The Zeitgeist | 3.5.2019

Every morning, we run the Narrative Machine on the past 24 hours worth of financial media to find the most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected and central) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles or articles we think are most interesting … often far from it.

But for whatever reason these are articles that are representative of some sort of chord that has been struck in Narrative-world.

I’m channeling my inner MST3K with the comments here. Premium subscribers should feel free to join me in the Comments section (but only if you know what MST3K is!), and I’ll reprint the best ones in an upcoming Mailbag note.


Oil Extends Gains on Bets Linked to US-China Trade, OPEC Production Cut Reports [The Street]

I thought the larger screen shot here was kinda perfect, with Cramer’s “Investment Club” ad and not just one, but two Ameritrade ads. I also loved the headline use of the word “Bets”.

Frankly, this is the brilliance of the the Robin Hood UI (or UX, as the cool kids would say) … they don’t pretend that what they’re selling is anything other than a legalized gambling experience. The Street still wants to pretend. Dopamine is a helluva drug.


Traditional and Alternative Value Opportunities in Housing Stocks [Wealthmanagement.com]

Want to make your infomercial stand out? Use the word “Value” or “Growth” in the title, and then sprinkle the rest of your “content” with the vocabulary of these distinct investor languages. Then for your hook, take a price chart of the past few months and find another year where the chart looks kinda like that. Don’t worry if it’s not a great eyeball fit, because no one will actually look up the comparison.

God knows I rail on and on about the power of Fiat News – the presentation of opinion as fact – as the bane of our political lives. But the more profound damage of Fiat News is in the hum-drum quotidian hours of our everyday lives, where there is no respite – NONE – from being sold on something by somebody. We are hardwired to respond positively to statements of “fact”, and everyone with a megaphone or an ad budget knows it.


European markets seen lower as politics take centre stage [CNBC]

Classic wall-of-worry narrative construction … create “concerns” and lead with a “warning”, so that the working day can be driven by a story arc of “overcoming” and “seeing through”.

It’s a Hero’s Journey, after all, and you watch because you, too, can be that hero.


Greece to Sell 10-Year Bonds for First Time Since Before Bailout [Bloomberg]

There’s a wonderful book to be written about Alexis Tsipras one day, the Socialist “man of the people” who gets beaten down by Merkel to the point where he’s reduced to touting 10-year bond sales as the cornerstone achievement of his administration.


What if All the World’s Economic Woes Are Part of the Same Problem? [New York Times]

I agree with the upshot of this opinion piece in the NYT. But here’s the thing …

Notice the passive voice.

Wealth inequality and low interest rates don’t just “happen”.

Wealth inequality and low interest rates are the explicit and intended consequences of Team Elite monetary policy over the past DECADE.

And until our arbiters of Fiat News wrestle with THAT, they will continue to be “shocked” by the political gains of “populists” on both the Left AND the Right who instinctively do get THAT.

FFS.


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The Zeitgeist | 3.4.2019

Every morning, we run the Narrative Machine on the past 24 hours worth of financial media to find the most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected and central) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles or articles we think are most interesting … often far from it.

But for whatever reason these are articles that are representative of some sort of chord that has been struck in Narrative-world.

Rusty and I like to comment or snark on these articles with each other, MST3K-style, so we’re publishing that, too. If you want to channel your inner Crow T. Robot or Tom Servo, feel free to join us in the Comments section!


Restricting Stock Buybacks Will Hurt the Economy [NY Times]

A big part of legal strategy is venue shopping – finding the most advantageous set of courts and judges for your particular interests. This is no less true in narrative strategy, although it’s often more advantageous to go against type (liberal views published in WSJ op-ed, conservative views published in NYT op-ed). That’s because informational impact is measured by how much a piece of text changes people’s minds, not its echo-chamber effect, and you’ve got a better chance of doing that when you’re not preaching to the choir. Of course, you’ve got balance that against the willingness of the non-choir media platform to run your (to them) crackpot views. What’s interesting to me is not that there’s a very public op-ed debate over stock buybacks, but that the protagonists are choosing the NY Times as the venue.


Flamboyant billionaire who counts Donald Trump as a friend is lurking in the shadows at Regal Petroleum  [ThisIsMoney.co.uk]

If you haven’t yet seen What We Do In the Shadows, it’s really quite good.

“Vampire housemates try to cope with the complexities of modern life and show a newly turned hipster some of the perks of being undead.”

Somehow I think Victor Pinchuk (and probably the “reporter” of this article) would feel right at home.


How Off-Grid Energy Access Is Shaping The Energy Transition [Forbes]

Honestly, when I see “Forbes contributor” as a line item in someone’s bio, it’s an immediate red flag for me. Might as well scream “I write infomercials for a living.”


States consider asset transfers as way to shore up plan funding [Pensions & Investments]

We tend to see state-backed pension funds as somehow separate from either the P&L or the balance sheet of the state government, when in truth they are one and the same. Yes, we will see a lot more of these balance sheet transfers going forward. The problem, of course, is that you can’t really sell these government-owned assets, not in the modern Zeitgeist of anti-privatization and anti-austerity. So it’s definitely a funny-money support for pension fund obligations, but we live in a permanently funny-money world.


Aggregate Demand: Definition, Formula and Why It’s Important in 2019 [The Street]

I expect we’ll see a lot more of these primer articles on economic theory heading into the 2020 election. The last time economic theory was front and center in a presidential election was supply side economics and Ronald Reagan in 1980. Expect the same with Modern Monetary Theory and the Democratic primary and national candidate today. And yes, there’s an ET note for that.


Apollo sub Redding Ridge issues first euro CLO [Global Capital]

I mean … of course they are. I gotta tell you, though, my spidey-sense is not tingling about this stuff yet. Is it too much money deperately searching for yield? Absolutely. Is it a systemic risk? I just don’t think we’re going to run the same gag twice.


US STOCKS-Futures up on growing hopes of U.S.-China trade deal [Reuters]

US-China trade talks are the new Risk-On / Risk-Off. And yes, there’s an ET note on this.



The Zeitgeist | 3.1.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Why Americans pay $550 monthly for new cars

China tech: Playing BATs versus FAANGs

Big Pharma’s Hunt for New Drugs Is Pushing Up Cost of Deals (Ed Note: Maybe they should just do buybacks instead to avoid controversy.)

Evolving The Advisor-Client Relationship

Trade Against Pension Fund Constraints For Better Returns

Chart of the Week: Institutions pump money into ETFs

J.C. Penney plans to close 24 more stores

Fleet Complete Finalizes Investment Partnership with Ontario Teachers

Ireland Factory Growth Improves In February

‘One Day at a Time’ – Gloria Calderon Kellett on being the boss and the Netflix numbers game

The Zeitgeist | 2.28.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Report: Blockchain Home Equity Loan Platform Raises $65 Million

UK house price growth ‘subdued’ as Brexit looms

Why Nintendo keeps returning to classics like Pokemon

MYSTERY SHOPPER BRISTOL; The shopper is considering investing her graduation gift – £50,000 – in safe haven assets such as gold

Doubts Over Trade Talks Weigh on Stocks (Ed Note: We haven’t seen “weigh on” in a while.)

The Perils Of Investing Idol Worship: The Kraft Heinz Lessons!

Deutsche Bank Shares Slip Lower After ECB Capital Increase Notice

Chinese Stocks Are Suddenly the World’s Best Trade in February

Trump-Kim summit fizzles; AB InBev surges; US GDP

The Zeitgeist | 2.27.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

How To Build A World Full Of Elons (Ed Note: I’ll take ‘Questions nobody is asking for $400, Alex’)

Alaska Permanent allocates $1.6 billion in commitments, investments

Tech stocks: is the foldable, 5G and AI era really revolutionary

GE just spun off its locomotive unit. Workers immediately went on strike

AutoZone Rises Sharply After Beating Earnings Estimates

Asian Shares Rise On Dovish Fed Comments

Elon Musk’s SEC fight: Here’s what could happen next

Dow futures point to lower open ahead of Trump-Kim summit

Low Participation Levels Keep The Bull Alive

The Zeitgeist | 2.26.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Intel and Apple Among Stocks Set to Gain on Improving U.S.-China Relations

Stealing The Permian – Which Operators Are Next In Line For U.S. Onshore Mergers And Acquisitions Activity?

Barrick Gold’s Shocking Hostile Bid For Newmont Is A Lowball Offer

Hearings on ‘sky-high’ drug prices show how little has changed in 60 years

The Current Cost of Climate Change: $650 Billion and Rising

Rally in Cyclical Stocks Could Be a False Positive

SE Asia Stocks-Most fall on trade deal uncertainty

Aussie, NZ shares end lower as markets seek clarity on Sino-U.S. talks (Ed Note: Markets ‘seek clarity’! What a cool thing to be able to determine.)

Kraft Tests Buffett and 3G Ties — WSJ

A Stock That Rides Every China Bubble Returns Stronger Than Ever

The Zeitgeist | 2.25.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

As AI Software Replaces Thousands of Workers, One Company Will Benefit the Most

Are you paying higher fees to subsidise tiny ‘orphan’ funds?

How America Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Deficits and Debt

The Green New Deal: A Fresh Opportunity For Investors?

Stocks Gain, China Surges, as Trump Delays Tariffs Amid Trade Talk Progress (Ed Note: It’s a rare threefer – Gain! Surge! Progress!)

Trump predicts ‘very big news’ in China trade talks after breakthrough

Trump Extends China Tariff Deadline

Buffett’s Berkshire, hurt by Kraft Heinz, posts massive quarterly loss


The Zeitgeist | 2.22.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Volatility Seems Here To Stay

House sales UP year on year in January as property market continues at ‘steady’ pace (UK)

UTIMCO to search for a custodian, strategic partners

Walgreens’ New Digital Refrigerator Doors Are Watching You. Here’s What They Know.

Restaurant Brands Yearns For Overseas Growth

European markets seen mixed amid US-China trade talks

Warren Buffett and the Insurance Business: A 52-Year Love Story

China and Russia have deep financial ties to Venezuela. Here’s what’s at stake.

Copper hits 7-1/2 month high on trade hopes, sliding stocks

The Final Frontier For SaaS Is CRM For Main Street

The Zeitgeist | 2.21.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Most European Bank Stocks Recover. Societe Generale Misses the Boat

People moves: New leadership for 406bn asset manager

UPDATE 2-GAM expects another challenging year, sacks suspended director

The S&P 500 Lost 11% of Value From Trump’s Trade War, Research Says

Cheesecake Factory Issues FY19 Outlook – Quick Facts (Ed Note: It may say Quick Facts, but it’s really 85 laminated pages)

Treasury yields move higher on US-China trade deal hopes (Ed Note: C’mon CNBC. ‘Move’? Are we really out of words already?)

Okta CEO: ‘We’re on the Right Side of History’ as Cloud Services Market Grows

DAX Inches Higher On Trade Deal Optimism (Ed Note: ‘Inches’ isn’t bad. Good job, good effort.)

Overnight Markets: Wall Street advances on US-China trade optimism (Ed Note: I’m really not making this up, people)

BAE’s Saudi Arms Deals Hit by German Export Ban Over Khashoggi


The Zeitgeist | 2.20.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Barclays fraud trial: ex-chairman ‘not aware’ of GBP280m Qatar deal

Devon Energy Makes A Huge Decision

C-SUITE INSIDER; For Calpine, going private means no more pesky stock analysts

Equinor presses on with drilling plans in Great Australian Bight

Warren Buffett’s annual letter shareholder is dropping on Saturday. Here’s what to expect.

LendingClub Corp (LC) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Stocks close higher with boost by trade talks (Ed Note: Alright, ‘Boost’ is off the board. This Trade War Descriptive Term Suicide Pool is getting exciting!)

EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging stocks jump on trade talks progress, S.Africa awaits budget (Ed Note: Sorry, ‘Jump’ has been off the board for weeks.)

Stocks Mixed as Trump Hints at China Talks Extension; Fed Minutes Loom For Doves (Ed Note: Oh no!)

JGBs follow global peers higher ahead of Fed minutes

Skyworks Collaborates with MediaTek on Innovative 5G Platform


The Zeitgeist | 2.19.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

New voices in hospitals: Apple, Google

Greece Seeks European Commission’s Assent for Bank Plan

Are ETFs About To Rule The World?

Blame The Fed For The Plight Of The Average American

Stock Market Nerves Remain High, Volatility Futures Curve Shows

The Obstacle Between Credit Funds and a Giant Pool of Money

Why I Didn’t Invest In Nvidia

Global Stocks Edge Up as U.S.-China Trade Talks Progress

Everything you need to know about the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet – and how it could impact you

‘America First’ or America alone? In debut on world stage, acting Pentagon chief must answer for Trump.

The Zeitgeist | 2.15.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Facebook in talks with FTC as possible record fine looms

Tech Giants Are Increasingly Designing Their Own Custom Chips – How to Play It

Deere’s CEO Calls Out Tariffs and Trade as Profit Disappoints

How to Play the Fed’s Coming Rate Cut

Six Flags Sinks as Revenue Misses Estimates Because of ‘Challenging’ China

DealBook Briefing: The Bigger Picture Behind Amazon Ditching N.Y.

How Bill Daley became rich at the crossroads of government and business (Ed Note: My stars! Do tell!)

Nvidia Shares Pop as Earnings Top Estimates

The Zeitgeist | 2.14.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Venezuela’s crisis of socialist faith; Not just leaders, but very economic model questioned

Howard Schultz: Americans need more opportunities

Noxious Trade Talk Fumes Dull S&P Bears’ Senses: Taking Stock (Ed Note: Aww, I thought they were hopeful – now they’re noxious!)

Stock Buybacks Are Not the Enemy

Robot Wars: $60B Intuitive Surgical Dominated Its Market For 20 Years. Now Rivals Like Alphabet Are Moving In

Tempur Sealy Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018 Results

A US-China trade deal may not be the catalyst the market is expecting

Teva Pharma Tumbles as Earnings and Outlook Miss Estimates

MARKET SNAPSHOT: S&P 500, Nasdaq Poised To Extend Rally To A Fifth Day On U.S.-China Trade-talk Progress (Ed Note: Whew! False alarm!)

EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging stocks, FX fall, await cues from trade talks (Ed Note: Wait, I was poised to extend my rally! I’m awaiting cues now?)


The Zeitgeist | 2.13.2019

This is our feature of the 10 (or so) most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

San Francisco City & County Employees allocates $380 million to alternatives

How Much Money Is In The Global Marketing Industry – More Than We Believed

The Biggest Bank M&A Deal Since the Financial Crisis

EU Approves Accord for Market Regulators to Swap Data

Shopify Stock Takes a Beating After Solid Earnings as Guidance Disappoints

Forge First Asset Management January 2019 Commentary: We Are Either In The 8th Inning Or We’re Already In Extra Innings

BlackRock’s president just highlighted one fast-growing ETF product that will ‘catapult’ the $6 trillion firm

Trump’s approval of offensive military hacking makes sense, most experts say

Asian stocks reach four-month peak on U.S.-China trade deal hopes

The Federal Debt: Is Anyone Concerned?

The Zeitgeist | 2.12.2019

This is our feature of the 10 most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Fitch May Cut GE’s Credit Rating Again — Should Investors Worry?

Cashing In on a Warming Arctic

Spain’s strawberry fields lie under a Brexit shadow

Delayed USDA reports and Snake River jump: Hyped, but duds

Tuesday briefing: ‘Pantomime’ of Brexit baffles Europeans

Global markets bounce as US agrees deal to stop a fresh government shutdown

Investors Pull $30 Billion, Just From One Company: Taking Stock

Europe Shares Gain For Second Day on Trade and U.S. Shutdown Hopes

U.S.-China Trade Hopes Give Stocks a Lift

The Zeitgeist | 2.11.2019

This is our feature of the 10 most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

For Boeing, juggling cash flow often means “another ‘Houdini moment'”

Proper Portfolio Diversification – Have We Become A ‘Fly In A Bottle’?

Why venture capitalists love fintechs

More to our success than low corporate tax

Banking Royal Commission – managed investment funds under the spotlight

Elizabeth Warren kicks off presidential bid with challenge to super wealthy – and other Democrats

Warren refocuses populist message in official kickoff

Waiting For The Bears To Say ‘Uncle’

EMERGING MARKETS-Shares rise on optimism over trade talks

The Zeitgeist | 2.8.2019

This is our feature of the 10 most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

A Storm Is Coming to the Global Music Industry – and More than $100 Billion Is at Stake

Tesla cuts the price of its Model 3 AGAIN: Electric car maker slashes $1,100 off its most affordable vehicle in second cost reduction this year as production finally ramps up

A positive picture: How banks are presenting their art treasures in a better light

ESG investing: how the rise of data can undermine human rights

Looking At Standalone Maersk Drilling Through Potential M&A Lens

Citi just revealed unflattering pay data. Will other banks follow suit?

Thomas Cook Stock Falls as Brexit Seen Hampering Airlines Sale

LAZY SUNDAY Average Brit spends Sundays eating roasts, taking strolls and watching films  (Ed Note: If you’re able to take a stroll, you’re not doing Sunday lunch correctly)

The Zeitgeist | 2.7.2019

This is our feature of the 10 most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Wall Street Sees Red

Apple’s Top Retail Exec Angela Ahrendts to Leave Amid iPhone Sales Slowdown

Don’t Like How Vague Alphabet Can Be? Better Get Used to it — Here’s Why

This could be the year of the megadevelopment. These 6 sites could alter Chicagos skyline forever.

New Research From Bain & Company, Google Predicts Online Grocery Shopping Will Triple In The Next Decade

Gong.io Raises $40 Million to Transform Sales With AI

Texas Employees commits $235 million to 4 alternative funds

Liht Cannabis Corp. Announces Signing of $10,000,000 Non-Dilutive Development Agreement For Its Project In Celista, British Columbia

2020 Dems walk fine line with support for ‘Medicare for all’

SocGen Will Shrink Trading Unit, Cuts Targets After Market Rout

The Zeitgeist | 2.6.2019

This is our feature of the 10 most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Sorry for the delay today, folks! Couldn’t be helped. I mean, it could have, but I didn’t.

FemBeat: P&G Acquires Organic Period Care Startup This Is L.

Why the US will avoid a recession this year and next (just)

ECB: Draghi’s Succession Matters

GM’s Resilient Profit Shows Why CEO Mary Barra Decided to Cut Jobs

Don’t Count on Active Funds to Provide Downturn Protection

US Production Shows no Signs of Slowing Down as OPEC moves to Support Prices

UK funds to snap up as Brexit beckons

Four of the last five times markets rallied like this, it was a dead-cat bounce

The Zeitgeist | 2.5.2019

This is our feature of the 10 most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected, highly similar) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles, or articles we think are most interesting, or articles we agree with. But if you’re going to read 5-10 stories when you start your day, these are the ones that are most connected to the financial news that got published today.

Broker Numis blames Brexit for paralysed deals

Is BlackRock set to revive annuities? (Ed Note: Not if Ken Fisher has anything to say about it!)

People don’t trust blockchain systems – is regulation a way to help?

10 Mind-Numbing Figures That Define PG&E’s Bankruptcy Sean Williams | Feb 5, 2019

To Avoid a Recession, Start Spending Now

Hellman’s $11 Billion Bid Shows PE Firms’ Megadeal Hunger

Most shoppers worry about buying groceries online. But delivery in the US is set to ‘explode’

Brexit puts Nissan’s UK future at risk but many car industry workers still want to leave EU

90% LTV mortgages

Buffett’s Betas