Opening Bell: 12.14.23

World Central Banks Signal Victory Over Inflation Is In Sight [WSJ]
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England held interest rates steady as rich countries’ central banks begin to reposition themselves for a world in which inflation is under control…. The decisions come a day after the Federal Reserve held its benchmark federal-funds rate steady at a 22-year high. Fed officials penciled in three interest-rate cuts for 2024, according to projections released after their two-day meeting.

Buffett’s Berkshire buys more Occidental in endorsement of Permian Basin-related purchase [CNBC]
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire now owns a 27% stake in Occidental worth $13.6 billion…. Berkshire also has warrants to purchase another 83.8 million shares at price of $56.62 apiece for a total value of $4.7 billion.

Vivendi to Explore Split Into Three Businesses [WSJ]
The company said it has “endured a significantly high conglomerate discount” since spinning off its Universal Music Group segment in 2021….
One business would be structured around the company’s film and TV producer, Groupe Canal+…. Another business would be structured around Havas, the advertising and communication firm…. The third entity would be an investment company which includes a majority stake in the Lagardère group, a publishing and travel retail company.

Property Crash Draws Short-Sellers. Better Late Than Never. [WSJ]
Short sellers seem a little late. U.S. mortgage REITs have lost almost a third of their value on average since the Fed began raising rates in March 2022, so a lot of bad news is already priced in…. But the hedge funds’ view is that mortgage REITs will still have a rocky 2024 and they are probably right.

It’s starting to look like China regrets its private-enterprise crackdown [BI]
A document released after the conference sets the agenda for China’s economy — the second-largest economy in the world — for the next year. And strikingly, this year’s readout acknowledges that China needs to prioritize economic development…. The wording in this document suggests “hints of remorse at overzealous growth-negative policy implementation,” Rory Green, the chief China economist at GlobalData.TS Lombard, wrote in a note on Wednesday.

Six Millennium Portfolio Managers Leave Hedge Fund in London [Bloomberg]
Millennium partner Sebastien Mourot is among the departures, along with senior portfolio manager Nick Tan, portfolio managers Roland Beunardeau and Jens Wauters, and two associate portfolio managers, Nacer Bengelloun and Murat Bostan. All were based in Millennium’s London office…. Three of the employees who left had a technology, media and telecommunications focus, while Bengelloun covered consumer discretionary and Tan specialized in industrials and materials.

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