The 50 Most Influential People In Finance, Plus U.S. Existing Home Sales Fell In August

“I say we’ve got to take the crack cocaine pipe away and start focusing on real fiscal policy and structural reforms” — Billionaire hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, who thinks the world has relied too much on monetary policy stimulus from central banks. So too much economic stimulus = crack cocaine. Got it, Dan.

Market Snapshot

  • U.S. markets continued to rally on Thursday—the Nasdaq even hit an all-time high—after the Fed’s inaction on Wednesday allowed equity investors to continue enjoying ultra-low interest rates for a little longer
  • BATS Global Markets’ shares skyrocketed 24%, now up 40% since its IPO five months ago, following news that the exchange was in talks with CBOE holdings to be acquired

Timely As Usual

…Yesterday, Yahoo announced a data breach that originally happened in 2014, affecting nearly 500 million users. How big of a deal is this? Well, it’s the largest public data hack in history, so yeah, it’s kind of a big deal. And it’s also a crushing blow to the shriveled tech company. You probably already know that breaches are occurring more and more frequently, with a list of prominent victims, like Target and Verizon—which is especially awkward since Verizon is acquiring Yahoo for $4.8 billion. In other words, Yahoo’s not alone, but it still has to take care of some serious damage control.

Airbnb Has a Rich Aunt

…And it’s raising $555 million in funding and nabbing Google Capital as one of its lead investors. The world’s fourth most valuable startup, valued at $30 billion, isn’t exactly cash-strapped, having raised roughly $4 billion in outside funding to date. But this round, which also allows employees to cash out and sell roughly $200 million in stock, is really about easing the pressure to go public. Spoiler alert: that Airbnb IPO likely won’t be happening anytime soon, at least not until potentially problematic NYC and San Francisco housing regulations are sorted out. In the meantime, Airbnb is likely to be going after another $300 million in funding. Go get ‘em.

Update: Learning is Cool Again

Linkedin just rolled out some new features and offerings, including Linkedin Learning. Let’s recap: You might recall that over the summer, Microsoft paid a whopping $26.2 billion to purchase the professional networking site. The goal: integrate Microsoft’s software and data platforms with LinkedIn’s networking prowess to create a seamless professional network (sounds pretty vague to us, too). Now, Linkedin is looking to attract more users to its site through Linkedin Learning, a new portal for training videos to learn professional skills like coding. If that sounds a lot like, it should—before LinkedIn was bought out, it acquired for $1.5 billion. But that’s not all. Improved messaging and news feed features will create a more personalized professional experience. We’ll give it a C++.

For Sale By Owner

…U.S. existing home sales fell in August. If you’ve recently put your house on the market, the Brew Crew feels for you. Sales of previously owned homes unexpectedly fell 0.9% last month—marking the second straight month of declines. What’s the deal? Some economists believe the lack of inventory choices, coupled with rapidly rising prices, are leading Americans to shy away from buying homes. Fair enough. The surprisingly crummy data has raised concerns about the overall economy, giving more ammunition to Fed officials who are against raising rates.

Other Stories

Economic Calendar

Influence is Power

We’ve all had the fantasies: money…fame…fortune…hitting the snooze button just one more time in the morning (the struggle is real). But there is perhaps one desire that rises above the rest: influence (ie: the power to tell your alarm clock, “no, it is not 7 AM, it’s only 6″—and for your alarm clock to believe you). Thanks to Bloomberg, we now have a definitive ranking of the 50 most influential people in the world of finance. The whole list is worth a read, but we’ll point out a few of our favorites:

  • Coming in just under the cut at #50 is none other than John Oliver of Last Week Tonight fame. Oliver claims his show is purely for entertainment value, but tell that to the 5 million people who watched his in-depth explorations of the Puerto Rico debt crisis or subprime auto loans.
  • It should come as no surprise that CEOs pepper the rankings. That includes old reliables like JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon (#13) and Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein (#15), but also relative newcomers, like Uber CEO Travis Kalanick at #40. But the top two CEOs should come as no surprise: Tesla CEO Elon Musk at #11 and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at #5.
  • So you’re probably wondering: who tops the list? While it shouldn’t shock you that politicians dominate the list (yes, even one focused on the world of finance), #1 may not be who you expect. No, it’s not Donald Trump (#2) or Hillary Clinton (tied with Trump for #2—very diplomatic of you, Bloomberg), but newly-minted British Prime Minister Theresa May, who of course has to navigate Brexit. Good luck, Theresa.

Interview Question of the Day

Four honest and hard-working computer engineers are sipping coffee at Starbucks. They wish to compute their average salary. However, nobody is willing to reveal an iota of information about his/her own salary to anybody else. How do they do it? (Answer)

Business Term of the Day

Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (MCSI) — A survey of consumer confidence conducted by the University of Michigan. The MCSI uses telephone surveys to gather information on consumer expectations regarding the overall economy. Investors look to the MCSI because it provides a snapshot of whether consumers feel like spending their money.

Food for Thought

Another day, another Instagram milestone: yesterday, the photo-sharing service announced it has 500,000 active advertisers. That’s more than double what it had back in February. Rest assured, your exquisitely-shot spaghetti dinner is being appropriately monetized.

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