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Wall Street rally fizzles after Fed minutes

April 5, 2017
CNBC

U.S Stocks take a dramatic turn on Wednesday as meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve reveal a possible change in investment policy later in the year. The news reversed a strong rally that took place after a strong jobs report earlier in the day. Performance Trust’s Director of Trading, Brian Battle, comments on the news and cause of the market selloff.

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Why the Refinancing Slowdown Matters for the Fed

April 5, 2017
Wall Street Journal

The Federal Reserve has been purchasing fewer mortgage bonds in the last few months, which might shape Fed officials’ thinking as they consider shrinking their giant bond portfolio. Performance Trust’s Andrew Pace comments on this news and trends.

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Instant View: Republicans pull Obamacare repeal bill

March 24, 2017
Reuters

House Republicans pulled the American Health Care Act bill, their new healthcare-overhaul legislation, on Friday due to a shortage of votes within Congress. Brian Battle of Performance Trust comments on the news and the meaning of this move.

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GLOBAL-MARKETS-Stocks, dollar up on U.S. rate hike bets, Trump relief

March 1, 2017
CNBC

Treasury yields rise and Wall Street rallies, lifting the Dow above 21,000 for the first time ever as investors expect an interest rate hike in the future. Brian Battle of Performance Trust comments on the rally and the overall market sentiment that is leading the market in the current direction.

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One Group May Help the Fed Tighten Policy: Homeowners

February 21, 2017
Wall Street Journal

Federal Reserve officials are trying to determine how to unwind trillions of dollars on their balance sheet. As the Fed looks for answers, homeowners may be the group currently holding them. Performance Trust’s Andrew Pace shares his insight and analysis of this matter, and comments on the current market outlook.

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US STOCKS-Dow hits 20,000 as post-election rally roars back to life

January 25, 2017
Reuters

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a new all-time high, trading above 20,000 for the first time on Wednesday, resuming a rally that began after the election of Donald Trump. The rally continued after Trump signed a number of executive orders the day before. Brian Battle of Performance Trust comments on Trump’s actions and the overall reaction of the market, as well as what action we may see in the upcoming weeks.

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Chicago Yield Penalties Steepen

Januray 19, 2017
Bond Buyer

Chicago reaches a new peak in spread penalties in the primary market when it priced a general obligation sale this Thursday. Brian Battle of Performance Trust shares his insight on this news and what it may mean.

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ReadyCap Commercial, LLC Securitizes $189 Million of Real Estate Loans for Third Securitization Rated by Moody's & Kroll

January 13, 2017
MarketWatch

ReadyCap Commercial, LLC has securitized $189 million of newly originated first-lien, conventional commercial real estate mortgage loans. Performance Trust Capital Partners, LLC served as a placement agent in the deal.

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US STOCKS-Nasdaq drops with pharma stocks as Trump blasts drug prices

January 11, 2017
Reuters

NASDAQ loses ground on Wednesday as investors flee drug stocks after President-elect Donald Trump blasts high drug prices. Brian Battle of Performance Trust comments on Trump’s comments and the volatile shifts in the markets that we might see during a Trump presidency.

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Chicago Readies Billion Dollar GO Deal

January 10, 2017
Bond Buyer

Chicago is promoting its budget and pension fund gains ahead of a $1.6 billion general obligation sale. This comes as the city’s fiscal pressures loom and the state struggles with overall dysfunction. Brian Battle of Performance Trust comments on the news as well as the City and State’s positions at this time.

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Why This Treasury Market Rout Is So Painful

December 21, 2016
Wall Street Journal

There is a rout in the bond market due to the rise in yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has caused prices to drop. Performance Trust’s Andrew Pace comments on the rise and how duration is causing the rout to be more painful for investors than it would have been 30 years ago.

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New Chicago Schools Credit Draws Strong Demand

December 19, 2016
Bond Buyer

Investors purchase Chicago Public Schools’ A rated capital improvement tax bonds. The reaction drove the group to release a greater size than anticipated, showing the strong demand and positive sentiment to the initial release and ratings. Brian Battle comments on the market reaction to the bond sale, sharing his insight on the deal and overall reaction with Bond Buyer.

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CPS borrows $729M for capital projects; $215M pension fix expires

December 15, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools was able to sell $729 million in bonds, which will be used to fund capital spending (i.e., overcrowding relief, school modernization, and critical repairs). However, this does not solve the issue of the $215 million that the district still needs to come up with for pension costs. Performance Trust muni strategist Brian Battle comments on the recent sale and why it does not solve the district’s long-term problems.

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Chicago School Deal's Single-A Rating Buoys Market Access

December 9, 2016
Bond Buyer

Chicago Public Schools is preparing to release an inaugural sale of bonds and has received legal opinions endorsing the deal. Brian Battle shares his insight into the new Chicago Schools bond issuance and its rating, touching on the structure of the bonds and how they received an A rating. Brian mentions the ratings and how they benefit in terms of the market access that is received.

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Wall Street, bond prices jump as markets await ECB meeting

December 7, 2016
Reuters

US stocks jump and bond prices climb as investors prepare for European Central Bank (ECB) announcement. Market reaction is a sign of preparation for the unknown. Industry specialists comment on the possible outcomes from the ECB announcement. Brian Battle of Performance Trust comments on the impending announcement and the bond market trends and potential reaction.

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Dow, S&P Hit Highs; Trump Comment Hammers Drug Stocks

December 7, 2016
Fox Business

Wall Street surges, continuing its rally since the U.S. Presidential Election. Industry leaders comment on the growth and the current trends, including the rally in bond prices. Brian Battle of Performance Trust comments on the current rally and what it means for other areas of the market.

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US STOCKS-Dow, S&P 500 surge to highs; transports set record

December 7, 2016
Reuters

Brian Battle shares his insight into current market trends. Wednesday saw a significant surge with the Dow hitting record intraday highs as the market continues its gains since the presidential election. Brian touches on the bond market rally, which has seen some significant movement over the past few weeks. Within the bond market, the greatest change has been seen in the long end of the market as investors are focusing on high-dividend stocks.

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Yield Curve at End-of-2015 Levels in Reset

November 18, 2016
Wall Street Journal

All eyes have been on the yield curve lately, and it just reached its highest level since one year ago. Performance Trust’s Andrew Pace comments on this latest move in The Wall Street Journal and explains why investors shouldn’t be too certain about where rates will go.

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O'Hare and Illinois Spreads Diverge

November 4, 2016
Bond Buyer

Thursday's pricings of an Illinois general obligation sale and a Chicago airport revenue bond deal highlighted the market's divergent sentiments about the deals' security features. Illinois saw spreads on the 10-year of its competitively issued $480 million new-money deal land at a 200 basis point spread to the Municipal Market Data's benchmark. That's up from 193 basis points on its October GO pricing and 185 basis points in June. Overall spreads fared slightly better on the short end compared to the negotiated October pricing but were on par on the longer end."This is how the market feels about these individual credits and I think it's about the trajectory of each name," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners.

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Illinois Spreads Widen

October 13, 2016
Bond Buyer

Illinois' yield penalties widened Thursday as the nation's lowest-rated state sold $1.3 billion of general obligation refunding bonds against a tide of negative fiscal and market headwinds.The state's negative fiscal headlines of late combined with the deal's size, limited maturities that extended out only to 2032, and a weaker market with lots of supply drove the uptick in spreads compared to trading levels over the last month, said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners."There were a lot of bonds in a small number of maturities," which narrowed the investor base as some funds otherwise interested in the state's paper looked for higher-yielding maturities on the long end, Battle said, adding that it's hard to know how much any one factor drove the upswing in spreads. "I think it's everything together."

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Bond Volatility: Do the Math

September 29, 2016
Financial Advisor

The 10-year Treasury note yields have dropped by nearly 30% since the beginning of 2016, yet many on Wall Street keep predicting a looming rate hike. Jason Stuck, Director of Analytics at Performance Trust, weighs in on the subject stating, “With everyone trying to predict how soon the Fed might raise rates, we’re telling advisors that doing some basic math can reduce a lot of the guesswork involved in reassessing clients’ bond holdings.” Stuck illustrates various rate scenarios before concluding with the statement, “It’s not exactly rocket science, but the idea we’re trying to get across to advisors is that bonds lend themselves to being mathematically analyzed in a way that you can’t do with stocks.”

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Factbox: Market participants react to U.S. presidential debate

September 26, 2016
Reuters

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump traded barbs and accusations Monday night in the first debate between the two ahead of the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election. Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago weighs in on the subject stating, "Debate really was not outside expectations. Trump was Trump and Clinton kept calm and seemed bemused. It was underwhelming on policy and there were no gaffes or revelations. It was a personality debate, not a policy discussion."

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Chicago Budget Will Boost Police Spending

September 22, 2016
Bond Buyer

Chicago plans to bolster its police ranks as part of a broader plan to tackle a skyrocketing homicide rate that some believe threatens to undercut the city's recent fiscal progress. Spiking crime and the national headlines it spurs have a "corrosive" effect on the city's overall image and when that happens "people leave," warned Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners. The city has to show that it is doing what's needed to protect the "the health, safety, and welfare" of residents, Battle said. "I think the mayor is being shrewd" in his fresh announcements.

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The 3rd largest school district in the nation laid off more than 1,000 employees, and students are now calling it 'racist'

August 17, 2016
Business Insider

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) laid off more than 1,000 employees in August. The firings were over budgetary concerns and impacted 508 teachers and 521 support staff. Brian Battle of Performance Trust comments on the move by CPS.

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Despite CEO's optimism, experts say CPS operating in ‘crisis mode'

August 17, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forest Claypool expressed optimisim last week by introducing a 5.4 billion dollar operating budget that will align forecasted expensditures with anticipated revenue. Public hearings on the prospal go underway this week before the August 24th school board vote. However, it is still clear that the system's finances are in trouble. Brian Battle, a director at the Performance Trust financial firm who has studied CPS finances states, "They're operating in crisis mode. They're managing the CPS budget month to month, quarter to quarter, in six-month increments. Where's the five-year plan? I have no doubt they can make it through, engineer their way through the next five years, but that's still not a five-year financial plan."

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Bond Investors Fear These Words: Call Me Maybe?

August 1, 2016
Wall Street Journal

Some callable bonds include provisions that let issuers "call" them before maturity, which has been happening more often recently. Performance Trust's Andrew Pace comments on this trend and calculates the impact for investors.

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Chicago's bid for 2016 Olympics leaves pricey legacy 7 years later

July 15, 2016
Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune reviews the possibilities if the City of Chicago was to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, as they had hoped. The article reviews some of the “what-ifs” regarding an Olympic Village and temporary structures within the city. Brian Battle of Performance Trust comments on the method in which the city is paying off some of its Olympics-related loans today.

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Mounting Debt Weighs Down Chicago Balance Sheet

July 12, 2016
Bond Buyer

The long-term principal and interest payment schedule for Chicago's general obligation debt swelled by about $1.7 billion last year as Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his finance team scrambled to fix a downgrade-driven liquidity quagmire that threatened the city's balance sheet. "The good news is we're taking action, that's a positive and a change in Chicago," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners. The bad news, he said, is that the city is captive to the state's budget struggles and political gridlock. The city needs state approval for further pension funding changes and could lose out on its share of income tax revenue and other funds as part of a state budget solution, he added.

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Economic growth worries, oil slump drag Wall St. lower

July 5, 2016
Reuters

Stocks fell on Wall Street Tuesday following their best weekly performance of the year as investors faced continued uncertainty in the wake of Britain's decision to leave the European Union and as tumbling oil prices weighed on energy shares."Brexit is a friction on economic activity and that's bad for banks," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago."Low interest rates are horrible for financials, specifically for banks. The spread between where they borrow and where they lend is getting closer together."

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Illinois Reaps Benefit of Market Timing

June 16, 2016
Bond Buyer

Illinois paid a steeper penalty to borrow Thursday after a fresh round of downgrades but a municipal market offering historically low yields helped disguise the spreads. "People showed up to buy," and the bonds sold at relatively expected levels, said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners. "That is a good sign in the confidence investors have in Illinois' ability to pay."

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Chicago MWRD Pays Limited Penalty

June 8, 2016
Bond Buyer

CHICAGO – The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago sold $427 million high grade paper at what a local bond trader calls a "fair" market penalty given the tarnished names of Chicago and Illinois. The district paid a penalty but it was not too steep given that most Illinois credits, even top ones, pay one for their location in a fiscally troubled state without a budget. The water district is further dinged for the Chicago name, said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners.

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Bond bubble bursting? Don't hold your breath

June 6, 2016
CNN Money

Bond yields have continued to remain low even though the Federal Reserve has already raised interest rates once (back in December) and has strongly suggested that more rate hikes could be coming before the end of the year. Brian Battle, director of trading with Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago, said the upcoming vote by the United Kingdom about whether or not to stay in the European Union -- aka the Brexit vote -- may also keep the Fed on the sidelines.

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Hanging in the Balance

April 5, 2016
FMS Financial Managers Update

In the March 22 issue of FMS Update, we surveyed a group of six experts to share what they saw as the biggest concerns facing community institution balance sheets and to offer a few ideas for boosting net interest margin. Here, that same roundtable of experts...weighs in on possibilities for the investment portfolio and the current environment for loan and deposit pricing.

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Hanging in the Balance

March 22, 2016
FMS Financial Managers Update

The Federal Reserve may have finally gotten the ball rolling late last year with its first interest rate increase in years, but anyone anticipating a clearer, more predictable path going forward was likely nevertheless disappointed.

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Chicago Schools Lose Ground in State Capitol

March 4, 2016
Bond Buyer

Bondholders banking on the Chicago Public Schools’ ability to stabilize its rocky finances lost ground this week as the district’s labor woes intensified and lawmakers advanced an attack on its governance structure. “The news for bondholders is negative as it affirms the dysfunction at the state and local level,” said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners. The district has more than $6 billion of outstanding debt.

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Wall St. mixed as investors eye future rate hikes

February 24, 2016
Reuters

Wall Street was mixed on Friday as concerns about the timing of future interest rate hikes offset gains in materials and energy stocks. "I think we're near the top of the roller coaster again. All of the things that made the market go wild in January are still up in the air," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.

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Wall Street ends lower in feeble end to strong week

February 26, 2016
Reuters

Wall Street ended lower on Friday after a week of strong gains. Investor concerns about the timing of future interest rate hikes offset some gains within the market. Brian Battle of Performance Trust discusses the market’s activity and the potential for further shifts.

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CPS puts off $875 million bond sale

January 27, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Public Schools on Wednesday abruptly put off $875 million in borrowing needed to ease its financial crunch amid signs it would pay a heavy price — in the form of record-high interest rates — to attract investors. Brian Battle, director of trading for Performance Trust Capital Partners, a Chicago firm that analyzes bonds for investors, said temporarily halting the deal is something that happens occasionally but should have been avoided. “It’s embarrassing to go to market and have to pull the deal,” he said. “Either there were no buyers or there were no buyers at a price that the city was going to take. Either way, it’s a bad sign for CPS.” How bad it is, Battle said, depends on whether the school district’s underwriters can find buyers quickly.

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Takeover, Bankruptcy Talk Hammers Chicago School Spreads

January 22, 2016
The Bond Buyer

CHICAGO – Bruce Rauner hasn't been able to broker a state budget, but the Illinois governor was able to move the market for Chicago school bonds – in a costly direction for the school district. "If you are interested in this deal you probably know they are insolvent but it doesn't help the prospects for the Chicago Board of Education to have the governor of the state saying your school district needs to be taken over and restructured right in front of your deal," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago. "It gives investors an excuse to demand more yield."

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Uncertain Panorama

January 15, 2016
Negocios

Expert from Performance Trust believes that legislators in the United States will not act until a non-payment occurs.That is the belief of Brian Battle, Director of Performance Trust, who yesterday held that the lack of a clear mechanism to resolve the debt crisis of the Island makes it very difficult to estimate how much bondholders will recover in the case that the Puerto Rican Government lacks money to pay them. Performance Trust offers advisory and asset management to institutional clients in Puerto Rico such as banks and insurers.

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Incierto el panorama

January 15, 2016
Negocios

Experto de Performance Trust cree que los legisladores estadounidenses no actuarán hasta que se produzca un impago.

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Chicago, CPS, Illinois All Testing Their Credit in Primary Market

January 11, 2016
The Bond Buyer

The lack of supply to meet demand – especially for yield – will benefit Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, and Illinois when all three fiscally distressed credits land in the bond market this month, market participants say. "It's a great time to be a distressed borrower," with supply falling short of investor demand, said Chicago-based Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners.

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Analyzing the Impact of the Stock Market’s Volatility on Investments

January 7, 2016
WTTW

The stock market took a tumble Thursday as China’s stock market dropped 7 percent overnight and crude oil prices dropped to their lowest level in more than a decade. But what does that mean for investment portfolios?

“They are in a unique situation where they’re a Communist government, but trying to have a capitalist economy. So it’s a unique mix of central planning and free market,” Battle said. “Their stock market is only 25 years old, so they’re still learning their way around it. Up until cancelling it today, they had what they called a circuit breaker system, which is their regulatory control to curb volatility in the stock market. Circuit breakers are supposed to be a market stabilizer, but closing down the stock market is having the opposite effect. … It’s alarming investors around the world.”

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Another Credit Blow Adds to Chicago Schools' Woes

December 22, 2015
The Bond Buyer

The Chicago Public Schools' cash crisis triggered a fresh rating blow this week that market participants say could scare off some buyers and further drive up its already steep spread premiums. A B1 rating "severely restricts the public buyer base," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Chicago-based Performance Trust Capital Partners. He suggested a private placement might work better for the district. The bond resolution the Board of Education approved last week allows for either a public offering or private placement.

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Is the junk bond crisis the start of another 2008?

December 15, 2015
CNN Money

A major junk bond mutual fund shut down last week. And that has many investors wondering if the risky high yield debt market could be about to collapse ... and drag the stock market down with it like subprime mortgages did in 2008. Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners, thinks more junk bond funds are in danger of going under -- especially ones with exposure to risky short-term bank loans and energy company debt.

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World Week Ahead: Finally, it's Fed week

December 14, 2015
The National Business Review

The US Federal Reserve's two-day meeting and a widely-anticipated interest rate increase will form the key driver in the coming days as investors eye clues about the projected pace of future hikes. "If...(policymakers) came out saying that over the next two years they will raise by 'this' much, that would be very destabilizing," Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago, told Reuters. "The market will take great relief in the Fed communicating it will be very patient for the next increase."

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The Fed's rate hike could cause chaos in markets - and investors may not be ready

December 12, 2015
Business Insider

Stock market investors are ready for the first U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hike in nearly a decade next week, but they may not be fully prepared for all of the nuanced remarks likely to accompany that announcement. "If...(policymakers) came out saying that over the next two years they will raise by 'this' much, that would be very destabilizing," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.

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Let's Face Facts: CPS is Insolvent. What Should Happen Next

December 2, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school system in the United States, is facing what has been described as a budget disaster. However, the word “disaster” is a misnomer. An avalanche is a disaster. A volcano is a disaster. The natural world produces disasters as sudden events with unexpected outcomes.

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Wall St ends flat; Disney, retailers dip on sales worries

November 27, 2015
Reuters

U.S. stock indexes ended little changed in light trading on Friday, with consumer stocks falling as investors fretted over early reports on the U.S. holiday shopping season and Disney's subscriber losses weighed on the market. "We're going to get today over with and hit the ground running next week," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.

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Market Doesn't Like Chicago's Odds in Pension Case

November 19, 2015
The Bond Buyer

The municipal market's buyside, as do legal experts, sees Chicago's pension reform appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court as a longshot and wants the city to come up with an alternative. "First, it's a higher burden because the lower court ruled against the city and so they would have to overturn. Second, it's an argument the court has heard before in the state case although with a different nuance," said Brian Battle, director of trading in Chicago at Performance Trust Capital Partners.

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