Tag Archive | "taxes"

Opening Bell: 05.04.11

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U.S. May Pursue More Lenders After Suing Deutsche Bank on Loans (Bloomberg)
“We go where the evidence takes us, and if it takes us to the larger players on Wall Street, so be it,” Kanovsky said. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said it wouldn’t be a “fantastical stretch” for prosecutors to scrutinize other lenders.

Steep Drop Tarnishes Big Bets On Silver (WSJ)
George Soros’s big hedge fund, a firm operated by high-profile investor John Burbank and some other leading firms have been selling gold and silver, according to people close to the matter, after furiously accumulating precious metals for much of the past two years…Some others with stellar records—including Mr. Burbank, of Passport Capital, and Alan Fournier, of Pennant Capital—also have been passionate about precious metals, giving encouragement to individual investors to follow. Now they are selling, in each case for distinct reasons…[John] Paulson told investors Tuesday morning that gold prices could go as high as $4,000 an ounce over the next three to five years, as the U.S. and U.K. flood the money supply…Andrew Hall, a former star trader at Citigroup who runs hedge fund Astenbeck Capital Management LLC and trades for Phibro, a unit of Occidental Petroleum Corp., told his clients last month that gold and silver will continue to “march higher” unless evidence emerges of “an imminent rise” in interest rates.

Official: Portugal bailout to be $115 billion‎ (BusinessWeek)
“The government got a good deal, one that safeguards Portugal,” Prime Minister Jose Socrates said in a televised address to the nation. He did not take questions.

Portugal aid terms likely to spark 2-year recession (Reuters)
An official source told Reuters the austerity measures to be included in the deal, such as higher taxes, point to a “contraction of 2 percent in gross domestic product in 2011 and in 2012″. That will make it yet more challenging for the heavily indebted country, which has had some of the lowest growth rates in Europe for a decade, to ride out its crisis and return to financial health. The source told Reuters taxes will rise on cars and property and there will be cuts in deductions on health, education and housing.

US Becomes Net Exporter of Fuel (FT)
The US has become a net exporter of fuel for the first time for nearly 20 years as drivers struggle with high petrol prices.

4 Billionaires at Glencore (BBC)
When Glencore publishes its full flotation prospectus later this morning, it will show that there are four billionaires working for the world’s leading commodities, minerals and energy trader. These are led by the chief executive Ivan Glasenberg, who will be shown to be worth around $10bn. But it is the quartet of billionaires, plus many others worth more than $100m each, and hundreds who are millionaires, that makes Glencore quite extraordinary.

U.S. Regulators Face Budget Pinch as Mandates Widen (NYT)
On a recent trip to New York to tour a trading floor, a group of employees from the commodities watchdog rode Mega Bus both ways, arriving late to their meeting despite a 5:30 a.m. departure. The bus, which cost $30 a person round trip, saved the agency roughly $1,000 over Amtrak…The money squeeze comes as Wall Street regulators take on added responsibilities in the wake of the financial crisis, including monitoring hedge funds, overseeing the $600 trillion derivatives market and other tasks mandated by the Dodd-Frank law.

Euro Approaches 18-Month High Versus Dollar Before ECB Decision (Bloomberg)
The 17-member common currency strengthened against all but one of its most actively traded peers as a report showed European services and manufacturing growth accelerated in April. The Dollar Index declined toward the lowest level since July 2008. New Zealand’s dollar dropped to a two-week low after a government report showed the nation had the biggest net outflow of residents in more than 10 years. The pound slumped to the weakest in more than a year against the euro.

Foreign Banks Get Scrutiny in Britain (WSJ)
The Financial Services Authority’s goal is to prevent certain companies from exploiting European rules to set up banking and brokerage operations that the agency views as potentially risky because they use a structure that doesn’t face tough local supervision. But the move by the FSA is controversial. Some observers said the pressure conflicts with Europe’s “passporting” rules, under which financial institutions from anywhere in the 30-country European Economic Area are allowed to open outposts in other member countries. Those “branches,” which can house a range of business activities, face limited oversight by local regulators. Instead, they primarily are the responsibility of regulators in their home countries.

KKR and TPG look to move into Brazil (FT)
KKR and TPG are hunting for a senior figure to lead their offices in Brazil, who will then recruit start- up teams, people in the industry said.

At Nasdaq, a Pitch and Woo (WSJ)
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. has rolled out the red carpet to hedge funds, racing to persuade them to buy up shares of NYSE Euronext to derail the Big Board’s planned tie-up with Deutsche Börse AG…Some merger arbitragers and hedge-fund investors have met with Nasdaq Chief Executive Robert Greifeld three times in the last few weeks, people familiar with the matter said. They also are being offered private meetings with Mr. Greifeld and special tours of Nasdaq headquarters, these people said.

Southampton’s Former Goldman Sachs Party Pad Sells for $4.1M (Curbed)
In 2009, the New York Post caught wind that Goldman Sachs exec Richard Kimball Jr. was in hot water with the Southampton Police. Turns out Kimball, the ex-husband of Holly Peterson, was throwing pretty rowdy pool parties at his Southampton rental. But while Kimball was partying, the rental was trying to find itself a more permanent buyer.

Wall Street’s Cult Calculator Turns 30 (WSJ)
Thirty years after the launch of the 12c, it’s still commonplace for financial analysts filing into a conference room to set down their calculators next to their papers and cellphones. Indeed, the 12c, which costs $70 on H-P’s website, is H-P’s best-selling calculator of all time, though the company won’t reveal how many units it has sold over the years. (A standard calculator costs about $10.) Its chief competitor is Texas Instruments’ $28 BA II Plus, which is the only other calculator test-takers are permitted to use on the official CFA exam.

Florida woman, Gloria Esther Perez, busted for hiding knife in her ‘private area’ (NYDN via Daily Intel)
Perez was searched and found to be hiding dozens of prescription pills, police said. Perez then “became ill,” the police report states, and was taken to a hospital. Once there, it was discovered she was concealing two knives. One was tucked within the folds of her fat while the other was “hidden in her vagina.”

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

President Obama: Fiscal Responsibility Will Help Us ‘Win The Future’

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FYI, Paul Ryan’s plan will not put us on the path to winning.

Where Mr. Obama on Wednesday embraced tax increases and spending reductions in Medicare in order to rein in deficits, the GOP plan avoids tax increases and would change Medicare far more significantly, turning it into a menu of government-subsidized private insurance plans for younger workers. He said wealthier Americans should pay higher taxes as a matter of fairness. “As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally born a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate….It is a basic reflection of our belief that those who have benefited most from our way of life can afford to give a bit more back,” he said in his prepared remarks.

Obama Lays Out Deficit Plan [WSJ]
Obama Offers Plan to Trim $4 Trillion From Deficit in 12 Years [Bloomberg]

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

SAC Capital: Nobody Frontruns Steve!

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(And those who do will pay…a charity of their choosing.)

“A few days ago SAC compliance sent a new rule regarding trading in personal accounts for discretionary traders. Any trade with market value more than 50k in the name which is traded by Steve during next 2 days is subject to ‘charity tax.’ If Steve’s fill price is worse than yours the difference is donated to charity. Genius!”

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 01.18.11

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Citigroup Swings To Fourth Quarter Profit (MarketWatch)
Citi said this morning that it earned a $1.31 billion, or 4 cents a share profit in its fourth quarter, compared to a loss of $7.58 billion, or 33 cents a share a year ago. Total revenues in the fourth quarter were $18.37 billion, compared to $5.41 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet Research had expected Citigroup to earn 8 cents a share in the fourth quarter.

Ex-Banker Gives Data on Taxes to WikiLeaks (NYT)
Rudolf M. Elmer, who ran the Caribbean operations of the Swiss bank Julius Baer for eight years until he was dismissed in 2002, refused to identify any of the individuals or companies, but he told reporters at a news conference that about 40 politicians and “pillars of society” were among them.

Goldman Limits Facebook Offering (WSJ)
The bank slammed the door on U.S. clients hoping to invest in a private offering of shares in Facebook Inc., because it said the intense media spotlight left the deal in danger of violating U.S. securities laws…The change could damage Goldman’s ties to some of its most lucrative clients, left empty-handed just as they were deciding whether to invest in Facebook, clients say. Facebook executives were frustrated by the headache of restructuring the deal at the last minute, according to people familiar with the situation.

Goldman Fails to See Hype That Derailed Facebook Sale (Bloomberg)
“You would have thought that this was an issue from the start, they should have realized this up front,” said Peter Hahn, a lecturer in corporate finance at Cass Business School in London. “If I invited my 500 best friends to a party, would it be a secret? And the answer is no.”

Toward A 21st Century Regulatory System (WSJ)
Barack Obama: “…creating a 21st-century regulatory system is about more than which rules to add and which rules to subtract. As the executive order I am signing makes clear, we are seeking more affordable, less intrusive means to achieve the same ends—giving careful consideration to benefits and costs. This means writing rules with more input from experts, businesses and ordinary citizens. It means using disclosure as a tool to inform consumers of their choices, rather than restricting those choices. And it means making sure the government does more of its work online, just like companies are doing.”

Schumer Will Push Currency Measure Aimed at China (Bloomberg)
The legislation, which will be officially introduced when the Senate returns from a break next week, would allow domestic manufacturers to seek duties on imports from any country that is found to have a currency that is “fundamentally misaligned.”

Urn Stolen By Ash-Hole (NYP)
A Connecticut man has been charged with stealing a funeral urn containing the ashes of his girlfriend’s grandmother. Mark Kzakrzeski, 37, of Southbury, said he threw the ashes and urn — taken during a fight Friday at the girlfriend’s Oxford home — in the woods, say Connecticut State Police.

Citigroup Gain Masks Flawed Mortgages Sold to Freddie Mac (Bloomberg)
Three years after bad home loans helped trigger the recession and six weeks after the government cashed in the last of its $45 billion Citigroup investment, the New York-based bank is still selling mortgages that violate quality standards, according to an internal Freddie Mac review obtained by Bloomberg.

Steve Jobs’s health to overshadow quarterly Apple sales (Reuters)
Apple said on Monday Jobs was taking a medical leave of absence without specifying a return date or detailing his condition.

Santander Chief Is Said to Be Banned From Banking (Dealbook)
Alfredo Sáenz, chief executive of Santander, has been fined, sentenced to a suspended eight-month prison term and banned from banking by the Spanish supreme court, the daily newspaper El Mundo reported on Monday…Without citing sources, El Mundo said Mr. Sáenz, the most important executive at Santander after its chairman, Emilio Botín, had been sentenced for fraud and making false claims while he was president of Banesto in the 1990s.

Fed Officials Signal Growth Pickup Won’t Alter Bond Purchases (Bloomberg)
Bernanke said last week that “we see the economy strengthening,” and added, “you’re not going to reduce unemployment at the pace that we’d like it to.” Fed Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said in an interview that while the U.S. outlook has improved, he wants to see more evidence before altering the Fed’s plan to buy $600 billion in Treasuries through June.

The New Starbucks Trenta Cup Is Bigger Than Your Stomach (Gizmodo)
Starbucks will introduce a 916ml Trenta cup. That’s more than the average capacity of the human stomach.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 01.06.11

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A Goldman Unit Is Said To Have Rejected Facebook (Dealbook)
Goldman Sachs Capital Partners — a group that manages and invests for pensions, sovereign wealth funds and other prominent clients — was given the initial opportunity to invest $450 million in Facebook. But the unit’s chief, Richard A. Friedman, a longtime Goldman partner, decided the Facebook deal was not suitable for his clients, in part owing to the high valuation and to a mismatch with his investment criteria.

FrontPoint Partners Launches Biggest Fund Amid Probe (WSJ)
FrontPoint Partners LLC, the hedge-fund firm that was hit late last year by the government’s insider-trading investigation, completed its biggest launch ever on Thursday. The Greenwich, Conn., firm, run by Dan Waters and Mike Kelly, announced the final close for FrontPoint-SJC Direct Lending Fund LP with total commitments of more than $1 billion. The launch suggests the insider-trading probe hasn’t scared off all FrontPoint’s investors.

Paul Volcker To Step Down From White House Panel (Reuters)
The decision to leave the board was Volcker’s. A source close to him said he was ready to continue to advise Obama on an informal basis as often as the president would like.

LinkedIn Plans To Pursue An IPO (WSJ)
Unless Goldman wants to throw them $450 million.

Angry Witches Cast Spell To Protest Romanian Taxes (NPR)
Angry Romanian witches are using cat excrement and dead dogs to cast spells on the president and government who are forcing them to pay taxes. Also in the eye of the taxman are fortune tellers, who should have seen it coming. And President Traian Basescu isn’t laughing it off. In a country where superstition is mainstream, the president and his aides wear purple on Thursdays, allegedly to ward off evil spirits. A dozen witches will head to the Danube to put a hex on the government and hurl mandrake into the river “so evil will befall them,” said a witch named Alisia. She identified herself with one name, as is customary among witches.

Goldman Sachs May Sell, Hedge Facebook Stake Without Warning to Investors (Bloomberg)
In the last sentence of a one-page investment profile sent to private wealth clients, the firm explains: “GS Group may at any time further reduce its exposure to its investment in Facebook (through hedging arrangements, sales or otherwise), without notice to the fund or investors in the fund.”

Greece: No Problem Paying Debts (WSJ)
Papandreou also denied that Greece was engaged in talks to restructure its debt, despite lingering market concerns that the harsh austerity plan forced on Greece by its lenders will stifle growth and force it to restructure its debt. “There are no such talks. If we look at the fiscal consolidation, our reforms and the strong backing (of the European Financial Stability Facility) mechanism, we believe we will have no problem in paying back the debt to our private debtors,” he said on the sidelines of a conference of the future of capitalism in Paris.

Soros Mistrusts EU Aid as Irish Default Risk Soars (Bloomberg)
Assessing the aid plan, billionaire George Soros wrote in the Financial Times last month that the country will have to renegotiate the accord. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said a default would “destroy” the country.

Obama Turns To Experienced Hands For New Staff (NYT)
William M. Daley, who was commerce secretary in the Clinton administration, visited the West Wing to meet with the president and other advisers for a final series of discussions about serving as chief of staff. He has told associates he would accept the job if an offer was extended, and officials said Mr. Obama was favoring him.

Dogfight Erupts In Plane Ticket Sales (WSJ)
In a retaliatory move against American Airlines, Sabre Holdings Corp., a middleman for many carriers’ seats, said it is raising the fees it charges American to distribute its fare information and sell its seats through thousands of travel agents. Sabre also said it will display American’s flights less prominently than rival airlines in its vast booking system.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

CNBC Anchor Should Consider Sleeping With One Eye Open

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Earlier this morning, Squawk on the Street had a little interview with Blackstone chief Stephen Schwarzman, live from Waldorf Astoria, where the Yale CEO Summit is taking place. The chat was conducted by Tyler Mathisen, with his colleagues patched in from the mothership in Englewood Cliffs. Everyone was very excited to have Steve-o on and things started off friendly enough. David Faber had a question about Dynegy. Erin Burnett wanted to know about investing opportunities abroad. And Mathisen and Schwarzman, whose firm owns the Waldorf, had a cute little repartee going about Steve delivering towels to Tyler’s room and leaving a mint on his pillow (given how game Schwarzman was to play along, and the diversity of the The ‘Stone’s companies, now might be a good time to nominate a certain someone as the next guest on Undercover Boss).

Then Mark Haines had something to say.

Haines: “Mr. Schwarzman. You’ve said you think the tax compromise will boost economic activity from one half to one percent. How do you figure that’s going to happen?”

Schwarzman: “I think you’re going to have more people with more money. Without taxes going up you’re going to have a variety of different incentives with cutting payroll taxes and there are other incentives in this package. And I think the economy will respond positively to that.”

Haines [internally smirking at how Schwarz had played right into his hand]: “Huh. Cuz the Congressional Budget Office it will increase employment by no more than 1/10t of one percent. And we are asking Americans to take on $850 billion more in debt so RICH PEOPLE…[you] can continue to pay less in taxes.”

[This was when someone at CNBC should've had the foresight to cut away to the reaction shots on Mathisen, Faber and Burnett's faces, and a producer considered screaming "cut his mic!"]

Schwarzman: “Well, you know, this is one of those situations where there is no perfect answer. You have now very large amount of fiscal stimulus. Nobody likes the debt. You can take either side of that argument; I don’t really want more debt but the faster the economy grows, the more taxes people will ultimately paying because everyone’s earnings will be higher. Over time–”

Haines: “A year from now- oh, sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt I thought you were done with that sentence. So, a year from now, if the economy isn’t growing, will you admit you were wrong?”

Schwarzman: “I’m always comfortable admitting I’m wrong, I don’t have a problem with that.”

Haines: “Me too. Out of necessity.”

Moment at which we stopped watching and started picturing the look on Haines’ face when he finds out he’s no longer welcome at Blackstone-owned Michaels craft store, Legoland, Jurassic Park, or Madame Tussauds (the last of which is really gonna chafe).

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

WSJ: “Senate votes 81-19 to pass $858 billion tax bill by wide margin”

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Onto the house!

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

President Obama: Republicans Have Held The American People Hostage

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And in America, we don’t negotiate with terrorists! Except for when we do! [RCP]

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 11.30.10

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Portugal Banks Face ‘Intolerable Risk’; Need Capital (Reuters)
The Bank of Portugal reiterated that the austerity measures, including higher taxes and wage cuts in the public sector, would have a recessive impact on the economy next year, although it said the impact could be mitigated by external demand for Portuguese products.

Spanish Banks Are Seen as the Weak Link in Debt Crisis (Reuters)
This just in.

Level Global Says It’s Not A Target (Bloomberg)
Level Global, with offices in New York and Greenwich, Connecticut, said in a letter to investors that it met with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Nov. 23 and that the government said yesterday it wasn’t a target of the probe. “Nor, in fact, has the firm been alleged to have engaged in any misconduct or wrongdoing,” Level Global said in the letter.

Obama Proposes Freeze On Federal Worker Pay (WSJ)
Obama on Monday proposed a two-year salary freeze for all federal civilian employees, signaling an apparent willingness to reach toward Republicans ahead of negotiations on deficit-cutting that are likely to dominate Washington next year.

Did New Rules Worsen Pay Situation? (WSJ)
A set to be released Tuesday and commissioned by the Council of Institutional Investors, which represents about 130 pension funds, contends that financial firms still tie too much of their compensation to short-term results and have increased salaries to offset the impact of recent regulatory curbs on pay. “Very little of any real import has changed” since financial stocks began tumbling in 2007 as the subprime-mortgage issue emerged, wrote Paul Hodgson, a senior research associate at Corporate Library, a corporate-governance research firm that produced the report. “On balance, pay practices have worsened.”

Rattner Assails Cuomo Offer (Dealbook)
In a strongly worded, previously undisclosed correspondence, a lawyer for Steven L. Rattner, the financier ensnared in a wide-ranging investigation of suspected kickbacks, described a proposed payment of at least $20 million to the New York attorney general office as excessive, “misconceived” and “wholly untethered from the facts” in the case.

BofA Mortgage Morass Deepens on Promissory Notes Issues (Bloomberg)
Judge Wizmur’s ruling is being scrutinized by lawyers for borrowers seeking to stall repossessions as a way to press lenders to modify their debt. Attorneys for homeowners have already won cases by calling into doubt the legitimacy of affidavits used to take back properties. “If this is correct, many, many, many foreclosures already occurred in which this plaintiff didn’t have the note,” said Bruce Levitt, the South Orange, New Jersey, attorney representing Kemp. “This could affect thousands or hundreds of thousands of loans.”

Nomura said to be building a prop trading business, HIRING prop traders (eF)
“Nomura are building their risk trading business,” says one equities focused consultant. “They’ve got a big balance sheet, so it makes sense for them to move into prop trading.”

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 11.29.10

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Ireland Wins $113 Billion Aid; Germany Drops Threat on Bonds (Bloomberg)
European finance chiefs ended crisis talks in Brussels yesterday by endorsing a Franco-German compromise on post-2013 rescues that means investors won’t automatically take losses to share the cost with taxpayers as German Chancellor Angela Merkel initially proposed to the consternation of bond traders.

France, Germany Determined To Save Euro, Says Spokesman (Reuters)
They want this thing as much as you, swear.

Authorities Worldwide Clamp Down On Insider Trading (FT)
When US investigators were hot on the trail of Don Ching Trang Chu, a former consultant who made a living linking hedge fund traders with corporate insiders, they say they captured him on tape explaining that he preferred to do most of his work in Asia. Most of the “real time” information Mr Chu’s contacts provided was about publicly-traded US companies, but many of the calls and meetings allegedly took place abroad. “I don’t want to (be) involved in the States . . . It’s dangerous. SEC (the US Securities and Exchange Commission) is too strong. In Asia, the SEC can’t do too much there . . . In Asia, there, nobody cares,” Mr Chu allegedly said, according to a criminal complaint filed against him last week…The perception that the US takes insider trading more seriously is widely shared by traders and regulators. Although most countries have officially banned trading on non-public information for a decade or more, enforcement has been patchy or non-existent. That is starting to change in two critical ways: some Asian and European regulators are taking a much tougher stance against insider trading in their own markets and they are co-operating with the SEC and US prosecutors to deal with cross-border violations.

Mutual Fund Ties to Insider Probe May Prolong Withdrawals (Bloomberg)
The probe hits firms as they try to reverse $90 billion in withdrawals from U.S. stock funds since the beginning of 2009. Damage from the industry’s last run-in with regulators, a series of trading scandals in 2003 and 2004, took years to repair and led to more than $3 billion in fines against more than two dozen firms, including Bank of America Corp., Putnam Investments, Janus and MFS.

BP sells Pan American Energy stake for $7bn (BBC)
By offloading its 60% stake in Pan American Energy to Bridas Corporation, BP will raise $7bn (£4.5m;5.3bn euros). The oil giant has now sold $20bn of assets since announcing in July its plan to divest itself of up to $30bn by the end of 2011.

Roubini: Portugal Should Reconsider Rescue (AP)
Doom says Portugal should consider asking for a bailout before its financial plight worsens.

Pete Peterson’s Public Break From Private Equity’s Line on Taxes? (Dealbook)
Did Mr. Peterson say that he believes carried interest — the 20 percent cut of a fund’s profits to which hedge fund and private equity managers are entitled — should be taxed as regular salary? Put another way, did Mr. Peterson propose that his former Blackstone partners should be paying much higher taxes? You betcha.

Third Person Is Bitten By Aggressive Otter In West Boca (CBS)
The latest incident happened in Southwind Lakes when an otter came out of a canal and bit a man while he was in his backyard. Two other people were bitten Sunday in the Boca Chase area.

Facebook Gets Bank Worker Sacked (UKPL)
The bank worker had posted on Facebook about being made redundant and about a £6,000 payout she was due to receive. A colleague reported her posts to the bank, who held a disciplinary hearing before deciding to sack Furlong without a penny of the money she was expecting. The bank says she broke a secrecy agreement.

Buffalo Bills’ Stevie Johnson Blames God For Dropped Pass

Emerging Market Inflation Poses Rising Threat (WSJ)
“Over the next six months, the biggest single issue investors will need to factor into their decisions is how inflation is likely to affect the landscape,” says Richard Yetsenga, global head of emerging-markets currency strategy at HSBC in Hong Kong.

Leslie Nielsen Dies At 84 (Times Live)
Nielsen had been ill for over a week, getting treatment for a staph infection in a hospital in Fort Luaderdale when he contracted the pneumonia.

Boom In Debt Buying Fuels Boom In Lawsuits (WSJ)
Midland, the company that sued Ms. Martin, is a unit of San Diego-based Encore Capital Group Inc., which buys distressed debt for a few pennies on the dollar and often sues to collect. Encore says it filed 245,000 lawsuits last year, and nearly half its $487.8 million in gross collections came from legal actions. That is down from the 474,000 suits it filed in 2008, when the financial crisis created an explosion in bad debt. But Encore expects the number of lawsuits to climb this year because of the sluggish economy.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker