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U.S. Jobless Claims Fall to 187,000, Lowest Level Since 1969 [WSJ]
Continuing claims, a measure of the total number of people on the unemployment rolls through regular state programs, moved down to 1.35 million for the week ended March 12 from 1.42 million the previous week. That was the lowest level since January 1970, a time when the labor force was roughly half as large as it is today…. Roughly half a million fewer people were in the labor force in February than before the pandemic, according to the Labor Department, despite the economy’s rapid recovery. That has left employers struggling to fill open positions.

Why the stock market isn’t ‘getting smoked’ even as Federal Reserve signals it’s ready to supersize interest rate hikes [MarketWatch]
[Pepperstone head of research Chris] Weston argued that the fact the Fed is potentially “bringing out the big guns in May and using forward guidance to set the scene ahead of this may be welcomed by the equity market — they’ve weighed up the outlook and feel a credible Fed is a strong Fed, and higher rates are better than entrenched inflation….” It’s important to remember the S&P 500 index had pulled back nearly 15% through the Feb. 24 low, which means “a lot of bad news was priced in,” and which means the risk/reward outlook has improved since the beginning of 2022, said Tom Lee, founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors. in a note.

Clients plead with top custodian banks to stay in Russia [Reuters]
Traders, bankers and executives from three other financial institutions told Reuters they were seeking or had sought reassurances on behalf of clients on each bank's long-term plans for these businesses, which clear, settle and safeguard billions of dollars of Russian holdings…. If banks decide to mothball their custody services in Moscow, many Western investors already holding Russian stocks or bonds would have to look elsewhere for a bank to hold those assets, while others keen to exploit a financial market or economic rally when sanctions are lifted could find it harder to pursue those plans.

BlackRock’s Larry Fink, who oversees $10 trillion, says Russia-Ukraine war is ending globalization [CNBC]
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades,” Fink said in his 2022 letter to shareholders. “It has left many communities and people feeling isolated and looking inward. I believe this has exacerbated the polarization and extremist behavior we are seeing across society today….”
“Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to countless stakeholders, including our clients and employees, who are all looking to understand what could be done to prevent capital from being deployed to Russia,” Fink said.

Trump Is Guilty of ‘Numerous’ Felonies, Prosecutor Who Resigned Says [NYT]
“The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did,” [Mark] Pomerantz wrote.
Mr. Pomerantz and Mr. Dunne planned to charge Mr. Trump with falsifying business records, specifically his annual financial statements — a felony in New York State…. “No case is perfect,” Mr. Pomerantz wrote. “Whatever the risks of bringing the case may be, I am convinced that a failure to prosecute will pose much greater risks in terms of public confidence in the fair administration of justice.”

‘A total disaster’: Crypto firms face being booted from the UK as a key deadline approaches [CNBC]
Now, with just days to go until the new deadline elapses, the fate of firms on the temporary register — including $33 billion fintech firm Revolut and Copper, a crypto start-up that counts former U.K. Finance Minister Philip Hammond as an advisor — hangs in the balance…. “While major jurisdictions are spotting the opportunity and the risk, the U.K. is emphasising the risk,” [11:FS global strategy director for crypto Mauricio] Magaldi told CNBC. “By moving too fast and too narrow, rules and timeframes create hurdles to crypto firms that could potentially displace them from the U.K. market.”



Opening Bell: 3.3.22

London culling; crypto Ken; endangered Tiger; and more!


Opening Bell: 8.8.18

China fires back; Elon spouts off; Crypto goes down; Arsenal FC still crap; Broken vagina woman shares all;' and more!

larry ellison

Opening Bell: 6.10.22

Inflation back on the increase; What Yellen worry?; crypto careers crater; King Larry of Lanai; and more!

british rail

Opening Bell: 5.20.21

Sohn strike-outs; Soros and Citadel ride the train; Brown burns (crypto) banks; rappin’ with Coop; and more!

Opening Bell: 8.27.15

NY Fed chief makes everyone feel better; Re all catastrophe; Margin calls coming; "Starbucks CEO tells baristas to be extra nice to customers amid stock turmoil"; and more.

Opening Bell: 06.07.13

‘This Will be the Most Important Payroll Release in Years’ (WSJ MoneyBeat) Every payrolls day is a hype-fest, but particularly today. Today’s release will be the “most important payroll release in years”, wrote Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. It follows “the seventh-worst month of returns for fixed income since ’85 and the largest week of bond fund redemptions since Oct ’08,” the bank says. So, no pressure. The consensus forecast gathered by Dow Jones Newswires is for a rise of 169,000 in the reading for May, with an unchanged employment rate of 7.5%. Draghi lauds ‘most successful’ ECB action (FT) A combative Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, strongly defended one of his bank’s most unorthodox and controversial moves of the eurozone crisis as “probably the most successful monetary policy measure undertaken in recent times”. Pressure in Britain Over What to Do With Bailed-Out Banks (DealBook) “As we move closer to an election, the share prices of R.B.S. and Lloyds will become more scrutinized,” said Peter Hahn, a banking professor at the Cass Business School in London. “Whoever is in government, selling shares in these banks will be a top priority.” ... The British government’s quandary over the banks stands in contrast with the experience of the United States Treasury Department, which reduced the government’s stakes in the big banks more quickly. Criminal Cases Loom in Rate Rigging (WSJ) U.S. and British authorities are preparing to bring criminal charges against former employees of Barclays for their alleged roles trying to manipulate benchmark interest rates, according to people familiar with the plans, marking an escalation of a global investigation now entering its sixth year. The charges are likely to be filed this summer, these people said, roughly a year after the big British bank became the first institution to settle over allegations that it attempted to rig the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, and other widely used financial benchmarks. NSA taps in to user data of Facebook, Apple, Google and others, secret files reveal (Guardian) The files also reveal terrible PowerPoint skills. ‘Hey, gals – be a ho!’: Pimps’ lawyer hails great pay, benefits (NYP) “I’m trying to find a job myself that pays me 10 grand a week,” defense lawyer Howard Greenberg said as summations began in the Manhattan Criminal Court trial of Vincent George Sr. and Jr., admitted father-and-son pimps. “One wonders in this economy if a girl can make up to 10 grand a week . . . Why more women don’t do it, I don’t know,” the lawyer said, arguing that there is no proof that the Georges’ pampered staff of five hookers was forced to do anything. The Georges admit they’re pimps. But they insist that they’re really nice pimps and that their stable of five women commuted happily, six nights a week, from their employer-provided houses in Allentown, Pa., to the bars of fancy Midtown hotels, where they’d hand out “masseuse” cards to randy male tourists. “The girls wanted for nothing. There was maternity leave — can you imagine that? In short, the benefits package was great,” Greenberg said. S&P cuts outlook on Brazil sovereign rating (FT) S&P said slow economic growth, expansionary fiscal policy that was likely to lead to an increase in the government’s debt burden, and “ambiguous policy signals” in decision-making were among the factors behind the surprise move. “The negative outlook reflects the at least one-in-three probability that a rising government debt burden and erosion of macroeconomic stability could lead to a downgrade of Brazil over the next two years,” the agency said. Japan's Pension Fund to Buy More Stocks (WSJ) The Government Pension Investment Fund, at a joint news conference with Japan's welfare ministry, said it has raised its target portfolio allocation of domestic stocks to 12% from the current 11%. The fund also said it would increase its allocation of overseas assets and cut back on low-yielding Japanese bonds. The GPIF is the world's largest public pension with ¥112 trillion yen ($1.16 trillion) in assets. It is closely watched by many investors for hints about potential portfolio rebalancing, which could have broad implications for financial markets. Record outflows from US junk bond funds (FT) US high-yield funds saw a record $4.63bn in outflows for the week ending on Wednesday, according to Lipper. Interest rate volatility has surged in recent weeks since benchmark Treasury yields have risen sharply, with selling spilling over into other key areas of the bond market. As exchange traded fund providers and mutual funds face redemptions, they are forced to sell more of their holdings, putting further pressure on prices. “We are definitely worried that the market is in a cycle where selling of bonds begets more selling,” said Steven Boyd, principal at Halyard Asset Management. Pimco Defends $8.5 Billion BofA Mortgage Accord (Bloomberg) Bank of America Corp.’s $8.5 billion mortgage-bond settlement is “outstanding” for investors, said a Pacific Investment Management Co. executive, who defended the deal against opposition. The settlement was reached after an investor group that included Pimco and BlackRock Inc. (BLK) at first demanded $12 billion, eventually coming down to a “take or leave it” offer of $8.5 billion, Kent Smith, an executive vice president at Pimco who helped negotiate the agreement, testified yesterday. “It’s an outstanding deal, and it’s in the best interest of our clients to support it,” Smith said. Smith was the first witness to testify in a trial over the agreement, which is being considered by Justice Barbara Kapnick of New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan. Forest braces for third bout with Icahn (Reuters) Forest Laboratories Inc is trying to avert yet another bitter proxy battle with billionaire investor Carl Icahn ahead of its annual investor meeting this summer, according to two sources familiar with the situation. ... Last year's proxy battle, for example, ended with just one of Icahn's four nominees being elected to the board - Pierre Legault, the former chief financial officer of OSI Pharma. Legault has since distanced himself from Icahn, telling people that he didn't know the investor well and wasn't "his guy", one of the sources said. Bono Sings to Warren Buffett (CNBC) "Home on the Range"; there is video. Russia's Vladimir Putin and wife Lyudmiladivorce (BBC) "It was a joint decision: we hardly see each other, each of us has our own life", Mr Putin said. Mrs Putin had rarely been seen in public in recent months, prompting much speculation in Russian media. She is known to dislike publicity, and told the TV reporter that flying was difficult for her. "Vladimir Vladimirovich is completely drowned in work," she said.

Uranium is the heaviest naturally occurring element. It's also a great name for a hedge fund, apparently. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 9.15.21

Summer slowdown; don’t ask Annie; hedge funds bank on two volatile elements; and more!


Opening Bell: 5.9.22

Tech tanks; morose Milken; cautious Kashkari; crypto chief cuffed; Chelsea changes hands; and more!