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.

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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!

zoom

Opening Bell: 1.12.21

The real Zoom; the wrong Signal; the lost passwords; the thing they should have been doing all along; 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!

Opening Bell: 04.04.12

Chinese Premier Blasts Banks (WSJ) In an evening broadcast on state-run China National Radio, Mr. Wen told an audience of business leaders that China's tightly controlled banking system needs to change. "Let me be frank. Our banks earn profit too easily. Why? Because a small number of large banks have a monopoly," said Mr. Wen, according to the transcript of the program on the broadcaster's website. "To break the monopoly, we must allow private capital to flow into the finance sector." Regulators Expected to Penalize JPMorgan Over Lehman Collapse (NYT) The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is expected this week to file a civil case against JPMorgan. The bank is expected to settle the Lehman matter and pay a fine of approximately $20 million...The Lehman action stems from the questionable treatment of customer money — an issue that has been at the forefront of the recent outcry over MF Global. JPMorgan was also intimately involved in the final days of that brokerage firm. The trading commission is expected to accuse JPMorgan of overextending credit to Lehman for two years leading up to its bankruptcy in 2008, the people briefed on the matter said. Fitch Ditched in Bond Dispute (WSJ) Fitch Group's new chief executive said Credit Suisse Group AG CSGN.VX -1.61% dropped the firm's rating from a mortgage-backed security because Fitch took a harsher view than two rivals that assigned triple-A ratings to the deal. "It was an 11th-hour thing when they decided which agency it would be to publicly rate it," said Paul Taylor, who took over this week as chief executive of Fitch Group, in an interview. "We had a materially different take." Mr. Taylor said Fitch Group, which includes credit-rating firm Fitch Ratings, had been compensated for its rating on the mortgage-backed deal. Fitch shared its differing view with investors after the deal closed Friday, publishing a report critical of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services and DBRS Ltd. for issuing triple-A ratings on the residential-mortgage-backed security issued by Credit Suisse. Fed Signals No Need for More Easing Unless Growth Falters (Bloomberg) “A couple of members indicated that the initiation of additional stimulus could become necessary if the economy lost momentum or if inflation seemed likely to remain below” 2 percent, according to minutes of their March 13 meeting released today in Washington. That contrasts with the assessment at the FOMC’s January meeting in which some Fed officials saw current conditions warranting additional action “before long.” Spanish Bond Sale Fizzles (WSJ) Spain sold a total of €2.589 billion ($3.43 billion) of the 4.4% January 2015, 4.25% October 2016 and 4.85% October 2020 bonds, against its €2.5 billion to €3.5 billion target. Wednesday's sale, brought forward by one day due to a national holiday on Thursday, brought Spain's 2012 bond issuance completion to almost 46% of the €86 billion gross bond issuance target. ‘Apple Fever’ Prompts Predictions of $1 Trillion Value (Bloomberg) “Apple fever is spreading like a wildfire around the world,” Brian White, the Topeka analyst, said in a report that initiated coverage of the company with a buy recommendation. White’s new 12-month target of $1,001 is the highest among the 45 analysts tracked by Bloomberg and represents a 59 percent increase over today’s closing price. He said Apple’s market value will eventually top $1 trillion. £200,000 bar bill trader, arrested in FSA probe (CityAM) Alex Hope, the 23 year-old trader who hit the headlines after spending £125,000 on a single bottle of champagne, has been arrested on suspicion of being involved in an unauthorised foreign exchange trading scheme. Hope, who claims to be a self made foreign exchange trader, became infamous when he ran up a £125,000 bar bill in one evening at a Liverpool nightclub. Most of this was spent on a single 99lb bottle of champagne...Hope's publicist last night confirmed that he had been arrested but said that he denies all allegations. His personal website describes him as “a name to watch out for in the city” and “an expert in the UK economy” who regularly "trades millions." It calls him a “talented, charismatic and thoroughly likeable man." SEC Puts Exchanges on Notice Over Computer-Driven Trades (Bloomberg) “The consequences of a big failure are so severe that the SEC should be paying close attention to these issues,” James Angel, a finance professor at Georgetown University’s business school in Washington, said in an e-mail. “No human system is perfect and eventually something will happen, so they also want policies and procedures in place for catching problems quickly and cleaning up the mess afterwards.” Ready for a rumble: Falcone vs. Icahn (NYP) Falcone, who has funneled a whopping $2.9 billion into LightSquared, is desperate to salvage his shaky investment amid a battle with federal regulators over building out the wireless network. Falcone has said both publicly and privately that bankruptcy is not an option. However, some LightSquared creditors, including Icahn, would rather put the company into bankruptcy as part of a plan that would give them equity stakes in the company and greater control over its future, sources said. The deadline for creditors to decide is fast approaching. Icahn and other owners of LightSquared’s $1.6 billion loan due 2014 have given the company until the end of April before they decide whether to put LightSquared into default for breaching some loan covenants tied to its customer contracts. ADP: 209,000 Jobs Added (WSJ) Private businesses hired at a modest rate in March close to what economists expected, according to a report released Wednesday. Private-sector jobs in the U.S. increased 209,000 last month, according to a national employment report published by payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc. and consultancy Macroeconomic Advisers. The gain was just above economists' median expectation of 200,000 contained in a survey done by Dow Jones Newswires. Occupy London Hinders Burrito Sales More Than Banker Bonuses (Bloomberg) The protesters were evicted from St. Paul’s on Feb. 28 and at least one restaurant found its bookings jump back to pre- occupied levels. Sales were down 40 percent to 50 percent while the camp was at St. Paul’s, resulting in two or three staff members losing their jobs, said Pollie Hall, events manager at the Paternoster Chop House. “This isn’t the corporate fat cats they were affecting, it was average working Joes,” said Hall, who said her customers were verbally abused by protesters and she was called a “devil- worshipping mason.” A wedding scheduled at the restaurant on the first day of the protest had to be moved. Mega ‘winner’: $105M tix stashed in this McDonald's (NYP) The Baltimore woman who claims to have one of three winning Mega Millions tickets now says it’s hidden somewhere in the McDonald’s restaurant where she works. Marlinde Wilson, 37, coyly wouldn’t reveal whether she had stashed the slip of paper behind the McFlurry machine or under the all-beef patties. “I’m waiting for things to calm down so I can go back to McDonald’s and get it. The people [at McDonald’s] are too excited. I want their heads to cool down before I go back,” she said.

Mmm...sunscreen. (Getty Images)

Layoffs Watch '16: Tudor Investment Corp.

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

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!