Opening Bell: 02.21.12

Greece Wins Second Bailout as Europe Picks Aid Over Default (Bloomberg)
Finance ministers awarded 130 billion euros ($173 billion) in aid, engineered a central-bank profits transfer and coaxed investors into providing more debt relief in an exchange meant to tide Greece past a March bond repayment. Stocks fell and the euro fluctuated as investors speculated the deal won’t fix Greece’s long-term challenges. Bondholders’ response to the swap, Greece’s tolerance of more austerity and a gantlet of parliamentary approvals in northern European countries gripped by an anti-bailout mindset loom as risks to the latest salvage operation. “Everybody understood that this was the moment of truth,” Belgian Finance Minister Steven Vanackere told reporters early today after 13 1/2 hours of talks in Brussels.

Geithner Bond Returns Beat Rubin, Trail Paulson (Bloomberg)
Since Geithner assumed office in January 2009, returns on Treasuries have exceeded bonds of other countries by 0.3 percentage point on an annualized rate, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data. That’s less than Paulson’s 7.5 percentage points. Under Rubin, returns on Treasuries lagged behind foreign issues by 1.6 points.

A Banker Who Unwinds by Photographing Prostitutes (CityRoom)
As a foreign exchange trader for Citigroup, Chris Arnade, 46, makes a good income, and lives with his wife and three children in a spacious apartment he owns in Brooklyn Heights. But during much of his spare time, he can be found driving the family minivan around Hunts Point in the Bronx, photographing prostitutes and documenting their lives. Mr. Arnade says he hopes his photos and descriptions provide a platform for some of the most marginalized New Yorkers to tell their stories.

Fed Writes Sweeping Rules From Behind Closed Doors (WSJ)
Fed officials contend they allow plenty of sunlight into their regulatory deliberations, but open meetings, which tend to be scripted and are sometimes perfunctory, don’t always add value to the process. Ever-growing demands on governors’ time has made it harder to coordinate schedules to allow for frequent meetings than in past decades, they add.

UBS Turning Whistleblower in Libor Probe (Bloomberg)
UBS’s decision to become first- confessor as regulators probe the alleged manipulation of interest rates will ratchet up the risks for other banks that set the benchmark for $360 trillion of securities worldwide. The bank is seeking to insulate itself from the biggest possible fines from the investigation by turning itself in to regulators before its competitors to gain leniency, lawyers said. The plan still leaves the Zurich-based lender vulnerable to lawsuits from clients and raises the potential antitrust penalties for its competitors.

Board of Wynn Resorts Forcibly Buys Out Founder (WSJ)
In a dramatic weekend showdown, the Wynn board, meeting in Las Vegas, accused Mr. Okada of making improper payments to gambling regulators in the Philippines. The board’s move came after an internal investigation conducted by a former FBI director found him to be “unsuitable” based on the company’s internal regulations.

Strauss-Kahn Held by Police in Prostitution Probe (Reuters)
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was taken in for questioning on Tuesday by police investigating an alleged prostitution ring run out of the northern French city of Lille. Strauss-Kahn can be held for up to 48 hours and may then be placed under formal investigation for benefitting from misappropriated company funds. Investigators are trying to find out whether French executives used corporate expense accounts to fund sex parties with prostitutes.

Falcone fell down on $56M payment (NYP)
Add UK satellite company Inmarsat to the growing list of entities feuding with hedge fund titan Phil Falcone and his troubled wireless venture LightSquared. Yesterday, Inmarsat said LightSquared defaulted on a $56.25 million payment due under an agreement the two companies signed in 2007. LightSquared denied the default and blamed Inmarsat for the delayed payment, citing “several matters that require resolution” before the payment is made.

Closures, Losses Push Back Asia Hedge Fund Industry (Reuters)
Net outflows in each of the last four months of 2011 have pushed the industry $52 billion behind its peak assets of $176 billion hit in December 2007, data from industry tracker Eurekahedge showed, spelling troubles for start-ups, prime brokers and other service providers who had pinned hopes on a potential expansion.

Bullish Hedge Funds Hike Their Bets in 2012 Rally (Reuters)
Many funds think the European Central Bank’s long-term refinancing operations (LTRO), which flooded markets with 489 billion euros ($644 billion) of cheap cash in December and provide more this month, are a turning point in propping up the region’s battered banks. They are also betting that China, which is facing a fifth successive quarter of slowing economic growth, will experience a so-called ‘soft landing’, while the U.S., which saw its fastest growth in one-and-a-half years in the fourth quarter, is firmly on the recovery path.

Ex-Bond Highflier Is Warned by SEC (WSJ)
Alexander Rekeda, who led Japanese bank Mizuho Financial Group Inc.’s charge into the then-red-hot business of U.S. subprime debt in 2006, was warned by the Securities and Exchange Commission in October that he faces the potential charges, according to a regulatory filing. Mr. Rekeda received a so-called Wells notice, a letter typically giving the recipient a final opportunity to dissuade the SEC from filing an enforcement action.

Spain to send military planes to Florida to collect a half of a billion dollars worth of treasure (NYDN)
Spain said Monday it will soon send hulking military transport planes to Florida to retrieve 17 tons of treasure that U.S. undersea explorers found but ultimately lost in American courts, a find experts have speculated could be the richest shipwreck treasure in history. The Civil Guard said agents would leave within hours to take possession of the booty, worth an estimated $504 million, and two Spanish Hercules transport planes will bring it back.

34 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (34)

  1. Posted by guest | February 21, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    It's my money, and I need it now!


  2. Posted by Guest | February 21, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Not that long ago I also discovered a Spanish treasure.

    –Phil Falcone

  3. Posted by guestosaurus | February 21, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    if you want to find the most marginalized New Yorkers, look no further than the UBS offices..

  4. Posted by Guest | February 21, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    That's a pretty ingenious cover for running out every night to get $5 handies in Brooklyn.

  5. Posted by Alt_EST | February 21, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Matters requiring resolution before payment include:

    1. Massive and debilitating interference of the GPS spectrum caused by the vanity, pride, and hubris of a man who forgot he is not a telecommunications engineer.

    That is all.

  6. Posted by Peru | February 21, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Oh no you didn't!

  7. Posted by Guest | February 21, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Was that cluzo's mom?

  8. Posted by Standup Guy | February 21, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    I know some traders who photograph hookers just to see what develops….! Seriously, my hooker film photography project is on a roll…! Two hookers were talking about my request for them to "get closer". "What'd he say?" says one. "He wants to focus…."says the other. "Both of us?" says the first…..! So, the Goldman guys like to run the movie "Taxi Driver" backwards to watch Jodie Foster pay the guy….! A JPM trader from New York City on a 3-week due dilligence project in Dallas goes to a whorehouse and tells the Madame he wants the meanest , ugliest hooker in the place. She says, "But you're a wealthy bigshot trader…you could have the best lady in the place!" JPM guy replies, "Yes, but I'm homesick….."…..!

  9. Posted by guestapo | February 21, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Worst comment left anywhere on the internet, ever.

  10. Posted by guest | February 21, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Don't quit your day job.

  11. Posted by VonSloneker | February 21, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    …yeah, I suppose so. My price per trick is higher, but I still need to shower for an hour when I get home.

    – C. Arnade, Minivan someplace in the Bronx

  12. Posted by The Truth | February 21, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    The Bloomberg headline writer declaring that Greece "wins" a second bailout must be using the Charlie Sheen definition

  13. Posted by pazzo83 | February 21, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Dear Eurozone,

    Thank you for letting us resume our 30 hour work weeks, debt-fueled spending binges, and generally profligate lifestyles.



    P.S. Fuck Germany

  14. Posted by Guest | February 21, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    I couldn't even read it. You did better than I could.

  15. Posted by Shecky Kohler | February 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    If DSK and a hooker decided to get married in a bath tub it would be a "double ring ceremony"!

  16. Posted by Click on Through | February 21, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Loved it!


  17. Posted by Texashedge | February 21, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    You think he's good at his day job?

  18. Posted by Im_a_Dude | February 21, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    a lot of hooker articles today. busy weekend Matt?

  19. Posted by oxenboxen | February 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    trolling dealbreaker commenters like you…. yea

  20. Posted by Im_a_Dude | February 21, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    what makes you think he has a day job?

  21. Posted by BrotherLehman | February 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Dear Mr. Arnade,

    I deeply regret to inform you that I cannot transfer Munich Re's accounts to your personal oversight. Could I interest you in EVP of our affairs in Lille?


  22. Posted by UBS Libor Dept | February 21, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    So, does the latest disclosure now make DSK a noted hooker fucker, or will there only be one for eternity?

  23. Posted by Guest | February 21, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Maybe Spain can use that money to buy Puerto Rico back?

    – UBS History Quant

  24. Posted by superdadinnj | February 21, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    I'm pretty sure that the prosties that he was photographing are supplementing their income from UBS

  25. Posted by guest | February 21, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    So true, so false: Bess did you take Monday off to recover from a night of raging following the premier of Eastbound & Down Season 3?

  26. Posted by AIG Tectonic Quant | February 21, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Why did they name gold "dubloons" after a city in Ireland?

  27. Posted by Guest | February 21, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Rumor in the market is that Wilbur was seen with lipstick on in the early morning hours, cosying up to Jean-Claude Juncker after the press conference to ask for some bailout money.

  28. Posted by PermaGuestII | February 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    He's the French version: Le Premier Baseur de Putes.

  29. Posted by Guest | February 21, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    You can put lipstick on a pig but you cannot put pig on a lipstick.

    – PETA

  30. Posted by Guest | February 21, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Dear Eurozone,

    Love what you've done with Greece. And the whole "profit sharing," pass through on Purchase vs. Face deal, brilliant.

    We're thinking of developing a similar pitch for California circa 2016; would you be interested in consulting?

    Hugs and Kisses,


    P.S. Fuck inflation, we don't shut down the printers for nobody!

  31. Posted by Guest | February 21, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Wait the rest of Europe doesn't have 30-hour work weeks?

  32. Posted by Jason Sudeikis | February 21, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Because every time I look at you my penis is Dublin?

  33. Posted by vitamin a | April 20, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    This writing has inspired me to start writing on my own blog

  34. Posted by bookmarking service | September 24, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    apH0ym Major thanks for the blog post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.