Tag Archive | "france"

Solar: Japan ‘Sunrise’ Targets Panel Expansion

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Nice bit of news for solar energy technology vendors: Japan’s prime minister Naoto Kan is expected at this week’s meeting in France of the Group of Eight leaders to unveil the “Sunrise Plan” to extend installation of solar panels to all of Japan’s rooftops, for eligible buildings and homes, according to a report today by Kyodo News. The time frame is by 2030, the report says.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Hedge Fund Manager Elena Ambrosiadou Accused Of Hiring Extremely Skilled But Occasionally Scatterbrained Spy To Perform Recon On Former Employee,…

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Remember Elena Ambrosiadou? She’s the IKOS Asset Management chief who founded the London-based firm with her ex-husband, Martin Coward, in 1993, prior to their marriage hitting the skids and Coward quitting, which caused a bunch of investors to leave as well. Sometime after that Ambrosiadou made the executive decision to have the keys to a private jet Gover was flying confiscated, stranding him in France (with his new gal-pal) and firing the research team that worked under him. And according to one of the employees who got the boot, she was just getting started.

A UK High Court claim from a former money manager at Ikos, the $3bn (£1.8bn) fund run by Elena Ambrosiadou, alleges that the Greece-born businesswoman ordered “large scale” surveillance operations against ex-staff, including Martin Coward, her estranged husband…In the court filings, Mr Gover alleged that his former employer hired an undercover agent to infiltrate his family life. Other alleged activities included a surveillance project launched in Monaco in late 2009. Mr Gover says the operation – codenamed Apollo – was focused on him, Mr Coward “and others” with the aim of “gathering evidence for use in litigation.”

According to Gover, in November 2009 he and his wife started to wonder if a woman who’d they’d met not too long ago and who quickly became not only a “close family friend” but someone who they “trusted with the care of their child” was actually maybe someone hired to spy on them? It turned out that “Laura Maria van Egmond” was actually Laura Merts, who Ambrosiadou had paid to “monitor” the couple. The Govers realized something was up when Laura (who is trained “in evasive driving and unarmed combat”) accidentally sent them “an e-mail from her personal account, rather than that of her alter ego.” The takeaway here is that if you’ve been suspecting that your boss has been running surveillance on you, possibly via a person who was somehow able to dupe you into treating him/her like a member of the family in a matter of months, wait for said suspicions to be confirmed by a seriously rookie mistake.

Hedge fund chief in ‘surveillance operation’ of top staff [FT]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.20.11

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Goldman Braces for Federal Subpoenas (WSJ)
Goldman Sachs executives expect to receive subpoenas soon from U.S. prosecutors seeking more information about the securities firm’s mortgage-related business, according to people familiar with the situation. Officials at the New York company believe the Justice Department will demand certain documents and other information, possibly within days, these people said.

FrontPoint Partners to Close Funds After Redemption Requests (Bloomberg)
FrontPoint Partners LLC will close some of its hedge funds after clients asked to withdraw money amid charges a manager benefited from an illegal stock tip. “We have received capital redemption requests from some of our clients,” Steve Bruce, a spokesman for Greenwich, Connecticut-based FrontPoint said in a statement today. The firm “will be winding down select strategies.” FrontPoint oversaw $7 billion at the start of November before Chip Skowron, a co-portfolio manager of its health-care funds, was tied to claims by prosecutors that the firm got advance notice on drug-trial results. U.S. officials are pursuing a crackdown on insider-trading at hedge funds, with more than 40 people pleading guilty or facing criminal charges or civil lawsuits for benefiting from non-public information.

Flood of Fees Flows Into Bank Coffers (WSJ)
Fees from IPOs already total $1 billion this year, double the level of last year, and are on pace to hit $2.5 billion, said Richard Peterson, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s Corp. Except for 2006, it would be the biggest year for IPOs in the U.S. since the tech boom ended in 2000.

At I.M.F., Men on Prowl and Women on Guard (NYT)
The laws of the United States do not apply inside its walls, and until earlier this month the I.M.F.’s own rules contained an unusual provision that some experts and former officials say has encouraged managers to pursue the women who work for them: “Intimate personal relationships between supervisors and subordinates do not, in themselves, constitute harassment.” “It’s sort of like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’; the rules are more like guidelines,” said Carmen M. Reinhart, a prominent female economist who served as the I.M.F.’s deputy director for research from 2001 to 2003. “That sets the stage, I think, for more risk-taking.”

Long-Ago Affair Might Damage Turkish Candidate’s Chances to Lead I.M.F. (NYT)
But, [Kemal] Dervis, it turns out, has a secret that could disqualify him from being considered for the job. Years ago, while a senior executive at the World Bank, he had an affair with a female subordinate who now works at the I.M.F., according to a person with direct knowledge of the affair.

Contrarian Investor Shuns Hot Idea for Bigger Picture (DealBook)
Mr. Thiel is shunning the most popular Internet start-ups because they are not “taking civilization to the next level.” Instead, he’s placing bets in health care, biotechnology and artificial intelligence companies — areas most of his peers have shied away from…According to Mr. Thiel, not enough energy is spent tackling big, challenging problems, like space exploration. Instead, many people are chasing incremental progress and short-term gains.

Fed Sells Out Latest AIG Bond Offering (WSJ)
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Thursday sold all 29 subprime mortgage bonds on offer in its latest sale from a portfolio of securities acquired from American International Group. The securities, held in a legal entity called Maiden Lane II, sold for what the Fed had estimated their fair current value to be, $878.6 million. The debt was part of a clutch of so-called toxic bonds the central bank acquired when it rescued the failing insurer in 2008.

Citigroup Adds Wolfe to Lead Venture Capital in Tech, Media (Bloomberg)
Wolfe is taking a newly created position at the New York- based bank after working at Union Square Advisors LLC, where he managed venture capital and private equity sponsor coverage, according to a memo to Citigroup employees obtained by Bloomberg News. Citigroup added Union Square co-founder Ethan Topper in April to head global technology banking.

Bank of Japan Refrains From Adding Stimulus (Bloomberg)
The Bank of Japan’s policy board unanimously voted to maintain monetary policy even after a report yesterday showed the country slipped into a recession following a record earthquake. Governor Masaaki Shirakawa and his eight colleagues decided to maintain a 30-trillion yen ($370 billion) credit program and a 10-trillion yen asset-purchase fund that represent the bank’s main policy tools.

Bundesbank Says German Economy to Weaken (Bloomberg)
“Growth is likely to ease somewhat in the foreseeable future,” the Frankfurt-based Bundesbank said in its monthly bulletin published today. The economy’s 1.5 percent growth rate in the first quarter from the previous three months “considerably overstates the underlying economic momentum. Output growth was clearly lifted during the reporting period by backloading and catching-up effects.”

Senate Democrats won’t release their spending plan (WaPo)
Senate Democrats decided Thursday not to release their spending plan to counter the budget blueprint approved last month by House Republicans, saying they will wait to see whether talks at the White House produce a compromise plan for reining in the national debt.

Tepco chief quits after $15 billion loss on nuclear crisis (Reuters)
Tokyo Electric Power Co reported a net loss of $15 billion on Friday to account for the disaster at its Fukushima nuclear power plant, marking Japan’s biggest non-financial loss, and it warned its future was uncertain.

Liberty Media Bids for Barnes & Noble (WSJ)
John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. made an offer Thursday to acquire Barnes & Noble Inc. for $1.02 billion, a dramatic turn for the nation’s largest bookstore chain—which put itself up for sale last summer but struggled to find a buyer as the outlook for traditional booksellers soured. The proposed deal represents a 20% premium over Barnes & Noble’s share price in 4 p.m. New York Stock Exchange trading Thursday.

Ex-Teammate: I saw Lance Armstrong use EPO (CBS 60 Minutes)
A former teammate of perhaps the world’s greatest cyclist, Lance Armstrong, says he used banned performance-enhancing substances with Armstrong to cheat in pro races, including the Tour de France, the sport’s ultimate event…[Tyler] Hamilton says Armstrong used EPO, a drug that boosted endurance by increasing the amount of red blood cells in his body, to win the 1999 Tour de France, the race he won an astonishing seven times. “I saw [EPO] in his refrigerator…I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did, like I did many, many times.”

Harold Camping: The Man Behind ‘Judgment Day,’ May 21, 2011 (HuffPo)
He made a similar prediction in the 1990s but later said he didn’t look close enough at the Book of Jeremiah. This time around, he’s absolutely certain.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.18.11

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For States, a Glimmer of Hope on Deficits (NYT)
From stronger-than-expected tax collections in deficit-ridden California to projected surpluses in struggling states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, a growing number of recession-weary states are finally announcing a bit of good budget news for the first time since the downturn began. But it would probably be premature to pop the Champagne, or even the prosecco — or to otherwise declare the fiscal crisis that has hammered states to be over.

Howard Marks’ Oaktree Capital sows seeds for listing on NYSE (FT)
Oaktree Capital Management is planning to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange in a deal that would value the asset manager at between $8bn and $9bn, people familiar with the matter said. Oaktree, which manages $85bn, mostly in debt investments, listed shares four years ago on a quasi-public exchange set up by Goldman Sachs.

DSK Accuser Is ‘Afraid,’ ‘Overwhelmed’ (WSJ)
Investigators swabbed a sink and removed a section of carpet from the hotel suite where International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegedly assaulted a hotel housekeeper, a New York law-enforcement official said Tuesday, as a clearer profile began to emerge of the alleged victim. Her attorney [Jeffrey Shapiro] characterized her as a “simple woman, with little education” who is a single mother from Guinea. Mr. Shapiro said his client, a 32-year-old widowed mother of a 15-year-old girl, was granted asylum in the United States seven years ago from her native country of Guinea.

Fed seeks annual US bank stress tests (FT)
The Federal Reserve wants to subject US banks to annual capital tests, reserving the right to veto dividend pay-outs if they do not pass.

‘Gang of Six’ on verge of collapse as Republican Sen. Coburn withdraws (WaPo)
Since January, six senators have engaged in difficult negotiations and made painful concessions in a politically dangerous quest for something that has long eluded Washington: a bipartisan compromise to control the nation’s mounting debt. By Tuesday evening, however, the “Gang of Six” was on the verge of collapse. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) withdrew from the bipartisan working group, saying the senators simply could not overcome the polarizing political pressure that each faces.

Senate rejects measure to end subsidies for big oil companies (WaPo)
A Democratic measure that would have repealed tax subsidies for the five biggest oil companies failed to clear the Senate on Tuesday, falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed to advance in a near-party-line vote.

Geithner Warns On Debt Ceiling, Talks IMF Crisis (DJ via WSJ)
In his first public comments since International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was jailed on sexual-assault charges, [Treasury Secretary Timothy] Geithner added that the institution should establish a plan to fill its leadership vacuum on an interim basis, given that the IMF chief was “not in the position” to make decisions during a critical time. In remarks to the Harvard Club here, Geithner cautioned the GOP leadership against tying their budget blueprint to the contentious talks to lift the U.S.’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

Citigroup’s Gain on Mortgage Hedge Fund Jumps as Volcker Trading Ban Looms (Bloomberg)
Citigroup’s Mortgage/Credit Opportunity Fund climbed 16 percent in the first four months of 2011, almost doubling its pace last year, according to internal reports obtained by Bloomberg News. About 90 percent of the $395 million invested in the fund is the bank’s own capital, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Dan Zwirn Seeks Comeback With Alda Three Years After Shutting Hedge Fund (Bloomberg)
Daniel Zwirn, the New York investor forced to shut a $4 billion hedge fund because of client withdrawals, is starting over with a new publicly traded fund that will be safe from redemptions. Zwirn will help manage a closed-end fund for Alda Capital Corp. that will lend to small and medium-sized companies, the Chicago-based firm disclosed in a regulatory filing this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Alda plans to raise about $50 million for the fund, according to the filing.

Morgan Stanley Sets Up Yuan Fund (WSJ)
Morgan Stanley said Wednesday it has set up a private-equity joint venture in the affluent eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, launching its first yuan-denominated fund that aims to raise 1.5 billion yuan ($231 million).

Oyster Herpes in France Ravages Harvest (Bloomberg)
A deadly virus is stalking France’s coastline, killing at least 60 percent of the young oysters there since 2008…The virus is not just a blow to France, Europe’s biggest producer. The global industry, worth at least $3.3 billion in 2009, has been plagued by OsHV-1 in Ireland, England and Australia.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Strauss-Kahn To Cool His Heels For A While, Attorney Confident They’ll Beat This Thing

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who’s been in a bit of hot water since Saturday, when he allegedly sexually assaulted a maid at his hotel, is being held without bail. DSK’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, had requested his client be granted permission to post $1 million, but the judge sided with the prosecution, based on the accused’s “resources, the lack of an extradition treaty between the United States and France and the defendant’s history.” Brafman, who has defended Michael Jackson, P. Diddy, Jay-Z, and Plaxico Burress, may however have some news that could turn that frown, left, upside down, as he’s claiming DSK has an airtight alibi.

France’s RMC radio said the lawyers had pieced together Strauss-Kahn’s movements and found that he left the hotel at midday, after paying his bill and handing in his key, then went to eat with his daughter and took a taxi to the airport. The schedule meant he had already left the hotel at the time the maid alleged he chased her down a corridor, forced her into a room and assaulted her, RMC reported on its website, adding that the lawyers had material evidence and witnesses.

In related news, a spokesman for the NYPD has clarified: “We said initially that [the attacks] was around 1PM, but in fact it was closer to noon.”

Strauss-Kahn Lawyers See Alibi in Sex Case [Reuters]
Judge Denies Bail to I.M.F. Chief in Sexual Assault Case [NYT]
Dominique Strauss-Kahn Has Alibi, French Media Report [Forbes]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.16.11

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Strauss-Kahn Awaits Arraignment in Sex Assault Case (Bloomberg)
International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn awaits his first court appearance on attempted rape charges after giving police permission to examine him for physical evidence of scratches and DNA from his accuser. The alleged attack on a 32-year-old female maid at a Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan occurred May 14, according to the New York Police Department. Strauss-Kahn, who was taken into custody aboard an Air France flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport as it prepared to depart, also was charged with unlawful imprisonment and a criminal sex act. He remains in custody until an 11 a.m. hearing in Manhattan criminal court. Strauss- Kahn, 62, has denied the charges and will plead not guilty, his lawyer Benjamin Brafman said. The IMF chief was picked out of a lineup yesterday by the maid, police said. His arraignment, during which bail terms may be set, had been scheduled for yesterday and was delayed after investigators sought a warrant a physical examination of Strauss-Kahn.

I.M.F. Names New Leader (NYT)
Hours after its chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested in connection with the alleged sexual attack of a maid at a Midtown Manhattan hotel, the International Monetary Fund on Sunday named John Lipsky as acting managing director. Mr. Lipsky, the I.M.F.’s first deputy managing director, is a former U.S. Treasury executive and onetime banker at JP Morgan.

Why Lagarde Will Be The Next IMF Managing Director
Felix Salmon: “Christine Lagarde will become the first female managing director of the IMF. She has the political skills and the economic credentials to get the job, and Europe will feel much more comfortable with a European in the role over the next few turbulent years. The US won’t object, and the Asians will go along with the choice since they don’t really have a candidate of their own.”

New Details in IMF Sex Case (WSJ)
According to the narrative [the accuser] gave investigators, Mr. Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom nude and approached her from behind and touched her breast, then threw her on to the bed, the official said. She told police she broke free but was then pushed into a rear hallway of the suite near the bathroom. Mr. Strauss-Kahn allegedly caught up with her and sexually assaulted her, the official said, before allowing her to leave.

IMF head finally agrees to medical exam; set for arraignment today (NYP)
In an ironic twist, Strauss-Kahn may have inadvertently helped cops capture him before he fled the country. After the alleged assault Saturday, Strauss-Kahn was so desperate to flee that he left his cellphone in the hotel room, officials said. He also gave away his location, calling the hotel to tell management that he had left behind his phone and that he was at JFK Airport. So when the incident was reported and cops went looking for Strauss-Kahn, the hotel was able to direct authorities to the airport, where he was pulled off a plane just before it departed for Paris at 4:40 p.m.

Police Seek Evidence From I.M.F. Chief on Sex Attack (NYT)
The authorities said they had moved to obtain a court order granting them a search warrant to examine Mr. Strauss-Kahn for signs of injury that he might have suffered during a struggle or for traces of his accuser’s DNA. “Things like getting things from under the fingernails,” a law enforcement official explained, “the classic things you get in association with a sex assault.”

Strauss-Kahn Arrest Bolsters Push for IMF Changes (Bloomberg)
“This event is likely to put into play the leadership and governance structure of the IMF in a dramatic and unanticipated manner,” said Prasad, a former IMF official.

Soul-Searching in France After Official’s Arrest Jolts Nation (NYT)
Some, including Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s wife, the American-born French television journalist Anne Sinclair, expressed disbelief in the charges and faith in her husband’s innocence. His lawyer has said he would plead not guilty. Others talked darkly of a possible “setup” of Mr. Sarkozy’s most prominent rival.

How’s Strauss-Kahn Doing? (Telegraph)
“He’s tired but he’s fine,” DSK’s lawyer said.

What If the U.S. Treasury Defaults? (WSJ)
“I think technical default would be horrible,” [Stanley Druckenmiller] says from the 24th floor of his midtown Manhattan office, “but I don’t think it’s going to be the end of the world. It’s not going to be catastrophic. What’s going to be catastrophic is if we don’t solve the real problem,” meaning Washington’s spending addiction.

Nasdaq, ICE Pull NYSE Bid, Cite Regulators (Reuters)
“We took the decision to withdraw our offer when it became clear that we would not be successful in securing regulatory approval for our proposal despite offering a variety of substantial remedies, including the sale of the NYSE SRO and related businesses,” Nasdaq OMX CEO Bob Greifeld said in a statement.

Former S.E.C. Official Said to Be Subject of Criminal Inquiry (NYT)
A former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement official who has been accused of repeatedly blocking efforts to investigate R. Allen Stanford, the Houston financier charged with running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, is the subject of a federal criminal inquiry for having done legal work for Mr. Stanford after leaving the S.E.C., government officials said Friday.

Banks Woo Funds With Private Peeks (WSJ)
Investment banks vie for business from elite hedge funds by offering traders at those funds special access to senior deal makers and corporate executives at dinners and other gatherings. The traders sometimes pick up valuable nuggets of information that aren’t available to other investors, according to people who have attended such gatherings…The funds are prized clients because they collectively pay billions of dollars in fees each year for buying and selling stocks.

US dollar under more pressure as Zimbabwe speaks on its end as global currency (Examiner)
Just two years ago, the nation of Zimbabwe created a hyperinflationary economy that led to the creation of a $100 Trillion note for its citizens to be able to purchase food.  On May 15th however, this African nation is now speaking out on the US dollar, and advocating that its days are numbered as the global reserve currency.

Investors Show Interest in AIG Stock Sale (WSJ)
Underwriters for the $9 billion stock sale by American International Group Inc. and the U.S. Treasury have indications of interest from investors for about half the offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

Angry Birds CEO Plots Media Empire (CNBC)
“When we realized we had a big hit on our hands with Angry Birds, we looked at companies that had gone before us, especially in the mobile gaming sector where we were at that time very firmly,” Hed told CNBC.com. “We saw that most gaming companies had then immediately tried to make another hit game and we realized that had very rarely worked. Rather, we started to look at what we could do around Angry Birds and if there was a way that we could build this into an entertainment franchise,” he added.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.13.11

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SEC Eyes Charges For Bond Players (WSJ)
Securities and Exchange Commission officials are pushing hard as part of their ongoing probe of collateralized debt obligations and other mortgage-related products developed by Wall Street to bring charges against individuals, such as executives involved in selling the deals or outsiders who managed the assets, these people said. While the situation remains fluid, the agency also could file civil charges against hedge-fund managers who helped structure certain mortgage-bond deals but then bet against them.

U.S. bank failure costs to exceed estimates by $2 billion (Reuters)
The FDIC’s 2010 loss estimate for bank failures rose to $24.18 billion at year’s end, up from initial estimates of $22.17 billion. The bank regulator increased the loss estimate for 102 out of 157 banks that failed in 2010, according to SNL Financial.

Brevan Howard, Jamison Hedge Funds Said to Advance During Commodities Rout (Bloomberg)
The Brevan Howard Commodities Strategies Master Fund Ltd., which managed $368 million as of March 31, gained 1.1 percent in the first week of May, an investor report obtained by Bloomberg showed. Jamison’s Koppenberg Macro Commodity Fund Ltd., which manages more than $600 million, advanced about 4 percent, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter, declining to be identified because the information is private.

Germany and France Surprise With Strong Growth (NYT)
The euro area’s two largest economies, Germany and France, showed surprising strength in the first quarter of the year, helping lift the entire continent’s performance despite sharp pain along the edges. As a result, the European Commission said in its spring forecast, released Friday, that prospects for 2011 looked “slightly better” than six months ago.

Greece Default Anticipated by 85% in Investor Poll (Bloomberg)
Eighty-five percent of those surveyed this week said Greece probably will default, with majorities predicting the same fate for Portugal and Ireland, which followed Greece in seeking European Union-led bailouts, a new Bloomberg Global Poll shows. The outlook for all three countries deteriorated since January.

Goldman’s O’Neill Says ‘Black Swan’ Concern Overblown, Stocks Set to Rally (Bloomberg)
The view that “the West is in trouble” is wrong when nations including Germany, Sweden, Australia and Canada are performing strongly, O’Neill said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong, recorded yesterday and broadcast today. Investors should “stop worrying so much,” said O’Neill, known for coining the BRIC acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China…“Every little problem that crops up somewhere in the world is not going to create another black swan,” he said, adding that “there’s far too much conservatism,” in terms of investors holding cash.

Rajaratnam Loss Raises Questions Over Defense Strategy (WSJ)
Mr. Dowd’s closing argument was one of many components of Mr. Rajaratnam’s ultimately failed defense strategy. Many moves by the defense team and Mr. Rajaratnam are now likely to be evaluated, including the selection of a largely working-class jury in a case involving a billionaire, his choice not to take the stand, Mr. Dowd’s often-combative style, and the overarching attempt to convince jurors that the hedge-fund titan only relied on publicly available information in the face of recordings to the contrary.

Rand Paul says people who support universal healthcare ‘believe in slavery’ (LA Times)
Rand Paul, the freshman senator from Kentucky, was speaking recently about healthcare, specifically the new healthcare law some refer to as “Obamacare.”  Like many Republicans, Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), doesn’t like it. Unlike many conservatives, the “tea party” darling doesn’t like the law  because it reminds him of slavery.

China Fund Confident of Getting More Cash (WSJ)
China Investment Corp. is making progress toward getting fresh funds, one of its top officials said, addressing uncertainty about the future of the sovereign-wealth fund, which faces critical scrutiny over its performance after investing all of its initial $200 billion.

Crédit Agricole doubles profits to €1bn (FT)
Crédit Agricole’s quarterly net profit rose to €1.0bn ($1.42bn) from €470m a year ago, which was higher than average analyst expectations of about €992.5m, according to a Reuters poll.

I.R.S. Moves to Tax Gifts to Groups Active in Politics (NYT)
Invoking a provision that had rarely, if ever, been enforced, the Internal Revenue Service said it had sent letters to five donors, who were not identified, informing them that their contributions may be subject to gift taxes depending on whether the donations exceeded limits under the tax laws.

1 in 3 young NYers plans to leave state (AP via NYP)
A recent poll finds that 1 in 3 New Yorkers under age 30 plans to move to another state at some point…The poll finds that most of those who plan to move will do so because of economic reasons including jobs, the cost of living, and taxes.

‘Fair Value’ Accounting Guidelines Tweaked (WSJ)
Perhaps the most significant changes affect companies’ disclosures about their “Level 3″ assets, which are the risky, illiquid securities valued using a company’s own estimates and models rather than market prices. Companies will have to disclose more about the processes and assumptions they use in their Level 3 valuations. They will also have to discuss what might happen to the company’s valuations if the factors they are using were to change.

Ashton Kutcher Will Join ‘Two and a Half Men’ (Hollywood Reporter)
Two sources close to the deal-making tell The Hollywood Reporter that the actor is putting the final touches on a deal to replace Charlie Sheen as the star of TV’s No. 1 comedy.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 04.12.11

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JPMorgan, BofA Earnings May Show Weaker Revenue (Bloomberg)
“While loan growth tends to be seasonally weak in the first quarter, this quarter is tracking worse than seasonality would suggest,” Barclays Capital Inc. analysts led by Jason Goldberg wrote in an April 8 report. “We fear companies have been disappointed.” Profits may have increased even with declining revenue as lenders set aside fewer funds to cover loan losses and in some cases released reserves they’ve already built up, said Matt Burnell, a banking analyst at Wells Fargo. Cost reductions may also help the bottom line in a smaller way, Burnell said.

Goldman Sachs Accused by Marvell Founders of Margin Call Fraud (BW)
Sehat Sutardja, Marvell’s chief executive officer, and Weili Dai, the company’s former chief operating officer, said they were duped into selling shares in 2008 that are now worth $141.5 million, according to a complaint filed yesterday in state court in San Francisco. Goldman Sachs pressured them by claiming a regulatory rule, which didn’t exist, required them to sell their stock, according to the complaint.

US Lawmakers Reach Agreement On $38 Billion In Cuts (Bloomberg)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, high-speed rail and law enforcement are among the programs that would get reduced funding as part of a budget deal to avert a government shutdown, according to legislation unveiled this morning that identified specific cuts.

BofA Kept Executives In Dark On Dividends (WSJ)
The March 23 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission was more explicit than an earlier news release. It showed that the Federal Reserve had “objected” to the proposed dividend increase following a “stress test” of all major U.S. financial institutions. Shares of Bank of America, the only bank to disclose the Fed’s outright objection, dropped almost 4% in three days after the filing. But Chief Financial Officer Chuck Noski and Chief Accounting Officer Neil Cotty didn’t see the filing before it went to the SEC, people familiar with the matter said. Head of investor relations, Kevin Stitt, found out late the night before, according to one of these people.

Gupta Says His SEC Suit Should Be Heard In Federal Court (Bloomberg)
…instead of dismissing the complaint as the agency has requested.

Sokol Knew Lubrizol’s Board Would Be Told of Berkshire Interest (Bloomberg)
Sokol knew Dec. 17 that Lubrizol Corp Chief Executive Officer James Hambrick planned to notify his board of directors about Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s possible interest in acquiring the company. Sokol, who had inquired about Lubrizol through Citigroup Inc. bankers, was informed of Hambrick’s intention by the same bankers, according to a Lubrizol regulatory filing yesterday.

Hedge Funds Attract $35 Billion In February, Heaviest Inflow On Record (Barron’s)
Hedge funds attracted net inflows of $34.9 billion in February, their heaviest monthly inflow total on record, according to BarclayHedge and TrimTabs Investment Research. That helped to raise industry assets to $1.73 trillion, the highest level since October 2008.

Japan Nuclear Disaster Put on Par With Chernobyl (NYT)
The decision to raise the alert level to 7 from 5 on the scale, overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency, is based on new estimates by Japanese authorities that suggest the total amount of radioactive materials released so far from Fukushima Daiichi since the beginning of the crisis had reached that threshold.

Fed Plays Down Inflation (WSJ)
At the Economic Club of New York on Monday, Janet Yellen, the Fed’s vice chairwoman, said U.S. monetary policy “continues to be appropriate.”

Super Jumbo Jet Clips Another Plane At JFK (WSJ)
The wing of an Airbus A380—the world’s largest passenger airliner—scraped against the tail of a much smaller regional jet at JFK Airport Monday night. The A380 was an Air France flight bound for Paris. It had left the terminal and was headed for the runway. Meanwhile, a Bombardier CRJ7 jet operated by Comair, which operates flights for Delta Air Lines, had just arrived from Boston and was taxiing toward its gate. As the two planes crossed on intersecting taxiways, the Airbus’s wing hit the rear of the smaller jet.

Facebook Claimant Says He Has Email Proof He Owns Half (Bloomberg)
Paul Ceglia alleges that Zuckerberg defrauded him, lying about the early success of “The Face Book” at Harvard University, where Zuckerberg was a student at the time. Ceglia claims he is entitled to half of Facebook…Ceglia claims in his complaint that he contributed “his time, ideas, knowhow, and other ‘sweat equity’” to the start of Facebook.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Christine Lagarde: Zip The Lip On Banker Bashing

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The French economy minister said it was futile to continue castigating bankers for their role in the financial crisis, arguing that attention should shift to making sure the banks returned to their core role of financing growth. “It’s time for accountability from everybody, not for bashing,” Lagarde said at a banking conference in Paris on Tuesday. [Dealbook]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

ENER Plunges: Don’t Infer Too Much, Says Jefferies

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Shares of solar energy technology provider Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) are down 77 cents, or 24%, at $2.39, after the company yesterday afternoon warned that changes in subsidies in France and Italy may cut its revenue this quarter by as much as 50%.

CEO Mark Morelli remarked, “The dramatic and abrupt shift in the French and Italian solar incentive structures has impacted our business and forced us to reconsider our near-term financial outlook.”

However, Jefferies & Co.’s Jesse Pichel warns against drawing too broad a conclusion from Energy Conversion’s woes.

The company is “uniquely worse off in Italy,” he writes, with the 75% of its sales coming from that country and from France. Italy was in fact 45% to 50% of the December quarter’s sales, he notes.

“Tier One brands can reallocate,” he believes, and projects will resume in Italy in the second half of this year once subsidy issues are settled.

Pichel recommends Satcon (SATC), Sunpower (SPWRA), Yingli Green Energy (YGE), and Trina Solar (TSL).

Shares of solars are broadly lower this morning, albeit in a generally weak market: First Solar (FSLR) is off $1.05, or 0.8%, at $139; Sunpower is down 67 cents, or 5%, at $13.99; Trina is down 35 cents, or 1.4%, at $24.47; YGE is off 16 cents, or 1.5%, at $10.22; and SATC is down 12 cents, or 3.6%, at $3.36.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily