Your Toasting to 2011 Isn’t the Boss’s Business (Bloomberg) Bloomberg columnist has important public service announcement: “Unless you return to work obviously hung over, inebriated or sipping some hair of the dog from your coffee thermos, your employer can’t legally test you for alcohol. Drugs, yes. But if the boss has no good reason to suspect an on-the-job alcohol problem and still asks for your blood, urine or breath in search of one, call the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”
Why The NYSE Is Open New Year’s Eve (CNBC)
“They have a tradition of making sure they get as much tax selling in as possible, I suspect,” said Art Cashin, UBS director of floor operations at the NYSE. “I know it used to be there were special tax implications for selling on the last day of the year.” Cashin said NYSE traders carry on anyway and have traditions of their own to keep. At 2:05 p.m., they will break into song, with a rendition of “Wait til the Sun Shines Nellie,” just as bond traders are skipping out for the day.
City Buries Strip Club In Snow (NYP)
This is what got the Mayor to change his tune: “The Sanitation Department caused lap dances at Hell’s Kitchen jiggle joint HeadQuarters Cabaret to grind to a halt, after snow-removal workers cut the gentlemen’s club off from the outside world by dumping 15-foot-high piles of snow in front. Strippers were forced to totter through an arctic winterscape in their stiletto heels. By the early-morning hours, the Sanitation Department had packed such massive mounds outside the mammary mecca that men couldn’t get down the street to the front door. “Its been dead,” complained dancer Valentina Torres, 22. “As you can see, no one is here. The street is closed so we don’t even get our regular customers. Basically, this has been a wasted week. As long as the sanitation [workers] are out there, no one will come!”
Insider Trading Defendant Fails To Post Bail (WSJ)
Winifred Jiau, 43, was required by a federal judge in San Francisco to post a $250,000 bond to obtain her release, but was unable to do so, her lawyer, Mark Goldrosen, said Thursday. Ms. Jiau, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Taiwan, surrendered her passports, her lawyer said. She is scheduled to appear in court again Monday morning.
Year-End Investor Letter: A Parody (NYT)
“As many of you are aware, at the end of every year I move completely to cash and lock myself in a bank vault for a couple days with all of my money and all of my annual trading records. I carefully review all of my trades and try to learn what mistakes were made and what worked. I physically handle my cash; it helps me appreciate that trading is not simply an intellectual exercise involving numbers, but one which involves real money with real wealth creation and destruction.”
Ex- Spy Anna Chapman Gets Lion Cub On Russian TV (BBC)
Ms Chapman, who was deported from the US earlier this year, was the main guest of the “Let Them Talk” show. She said her dream was to have a lion cub for a while, before it became dangerous, at which point one was brought into the studio.
US court dismisses $2bn Porsche lawsuit (FT)
US District Judge Harold Baer late on Thursday said the 39 hedge funds, led by Elliott Associates and Black Diamond Offshore, could not claim damages in the US from Porsche, which they had accused of misleading markets during its failed takeover attempt of VW.
Champagne Lures Big Spenders, Overall Sales Still Decline (Bloomberg)
The fall in sales “can pretty much be traced back to Lehman,” Hawes said, referring to the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. “At the back end of 2008, if you were going to be drinking a premium brand of champagne you’d better have been doing it on your own in the garden shed.” Read more »
Goldman Sachs Bonuses at Near-Record Lows? (Deal Journal)
So sayeth Credit Suisse: “We expect full year comp expense to be accrued at 40.4% of revenues, the second lowest level since Goldman has been a public firm, reflective of both mgmt discipline and the impact of new hires over the past year.”
Business Schools Add Mock Trading Floors (Dealbook)
Students “learn to speak the language of Wall Street,” said Mr. Riley, who donated $100,000 to establish the trading operation at Adelphi, his mother’s alma mater. “When you’re in an environment like this, the first thing you learn is whether this turns you on or not.”…“These days it’s a bling factor at many schools,” said Richard D. Holowczak, who runs the trading floor at Baruch College in New York, which started its trading room in 2000. “It looks sexy, and it’s a great way to have a donor’s name literally in lights.”
Bloomberg’s Katrina (TCL)
Professor Krugman thinks Hizzoner’s snow blowing efforts this week were “a major fail,” not unlike Bush’s in New Orleans that time.
Vatican Outlines Rules To Fight Money Laundering (WSJ)
Job opening alert: “The Vatican is creating a financial watchdog, called the Authority of Financial Information, to control suspicious transactions that could involve financing terrorism as well as market rigging, insider trading and market abuse. The chairman of the Vatican authority will be named by the Pope and his mandate will expire after five years. He will also head a five-member executive committee named by the Pope. According to press reports, Cardinal Attilio Nicora is going to be the chairman of the authority.”
Wussy White House Could Use A Snow Ball Fight (Bloomberg)
“Pre-wussification, we were an economic powerhouse, and our children were the best-educated in the world, until we decided to sheathe our little princes and princesses in bubble wrap. We give them graduation ceremonies for getting through nursery school, a trophy just for showing up at soccer. We’ve removed play from the playground to keep them from scraping a knee. We intervene like lawyers in every dispute.”
$$$ “A Manhattan party girl says her investor hubby is threatening to post steamy sex videos of her online if she doesn’t accept a lowball divorce settlement, court papers say. Lily Shang, 24, has asked a judge to stop soon-to-be ex-husband David Rucker from releasing the raunchy tapes, which supposedly show the couple having sex in their swanky former Battery Park City pad. Rucker told Shang he would edit himself out of the videos and make them public – unless the sexy brunette plays ball in divorce negotiations, according to the filing in Manhattan Supreme Court. The accused bedroom auteur, who manages a downtown investment firm, says he’d never release the salacious footage. “That would damage me, since I actually have a career,” Rucker, 26, told the Daily News in an exclusive interview, taking a shot at his club-hopping wife. “It’s almost comical,” he said. Rucker, a top-dog at Golden Archer Investments, said Shang refuses to even answer his calls about a possible divorce settlement. “She’s just trying to make me look bad,” he said. “I don’t even know what’s still on my hard drive,” he said. [NYDN]
China: No Wild Parties At Taxpayers’ Expense (AP)
As usual, Jim Chanos called this one: “Some of the parties to make headlines have seen officials die after excessive drinking at banquets. One official was arrested after diary entries he allegedly wrote appeared online describing casual sex, drinking and under-the-table payments at parties. Lavish official tours to Las Vegas and other places cost taxpayers about 400 billion yuan ($58 billion) every year, according to state broadcaster CCTV. On one such trip several years ago, officials spent taxpayers’ money on a $700-a-night Las Vegas hotel and visits to a San Francisco sex show. It reached a point where President Hu Jintao gave a speech in April warning officials of the temptations of beautiful women, money and power.
BlackRock to Launch Internal Trading Platform (FT)
“We are developing the technology in-house to offer better value by lowering trading costs,” said Rob Kapito, BlackRock president and one of eight founders of the company, in an interview. The plan is that if some BlackRock clients are selling a security and others are buying, the group can “cross” those trades internally without going through a Wall Street bank.
Pope To Issue New Bank Norms Amid Laundering Probe (ABC)
The Vatican planned to issue new rules Thursday designed to make its financial transactions more transparent after a money laundering probe resulted in the seizure of 23 million euros ($30.21 million) from a Vatican account. The rules are expected to create a compliance authority to oversee all Vatican finances, as required by EU and other international organizations involved in the fight against money laundering and terror financing. Vatican officials confirmed Wednesday that Pope Benedict XVI’s executive order — called a “motu proprio” — making the rules into law, would be released Thursday.
Pandit Praises Citigroup’s ‘Rebirth’ (Dealbook)
“External audiences are starting to give us the recognition we have earned,” Pandit said in a memo to employees. “Our credit spreads have tightened, analysts increasingly like what they see, and the public is starting to acknowledge the many signs of real progress…The successes of this year significantly add to the transformation and rebirth of our Company. We have a great deal of hard work ahead — hard work that I believe can and should lead to even better years in the future.”
Ashton Kutcher toughening up for Armageddon (SFGate)
All of this: “The movie star and produce fears a major U.S. energy meltdown is nigh and he’s trying to get super fit so he can deal with the chaos that will follow a blackout or worse. Kutcher discovered combat training Krav Maga last year as he prepared to tone up for his role in “Killers” and now he’s obsessed with running, Bikram yoga and Muay Thai fighting with the French national champion – and he insists he’s committed to his extreme workouts, so he can dominate in desperate times. The 32 year old tells Men’s Fitness magazine, “It will not take much for people to hit the panic button. The amount of convenience that people rely on based on electricity alone. You start taking out electricity and satellites, and people are going to lose their noodle.” Read more »
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