Financial Daily Dose 9.18.2019 | Top Story: Fed Carries Out Rare Market Operation to Steady Rates

Building Demolition
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The Federal Reserve took the rare step yesterday of stepping “into financial markets . . . to keep interest rates from rising above its target, the first time the central bank has had to carry out this type of ‘market operation’ since the global financial crisis.” The NY Fed carried out the maneuver—though not without some difficulty—after a surge in repos pushed the federal funds rate right to 2.25 percent – NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

All eyes are on the FOMC today, which is widely expected to cut rates again, though with considerably less fanfare than when it did so in July and likely with no promises from Chair Powell about taking up a dovish streak – Bloomberg and NYTimes and WSJ

Oil prices have cooled a bit—helped, in part, by news from Aramco that it’s restored 50% of production lost in the weekend’s attacks and is on track to be back at full capacity “within weeks” – WSJ

Aramco’s also pushing back against claims that the incident will delay its IPO preparations any further – Bloomberg

AT&T chief Randall Stephenson went on record at a Goldman Sachs conference this week defending the company’s choice of John Stankey as his successor—his “first public remarks” since Elliott Management “challenged the company to change direction” – WSJ

SDNY Judge Paul Crotty has bounced fraud claims against Wells Fargo that accused Wachovia Bank (since acquired by Wells) of “allowing a hedge fund to control collateralized debt obligations that the fund was simultaneously betting against.” Judge Crotty found the plaintiffs hadn’t shown that Wachovia “had actually made any false statements regarding financial instruments” – Law360

US banking agencies—the FDIC and OCC—have signed off on a proposal that “would reduce the amount of cash large lenders . . . must post to cover the risk of trades going bad in the swaps market,” a change in postcrisis policies that could “free up nearly $40 billion for big global banks” – WSJ

A bit of Law360 analysis of the DOJ’s recent anti-spoofing effort against JPMorgan employees, including the notable decision to bring RICO claims against the three traders at the heart of the alleged precious metals price-manipulation scheme – Law360

The latest from Forever 21’s pending bankruptcy suggests that the retailer may give a stake in the company “to its two largest landlords as part of a restructuring that would allow co-founder Do Won Chang to retain a share” – Bloomberg

NBCUniversal is joining the streaming services game with Peacock, a platform that will debut next April and feature 15,000 hours of content from well-known sitcoms including Parks and Rec, Cheers, and The Office – NYTimes and Mashable and WSJ

The Times offers up “The Office” of its own with this intriguing 7-essay look at the modern American workspace – NYTimes

As part of the series, Caity Weaver pulls back the curtain at Focus Brands, the conglomerate behind Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, and a host of other mall food mainstays that call to most Americans at their shopping-driven hungriest – NYTimes

MDR

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