Deutsche Bank Jumps Back Into Payments With Fiserv Deal [WSJ]
Deutsche Bank is eager to re-enter the payments market after it sold the business in 2012 to the U.S.-based EVO Payments International LLC….
The payments-processing industry, meantime, has exploded as commerce moves online and payment-card use eclipses cash…. Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv has grown strongly as part of that boom. Its market capitalization is almost three times that of the German lender…. Customers are more tuned in to who is providing them with the service since last year’s collapse of Wirecard AG, a Munich-based company that admitted over $2 billion of its cash actually didn’t exist.

Retail investor stock buying boom of 2021 is just getting started: Goldman Sachs [Yahoo! News]
The investment bank's chief U.S. equity strategist David Kostin raised his 2021 estimate on household net equity buying to $400 billion from $350 billion in a new research note to clients…. In one of the clearest signs of exuberance on the part of retail investors (perhaps too much, Kostin estimates that households currently allocate an outsized 44% of their assets to equities. That is only slightly below the all-time high of 46% seen back at the height of the dot com craze (and subsequent blowup).

Fed’s Williams Not Ready to Pare Aid, but Other Officials Talk Tapering [WSJ]
The leaders of the Dallas and St. Louis Fed banks said that the day for paring back the central bank’s bond-buying stimulus is growing closer…. [New York Fed President John] Williams acknowledged that officials are talking about paring asset purchases, but said that he isn’t ready to call for such a move and that policy makers haven’t yet discussed the tactics of slowing the bond buying….
“I’ve been more of a fan of doing some things, maybe, to take our foot gently off the accelerator sooner rather than later so that we can manage these risks” around the recovery process, in a bid to “avoid having to press the brakes down the road” with a more abrupt shift in monetary policy.

J. P. Morgan Asset Management Snaps up Campbell Global [Yahoo! Finance]
Oregon-based Campbell Global is a forest management and timberland investing company. It has AUM of $5.3 billion and oversees 1.7 million acres globally…. Anton Pil, Global Head of J. P. Morgan Global Alternatives, added, “Acquiring Campbell Global provides us with an opportunity to strengthen and diversify our ESG focus, including building a robust carbon sequestration platform.”

Pictet Appoints First Female Partner in Its 216-Year History [Bloomberg]
Elif Aktug, a fund manager at the bank’s asset management arm and part of a broader leadership group, was named partner alongside founding-family-member Francois Pictet, bringing the number of current partners to 9, according to a company statement on Monday. So far, the secretive Swiss private bank has only had 43 individuals -- all men, all white -- serve at the highest level…. Pictet is one of the last major private banks in Switzerland to take steps to make its leadership more inclusive, and the institution has wrestled with modernization while seeking to preserve a corporate identity that has developed over two centuries.

Ken Griffin sells remaining Faena House condo for $11.2M [The Real Deal]
Griffin, a Daytona Beach native who has amassed a huge residential land portfolio in Palm Beach, paid $60 million for two penthouses in the building in 2015…. He sold the two for about 23 percent less than their combined purchase price, incurring a loss of about $13.8 million on the properties….
On Miami Beach’s Star Island, Griffin has spent about $95 million acquiring land, and in Palm Beach, he’s paid more than $350 million to assemble properties for a planned estate.


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Opening Bell: 9.11.20

Bellwether blues; Tesla victimized by own success; Ken Griffin wins (again); Century 21 not so much; and more!

Opening Bell: 4.16.15

Goldman and Citi beat estimates; Ben Bernanke works for Ken Griffin now; Schwarzman describes Blackstone as "earnings machine"; Stripper School shutdown; and more.


Opening Bell: 6.5.20

Unemployment falls; bankruptcies rise; Slack ain’t Zoom; Musk v. Bezos; Ken Griffin buys a painting; and more!

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Opening Bell: 4.21.21

Can we call it soccer, too?; SPACs scatter; shy shorts; Ken Griffin makes nice; and more!


Opening Bell: 6.30.21

Crossing Ken Griffin; controlling Credit Suisse; Charlie Munger goes red; and more!

Opening Bell: 05.16.12

Greece Teeters As Talks Fail (WSJ) In a potent sign of Greeks' rising anxiety, depositors withdrew €700 million ($898 million) from local banks on Monday alone, according to the country's national bank—a significant escalation in capital flight from the country. Greek President Karolos Papoulias told party leaders that the situation facing Greece's lenders was very difficult and that "the strength of banks is very weak right now," according to a transcript released Tuesday. Merkel: I Want Greece To Stay In The Euro (CNBC) In an interview with CNBC's "Worldwide Exchange," Merkel said: "I want, just like Jean-Claude Juncker, that Greece stays in the euro. I think that would be good for Greece and for all of us. If Greece believes that we can find more stimulus in Europe in addition to the Memorandum (the deal stuck with the Troika), then we have to talk about that," she said, but she underlined that Greece and its euro zone partners had to be able to trust each other. What Happens When Greece's Money Runs Out (Reuters) "I'm really not sure Greece could survive for very long if external money was cut off," said Darren Williams, economist at fund manager AllianceBernstein. "But what an experience of IOUs may do rather quickly is bring home to the average Greek citizen just how much more difficult a place it is outside the bailout program and outside the euro." Moore Leads Hedge Funds Betting on JPMorgan Before Losses (Bloomberg) Hedge funds Moore Capital Management LLC and Blue Ridge Capital LLC boosted their stakes in JPMorgan Chase, while Kingdon Capital Management LLC divested, before the shares plunged because of a $2 billion trading loss. Moore, the $15 billion New York-based firm run by Louis Moore Bacon, bought 6 million shares of JPMorgan and its $297.3 million stake was its largest U.S. stock holding as of March 31, according to a filing yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. John Griffin’s New York-based Blue Ridge purchased 1.85 million shares, raising its stake in the bank to 6.14 million. The man who beached ‘Moby Iksil’ (NYP) Boaz Weinstein, a renowned CDS index arbitrageur who launched Saba in 2009, in early February recommended the index, which tracks a basket of US corporate bonds. “They are very attractive” and can be bought at a “very good discount,” said Weinstein, a former Deutsche Bank proprietary trader, speaking at the Harbor Investment Conference on Feb. 2. It appears the index was so cheap because Iksil was buying it to make a big short bet. Weinstein, whose Saba overseas $5.5 billion in assets, decided to go long and said he bought the index a few days before the conference at around 120 basis points. For a while, Weinstein’s genius trade wasn’t working out. The IG9 Index continued to sink under the weight of the Whale’s buys — hitting a low of 105 on March 21. But two weeks later, on April 3, reports surfaced about the Whale’s outsize positions and the tide started to turn. The price spiked to 130 as traders piled on. What JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon first termed a “tempest in a teapot” started to get serious. By last week, Dimon announced a $2.3 billion loss on the Whale’s trade, and word spread that Iksil’s head may roll. Meanwhile, Weinstein, who earned roughly $100 million last year, saw his position and the index continue to soar. The CDS index traded around 146 yesterday. Facebook Said to Raise Size of IPO to 421 Million Shares (Bloomberg) Facebook is boosting the number of shares for sale in its initial public offering to 421.2 million, allowing the world’s most popular social network to raise as much as $16 billion. Existing holders will offer 241.2 million shares, compared with the 157.4 million they originally planned to sell, according to a regulatory filing today. Menlo Park, California- based Facebook and its existing holders had earlier planned to offer 337.4 million shares. Soros’s Firm Buys JPMorgan, Suntrust in First Quarter (Bloomberg) The $25 billion Soros Fund Management LLC, based in New York, increased the value of its stake in financials by 7 percent, including 606,000 shares of JPMorgan worth $28 million as of March 31, and 3.2 million shares of Atlanta-based Suntrust valued at $77 million, according to a filing yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Paulson Holds to Gold ETFs in First Quarter, Profits as Prices Rise (Reuters) So that's nice. Housing Starts Probably Rebounded From a Five-Month Low (Bloomberg) “Homebuilding is inching up pretty much everywhere in the U.S.,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. “The days when housing was a drag on the economy are behind us.” Even so, “housing activity is at depressed levels,” with foreclosures “still a problem for builders,” he said. Bloomberg Reporter Makes Wardrobe Adjustment On Camera (DM, NYO) A microphone mishap led one television reporter from revealing a bit more than she expected. When it became clear that one reporter's mic was not working, the cameraman swapped over quickly to Sara Eisen. Clearly thinking she was off-camera, the Bloomberg News reporter was adjusting her skirt and smoothing out her undergarments. Because the camera swapped over to her sooner than expected, the financial-savvy viewers caught a glimpse of Ms Eisen's underwear...In spite of the hiccup, Ms Eisen was able to brush her skirt down and get back to business. She flashed a quick, knowing smile and then moved right into the news about Spain's banking system debate.


Opening Bell: 5.6.20

COVID-19 is basically a Nazi; Ken Griffin the hero; private equity needs better lobbyists; can we leave Tom Cruise in space; and more!

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Opening Bell: 11.6.20

Waiting on the call; Coop’s comedown; London lockdown; Ken Griffin needs a spot by the Seine; and more!