Opening Bell 3.25.18

Trump signs the biggest rollback of bank rules since the financial crisis [CNBC] President Donald Trump signed the biggest rollback of bank regulations since the global financial crisis into law Thursday. The measure designed to ease rules on all but the largest banks passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support. Backers say the legislation will lift burdens unnecessarily put on small and medium-sized lenders by the Dodd-Frank financial reform act and boost economic growth. Amazon’s Alexa Eavesdropped and Shared the Conversation [Bloomberg] The tech company responded Wednesday to a KIRO 7 news report that the pair got a phone call recently from the acquaintance, one of the husband’s employees, saying “unplug your Alexa devices right now. You’re being hacked.” The Portland coupl...

One Bank Discovers A ‘Staggering’ Stat Amid Italian Bond Selloff

Yeah, so over the weekend, in a kind of rambling piece penned while attempting to block out the noise from a literal outdoor aerobics class that convened around me unexpectedly (I sometimes write from a picnic table at a pavilion down by a local pier and unbeknownst to me, one local fitness instructor has decided that this tourist season, she’s going to commandeer that pavilion for her classes, presumably because it has a nice ocean view), I talked about the Italian “problem” in the context of ECB CSPP. You can read that linked post for yourself, so I won’t rehash the whole thing, but one of the points I made was that given the representation of Italian credits in € IG and € HY, and given the fact that ECB corporate bond purchases have served to prevent the market from pricing in credit ri...

Market Calls Trump’s Auto Tariff Bluff

Donald Trump’s feigned unpredictability has become the most predictable aspect of his administration. The president’s latest gambit is a threat of major tariffs against foreign car manufacturers, after he directed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Wednesday to conduct a Section 232 investigation into whether foreign competition in the auto sector represents a threat to national security risk. The market has shrugged off the news, with Toyota stock falling less than 2% during trading Thursday, and other foreign car makers like BMW, Hyundai, and Daimler have all paired back losses since the announcement Wednesday afternoon. If investors were taking the president seriously, one would expect a much larger reaction, given that Toyota, for instance, sells more cars in North America than even its th...

Analyst: Shake Shack Is Doing Well For Itself, But Maybe Just A Little Too Well…Like Seriously, It’s Just Burgers

By m01229 from USA (Shake Shack burger and fries) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons Don’t look now but Shake Shack has been one of the hottest stocks of early 2019, growing 32.72% since the beginning of the year. What’s not to love about Shake Shack? It’s to Steak & Shake what Chik-Fil-A is to KFC, but without the intrinsic homophobia. So it makes you wonder: is Shake Shack doing a little too well for itself? After all, it’s not In N’ Out. Longbow Research suggests that prospective Shake Shack Investors wait till the stock takes a little dip before they buy any shares in the hot stock. Specifically, they downgraded their target purchase price from $54 to $49 after Shake Shack’s stock price eclipsed their original target price. Longbow still remains opportunistic about a potential decl...

New Italian Government Puts Oldest Italian Bank Back On Life Support

Getty Images At the ripe old age of 537, the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena fell ill. It had led a good life, from its salad days as the official pawnbroker for the Republic of Siena to its hey day as banker to the Medici. It was, after all, the oldest bank in the world, and all good things must come to an end. And for a while, it certainly looked like things were coming to an end. And then, un miracolo: An Italian taxpayer-backed, German-taxpayer loathed recovery. It seemed as though MPS might live well into its second half-millennium. But the angry Italian taxpayer giveth (unwillingly), and the angry Italian taxpayer taketh away (again). Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right Northern League said they would “redefine the missions and objective” of the bank, in their...

Justice Department Suspects Criminals Have Infiltrated Otherwise Completely Above-Board Cryptocurrency Market

All that digital gold you’ve got squirreled safely away in one of Wences Casares’ amputated-limb-proof, mountainside decommissioned, military bunkers is worth roughly 11% less than it was to start the week, and that’s thanks in no small part to the Justice Department which, in conjunction with the CFTC, is looking into possible manipulation in the cryptocurrency market. Bloomberg reported the investigation on Thursday. Apparently, the DoJ is concerned about spoofing and wash trades in Bitcoin, Ethereum and various other iterations of what are, at the end of the day, make-believe assets. This is of course just the latest example of regulators and law enforcement agencies attempting to root out possible illegality in the cryptocurrency market and it’s patently absurd for all kinds of reasons...

Guy Who Shot Car Into Space While Customers Waited For Cars They Already Paid For Wants To Rank The Media’s Credibility

You can’t make this up. The most famous overpromiser/under-deliverer in American manufacturing history has officially decided that he will only accept the kind of fawning press coverage afforded to young white dudes on the ascent inside the media bubble of Silicon Valley. Elon Musk – who is sitting on a massive production backlog of luxury electric cars that customers have paid for while he builds space rockets, high speed tunnels, solar panels and fucking flamethrowers – has torn a page out of the “Fake News” handbook and declared his own version of war on the American free press. In his latest Twitter rant, Musk took aim at “The Media” for providing negative coverage to Tesla, his car company that has consistently failed to make cars. Quoth the Elon: The holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big...

Best Buy’s big sell-off could soon be a buying opportunity, says market watcher

Best Buy falls following a quarterly beat that failed to impress. One market watcher would buy it on a bigger pullback.

Ray Dalio said last year gold was good protection because of Trump and North Korea ‘playing chicken’

Ray Dalio said in a LinkedIn blog post last year that he recommends gold during periods of rising North Korea tensions.

Classic dividend stocks are tanking, but think before you make the mistake of selling

Dividend stocks have always been safe havens in a volatile market, but they're tanking in 2018. Don't give up yet.

North Korea summit cancellation part of ‘downside risks’ for the economy, Fed’s Bostic says

Geopolitical turmoil and policy certainty making businesses more cautious, Richmond Fed President Raphael Bostic said.

Art Cashin: Stock drop reflects mistaken assumption Trump would do everything to make summit happen

"The assumption was that the president wanted very much to have this meeting," Art Cashin says.