Friday's nonfarm payrolls report easily beat Wall Street expectations but may not be quite what Wall Street wanted.» Read More
Most hedge funds have traditionally practiced a simple public relations strategy: "No comment."
But that reflexive reaction to publicity is gradually starting to change. The latest sign? More large hedge funds are hiring executives to run communications.
Recent examples include Lorie Coulombe, who joined $26 billion Davidson Kempner Capital Management as director of corporate communications in January; Kelly Howard, who was hired as senior vice president for marketing and communications for $18 billion Two Sigma Investments in February; Steven Vames, director of communications at $14.3 billion Pine River Capital Management since June; Michelle Tressel, who joined $6 billion Black River Asset Management in June as director of marketing, communications and client solutions; and Mogolodi Bond, who become $9 billion SAC Capital Advisors second in command for communications in June.
Those executives come from variety of sources, including global public relations agency Burson-Marsteller; investment firms The Clifton Group and Oak Hill Capital Partners, a private equity shop; and other financially oriented companies like electronic trading platform builder Tradeweb and investor communications-focused Broadridge.
The privilege of denying nosy journalists who request information is still usually outsourced to third party PR shops, or "strategic communications" firms such as Sard Verbinnen & Co., Abernathy MacGregor Group and Kekst & Co. And many of the larger hedge funds that have hired internal communications executives still use external firms, too, such as SAC and Pine River. Small hedge funds often can't afford or don't think they need professional help.
(Read more: David Tepper hits Twitter? Not so fast)
Public shouting matches. A tense working atmosphere. A man at the top running amok.
These are not the things one usually associates with Pimco, the world's largest bond manager with $1.9 trillion under management and the largest single fund that alone boasts $237 billion. However, that's the portrait that emerged from a scathing profile Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal that paints a firm in turmoil following the departure of its high-profile CEO Mohamed El-Erian.
Bill Gross, the firm's co-founder, is shown in an unflattering light in the article, though he disputed the portrayal in a Tuesday afternoon interview with CNBC.
"All this discourse about an autocratic style from my standpoint and conflict between Mohammed and myself is overblown," Gross said during an interview on "Street Signs."
El-Erian's departure reportedly came after a series of clashes with Gross, himself also a very visible face of the firm and its chief investment officer.
"I'm tired of cleaning up your s---," El-Erian told Gross at one point, according to the Journal, which reported that El-Erian demanded Gross treat employees better.
Happy Tuesday. Doug Kass has a note out explaining Monday's stock market rally with a succinctly eloquent "I don't know." Let's go with that.
Here's what you call joining the fight: Heavyweight champ Vitaly Klitschko says he's going to run for Ukraine president. (The Independent)
Some of the largest investment managers in the world are still bullish on stocks and economic growth, but worry governments might get in the way.
Professional services company Towers Watson surveyed 128 investment managers—a majority having at least $5 billion under management—over November and December of 2013 as part of an annual investing forecast.
Generally, the fund managers were optimistic about the prospects for equity returns and short-term economic growth in most markets. But they were concerned about longer-term world growth and medium-term government bonds, according to the findings released Monday.
The biggest challenges, the hedge, mutual and other fund managers said, come from the public sector: government intervention, inflation, global economic imbalances and financial instability.
(Read more: Emerging market storm boon for euro zone's periphery)
"It is not surprising that managers have expressed such unease at developed market governmental intervention, including monetary, fiscal, legislative and regulatory measures—given the impact such developments as QE tapering, fiscal spending going into sequestration and the Volker Rule have had on global markets," Matt Stroud, Towers Watson's head of investment strategy for the Americas, said in a statement.
"The knock-on effects from some of these interventions, particularly QE tapering on some fragile emerging markets and the Volker Rule's impact on certain over-the-counter markets—such as the corporate bond market—have been significant," added Stroud, who wrote the report with Jason Shapiro and Ben Webb.
Most of the money managers surveyed expected continued gains in global stock markets in 2014. They were also optimistic over five years on emerging market equities. Predictions for gross domestic product growth were also generally positive in 2014.
Old Man Winter has been a convenient foil for the recent spate of bad economic news, but he shouldn't be shouldering all the blame.
True, the elements have not been cooperative, particularly in the Northeast, and are causing more than their fare share of damage as the U.S. tries to accelerate its nascent recovery.
Economists, though, are coming to grips with an even colder reality, namely that expectations for sharply accelerating growth in 2014 may have to be tamped down.
"The mantra of late when it comes to assessing the high frequency economic data has been to blame it on the weather," Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets, said in a report. "But it seems to us that folks are all too eager to dismiss what could potentially be some real underlying weakness."
(Read more: Is the US in real trouble? We're about to find out)
Five years ago, the American political landscape changed due in large part to one fed-up CNBC journalist.
Rick Santelli, who covers the bond markets at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, had seen enough as Washington policymakers began funneling what would be trillions of dollars to bail out various sectors that had been hit during the financial crisis.
Pushed to the brink, Santelli, speaking on the "Squawk Box" show, exploded into a rant resembling the famous "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" diatribe from the character Howard Beale in the 1976 movie "Network."
As he closed the segment, he turned to traders on the floor and asked them if they would like to bail out their neighbors who had spent too much money on their homes. A chorus of "no" ensued. Earlier in the segment, he suggested he and some others in Chicago planned that summer to throw a "tea party" to show their anger.
Closing, he turned to the camera and asked, "President Obama, are you listening?"
Explosive events would follow: Santelli's urging took hold, with millions of U.S. voters forming multiple tea party affiliations across the country that helped elect numerous candidates and change the conversation of American politics.
Much has changed since then. Santelli believes most of it, at least in terms of public awareness and activism, has been good.
—By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him on Twitter
The Federal Reserve opened a wide window Friday into the history-making decisions it undertook during the financial crisis.
Transcriptions of meetings held throughout 2008 showed the central bank's Open Market Committee both underestimated the severity of the economic downturn and acted with rapidity to address it.
Along the way there were misgivings, debates and even laughter.
The main question now is where that leaves the Fed for its future course.
CNBC's Patti Domm and Jeff Cox hash it out.
Happy Monday. Somehow it seems those two words don't belong in the same sentence, but let's give it a shot anyway.
This may not be the best way to kick off the week, but it appears as if the nation's governors are resigned to Obamacare and are just "trying to make the best of a bad situation." (USA Today)
The hits keep coming, as it appears both parties in Washington don't have a clue as to how to really make the budget work. (Washington Times)
Eight of the nation's largest banks will be able to use their own models and systems to calculate the amount of capital they need to set aside for risk- weighted assets, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The banks receiving approval for their models are JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, State Street, Bank of New York Mellon and U.S. Bancorp. The changes will take place in the second quarter.
The source said at least 10 other U.S. banks are in line to have their models approved, as the rule they are complying with applies to all U.S. banks with more than $250 billion in assets and a global presence. The other banks have not received approval yet as their models have not been running for the last two years.
The rule on how to model for capital was finalized in 2007, and in July 2013 regulators said at a minimum the banks would have to hold 7 percent Tier 1 capital, which primarily entails common stock and reserves. The source said that under the banks' own models, they will all hold more than the 7 percent minimum and that broadly speaking all eight banks have currently meet or exceed that level.
The banks receiving approval for their models and systems have been testing them for the past two years, proving to regulators they have an appropriate system for measuring risk.
Here is an example of how it might work: Under a standard model a bank is required to hold 50 percent capital on a residential mortgage. However, some residential mortgages are riskier than others.
So a bank may have a model where the amount of capital set aside for a residential mortgage to a homeowner with a high credit score and who put down 20 percent would be less than one with a lower credit score and a 5 percent down payment.
The eight banks will start calculating the new capital numbers in April of this year and start disclosing them by the end of the second quarter.
Virtually everyone on Wall Street knows that Bill Ackman's big short bet on Herbalife has cost him so far. Now we know exactly how much it has declined: by half.
Ackman's $11.96 billion hedge fund firm, Pershing Square Capital Management, first took a short position in the nutritional supplement company on May 1, 2012, according to a presentation at its annual investor dinner Feb. 13. Since then, the firm's cumulative loss on the stock has totaled 49 percent, representing Ackman's worst investment ever.
The dollar amount of the loss is unclear. Ackman said the short position was worth $1 billion in December 2012, when he publicly announced the bet. But Pershing Square has since restructured the position using options. The stock price has appreciated by 23 percent, including dividends, from May 1, 2012, to Feb. 10, 2014, according to the presentation.
A spokesman for Pershing Square declined to comment.
A spokesman for Herbalife once again fought Ackman's assertions.
"For the past 14 months, Bill Ackman has waged a sophisticated 'short and destroy' media and lobbying campaign against Herbalife. Despite his constant attacks, Herbalife delivered another year of record performance in 2013. During that time, shareholders who believe in Herbalife and our industry-leading products have been big winners," a statement from the company to CNBC.com said.
"But because of his reckless $1 billion bet, Mr.Ackman and his investors at Pershing Square have been big losers. Herbalife's success is a testament to strong customer demand for the products, healthy lifestyle and financial opportunity the company provides."
The falling out between Bill Gross and his one-time partner Mohamed El-Erian has quickly turned into one of the ugliest bust-ups in recent history.
The founder of a hedge fund with $21 billion under management provided three investing rules and three favorite stocks.
Former executives at Dewey & LeBoeuf were accused of using accounting gimmicks to fool banks and investors.