Coinbase gets reference price of $250 per share from Nasdaq ahead of today’s direct listing [CNBC]
The reference price provided by Nasdaq reflects recent private market trades and input from investment bankers but does not indicate where the stock will open. This is Nasdaq’s first major direct listing. In the five significant direct listings that have taken place on the New York Stock Exchange — Spotify, Slack, Palantir, Asana and Roblox — the opening price was on average about 37% above the reference price.
If Coinbase opens with a similar percentage increase, the price would be around $343, very close to the average private market price in the first quarter of $343.58.

Mastercard, UBS, and JPMorgan pour $65 million into Ethereum startup studio ConsenSys [Fortune]
ConsenSys’s work is directly related to two of the hottest fields to explode from the crypto underworld into public consciousness over the past year. Ethereum is the home for most of the biggest non-fungible token, or NFT, projects, which involve blockchain-based digital art or collectibles…. ConsenSys also provides consulting services and develops software in support of central bank digital currency projects for clients including the Central Bank of Thailand and France’s Société Générale.

Hundreds of Companies Unite to Oppose Voting Limits, but Others Abstain [NYT]
Amazon, BlackRock, Google, Warren Buffett and hundreds of other companies and executives signed on to a new statement released on Wednesday opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make it harder for people to vote…. JPMorgan Chase also declined to sign the statement despite a personal request from senior Black business leaders to the chief executive, Jamie Dimon, according to people briefed on the matter. Mr. Dimon has publicly declared that he supports Black Lives Matter and made a statement on voting rights before many other companies, saying, “We believe voting must be accessible and equitable.”

Credit Suisse offers big blocks of Discovery, iQIYI shares related to Archegos: sources [Reuters]
The bank put 19 million class A shares and 22 million class C shares of Discovery on the market as well as 35 million U.S.-listed shares of iQIYI, a China-based online entertainment company, shortly after the close according to two market sources…. Last week the company offered big blocks of shares in ViacomCBS, Vipshop Holdings Ltd and Farfetch Ltd, also related to the Archegos unwinding.

Teng Yue, Bill Hwang Protégé’s Hedge Fund, Fell 29 Percent in March Rout [II]
Li runs an aggressive hedge fund that places its stock bets via highly levered equity swaps, much like Hwang’s Archegos family office…. Using swaps, both were levered long GSX Techedu, the Chinese online education company that short sellers say is a fraud and part of a short squeeze that began last summer….
GSX shares have been falling heavily since mid-March, beginning with news that the SEC would soon start enforcing new legislation that would require Chinese companies to open up their audit books to U.S. regulators or face delisting from the exchanges…. The stock fell further as the liquidation of Archegos’ portfolio began when prime brokers started unloading the stock they beneficially owned as part of the swaps.

IRS chief says $1 trillion in taxes goes uncollected every year [Reuters]
Rettig told the Senate Finance Committee that the “tax gap” -- the difference between taxes legally owed and revenue collected -- has grown substantially since the last official estimate of a $441 billion annual average from 2011 to 2013.
New sources of wealth arising since then, such as trading in cryptocurrencies, were escaping taxation, he said, as was rising foreign-sourced income and abuses of business income passed through as personal income…. Rettig said the agency is “outgunned” by increasingly sophisticated tax avoidance schemes, while years of budget cuts have left it with about 17,000 fewer revenue enforcement staff than it had a decade ago.

Americans Have Too Much Toilet Paper. Finally, Sales Slow. [WSJ]
Bath-tissue sales in January fell more than 4% from the same period a year earlier, before the spread of Covid-19 spurred Americans to load up on staples from toilet paper to sanitary wipes…. The declines have accelerated since then, with toilet-paper sales down about 14% in February and 33% in March, according to NielsenIQ. Those drops reflect comparisons to periods in which demand was soaring.

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Opening Bell: 10.29.20

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Opening Bell: 8.19.16

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Opening Bell: 4.8.21

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Opening Bell: 2.19.21

Izzy Englander cutting blank checks to himself; compliant Coinbase; Jeff Immelt doesn’t know; Steve Schwarzman’s dealing with more ingrates; and more!