Biden selects Gensler for SEC chair, Rohit Chopra to lead CFPB [The Hill]
[President-elect Joe] Biden will nominate former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Gary Gensler to lead the SEC and Federal Trade Commission member Rohit Chopra to lead the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau], the transition announced…. Chopra, who Biden has put forward to lead the CFPB, helped Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) establish the office prior to her time serving in the upper chamber.

Yellen Will Urge Lawmakers to ‘Act Big’ to Avert a Protracted Downturn [WSJ]
“Economists don’t always agree, but I think there is a consensus now: Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now—and long-term scarring of the economy later,” Ms. Yellen says in the text of remarks to the Senate Finance Committee…. “Neither the President-elect, nor I, propose this relief package without an appreciation for the country’s debt burden. But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big.”

‘We Need to Stabilize’: Big Business Breaks With Republicans [NYT]
Tim Ryan, the chief executive of PWC, who said his firm was among those suspending donations to members who voted against certification, called for the country to come together. “I believe this is the best country in the world, and we can’t let all that go to hell in a handbasket,” he said…. “If we can’t come together, can’t stabilize, or if it got worse, it wouldn’t be good for business….”
“It’s not just a break with Trump but potentially with the Republican Party,” said Richard Edelman, chief executive of the global corporate communications firm Edelman. “It’s not OK what’s going on in America, and businesspeople are going to hold you to account.”

China’s Growth Beats Estimates as Economy Powers Out of Covid [Bloomberg]
China’s economy roared back to pre-pandemic growth rates in the fourth quarter as its industrial engines fired up to meet surging demand for exports, pushing the full-year expansion beyond estimates and propelling its global advance…. That leaves the world’s second-largest economy driving global growth and potentially passing U.S. GDP sooner than previously expected…. The revival makes China the only major global economy to have expanded last year….

Office Depot Rebuffs Takeover Offer From Staples [WSJ]
ODP has concluded that a sale of its retail and consumer-facing e-commerce operations to Staples or a joint venture is preferable to a full takeover, according to a letter sent by ODP’s chairman to an official of the private-equity firm that controls Staples. It said in the letter, seen by The Wall Street Journal, that such a deal would afford the same cost savings as a full-company sale but be less likely to attract prolonged regulatory scrutiny.
Staples’ recent bid marks the third time it has tried to acquire its main bricks-and-mortar rival.

Covid-19’s Blow to Business Travel Is Expected to Last for Years [WSJ]
Delta Air Lines Inc. Chief Executive Ed Bastian this past week said on an investor call that the airline’s recent customer surveys forecast around 70% of pre-pandemic corporate travel will resume by 2023, including international trips.
In the near term, the travel business still faces painful adjustments. “Perhaps by the end of 2021, our assessment is that domestic business could be in the range of down 50% to 60%” from the pre-pandemic level, Southwest Airlines Co. CEO Gary Kelly said at an industry conference last month.

Singapore Exchange Hosts Whisky-Linked Securities [Wealth Briefing Asia]
Rare Cask Holdings Pte, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PrimePartners Corporate Finance Holdings, today said that it had listed asset backed securities, linked to casks of whisky, on Singapore’s Hg Exchange.
The digital ABS will enable accredited investors to own a portion of the portfolio of “Casks of Distinction” until their maturity and bottling…
“The first trade of Scotch Whisky on Liv-ex was 16 bottles of Macallan Highland Single Malt Reflexion in 2016 for £495 per bottle. Just two years later, the same whisky traded at £600 per bottle - cementing a 21.2 per cent return over a two-year period. Now in 2020, that same bottle has a market price of £725 – another 20 per cent increase over two years.”

Jamie Lynn Spears blames Elon Musk and Tesla for killing her cats [CNN]
"We have now lost — I don't want to tell you how many cats — because they don't hear the Tesla crank and unfortunate things happen and it's really devastating and tragic for everyone involved," she said in her Instagram post, according to multiple news reports that preserved the video.
"Elon Musk, let's figure this out," she said. "You owe me a couple cats."

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MarkCarneySexPistol

Opening Bell: 8.2.18

BoE pushing rates; China pushing back, Elon Musk just pushing; "Masturdating"; and more!

Getty Images

Opening Bell: 4.21.17

Goldman doing a little Brexit of its own; Deutsche Bank comes first in something; Elon Musk is OK with being a robot's house cat; and more.

Larry Kudlow Returns

Opening Bell: 7.27.20

COVID checks; SPACs splash out; Manhattan still deserted; the Maureen Dowd-Elon Musk interview no one needed or asked for; and more!

By AntanaCoins (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 10.13.20

Fodder for China virus conspiracy theories; not-so-Perfect Home for sale; SPACs SPACs SPACs SPACs; and more!

Source: AP

Opening Bell: 5.1.17

Warren Buffett's cash is burning a hole in his pocket; company wellness programs target sales; a mysterious cat-shaver in Virginia; and more.

Opening Bell: 04.12.12

Buffett Feasts On Goldman Scraps (WSJ) Details of one trade in particular have recently caused a stir in the market. In November, Goldman sold about $85 million of loans in troubled newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises Goldman sold the debt at about 65 cents on the dollar, having bought it months before at around 80 cents, resulting in a loss of at least $13 million. The buyer: a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., according to several people familiar with the matter. Mr. Buffett has since made a tidy paper profit on the loans, which are now worth about 82 cents on the dollar, the people said. Jim Chanos: Chinese Banks ‘Great Shorts,’ Won’t Be Broken Up (CNBC) Chanos, the head of Kynikos Associates, has been betting against China — despite its role as a global economic leader — primarily because he believes the country is overbuilt and does not have the internal demand to support its ambitious growth plans. Nowhere has that trend been more apparent than in the banking system. "If you looked at the performance of the banks over the last two years...they have been great shorts," Chanos said. "They have been going down — they're down 30 percent over the last two years." George Soros: Exceptional Measures Needed to Save EU (FT) "Other countries have gone through similar experiences. Latin American countries suffered a lost decade after 1982, and Japan has been stagnating for a quarter of a century; both have survived. But the European Union is not a country and it is unlikely to survive. The deflationary debt trap threatens to destroy a still-incomplete political union," he wrote. Blackstone President To Raise For Obama (Morning Money) "Tony James, the president of Blackstone Group LP, has agreed to hold a fundraiser for... Obama’s re-election campaign, according to two people familiar...By agreeing to raise money for Obama, James has diversified Blackstone’s political bets for the November election. Blackstone Chairman Stephen Schwarzman has been raising money for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee." SEC, Goldman to Settle Research Case (Reuters) U.S. securities regulators are preparing to announce that Goldman Sachs will pay $22 million to settle allegations the bank did not have adequate policies to prevent research from being passed inappropriately to preferred clients, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. BlackRock's Street Shortcut (WSJ) BlackRock is planning to launch a trading platform this year that would let the world's largest money manager and its peers bypass Wall Street and trade bonds directly with one another. The electronic trading hub has the potential to reduce a lucrative revenue stream for investment banks at a time when their businesses are being squeezed by lackluster markets and new regulations put in place to curb risk in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The trading platform would be run by the New York-based company's BlackRock Solutions arm and offer 46 clients—including sovereign-wealth funds, insurance companies and other money managers—the ability to trade in corporate bonds, mortgage securities and other assets, company executives say. Under the plan, the platform would seek to match buyers and sellers of the same securities, in a process known as "crossing trades." BlackRock Solutions would charge a small fee for the service that would be much lower than Wall Street's trading commissions. New Yorker breaks up subway scuffle, snacks in hand (NYDN) Sonder, 24, played the role of hungry hero “two or three Thursdays ago” after hopping on an uptown 6 train at Spring St. The calm inside the subway car was shattered a minute later when a tussle broke out between a man and a woman. “I turned around and I saw these two kicking each other pretty viciously,” said the sturdy Sonder, who stands six-feet tall and weighs 200 pounds. “I stepped over and tried to see if I could help.” Mid Pringle, Sonder thrust himself between the pugilists. More chips were eaten, but no other punches or kicks were thrown. “I just got caught up in the moment,” said Sonder, who was also holding a bag of gummy bears during the incident. Dimon Vows Fight Moynihan Lost Over Claims From Mortgages (Bloomberg) “We are going to fight repurchase claims that pretend the steep decline in home prices and unprecedented market conditions had no impact on loan performance,” Dimon, chief executive officer of the New York-based lender, wrote in the April 4 letter. He’ll also oppose “securities claims brought by sophisticated investors who understood and accepted the risks.” Jobless Claims Post Jump; PPI Up, Trade Deficit Down (Reuters) Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 380,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's figure was revised up to 367,000 from the previously reported 357,000. Fur Flies in High-Stakes Airlifts of Animals by Lufthansa (Bloomberg) An African white rhinoceros peers through the bars of its Frankfurt compound, while across the floor a Madagascan chameleon inches around its vivarium and an Andean alpaca plucks hay from a bale. It’s not a scene from the city’s zoo but from Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Animal Lounge, a state-of-the-art complex that’s at the center of the German carrier’s plans to dominate the most specialized part of the $66 billion air-cargo industry. Lufthansa, Air France-KLM Group and Dubai-based Emirates, which transports thoroughbreds for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, horseracing’s leading owner, are competing in a high- stakes market. Premium profit margins come with the risk of an in-flight death involving a beloved family pet, top-ranked stallion or priceless panda. “It’s not like pharmaceuticals, where your main concern is the temperature,” said Animal Lounge Director Axel Heitmann. “If a bag of fish leaks it needs replacing with the right kind of water and the right oxygen. And if something goes wrong you can’t just hand a customer $1,000 and tell him to buy another pet. He wants the dog or cat he’s had for 10 years.” KKR Invests in China Cord Blood (WSJ) Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. will invest $65 million into China Cord Blood Corp., the country's largest operator of services for umbilical cord blood that is rich in stem cells, to capitalize on China's fast growing healthcare services industry. Police: Dealer tied 89 bags to penis, peed at the station (Philly) Police Corporal Christopher Eiserman said another officer was on routine patrol Friday when he pulled Ray Woods over for a broken rear light and found marijuana in his car. When the officer searched Woods before placing him in the police cruiser, he discovered "a large bulge" in the front of his pants, Eiserman said. Police say Woods actually had the balls to deny that there was any contraband down there. “He stopped him for the traffic violation and one thing led to another," Eiserman said. Back at the station, Eiserman said, police discovered that Woods had tied a large plastic bag around his penis that contained a whopping 89 small bags of suspected heroin and cocaine. Then things got messy. “I tried to remove it. Unfortunately, and I don't know if it was nervousness or not, but he started urinating all over," Eiserman said. While it wasn't exactly what Eiserman had in mind when he started his shift Friday, he couldn't help but chuckle at the ingenuity, or lack thereof, of street-level drug dealers. “In 14 years, I’ve seen it down their pants, in their a--, but I've never seen it tied to their penis," he said.

Opening Bell: 3.28.16

Dan Loeb warns Seven‐Eleven Japan; American Psycho is back; Cupcake the cat survives 260-mile, 8-day journey through the mail; 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!