What you need to know on Wall Street today

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Investors just can’t resist making a quick buck on the motionless stock market.

With price swings already locked near record lows for weeks, traders have pushed short bets on the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX — widely known as the S&P 500 fear gauge — to a new high.

It marks the fourth such record in just 11 weeks for hedge funds and large speculators, which have made a serious habit out of betting against the VIX, according to data compiled by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

In related news, Brevan Howard, the London-based hedge fund run by billionaire Alan Howard, is launching a new fund to bet on an increase in volatility in the US Treasury market.

Goldman Sachs has circulated a note to clients suggesting that the probability of stocks entering a bear market in the next 24 months currently stands at about 88%, based on the history of previous bear markets. A flawed argument used by Warren Buffett could be setting stocks up for “one of the worst disasters in history,” writes Business Insider’s Joe Ciolli.

In deal news, China is offering to buy up to 5% of Saudi Aramco directly. The Weinstein Company is getting emergency cash from and is exploring a sale to Colony Capital, the firm led by Trump advisor Tom Barrack. The retail apocalypse just sabotaged Nordstrom’s attempt to go private — and the whole industry is getting hit. Ruby Tuesday is getting bought out after years of declining sales.

And food services company Aramark
said on Monday it would buy Avendra, majority owned by Marriott International, and uniform and linen supplier AmeriPride Services for a total of $US2.35 billion.

We spoke to Lending Club founder Renaud Laplanche about his “frustrating” exit and new startup Upgrade. And cryptocurrencies are “in the 3rd inning” — and Wall Street is just getting started.

The banker whose ex-girlfriend dumped his $US55,000 Mercedes into a swimming pool says “if a woman is not crazy, she doesn’t love you.”

Lastly, we ate at Warren Buffett’s favourite New York City steakhouse — which people pay millions to dine with him at — here’s what it was like.

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