Friday, 12 Sep 2014 | 1:14 PM ET

This reg change would be huge for small banks

Posted By: Jeff Cox

Life is about to get more difficult for the nation's big banks but possibly a whole lot easier for the small ones.

As Congress enacts stricter regulations for large financial institutions and ponders future measures, there's growing anticipation that it is moving closer to steps that would exempt those not considered systemically important from the tough new oversight provisions.

On the table now is a provision that would increase the amount of assets a bank would need to hold before being considered a systemically important financial institution, or SIFI. A proposal in front of the Senate Banking Committee would raise that ceiling from $50 billion to $250 billion, and one analyst believes that despite ever-present gridlock in Washington, the SIFI threshold move likely will get through in the months ahead.

"We remain optimistic that the Senate Banking Committee will advance bank SIFI asset threshold legislation no matter the outcome of the midterm elections as there has been a clear divergence in the view of the banking industry on Capitol Hill between the money centers and all other banks," Compass Point Research & Trading analysts Kevin Barker, Isaac Boltansky and Jason Stewart said in a note to clients.

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  Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 | 2:58 PM ET

Third Point raises $2.5 billion in two weeks

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
Daniel Loeb
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Daniel Loeb

Investors want more of activist hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, and they're putting up lots of cash to prove it.

Loeb's Third Point pulled in $2.5 billion in fresh cash from investors in just two weeks, according to a person familiar with the situation.

A spokesman for Third Point declined to comment. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

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  Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 | 12:31 PM ET

Alibaba gets interest from Tepper, Loeb, Cooperman

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne

Hedge funds appear to be salivating over Alibaba.

The Chinese e-commerce company's initial public offering is set for Sept. 19 and is already drawing significant attention from the so-called smart money.

Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman is one of Alibaba's fans.

Read MoreAlibaba taking the world by storm, but what is it?

"We like what we see so far and we are highly impressed with Jack Ma and his management team," Cooperman, founder of $10.4 billion hedge fund Omega Advisors, said in an email. He added that he had met with Alibaba executives and plans to invest in the stock once it goes public.

Three other major hedge fund investors who have shown interest in the IPO are Dan Loeb of Third Point, David Tepper of Appaloosa Management and Dan Benton of Andor Capital Management. All three were among the roughly 800 people—300 more than expected—who attended Alibaba's first road show presentation Monday at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan, according to witnesses.

Spokesman for their respective firms declined to comment or didn't respond to requests on if the men planned to invest in the company. Loeb has previously invested in Yahoo and once called "hidden jewel" Alibaba "central to our investment thesis" in Yahoo.

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  Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 | 1:51 PM ET

'Pathetic': Good luck getting in on Alibaba IPO

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Brent Lewin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Initial public offerings are like a big, exclusive party that all investors are invited to but only a few can actually attend.

Expect more of the same from Alibaba, the hotly anticipated tech IPO—the largest ever—that already is fully subscribed but likely to be mostly out of the reach for most of the retail crowd, at least initially.

"It's totally pathetic," said Michael Cohn, chief market strategist at Atlantis Asset Management. "The public's just not allowed to participate. ...The large fund people that manage money for, just say, the Fidelitys, the Vanguards of the world and the hedge funds, are the ones that get the largest allocation."

Cohn figures the retail side that he represents may be able to get a 25 percent to 30 percent fill on their orders, but that probably will be the limit.

"The question is, do you really want any?" he said. "This is so big, it's hard to wrap your head around it."

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  Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 | 12:21 PM ET

This bull says, 'Let the good times roll' in 2015

Posted By: Jeff Cox

One of Wall Street's biggest bulls has just upped the ante for 2015.

Technical strategists at Piper Jaffray, which correctly foresaw much of this year's market upside, including the S&P 500's eclipse of the 2,000 mark, said the bull has more in store.

In a lengthy pair of reports sent to clients Wednesday, the firm held to its ambitious year-end target of 2,100—a nearly 6 percent gain from here—but also predicted the stock market index would hit 2,350 by the end of 2015, a 17 percent increase from the current level. That represents the highest target of any Wall Street firm and is part of a general movement to revise market hopes upward.

"We suspect that low interest rates, low inflation and dovish Fed policy will continue to underpin this equity bull market for the foreseeable future," managing director Craig W. Johnson and others said in one report. "Given there are 25 percent fewer investable stocks today than there were in the early 2000s, we think the market is primed to go higher when asset allocation shifts toward equities; this should underpin this bull market for the foreseeable future."

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  Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 | 1:18 PM ET

GE's hotshot Oil & Gas chief peers into future

Posted By: Mary Thompson

Lorenzo Simonelli is 41, slim, nice looking and well spoken. He also possesses an impressive resume.

Last October he was tapped to run General Electric's fastest-growing business, GE Oil & Gas, and prior to that, he ran GE Transportation.

Simonelli will be closely watched both inside and outside of the conglomerate. He is often mentioned as a potential candidate to succeed his boss, Jeff Immelt, who became CEO of the company in 2001 at the tender age of 44.

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  Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 | 11:03 AM ET

Throw away the key! Pols want bad bankers jailed

Posted By: CNBC.com staff
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Getty Images
Sen. Elizabeth Warren

If two senators get their way, executives—and not just the banks they run—will face punishment for bad behavior in the future.

What's more, the sentiment is shared across party lines, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren , D-Mass., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala., both expressing concern that while banks have faced billions in penalties for actions that precipitated the financial crisis, no individual CEOs have been held responsible.

"No corporation can break the law unless the individual within that corporation broke the law," Warren said during a committee hearing Tuesday, according to an account in The Hill. "Not a single senior executive at these banks (has) been criminally prosecuted."

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  Tuesday, 9 Sep 2014 | 1:28 PM ET

Big money disagrees on investing in Russia

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
An employee works in the offices of the OAO Moscow Exchange.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An employee works in the offices of the OAO Moscow Exchange.

The turmoil between Russia and Ukraine has created a rare opportunity to buy low-cost assets, according to some large investors. For others, securities are cheap for very good reasons and they say Russia should be avoided.

"When I went to look for all these cheap stocks and said, 'Here we go, this is the cheapest market in the world, I know I can find some really nice alpha,' I found it much more difficult," said Jamieson Odell, deputy global portfolio manager at emerging and frontier market hedge fund firm Caravel Management.

Odell, speaking Monday night at the NYSSA Russian and Central & Eastern European Capital Markets Conference, said there were some excellent Russian retail, food and Internet companies, such as Magnit, but their stock valuations were high and therefore expensive relative to the potential reward. And cheap stocks, he said, usually have "really big" corporate governance issues or "terrible" balance sheets.

"The cheap things really are cheap for a reason," Odell said.

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  Tuesday, 9 Sep 2014 | 1:17 PM ET

Pimco exec: The Fed HAD to pump up the market

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Paul McCulley, chief economist of Pimco, is shown at the firm's headquarters in Newport Beach, Calif.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Paul McCulley, chief economist of Pimco, is shown at the firm's headquarters in Newport Beach, Calif.

Pimco's Paul McCulley believes the Federal Reserve has a direct desire to pump up the U.S. stock market, even if it won't acknowledge so explicitly.

Fed officials rarely mention stock prices in their public remarks, but McCulley thinks there's plenty of conversations behind the scenes, where central bankers are hoping that the soaring stock market eventually pays dividends to the much slower-moving economy.

In his latest monthly missive to investors, the firm's managing director and chief economist explains the strategy and its uncomfortable ramifications:

It is not a tasteful choice for the Fed at all. It reeks with social injustice. But it also happens to be the only viable choice: Use all available powers, with whatever-it-takes abandon, to reflate prices that are amenable to going up: long-term bonds and stocks.

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  Tuesday, 9 Sep 2014 | 11:38 AM ET

Mario Gabelli: Wall Street's $85 million man

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Mario Gabelli
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Mario Gabelli

Wall Street likes to call him "Super Mario," and in 2013 the moniker fit in more ways than one.

Mario Gabelli, the head of GAMCO Investors and widely followed market guru, pulled down $85 million in compensation last year, putting him on top of the mountain among his peers in asset management and elsewhere, according to an analysis by financial services firm SNL.

Perhaps just as remarkably, Gabelli receives no actual salary. Instead, he made this money based solely on incentives related to his company's growth. GAMCO's assets under management soared 78 percent from 2009 to 2013, rising from $26.35 billion to just over $47 billion.

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About NetNet

  • NetNet is where you'll find the low-down and the high jinks of Wall Street. It's the place for insider stories, trader gossip, and tales of the foibles of the moneyed crowd and the culture of finance.Wall Street news and commentary served fresh all day long.


  • Jeff Cox is finance editor for CNBC.com.

  • Lawrence Develingne

    Lawrence Delevingne is the ‘Big Money’ enterprise reporter for CNBC.com and NetNet.

  • Stephanie Landsman is one of the producers of "Fast Money."

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