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Grills Are the Latest Fad in a Scorching IPO Market [WSJ]
Two leading sellers of outdoor grills and grilling accessories, Weber and Traeger, both filed paperwork for initial public offerings earlier this month, while online grilling-and-outdoor-products retailer BBQGuys on Tuesday agreed to go public by combining with a special-purpose acquisition company…. All three of the companies have been around for a long time but are seeking to cash in on sudden excitement fueled by the coronavirus pandemic. Weber, Traeger and BBQGuys each reported a recent sales surge as more consumers refurbished their backyards and became barbecue enthusiasts, tapping into one of the stay-at-home themes that have dictated much of the stock market’s performance in the past 15 months.

‘Don’t want to get vaccinated, leave’ — hedge fund founder mandates Covid shots in his office [CNBC]
“We’re a private company. If somebody wants to fight me over the vaccine mandate, that’s fine. Let’s take it to the court,” [Anthony] Scaramucci said on “Squawk Box,” while imploring other firms to follow suit…. “I don’t like the totalitarian nonsense. It’s not about that. This is about once in a while we have to team up as a society to protect each other,” Scaramucci said. “If we all get vaccinated, we’re going to be out into society faster and the economy is going to grow faster, and there will be more jobs and more income.”

AMC Stock Cult Tries to Raise Capital in Decidedly Apish Fashion [Yahoo! Finance via Bloomberg]
Airborne messages pumping shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. -- similar to the banner planes that alert parched Jersey Shore tourists to where they can find a $2 Corona Light -- have become a top tool of choice for the retail army that is marching in formation for this cult stock. Pilots don’t come cheap, so the self-described “apes” of the AMC message boards are looking for handouts to help the effort: $4,250 for a flight over Canada; $550 to hoist “AMC TO THE MOON HODL” above North Carolina; $3,000 to fly a similar message above Wall Street; 5,000 pounds so that the British Parliament gets the word. And so on.

Hedge funds back away from Binance after regulatory assault [FT]
Crypto specialist Tyr Capital said it had “significantly decreased its exposure” to the group, one of the world’s biggest crypto companies, while fellow hedge fund ARK36 said it was also reducing its activity on the venue after “what feels like an orchestrated regulatory attack”.
The pullback indicates that while regulators often struggle to stop crypto exchanges from conducting unauthorised business in their jurisdictions, they can still have a chilling effect.

Lucid Motors and Churchill Capital Corp IV Close Business Combination [press release]
Lucid's common stock will begin trading on Nasdaq on July 26, 2021 under the ticker symbol "LCID…." The transaction includes approximately $4.4 billion in growth capital as Lucid brings the groundbreaking Lucid Air luxury electric sedan to market and expands….

The Great Deflation: Wells Fargo Grounds Its Stagecoach Balloon [WSJ]
The red-and-yellow tangle of fabric—weighing in at 1,445 pounds—was slow to lift off and land, but it always turned heads at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta…. But the floating stagecoach will be missing from this year’s festival in October for the first time since its maiden voyage roughly 20 years ago. Instead, portions of it are in a warehouse in town, waiting to be recycled into parts for other hot air balloons….
But Wells Fargo is now five years into an effort to move past its bruising fake-accounts scandal and it is rebranding for modern times. The stagecoach has been a-rolling into town less often. And the Wells Fargo balloon has floated for the last time.

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Profit Drop at U.S. Banks Imperils Rally (Bloomberg) The six largest U.S. lenders, including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, may post an 11 percent drop in first-quarter profit, threatening a rally that has pushed bank stocks 19 percent higher this year. The banks will post $15.3 billion in net income when adjusted for one-time items, down from $17.3 billion in last year’s first quarter, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Trading revenue at the biggest lenders is projected to fall 23 percent to $18.3 billion, according to Morgan Stanley analysts, who didn’t include their firm or Wells Fargo. Making Waves Against 'Whale' (WSJ) Dozens of hedge funds are believed to have placed bets in the derivatives markets that pit them against positions taken by Bruno Iksil, the French-born trader who works for the bank's Chief Investment Office in London, according to people familiar with the matter. Funds that traded against Mr. Iksil earlier this year recorded big paper losses as his trades helped push down one credit index. The losses made Mr. Iksil a target for some hedge funds, who felt they could capitalize on his outsize position, these people say. The funds' wagers against Mr. Iksil's positions have become increasingly profitable in recent weeks as prices in the credit-derivatives index that was at the center of one of Mr. Iksil's trades rose after his trades ceased. "I view the entire market as a chess match playing against this guy," said a person who is familiar with Mr. Iksil's positions and is trading against him. Carlyle nears road show for $8B IPO (NYP) A road show will start as early as next week for the initial public offering (IPO) of Carlyle Group that will value the private-equity firm at between $7.5 billion and $8 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. Carlyle filed documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month to sell a 10 percent stake. The offering is likely to generate as much as $800 million in proceeds, according to the person familiar with the matter. Germany Pays Record Low Yield (WSJ) "The modest demand is due to the historical low yields, where investors are very reluctant to buy long-dated German bonds at these low levels despite the fiscal slippage we see in Spain and the ongoing crisis in the periphery," said Jens Peter Sorensen, chief analyst at Danske Markets. But RBS analysts said poor bund auctions at these yield levels have never been a good predictor for future demand, and thus it recommended not to "overly" focus on the sale to gauge demand for bunds. Weighing SEC's Crackdown on Fraud (WSJ) SEC enforcement chief Robert Khuzami said the current total of 101 cases shows the agency is "highly effective in tackling financial-crisis wrongdoing." Of the 74 cases filed against individuals so far, the SEC went after 55 chief executives, finance chiefs or other top officers. In an interview, Mr. Khuzami said the number is "significant" and "sends a strong deterrent message." Meredith Whitney Muni Call Was 100% Wrong: Bond Pro (CNBC) High-grade municipal bonds remain a solid investment despite their sometimes-battered public image, according to fixed income expert Alexandra Lebenthal. "I have come up with a new measure of risk, which is knowledge risk," said the president and CEO of Lebenthal and Co. "Is the person who is talking about municipal bonds, corporate bonds, equities, what have you, knowledgeable and should people be listening to them?" "Yes, I have an axe to grind," continued Lebenthal, whose father, James, is one of the more prominent names in the bond business. "I am in the municipal bond business, I'm also in the wealth management business and trying to do the best for clients. But I do know what I'm talking about because I have spent over 20 years in this business and another 20 growing up listening to it." Facebook deal ‘surprised’ bankers (NYP) “People are wondering if [Facebook] couldn’t have waited until after the IPO [to purchase Instagram],” said one source, who declined to be identified. Although Facebook is still awaiting IPO clearance from regulators, underwriters led by Morgan Stanley are hoping to launch the company’s share sale next month, possibly the week of May 14. Bankers plan to start the investor marketing campaign, known as a “road show,” about two weeks prior its launch. Zuckerberg held discrete talks with Instagram’s founders and managed to keep underwriters in the dark about the sale until late in the process, sources said. Critics of the controversial deal say Facebook’s timing for the acquisition is questionable, while supporters argue that the Instagram purchase enhances Facebook’s platform and stymies rivals. Investors run scared of Spain's battered banks (Reuters) "Most are currently on liquidity life support from the ECB but asset quality continues to deteriorate as house prices keep falling and unemployment is still rising," said Georg Grodzki, head of credit research at Legal & General Investment Management. "Their funding remains constrained and competition for deposits intense," he told Reuters. Economy Minister Luis De Guindos told Reuters last week that all Spanish banks had met capital requirements set by the European Banking Authority under a 115-billion-euro recapitalization plan decided by European Union leaders in December. But fund managers remain skeptical due to the slow-burning property crash. They include Mark Glazener, head of global equities at Dutch asset manager Robeco, who sold off his exposure to Spain at the end of last year. "Given the scale of over-building over all these years, the present provisioning that the banks have made does not appear to be enough," he said. Zuckerberg Threatened to Disable Ceglia Site Amid Dispute (Bloomberg) Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg threatened in 2004 to disable part of the website he was working on for Paul Ceglia, the New York man now suing him for part-ownership of the multibillion-dollar company, according to copies of e-mails filed by Facebook in federal court...“I must receive $5,000 by next Saturday at midnight, or the scroll search functionality will be removed from the site,” Zuckerberg wrote in a message to Ceglia on Feb. 21, 2004, about two weeks after he put “Thefacebook.com” online. Zuckerberg told Ceglia he owed him $10,500 of the $19,500 he’d been promised, according to the e-mails, filed by Facebook as part of the lawsuit in Buffalo, New York. Facebook last month asked the judge to throw out the lawsuit.