Coronavirus: HSBC to speed up 35,000 job cuts as profits slump [BBC]
Europe's biggest bank reported a 65% drop in pre-tax profits to $4.3bn for the first half of the year - much steeper than analysts had forecast…. "Current tensions between China and the US inevitably create challenging situations for an organisation with HSBC's footprint.
"However, the need for a bank capable of bridging the economies of east and west is acute, and we are well placed to fulfil this role."

Wells Fargo Sold Assets to Stay Under Fed Asset Cap as Markets Lurched [WSJ]
The lender sold assets tied to financing that helps blue-chip companies, including Walmart Inc., manage their cash flow and pay their suppliers, the people said. Wells Fargo ramped up its sales of these assets more than usual in the second half of March and early April during the financial markets’ wildest days this year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, some of the people said…. Wells Fargo has narrowly stayed under the asset cap over the last two quarters, according to regulatory filings. It got a small reprieve in April, when the Fed lifted the restrictions so the bank could make loans through two federal small-business lending programs during the coronavirus crisis.

Pelosi: Democrats still at odds with GOP, White House on stimulus [UPI]
"We have been for the $600. They have a $200 proposal, which does not meet the needs of America's working families," Pelosi said, after saying that President Donald Trump is standing in the way of the stimulus package being passed.
"It's a condescension quite, frankly," she added. "Because they're saying, 'They really don't need it; they're just staying home because they make more money at $600.' So the idea that they made a proposal is really not actually factual…."
Pelosi also said she did not have faith that an agreement would be reached soon, anticipating Republicans would not support the $600 plan.

Fed's Kashkari suggests 4-6 week shutdown; says U.S. Congress can spend big on coronavirus relief [Reuters]
“If we don’t do that and we just have this raging virus spreading throughout the country with flare-ups and local lockdowns for the next year or two, which is entirely possible, we’re going to see many, many more business bankruptcies,” Kashkari said.
“That’s going to be a much slower recovery for all of us….”
Kashkari [stresses] both the high level of domestic saving and historically low interest rates…. “If we get the economy growing, we will be able to pay off the debt,” Kashkari added.

Fintech Varo Money Gets Rare Green Light to Become Bank [WSJ]
The national charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency marks one of the first granted to a fintech company…. Fintech companies usually partner with banks to provide banking services rather than applying for their own bank charters….
Traditional banks and state regulators have largely opposed fintech companies’ applications for regulatory charters. A federal judge ruled last year that the OCC lacks authority to provide national charters designed for fintechs, but Varo wasn’t affected because it applied for a full-service bank charter.

Lord & Taylor Files for Bankruptcy as Retail Collapses Pile Up [NYT]
The chain was acquired last year by the clothing rental start-up Le Tote in an unusual $100 million deal. Now Le Tote and Lord & Taylor are both seeking Chapter 11 protection from their creditors in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia…. The chief executive of Hudson’s Bay had said that the chain was in the fraught “middle” space among retailers — neither high-end luxury nor discount apparel.

Crypto Hedge Fund Neural Capital Closes After Losing Half Its Money [CoinDesk]
The sources said the fund’s crypto-assets were liquidated in December and some cash is still being held up in escrow, months longer than expected…. It joins a horde of funds to close in 2020, shy of the three-year mark, after forming around the time of the crypto boom of 2017 — notably, Adaptive Capital, Prime Factor Capital and Tetras Capital.

Stock Splits Pay Off—on the Rare Occasions They Occur [WSJ]
Stocks in the S&P 500 tend to rise 5% in the year following share splits, including 2.5% immediately following the announcement, according to research from Nasdaq Inc. on splits between 2012 and 2018….
Shares of Apple Inc. got a big bounce after the tech giant revealed plans late Thursday to execute a 4-for-1 stock split later in August….
After the split, Apple’s influence on the Dow will shift from being the most consequential to the middle of the pack…. Had Apple split its stock at the end of last year, the Dow would be off about 10% in 2020, compared with the 7.4% decline it currently registers, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Corporate Insiders Pocket $1 Billion in Rush for Coronavirus Vaccine [NYT]
After announcing positive developments, including support from the government, in their efforts to fight Covid-19… insiders from at least 11 companies — most of them smaller firms whose fortunes often hinge on the success or failure of a single drug — have sold shares worth well over $1 billion since March…. Senior officials appear to be pouncing on opportunities to cash out while their stock prices are sky high. And some companies have awarded stock options to executives shortly before market-moving announcements about their vaccine progress….
Some officials at the Department of Health and Human Services have grown concerned about whether companies including Vaxart are trying to inflate their stock prices by exaggerating their roles in Warp Speed, a senior Trump administration official said. The department has relayed those concerns to the Securities and Exchange Commission….

Trump has lost the financial support of some of the billionaires who bankrolled his 2016 campaign — take a look at who's dropping out in 2020 [BI]
Not only does Trump have fewer billionaire donors overall than his opponent Joe Biden, he also lost the financial support of a handful of his 2016 donors…. Billionaire Peter Thiel, who was one of Trump's biggest backers in 2016, has not donated so far in 2020…. Investor Carl Icahn gave $200,000 to Trump before the 2016 election but hasn't donated to the president's reelection bid…. [Stephen] Feinberg gave $339,400 to a Trump Super-PAC during the 2016 election cycle, but has not donated during the current cycle, per Forbes….
The Mercer family hasn't given anything towards Trump's reelection bid and isn't expected to…. It is unknown why the Mercers withdrew their financial support from Trump, but it could have something to do with the notoriety the typically-reclusive family received after bankrolling Trump's first campaign….

Free lunch! Bosses lure bankers back where they can see them [Reuters]
As part of its return-to-work process, Goldman Sachs is offering to feed staff at the headquarters of its international business in London, where just a handful of nearby food outlets have reopened…. UBS is treating its London-based traders to Friday night drinks to boost team spirit during its gradual return to the office, another two sources said.

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