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Goldman Masks, Scrutiny at Morgan Stanley as Delta Spreads [Bloomberg]
Goldman, the first major Wall Street bank to require employees to return to U.S. offices, is working on new measures to prevent outbreaks in the workplace, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. Plans under development include asking staff to wear masks inside offices and stepping up testing to spot infections before they can spread, the people said.
Across town, Morgan Stanley just informed staff they must soon provide proof of vaccinations against Covid-19 to enter its buildings. The firm broke with competitors in June by requiring shots, but it enforced the rule on an honor system, asking people to attest to their status…. JPMorgan is mandating face coverings when entering buildings and in all common areas such as lifts and lobbies for its offices in Europe, a policy its U.S. offices have also reverted to having previously removed that requirement for vaccinated employees.

Fed’s Powell: There’s no returning to pre-pandemic economy [AP]
“We’re not simply going back to the economy that we had before the pandemic,” Powell said at a Fed virtual town hall for educators and students. “We need to watch carefully as the economy continues to get through the pandemic and try to understand the ways that the economy has changed and what the implications are for our policy….”
“It may be that some of these people will have a harder time finding their way back into the workforce without more education and training,” he said. He said there are millions of people who have lost service sector jobs and remain out of work and need to be supported. “That’s a part of the recovery that’s far from complete.” he said.

15% of Paycheck Protection Program Loans Could Be Fraudulent, Study Shows [NYT]
The study pins blame for many of the questionable loans on one particular group of lenders: financial technology firms, known as “fintechs,” which focus on digital lending. Nine of the 10 lenders with the highest rate of suspicious loans fell into that group.
“Certain fintech lenders seem to specialize in dubious loans,” the authors wrote. Collectively, fintechs made around 29 percent of the program’s loans but accounted for more than half of its suspicious loans, the study concluded.

BuzzFeed Clashed With NBCUniversal as It Pursued SPAC Deal [WSJ]
NBCUniversal ultimately approved the deal after reaching an agreement in April with BuzzFeed Chief Executive Jonah Peretti that guaranteed it concessions while still leaving it facing a loss of roughly $100 million, the people said…. Either way, the SPAC’s creators stand to make tens of millions of dollars on paper through incentives, a standard feature of these mergers. The SPAC team’s shares and other investments are worth about $78 million on paper at today’s prices and cost roughly $8 million, according to New York University Law School professor Michael Ohlrogge, who studies SPACs.

Hedge Funds Blindsided by China Risk With New Warning [Bloomberg via Yahoo! Finance]
13F filings from recent days demonstrate that even some of the biggest and brightest money managers didn’t anticipate China’s sweeping crackdown on everything from large technology firms to for-profit tutoring companies…. While some hedge funds got out in advance, others that have invested in China for years are grappling with a fundamental question: Is this just a blip, as Dalio suggests, or have Chinese ADRs become “uninvestable,” like Paul Marshall, co-founder of $59 billion investment firm Marshall Wace, said in a letter to clients last week?

Rich Investors Are Buying Risky Credit That Banks Won’t Touch [Bloomberg]
Faced with criticism that the products could prove too risky for rookie traders, private equity managers are quick to point out their products cater to higher net worth, more sophisticated investors — not the day trader crowd…. [Paul] Auslander of ProVise advises caution to any individual who invests in a private credit fund. “I would go with the big companies that are well-known with big reputations, like Blackstone or Carlyle,” he said.



Opening Bell: 8.21.20

Ant; accreditation; antitrust; avoidance; and more!

mask sign

Opening Bell: 1.25.22

More mask muddle; more morose outlooks; more alts for Allianz; and, well, 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!

Jay Powell

Opening Bell: 6.3.20

Fed progam that hasn’t launched already a smashing success; PPP still less so; CQS even less so still; killer hand sanitzer; and more!


Opening Bell: 5.11.20

No negative rates; no joy for private equity in retail; no PPP money for restaurants that don’t exist; no privacy at work anymore; no ice cream for you; and more!

England's Donald Trump: Pro-Leave, obviously.

Opening Bell: 11.11.20

Brexit blues; Pershing Square’s pandemic; Penney’s plows on; and more!


Opening Bell: 4.7.21

Pandemic punching bags bounce back; investors pour into space ETF without space stocks; Jay Powell might want to start looking for a new job; and more!


Opening Bell: 8.25.20

Average inflation; Asana and Ant; burning earns Baupost a billion; forcing the failson; and more!