard late Tuesday night to get something to eat. He said he ordered a Philly cheese steak the way he always does. "American cheese, onions and ketchup," said Martinez. Lawrence Ordone was working behind the counter. "He wants ketchup on the Philly cheese steak and I have never put -- we don't even have ketchup at Subway -- I've never put ketchup on anybody's sandwich," said Ordone. Martinez said he didn't want the sandwich without the ketchup and that a man next to him in line offered to buy the sandwich. Ordone said that Martinez mouthed off at the man. Martinez denied saying anything, but neither he or Ordone disputed what they said happened next. "That's when I flew off the handle," said Ordone. "He shoved a chair to the side, like knocked it down to come at me, and I said, 'This is going to be serious,'" said Martinez. "I said, 'Let's go, fight me like a man,'" said Ordone. "I was scared. Next thing, I'm thinking a gun's going to come out," said Martinez. Ordone said he blocked the customer so he couldn't get out. "He threatened to kill me in front of my wife," said Martinez. Martinez called 911, but by the time police got there the Subway worker had already left. Ordone said he was fired from his job Wednesday, and that he is baffled the confrontation started over something as simple as ketchup. "There's ketchup three aisles down. You can go buy your own ketchup, and I promise to God, you can put as much as you want on it and nobody's going to say nothing," said Ordone. Economy Adds 155,000 Jobs (WSJ) Rebuilding following superstorm Sandy, which struck the Northeast in late October, likely added to job growth last month. Nationally, employment in the construction sector advanced by 30,000 jobs. Meanwhile, manufacturing payrolls increased by 25,000 and health-care jobs grew by 45,000. JPMorgan Faces Sanction for Refusing to Provide Madoff Documents (Bloomberg) The Treasury Department’s inspector general has threatened to punish JPMorgan Chase for failing to turn over documents to regulators investigating the bank’s ties to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Inspector General Eric Thorson gave the largest U.S. bank a Jan. 11 deadline to cooperate with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency probe or risk sanctions for impeding the agency’s oversight. JPMorgan, according to the Dec. 21 letter, contends the information is protected by attorney-client privilege. Rich Catch a Break With Budget Deal Providing Deductions (Bloomberg) “The increases in taxes and limits to deductions are more favorable than expected,” said Christopher Zander, partner and head of wealth planning at Evercore Partners Inc. (EVR)’s wealth management unit. “They could have been worse for high net-worth taxpayers.” Regulators to ease up on banks to get credit flowing (Reuters) Banks will get more time to build up cash buffers to protect against market shocks under a rule change that could help free up credit for struggling economies, a European regulatory source said. The Basel Committee, made up of banking supervisors from nearly 30 countries, is expected to announce the revision on Sunday to its "liquidity coverage" ratio or LCR, part of efforts to make banks less likely to need taxpayer help again in a crisis. The change comes after heavy pressure from banks and some regulators, who feared Basel's original version would suck up too much liquidity at a time when ailing economies are badly in need of a ready supply of credit to finance growth. 'Stripper' arrested after performance art leads to ruckus in Hallandale (SS) According to police and witnesses, Mena, 25, was first spotted standing and yelling in the middle of A1A outside her condo building along the 1800 block of South Ocean Drive about 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday. Noel von Kauffman, 40, said he was walking along the street when he noticed Mena trying to direct traffic while wearing a tank-top, cut-off jean shorts and tall boots...At some point, Mena picked up a traffic cone and threw it at a car driven by Dieter Heinrich, 49, of Dania Beach, according to an arrest report. The cone broke the car's side mirror, causing about $300 in damages, the report indicated. When Heinrich got out of his car, Mena allegedly spat in his face. Von Kauffman said he jumped in to help Heinrich, who had children in the back seat of his car. Mena scratched von Kauffman's wrist as the two men tried to restrain her and move her away from the busy roadway, according to the police report. After pinning her to the ground, von Kauffman said the woman first tried to say the incident was part of a television show and that everything was being caught on camera. Then she claimed she was a federal agent. Then she said she was friends with Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper and everyone involved would be in trouble, von Kauffman said.