Tag Archive | "stocks"

Write-Offs: 05.04.11

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$$$ Lawmakers told $2 trillion debt cap raise needed: sources (Reuters)

$$$ Obama will not release bin Laden photos, White House says (WaPo)

$$$ Value Investing Congress Summary: Marks, Romick, Tilson, Leonard & More (MarketFolly)

$$$ UBS Financial Services Inc. lost a jury verdict of almost $10.6 million in a case brought by a former sales assistant who said she was sexually harassed by a supervisor…[who] “repeatedly made inappropriate comments about Ingraham’s breast size,” called her into his office “to view sexually offensive e-mails on his computer,” and repeatedly talked about the size of his genitals,” she said. He also asked her about her sexual fantasies, she said in the lawsuit. (Bloomberg)

$$$ More Power Over Wall Street, but Little Chance to Discuss It (ProPublica)

$$$ Dems To Force Vote On Oil Subsidies (HuffPo)

$$$ Madoff trustee Irving Picard wants to start repaying victims (NYP)

$$$ PIMCO rolls out floating-rate fund ahead of rates (Reuters)

$$$ Carlos Slim Actively Selling Silver Futures (CNBC)

$$$ Bank Stocks Shunned by Money Managers Over Derivatives (Bloomberg)

$$$ LinkedIn Chooses NYSE Over Nasdaq, Following Renren and Pandora (Bloomberg)

$$$ NASA Gravity Probe Confirms Two Einstein Theories (Space)

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Microsoft Earnings Roundup: Analysts React

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Shares of Microsoft (MSFT) were falling 3.7% recently, despite the firm’s better than expected quarter, reported after the closing bell yesterday.

This morning, analysts were rehashing the quarter:

Collins Stewart analyst Kevin Buttigeig reiterated his Buy rating and $33 price target: “F3Q11 was on the whole a good quarter with solid bookings and opex discipline, and FY12 opex guidance was below consensus. Nevertheless PC’s, while in line with weak expectations, did little to assuage concerns of tablet cannibalization, the stocks’ biggest overhang. Still, broader PC market demand indications remain positive for this year, with MSFT’s C1Q11 disparity possibly a result of timing differences, and MSFT’s own PC numbers should improve over the course of CY11 simply from better comparisons and the continuing uptake of Windows 7 by businesses.”

Evercore Partners analyst Kirk Materne reiterated his Equal Weight rating and $30 price target: “Despite generally solid results, we believe the Windows results again illustrate how consumer PC weakness continues to offset solid enterprise demand. In our view, more success in Online, mobile, and tablets is necessary for the multiple to expand from current levels, and we believe the shares are likely range-bound given these concerns. Any incremental color on the broader strategy is now likely pushed back until the Financial Analyst Day in September (regularly in June). It’s also worth noting that MSFT’s 10-Q stated that 84% of its cash now sits off-shore, which could limit any potential dividend raise in September.”

McAdamas Wright Ragen analyst Sid Parakh reiterated his Buy rating and $34 price target: “While ongoing PC headwinds are concerning, we do not foresee a further material deterioration in the business. At the same time, traction in the company’s enterprise and entertainment products is encouraging. Over all, we think downside risks are well-reflected in valuation and continue to view the risk/reward on Microsoft as attractive.”

BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis reiterated his Buy rating and $34 price target: “The standout metrics for us were 1) the operating cash flow of $8.7B which was growth of 17% YoY, and 2) the operating expense guidance of 3%-5% growth in FY2012 which is impressive given the investments the company is making in phones, search, and its new windows platform. Unearned revenue grew 6% to $13B and contracted not billed is over $17B. Bookings for the company were up 8% and we continue to see earnings growing faster than revenue. We modestly increased our FY11 and FY12 revenue and earnings estimates. PC Slowdown. Investor concern over a sharply slowing PC market as reflected.”

UBS analyst Brent Thill lowered his price target from $35 to $32 on the news (Briefing.com summarizes): “Firm says the focus will be on Windows miss suffering from the PC slowdown but focus should be on positive FY12 OPEX guide +4% vs. Street +7% and total revs +13% despite PCs -2%. Firm says Windows is struggling but MSFT’s non-PC businesses are humming, OPEX discipline continues, and there are signs PC demand should improve in 2H.”

Elsewhere, CT Capital’s Kenneth Hackel blasted the company for “wasting” more than $93 billion on share repurchases that aren’t rewarding shareholders effectively:  “In Microsoft’s 10-Q filed today, it was revealed that for only the second quarter in at least 10 years, the firm did not buy back net shares (repurchases minus new issuance). In fact, shares outstanding actually increased over the prior quarter.  Is management learning, or does it represent an anomaly? Over the past decade, MSFT has spent over a third of its current market value on its repurchase program, when it initially had a market value of $325 billion, or 46% higher than today. In the past 20 years, Microsoft repurchased a net $93.5 billion of its outstanding shares, surely to go down as a landmark waste of corporate cash.”

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Seagate: The End Of Flash Vs. Disc? Whither Toshiba?

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As I noted in the previous post, Seagate’s (STX) deal today to take over the disk-drive operations of Samsung (SSNLF) is brightening the economic outlook of the business for both Seagate and Western Digital (WDC), who will now split 90% or so of drive shipments, an effective duopoloy, with Toshiba’s (6502.JP) 10% share now seeming ever more vulnerable.

And the deal promises some resolution of the constant flash-vs.-disc debate that has raged.

Robert Cihra with Caris & Co. tells me in a phone call this afternoon that the importance of NAND was at the heart of this deal.

“I don’t think they would have paid as much as they did if it weren’t for their ability to secure NAND supply from Samsung,” says Cihra. In fact, the effect of this tie-up is to diminish a long-standing fear among investors that flash would push out traditional rotating magnetic drives completely.

“Flash or hard drive? The reality is that you can paint a picture where it’s both,” Cihra tells me today.

“Certainly flash grows faster than hard drives over the long term, but it actually plays a role within the roadmap of hard drives,” given that the two technologies can be combined in hybrid drives, something Seagate has long been “quite vocal” about, Cihra notes.

What does it do for the stocks? Being a cyclical business, drive maker stocks have long had low valuation multiples in the tech universe. Seagate shares currently fetch about 8.5 times fiscal 2012′s projected earnings.

Cihra doesn’t see the multiple expanding much, because the threat that flash will dissipate the value of Seagate and Western’s drive expertise will still be there to some extent, for the foreseeable future.

But the outlook for profitability should be higher. Analysts are expecting about $2 per share in earnings in Seagate’s fiscal year ending next June. But that will probably turn out better, Cihra thinks, given what will now be much better economics in the drive business.

Seagate management said this morning the Samsung deal should add to earnings within the first year following the closing.

And Toshiba? “They’ve been the lowest-value-add in the entire drive industry,” Cihra tells me, especially given that Toshiba mostly sells to the distribution channel, with little direct OEM business.

Toshiba doesn’t make its own discs or drive heads, he observes, putting them at a disadvantage to Seagate and Western.

“I think they should just shut it down,” Cihra says of Toshiba’s drive business. “But I’ve thought that for a decade now.”

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

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

After Early Drop NVDA and ARMH Close Up

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Shares of both Nvidia (NVDA) and ARM Holdings (ARMH) rebounded from 3% to 5% drops in early trading to close up 0.3% on the day at $17.37 and $28.71, respectively.

On a tough day for semiconductors, no other stocks in the sector saw that kind of rebound.

Tech Trader Daily turned to a few analysts who follow the two stocks, but few were willing to speculate about their unusual movement.

Rajvindra Gill, an analyst with Needham & Co., who follows Nvidia said he couldn’t explain this morning’s drop, but that he think the concern over an inventory correction in non-Apple (AAPL) tablets has been overblown.

Tablets represent only 4% to 5% of Nvidia’s sales, yet the stock has fallen 25% to 30% on tablet fears, Gill says.

“Below $17, this stock is trading at around 12 times earnings,” Gill says. “That’s ridiculously cheap.”

When shares got below $17 today, a number of investors saw it as a good time to get back in, he added. Nvidia is exposed to numerous positive catalysts, including leverage to major trends in the mobile sector.

Gill rates Nvidia at Buy with a $27 price target.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Comin’ Up Sunny For Solar: Just About Everything

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Folks, it’s a confluence of positive news flow: Solar stocks such as Trina (TSL), LDK Solar (LDK), Yingli Green Energy (YGE) — well, okay, every stock in the group — are rising today, propelled by at least a couple of large positive factors.

The most immediate spur: Regional elections in Germany over the weekend saw a surge in support for the Green party, including in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative heartland of Baden-Wurttemburg. The victory comes amid what seems to be a crescendo in anti-nuclear fervor, with 200,000 people marching in Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Munich, report the Financial Times’s Quentin Peel and Jennifer Thompson, with demands for an immediate shut-down of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants.

The Associated Press’s Juergen Baetz last week reported that Merkel and other politicians have made “a complete U-turn” in their support for nukes.

Adding fuel, if you will, to solar’s rise, the hand-wringing over Italy seems to be drawing to a close. With some tentative outlines for a reconciliation over solar energy subsidies in that country last week, Italian industry minister Paolo Romani is expected to offer a final ruling perhaps this week or next, bringing the matter to a close.

The “tone and sentiment” of the Italy talks last week was good, says Jeffrey Bencik with Kaufman Brothers. “All the talk was of increasing renewables at the expense of nuclear.”

Jefferies & Co. analyst Jesse Pichel told me late last week by phone that Romani may be realizing that Italy can create more jobs with solar power than with nukes. “it was really the nuke lobby that sought to kill solar,” remarks Pichel.

“We do think the market has over-reacted to Italy,” said Pichel, referring to the worries over subsidy cuts. “Here’s an industry that sold out every year, that grew 30% in 2009. And here we are over-analyzing italy, which was something like less than 20% of the market in 2010.”

Pichel thinks the discussion last week tilts the policy revamp to a volume-based, rather than a dollar-based limit on solar installations in Italy, which is, he argues, what he has been expecting since February.

“2011 is going to be uncapped,” says Pichel, referring to limits on solar installations in Italy, “with a modest cut in the second half [of this year.] On a go-forward basis, the country will set some corridor at two gigawatts per year from 2012 through 2016 to limit to no more than $6 bill euros per year.”

Pichel argues, moreover, “Italy is not crucial to the global growth of solar,” given that the U.S. is still “a pretty small market” for solar, and the Chinese have barely begun to install the stuff, even though they produce most of it. “Look at what Chinese did in the wind industry,” says Pichel. “They became biggest in the world in four years.”

On that score, Wayne Chang with Brean, Murray, Carret & Co. last week offered some detailed thoughts on China’s plans for renewables. The latest five year plan involves a new plan from the department of energy that may be unveiled any day now. Overall, the plan laid out is for China to go from 8.3% of energy coming from renewables last year to 11.4% in 2015. Chang cites data showing China could represent a 60-gigawatt-per-year market for solar installations by 2020.

As for Italy, Chang thinks the country is “still going to be fairly meaningful” beyond 2011, with installations probably not limited to the 2-gigawatt corridor that Pichel talked of, but perhaps 4 gigawatts or more of installations. “it’s everyone’s guess in coming to a conclusion,” says Chang. “You posture according to your thesis.”

Chang thinks North America will be “more positive” going forward than many expect, on a state-by-state basis, with significant opportunities in the power generation industry. He also says average prices for solar modules, worldwide, have rebounded from a recent $1.60 or so, on average, and are not likely to see a drastic decline later this year.

Timothy Arcuri with Citigroup remarks “There will be closure at last” on the matter of Italy, but he does expect more sharp declines in module prices, which will actually be a good thing, in his view.

If there’s going to be a corridor of 2 gigawatts or so in Italy, “that’s a pretty substantial decline from the run-rate last year,” Arcuri told me by phone.

“How is the industry going to find the demand to meet 17 gigawatts or so of production? Probably, the result is that module prices come down to $1.25 or so by year’s end, from $1.65 now.”

Probably, the industry will be “like it was a couple of years ago,” when module prices came down sharply, says Arcuri.

From here, though, things look “pretty good” for the stocks, he thinks. “Once you’ve got module prices trending toward a buck or so, you can see a big opportunity a couple of years out when you’ve got price elasticity.”

And, “In the meantime, you’ve got these other markets, the U.S., China. China will probably be a 4-gigawatt or 5-gigawatt market in a year or two.”

“You will be able to get beyond all this nonsense in Europe.”

Lest you think everyone’s capitulated, Credit Suisse’s Satya Kumar today writes that “Investors are hyper-focused on Italy subsidy trends,” but that in his opinion, “a plain vanilla oversupply is quietly brewing” because there may be more than 500 megawatts’s of “excess inventory in the channel.”

Following a meeting last week with China’s National Development and Reform Commission, he doesn’t believe that “China will be a backstop for demand until much later in the cycle. We think pricing will need to fall sharply in 2H11.”

Nevertheless, Kumar today advises as relatively better placed the shares of JinkoSolar Holdings (JKS), MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR), and ReneSola (SOL), with First Solar (FSLR) having gotten a bid ahead of itself, he thinks.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Confidential To Anyone Starting A Hedge Fund: Harry Markopolos Protégé Neil Chelo Will Make You Wish You Were Never Born

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If anyone out there is considering starting a hedge fund, there’s a few things you should know. Don’t want to scare anyone but…okay we’re just going to come out and say it- according to reports, “gone are the days when a trader could leave some Wall Street firm with a few of his buddies, snap his fingers and raise several hundred million dollars overnight.” Now, you might have to spend six months to a year raising money and not only that? You’re going to have to make it through several rounds of due diligence by potential investors. You may also have to come face to face with a guy named Neil Chelo who some people (Neil) like to call The Enforcer.

Chelo honed his craft while working for Madoff nemesis Harry Markopolos (who last year nominated Chelo to pose for the cover of Playgirl). Now as the director of research for Washington-based fund of funds Benchmark Plus, he tears apart potential investments with his bare hands and/or vicious rhetoric and line of questioning. “I’m not a conference room type of guy,” Chelo says “It’s very easy for people to fake it for two hours in a conference room, but it’s a lot more difficult if you are at their desk going through their portfolio.”

During a recent visit to a West Coast hedge fund that Benchmark was considering investing in, he found one of the fund’s top portfolio managers woefully unprepared to explain why she was shorting, or betting on a decline in the price of several stocks. Chelo said the trader and her team of analysts hadn’t done sufficient research on the stocks for him to get comfortable with the notion of committing money to the hedge fund. When Chelo walked out the door, he didn’t look back.

You’ve been warned.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Japan: Bismaleimide Shortage Lurks, Says FBR

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FBR Capital’s Craig Berger today reiterated his positive view on several semiconductor makers, despite what he sees as a likely hit to the electronics supply chain from the disaster in Japan, including a potential shortage of image sensors, NAND flash memory chips, and touch-screen displays that could be bad enough to slow production of Apple‘s (AAPL) iPad 2.

But the most intriguing part of Berger’s note is his report that Asian sources indicate a compound called “Bismaleimide Triazine Resin,” which is used in the packaging of many chips, could be constrained given that most of the supply comes from Japan’s Mitsubishi Gas Chemical. A shortage of BT resin would hurt Xilinx (XLNX), which is “50% exposed,” he writes, Altera (ALTR), which has 40% exposure, and Qualcomm (QCOM) which has 30% exposure.

Makers of microprocessors and other chips make less use of the stuff and are less threatened, he writes. ON Semiconductor (ONNN) gets 35% of demand from Japan, and could see Q1 revenue reduced by 2%, if demand is curtailed, and perhaps as much as 5% to 8% next quarter.

Nevertheless, Berger sees the risk as short-term in nature, and he recommends buying ONNN and several peers, including Broadcom (BRCM), Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM), Marvell Technology Group (MRVL), Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS), and International Rectifier (IRF).

But Berger also advises minding the likely trade-down of the stocks: He sees the prospect that the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index will go back down to 400, from a current price of about 420 and a recent high of 473. That would be a buying opportunity for many of these names, he thinks.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

STX, WDC: Hard Drives Imperiled By iPad Et Al., Says iSuppli

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Market research firm iSuppli analyst Fang Zhang this morning opines that hard disk drive shipments this quarter are likely to drop 3.9% to 160.9 million units, down from 167.5 million last quarter, thanks to rising sales of tablet devices in place of Netbook computers.

“Tablets like Apple’s (APPL) iPad represent a major threat to HDD demand,” says Zhang.”

However, Zhang notes that tablets are not the only factor, and that desktop and laptop PCs are also experiencing a decline in hard drive shipments, as are consumer electronic devices — by which I assume Zhang means that slower sales of those devices are reducing their role as a driving factor in disk shipments.

Zhang notes shipments of server and enterprise disk arrays are a source of increases in drive shipments.

I would note that JP Morgan’s Mark Moskowitz offered similarly cautious sentiment on Monday in cutting his rating on shares of Seagate (STX), as did Capstone Investments’s Shebly Seyrafi.

Western Digital (WDC) maintained the top spot in disk shipments in Q4 for the fourth quarter in a row, Zhang notes, beating Seagate.

Shares of Seagate today are nevertheless up 29 cents, or 2.4%, today at $12.58. Western Digital stock is up 64 cents, or 2%, at $30.08. I would note that JP Morgan raised its outlook on the semiconductor group today. While that wouldn’t necessarily mean better times for drive makers, there may be some carryover from those positive remarks.

Update: As a sharp-eyed reader pointed out, the figure from iSuppli is actually above the 155 million units that Western guided for this quarter in its most recent conference call to discuss quarterly results, back on January 19th. It also happens to be higher than the 158 million estimate that both Moskowitz and Seyrafi offered on Monday. So, while the tablet talk may be negative, the stocks are today probably responding to what is a better overall Q1 view than some have been modeling.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Opening Bell: 02.11.11

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SAC’s Trading Mimics Insider Dealings Identified by Prosecutors (Bloomberg)
SAC Capital traded at least 11 stocks near the time of insider trading in the same shares that prosecutors have identified at other hedge funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Former SAC portfolio managers Noah Freeman and Donald Longueuil obtained material, nonpublic information on two of the 11, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Marvell Technology Group, in a conspiracy beginning before they joined the hedge fund in 2008, according to a lawsuit filed this week by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC accuses Longueuil of trading Marvell shares in May 2008 based on an illegal tip from Freeman. SAC hired Freeman that June and Longueuil that July. SAC securities filings from 2006 through 2009 show position changes in at least nine other stocks during periods when prosecutors have said Galleon Group LLC co-founder Raj Rajaratnam and others were trading based on insider tips. The companies are Akamai Technologies Inc., Atheros Communications Inc., ATI Technologies Inc., Clearwire Corp., EBay Inc., Google Inc., the former Hilton Hotels Corp., Intel Corp. and Polycom Inc. SAC’s positions in the 11 stocks moved up or down consistent with buying and selling that federal prosecutors have described in criminal filings related to other insider trading cases.

Facebook mulls $1 billion employee share sale (Reuters)
Facebook may let its employees sell up to $1 billion of their shares to institutional investors at a price that values the company at about $60 billion.

Corzine Calls Most General Obligations ‘Safe’ Amid Default Talk (Bloomberg)
“Most general obligation bonds are safe,” he said on Bloomberg TV. People should “stop talking about bankruptcy,” said Corzine.

Wells Fargo Official’s Exit Puzzles (WSJ)
The circumstances surrounding Chief Financial Officer Atkins’s Tuesday departure were as puzzling to employees and regulators as they were for analysts and investors. In a news release about Mr. Atkins’s exit, the company said only that it had nothing to do with the company’s “financial condition or financial reporting.” On Tuesday afternoon, some of the bank’s senior executives seemed unaware that Mr. Atkins was preparing to leave, according to people familiar with the matter. Industry regulators and some of the bank’s top advisers also were taken by surprise, these people said.

Buffett Tells FCIC It’s Powerless to Stop `Too Big to Fail (Bloomberg)
“You will always have institutions that are too big to fail, and sometimes they will fail,” Buffett, 80, told the FCIC in a May 26 interview, according to a recording released by the panel yesterday. “We still have them now. We’ll have them after your commission report.”

Julian Assange Has At Least 4 Love Children (Gawker)
Just so you know.

Investors Warm To Big Deals (WSJ)
In 2011, there have been 12 deals valued above $5 billion, eight of them in the U.S., according to Dealogic. There were only two such deals in the U.S. at the same time last year.

Trial delayed in insider trading case against Galleon Group founder (NYP)
A federal court judge in Manhattan on Thursday postponed the start date for the securities fraud trial of Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam until March 8.

Mayor Apologizes For “Inebriated” Remark (NY1)
The mayor was speaking Wednesday night at the American Irish Historical Society to help launch a book celebrating the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Bloomberg made a reference to the fact that he is a neighbor to the society’s Upper East Side building. “I live in the neighborhood, right around the corner,” said the mayor. “Normally when I walk by this building there are a bunch of people who are totally inebriated, hanging out the window waving. I know that is a stereotype of the Irish, but nevertheless we Jews from around the corner think this.” While the mayor made an effort to explain away his remarks during an event on Thursday, he issued a written apology later in the day.

Kevin Warsh Departure May Reduce Fed’s Insights Into Wall Street (Bloomberg)
“Unless they put someone in place who has a similar level of dialogue, I think that’s something that will probably be missed,” said Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “To the extent that a lot of this is probably going to be trial and error anyway, it may just make the process a little rougher.”

Mario Cuomo to Mediate Mets-Madoff Case (NYT)
Burton R. Lifland, the United States bankruptcy judge overseeing a lawsuit brought by the trustee against the team’s owners, said the “special issues” in the case require “an appropriately experienced mediator.”

Jan Hatzius, Goldman Sachs chief US economist, thinks the US recovery is sustainable (FT)
And he “feels inflation is unlikely in the current US environment with output and employment still far below potential.”

Half of women feel more successful than their man (NYP)
Forty-nine percent of women say that they feel more successful than their significant other, and 78 percent feel they are doing well in their chosen field…”It’s evidence of what we’ve all been hearing,” said Lisa Bain, “that women have fared better during the economic downturn than men have, and that they tend to be better educated and more financially secure than the men in their lives.” Bain says that now that women are bringing home the bacon men aren’t feeling inferior. “The feedback we get . . . is that the guys in their lives don’t feel threatened by their success—they’re more likely to get a kick out of it,” she said. “Maybe that’s because the women themselves are comfortable with it, as our poll showed—70 percent of them say they don’t need for their partner to have more career success than they do.”

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker