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Emma Jacobs

Usually limited to geeky product launches such as iPhones or high-street fashion collaborations, such as H&M’s tie-up with Karl Lagerfeld, the cronut queuers are inspired by similar motivations.

There are bonders who come to meet people who share their cake interests. And then there is the trophy value of being caught in the media and buzz. Even a humble cronut has bragging rights attached to it: “All day I waited for the flaky donut confection,” queuers will tell their children one day. Read more

When Goldman Sachs bought the commodity trading house J Aron in 1981, it also took on Lloyd Blankfein, then a salesman of silver coins. Thirty-two years later, Mr Blankfein is Goldman’s chairman and chief executive and the bank owns, among other commodity assets, some aluminium warehouses near the ailing city of Detroit.

Sales of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four have risen since Edward Snowden revealed how the National Security Agency of the US gains access to telephone records and data from technology companies. So far, if people do not exactly love Big Brother, they are prepared to accept some invasion of their privacy in return for security.

John Gapper

There are various ways for prosecutors to put pressure on people, and one is to let them know they are being investigated – and then wait.

Steve Cohen of SAC Capital, the embattled hedge fund, is finding out how tough Preet Bharara, federal attorney for the southern district of New York, can play. Mr Bharara is taking his time in assembling a case against SAC for alleged insider tradingRead more

Emma Jacobs

Long hours have become the norm for employees, and the demands of social media and working for global organisations mean that for many there is never an end to the working day.

There is a case that a rested employee is more productive. But should a company encourage its workers to sleep? Read more

About a year ago I was in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights, gazing down at the Golden Gate Bridge from one of Larry Ellison’s many spectacular homes. The Oracle chief executive wasn’t there – he had lent the house out for a reception. In any case, he would be the last person to apologise for enjoying the fruits of his success. But the view from technology executives’ balconies is getting stormier. After banks and bankers, could they be next to feel the sting of a populist backlash?

After six years of scrutiny, and repeated legal action against those around him, Steve Cohen remains a free man. His $15bn hedge fund SAC Capital is still in business and he still firmly maintains his innocence, despite the evident disbelief of regulators and prosecutors. It is time to prosecute him.

It’s the 18th annual Ira Sohn Investment conference, the must-have ticket for Wall Street investors. Held in New York’s Lincoln Center, money managers crowd the cultural heart of the city as the Philharmonic gives up its stage to the virtuosos of the hedge fund world. They are here to pitch their best ideas in public, all in the cause of cancer research (the most expensive tickets top $100,000).

There have been big calls at the conference before, David Einhorn’s (left) big short against Lehman brothers for one, and even SAC’s Steven Cohen appeared in 1999. This year the cast of 18 includes: Elliott Management’s Paul Singer to start proceedings, Bill Ackman of Pershing Square and investing legend Stanley Druckenmiller either side of lunch. Jeffrey Gundlach and Mr Einhorn will finish off the day.

The FT’s Dan McCrum and Arash Massoudi will be there to capture all the tips and report back on repercussions out in the market.

 

The Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting is like Woodstock for capitalists. It draws tens of thousands of shareholders, value investors, groupies and the curious to the midwestern city Omaha, Nebraska.

They make the pilgrimage each spring to sit at the feet of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, the two men who have spent half a century building a sprawling $260bn conglomerate.

The FT’s Dan McCrum is there to capture the weekend festivities and the wise words from the pair of octogenarian sages. He will be blogging from the cornfields and investor meetings on Friday and Saturday, so check back frequently. All times are BST.

 

Andrew Hill

Cerberus plans to sell its stake in gunmaker. Getty Images

The 12th and most difficult labour of Hercules was to vanquish Cerberus, the three-headed hound guarding the gates of the Underworld – without using weapons.

How appropriate, then, that California State Teachers’ Retirement System (Calstrs) has disarmed Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm, so quickly and comprehensively. On Tuesday, Cerberus said it would sell its stake in Freedom Group, manufacturer of one of the weapons used in last week’s Sandy Hook school shooting.

There are obvious reasons why Calstrs, which was reviewing its investment in Cerberus, moved so fast. In fact, it seems somewhat extraordinary that it had not previously noticed and severed the indirect link between its beneficiaries’ retirement funds and gun manufacturers. It is also arguable whether divestment by Cerberus – presumably to another, less sensitive buyer – will achieve real policy change. But it is a start. Read more

Things got quite exciting in London at noon on Tuesday. First Kweku Adoboli, the rogue trader formerly employed by UBS, was sentenced to seven years in prison for fraud. Then Hewlett-Packard accused the former management of Autonomy, the UK software company, of wrongdoing. The moral appeared to be, as a New York journalist wryly tweeted: “Don’t trust the British.”

It was a gritty campaign and it brought one last pivot for Barack Obama – the candidate who once promised the voters hope and change – as he appeared in Chicago to mark his victory. Amid a soaring speech about the US, he acknowledged that his job at the White House is to find jobs for others.

For me, the most poignant photograph of the destruction left by hurricane Sandy was of the Fairway supermarket in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I used to shop there on weekends and, in the café at the back, next to two disused trams, would enjoy the vista of New York harbour and the Statue of Liberty.

It is somehow apt that the explanations for the sudden departure of Vikram Pandit from Citigroup this week were utterly baffling. “No strategic, regulatory or operating issue precipitated the resignation,” said Michael O’Neill, the bank’s chairman. “I had a very good conversation with Mike O’Neill,” insisted Mr Pandit.
Yeah, right.

John Gapper

There is a contradiction at the heart of legal actions piling up against large banks, including Barclays, for distorting Libor. Half the plaintiffs are complaining that the rate was kept too high; the other half that it was kept too low.

One lawsuit filed in New York by Berkshire Bank in July accuses the Libor-fixing banks of hurting lenders by artificially depressing the lending rate. As the Wall Street Journal reported:

The lawsuit effectively argues that the alleged manipulation short-changed lenders by helping borrowers pay less for mortgages and other loans.

 Read more