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Steven Mnuchin’s Deal Staved Off Catastrophe. Can He Make Another One? [NYT]
His longevity seems to stem, in part, from his willingness to suck up to his boss. Lawrence Summers, who served as Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, has called Mnuchin perhaps “the greatest sycophant in cabinet history….” A Trump economic adviser told me, “I think obsequious is a good term to describe him….”
Nonetheless, he has succeeded, at least some of the time, in this country-protecting mission at which so many of the self-anointed bulwarks failed. “Mnuchin does seem to genuinely like Donald Trump, and yet he’s an objectively high-functioning person,” a former senior administration official, who worked closely with Mnuchin, says. “He’s probably the only person in the administration who’s both competent and completely loyal to the president.”

Gold’s Record High Gives New Life to Dollar Doomsayers [WSJ]
Gold has been a prime beneficiary of the Federal Reserve’s determination to leave borrowing costs at historically low levels to spur the economy after the shock of Covid-19…. The metal’s price surpassed $2,000 a troy ounce for the first time ever this quarter, a milestone in a bull market that some say began in 2015 and climbed to giddy heights after Covid-19 kneecapped the world economy this spring. Gold has room to keep rising, some say….
“It’s still mostly speculation,” said Simon Mikhailovich, co-founder of the Bullion Reserve. “To me, that’s not the point of owning gold.”

Stock Boom Gets Even Better for Banks [WSJ]
Underwriters are earning 4.9% of gross proceeds in the U.S. as fees so far this year. That is almost half a percentage point higher than the average over the prior five years, Dealogic figures show…. With many stock deals still to come—seven more U.S.-listed IPOs are lined up for this week, according to IHS Markit—investment banking is set to continue to be a silver lining for banks with big Wall Street arms in a difficult year.

Shares in HSBC rise 10% after China’s Ping An raises stake [MarketWatch]
Ping An’s move comes after a report on Sept. 19 in state-run newspaper the Global Times mentioned that HSBC was a potential candidate for inclusion in China’s “unreliable entity list.”
However, on Sept. 24, China’s Ministry of Commerce said the list — which seeks to punish firms, organizations or individuals that damage national security — isn’t targeted at any specific country or company and will be applied in accordance with the rules.

How Reality-TV Fame Handed Trump a $427 Million Lifeline [NYT]
Mr. Trump’s genius, it turned out, wasn’t running a company. It was making himself famous — Trump-scale famous — and monetizing that fame./By analyzing the tax records, The New York Times was able to place a value on Mr. Trump’s celebrity. While the returns show that he earned some $197 million directly from “The Apprentice” over 16 years — roughly in line with what he has claimed — they also reveal that an additional $230 million flowed from the fame associated with it.

TikTok, WeChat Security Threat Has Yet to Be Proven, Judges Say [Bloomberg]
The court decisions show that, while judges may agree with the notion that China poses a threat, the administration hasn’t yet shown that the apps themselves are a problem…. The emergency powers invoked by Trump don’t allow him to prohibit “information materials and personal communications,” given that TikTok is used mostly to share videos, photographs, art and news, the judge said. And it is “not plausible” that any of that content would fall under the nation’s Espionage Act, he said.

SEC Settles With Interface, Fulton Financial for Violations Related to EPS Reporting [WSJ]
Interface and Messrs. Bauer and Lynch didn’t admit or deny the SEC’s findings but agreed to pay penalties of $5 million, $45,000 and $70,000, respectively. The SEC also suspended the two men’s ability to practice before the commission as accountants, meaning they can’t participate in the financial reporting or audits of public companies. Mr. Bauer can apply for reinstatement after three years, and Mr. Lynch after one year, the SEC said….
Fulton, a Pennsylvania-based financial services company, agreed to pay a $1.5 million penalty without admitting or denying the regulator’s findings. It inaccurately reported its financial performance in late 2016 and early 2017, the SEC alleged.


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Opening Bell: 2.23.17

Mnuchin is optimistic; Einhorn, his wife and their putative pot of gold to split; Swedes want conjugal visits at work; and more.

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Opening Bell: 12.22.20

Soaking the rich sans legislation; Kelly Loeffler’s fantasy hardscrabble upbringing; an update on the worst love story in history; and more!

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Opening Bell: 12.3.20

Ackman arrives; Congresswoman finds something else Steve Mnuchin has been play-acting at; being a senator certainly doesn’t seem to keep David Perdue busy; and more!

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Opening Bell: 8.3.20

HSBC readying the pink slips; Kashkari pushes complete shutdown; Apple takes bite out of Dow; Mercers return to their hole; and more!

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Opening Bell 2.24.19

Sooo who gets to stay in the Presidential Suite at Mar-a-lago?

charles scharf

Opening Bell: 10.8.20

Charlie’s lament; Ackman SPAC-ing; TikTok twist; we couldn’t be more proud; and more!

By World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 9.2.20

TikTok tightrope; the Ackmanaissance accelerates; Swiss regulators to have a peek on Credit Suisse spying; Mick Mulvaney still awful; and more!

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Opening Bell 6.6.19

Next up: putting Robert Lighthizer’s stapler in Jello ...