Tag Archive | "country"

Opening Bell: 06.01.11

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S.E.C. Case Stands Out Because It Stands Alone (NYT)
But [Fabrice] Tourre’s world would soon be turned upside down. In fall 2009, the S.E.C. issued him a Wells notice, a formal warning that he was likely to be named in a civil fraud suit for his role in the mortgage deals. Mr. Egol also received such a notice in 2010. In their Oct. 10 response to the S.E.C., Mr. Tourre’s lawyers, including Pamela Chepiga of Allen & Overy, made an argument that they have not emphasized publicly. They contended that “singling Mr. Tourre out for criticism regarding the content of this clearly collaborative effort is unreasonable.” These legal replies, which are not public, were provided to The New York Times by Nancy Cohen, an artist and filmmaker in New York also known as Nancy Koan, who says she found the materials in a laptop she had been given by a friend in 2006.  The friend told her he had happened upon the laptop discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building. E-mail messages for Mr. Tourre continued streaming into the device, but Ms. Cohen said she had ignored them until she heard Mr. Tourre’s name in news reports about the S.E.C. case.  She then provided the material to The Times. Mr. Tourre’s lawyer did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

Did the NYT hack Fabrice Tourre’s email? (Reuters)
Felix Salmon: “Louise Story and Gretchen Morgenson have a long and rambling story about the court case against Goldman’s Fabrice Tourre, which is mainly interesting for how it was sourced…I’m sure this was extremely carefully formulated, but it does raise a lot of questions without answering them. Tourre’s name was splashed over the newspapers in April 2010, so it stands to reason that the NYT has had some kind of access to Tourre’s private, password-protected email account — not to mention archives going back at least to 2006 — for a good year at this point. I’d also guess that the NYT is going public with its source now because Tourre finally got around to changing his password, and the stream of emails then dried up.”

SAC Faces Probe of Biotech Trading (WSJ)
MedImmune shares jumped 18% on April 23, 2007, the day its takeover was announced. Trading was heavy before the announcement, driving shares up more than 50% over six weeks, suggesting that rumors of a deal may have reached traders ahead of the announcement. SAC significantly increased its holdings of MedImmune during the quarter prior to the one in which the deal was announced, according to public filings. SAC increased its holdings from 151,000 shares in the fourth quarter of 2006 to 796,000 shares in first quarter of 2007. It cut its holdings to 30,000 shares at the end of 2007′s second quarter, then reported that it sold the position completely, according to filings.

Greece nears IMF/EU deal, dismisses drachma talk (Reuters)
Greece should complete talks by the end of the week with inspectors from the EU and IMF on a medium-term budget plan plus a vital next slice of international aid, sources close to the negotiations said on Wednesday.

EU warns US to speed up bank reform (FT)
In a letter sent last week to US Treasury secretary Tim Geithner, Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of financial markets, argued that Brussels was ahead of the US in several areas – including capital requirements for banks and limits on bonuses for financial executives. Mr Barnier urged the US to match European efforts. “The level playing field must be a reality, not an empty slogan,” he wrote in the May 27 letter, which was obtained by the Financial Times.

Irish lenders outline loss plans for bondholders (FT)
Three of Ireland’s lenders revealed plans to impose losses of up to 90 per cent on bondholders in attempts to make them shoulder some of the cost of recapitalising the country’s banks. Bank of Ireland said it would shortly announce a cash offer for €2.6bn ($3.7bn) of its subordinated debt, with discounts of either 80 per cent or 90 per cent depending on the type of bond. Two smaller lenders, Irish Life & Permanent and EBS, planned to impose similar losses on holders of about €1bn of debt.

UBS May Move Stamford Investment Bank to World Trade Center (Businessweek)
UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest lender, may move the staff of its U.S. investment bank from Stamford, Connecticut, to the World Trade Center in Manhattan by 2015, a person with direct knowledge of the plan said.

Attorney General orders more episodes of the “The Wire”, or a movie (Reuters)
“I want to speak directly to Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon: Do another season of ‘The Wire’,” Holder said, drawing laughter and applause from the audience. “That’s actually at a minimum. … If you don’t do a season, do a movie.  We’ve done HBO movies, this is a series that deserves a movie. I want another season or I want a movie. I have a lot of power Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon.”

‘Expert Networker’ Jiau Faces Trial in U.S. Insider-Trading Investigation (Bloomberg)
Winifred Jiau, a former consultant with so-called expert networking firm Primary Global Research LLC, faces jury selection as her insider trading trial begins today, the third tied to a nationwide probe of illegal stock- tipping.

Citigroup Close to China Securities Partnership Deal (WSJ)
Citigroup Inc. is close to an agreement with a partner in China to set up a joint-venture securities business that would give the New York bank a long-sought foothold in China’s domestic capital markets, according to people familiar with the situation. Citigroup is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai-based Orient Securities Company Ltd. as soon as Thursday morning China time.

EIB halts Glencore lending on governance concerns (Reuters)
The EIB, the European Union’s lending institution, provided in 2005 a $50 million loan to Mopani Copper Mines, a Zambian subsidiary of Swiss-based Glencore, to help pay for the modernisation of a copper smelter. But Mopani has since been accused by some non-governmental organisations — most recently by campaign groups in an open letter signed by a group of European parliamentarians — of tax evasion and of causing widespread pollution.

Morgan Stanley Invests in Short-Sale Target Yongye International of China (Bloomberg)
Morgan Stanley agreed to invest $50 million in Yongye International Inc. (YONG), the U.S.-traded producer of plant nutrients in China that is the target of a short seller who says the company has misrepresented its business.

South Korea Probes Foreign Banks (WSJ)
Financial Supervisory Service Deputy Gov. Kim Yung-dae said at a briefing Tuesday that some foreign-bank branches in South Korea were handing over day-to-day trading operations involving money held in local accounts to a larger foreign branch or regional headquarters in places like Hong Kong and Singapore. Such outsourcing is illegal in South Korea…Mr. Kim said HSBC Holdings PLC and Crédit Agricole SA have already been sanctioned for improper outsourcing of operations involving derivatives…A person familiar with the situation said Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC may also be sanctioned for engaging in similar activity, with the FSS likely to decide on the matter in June or July.

Sovereign ratings still relevant – but mostly when they go negative (FT Alphaville)
Bond markets still react to sovereign ratings announcements, though they tend to react more when the rating agencies say something negative. That’s the conclusion of a new working paper from the European Central Bank, which looked at changes in yields and CDS spreads after rating actions from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch on two dozen European Union countries from 1995 on.

Lehman Veteran Is Back in Game (WSJ)
Mark Walsh is best known for the gigantic real-estate deals that backfired on Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. before it collapsed in 2008. As the financial crisis recedes, the 52-year-old Mr. Walsh is mounting a low-key comeback at a new real-estate firm by leaning on connections made before the real-estate bubble burst. “Unfortunately, Mark has to live with the talk of having done a couple of bad deals, rather than people focusing on the overwhelming amount of good ones,” says New York real-estate developer Steven Witkoff.

Accuser was maid to wait (NYP)
A female manager at the ritzy Pierre hotel was suspended yesterday for shrugging off a room attendant who reported that an Egyptian business big shot had just sexually assaulted her in his room, the hotel revealed yesterday. The manager, whose name was not released, merely noted the maid’s shocking claims in a logbook — and never reported them to Pierre security, her own bosses or police, officials said.

Sarah Palin, Donald Trump split a pepperoni pizza at Famous Famiglia in Times Square (NYDN)
“She didn’t ask me (to run with her) but I’ll tell you, she’s a terrific woman,” Trump said as he ushered Palin into a branch of Famous Famiglia pizza on Broadway at 50th St.

ACLU wants porn to be allowed for South Carolina inmates (ABC)
The American Civil Liberties Union is pushing for porn at a detention center in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. The move came after reports surfaced that the facility only allowed inmates to read the Bible. But prison officials said that isn’t true and inmates have a wide variety of reading material at their disposal.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.23.11

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Options Trading in SAC Probe (WSJ, earlier)
Congressional investigators are broadening an early-stage stock-trading probe into SAC Capital Advisors, with plans to examine any suspicious trading by the hedge-fund giant in the options market, another arena where investors wager on the prospects of companies and deals, according to people familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday night that Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is investigating roughly 20 instances over the past decade when the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a Wall Street regulator, suspected SAC could have bought and sold stocks based on inside information.

Fitch cuts Greek rating, warns over restructuring (Reuters)
“An extension of the maturity of existing bonds would be considered by Fitch to be a default event and Greece and its obligations would be rated accordingly,” the rating agency said. If private sector ‘burden sharing’ is coercive, the credibility of EU/IMF policy commitments not just for Greece but also Ireland and Portugal would be severely diminished and affect financial stability across the euro area, it said.

Lagarde Is Front-Runner To Head IMF (Bloomberg)
“Lagarde might be front-runner,” New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said in an interview with TVNZ television today. “She’s super impressive I’ve got to say,” he said, while echoing officials outside of Europe in calling for a selection “on merit.”

Singapore to Create Most Bank Jobs in the Next Year, London Recruiter Says (Bloomberg)
Singapore will create more jobs in financial services during the next 12 months than any other city, beating London and New York, said recruiter Astbury Marsden, which advises companies in Europe and Asia.

Biggs Buying as S&P 500 Profit Estimates Climb (Bloomberg)
“Investors are overreacting,” said Biggs, citing concerns about the European debt crisis, housing and reduced stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve. “All those worries are true, but I can see a number of them will be resolved in the next two months, and I do not think the global economy will slow down significantly. Stocks are very reasonably priced on earnings for next year.”

Zapatero’s Socialists Routed in Backlash Over Austerity (Bloomberg)
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialist party had its worst electoral setback in more than 30 years, prompting a shift in regional governments that risks reviving concern over public finances…The transfer of power in the regions may spark doubts over Spain’s ability to contain its budget deficit, and Spanish bonds declined today.

S&P warning heralds tough times ahead for Italy (Reuters)
Standard & Poor’s surprising decision to revise downward its outlook for Italy could mark the start of increased market scrutiny on the euro zone’s third-largest economy, which faces tough challenges that it is probably unable to meet.

Times Columnist, Wife, Charged In Domestic Argument (Hartford Courant)
New York Times technology columnist David Pogue and his wife were charged with disorderly conduct earlier this week following a domestic argument at a Woody Lane house, part of which she recorded on her iPhone, police said…He told police his wife had bitten his left arm and that she had been filming the altercation with her iPhone camera. Arciola said David Pogue followed Jennifer Pogue into a bedroom and allegedly jumped on top of her and hit her in the head with a phone…In addition to his column, Pogue writes a monthly column in Scientific American. He also appears weekly on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” and on “CBS News Sunday Morning.”

JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley keep barbarians at the gate (eF)
Companies seeking to fight off a hostile takeover approach should consider hiring JP Morgan to defend them, according to new rankings compiled by Financial News.

Emerging market bond fund flows signal shift (FT)
Eight consecutive weeks of net inflows have taken the total invested in these funds this year to $7.9bn, according to EPFR, the fund data provider…Robust inflows into emerging market bonds stand in contrast to nervousness over potentially overheating equity markets in developing countries, and the debt crisis in western Europe’s periphery. Investors have pulled $12.9bn out of European bond funds this year, and more than $7bn was withdrawn from global equity funds last week, of which $1.6bn came from emerging market equity funds, according to EPFR.

Buyers Battle for Europe’s Bad Loans (WSJ)
As banks across Europe clean up their balance sheets, it is causing a feeding frenzy among hedge funds and private-equity firms hungry for their troubled assets…Among the buyers is Marathon Asset Management LP… Other buyers include Fortress Investment Group LLC, OakTree Capital Management, York Capital Management, and Och-Ziff Capital Management, according to industry officials.

Utah making gold and silver coins legal currency, pushing debate about national gold standard (AP via WaPo)
Utah became the first state in the country this month to legalize gold and silver coins as currency. The law also will exempt the sale of the coins from state capital gains taxes.

NY senators bat with banks on rule change (NYP)
The Senate agricultural committee is set to host hearings as early as mid-June to discuss new derivatives rules, which have become a hot-button issue on Wall Street, The Post has learned. US legislators, including Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have been fighting on behalf of firms like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, arguing that new rules on complex derivatives securities being hammered out under the Dodd-Frank regulatory reforms put domestic banks at a “competitive disadvantage.”

Inside a Battle Over Forex (WSJ)
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. has been fighting accusations that it took advantage of clients while trading currencies…BNY Mellon priced 58% of the currency trades within the 10% of each day’s trading range that was least favorable to the fund, the analysis shows. As a result, the trades cost the pension fund, the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, $4.5 million more than if the average trade occurred at the middle of the trading range for each day, the analysis showed.

Yuan Funds May Be More Illusion Than Oasis (WSJ)
But already, firms that manage dollar funds and are setting up yuan funds, too, are grappling with a conundrum: How do you convince your foreign investors—referred to as limited partners, or “LPs,” in the private-equity world—that you are keeping their best interests at heart while you scour China for deals to invest in with renminbi? Foreign LPs already had reason to worry that things weren’t going in their favor. When it involves foreigners, approval for an investment in China can take 18 months or longer. Also, more and more companies in China are reluctant to take foreign money because doing so complicates their ability to go public in Shanghai or Shenzhen, thanks to arcane Chinese listing regulations.

CDB seeks to join TPG stake purchase (FT)
China Development Bank, one of the country’s largest state-owned banks, has applied to regulators for permission to join a group of sovereign wealth funds buying a minority stake in buy-out firm TPG, according to people familiar with the matter. CDB’s request is the latest indication of the private equity fever sweeping China as local dealmakers leave the major buy-out firms and banks to set up their own investment firms.

KKR to Buy Ipreo, a Capital-Markets Data Firm (WSJ)
KKR is acquiring Ipreo from another buyout firm, Veronis Suhler Stevenson LLC. Ipreo, based in New York, provides a range of financial data, deal-related information and investor-communication tools to investment banks and companies. It also has software that assists banks and companies in marketing new stock to potential buyers. One of its databases, called Bigdough, contains contact information for thousands of institutional investors that Ipreo clients can use to pitch hedge funds and other types of investors.

Cassette tapes make a comeback (WaPo)
Four years ago, cassette tapes were headed toward their funeral. In 2007, British tabloid The Sun declared the death of the cassette, after the announcement that a major electronics retailer in the United Kingdom would cease selling cassette tapes…Then, last year, cassettes began to rise from the dead. In the fall, NPR reported that cassettes were having a “kind of” revival, with at least 25 labels in the United States putting out new music exclusively on tape. In a lengthy essay in Pitchfork, contributor Marc Hogan detailed examples of the “broader underground resurgence” of cassettes.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Apple: China Mobile Deal Coming, Says Ticonderoga

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Apple (AAPL) is closer to a deal to sell its iPhone through China Mobile (CHL), the world’s biggest carrier with 600 million subscribers, writes Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White this morning. White was responding to comments made by chairman Wang Jianzhou this morning at China Mobile’s annual investor meeting.

According to a piece this morning by Bloomberg’s Young-Sam Cho, Wang told the assembled that Apple may produce a version of the iPhone that will work on a forthcoming 4G wireless network standard for China, dubbed “TD-LTE,” having decided to bypass the current “TD-SCDMA” that supports only 3G wireless connections, he said.

White writes, “Keep in mind, China Mobile has more wireless subscribers than any carrier in the world with 601 million at the end of March or 69% market share in the country, while China represents the largest mobile phone market on the planet with 876 million subscribers.” China Mobile has the TD-LTE standard up and running in trials in several cities, he notes, and should spread that throughout the country over the next year to a year and a half.

White notes that during a trip to China in December, he observed that 3 million China Mobile subscribers were already using the iPhone via a special SIM card that the carrier offers that can be inserted into the phone, and Wang today said that the total subs using the iPhone on its network is now 4 million.

White says the introduction of the iPad 2 and the white iPhone 4 in China in recent weeks were met with “Apple fever,” meaning long lines and even some “scuffles,” in some instances.

White reiterates a Buy rating on Apple shares and a $612 price target.

Apple shares today are up 64 cents at $340.51.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Incubator BoomStartup announces the 10 companies it will mentor this summer

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Utah-based startup incubator BoomStartup announced the 10 companies it has selected to participate in its second annual class. The three-month summer program gives promising new tech companies a shot at early additional funding and attention from potential investors on the hunt for the next hot concepts.

The companies in the Class of 2011 are ChampionVillage, CircleFive, Explorer.io, FaceTags, Golf Compete, Jumbas, OER Glue, PromoKube, Proz and VuTherapy.

BoomStartup is a mentorship-driven seed accelerator for web, mobile and software startups and is a founding TechStars Network Member.

Tim Geithner Will Let Us Borrow For A Little While Longer

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Thanks to “extraordinary measures” and “tax receipts.”

By taking “extraordinary measures,” the U.S. can keep borrowing until Aug. 2 after reaching its $14.29 trillion legal debt limit no later than May 16 unless Congress acts, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said.

The Treasury Department will take steps starting this week to provide additional borrowing room, Geithner said in a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and other congressional leaders. The Treasury pushed the August deadline back from July 8 “as a result of stronger-than- expected tax receipts,” Geithner said. The May 16 date is unchanged from an estimate he made last month. Geithner said the Treasury on May 6 will stop issuing State and Local Government Series securities. The bonds, known as SLGS, “fund a variety of expenditures, including infrastructure improvements across the country,” he said.


Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Andrew Sorkin Wants To Hear Warren Buffett Say “I’m Upset With Myself”

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As you may have heard, this weekend is Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting. As he has in the past, CEO Warren Buffett will speak at length, and unlike time’s past, this year’s talk will include at least one awkward topic, that being the David Sokol/Lubrizol incident. We previously came up with a bunch of WB-esque words he could offer that would get him back in everyone’s good graces, including but not limited to:

“While nothing illegal went down on Berkshire’s watch, what David did is not the way we expect people to conduct themselves and it certainly left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Not unlike what I imagine would be the result of some boyhood experimentation on the farm and a cow with some funky tasting spunk.”

According to Andrew Ross Sorkin, who will be at the meeting, if Buffett wants to make things cool with shareholders, he can’t just say he was disappointed in David Sokol but that he was disappointed in himself.

It’s possible (though highly unlikely) that ARS and I are wrong. If you’re a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder, what would get you to decide the whole thing is water under the bridge? Is it a mea culpa or something else? As Buffett may not have found the words himself, perhaps you should just tell him what you want. A walking tour of his favorite whorehouse? His butler services for one year? An all-access pass to walk into any Dairy Queen across the country and stick your mouth under the soft serve machine without getting shit for it?

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 04.25.11

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Fed Searches For Next Step After QE2 (WSJ)
Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday are expected to signal that in June they plan to end their controversial strategy of buying $600 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds to spur the economy. That would mark a milestone in the historic efforts by the central bank to stimulate economic growth. While analysts and investors debate whether the end to the bond-buying effort will have a significant impact on financial markets, the Fed is contemplating when and how to begin draining the credit it pumped into the economy during and after the global financial crisis. That tightening of credit still looks at least several months off, if not longer, and could take a while to unfold.

Bill Gross Battles Bond Dealers on Outlook as Treasuries Gain (Bloomberg)
“I could join the dealers and say the 10-year’s not going to go to 4 percent, so what am I left with?” Gross said in a telephone interview April 20. “I’m left with an under-yielding, less-than-inflation security. I have better choices. As a firm we’re not going to put up with it.”

US Housing Showing Some Signs Of Life (Reuters)
Four years after U.S. housing prices began to nose-dive, eventually triggering a global financial crisis, signs of life are appearing at the top and the bottom ends of the market. By contrast, a sustained recovery remains far off for the vast middle ground of the U.S. housing sector. Affluent Americans are feeling more secure as the impact of the recession fades and the stock market racks up big gains. “People who have decent income are saying, maybe I can trade up, buy a better property,” said Bill Hardin, director of the real estate program at Florida International University. “Some people are even saying, I’m willing to take a loss on the property I’m selling now to get something I couldn’t buy during the housing peak.”

NYSE Sees Higher Savings In Deutsche Boerse Deal (Reuters)
NYSE Euronext sees cost savings in its $9.8 billion deal with Deutsche Boerse at closer to 400 million euros ($583 million), up by about a third from its initial estimate, according to a Big Board spokesman on Sunday.

Big Oil’s Profits Set To Impress (WSJ)
If oil prices continue to climb, they could at least rival 2008. That year, U.S. producers reported astronomic profits as crude hit $147 a barrel for a time. Exxon that year earned $45.2 billion, more than any other U.S. publicly traded company in history.

Glencore Traders Urged Russia To Ban Grain Exports (FT)
As it bet on rising prices, senior traders at the Swiss-based company publicly urged Russia to impose a grain export ban. Moscow acted a few days later, triggering a grain rally. Glencore is the largest trader in Russian wheat, followed by US-based rivals Cargill and Bunge. The issue is sensitive because politicians such as Nicolas Sarkozy, French president have often blamed speculators for rising food prices. The G20 group of leading economies will hold a special meeting in June to discuss grain markets. Glencore revealed the proprietary trades to UBS, one of the banks underwriting its flotation, in a rare disclosure for a company that guards its market insights closely.

Plane Hauling Cocaine Crashes In Lake (SFNM)
A small planed loaded with bundles of cocaine and likely battling stormy weather crashed into Lake Heron in Rio Arriba County on Sunday morning, apparently killing all on board, according to the New Mexico State Police. Access to that section of the 4-mile-long lake, near Tierra Amarilla, was closed after bundles of what turned out to be cocaine began floating to the surface, Garcia said. “Several packages began surfacing,” he said.

Barrick to Buy Equinox for $7.68 Billion (Bloomberg)
Barrick bid C$8.15 per Equinox share, the Toronto-based mining company said today in a statement. A previous offer from China’s Minmetals was for C$7 a share. Perth-based Equinox has agreed to the Barrick offer and will drop its bid for Lundin Mining Corp., a Canadian copper and zinc producer.

Warren Buffett, Delegator In Chief (NYT)
ARS: Mr. Buffett’s investing antennas may be genius, but some of his critics have suggested that his trust-based management style may have left him too farsighted to quickly spot operational problems. As reported by Carol Loomis of Fortune magazine, when Mr. Buffett was first told in 1991 about indications of a possible scandal at Salomon Brothers that later nearly took down the company (Berkshire was its largest shareholder), he initially did not detect any reason to be particularly alarmed, “so he went back to dinner.” Only after speaking several days later about the matter with his partner, Mr. Munger, “did Buffett get a sense of real trouble.”

Swiss SVP against capital rules, wants banks split (Reuters)
The popular right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) is against government plans proposed this week to tighten regulation of the country’s biggest banks, saying it wants them split up to cut risk to the Swiss economy. Christoph Blocher, former justice minister and SVP mastermind, said his party would oppose legislation the government handed to parliament on Wednesday to force the big banks to meet tough new capital standards.

Tepco Pumps Tainted Water From Reactor Trenches, Adds Backup Power Cables (Bloomberg)
“While not stable yet, things are generally moving in the right direction,” Penn Bowers, a Tokyo-based analyst for CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, said by telephone today. “I’m not sure we’re going to see any major corner being turned at this point. There’s going to be a slow grind, probably for months.”

Boeing Factory Probed In Rupture Of Southwest Jet (WSJ)
It is too early to draw definitive conclusions, the officials said, and further testing and data analysis could bring other issues to the forefront. But the federal probe increasingly is focused on some type of assembly-line lapse—a rare occurrence in modern aircraft production— that would explain an incident that stunned the airline industry and worried travelers.

China Must Watch for Rising U.S. Treasury Yields: PBOC Researcher (Reuters)
Zhang Jianhua, a head of research at the People’s Bank of China, said worries that the heavily indebted U.S. government may not repay its debt could drive Treasury yields higher and cause U.S. debt prices to fluctuate.

A Fairytale View Of Britain (LATimes)
“The British public is simply not that excited about the royal wedding. According to the Economist, only a third of the population is definitely going to watch the nuptials on TV, while close to half are actively uninterested. My own secret source on the English streets (OK, it’s my mum, who lives in a small town called Tring) reports that ‘people seem much less bothered’ about Will and Kate than about Charles and Di in 1981.”

Jury Deliberations Set to Begin in Rajaratnam Case (FBN)
Jury deliberations are expected to begin Monday in the closely-watched insider trading trial of ex-Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam. Rajaratnam is charged with 14 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud. The government claims he made $63.8 million illicitly between 2003 and March 2009. He was arrested at his Manhattan apartment and charged in October 2009. He maintains he did nothing wrong…The jury’s patience with the nearly two-month trial has shown some signs of fatigue. On Thursday, two jurors groaned when the prosecution continued its rebuttal past 5 p.m. Another rolled her eyes and put on her coat.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 04.15.11

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Bank Of America Earnings Miss Expectations, Profit Drops (BAC)
The bank reported net income of $2.0 billion, or $0.17 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2011, compared with $3.2 billion, or $0.28 per diluted share, in the year-ago period and a net loss of $1.2 billion, or $0.16 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Banks Near Deal With SEC (WSJ)
U.S. securities regulators are in talks with several major Wall Street banks to settle fraud allegations related to mortgage-bond deals that helped unleash the financial crisis, according to people familiar with the matter. The expected settlements, some of which could be reached as soon as next week, collectively mark the biggest attempt by enforcement agencies to hold Wall Street accountable for its role in the subprime mortgage bust. The settlements are expected to vary significantly among banks—but few, if any, are expected to surpass the $550 million penalty that Goldman Sachs paid last year to settle allegations that it misled investors in a mortgage-bond investment called Abacus 2007-AC1.

True Scale Of Glencore’s Trading Empire Unveiled (FT)
Glencore disclosed that it controls 45 percent of the third-party lead market, 38 percent in alumina, and between 30 and 20 percent for aluminium, cobalt and thermal coal. It has a smaller market share for nickel, ferrochrome, oil and grains. The sheer dominance of raw materials trading is set to play into Glencore’s favor as it pushes for a 15-20 percent stake sale worth $9 – $11 billion in London and Hong Kong.

Moody’s Cuts Ireland By Two Notches (Reuters)
Moody’s cut Ireland’s sovereign rating by two notches, to BAA3 from BAA1, to the verge of junk status on Friday and kept its outlook on negative.

Greece To Unveil Austerity Measures To Meet Deficit Goals (Bloomberg)
The government’s medium term-fiscal policy plan will detail more than 22 billion euros ($31.9 billion) of deficit-reduction measures through 2014, most of them in spending cuts, according to Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou. The government is also expected to unveil plans to raise 15 billion euros by 2013 through state-asset sales.

Deutsche Expands Nordic Focus as Bank Lands Biggest Merger Deal (Bloomberg)
Deutsche Bank which won 2011’s biggest Scandinavian corporate-finance deal when it led DuPont Co.’s bid for Danisco A/S, is boosting its Nordic unit as the pace of mergers in the region tops that of Europe and the U.S. “The Nordic market is playing a more important role relative to the rest of Europe,” said Jan Olsson, head of Deutsche Bank’s Nordic investment banking division, in an interview in Stockholm. Deutsche Bank set up a four-person currency team in Stockholm last year. The company also started offering corporate finance services at its Oslo branch, which until 2010 only provided banking to the country’s shipping industry.

JPMorgan Bankers Who Doubted Madoff In 2007 Are Named (NYT)
Those executives are John J. Hogan, the bank’s chief risk officer for investment banking; Matthew E. Zames, who oversees several important bank trading operations; and Carlos M. Hernandez, the head of global equities at the bank’s investment banking unit.

Mexican Economy Shrugs Off Narco War (CNBC)
“The buzz that has surrounded the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and other fast-growing emerging economies in recent years has largely passed Mexico by, and arguably for good reason” said Rafael De La Fuente, an economist at UBS in a research note. Despite the drug war, Mexico’s economy took off last year with growth of 5.5 percent and UBS is predicting 2011 growth will hit 4.8 percent.

JPMorgan Pushes Microchip Card In Race With Wells Fargo (Bloomberg)
JPMorgan will first offer the card exclusively to affluent customers. Clients with a JPMorgan Palladium credit card, which has a $595 annual fee, will receive a chip card by June, the company said. “Initially, we are targeting the technology to our highest-spend clients,” Porter said. “Months after that we will issue the card to Chase-branded products.”

Adidas Debuts World’s Lightest Basketball Shoe to Tackle Nike (Bloomberg)
Adidas introduced the AdiZero Crazy Light shoe in New York yesterday. It has a weight of 9.8 ounces and is more than 15 percent lighter than any competing model, including Nike’s LeBron Air Max 8 V/2.

Luxury Spending By Rich To Rise; Value Sought (Reuters)
Spending by rich Americans on luxury goods is set to grow by $26.6 billion in 2011, with the number of affluent families planning to spend more almost doubling in the past three years, a poll found on Friday.

Firms Tip Scales Back In Favor Of Stocks (WSJ)
Companies such as Expedia are increasingly resorting to spinoffs, share buybacks and other financial engineering to boost market value, often to the detriment of bondholders. And in a switch, holders of investment-grade bonds are more at risk than those holding high-yield securities, because the safer bonds typically provide fewer protections against such shareholder-friendly actions.

Raj’s High Wires (NYP)
Just weeks before his trial on insider-trading charges, Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam wired a whopping $15 million to a hedge fund launched by a former employee and key defense witness, prosecutors told the jury yesterday. Rajaratnam’s investments account for $25 million of a total $35 million in Spottail’s assets under management, prosecutors showed. Rajaratnam, who faces a maximum sentence of 25 years, first invested in Spottail in September, giving Schutte $10 million. Then, on Jan. 4, two months before Rajaratnam was scheduled to go on trial in Manhattan federal court, his family wired an additional $15 million to Spottail, prosecutors said.

World’s Oldest Man Dies In Montana (Reuters)
A 114-year-old retired railroad worker reputed to be the world’s oldest living man died of natural causes on Thursday in the farming community of Great Falls, Montana. Walter Breuning, who had lived in a local nursing home since 1980, was declared oldest man on July 18, 2009, by the Guinness Book of World Records. He retired from the railroad at age 66 and attributed his longevity to restricting daily meals to breakfast and lunch and to downing an aspirin a day.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 04.14.11

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Senator Levin: Goldman Sachs Misled Congress After Duping Clients (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs misled clients and Congress about the firm’s bets on securities tied to the housing market, the chairman of the U.S. Senate panel that investigated the causes of the financial crisis said. Senator Carl Levin, releasing the findings of a two-year inquiry yesterday, said he wants the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to examine whether Goldman Sachs violated the law by misleading clients who bought the complex securities known as collateralized debt obligations without knowing the firm would benefit if they fell in value….Much of the blame for the 2008 market collapse belongs to banks that earned billions of dollars in profits creating and selling financial products that imploded along with the housing market, according to the report. The Levin-Coburn panel levied its harshest criticism at investment banks, in particular accusing Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank AG of peddling collateralized debt obligations backed by risky loans that the banks’ own traders believed were likely to lose value.

Senate Report Lays Bare Mortgage Mess (WSJ)
“I think I found white elephant, flying pig and unicorn all at once.” –Goldman Sachs email describing an Australian client that invested in a souring mortgage structure 4/26/2007

Moody’s, S&P Caved to Goldman, UBS Mortgage Pressure, Levin Says (Bloomberg)
“Investment bankers who complained about rating methodologies, criteria, or decisions were often able to obtain exceptions or other favorable treatment,” according to the Levin report. The decisions appeared to be “concessions made to prevent the loss of business.”

US Probes Libor Dealings (WSJ)
For the past year, law-enforcement officials have been investigating whether the U.S. and European banks understated their own borrowing costs, which are used to calculate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. The investigators are now looking into whether the banks effectively formed a global cartel and coordinated how to report borrowing costs between 2006 and 2008.

Geithner: We Must Raise Taxes (PBS)
Appearing on the PBS NewsHour Wednesday evening, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said there is “no plausible way” to cut the deficit without raising taxes. “Unless you’re going to cut deeply into commitments we have made to seniors and to the disabled and to the poor, or ask the country to go borrow the money, you can’t solve this,” he said.

Raj Keeps Chin Up (NYP)
One reason Rajaratnam has to smile might be the ebullient praise he received yesterday from prominent educator and social activist Geoffrey Canada. Canada, who was called as a character witness, called Rajaratnam a “dear friend” with “a genuine concern for children.”
“Raj and I hit it off right away,” said Canada, the CEO of charitable group the Harlem Children’s Zone. Canada said he approached Rajaratnam earlier this decade to donate to the group and found him eager to help “level the playing field for kids.” “I never had to convince Raj” to be a donor, Canada said when asked to respond to the prosecution’s allegations that Rajaratnam committed his alleged crimes out of greed. “He’s a very generous person,” he added.

Deutsche Bank Sold Mortgage-Linked ‘Pigs’ as Market Buckled, Lawmakers Say (Bloomberg)
“Keep your fingers crossed but I think we will price this just before the market falls off a cliff,” Michael Lamont, the group’s co-head, said in a Feb. 8, 2007, e-mail about Deutsche Bank’s Gemstone CDO VII Ltd., according to a report released yesterday by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The Frankfurt-based firm sold $700 million of the instruments, which lost most of their value within 17 months.

IMF: Banks Face $3.6 Trillion ‘Wall’ of Maturing Debt (Reuters)
Many European banks need bigger capital cushions to restore market confidence and assure they can borrow, and some weak players will need to be closed, the International Monetary Fund said in its Global Financial Stability Report.

Obama Challenges Republicans With Deadline For Deficit Deal (Bloomberg)
The timeline Obama proposed for coming up with an agreement — beginning talks in early May and completing them by late June — sets up a negotiation over the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges in parallel with a congressional debate over raising the $14.29 trillion legal debt limit.

Glenore Aims For $8.8 Billion In IPO (WSJ)
The company said it plans to list a 15% to 20% stake, through an offer to raise around $6.8 billion to $8.8 billion in new capital and up to $2.2 billion in existing shares. At the upper level, that would make it London’s largest-ever initial public offering, topping Rosneft’s $10.6 billion offer in July 2006.

London Retains Lure For Hedge Funds As Banks Demure (Reuters)
Throgmorton’s Rubio points to the “Harvey Nicks effect” — referring to upmarket London department store Harvey Nichols, a magnet for big spenders — and said he had seen one manager relocate to Barcelona, only to move back to London.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Write-Offs: 04.12.11

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$$$ George Soros: What if the world isn’t worth saving? [MarketPlace]

$$$ Citigroup Loses Municipal Bond Case [WSJ]

$$$ Meet My Departed Grandma, Fledgling Facebook Investor [WSJ]

$$$ JPMorgan Ex-Structured Product CDO Head Llodra May Face SEC Suit [Bloomberg]

$$$ Deutsche Bank Maneuvers Around Capital Rules [WSJ]

$$$ Japan valuations “are getting very attractive,” said Templeton Emerging Markets Executive Chairman Mark Mobius, so much so that the country is beginning to resemble an emerging market. [CNBC]

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker