• 03 Apr 2012 at 9:29 AM

Opening Bell: 04.03.12

U.S. Economy Enters Sweet Spot as China Slows (Bloomberg)
An improving job market, rising stock prices and easier credit are combining to lift U.S. consumer confidence and spending, with optimism measured by the Bloomberg Comfort Index near a four-year high. Personal-consumption expenditures increased by the most in seven months in February, rising 0.8 percent, the Commerce Department said last week. “We’re entering a sweet spot for the economy,” said Allen Sinai, president of Decision Economics Inc. in New York. “We’re in a self-reinforcing cycle,” where faster employment growth leads to higher household income and increased consumer spending.

China’s Central Banker Sees Risk of Global Recession (WSJ)
China’s central bank Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan warned that the global economy hasn’t yet escaped the financial crisis, while cautioning the U.S. to take “more responsibility” for its monetary easing. There are “new elements that could bring the global economy back into recession,” the central bank chief said in a panel discussion Tuesday at the Boao Forum in the southern island province of Hainan, without elaborating on what the elements are.

JPMorgan’s Hannam Resigns After Market Abuse Fine (Reuters)
JPMorgan Chase’s Ian Hannam, one of its most senior London-based bankers, has decided to resign after being fined by Britain’s financial watchdog for market abuse, according to an internal memo the bank sent to staff. In a separate statement, Hannam said he would appeal the 450,000 pounds ($720,700) fine by the FSA.

CFTC Deals Out Royal Pain (WSJ)
In a federal-court lawsuit filed Monday in New York, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission alleged a “wash trading scheme of massive proportion” by RBC, Canada’s largest bank. From 2007 to 2010, officials at RBC coordinated with two subsidiaries on the purchase and sale of futures contracts that gave the right to sell stock later at certain prices, the CFTC alleged. The alleged scheme eliminated the possibility that RBC would suffer any losses on the investments, while locking in “lucrative” Canadian tax breaks on dividend payments, according to the lawsuit.

SEC Probes Groupon (WSJ)
The regulator’s probe into the popular online-coupon company is at a preliminary stage and the SEC hasn’t yet decided whether to launch a formal investigation into the matter, the person said. The SEC decision to examine the circumstances surrounding Groupon’s surprise revision is the start-up’s latest run-in with the regulator. Groupon twice revised its finances before its November IPO. An SEC spokesperson declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Groupon.

JOBS Act Jeopardizes Safety Net for Investors (Dealbook)
Andrew Ross Sorkin: “Maybe President Obama should have bought shares in Groupon’s I.P.O. If he had, he would understand what some Groupon investors may be feeling as he prepares this week to sign a new piece of legislation to help start-ups get financing. Had he purchased $10,000 worth of shares on the open market on the first day of public trading for Groupon, the online coupon company based in his hometown Chicago, he would have lost a good chunk of his investment, putting him in the red by almost $4,100 today. That means he would have lost about 41 percent of his investment in Groupon in just five months, while the Nasdaq rose some 16 percent.”

James Cameron Changes Stars In Titanic (CM, Time)
The director unveiled a 3D version of his multi-Oscar winning classic last month (Mar12) and he resisted the temptation to use its reworking as an excuse to cut scenes he’s no longer happy with. But there was one shot Cameron felt obliged to alter, because a top stargazer informed him the astral pattern onscreen was incorrect for the night the liner sank in 1912. The scene involves Kate Winslet’s character, Rose DeWitt Bukater, drifting on a piece of wood and gazing at the night sky as the disaster unfolds. Cameron tells British magazine Culture, “Oh, there is one shot that I fixed. It’s because Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is one of the U.S.’ leading astronomers, sent me quite a snarky email saying that, at that time of year, in that position in the Atlantic in 1912, when Rose is lying on the piece of driftwood and staring up at the stars, that is not the star field she would have seen, and with my reputation as a perfectionist, I should have known that and I should have put the right star field in. “So I said, ‘All right, you son of a bitch, send me the right stars for the exact time, 4.20am on April 15, 1912, and I’ll put it in the movie.’ So that’s the one shot that has been changed.”

‘Apple Fever’ to Push Stock to $1,001, Topeka Capital Says (Bloomberg)
Apple, already the world’s most valuable company, will see its stock price reach $1,001 within 12 months, lifted by growth in China and the debut of a new television product, according to Topeka Capital Markets. The new target, issued yesterday by Topeka’s Brian White, is the highest among the 45 analysts tracked by Bloomberg and represents a 62 percent increase over the current price. The gains will be fueled by demand for the next iPhone, in addition to the expansion into China and the TV market, he said.

Judge OKs MF sale (Dow Jones)
A judge approved a Jefferies Group affiliate’s purchase of MF Global Holdings Ltd.’s liquidating brokerage’s remaining gold, silver and other precious-metal assets. Judge Martin Glenn of the US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan approved the sale, but much of yesterday’s time was taken up by issues regarding insurance meant to pay for former MF Global executives’ legal defenses. Jefferies is buying the remaining 106 warehouse certificates — not the actual gold and silver bars — of MF Global’s former commodities customers.

Ann Romney Says Campaign Will ‘Unzip’ the Real Mitt (The Note)
Ann Romney defended her husband’s sense of humor today during a radio interview, explaining that if people think the candidate seems too stiff at times as the host suggested, she thinks “we better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out.”

51 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (51)

  1. Posted by guest | April 3, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    “we better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out.”

    and they say mormons don't like to party.

  2. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    We have AAPL approaching one million bajillion dollars by mid-year.

    -Timbuktu Capital Markets Analyst

  3. Posted by guest | April 3, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    That photo, right click, save as wallpaper, done.

    -guy who's not afraid to admit he cried

  4. Posted by PermaGuestII | April 3, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    "Titanic" < "A Night to Remember"

  5. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    In a related story, Dive Bove just broke out in a torrential sweat thinking of all the houses on all the coasts he's going to buy with a little help from Apple.

  6. Posted by SEC probers | April 3, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Don't worry Andrew Mason, Groupon is the stage name of a tranny performer we hired

  7. Posted by guest | April 3, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Draw me like one of your French girls.

  8. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    That scene still makes me shiver.

  9. Posted by pazzo83 | April 3, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    James, it was actually cloudy that night where the ship sank. I know you are a perfectionist so I just thought you should know.

    - NOAA Climatologist

  10. Posted by Cut Me | April 3, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    James, the entire movie is not historically accurate. Nothing was in color then, as it was not invented until 1931. Please redo.

    -UBS History Quant

  11. Posted by Beavis | April 3, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    he he 4:20 he he

  12. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    YOU SON OF A BITCH!

    Your Friend,
    James

  13. Posted by Laxbro | April 3, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Not afraid to admit you cried? You should be.

  14. Posted by Laxbro | April 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    How do you draw body odor?

  15. Posted by Annoying | April 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    I don't think they had wetsuits either back then…plus they all look way to calm for just having survived a disaster.

    -UBS Continuity Quant

  16. Posted by pazzo83 | April 3, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Everything was silent as well, as sound wasn't invented until 1927.

    - Singer of Jazz Quant

  17. Posted by HFguy | April 3, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    “So I said, ‘All right, you son of a bitch, send me the right stars for the exact time, 4.20am on April 15, 1912, and I’ll put it in the movie.’ So that’s the one shot that has been changed.”

    This should be Matt's standard reply to all his haters as well.

  18. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    What does that even mean?

  19. Posted by Michael Snr. | April 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Are you a retard or just acting like one.

  20. Posted by Bove Quant | April 3, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Houses that she'll be buying, and buying aggressively.

  21. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    It's OK. I'm not afraid to admit that the song makes my ears cry.

  22. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    I remember my first trip to the comments section.

  23. Posted by RBS Rocks! | April 3, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    I'm sure he's just kidding around, everyone knows color that sharp wasn't available until the 1990s.

    - RBS Senior History Quant

  24. Posted by UBS = Disaster | April 3, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    You also seem way to calm for being involved in an ongoing disaster.

  25. Posted by Bove Quant | April 3, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Houses that she'll be buying, and buying aggressively

  26. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Great nips!

  27. Posted by ShortNaked | April 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Im surprised he didnt ask me about the stars. I know everything.

    -Gartman

  28. Posted by Laxbro | April 3, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    In short, it means that men who aren't afraid to admit they cried during a DiCaprio movie should in fact be afraid to admit they cried. They suffer from delusions, a lack of masculinity and likely a shortage of musculature they failed to acquire playing real sports while growing up in a lacrosse hotbed. guest who cried probably wears v-neck t-shirts, which some would argue is a form of cross dressing.

    - Not the joke briefer but a fan of his work, and never been to LA but a huge Dodger fan

  29. Posted by They | April 3, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    I never said anything about them not liking to party. But golden plates? Seriously? Religion veto.

  30. Posted by guest | April 3, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Horrible imitation of the Joke Briefer is in-line with the quality of your comments, which consistently suck.

  31. Posted by guest | April 3, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Tell us about the time you and your laxbros "accidentally" blew each other.

  32. Posted by Laxbro | April 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    I'd direct you to one of the many free pornography sites available on the web if you're interested in illustrating the repressed homosexual thoughts you have when in the equinox steam room.

  33. Posted by Sheee | April 3, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    I am proud to say i never even saw that flick.

    When i've said that to people they literally do like a double take reasses as if I'm a freak or something.

  34. Posted by newspeak | April 3, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    what is the difference between colored, or person of color ?

  35. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    With little wavy lines?

    -Pepe LePew

  36. Posted by The Real Gartman | April 3, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Imposter, I predicted that he would make the oversight of not consulting me.

    -Guy who might be interested in your views on predicting puking on rugs, one of the few areas his prediction skills are unfortunately lacking in.

  37. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    French trollops with body odor is a myth. Trust me.

    - DSK

  38. Posted by whowhawhen | April 3, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    "Apple, already the world’s most valuable company, will see its stock price reach $1,001 within 12 months"

    $1002, Bob

    UBS Showcase Showdown Quant

  39. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Funniest UBS comment I've read in a while. Damn near spit up my limonata.

  40. Posted by Where | April 3, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I'll allow it, but you better be going somewhere with this UBS Continuity Quant.

  41. Posted by Nigerian Banker | April 3, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Hello intelligent and wise investor in Groupon,

    We want to remind you that we in it for long haul and stand by our greatest of ideas. Groupon is stock for children and grand childrens! This is only formality that very common practice, even Apple works with SEC and if you sold when it near IPO you kick yourself now. Don't make same mistake twice!

  42. Posted by next article | April 3, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Dennis Gartman has joined UBS as a media entertainment analyst according to Dick Bove.

    -Comment Briefer

  43. Posted by UBS MD | April 3, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    a split limonata can be very painful

  44. Posted by Pigpen | April 3, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    what am I, dirt ?

  45. Posted by Texashedge | April 3, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Saw it on a transatlantic flight. Not as bad as I thought it would be. Then again, I had just taken a Xanax and had a few drinks. The scene with the Russian sniper was pretty cool.

  46. Posted by PermaGuestII | April 3, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    The ship sank in half the time it takes to watch the damn movie. No thank you.

    I'm still waiting for "Lusitania"- almost as many dead, just as luxurious a ship, it would be a war movie, and if the time ratio holds it would be <1hr long.

  47. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 1:26 PM
  48. Posted by trojan_ | April 3, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Bad news: http://www.smh.com.au/world/mali-rebels-plant-fla
    -Senior National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State Quant

  49. Posted by trojan_ | April 3, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    brorape is no laughing matter. wait for the uptick when DMB goes on tour this summer

  50. Posted by Cosmo Kramer | April 3, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    The Andrea Doria collided with the Stockholm in dense fog 21 miles off the coast of Nantucket.

    - From the book "Astonishing Tales of the Sea."

  51. Posted by Guest | April 3, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    My enthusiasm's back. That one was brilliant. Maybe it's the meds, but whatever.

    - Guy whose wife says I'm not as short-lived as before