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Wall Street Crime and Punishment: Martin Shkreli, the Self-Destructive Pharma Bro

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Does crime pay?

Wall Street Crime and Punishment is a weekly series by Benzinga’s Phil Hall chronicling the bankers, brokers and financial ne’er-do-wells whose ambition and greed take them in the wrong direction.

His former girlfriend acknowledged that he is “good at getting under people’s skin.” The judge who denied his most recent probation request accused him of displaying “delusional self-aggrandizing behavior.” His cellmates at the prison where he is currently incarcerated reportedly nicknamed him “a**h***.”

Tabloid journalists routinely labeled him “the most hated man in America” for his decision to jack up the price of a prescription drug used in treating a rare disease. He has also been derisively dubbed “Pharma Bro” by the same tabloid bunch for his cavalier behavior in defending his actions.

All of this seems to give Martin Shkreli more cred than he deserves. In reality, he was an incompetent businessman who stupidly put himself into a media spotlight that magnified his vices. In his mind, he was giving the public the ultimate example of What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get, but that proved to be his undoing because too many people didn’t like what they saw.

A Sketchy Background: Martin Shkreli was born March 17, 1983, at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Albanian immigrants who worked as janitors — and they kept those jobs even after their son had the financial means to support them.

The earliest controversy surrounding Shkreli dates back to his high school years. He attended Hunter College High School in Manhattan but it is unclear whether he graduated on schedule, graduated two years ahead of schedule, dropped out, or was kicked out. Nonetheless, he had some fondness for his alma mater and in March 2015, he donated $1 million, the largest endowment in the school’s history.

Shkreli graduated from Manhattan’s Baruch College in 2005 with a business degree. He wasn’t a sterling student, but that’s not where his focus was aimed. Instead, he gained a college internship at Cramer Berkowitz, the hedge fund run by Jim Cramer.

Shkreli told a Vanity Fair interviewer that he “weaseled” his way into the firm and began in the mailroom before working his way up to an associate’s role. As with his high school experience, stories vary on how he fit into Cramer Berkowitz, with some people claiming he reported to Cramer while the CNBC pundit later insisting he didn’t remember Shkreli and that he “he was no protégé.”

Shkreli also had his first run-in with regulators during his Cramer Berkowitz tenure when he advocated short-selling Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: REGN). After the stock’s price dropped, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission conducted a probe of Shkreli but was unable to find any evidence of chicanery in his short-selling recommendation.

Related Link: The complete Wall Street Crime and Punishment series

Hits And Misses: Shkreli left Cramer Berkowitz after graduating from college and briefly worked at Intrepid Capital Management and UBS Wealth Management before starting his own hedge fund, Elea Capital Management, in 2006. That venture went awry when Lehman Brothers sued Shkreli and his hedge fund for failing to pay for a put option. Lehman Brothers won a $2.3 million default judgment against Shkreli and his fund, but the company collapsed in October 2008 before any restitution was made.

Undeterred, Shkreli teamed with childhood friend Marek Biestek to form MSMB Capital Management. The duo specialized in shorting biotech companies and trash-talking these firms in online chat rooms focused on stock trading.

But more bad luck seemed to plague Shkreli’s entrepreneurial pursuits: he made a disastrous short position in 2011 on the obesity drug company Orexigen Therapeutics (NASDAQ: OREX) through an account he held with Merrill Lynch, which cost the company $7 million that he was unable to repay. His handling of the debacle was even …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Original Source: benzinga.com

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Will Ethereum Classic’s Bearish Trend Ever End?

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Ethereum Classic (CRYPTO: ETC) is trading higher Monday, moving higher in a crypto market that is trading slightly higher as a whole.

Ethereum Classic has been in a strong downward trend for the last few months and has not yet shown signs it is making a reversal.

Ethereum Classic was up 2.45% at $25.53 at last check.

See Also: Why Ethereum Classic Could Soar 30% On A Break From This Pattern

Ethereum Classic Daily Chart Analysis

Since the break below the $40 support line, Ethereum Classic has been steadily trending down. The strong downward trend can be shown by the …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Original Source: benzinga.com

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Why Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke Is Joining the Coinbase Board

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Coinbase Global Inc. (NASDAQ: COIN) recently added the CEO of one of the largest e-commerce brands to its board.

What happened: Coinbase added Shopify Inc (NYSE: SHOP) CEO and co-founder Tobias “Tobi” Lütke to its board, the Block reported on Monday.

Coinbase CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong said that Lütke is one of the first crypto adopters “through Shopify’s integration with Coinbase …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Source Here: benzinga.com

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Bitcoin Bears to Resume Assault? Why BTC Could Crash to $33K

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Bitcoin has been trading around its current levels for several days, leading to an apparent shift in sentiment across the crypto market. As BTC’s price trend to the upside after the U.S. Federal Reserve FOMC meeting, there seems to be an increase in optimistic on the crypto market.

Related Reading | TA: Bitcoin Faces Hurdle, Why BTC Could Resume Downtrend

In the short term, our Editorial Director Tony Spilotro has identified a TD Sequential buy signal on the 12-hour chart. As seen below, he highlighted a 13-buy setup with a trend to the downside which has been identified for some market participants as a bear flag.

Source: TonyTrades BTC via Telegram

On this timeframe, larger investors could be “baiting” retail into trading the bear flag. However, the TD Sequential suggest these investors could be entering a trap, as it suggests a short squeeze which could play out as soon as today’s daily close, according to Tony’s analysis.

Data from IntoTheBlock records major resistance level for Bitcoin bulls between $37,500 to $38,500. There are over 822.210 BTC which were purchased by 1.06 million addresses which could be seeking to take profit. A successful break above these levels could push BTC back to the $42,000 price mark.

Source: IntoTheBlock via Ali Martinez (Twitter).

Investment firm QCP Capital supports the short squeeze thesis due to the extend of the current bearish price action. The firm presented two key reasons on why Bitcoin and the crypto market could see a relief in February.

First, the U.S. FED has a “light agenda” for the coming month until 17 March. On this date, the financial institution could announce a decision on interest rates and a change in monetary policy. However, a 25 basis points (bps) seems to be priced in.

This could contribute with a relief in the crypto market, unless the FED decides to implement a more aggressive monetary policy. In any case, March could mark a turning point for Bitcoin and traditional markets, as investors will have their eyes on the FED.

The Long-Term Perspective For Bitcoin, More Downside Likely?

Historically, QCP Capital Noted, February has been a bullish month for Bitcoin which records over 10% in average profits since 2015, with exception of 2020. The bearish price action at the time could have been driven by the COVID-19 pandemic which eventually also contributed with that year’s rally.

However, the firm expects 2022 to be a tough year for the crypto market due to significant macro-economic factors, mainly the actions to be adopted by the U.S. FED. The time at which these changes will be implemented, remain the most important factor and will have an important impact for either bulls or bears. QCP said:

(…) while we think a short-term squeeze higher is likely, we are not overly optimistic for 2022. We remain of the view that crypto prices will remain under pressure and struggle to break the all-time highs this year (…). Any indication of QT (Quantitative Tightnening) starting earlier than expected would be taken very badly by the market.

Related Reading | Go With The FED, Why Bitcoin Could Benefit From Interest Rate Hikes In 2022

As of press time, Bitcoin trades at $37,800 with sideways movement in the past 24 hours.

BTC with some small profits in the daily chart. Source: BTCUSD Tradingview

Original Source: newsbtc.com

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