Stock market records, Amazon's visit to Madison Avenue, and mental-health startups


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The stock market is enjoying its best start to a year since 1987. The US economy blew past growth expectations in the first quarter. And yet:

  • There seems to be a disconnect, according to Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, a global market strategist at JPMorgan. Government bond markets appear to be pricing in recession risks, while markets for riskier assets like stocks, corporate bonds, and commodities seem more optimistic. 
  • UBS Wealth Management, the world’s largest wealth manager with over $2 trillion in invested assets, has recently shifted its overweight position on US stocks, saying there are better returns to be had elsewhere. 
  • Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund with around $150 billion in assets, said the “most pro-corporate environment in history” is in danger, and that the fallout could send stocks plunging.
  • Morgan Stanley chief US equity strategist Mike Wilson says capital spending is about to slow down, creating a big challenge for companies that make sell goods to other businesses.
  • The dumb money is too bullish, according to famed uber-bear Albert Edwards. A so-called Dumb Money Confidence Index is at its highest level since 2010, he said. 
  • Goodwill makes up a record share of assets for US nonfinancial companies, a fact that could leave the market especially vulnerable if a downturn were to arrive, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Not everyone’s worried, of course. Brian Pfeifler of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, who’s been ranked as one of the top ranked US wealth managers for years, told Marley Jay he’s not expecting a recession this year or next year, for example. And BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has said markets could “melt up” from here.

Business Insider’s investing editor Joe Ciolli will be at the Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles, starting Sunday, so you can look forward to much more color on what’s going on with markets over the coming days.

He’ll be there with Dakin Campbell and Becky Peterson, while BI founder and CEO Henry Blodget will be there hosting a panel on Artificial Intelligence Advances, and the Ethical Choices Ahead. If you’re there and you see them, say hello!

As always, you can reach me at if you have any questions, ideas, or requests.


Quote of the week

“I just don’t know if that’s possible to do.” — Jon McNeill, Lyft’s chief operating officer, pours cold water on Elon Musk’s vision of one million self-driving Tesla robo-taxis on the streets by next year. 

In conversation

  • Kenneth Lin, CEO of $4 billion startup Credit Karma, told Dan DeFrancesco a single meeting in 2008 saved the company from going under.
  • Emmanuel Aidoo, head of digital market assets at Credit Suisse, told Dan that culture is the biggest thing holding back Wall Street from using blockchain tech.
  • Dan also talked to Vijay Sankaran, chief information officer at TD Ameritrade, about a Netflix-like recommendation engine the company’s building in a bid to win investor attention.
  • Shoabin Makani, cofounder and CEO of KeepTruckin, talked to Megan Hernbroth about how hanging out at truck stops talking to drivers about their problems helped the startup become a unicorn.
  • GitLab CEO Sid Sijbrandij talked to Julie Bort about building a $1 billion business by taking an idea from another programmer, then hiring the guy.
  • IBM‘s chief human resources officer Diane Gherson told Rich Feloni that “100% of jobs are going to change” with AI, and explained how IBM is using it to reinvent the way it hires and trains employees.
  • Ashley Rodriguez talked to Philo CEO Andrew McCollum about the challenging economics of digital skinny-TV bundles that promised a cheap alternative to cable.
  • And Aine Cain talked to Lowe‘s CMO Jocelyn Wong about the company’s plan to win over pros and breaking Home Depot’s dominance.

Finance and Investing

Inside the hellacious hedge fund money-raising environment, where ‘even the big funds have to get creative’

It’s never been easy to be a small hedge fund in an industry full of trend-setting giants.

$10 trillion custodian Northern Trust is exploring shutting off external email for thousands of its employees as it tries to thwart cyber threats

One of the biggest custodian banks could do away with one of the most basic modern communications tools for thousands of its employees: email.

America’s biggest banks are offloading parts of their home-loan businesses to machine-powered startups, as they try and fend off sagging profits

The business of buying a home has long been the dominion of banks, requiring time and human interaction. But amid mounting industry pressures, home lending is being delegated to the machines.

Tech, Media, Telecoms

Snap’s New Guard: Meet the 26 new power players who help CEO Evan Spiegel run Snap Inc.

Snap has had a bumpy ride as a public company, weathering blowback from a botched redesign, increased competition, a plateauing user base, and a revolving door of executives in the past two years.

Netflix is changing its strategy and letting creators peek into its walled garden as Apple and Disney competition looms

Netflix is cozying up to TV and film creators now that it’s facing stiffer competition for their content.

Inside Amazon’s charm offensive to win over big brand budgets from Madison Avenue

Amazon has steadily been building out a sprawling advertising business across its website, its video platforms like Amazon Fire and IMDb, and a programmatic demand-side platform that targets and places ads on websites outside Amazon.

Healthcare, Retail, Transportation

We asked 10 healthcare leaders to pinpoint the biggest transformation in their industry that’s been taken for granted. Here’s what they said.

For all the changes healthcare still needs to make, there’s been a lot of advances made in medicine over the past few decades.

A Silicon Valley VC in the hottest area of healthcare explains what’s driving a surge in interest for mental-health startups

Mental health was once a sleepy arena for venture-capital investments.

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