Investors Shun U.K. Stocks as Brexit Deadline Approaches [WSJ]
“Sentiment has really soured toward the U.K.,” said Patrick Spencer, managing director at U.S. investment firm Baird. “It’s basically universally hated and under-owned….”
“The Covid situation has definitely hit us as hard really as anybody else, [and] the nature of our economy being heavily service-driven and consumer-driven will be definitely damaged more than an export or manufacturing economy,” said James Athey, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “In the very near term, I would say the U.K. doesn’t look particularly attractive.”

Soros’s Money Managers in U.K. Poised for $38 Million Payday [Bloomberg]
SFM U.K. Management, which increased its employees to about 20 last year, has set aside 13.9 million pounds for 2020 under compensation commitments that vest over several years, up from an earmarked payment of 8.4 million pounds in 2019. The firm’s money managers separately received 34.5 million pounds for their performance last year after profits more than doubled, according to filings.

Goldman Sachs has just boosted its S&P 500 target. Here’s why [MarketWatch]
“The divisive U.S. presidential campaign was actually a backdrop to the main event: a public health crisis that has tragically claimed 240,000 lives in the U.S. since it began. However, within less than a year, a vaccine has been discovered,” they say…. “When thinking about the potential resolution of today’s record valuation dispersion, investors often recall the unwind of the tech bubble, which was characterized by a two-year bear market and large negative absolute returns of the previous market leaders. More often than not, however, value rallies tend to occur in rising markets during which high valuation stocks also rise but are outpaced by the lowest valuation firms. This ‘catch up’ dynamic is what we expect will take place in coming months as a vaccine is approved and distributed,” the strategists say.

Ackman places new bet against corporate credit [FT]
“I hope we lose money on this next hedge,” Mr Ackman said. “We’re in a treacherous time generally and what’s fascinating is the same bet we put on eight months ago is available on the same terms as if there had never been a fire and on the probability that the world is going to be fine….” Pershing is up 44 per cent, year to date, having been down 7 per cent before the successful bet.

TikTok Asks Court to Extend U.S. Government’s Divestiture Deadline [WSJ]
The petition, filed by ByteDance Ltd. late Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, said the U.S. government’s decision to force a TikTok deal was “arbitrary and capricious” and denied the company due process under the law. The company said it had been in extensive discussions with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to address its concerns but that feedback had essentially stopped in recent weeks, even as the deadline approached.

Sale of J.C. Penney approved by bankruptcy court, giving the retailer a second chance [Dallas Morning News]
Penney will exit into an uncertain environment altered by the pandemic on top of secular changes that were already rapidly transforming the retail business, but the only other alternative to a sale was liquidation, the court concluded…. While Penney will have new debt, the reorganization wipes out about $5 billion in debt it had when it filed for Chapter 11. The company will exit bankruptcy later this month with almost 700 stores. Separately, 160 stores and six distribution centers that Penney owned will be transferred to first-lien lenders led by H/2 Capital to pay off debt. Penney will pay annual rent of about $156 million for the properties it used to own.

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Opening Bell: 5.13.20

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Opening Bell: 9.1.20

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Opening Bell: 08.29.12

Occupy Sets Wall Street Tie-Up As Protesters Face Burnout (Bloomberg) Occupy Wall Street, the global movement against inequality that ignited in Manhattan last year, will mark its first anniversary by trying to block traffic in the financial district and encircle the New York Stock Exchange. Planning for the Sept. 17 protest, dubbed S17, follows months of internal debate and flagging interest, according to interviews with organizers. The morning action may include attempts to make citizens’ arrests of bankers, and some activists intend to bring handcuffs, they said. “We are here to bring you to justice,” said Sean McKeown, a 32-year-old chemist and New York University graduate who’s helping organize the demonstration. “We’re offering you the chance to repent for your sins.” HSBC Marks Plaza For Eviction Of Hong Kong Occupy Protest (Bloomberg) HSBC is marking out the area in its Hong Kong ground floor plaza that has been occupied by protesters for more than 10 months ahead of their eviction by court-authorized officers. Hong Kong’s High Court has issued a writ of possession empowering a bailiff to re-possess the site, according to an internal HSBC memo obtained by Bloomberg News. Gareth Hewett, a HSBC spokesman, confirmed the content of the memo. “The process by which the bank takes back the plaza has reached a new stage and is now in the hands of the bailiff, whose job is to execute the writ,” according to the memo. The Occupy Central protest in Hong Kong, one of the longest-running demonstrations sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement, numbered about 50 at the peak. They were ordered by the court to evacuate by 9 p.m. on Aug. 27. Stamford salts aim salvo at hedgie’s hq (NYP) Ray Dalio, founder of $130 billion asset manager Bridgewater Associates, is not making friends in his company’s new hometown of Stamford, Conn. Residents and officials of the coastal city are up in arms after early development of a piece of an 80-acre plot of land — now Bridgewater’s proposed waterfront home — resulted in the surprise demolition of part of a historic 14-acre boat yard. The demolition was specifically prohibited by Stamford officials...“To me, this is the latest outrage by Governor Malloy — giving a water view to a hedge-fund operator and taking away a boat yard that serviced well over 1,000 boats and boaters each year,” said Randy Dinter, a boat owner and member of the group Save Our Boatyard, founded by Maureen Boylan after the boat yard demolition. As Europe's Banks Stall, Companies Look Afar (WSJ) The increased search for alternative sources of funding is yet another indication that Europe's debt crisis is far from over. That could intensify in the fall, when the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund assess whether Greece has done enough to cut its debts. At the same time, some economists expect Spain to seek a rescue package to cut its own debt. Argentines Plan to Shoot Gulls to Save the Whales (NYT) What began as bizarre bird behavior has turned into something out of a horror film for threatened whales in Argentina, where seagulls have learned that pecking at the whales' backs can get them a regular seafood dinner. Seagull attacks on southern right whales have become so common now that authorities are planning to shoot the gulls in hopes of reducing their population...Seagulls around the city of Puerto Madryn discovered about a decade ago that by pecking at the whales as they come up for air, they can create open wounds. Then, each time the whales surface, it's dinner time: Gulls swoop down and dig in, cutting away skin and blubber with their beaks and claws. Marcelo Bertellotti's answer: Shoot the gulls that display this behavior with air rifles and hunting guns, and recover each downed bird before they are eaten along with the ammunition, causing still more damage to marine life. His "100-day Whale-Gull Action Plan" was approved by the government of Chubut, and provincial officials came out Tuesday in defense of it. Ackman: $900M Penney markdown (NYP) Activist investor Bill Ackman has been beating the drums for a sale of mall owner General Growth Properties in recent days, but it’s his stake in JCPenney that’s really causing him grief. The hedge-fund manager confessed to investors that his 18 percent stake in Penney had lowered returns by about $900 million this year. In the latest quarterly investor letter of his $10.5 billion Pershing Square firm, he said Penney “has cost us more than nine percentage points of gross return this year.” The hedge fund lost 6.4 percent in the quarter, after the retailer’s shares slid from their high of $43 in February. Asia's Tide Of Cash Hems Policy Makers (WSJ) Foreign investors are pumping money into several Asian economies, pushing up currencies, stocks and property prices, but threatening to complicate efforts by the region's policy makers to soften an economic slowdown. Investment flows to Southeast Asia and South Korea have swelled in recent months, and overseas money has even crept back into India, as global markets calmed and risky assets became popular again. Analysts expect such markets to get a further boost if central banks in the U.S. and Europe step in with additional measures to bolster their economies. Burglary Suspect Blamed for Thousands of Chicken Deaths (WBOC) Authorities say a Delmar man is facing burglary and related charges following allegations that he got drunk and turned off the power to three poultry houses, which led to the deaths of nearly 70,000 chickens. The Wicomico County Sheriff's Office reports that shortly after 9 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 25, a deputy responded to a reported incident at a poultry farm on the 32000 block of East Line Road in Delmar, Md. The deputy met with the property owner who stated that the electric power had been turned off to his three chicken houses on his property during the night. According to the property owner, this deprived the flock of food, water and cooling fans. As a result, nearly the entire flock was found deceased. Police said that when the property owner entered the control shed that controlled the power, he located an unknown man passed out on the floor of the shed, clad only in a T-shirt and boxer shorts. The man was also lying in a pool of his own urine and had a strong odor of alcohol coming from him, investigators said.

By Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 8.31.16

El-Erian sees September rate hike; The CIA has a venture capital firm; Paris targeting Brexit jobs; Police hunt for armed, naked candy bandit; 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!