Opening Bell: 04.17.12

Goldman Earnings Beat Expectations (WSJ)
For the first quarter, the firm’s revenue from fixed income, currency and commodity trading totaled $3.46 billion, down 20% from a year earlier although more than double what the firm booked in the fourth quarter. Investment-banking revenue came in at $1.15 billion, down 9.1% from a year, yet up 35% from a fourth quarter that was bleak across Wall Street. Goldman posted a profit of $2.11 billion, compared with a year-earlier profit of $2.74 billion. Earnings per share—reflecting the payment of preferred dividends—rose to $3.92 from $1.56 a year earlier, topping the $3.55 per-share profit expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Paulson Said to Short Europe Bonds Amid Spain Concern (Bloomberg)
John Paulson, the billionaire hedge-fund manager seeking to reverse record losses in 2011, told investors he is shorting European sovereign bonds, according to a person familiar with the matter. Paulson, 56, said during a call with investors that he is also buying credit-default swaps on European debt, or protection against the chance of default, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Spanish banks are of particular concern as their holdings of the country’s debt and client withdrawals make them overly dependent on European Central Bank financing, Paulson told investors.

No Double-Dip Deja Vu Seen for U.S. Economy (Bloomberg)
“It feels eerily similar to last year, but fundamentally it’s quite different,” said Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist for Deutsche Bank Securities in New York. He sees the economy growing 3 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, compared with 1.6 percent in 2011.

Ainslie’s Maverick Makes First Start-Up Seeding In Sycamore Lane (WSJ)
Maverick Capital Management LP, the $9 billion investment firm run by Lee Ainslie, has made its first seeding investment in a start-up hedge fund, according to marketing materials sent to investors. According to the materials sent by Sycamore Lane Partners to investors, Maverick provided it with start-up capital, allowing the long/short value-driven equity fund to begin investing April 2. The amount of Maverick’s investment isn’t outlined, but is described as “significant capital contributions with extended lock through 2015.”

Alabama Bond Fight Begins New Round (WSJ)
Wall Street has sparred with Jefferson County for years over the local government’s crippling debt. Now the battle has moved underground, and the two sides are arguing over the condition of 3,200 miles of sewage pipes below Alabama’s largest metropolitan area. A federal judge is weighing whether officials of the bankrupt county can divert money that would have gone to pay J.P. Morgan Chase and other debtholders in order to upgrade its leaky sewer system. The case could have far-reaching implications for the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market. A ruling in the county’s favor could upend the notion that holders of debt backed by revenues from utilities such as sewer systems should continue to be paid in full when a municipality files for bankruptcy protection.

Dog Seamus ‘Loved’ Trips Atop Family Car, Says Ann Romney (ABC)
Seamus, Mitt Romney’s Irish setter who traveled with his young family strapped to the roof of their station wagon, “loved” those trips, despite once getting ill, Ann Romney told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview. Seamus’ 1983 trip from Boston to a summer cottage in Ontario, Canada, inside a dog carrier lashed atop the family’s Chevrolet, has become a regular barb in Romney’s side and is routinely used by his critics to paint him as uncaring. Mitt Romney told Sawyer that the Seamus attacks were the most wounding of the campaign “so far,” but Anne Romney insisted the dog loved traveling that way and looked forward to trips. “The dog loved it,” Ann Romney said. “He would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation. It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks.” Adding to the left’s narrative that Romney had little compassion for the animal is a detail from the 1983 trip that Ann Romney confirmed to Sawyer. The dog became sick, defecating all over itself and the windshield of the car, leading Romney to hose them both off before they continued on the drive to Canada

For Two Economists, the ‘Buffett Rule’ Is Just a Start (NYT)
As much as Mr. Piketty’s and Mr. Saez’s work has informed the national debate over earnings and fairness, their proposed corrective remains far outside the bounds of polite political conversation: much, much higher top marginal tax rates on the rich, up to 50 percent, or 70 percent or even 90 percent, from the current top rate of 35 percent. The two economists argue that even Democrats’ boldest plan to increase taxes on the wealthy — the “Buffett Rule,” a 30 percent minimum tax on earnings over $1 million — would do little to reverse the rich’s gains. Many of the Republican tax proposals on the table might increase income inequality, at least in the short term, according to William G. Gale of the Tax Policy Center and many other left-leaning and centrist economists.

Romney Not Too Rich To Relate (Bloomberg)
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he isn’t too rich to relate to average Americans and President Barack Obama should “start packing” for a White House departure in 2013. Romney made the remarks in an ABC News interview aired yesterday as Democrats accused him of running a secretive campaign and called on him to release more tax records….Periodically while campaigning this year Romney has made comments drawing attention to his wealth — and earning scorn from opponents — including saying he has friends who are NASCAR owners and that his wife, Ann, owns a “couple” of Cadillacs.

Brazil’s Unpredictable Central Banker Tombini Confounds Critics (Bloomberg)
No central banker in the world’s top 10 economies has surprised analysts as frequently as Brazil’s Alexandre Tombini. Since taking office 15 months ago, Tombini set interest rates lower than economists expected in three out of 10 policy meetings, including an August reduction that all 62 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg failed to anticipate. Russia’s central bank, the second most unpredictable, defied economists in three out of 14 rate decisions in the same period. So far, Tombini has been vindicated. Inflation in Brazil, at 5.24 percent in March, is easing at a pace faster than analysts forecast. While investors have speculated that Tombini may be yielding to political pressure to lower rates, his gloomy assessment of the world economy and risk-taking may prove correct, according to Citigroup Inc.’s Dirk Willer.

Husband watching porn online finds film starring his wife (Emirates)
An Egyptian man who went online to watch a porno film for the first time got the shock of his life when he found that the woman in the film was his own wife. The man, identified as Ramadan, instantly collapsed in disbelief on the floor at an internet shop before coming round and rushing home to face his unfaithful wife. The woman first denied his allegations and started to swear at him, prompting her husband to face her with the film…“I found 11 films showing my wife in indecent scenes with her lover….it was the first time I watched a porno film and I did this just out of curiosity,” Ramadan told Egyptian newspapers at his house in the northeastern province of Dakhalia…Ramadan said he had been happy during his marriage life until he logged on to that website.

61 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (61)

  1. Posted by VonSloneker | April 17, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Do you realize the volume of porn you'd have to view to "happen" across an amateur Egyptian housewife video?

    "First time" my ass Ramadan…

  2. Posted by guest | April 17, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    11 films!

  3. Posted by guest | April 17, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    I'm sorry, you have the wrong number. No, there's no "Mark" here. My name? It's Marc. No… I spell it with a C.
    Who put you up to this? What do you mean you're my "wife"? O-kay… if you're my "wife", what's our cat's name? Mr. Stitches. Damn, you're good!

  4. Posted by SEC Official | April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Yes, I do.

  5. Posted by guest | April 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    That a couple of days work.

    P. North

  6. Posted by investorcluzo | April 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    wait, the SEC has an office in Egypt?

  7. Posted by Carlos | April 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Is it true that j.a.p.y chicks don't make porns?

  8. Posted by Let's Go Egypt | April 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    So that's why those Egyptian Internet Cafes smell so musty. I thought it was all the Koshari.

  9. Posted by Guest | April 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    True love is hard to find. Sometimes you think you have true love and then you catch the early flight home from Al Qababt and a couple of nude people pop out of your bathroom like a goddamned pharoah's tomb ready to tag team your wife….

  10. Posted by pazzo83 | April 17, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Things that are $48 billion:

    Amount projected to be raised over 10 years by the "Buffett Rule"
    Cost of running the Federal gov't for approximately 4 days

    Congress has always been known for its brilliant ideas…

  11. Posted by HFguy | April 17, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    An Egyptian man who went online to watch a porno film for the first time got the shock of his life when he found that the woman in the film was his own wife. The man, identified as Ramadan

    – You can't make this up.

  12. Posted by Guest | April 17, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Re to Romney article: It's hard for me to grasp how such a clueless and retarded family made so much damn money.

    Jeb in '16!

  13. Posted by Guest | April 17, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Fap like an Egyptian.

  14. Posted by Guest | April 17, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    So am I to understand from the above Romney related stories that Romney isn't too rich to relate to the average American because it's just like hosing the shit off your dog?

  15. Posted by Anne_Romney's_Logic | April 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    My son used to love it when Jerry Sandusky would call. He would sometimes get so excited he would potty his pants. He just LOVED going to work out at Penn St. One time he came back and he vomited for a day. All of that fun and excitement was just too much to handle!

    – Sandusky victim's Mom

  16. Posted by VonSloneker | April 17, 2012 at 10:37 AM


    "…pop out of your bathroom like a couple of nude mummies from a pharoah's tomb to tag team your wife."

  17. Posted by TheMiddleClass | April 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Considering BHO has shit all over the US Economy, then yes, pretty much.

    And in this example, we're stuck driving a Chevy Volt.

  18. Posted by Guest | April 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    I thought Berlusconi was Italian.

    -UBS Egyptian semen trader

  19. Posted by Im_a_Dude | April 17, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    i know a few people named Seamus who also like to go on trips strapped to the roof of my station wagon.

  20. Posted by An optimist | April 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Jennifer! Bring in Dr. Poop!

  21. Posted by Scarab O'neil | April 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Wait, that camel's toe seems familiar……

  22. Posted by guest | April 17, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    You're an idiot.

  23. Posted by guest | April 17, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    You're kind of (totally) a halfwit, aren't you?

  24. Posted by MIT | April 17, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    If I was POTUS we all drive BMW Z4 supercar.

  25. Posted by PermaGuestII | April 17, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    How the hell do you get married to a porn star and not notice? Wouldn't there be some… clues?

  26. Posted by You Seem Brilliant | April 17, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Bain Capital was a totally clueless and retarded idea

  27. Posted by UBS auditor | April 17, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    that's pretty specialized…

  28. Posted by filthy falcon | April 17, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I been busy with this wireles shit…

  29. Posted by Intheyear2000 | April 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Guest has never been on an Ivy campus, where there are countless seemingly retarded intellects. As for Bain, it's easy to get in that position when your cult, your Dad and various oligarchs guarantee your success. It was no accident George W. Romney became CEO of American, Gov of Michigan and Presidential candidate.

  30. Posted by PermaGuestII | April 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    I thought you hated the internet, Dr. Kaczynski.

  31. Posted by GoBack2Gawker | April 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    'was no accident George W. Romney became CEO of American, Gov of Michigan and Presidential candidate. '

    Because he was born in Mexico to missionaries and didn't graduate from college?

    Son, you make stupid look like 'genius.'

  32. Posted by Guest | April 17, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Sure you can.

    – Emirates 24/7 Editor

  33. Posted by Guest | April 17, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    A little late on the bandwagon huh Paulson?

  34. Posted by trojan_ | April 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    -And how do we begin to fap, Clarice? Do we seek out things to fap? Make an effort to answer now.
    -No. We just…
    -No. We begin by fapping what we see every day. Don't you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don't your eyes seek out the things you want?

  35. Posted by guest | April 17, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    you mean like your fiancee's vagina looking like two slices of week-old roast beef?

  36. Posted by Guest | April 17, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    That whole Emirates news page is disturbing

  37. Posted by Wizard | April 17, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Wizard Sleeves!

  38. Posted by Guest | April 17, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Hey, Ramadan, consider this a divorce.

  39. Posted by Guest | April 17, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    As long as you're not making any proprietary bets…

  40. Posted by chrls | April 17, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Came for the crate jokes, stayed for pharaoh jokes.

  41. Posted by Tseug | April 17, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    You're not kidding – wow.

  42. Posted by PermaGuestII | April 17, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Just looked at it. Jeezus H. Makes the NY Post look like the Des Moines Register.

  43. Posted by Danker_Banker | April 17, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    No idea where you were going with this one but you should definitely kill yourself

  44. Posted by emirates subscriber | April 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    ya, see the Pippa bubble has popped…

    not a great face chick ol pippa

    good name and ass tho

  45. Posted by P. Falcone | April 17, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    I put on my robe and wizard sleeves.

  46. Posted by Ax to Grind | April 17, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    no but the GSA does……..

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