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1. Here are the top stocks Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway bought and sold at the end of 201922:17[−]

warren buffett

  • Berkshire Hathaway, which is led by famed value investor Warren Buffett, released on Friday SEC filings showing which company stocks it bought, sold, and held in the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • At the end of the year, the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio was worth roughly $248 billion, up from about $234 billion at the end of the third quarter in 2019.
  • Buffett wrote in a 2018 letter to shareholders that he expected Berkshire Hathaway would increase holdings in company stocks in 2019.
  • Here are the top stocks he bought or sold in the fourth quarter as of December 31, 2019.
  • Read more on Business Insider.

Famed billionaire investor and "Oracle of Omaha" Warren Buffett's company just rebalanced the portfolio of stocks it's holding.

Berkshire Hathaway, which Buffett runs, on Friday released Securities and Exchange Commission filings showing what it bought and sold in the fourth quarter of 2019.

In the quarter, Berkshire Hathaway made some strategic moves that grew the portfolio to nearly $248 billion, up from about $234 billion at the end of the third-quarter of 2019. The 89-year-old value investor wrote in his 2018 letter to shareholders that he expected Berkshire Hathaway to buy more company stocks through 2019.

"In recent years, the sensible course for us to follow has been clear: Many stocks have offered far more for our money than we could obtain by purchasing businesses in their entirety," Buffett wrote.

Most notably, Berkshire Hathaway sold about 1.5% of its Apple shares in the fourth quarter, which amounted to about $800 million. While the amount of money seems like a lot, it's a very small portion of Berkshire Hathaway's investment and total portfolio, meaning the change was likely a rebalancing move.

The company also made some new purchases in the quarter using Buffett's investment guidelines of "calculating whether a portion of an attractive business is worth more than its market price."

Berkshire Hathaway added new positions in Kroger and Biogen, which sent shares of both companies up in early trading Tuesday. The company also increased investments in a number of stocks it previously held, while reducing its position in others.

Even though Berkshire Hathaway has increased its stock holdings in the last year, Buffett would prefer to use the record $128 billion cash pile to purchase a company instead of stock. But, the market has proved unfavorable for a Buffett-worthy acquisition as of late — his last major purchase was in 2016.

"Prices are sky-high for businesses possessing decent long-term prospects," Buffett wrote in his 2018 shareholder letter. "We continue, nevertheless, to hope for an elephant-sized acquisition."

Here are the top stocks that Berkshire Hathaway bought and sold as of December 31, according to SEC https://markets.businessinsider.com/chart/oxy filings and GuruFocus data.

Bought: Kroger

Ticker: KR

Status in portfolio: New purchase

Total shares: 18,940,079

Source: SEC filings, GuruFocus data



Bought: Biogen

Ticker: BIIB

Status in portfolio: New purchase

Total shares: 648,447

Source: SEC filings, GuruFocus data



Bought: Occidental Petroleum

Ticker: OXY

Status in portfolio: Added to existing position

Total shares: 18,933,054

Change in position: +154%

Source: SEC filings, GuruFocus data



Bought: Suncor Energy

Ticker: SU

Status in portfolio: Added to existing position

Total shares: 15,019,031

Change in position: +40%

Source: SEC filings, GuruFocus data



Bought: RH

Ticker: RH

Status in portfolio: Added to existing position

Total shares: 1,708,348

Change in position: +41%

Source: SEC filings, GuruFocus data



Bought: General Motors

Ticker: GM

Status in portfolio: Added to existing position

Total shares: 75 million

Change in position: +4%

Source: SEC filings, GuruFocus data



Sold: Wells Fargo

Ticker: WFC

Status in portfolio: Reduced existing position

Total shares: 323,212,918

Change in position: -15%

Source: SEC filings, GuruFocus data



Sold: Goldman Sachs

Ticker: GS

Status in portfolio: Reduced existing position

Total shares: 12,004,751

Change in position: -35%

Source: SEC filings, GuruFocus data



Sold: The Travelers Companies

Ticker: TRV

Status in portfolio: Reduced existing position

Total shares: 312,379

Change in position: -95%

Source: SEC filings, GuruFocus data



Sold: Apple

Ticker: AAPL

Status in portfolio: Reduced existing position

Total shares: 245,155,566

Change in position: -1.5%

Source: SEC filings, GuruFocus data



Sold: Phillips 66

Ticker: PSX

Status in portfolio: Reduced existing position

Total shares: 227,436

Change in position: -96%

Source: SEC filings, GuruFocus data



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2. The coronavirus outbreak is dangerously close to shrinking global growth this quarter, UBS warns22:02[−]

Volunteers in protective suits disinfect a factory with sanitizing equipment, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, China February 18, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS

  • The coronavirus' effect on the world economy is driving growth near negative levels in the first quarter of 2020, UBS economists wrote Tuesday.
  • The bank's estimate sees the hit to China's economy accounting for most of its updated forecast, with disruptions in Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong also weighing on global expansion.
  • UBS's guidance doesn't take supply chain slowdowns into account, and Apple recently warned the hit to iPhone production will drive revenue below its initial estimate in the quarter ending in March.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Coronavirus' fallout is already showing up in companies' guidance and market reactions. Now UBS economists expect the pandemic to drag global growth near negative levels in the first quarter.

The bank's "global now-cast" metric showed growth surging throughout Asia before the coronavirus outbreak. But its latest reading projects a global growth increase of just 0.5% during the first three months of the year. The rate of expansion is down from the 3.5% level expected earlier in the quarter.

The virus' hit to China's economy accounts for most of UBS's lowered guidance, with disruptions in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore also dragging the metric lower. Any growth level below zero reflects a contraction in the global economy, and consecutive quarters of contraction mark a global recession.

UBS' global growth forecast doesn't take supply chain slowdowns into account, added the team, led by Arend Kapteyn. Apple is among the latest firms to update their guidance on the virus' hit to manufacturing. The iPhone maker announced on Tuesday its revenue for the quarter ending March will fall below its initial estimate, citing a temporary hit to global phone supply. Apple shares fell as much as 3.2% on the news.

Read more: A Wall Street firm lists its 5 best hedges for an unusual coronavirus-driven market crash — and shares what to do if it's successfully contained

UBS expects central banks to stay in a "wait-and-see mode," holding off on any stimulus as economic data reflecting the outbreak's fallout trickles in. The Federal Reserve will likely hold its benchmark interest rate steady until inflation rises to its 2% goal. The European Central Bank "is largely on autopilot" while it focuses on a strategy review, the team wrote. Even Japan's central bank is expected to stay patient despite the nation seeing its first virus-related death on February 8, UBS said.

Even if the bank's latest guidance reflects an ominous outlook for the world economy, containment of the virus will drive a sharp recovery. Delayed consumption and investment, along with economic stimulus, "should lead growth to snap back sharply ... similar to what one would see after a natural disaster," the team wrote on Tuesday. The net effect on annual growth is a less-worrisome 0.2 percentage point reduction, they added.

Coronavirus' death toll reached 1,875 people on Tuesday, with more than 73,000 people now infected across at least 26 countries. Only five deaths have been reported outside mainland China, with single fatalities in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Taiwan, and France.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

HSBC tanks the most since 2017 after announcing a $7.2 billion overhaul charge

Apple sees $45 billion in market value wiped out after warning that the coronavirus will push revenue below forecasts

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3. A top Trump adviser was fact-checked live on CNN about the strong Obama economy. He still said it was 'horrible.'22:02[−]

CNN Navarro Poppy Harlow

  • CNN host Poppy Harlow and White House adviser Peter Navarro clashed on the Obama economy during a segment on Tuesday.
  • "Don't both presidents deserve credit for good economies?" Harlow asked Navarro.
  • The CNN host showed Navarro a series of charts with government data that contradicted his claims, but Navarro still called the Obama economy "horrible."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A CNN segment turned testy on Tuesday for White House trade adviser Peter Navarro after he was fact-checked on what he called the "horrible" Obama economy with government data that contradicted his claims.

Harlow first highlighted data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showing Obama had four quarters when gross domestic product growth surpassed 4%, peaking at 5.5% once in 2014.

By comparison, Trump hasn't broken 4% so far during his time in office, and the last two quarters of 2019 saw 2.1% growth (the Trump figures were not displayed on CNN).

Then she showed figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that displayed Obama outpacing Trump on job growth in the last 35 months of his presidency compared to Trump's first 35. The average job gains for the former president were 227,000 per month compared to 191,000 for Trump.

"Don't both presidents deserve credit for good economies?" Harlow asked Navarro.

"If you lived through the Obama years ... [people] remember what it is was like," the top White House adviser said. "What President Obama did was double the debt from $10 trillion to $20 trillion."

Navarro went on to say that President Trump "fixed structural problems" caused by cumbersome regulations and high taxes. "Back in the Obama-Biden years, it was horrible."

Harlow then cut off Navarro.

"Peter, I'm sorry, I can't," the CNN host said, before displaying the same data again.

Navarro told Harlow to "put your numbers up," leading the CNN host to note the data was generated from government agencies.

"It's a great economy now. All I'm asking you is, wasn't it a good economy then as well?" Harlow asked.

Navarro responded: "No it was not, it was a horrible economy during the Obama years."

Trump has made the strength of the economy central to his re-election bid, touting the half-century low unemployment rate as well as steady wage growth.

On Monday, Trump ripped into Obama after the former president commemorated on Twitter the 11th anniversary of an $800 billion stimulus package he said paved the way for "more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history."

The president called it "a con job" in back-to-back tweets and derided Obama's handling of the economy.

Join the conversation about this story »

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4. A global investor in Wall Street's top 1% reveals to us the 2 pillars of his strategy — and 3 stock picks he's betting on for the next 5 years21:48[−]

trader

  • Mike Tian comanages the Focused Emerging Markets Investor Fund for WCM Investment Management, which has outperformed 99% of global stock funds in the past five years.
  • Tian says there are two characteristics a company must have before he'll consider investing in it: a growing "competitive moat" that sets it apart from competitors and a strong corporate culture.
  • He also named three international companies that he expects to thrive over the next five years.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When it comes to the companies he wants to invest in, Mike Tian says Warren Buffett has it about half right.

Tian is one of the managers for WCM Investment Management's Focused Emerging Markets Investor fund, one of the most successful global stock funds of recent years. Over the 12 months, that fund beat 98% of its peers with a 20.9% return.

The last few years are just as dramatic: Over the past three and the past five years, it's surpassed 99% of its rivals with returns of 17.7% and 9.6% per year, respectively. That's helped it earn a five-star rating from Morningstar, and Kiplinger calls the emerging markets fund one of the best global stock funds of the past five years.

In an exclusive interview with Business Insider about his approach, Tian mentions legendary investor Buffett twice, agreeing with him once and disagreeing once. Where the two agree is the idea of "moats" that will protect companies from their competition for years.

Tian takes that idea a bit further, seeing he wants to find companies whose competitive edge is getting bigger.

"For us, the most important thing is not just thinking about these competitive advantages in a static sense, but rather, aligning yourselves with the companies whose competitive advantages are actually getting better over time," he said. "You want to avoid companies whose competitive advantages are being eroded away."

But he splits from Buffett in another respect: While the Oracle of Omaha has advocated investing in businesses that are such a strong position they could be run by an "idiot," Tian wants businesses where the details matter. He says that if employees at all levels are engaged and making the company better, its moat will expand.

"We believe that corporate cultures are actually very, very important to the longer-term success of a company," he said. "It's almost invisible on a day to day level. But we're talking about these slow changes over time."

He continued: "And the corporate culture is what really allows a company to kind of accumulate these small changes ... this is very intangible, but it's very powerful."

To learn as much as possible about a company's culture, Tian says he and his co-managers give executives a questionnaire developed by Harvard Business Professor James L. Heskett. They also speak to lower-level workers, former employees, customers, distributors, and others to talk about the company and its approach.

Tian adds that the culture they're looking to measure might be more important than strategy or the plans of a CEO who will probably only run the company for a few years.

That approach has helped Tian find the companies that have taken the fund to the top. Listed below are the three companies he thinks will help it stay there. They're his top picks for the next five years, the typical holding period for his fund.

(1) Taiwan Semiconductor

Taiwan Semiconductor is the largest position in the fund at 7.2% of the portfolio, and Tian says its culture has helped the company open up a big lead on its competitors.

"The amount of capital and expertise that's takes to construct a new foundry has increased massively, massively," he said. "So as a result, many of the competitors that were in existence back in the day have dropped out of the business."

A second culture advantage? Satisfied employees, which makes the company more efficient.

"It's well known in the industry that their senior engineers are almost impossible to hire away," he said. "That team has been stable for two decades at this point."

(2) WuXi AppTec

WuXi AppTec is an example of the widening moat concept, as Tian says it once competed with other drug development, manufacturing, and research companies rivals on price, but is doing more and more sophisticated work.

"They are kind of moving up the value spectrum, becoming more differentiated, becoming more indispensable to their clients," he said. "There's obviously a very significant runway to growth because the amount of kind of, especially discovery and early stage work that's been outsourced is still discovery work especially is really quite small at this point."

(3) HDFC Bank

HDFC, the fund's third-largest investment, is stands above its competition and is benefiting from some trends Tian wants to take advantage of: India's growing financial system and a shift away from state-run banks to private sector institutions.

"It's the largest and probably the best run bank in India," Tian said of the company. "We certainly think there is a very much, a long, long, long runway to growth there."

SEE ALSO: MORGAN STANLEY: Buy these 25 non-Tesla stocks to cash in on the electric-car revolution

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5. One measure of market optimism is at tech-bubble highs. Here's why that's a worrying sign.21:17[−]

traders

Options markets are so optimistic, they look like they did during the tech bubble of the early 2000s.

That's according to Sundial Capital's Jason Goepfert, who wrote in a Saturday note that the "level of leveraged speculation right now" only finds comparison in the dot-com bubble, Bloomberg previously reported.

Last week, buying of calls to open hit 24 million, the highest level ever, while investors sold to close 30% fewer calls than weeks prior, according to Goepfert's note, seen by Bloomberg.

Bought calls to open signify that traders have begun a new position; sold calls to close show that traders are exiting a position.

Bloomberg reported the difference between bought calls to open and sold calls to close is the largest it has ever been — a sign that contrarians may be dwindling amid strong bullish sentiment.

That difference is usually an omen of turbulence ahead for stocks, Goepfert's note said. The four times there has been a difference of 10 million between calls bought to open and calls sold to close, stocks typically fell a median of 4% within the following couple months.

To be sure, bearish calls predicting the demise of the longest-ever bull market are nothing new — few on Wall Street anticipated the S&P 500 index could run up 29% in 2019, Bloomberg reported.

But this optimism may too be exceptional. The options market has shown such a gap six times since mid-December, reported Bloomberg, citing research by Sundial's SentimenTrader using Options Clearing Corp. data.

"No other seven-week stretch has come even close to this level of speculative action," Goepfert's note read. "The only one that comes close ended in mid-February 2011, preceding a more than 6% loss in the S&P 500 over the next couple months, which only got worse in the months after that."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

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6. Every US state is intertwined with China — here's the economic risk from the coronavirus outbreak for each20:54[−]

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a mask walks by portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping and late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, on a street in Shanghai, China February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

  • The deadly coronavirus outbreak has begun to have an impact on China's economy.
  • Trade with China is a major part of several US states' economies.
  • Using data from the US Census Bureau, we looked at which states could be most affected by a slowdown in trade with China as a result of the coronavirus.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The deadly coronavirus outbreak originating in a wet market in Wuhan, China has reached a death toll of 1,875 with over 73,000 people infected.

Part of China's response to the outbreak has been to quarantine Wuhan and several other cities. These city-wide lockdowns along with shuttered factories and stores have begun to have an impact on China's economy.

Several industries, including luxury fashion and liquor, could be hit hard by supply chain disruptions and reduced demand in China. Apple has warned that its revenues for the current quarter are likely to be lower than initially expected as the consumer electronics giant faces both slowdowns in iPhone manufacturing and shuttered Apple stores across China.

The American and Chinese economies are tightly intertwined. Many industries rely on imports from supply chains with a large footprint in China, and an economy with over a billion people and a growing middle class represents one of the biggest markets for American exports.

Different parts of the US could be affected to a greater or lesser extent by a broad slowdown in trade with China as a result of the ongoing outbreak. The US Census Bureau tracks annual figures for international trade in goods for each state.

We made the following maps illustrating each state's import and export trade with China as of 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, to show just how much each state could be impacted by a slowdown.

SEE ALSO: These 5 companies and product categories could see a hit from the coronavirus outbreak

This map shows the biggest import trade partner for each state in 2018. Fully 24 states and the District of Columbia imported more goods from China than from any other country.



Several states import billions of dollars of goods from China each year. Major disruptions to the Chinese economy could affect supply chains across the US.



A general slowdown in China could affect exports to that country as well. Four states — Oregon, Washington, South Carolina, and Alaska — exported more goods to China than to any other nation in 2018.



Even though imports from China were greater than exports to China in most states, 26 states had over $1 billion in goods exports to China in 2018.



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7. Coatue's new quant fund lost money in the fourth quarter and it shows how hard it is for new entrants to break into the space20:32[−]

Philippe Laffont

  • Coatue, billionaire Philippe Laffont's firm, opened a quant fund last May to outside investors even as many larger quant funds were struggling in an increasingly competitive space.
  • In the hyper-competitive space of quant funds, where the biggest managers like Two Sigma, D.E. Shaw, and Renaissance Technologies are investing more every year into new data streams and artificial intelligence, new players face an uphill battle.
  • The fund, which sources say is closed, runs roughly $350 million now, and returned just under 2% in its first eight months of trading.
  • In the fourth quarter of last year, the fund returned -1.2%.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The first stretch of trading for Coatue's nascent quant fund hasn't seen much upside.

In the hyper-competitive space of quant funds, where the biggest managers like Two Sigma, D.E. Shaw, and Renaissance Technologies are investing more every year into new data streams and artificial intelligence, new players face an uphill battle.

But Coatue's decades-long track record as a fundamental investor gave the new fund serious legitimacy.

The fund, which began trading at the beginning of May, returned just under 2% for the year, and lost money — dropping 1.2% — in the fourth quarter, according to a document with performance numbers for the end of 2019 from one of the fund's investors seen by Business Insider.

The fund, which runs roughly $350 million and is closed to other investors, was originally hoping to raise $250 million, according to a Bloomberg piece last year, and is marketed as a mix of fundamental stock-picking Coatue is known for, and quant-fund-like data analysis.

In a difficult fund-raising environment, the fact Laffont was able to raise more than the firm was originally seeking shows how respected Coatue is — and how excited investors were for the new fund.

"We envision a future where our data scientists and fundamental analysts sit side by side to formulate strong investment theses that are validated by data science," billionaire Coatue founder Philippe Laffont reportedly wrote to investors last year. Coatue is a part of billionaire hedge-fund founder Julian Robertson's network, and is known as a Tiger Cub because Laffont worked for Robertson.

The firm declined to comment when asked about its performance.

Fellow Tiger Cub Maverick Capital also struggled to produce returns in its quant funds last year, losing money while the leveraged version of its fundamentally run flagship fund beat the surging stock market last year. Maverick also declined to comment on its quant products.

Big-time traditional quant players struggled last year too, as WorldQuant and AQR both had large layoffs to start the year, and even Ray Dalio's Bridgewater failed to make money.

Coatue's human-run flagship bested the average hedge fund last year, recording 10% returns after losing money in a tough 2018.

The mixing of fundamental and quantitative techniques, called quantamental, has been a popular hedge for stock-picking managers looking to diversify their products, but not there have been some notable struggles.

Balyasny, for instance, cut its 10-person quantamental team, known as Synthesis, last year after the group had only been trading for 12 months.

SEE ALSO: We mapped 4 generations of Tiger Management's hedge fund descendants: here's the quarter-trillion-dollar web of cubs

SEE ALSO: Maverick Capital's human stock pickers are shining, but quant strategies at Lee Ainslie's $8.8 billion fund are in the red and lagging their peers

Join the conversation about this story »

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8. HSBC tanks the most since 2017 after announcing a $7.2 billion overhaul charge (HSBC)20:24[−]

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a HSBC signage in Singapore October 8 2019. REUTERS/Feline Lim/File Photo

  • HSBC shares tumbled as much as 5.6% early Tuesday after the bank unveiled its third restructuring plan in a decade.
  • The overhaul looks to cut as many as 35,000 jobs by 2022 as well as halt share buyback programs planned for 2020 and 2021.
  • Restructuring costs are estimated to hit $6 billion, while asset disposal charges will total $1.2 billion through 2022, the bank said.
  • The bank also announced its fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday, reporting a 33% drop in pre-tax profits year-over-year.
  • Watch HSBC trade live here.

HSBC shares fell as much as 5.6% in early Tuesday trading after the bank announced plans to cut 35,000 jobs in a major overhaul.

Europe's largest investment bank by market cap looks to slash underperforming offices in the US and Europe and focus on Asia for further growth. HSBC expects to take a $6 billion charge from restructuring and a $1.2 billion charge from asset disposal costs over the next three years.

Tuesday's drop on the London Stock Exchange was HSBC's biggest since September 2017, according to Bloomberg.

The company posted its fourth-quarter results on Tuesday alongside the overhaul plan. Quarterly revenue and pre-tax earnings landed above analyst estimates, but profits fell 33% from the year-ago quarter.

Here are the key numbers:

Revenue: $13.1 billion, versus the $13 billion estimate

Quarterly pre-tax profit: $4.3 billion, versus the $3.9 billion estimate

2019 pre-tax profit: $22.2 billion, versus the $21.8 billion estimate

Total jobs: down to 200,000 by 2022 from 235,000

Share buybacks will be suspended for 2020 and 2021, and gross assets held by the bank will be reduced by $100 billion over the next three years, according to the report. HSBC warned coronavirus fallout will bring additional hits to future performance, but the magnitude of the damage is still unclear.

"Depending on how the situation develops, there is the potential for any associated economic slowdown to impact our expected credit losses in Hong Kong and mainland China," the bank said in its latest quarterly report.

The bank is going to be "surgical and ruthless" in its plan to cut underperforming businesses, Chief Financial Officer Ewen Stevenson said in a Bloomberg TV interview. HSBC plans to combine its consumer banking and private banking divisions into a standalone platform, while also shrinking its global reporting lines to four from seven.

The latest restructuring plan is HSBC's third in a decade, and comes amid a continued search for a permanent CEO. Former chief executive John Flint left the company roughly one year after his 2018 improvement plan failed. Chairman Mark Tucker now leads the plan to cut costs and capitalize on Asian and Middle Eastern markets while also looking to fill the bank's top role.

HSBC traded at $35.82 per share as of 12 p.m. ET Tuesday, down 8% year-to-date.

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HSBC

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9. Mike Bloomberg's new plan to crack down on Wall Street echoes those of Bernie Sanders and AOC20:16[−]

FILE PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks during a campaign event at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S. February 12, 2020.  REUTERS/Doug Strickland/File Photo

  • Mike Bloomberg rolled out a plan to crack down on Wall Street that mirrors proposals from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, notably with its inclusion of a financial-transactions tax.
  • Bloomberg's plan calls for tougher oversight of the largest Wall Street banks and for strengthening consumer-protection laws.
  • It's a reversal from Bloomberg's past stance on financial regulation. While he was New York City's mayor in 2010, he warned Democrats against taking "punitive actions" toward Wall Street that could harm the economy.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg on Tuesday unveiled his plan to crack down on Wall Street. It includes a financial-transactions tax that draws from plans from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

The proposal calls for reinstating stricter oversight of the biggest banks on Wall Street and shoring up consumer-protection laws governing payday lending and financial advisers. It would also set up a special team within the Justice Department to investigate bankers and fight corporate crime.

The former New York City mayor also seeks to merge Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government housing giants.

"We need to make the financial system work for every American," Bloomberg said in a tweet about his proposal, adding that President Donald Trump had "rolled back critical protections" under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law designed to prevent another financial collapse.

"I won't let him get away with it," the billionaire media executive said.

The plan marked a reversal from Bloomberg's past stance on tougher regulations on Wall Street, the sector where he amassed a $63 billion fortune selling financial data.

As New York City's mayor in 2010, Bloomberg urged Democrats not to take "punitive actions" that could harm US economic growth, Politico reported at the time. Four years later, he called Dodd-Frank a package of "stupid laws" that the financial sector learned to ignore.

Read more: A Wall Street firm lists its 5 best hedges for an unusual coronavirus-driven market crash — and shares what to do if it's successfully contained

The inclusion of a 0.1% tax on every stock and bond traded echoes proposals from Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, underscoring the Democratic Party's shift to the left in the decade since the 2008 financial crisis. The latter last year cosponsored a House bill to slap the tax on securities transactions and curb high-frequency trading.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg have also endorsed the idea of a tax on Wall Street transactions. Still, Sanders has gone a lot further than Bloomberg, as the Vermont senator has proposed breaking up the biggest banks on Wall Street.

Bloomberg has encountered backlash from progressives arguing that the billionaire is using his personal fortune to fund his way to the White House. And a string of resurfaced comments has recently caused trouble for the campaign; during a 2008 interview, Bloomberg linked the financial crisis to the end of redlining, the discriminatory mortgage-lending practice targeting black Americans.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg introduced a plan to raise $5 trillion in tax revenue from the wealthiest Americans and corporations, to partially roll back the tax cuts under Trump, and to raise the top marginal tax rate on income.

Join the conversation about this story »

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10. Virgin Galactic's surging stock price is outpacing Tesla (SPCE)20:14[−]

Virgin Galactic IPO Richard Branson

  • Virgin Galactic has gained nearly 150% this year through Friday's close in a speedy rally that's outpaced automaker Tesla's torrid 91% rise in the same timeframe.
  • Shares of the space tourism company surged as much as 35% to a new high in early trading on Tuesday.
  • Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley thinks the stock price could "use a breather."
  • While he's constructive on Virgin Galactic, "the move in the stock price of late appears to be driven by forces beyond fundamental factors," he wrote in a Tuesday note.
  • Watch Virgin Galactic trade live on Markets Insider.
  • Read more on Business Insider.

Virgin Galactic is rocketing higher in a rapid surge that's even outpaced Tesla's record-breaking rally.

So far in 2020, Virgin Galactic has gained a searing 148% through Friday's close. In the same timeframe, Tesla has gained 91% in a torrid rally that's led analysts and traders to question the stock's underlying fundamentals.

The space company founded by Sir Richard Branson continued to beat the automaker's gains this week. Virgin Galactic spiked as much as 35% in early trading Tuesday to a fresh all-time high of $38.72 per share, while Tesla gained as much as 8%.

Virgin Galactic's momentum is continuing from Friday when the stock closed 21% higher after the company announced that it had moved its spacecraft VSS Unity from Mojave, California, to New Mexico, where it will one day shuttle passengers to and from space.

The recent rally has led at least one Wall Street analyst to question the stock's climb, saying that the share price could "use a breather."

"We are constructive on the story and rate the stock overweight," Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley wrote in a Tuesday note. "However, we must acknowledge that the move in the stock price of late appears to be driven by forces beyond fundamental factors."

When Morgan Stanley first initiated coverage of Virgin Galactic in December, its $60 bull-case target represented over 700% upside, he wrote. Today, however, the shares have about 100% upside after just two months.

Jonas also wrote that while Friday's move of the VSS Unity had "some important learnings," he didn't see it as one of the more ambitious tests for the company.

"We believe the investment community still has much more room to better understand the potential of the emerging space economy," he wrote.

In the future, Morgan Stanley thinks the company could even move beyond the $60 bull case as it "executes on key milestones and moves from proof-of-concept to industrial and commercial success."

Virgin Galactic has a consensus price target of $18.50 and three "buy" ratings according to Bloomberg data. The company is due to report is fiscal fourth quarter 2019 earnings on February 25 after market close.

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11. JPMorgan potentially made $1 billion after boosting its Tesla stake by 600% last quarter20:09[−]

Elon Musk

  • JPMorgan Chase potentially made over $1 billion from Tesla in under two months.
  • The bank's investment arm boosted its stake by 600% last quarter to around 2.5 million shares.
  • Those shares have surged in value from $1.1 billion to $2.1 billion following Tesla's stock rally.
  • JPMorgan may have netted more than $2 billion if it bought and sold at the right time.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

JPMorgan Chase may have made over $1 billion from Tesla in less than two months. It boosted its stake in Elon Musk's electric-car startup by about 600% last quarter, before its stock price roughly doubled this year.

The banking titan's investment arm added 2.2 million Tesla shares in the final three months of 2019, ending the year with more than 2.5 million shares or a 1.4% stake, according to SEC filings and Bloomberg data. Those shares were worth about $1.1 billion then, based on Tesla's stock price of $418 on December 31. They're now worth about $2.1 billion, as Tesla shares currently trade at $845.

JPMorgan may have raked in more than $1 billion. If it snapped up the Tesla shares when they traded at $250 in early October, then sold them at their $970 peak earlier this month, its investment would have surged in value from under $650 million to nearly $2.5 billion — a return of close to $2 billion.

Other investors have probably cashed in on Tesla's rocketing stock too. Renaissance Technologies increased its holding by more than 400% last quarter, making it Tesla's seventh-biggest shareholder with a 2.1% stake. The hedge fund potentially netted more than $1.5 billion from the move.

Tesla's astounding stock rise has lifted its market capitalization to north of $150 billion, surpassing the combined market caps of automotive titans GM, Ford and Chrysler. However, critics ranging from investors and industry veterans to politicians argue the rally isn't based on anything substantive, and warn it will run out of steam.

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12. A new Bank of America survey shows large fund managers slashing growth expectations for the first time in months amid coronavirus fears18:53[−]

trader trading floor phone

  • Large-fund managers' growth expectations declined in February as coronavirus dragged down sentiment.
  • Managers still rank the outcome of the 2020 presidential election as the biggest tail risk facing markets.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Large-fund managers surveyed by Bank of America slashed their expectations for global growth in February. That's the first time growth expectations have fallen since October, and a familiar culprit is to blame: coronavirus.

Fewer managers foresee promising global growth this month than did last month, the survey that was published Tuesday found. A net 18% of fund managers had positive growth expectations, versus 36% in January. That dip in sentiment comes from a deterioration in expectations surrounding Chinese growth, according to the survey, whose participants are mostly institutional, mutual, or investment or unit trusts.

China's gross domestic product growth forecast is at the lowest it's been since September 2015, Bank of America said. Negative sentiment comes as China combats the Wuhan coronavirus, a fast-spreading disease that has infected more than 73,000 and caused businesses within China to temporarily halt operations.

Still, coronavirus is not the headline weighing most in fund managers' list of market risks. Instead, just as they did in January, managers ranked the outcome of the 2020 presidential election as the biggest tail risk facing markets. The surveyed managers defined a risk as anything that would move an investment more than three standard deviations from its price.

Declining hope in the macroeconomic picture has not kept managers from betting on growth stocks. A net 6% of managers think growth stocks will outperform value stocks in the next year — that's the most positive overall reading in favor of growth since July 2008, and the biggest increase since December 2014.

Still, fund managers said for the second month running that US technology and growth trades are the most crowded in the marketplace.

The survey is conducted monthly and involved 221 panelists overall who managed $676 billion in assets.

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13. Global stocks tank after Apple warns Wuhan coronavirus is hammering sales18:43[−]

trader

  • Stocks tumbled on Tuesday after Apple warned Wuhan coronavirus is hitting sales.
  • The iPhone maker doesn't expect to hit its quarterly revenue target as the outbreak is hampering production and hurting demand.
  • HSBC's disappointing earnings and restructuring plans also weighed on market sentiment.
  • The banking giant's profits fell 33% last year and it intends to eliminate 35,000 jobs by 2022.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Global stocks tanked on Tuesday after Apple warned Wuhan coronavirus is hammering sales, and HSBC posted weak earnings and outlined plans to cut 35,000 jobs by 2022.

Apple told investors on Monday that it doesn't expect to hit its second-quarter revenue target of $63 billion to $67 billion. The warning sent its shares down 2.3% on Tuesday, wiping roughly $40 billion off its market capitalization.

The iPhone maker explained its manufacturing facilities in China are ramping up more slowly than it anticipated due to the disruption caused by the virus.

The outbreak also forced it to temporarily close all of its stores in the country, the company said. Those that have reopened are operating with reduced hours and experiencing very low customer traffic.

Wuhan coronavirus — which has infected 72,000 people and killed nearly 1,900 across more than 25 countries — threatens to weigh on other companies' sales and production.

"Apple has neatly summed up the knock to global growth stemming from both reduced output and consumption," Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com, said in a morning note.

Disappointing full-year earnings from HSBC didn't help market sentiment. The banking titan revealed a 33% plunge in pre-tax profits and detailed plans to cut 35,000 jobs — about 15% of its global workforce — as part of its efforts to unearth $4.5 billion in cost savings by 2022, Reuters reported.

"This is as far-reaching an overhaul as you could have imagined and one that's essentially seeing it walk away from investment banking in the US and Europe," Wilson said.

HSBC stock slumped 6%, wiping close to $10 billion from the company's market cap.

Here's the market roundup as of 10:40 a.m. ET:

  • US stocks opened lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.6%, the S&P 500 fell 0.5%, and the Nasdaq dropped 0.3%.
  • European equities dropped. Germany's DAX slid 0.7%, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.7%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 slumped 0.4%.
  • Asian indexes were broadly lower. China's Shanghai Composite was almost flat, Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 1.5%, and Japan's Nikkei fell 1.4%.
  • Oil prices pared earlier losses. West Texas Intermediate slid 0.8% to $51.90 a barrel, while Brent crude fell 0.7% to $57.30.

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14. Apple sees $45 billion in market value wiped out after warning that the coronavirus will push revenue below forecasts (AAPL)18:42[−]

Tim Cook

  • Apple shares sank as much as 3.2% early Tuesday after the company announced it would miss its fiscal second-quarter revenue expectations because of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The outbreak has "temporarily constrained" global iPhone supply and dragged on demand in China, Apple said in a Monday press release.
  • Apple said that "work is starting to resume around the country" but that its production lines "are experiencing a slower return to normal conditions than we had anticipated."
  • The stock tumble saw as much as $45 billion erased from Apple's market value after Tuesday's open.
  • Watch Apple trade live here.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Apple shares tumbled as much as 3.2% in early-Tuesday trading after the company announced that the coronavirus outbreak would cut into its quarterly revenue more than expected.

In a press release on Monday, the tech giant nullified its previous guidance for the March quarter, citing "temporarily constrained" iPhone supply and weaker demand in China. The Foxconn factories that produce iPhones are gradually ramping up production in the country over the next few months after a mandatory shutdown, creating a temporary product shortage for the flagship product.

Apple's operations in China will also take a hit in the near term, as all its stores and several partner stores were closed to prevent the further spread of the virus. Some locations have since reopened, but with reduced hours and weaker customer traffic. The company said it planned to reopen its retail locations "as steadily and safely" as it can.

The stock slump saw as much as $45 billion wiped from Apple's market valuation following Tuesday's open.

Apple said the guidance in its previous earnings report "reflected the best information available at the time as well as our best estimates about the pace of return to work" after the extended Lunar New Year holiday.

"Work is starting to resume around the country, but we are experiencing a slower return to normal conditions than we had anticipated," Apple added.

Read more: Here's how Sterling White went from Section 8 housing, gunshots, and food stamps to a thriving real-estate portfolio with 587 units — all in less than 4 years

The virus' death toll sat at 1,873 people on Tuesday, with more than 72,000 other people infected. The virus has spread to 26 other countries, and five deaths have been reported outside of mainland China: one in Japan, one in Hong Kong, one in the Philippines, one in Taiwan, and one in France.

The company's fiscal first-quarter earnings topped expectations in late January, and it gave a wider than usual revenue forecast for the next quarter because of coronavirus uncertainties. The outbreak has since crippled several other companies' operations in China; Starbucks has closed thousands of locations, while Tesla halted production at its Shanghai Gigafactory.

The news doesn't seem all bad for the Cupertino, California-based company, Goldman Sachs analysts led by Rod Hall wrote in a Monday research note. The bank lifted its guidance for Apple's volume expectations in the second half of 2020, assuming that some revenue lost in upcoming quarters "materializes later as new devices launch."

Apple's increasingly important services business will face few headwinds from the outbreak, the Goldman Sachs team added.

Apple closed at $324.95 per share on Friday, up 11.5% year-to-date.

The company has 28 "buy" ratings, 15 "hold" ratings, and four "sell" ratings from analysts, with a consensus price target of $337.17, according to Bloomberg data.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

China will start destroying cash collected in areas with high exposure to the coronavirus

2 British Airways executives step down following the airline's first strike in decades

Here's how Sterling White went from Section 8 housing, gunshots, and food stamps to a thriving real-estate portfolio with 587 units — all in less than 4 years

AAPL

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15. Warren Buffett revealed stakes in Kroger and Biogen, and the news added $2.3 billion to their market values18:35[−]

warren buffett

  • Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway disclosed stakes in Kroger and Biogen on Friday.
  • The famed investor spent about $740 million on shares in the supermarket and biopharmaceuticals giants last quarter.
  • News of the famed investor's backing added a total of $2.3 billion to the pair's market caps on Monday.
  • Kroger stock jumped 7% and Biogen stock rose 1%.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Warren Buffett famously moves markets with his investment decisions. The so-called "Oracle of Omaha" showcased his clout when he revealed new stakes in Kroger and Biogen on Friday, spurring investors to add a total of $2.3 billion to the pair's market capitalizations on Monday.

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate shelled out $549 million for a 2.4% stake in US supermarket giant Kroger in the fourth quarter of 2019, SEC filings show. It also paid $192 million for a 0.4% stake in Biogen, a biopharmaceuticals titan that develops and delivers therapies for neurological diseases.

News of Buffett's backing drove Kroger's stock up more than 7% on Monday, boosting its market cap by $1.7 billion to over $24 billion. It also drove Biogen stock up 1%, lifting its market cap by about $560 million to $58.7 billion.

The billionaire investor's new bets seem to be paying off, even excluding the impact of his stamp of approval. Kroger's stock rose about 10% between October 1 and the close of trading on Friday — before Buffett revealed his stake. Biogen's stock rocketed 47% over the same period.

The stock rallies reflect progress at both companies. Kroger is realizing gains from its sweeping " Restock Kroger" initiative, which involves remodeling stores, optimizing processes, investing in digital offerings, and partnering with the likes of Microsoft and Ocado.

Meanwhile, stronger sales of Biogen's treatments for multiple sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy boosted the company's revenue by 7% and its net income by 33% in 2019.

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16. The Rainmakers: Meet the top 20 M&A bankers of 201918:31[−]

cmos of streaming video 2x1

  • The largest mergers and acquisitions are team efforts, but at the very top, a battled-tested senior banker provides critical advice that can make the difference in a transaction's success or failure.
  • Business Insider has partnered with dealmaker financial data and intelligence platform MergerLinks to identify the top 20 North American bankers of 2019.
  • Click here to check out the full list, available exclusively to BI Prime subscribers.

The largest mergers and acquisitions are team efforts that can take small armies of bankers, lawyers, and staffers to pull off.

But at the very top, there's usually a battled-tested senior banker, a deal marshal providing vision, strategy, and critical advice that can make the difference between a transaction's success or failure.

The best of these bankers are fiercely fought over, with top investment banks angling to get a leg up by poaching their competitors' most successful deal architects. They're often among the most highly compensated people on Wall Street.

Business Insider has partnered with MergerLinks, a financial intelligence platform that tracks deals and individual bankers, to present "The Rainmakers," a league-table ranking of the top-20 M&A bankers based on the size of the deals they orchestrated in North America in 2019.

Topping this list was Morgan Stanley's Clint Gartin — the healthcare specialist bested all other dealmakers in North American with a handful of blowout pharma transactions in 2019. Gartin has been executing deals and helping firms raise capital for nearly 40 years at Morgan Stanley, where he's held a litany of leadership roles in its investment bank and now serves as its chairman.

Click here to see the full list of the top North American M&A bankers for 2019

SEE ALSO: We tracked the 'frighteningly competitive' poaching war between rival investment banks. These are the 40 biggest dealmaker hires and exits of 2019.

SEE ALSO: These 10 deals transformed industries and changed they way we think about M&A

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17. Here are Warren Buffett's top 15 favorite stocks (BRKB)18:30[−]

Warren Buffett

  • Warren Buffett is a billionaire mogul and the leader of Berkshire Hathaway.
  • On Friday, Berkshire Hathaway released SEC filings showing which company stocks it bought, sold, and held in the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • As a famous value investor, Buffett looks to invest in companies that are undervalued by the market.
  • Here are the top 15 stocks he's holding as of December 31, 2019.
  • Read more on Business Insider.

Investors rejoice: Warren Buffett, a billionaire mogul and longtime champion of value investing, has updated his portfolio once again.

On Friday, Berkshire Hathaway, the company Buffett runs, released SEC filings showing the stocks that were bought, sold, and held in the fourth quarter of 2019. That means that Buffett's top stock holdings overall are once again up to date.

In a 2018 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Buffett wrote that the company would aim to expand its holdings of marketable equities throughout 2019.

Part of the reason that Buffett has poured so much money into stocks is that he's failed to make a major acquisition since 2016. "Prices are sky-high for businesses possessing decent long-term prospects," he wrote in the letter. "We continue, nevertheless, to hope for an elephant-sized acquisition."

At the same time, Berkshire Hathaway's cash pile has exploded. At the end of the third quarter, the company's earnings report showed that its cash holdings had grown to a record $128 billion, even as it repurchased $700 million of its own stock.

For Buffett, buying stocks instead of companies may present a "disappointing reality." But for other investors, Buffett's holdings are a coveted glimpse into what companies the "Oracle of Omaha" views as attractive.

Even though he's amassed quite a following over the course of his multi-decade career, Buffett warns that his expectation of stock purchases is "not a market call." He and Charlie Munger, his partner at Berkshire Hathaway, "have no idea as to how stocks will behave next week or next year," he wrote.

"Predictions of that sort have never been a part of our activities. Our thinking, rather, is focused on calculating whether a portion of an attractive business is worth more than its market price," he said.

Here are the top 15 holdings of Berkshire Hathaway as of December 31, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, ranked by the total value of each investment.

15. General Motors

Ticker: GM

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 75 million

Approximate value: $2.7 billion

Source: SEC Filings



14. Goldman Sachs

Ticker: GS

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 12,004,751

Approximate value: $2.8 billion

Source: SEC Filings



13. Davita

Ticker: DVA

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 38,565,570

Approximate value: $3 billion

Source: SEC Filings



12. Southwest Airlines

Ticker: LUV

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 53,649,213

Approximate value: $3 billion

Source: SEC Filings



11. Bank of New York Mellon

Ticker: BK

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 79,765,057

Approximate value: $4 billion

Source: SEC Filings



10. Delta Air Lines

Ticker: DAL

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 70,910,456

Approximate value: $4 billion

Source: SEC Filings



9. Moody's

Ticker: MCO

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 24,669,778

Approximate value: $6 billion

Source: SEC Filings



8. US Bancorp

Ticker: USB

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 132,459,618

Approximate value: $8 billion

Source: SEC Filings



7. JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Ticker: JPM

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 59,514,932

Approximate value: $8 billion

Source: SEC Filings



6. Kraft Heinz

Ticker: KHC

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 325,634,818

Approximate value: $10 billion

Source: SEC Filings



5. Wells Fargo

Ticker: WFC

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 323,212,918

Approximate value: $17 billion

Source: SEC Filings



4. American Express

Ticker: AXP

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 151,610,700

Approximate value: $19 billion

Source: SEC Filings



3. Coca-Cola

Ticker: KO

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 400 million

Approximate value: $22 billion

Source: SEC Filings



2. Bank of America

Ticker: BAC

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 925,008,600

Approximate value: $33 billion

Source: SEC Filings



1. Apple

Ticker: AAPL

Berkshire Hathaway shares: 245,155,566

Approximate value: $72 billion

Source: SEC Filings



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18. Billionaire George Soros says Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg should be removed from their leadership positions at Facebook (FB)18:11[−]

Zuckerberg Sandberg

  • Billionaire George Soros is calling for Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to be "removed from control of Facebook."
  • Writing to the Financial Times, Soros said that Facebook should "err on the side of caution and refuse to publish" political ads on its platform.
  • "Mr. Zuckerberg appears to be engaged in some kind of mutual assistance arrangement with Donald Trump that will help him get re-elected," Soros said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Billionaire George Soros is calling for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to be "removed from control of Facebook," and said the company should stop publishing political ads.

Writing to the Financial Times, Soros said that Zuckerberg "appears to be engaged in some kind of mutual assistance arrangement with Donald Trump that will help him get re-elected," but did not provide evidence to substantiate his claim.

Aside from his wealth, Soros is known for his philanthropy and liberal political activism.

He added that Facebook should "err on the side of caution and refuse to publish" political ads, though "it is unlikely that Facebook will follow this course."

Facebook has received criticism that its policy not to fact-check political ads on its platform allows politicians to spread misinformation. Facebook has argued that its policy protects free speech, and said that political ads make up a tiny portion of its advertising revenue.

A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider that "while we respect Mr. Soros' right to voice his opinion, he's wrong. The notion that we are aligned with any one political figure or party runs counter to our values and the facts."

In his letter to the Financial Times, Soros referenced an op-ed in the FT by Zuckerberg in which the Facebook executive said that tech companies need governments to set regulations on political advertising.

"I don't think private companies should make so many decisions alone when they touch on fundamental democratic values," Zuckerberg wrote.

But Soros said that Zuckerberg "should stop obfuscating the facts by piously arguing for government regulation" and that Facebook "does not need to wait for government regulations" to stop publishing political ads.

The Facebook spokesperson said the company is making "unprecedented investments to keep our platform safe, fight foreign interference in elections around the world, and combat misinformation."

Soros has made similar comments before; he said in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that Facebook and President Donald Trump have a "kind of informal mutual assistance operation." Facebook called his claim "just plain wrong."

Speaking at Davos in 2018, Soros also criticized Facebook in front of world leaders. After his comments, a public relations firm hired by Facebook tried to blame Soros for growing criticism of Facebook. The firm sent journalists a report that accused Soros of backing anti-Facebook groups and encouraged the reporters to investigate alleged ties between the groups and Soros.

Sandberg and Zuckerberg immediately denied knowing about the effort — widely criticized as playing into anti-semitic tropes — but the New York Times reported that Sandberg had made the request to investigate Soros' financial ties.

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19. 'Did you hear the latest con job?': Trump and Obama spar over who should get credit for the robust US economy17:17[−]

obama trump

  • President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama clashed on Monday over who should get credit for the robust economic expansion that's underway.
  • Obama tweeted to commemorate the signing of an $800 billion stimulus package that he said paved the way "for more than a decade of economic growth."
  • Trump responded: "Did you hear the latest con job? President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration."
  • Trump has made the economy central to his reelection bid, setting the stage for more confrontations on the matter with Obama.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama clashed on Monday over who should get credit for the robust US economy, now in its 11th year of growth.

Obama tweeted to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He said the $800 billion stimulus package passed after the Great Recession helped pave the way "for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history."

That set off Trump, who responded with back-to-back tweets deriding Obama for claiming credit for the recovery that began under the former president's watch.

"Did you hear the latest con job? President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration," Trump tweeted.

He said that Obama "had the WEAKEST recovery since the Great Depression" and that he himself had the "best jobs numbers ever." Trump ended his tweetstorm with "THE BEST IS YET TO COME. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!"

US economic growth has been steady, and unemployment is at a half-century low. As a result, Trump has cast himself as a chief executive uniquely responsible for leading the economy to new heights, calling it "the greatest" in US history.

But experts have noted that the economy grew faster in the late 1990s under President Bill Clinton and that jobs were added at a faster clip in the last three years of Obama's presidency than in Trump's first three.

The NBC News business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle tweeted that quarterly US GDP growth hadn't reached 4% under the Trump administration but reached it four times under Obama.

Read more: Here's how Sterling White went from Section 8 housing, gunshots, and food stamps to a thriving real-estate portfolio with 587 units — all in less than 4 years

Trump has thrust the economy toward the center of his reelection bid, setting the stage for more confrontations on the issue with Obama.

It's not the first time the former president has sought to highlight his administration's economic record. In a speech at the University of Illinois before the 2018 midterm elections, Obama accused Republicans of giving themselves too much credit for the nation's economic health, Business Insider's Bob Bryan reported.

"So when you hear how the economy is doing right now, let's just remember when this recovery started," Obama said. "I'm glad it's continued, but when you hear about this 'economic miracle' that's been going on when the job numbers come out — monthly job numbers — suddenly Republicans are saying it's a miracle. I have to kind of remind them those job numbers are the same as they were in 2015 and 2016."

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20. Franklin Resources and Legg Mason shares surge as firms announce they will combine into a $1.5 trillion asset manager16:49[−]

wall street bankers

  • Franklin Resources will buy Legg Mason, a rival asset manager, in a $4.5 billion all-cash deal.
  • Shares of both companies jumped on the news, with Legg Mason rising as much as 27.70% and Franklin Resources as high as 14.32%.
  • It's the latest M&A deal in an asset management industry that has been turning to acquisitions in order to combat the headwinds of passive management.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Asset manager Franklin Resources will acquire Legg Mason, a competitor firm, for $4.5 billion, it said Tuesday.

Franklin Resources, which operates under the name Franklin Templeton, will pay entirely in cash. The deal, expected to close by the end of the third quarter this year, will grow Franklin Templeton's assets under management to $1.5 trillion.

Shares of both companies surged on the news: Legg Mason shares rose as much as 27.70% in early trading, and Franklin Resources stock jumped as high as 14.32% in the pre-market.

That's a welcome change for Franklin Resources, which saw its stock trade at a 52-week low as recently as Friday. Asset managers have been under pressure in recent years as they struggle to make a case for active management while funds increasingly flow to lower-cost, passively managed funds. One of the ways they have fought back is through M&A activity.

"The combined footprint of the organization will significantly deepen Franklin Templeton's presence in key geographies and create an expansive investment platform that is well balanced between institutional and retail client AUM," Franklin Resources said in the statement.

Legg Mason brings fixed income, active equity, and alternatives capabilities, as well as an opportunity to expand multi-asset offerings, said Jenny Johnson, CEO of Franklin Templeton, in the statement.

Trian Fund Management, the activist hedge fund that operates a 4.5% stake in Legg Mason, supported the transaction. It's the latest chapter in Trian CEO Nelson Peltz's relationship with Legg Mason — he built an activist stake and held a board seat on the firm from 2009 to 2014, only to rejoin the board in 2019, Barron's previously reported. Peltz said the deal would bolster Legg Mason's businesses "in an industry where scale is increasingly vital to success."

Legg Mason

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