Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 06.21.12

SEC Said To Depose SAC’s Cohen In Insider-Trading Probe (Bloomberg)
Cohen, 56, was recently deposed by Securities and Exchange Commission investigators in New York about trades made close to news such as mergers and earnings that generated profits at his hedge fund, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the investigation isn’t public. Neither Cohen nor SAC Capital, which oversees about $14 billion, has been accused of wrongdoing.

Four-Week Jobless Claims Average Reaches 2012 High (Reuters)
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 387,000, the Labor Department said. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 389,000 from the previously reported 386,000.

Lawmakers Call For IPO Overhaul (WSJ)
A bipartisan group of lawmakers called on regulators to overhaul the way initial public offerings are conducted, concerned that last month’s flubbed stock sale by Facebook shows the current system unfairly punishes small investors. In a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro, Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) prodded the agency to revamp rules for pricing and disclosure in IPOs. Mr. Issa, who wrote the letter on behalf of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the social-networking company’s steep share-price decline since its May 18 offering is a sign that investment banks are able to “dictate pricing while only indirectly considering market supply-and-demand.” Separately, the Democratic chairman of a subcommittee of the Senate Banking Committee said regulatory changes are needed to bolster investor confidence sapped by Facebook’s botched debut.

Facebook’s 22% Rally Helps Stock Avoid Worst IPO Return In U.S. (Bloomberg)
So that’s something!

Riskier Bets Pitched To Asia’s Rising Rich (WSJ)
In Japan, brokers are dangling what they claim is a tasty product in front of wealthy investors: a “triple-decker” that uses options to squeeze higher returns from stocks, “junk” bonds or other assets. If a triple-decker doesn’t suit an investor’s fancy, there is the increasingly popular—and slightly less complex—”double-decker.” Elsewhere in Asia, so-called hybrid bonds and other high-yield varieties can be had. Investors in Singapore recently could buy so-called perpetual bonds through ATMs. Across Asia, brokers are pushing to sell increasingly complex products to the region’s expanding ranks of investors, especially wealthy ones. These types of products appeal to those hungry for yield who normally focus on stocks and real estate but are worried about falling equity markets and the sudden shortage of initial public offerings.

BlueMountain Said To Help Unwind JPMorgan’s Whale Trades (Bloomberg)
A hedge fund run by a former JPMorgan Chase executive who helped create the credit- derivatives market is aiding the lender as it unwinds trades in an index at the heart of a loss of more than $2 billion. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC, co-founded by Andrew Feldstein, has been compiling trades in Series 9 of the Markit CDX North America Investment Grade Index in recent weeks, then selling the positions to the New York-based bank, according to three people outside the firms who are familiar with the strategy. JPMorgan tapped BlueMountain as a middleman after trades in its London chief investment office grew so large that the bank was creating price distortions that hedge funds sought to exploit, said the market participants, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the trades. BlueMountain was one of the funds that benefited from the price dislocations, the people said.

US Olympic committee send cease and desist letter to knitting Olympics (TNT)
The US Olympic committee has sent a cease and desist letter to the social networking group Ravelry, who had organised a Ravelympics in which contestants would compete in events such as ‘scarf hockey’ while watching the actual Games on TV…The US Olympic Committee has said that “the athletes of Team USA have spent the better part of the entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them” and that “using the name ‘Ravelympics’ for a competition that involves an afghan marathon and sweater triathlon tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games”.

Romney Campaign Said To Ask Scott To Downplay Job Gains (Bloomberg)
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message that the nation is suffering under President Barack Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter. Scott, a Republican, was asked to say that the state’s jobless rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, according to the people, who asked not to be named.

Lonely Hedge Fund Bullish On Greece Tries To Woo Investors (Bloomberg)
In March, Elliott met with the investment chief of a family office in London who said within seconds of sitting down that the firm had no interest in giving money to a hedge fund wagering on Greece. The executive merely wanted to hear his story, Elliott, the founder of Naftilia Asset Management Ltd., said in a telephone interview from his office in Athens. Elliott, 39, responded by asking a few questions of his own, including whether the executive had invested in Russia after its 1998 currency crisis, in Argentina 10 years ago after the nation defaulted on its debt or in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) in March 2009, when the benchmark plunged to its lowest point in 13 years. Finally, Elliott questioned whether the family office’s investment chief had ever bought shares of Apple. In all cases, the answer was no. “Then you are not qualified to be discussing Greece with me because you have missed the best investment opportunities over the past 20 years,” Elliott retorted.

National Bank Of Greece To Sell Luxury Resort As Slump Bites (Bloomberg)
If you know anyone who’s interested: The 3.3 million-square-foot (307,000 square-meter) Astir Palace complex has already drawn investors’ interest, according to Aristotelis Karytinos, general manager of real estate at the lender. The Athens-based bank and Greece’s privatization fund, which owns part of the property, will put out a public tender in coming months, he said.

Fed Warns Of Risk To Economy (WSJ)
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear in a news conference after the policy makers’ meeting that he is prepared to take further action if he doesn’t see progress on bringing down unemployment, which was 8.2% in May. “I wouldn’t accept the proposition though that the Fed has no more ammunition,” Mr. Bernanke said. He added, “if we don’t see continued improvement in the labor market we’ll be prepared to take additional steps.”

Australian mega-brothel gets go-ahead (AP)
A Sydney brothel has received the green light for a multi-million-dollar expansion which will see it become Australia’s largest sex premises, with rooms featuring multiple beds and pool tables. Plans to double the number of rooms at inner Sydney’s “Stiletto” into a mega-brothel complex were knocked back late last year by the city council on the grounds that it was too big. But the owners won an appeal to the Land and Environment Court this week, with Commissioner Susan O’Neill ruling the Aus$12 million ($12.2 million) development, including a wing for group bookings, should go ahead…Stiletto promotes itself as “the world’s finest short-stay boutique hotel and Sydney brothel”. Its standard hourly rate of Aus$370 includes room, lady of choice and beverages.

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Show all comments

151 Responses to “Opening Bell: 06.21.12”

  1. J. Supple says:

    Things are looking up – fb rebound and I'm well hedged with the mega-brothel in Oz.

  2. Intact VCard says:

    Under that definition, is the back seat of my Daewoo also a "short stay boutique hotel?"

  3. VonSloneker says:

    Olympic Committee, we feel your pain…

    – Watergate & Lollapalooza

  4. guest says:

    one-way ticket to sydney please!

    -elliot s., new york, ny

  5. Bandersnatch says:

    Regarding the hourly rate, is it pro rated if you only need 10 minutes?
    – Curious in NYC

  6. Alt_EST says:

    1. Pass JOBS Act, weakening disclosure requirements and putting small investors at an even larger disadvantage.
    2. ????*
    3. Demand regulatory overhaul of IPO process to protect small investors
    4. Profit!**

    *See an opportunity to appear as if you care about the public
    **But probably still not for small investors

  7. Deleveraging says:

    Am I the only one who found a piece on Double-Deckers & Triple-Deckers; followed by a story about the world' s biggest brothel somewhat tantalizing?

  8. HFguy says:

    Japan, brokers are dangling what they claim is a tasty product in front of wealthy investors: a “triple-decker”

    – Japanese are really messed up. I wish I was there.

  9. Guest says:

    SEC Investigator #1: "We've tried everything, he's as slippery as an eel"
    Mary Shapiro: "What about of sending him some smallpox infested Loro Piana zip top sweaters?"
    SEC Investigator #2.: "It's summer."
    Mary Shapiro: "Goddamit"

  10. Van Beek says:

    Furthermore, using the name "Special Olympics" for a bunch of retards at a picnic is tasteless.

    — US Olympic Committee

  11. Guest says:

    “ . . . using the name ‘Ravelympics’ for a competition that involves an afghan marathon and sweater triathlon tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.”

    I would say that any competition that fails to offer sacrifices to Zeus, that has athletes who wear clothes, and that incorporates table tennis and synchronized swimming denigrates the true nature of the Olympic Games, but maybe I'm just old-fashioned that way.

  12. Steven A Cohen says:

    These are clown questions, bro!

  13. William R Somerset says:

    It's like "Se7en," only it's Gasparino's "4our," the four, high profile convictions by the SEC for Obama.

    1- Gupta
    2- Cohen
    3- TBD
    4- TBD

  14. HAM05 says:

    did you guys hear that turtles have huge cocks?

  15. Guest says:

    Blue Mountain said to help JPM unwind trades? Not anymore now that everyone on the Street will see them coming….

  16. Lowly Assistant says:

    If olympians aren't able to knit, the terrorists have won.

  17. Judge Brah says:

    I know

  18. SoConfused says:

    'THE developer planning Australia's largest brothel has been granted the right to proceed, but a court has curbed its ambitions by imposing a limit of 1.5 patrons to every sex worker.'

    1.5 johns per prostie? Math, how does it fcking work?

  19. J Edgar Huuver says:

    Stevie, the Mobile Skate Sharpening Van outside your manse may not have been exactly what it said it was. Looks like the Feds had the traps set all along:

    From a £5m Georgian pile to a prison cell, the downfall of greedy husband and wife insider traders: Secret tips from sister in the U.S. helped them to pocket a fortune

    INSIGHT-Ex-Orioles player Eddie Murray is part of insider trading inquiry

  20. Guest says:

    "Investors in Singapore recently could buy so-called perpetual bonds through ATMs."

    Will vids of this be on redtube soon?


  21. Mexi_Cant says:

    Why don't we just pay female workers in finance in shoes instead of dollars?

    -Guy who just tripped over his coworkers cubicloset.

  22. Guestmyname says:

    Ackerman: What’s the difference, briefly, between gambling and investing?

    Dimon: When you gamble, on average, you lose. The house wins.

    Ackerman: That been my experience in investing.

    Dimon offers to find him a better investment advisor and Ackerman looks amused.

    Ackerman: I would tend to agree with you. But we seem to be treating them quite the same. I used to think all of Wall Street was on the level, that it facilitated investing, that it allowed people and institutions to put their money into something they believed in and believed would be helpful and beneficial and would grow and make money and especially good for the economy and on the side create a lot of jobs good for our country and good for America

    Now a lot of what we are doing with this “hedging,” and you can call it protecting your investment or whatever, but it’s basically gambling. You’re just betting that you might have been wrong. It doesn’t help anything succeed any more or encourage anything any more. It creates the possibility that people say “Do these guys really know what they are doing if they are now betting against their initial bet?” And then if you go and hedge against your hedge, which means you’re betting against your first bet, it seems to me that you are throwing darts at a dart board and putting a lot of money at risk just in case you were wrong the first time. I don’t see how that creates one job in America, I don’t see how it helps the American economy, I don’t see how it helps the housing market or the building market or the “let’s make steel” or widget market one tenth of a zillionth of a percent. What it helps is if you are right a majority of the time, then it makes a bunch of money for the guys who did it, and doesn’t help the company or the industry, the economy, or the country at all. And if you are wrong, it puts systemically everything at risk. And when I mean everything, I mean the confidence the American people, the investing community, and everybody else has in the system. And that’s a loss you can’t hedge against.

  23. Steven .k says:

    <img src=>I think the market was expecting QE and not just OT. <img src=>

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