Business Education

All Eddie Lampert Needs To Save Sears Is Another Couple Hundred Long Articles Depicting Him As An Awkward Weirdo Selling The Company For Parts

By Jonrev at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Here are some excerpts from Vanity Fair’s long profile of Eddie Lampert and the less-than-bang-up job he’s done with Sears. “He’s so obsessed with moving in the direction he wants to move that sometimes people get burned, trampled on, bumped into,” Rainwater said of Lampert. “I think he has gone about alienating himself from almost everyone who he’s come into contact with.” A former colleague agrees: “He’s really an extreme guy. There’s something odd about him, I think, his lack of emotional connection to people. . . . It’s so important, but some people just don’t have that. They’re off in their own little world.” “I’m told, for about two years, Lampert actually attempted to run the business,” says Cohen. “So for about a...

Barclays Haggles MBS Fine Down To $2 Billion, Celebrates

Getty Images As the inaugural banners were going up in front of the president-elect’s hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, the world’s banks—those that had not previously cut novelty-sized checks re: mortgage-backed securities, anyway—were falling over themselves to do so before the words “E Pluribus Unum” were torn from the eagle’s beak and replaced by a roll of soiled toilet paper reading, “America First.” Deutsche Bank, RBS and—after a fashion—Credit Suisse gladly handed over their billions and scurried back across the Atlantic, hoping that the nuclear winter soon to engulf North America and East Asia would be mild enough to keep doing business. And while they were doing so, they cast a wary, pitying eye towards Jes Staley and Barclays, who were having a hissy fit over the $5 billion bill Lore...

To Clip Bezos’ Wings, Trump Would Have To Be Better At His Job

President Trump slammed Amazon on Twitter Thursday morning, a day after the stock slid following reports that the President is “obsessed” with the company and looking for ways reign in the e-commerce giant. “I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election,” he tweeted. “Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!” The stock is down close to 6% since Wednesday’s open, but investors fleeing the stock are not thinking clearly about what the president could unilaterally do to dampen Amazon profits. Though President Trump has proven to be a formidable political force, able to change the opinions of tens of...

Paul Singer Suggests Cancelling Second Election If He Wins First

In a few weeks, Telecom Italia shareholders will vote to replace six of the company’s directors with new ones proposed by Elliott Management. Only, those six nominees now have no one to replace since Vivendi, Telecom Italia’s controlling shareholder, fearing defeat at the hands of Paul Singer, had its eight directors resign in advance of the April 24 annual meeting—but not before scheduling another shareholder meeting for 10 days later, whose purpose is to elect a new board to replace the one that just resigned, presumably with the people who just resigned. It’s a pretty clever move, circumventing shareholder democracy with more shareholder democracy. After all, what sort of investor doesn’t like traveling to AGMs or filling out a new proxy card ever three or four days? Paul Singer’s prett...

If Jeff Bezos Doesn’t Stop All This ‘Winning’, Donald Trump Might Just Have To Tank The Stock Market

Speaking of train wrecks … Donald Trump. On Monday afternoon, America’s windmill-tilting orange leader took to Twitter to put the presidential stamp of approval on a blockbuster day for stocks, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the gains came on the heels of the worst week for U.S. equities since January 2016. Last week’s egregious losses were of course the direct result of the administration’s decision to slap (more) tariffs on China, an effort that effectively enshrines Peter Navarro’s view on global trade and commerce into U.S. economic policy. On Tuesday, stocks reversed Monday’s rebound as the vaunted FANG contingent suffered through its worst session on record (click to enlarge): Given how Trump is increasingly prone to leaning on the stock market when it comes to “evidence” of hi...

John Cryan Fully Committed To Flagellating Himself For The Next Two Years

As it turns out, there is a fate worse than being Deutsche Bank’s CEO, and that is getting fired from the job. That’s how it seems, at any rate, to John Cryan, in the face of news that his boss has launched a shambolic search for a successor a full two years before Cryan’s contract is up, just in case there’s someone out there who’s just as masochistic and Sisyphean as Cryan, but also, you know, good at things. “I just wanted to reaffirm that I am absolutely committed to serving our bank and continuing down the path on which we started some three years ago,” Cryan wrote in a memo to staff that seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the bank. “We need to demonstrate the excellent progress we are making.” Chairman Paul Achleitner has approached potential successors to Cryan as part of plans to r...

Opening Bell: 3.29.18

TomasEE [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Stocks on Track to Close First Quarter With Losses [WSJ]For the first three months of 2018, however, the S&P 500 was poised to lose roughly 2.6%, ending a nine-quarter winning streak, while the Stoxx Europe 600 was on track to end 4.6% lower, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 8% lower, and Japan’s Nikkei 7.1% lower, also hit by the dollar’s weak trajectory…. The S&P 500 has fallen 4% so far in March, on pace for its worst month since 2016, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 4.7%. Yields on 10-year Treasurys have risen to 2.77% from around 2.41% at the end of 2017….“You’re losing money in fixed income, losing money in equities: The average balanced account at the end of the first quarter is going to be down,” said Philip Blancato, chief ex...

Amazon, Tesla, Facebook And Investing In ‘The Future’

Look, I don’t know. Maybe tech will rebound on Wednesday and manage to close green, but the first couple of hours were a continuation of Tuesday’s bloodbath and what I would say to anyone who thinks this is somehow surprising is that maybe common sense took a backseat to “FOMO” sometime in 2017. And when I say “common sense”, I don’t necessarily mean that folks were willing to overlook valuations and fundamentals in some of these “story” stocks because they were eager to invest in the ongoing evolution of technology and thereby the continued advancement of humankind. Rather, I mean that the “story” itself is more than a little absurd to the extent it assumed there wouldn’t be stumbling blocks along the way. Technology has a habit of running out ahead of regulation and eventually, the chick...

Wedbush Securities Allegedly Still Really Bad At Supervising Stuff

(Getty Images) A few years ago, Wedbush Securities found itself on the wrong side of its regulators for allegedly throwing open the doors to the markets to whoever (allegedly) wanted to quietly and anonymously manipulate markets, short naked, that kind of thing. This was (allegedly) in no small part Wedbush’s fault, since, according to the SEC and FINRA, its compliance program consisted mainly of having customers tell on themselves, while its compliance officers were essentially paid on commission based on how many trades their customers made. But it was also, as old friend Matt Levine noted, kind of the SEC’s fault, because all of the above would have been fine if, in fact, Wedbush’s customers had told the firm about all of the allegedly illicit shit they were doing. This time, however, t...

Former Top Hedge Fund Manager Also A Former Part-Time Cop

When David Magerman confronted his now-former boss, the now-former co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, over Robert Mercer’s support for President Trump, he may have been putting himself at mortal as well as professional danger. That’s because, in spite of the fact that the encounter occurred in notoriously gun-owner-unfriendly Manhattan, Mercer may well have packing. You see, in addition to his many other unusual enthusiasms, Mercer’s a bit of a gun nut. He likes showing his collection off, and even has a special underground vault in Manhattan to house it. And as any gun nut would, he’d really like to be able to pack heat. This is difficult in the greater New York area, where concealed carry permits are harder to obtain than underground armories or decent help. Luckily for Mercer, the Nati...

Deutsche Bank CEO Search Exactly The Catastrophe You’d Expect

(Getty Images) Charitably speaking, Deutsche Bank’s next CEO faces… challenges. As if to emphasize the enormous difficulty that person faces, the bank’s chairman has decided to make the search for its next leader a microcosm of the existential clusterfuck that is Deutsche Bank, starting with the fact that the current CEO doesn’t think he needs replacing for a few years still—in spite of everything—and a fair chunk of the board agrees. Deutsche Bank supervisory board members, like many investors, have been divided in recent months over whether the lender should explore replacing Mr. Cryan and about the strength of internal candidates for the job, some of the people said…. Some supervisory-board members remain supportive of Mr. Cryan and are concerned that a move to recruit CEO candidates un...

What If Everything Is About To Change?

Two inexorable, price insensitive bids have propped up risk assets for a long, long time. In some cases, for longer than this or that newcomer’s entire professional career. QE and accommodative monetary policy more generally have created a scenario where the mad dash down the quality ladder (which is part and parcel of the hunt for yield) has left everything but the dodgiest of credits priced to perfection. Meanwhile, the corporate bid for stocks in the U.S. is the real “plunge protection team” – no conspiracy theories necessary there, unless of course you count the fact that when management’s compensation packages are equity-linked, the decision to leverage the balance sheet in pursuit of bottom line beats looks rather myopic and incestuous, if not outright nefarious. That combination – t...