Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 03.13.12

Bond Trading Revives Banks (WSJ)
Gains in the financial firms’ fixed-income businesses, which can account for as much as half of revenue, are putting companies including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and the J.P. Morgan unit of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. on track to report their strongest numbers since the first quarter of 2011, said bankers and analysts.

U.S. and Europe Move on China Minerals (WSJ)
The Obama administration Tuesday intends to escalate its trade offensive against China, a move heavy with political overtones, by pressing the World Trade Organization to force the export giant to ease its stranglehold on rare-earth minerals critical to high-tech manufacturing.

New York City Tops Global Competitiveness, Economist Report Says (Bloomberg)
New York City ranks first among 120 cities across the globe in attracting capital, businesses and tourists, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit report commissioned by Citigroup. London was the second most-competitive city, followed by Singapore, with Paris and Hong Kong tied for fourth place, according to the report, which was released today. Among U.S. cities, Washington, Chicago and Boston made the top 10. The report cited New York’s diverse economy, driven by media, arts, fashion, technology and finance. In 2010, New York was second only to California’s Silicon Valley as a source of venture capital in the U.S., according to the report.

Fed Opposes Subpoena For Bernanke Testimony (WSJ)
Lawyers for the six plaintiffs, which include the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, want to question Mr. Bernanke about conversations he had with Mr. Lewis before the Merrill purchase closed in January 2009, said a person close to the case.

Ex-Lehman exec arrested again (Stamford Advocate)
Bradley H. Jack, a former investment banking chief at Lehman Brothers and an owner of the most expensive residential property in Fairfield, has been charged for the second time in less than a year with forging a prescription for a controlled substance. Jack, 53, of North Avenue, was charged Friday by Westport police with second-degree forgery in connection with an incident last November when he is said to have forged the date of a prescription for a controlled substance at a CVS pharmacy that was made out to him by a Fairfield doctor.

Euro-Zone Ministers Press Spain for a Deal on Deficits (WSJ)
Euro-zone finance ministers on Monday pressed a budget plan on Spain—regarded as a key test of ambitious new rules for the currency bloc—that would allow the government some leeway on its budget deficit for this year but would keep a tough deficit target for 2013. The plan would mean Spain would still have to embark on a bruising austerity program over the next two years that would cut nearly 6% of gross domestic product off its deficit. The program would be particularly challenging given Spain’s contracting economy and 23% unemployment rate, Europe’s highest. Ministers said after the meeting that Spain had agreed to consider the proposal.

Greek Students Fight Stray Dogs and Despair Amid College Cuts (Bloomberg)
Higher education in Greece, as in much of Europe, has been battered by the recession and austerity measures. Budget cuts of 23 percent since 2009 mean buildings aren’t heated in the winter, schools have slashed faculty salaries and newly hired professors can wait more than a year to be appointed. Students say it’s hard to be hopeful with youth unemployment surpassing 50 percent and protesters seizing university buildings. “People are pessimistic and sad,” said Konstantinos Markou, a 19-year-old law student, speaking in a lobby at the University of Athens, where dogs fought nearby and students say drug dealers and users congregate. “The sadness is all around the air.”

Entire Arena Football team cut during pregame meal at Olive Garden (YS)
The owner of the Pittsburgh Power fired all 24 members of his team during a pregame meal at an Orlando-area Olive Garden. With AFL players set to strike before the 2012 season opener, owner Matt Shaner reacted first, cutting his entire team hours before kickoff of a game against the Orlando Predators. “Mid-statement, all the players got up and left,” former Power center Beau Elliott told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Every player got up and left while he was still talking. There were 15 to 20 angry, large individuals.”

Tainted Libor Guessing Games Face Replacement by Verified Trades (Bloomberg)
The London interbank offered rate, the benchmark for $360 trillion of securities, may not survive allegations of being corrupted unless it’s based on transactions among banks rather than guesswork about the cost of money. “The methodology used to formulate Libor is totally unsuitable for the modern world,” said Daniel Sheard, chief investment officer of asset manager GAM U.K. Ltd., which manages about $60 billion. “The British Bankers’ Association needs to come out on the front foot and say ‘this is a system that was appropriate 20 years ago but is no longer appropriate and we are going to change it.’”

SEC set to file charges over private trading (FT)
The Securities and Exchange Commission is close to filing civil charges tied to the trading of private stocks against at least three executives, making it the first case since regulators began reviewing secondary markets more than a year ago. The fresh scrutiny comes as Congress weighs laws to loosen restrictions on private trading, allowing private groups to have more shareholders and market their stock to a wider range of investors, to make it easier for start-up companies to raise capital and create jobs. It also comes just months ahead of an expected initial public offering for Facebook, which has been the most heavily traded private stock.

Obama in Poll Wins More Americans Than Not Saying They’re Better (Bloomberg)
More than twice as many Americans view the economy’s prospects as brightening as see them darkening, a reversal from nine months ago, when more people expected deterioration ahead, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted March 8-11.

Ruth Madoff Moves To Greenwich (Greenwich Time)
While some Old Greenwich residents said they did not like the idea of Madoff taking up residence in the neighborhood, others shrugged off the news that Madoff was living in town. Neil Lucey, a semi-retired investment banker who has lived in Old Greenwich for 15 years, said he had “no adverse reaction” to hearing Madoff had moved in.

Researchers say long-lost Leonardo may have been found (Reuters)
Art researchers and scientists said on Monday that a high-tech project using tiny video probes has uncovered evidence that a fresco by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci lost for five centuries may still exist behind a wall of Florence’s city hall…Researchers used tiny, medical-style endoscopic probes and other high-tech tools inserted through existing cracks in the outer wall holding the Vasari fresco and took samples of substances. “We found traces of pigments that appear to be those known to have been used exclusively by Leonardo,” said Maurizio Seracini, an engineer and expert in art diagnostics who has been on the trail of the “Lost Leonardo” for three decades. “These data are very encouraging,” he said, adding that one black pigment found was believed to be of the same type used by Leonardo on the Mona Lisa.

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125 Responses to “Opening Bell: 03.13.12”

  1. The Truth says:

    Grand Forks Olive Garden > Orlando Olive Garden. Just sayin'.

    – Marilyn Hagerty

  2. VonSloneker says:

    Man, apparently I need to take some classes at the University of Athens this off season

    – Michael Vick

  3. superdadinnj says:


    Call Me

    ~Dr Drew

  4. Cut Me says:

    What is a crime is the price of the prescriptions.

    -B. H. Jack

  5. Guest says:

    Greenwich has a bus terminal?

    –Guy wondering how Ruthy got there

  6. InfiniteGuest says:

    Kaffee: Did you order the Merrill acquisition?
    Bernanke: I did the job that—-
    Kaffee: Did you order the Merrill acquisition?
    Bernanke: You're goddamn right I did!

  7. Class Pedant says:

    "Obama in Poll Wins More Americans Than Not Saying They’re Better"

    I've read that headline seven times and still can't figure out what they are trying to say.

  8. Hank Greenberg says:

    He looks so regal in that pic.

  9. Col Thunder says:

    Why is there no such thing as winter anymore?

  10. investorcluzo says:

    I don't know why those guys stormed out, at least the meal was paid for.
    -UBS MD

  11. Frank the Tank says:

    I mean, take yesterday for example. We were out at the Olive Garden for dinner, which was lovely. And I happen to look over at a certain point during the meal and see a waitress taking an order, and I found myself wondering what color her underpants might be. Her panties. Odds are they are probably basic white, cotton, underpants. But I sort of think well maybe they're silk panties, maybe it's a thong. Maybe it's something really cool that I don't even know about.

  12. Hey-o says:

    Re-examining my relationship with Olive Garden after digging up this old WSJ story.

  13. Larry Moniker says:

    @ Bess

    When will you post the 2013 US NEWS MBA rankings? I want to see some rage on the comment boards.

    Also, I don't care how bad the news is; you never walk away from an Ogi's never-ending-pasta-bowl, never.

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