June 2012

  • kicking mark zuckerberg when he's down

    Founding Facebook President Meh At Best On FB

    It’s fine if you’re a hermit but otherwise the site just doesn’t do it for Sean Parker anymore.

    Mr. Parker, who was the founding president of Facebook and was instrumental in helping Mark Zuckerberg expand that site, his latest venture’s ability to help people expand their social networks and meet new people. He said social networks like Facebook can actually prevent you from meeting new people, and he described the current repertoire of social Web experiences as “boring.” “We’re trying to restore surprise and serendipity to the Internet,” he said. “It was definitely there in the early days, but it has disappeared.”

    Napster Founders Unveil a Video Chat Service [Bits]

    / Jun 5, 2012 at 4:09 PM
  • News

    Layoffs Watch ’12: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Barclays?

    Supposedly summer cuts are under consideration at all firms.

    Morgan Stanley is planning to eliminate about 100 trading jobs internationally in the next several weeks — with an unknown number of the cuts coming from New York. At Goldman, executives are likely to let the hatchet fall if the slowdown in trading doesn’t reverse itself, bank officials have said…Goldman is already cutting selectively among its middle-management ranks but could cut even deeper, sources explained. Goldman CFO David Viniar has told people that the firm may have to undergo a “right-sizing” again if the markets’ rocky road doesn’t improve, according to sources. And it’s not just Goldman and Morgan. Industry sources said that a number of other firms, including Citigroup and Barclays Capital, may also look to trim staff.


    / Jun 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM
  • News

    College Kids Prove Totally Unhelpful In Getting Off Accused Insider Trader Garrett Bauer

    Despite giving “147 speeches to students and traders warning about insider trading since his arrest,” […]

    / Jun 5, 2012 at 1:43 PM
  • News

    Let’s Get One Thing Straight: Ken Griffin Only Accuses People Of Attempting to Gain A Competitive Advantage By Gaining Access To Proprietary Trading Strategies– He Does Not Get Accused!

    Back in October, a former Citadel employee, Yihao “Ben” Pu, was arrested and charged with “stealing trade secrets” from Ken Griffin (by “copying company data onto a removable storage device,” and then attempting to sell it to Teza Technologies AKA the firm a bunch of ex-Citadel guys tried to join in 2009 before being sued for doing so by Griffin, as well as the the shop a former Goldman programmer, Sergey Aleynikov, went to jail for after giving it proprietary GS code). Now, because apparently people just can’t help themselves, KG has been forced to levy another allegation of theft against some former employees who he believes took a piece of his property when they left for high-frequency trading firm Jump Trading. Does Griffin have actual evidence that they swindled him? No, not exactly. But he’s got a hunch, and that hunch is based on the fact that since 2005, when people from Citadel’s “tactical trading group” started leaving for Jump, “some of the strategies” employed by the TTG “have become less profitable” and are “behaving in a way consistent with their having been copied by rivals.”

    So what KG would like a court to do is force Jump to turn over “personnel documents, strategy and trading records, and source code,” which will prove him right and the Citadel defectors to be the plunderers he knows they are.  Evidence in hand, Griffin will then sue Jump and everyone named Ken Griffin will go home happy. The only issue that needs to be worked out is Jump Trading’s cooperation, which so far is proving difficult to obtain. In fact, the firm is being downright unhelpful and not only that? Its legal team has accused Griffy-boy of being the thief, or at least trying to be. That’s right: the way JT sees it, Citadel’s new profitable algorithm development system is a two-step process that goes something like this:

    Step 1: Steal successful algorithms from rival firm.

    Step 2: Use them.

    In its response filing, Jump said that Citadel had no evidence that the algorithms had become less profitable because of any of Jump’s actions. It said that any of the hundreds of other algorithmic trading firms could be at fault. “The petition is nothing more than a transparent attempt by Citadel to obtain a competitive advantage by gaining access to Jump’s proprietary and confidential trading strategies,” Jump’s motion said.

    Your move, KG.

    Citadel Accuses Jump Employees Of Stealing Secrets [Reuters]

    / Jun 5, 2012 at 1:31 PM
  • News

    Ken Lewis Just Wanted To Protect Shareholders From Worrying About Merrill’s Massive Losses

    There are two competing theories of how companies should be governed; one says that management […]

    / Jun 5, 2012 at 8:54 AM
  • News

    Layoffs Watch ’12: Goldman Sachs

    A whole bunch of senior people were to pack up their things and leave last Thursday.

    Goldman Sachs laid off about 50 people last week, according to people briefed on the matter but not authorized to speak on the record. The cutbacks have rattled some people in the firm, in part because a number of the employees were managing directors and on the higher end of Goldman’s pay scale.

    We’re also told that “good performers, not dead weight” were among those cut, which must doubly sting.

    Goldman Sachs Cuts A Little Deeper [NYT]

    / Jun 5, 2012 at 8:49 AM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 06.05.12

    Germany Pushes EU Bank Oversight (WSJ)
    Though Berlin has resisted a banking union, Ms. Merkel’s initiative shows Germany is willing to talk about an overhaul and is trying to focus the debate on Europe’s biggest banks. “We will discuss to what extent we need to put systemically relevant banks under a specific European supervisory authority so that national interests do not play such a large role,” Ms. Merkel told reporters ahead of a meeting in Berlin with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, referring to the June 28-29 summit.

    Citi Bets That Proof Leads To Profits (WSJ)
    Seeking a shot in the arm for the ailing banking business, Citigroup Inc. C -2.30% is expanding into a little-known but fast-growing field known as identity proofing—the tedious and time-consuming task of proving people are who they say they are. The third-biggest U.S. bank by assets later this month will begin issuing digital-identity badges to the employees of Defense Department contractors, ranging from makers of high-tech engineering parts to the janitors who clean the bathrooms. Citigroup is the only financial institution that has clearance to sell the identity cards and grab a piece of a market whose annual sales could reach into the billions of dollars. But the badge business is just the beginning. Citigroup’s hope is that the contractors will eventually use the plastic on which the badges are issued for more than just identity verification. If companies adopt the technology, their employees will be able to collect paychecks and pay business expenses using the cards—enabling Citigroup to collect fees on all of those transactions.

    John Paulson Buys Saudi Prince’s $49 Million Aspen Palace (CNBC)
    The lavish ranch, sold by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, was once the most expensive estate ever listed in the U.S., with a price tag in 2006 of $135 million. The property includes a main house with 15-bedrooms, 16-baths, and 56,000-square-feet. It also includes several side buildings, as well as a water treatment plant, gas pumps and other high-tech features. Mr. Paulson’s $49 million purchase included two properties — the 90-acre main property as well as a 38-acre property nearby called Bear Ranch. Bear Ranch and Hala Ranch together might have once fetched more than $150 million in 2006 or 2007, according to Aspen real-estate experts.

    Blankfein: Nyet to Petersburg leaks (NYP)
    Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein yesterday squarely disputed his former director Rajat Gupta’s claim that Gupta was permitted to speak about details of a 2008 board meeting with his alleged co-conspirator, hedge-fund titan Raj Rajaratnam. “Did you authorize Mr. Gupta to reveal any of the confidential information discussed at the board meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia?” prosecutor Reed Brodsky asked the CEO. “No,” Blankfein said. The details included directors discussing the possibility of Goldman buying a commercial bank or insurance company, including AIG, in the early days of the mortgage crisis.

    MF Global Trustee Sees $3 Billion in Potential Claims (Reuters)
    MF Global Holdings could have more than $3 billion in claims against its former affiliates, Louis Freeh, the trustee overseeing the wind-down of the parent company of the collapsed broker-dealer, said in his first status report. The potential recoveries for the parent company’s creditors will come primarily from such claims, Freeh said in his 119-page report that was submitted to the bankruptcy court.

    Former bath-salts addict: ‘It felt so evil’ (CNN)
    The man is strapped onto a gurney and restrained, yet he is singing, making faces and twitching. “You know where you’re at?” a paramedic asks him, but Freddy Sharp can’t answer. He was, he explained later, off in his own world after overdosing on the synthetic drug known as “bath salts.” “I’d never experienced anything like that,” Sharp told CNN’s Don Lemon. “It really actually scared me pretty bad.” He said he was hallucinating about being in a mental hospital and being possessed by Jason Voorhees, the character from the “Friday the 13th” movies. “I just felt all kinds of crazy,” said Sharp, now 27, of Tennessee, who says he hasn’t used bath salts in months. “It felt so evil. It felt like the darkest, evilest thing imaginable.” The drug made national headlines recently after a horrific crime in Miami, where a naked man chewed the face off a homeless man in what has been called a zombie-like attack.

    Australia Central Bank Cuts Rates to Fight Global Gloom (Reuters)
    Australia’s central bank cut interest rates for a second month running on Tuesday in a bid to shore up confidence at home, just as finance chiefs of advanced economies around the world prepare to hold emergency talks on the euro zone debt crisis. Citing a weaker outlook abroad and only modest domestic growth, the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.5 percent.

    Burbank Bets On Global Recession With Subprime Conviction (Bloomberg)
    In the dozen years that John Burbank has run his $3.4 billion Passport Capital hedge fund, he’s never been as negative on global stocks as he is now. Burbank, 48, expects that the U.S. and much of the rest of the world will slide into a recession, and he’s setting up for that event with a big wager that global stocks will fall. Most of his peers are still betting that stocks, especially those in the U.S., are more likely to rise than decline. “You have a great contrarian outcome here that will be obvious in hindsight, just like subprime was,” Burbank said in an interview last month. “I have a lot of conviction about something that others don’t seem to see clearly.”

    In Facebook, Options Traders Shift to Post-Earnings Bets (WSJ)
    While June and July bets have been most active since Facebook options began trading last Tuesday—accounting for more than half of the total options outstanding—contracts expiring in August and September have been picking up steam. Downside options that expire after the company’s first public earnings report—expected at the end of July, though no date has been set—were the most actively traded Monday. The most popular positions included bets Facebook would fall below $25 a share over the next two to three months.

    Real life Garfield eats his way to 40-pound frame (NYDN)
    A tubby tabby named Garfield was dropped off at the North Shore Animal League last week tipping the scales at nearly 40 pounds, and now the no-kill shelter is hoping to turn him into the biggest loser. “He needs to lose at least 20 pounds,” shelter spokeswoman Devera Lynn said. “He’s so big, he’s like a dog. He actually has his own room.” Garfield meanders slowly in smaller spaces. He’s being moved to a foster home Tuesday in hopes that a next of kin claims the orange-and-white kitty. But if that doesn’t happen, the North Shore Animal League has received several applications from folks willing to give him a permanent home. Lynn said they’ll work with an owner to put the cat on a healthier track. “He’s actually outgoing for a cat,” Lynn said. “Once he loses that weight, he’s going to be a rock star.”

    / Jun 5, 2012 at 8:29 AM
  • Write-Offs

    Write-Offs: 06.04.12

    $$$ Germany Pushes EU Bank Oversight [WSJ]

    $$$ Goldman CEO testifies at Gupta insider trial [Reuters]

    $$$ Lawyer Kluger Gets 12-Year Sentence For Insider Trading [Bloomberg]

    $$$ Lisbon to inject €6.6bn into largest banks [FT]

    $$$ Giant Prehistoric Insects Shrank To Escape Developing Birds [Bloomberg]

    $$$ PIMCO is seeking a Cash, Short Duration, and Income product associate in Newport Beach [DBCC]

    $$$ Stock Market Could Bounce, but Look Out Below [CNBC!]

    $$$ Dealer corporate bond inventories continue to shrink [Sober Look]

    $$$ HSBC tests cash machines in Athens for drachmas [ThisIsMoney via NYO]

    $$$ Bernie Madoff’s son and future daughter-in-law are desperately trying to land a downtown apartment but can’t — because building owners don’t want to be associated with them. Andrew Madoff and Catherine Hooper have tried to cover up their connection to the Ponzi schemer by making appointments under Hooper’s name. She then shows up alone to view the $20,000-per-month pads, brokers said. Hooper speaks generally, saying the space is for her, her fiancé and their children, the sources said. But once the brokers explain who Hooper is to the landlord, the couple is immediately rejected, the sources added. [NYP]

    / Jun 4, 2012 at 7:30 PM
  • News

    Rajat Gupta Defense Team: You Think Our Client Would Pass Inside Information To A Guy Who Didn’t Even Have The Decency To Invite Him To His Birthday Party?

    What motivates people to share material non-public information with a person they know will use it for profit? For some, it’s simply about greed. For others, it’s about the thrill. For yet others, it’s about pillow talk. For Rajat Gupta, the McKinsey director currently on trial for allegedly passing inside information to Raj Rajaratnam, it’s about friendship, according to prosecutors who are trying to make the case that Raj and Rajat were the best of buds and that’s what buds do. They they back each other up when they drunkenly hit on the girlfriend of the wrong guy at the bar, they stand up as best men at each others’ weddings, they pick up the phone and say “Buy GS” when they know for a fact Warren Buffett is about to do so, too. And although attorneys representing Gupta don’t deny the two were thick as thieves, they argue that while perhaps back in the day Rajat would have provided useful information to Raj, there is no way he would have done so after Big R twice violated the bonds of friendship. In the first instance, there was this:

    Defense attorneys have argued that Messrs. Gupta and Rajaratnam had a falling out in fall 2008 after Mr. Gupta lost his entire $10 million investment in a fund managed by Mr. Rajaratnam and therefore wouldn’t have passed along inside information…The precise timing of their relationship’s deterioration could be crucial in proving Mr. Gupta’s guilt or raising doubts in the minds of jurors about whether he conspired to commit securities fraud…Defense attorneys have said Mr. Gupta was furious at Mr. Rajaratnam in the fall of 2008, when Mr. Gupta’s $10 million investment in a fund called Voyager Capital Partners Ltd. evaporated. According to Mr. Kumar’s testimony, Mr. Gupta felt Mr. Rajaratnam’s negligence had allowed Voyager to collapse.

    And then this happened:

    / Jun 4, 2012 at 5:53 PM
  • News

    Analyst: In 5-8 Years, Dan Loeb Will Be Gathering Evidence Revealing Mark Zuckerberg Made False Claims About Dropping Out Of Harvard

    Facebook will lose dominance as a major web company in less than a decade, Eric […]

    / Jun 4, 2012 at 4:27 PM
  • News

    Convicted Insider Trader Garrett Bauer Hoping College Kids Will Help Him Get Off

    Remember Garrett Bauer? For those who need a refresher, GB was a trader (who “mostly worked from home”) who was charged last year for running a decades-long insider trading scam with an M&A attorney, Matthew Kluger, that involved stealing information from several law firms. (In April 2011, 20 FBI agents knocked on Bauer’s door to arrest him which, while terrifying, didn’t come as much of a shock– the duo had recently become suspicious that the authorities were onto them and, naturally, went about destroying evidence, a process Bauer recounted to a cooperating witness in a conversation he didn’t realize was being recorded, telling the CC: “My heart was beating ten thousand miles an hour. I went right up to my apartment and I broke the phone in half and went to McDonald’s and put it in two different garabage cans. And someone was watching me. I thought it was an FBI agent. And I asked him, ‘Do you know me? You look familiar.’ And, like, I was so panicked. I literally didn’t sleep that entire night…I can’t sleep. I am waiting for the FBI to ride into my apartment. I am on edge all night thinking they are coming in.”)

    Anyway, Bauer ultimately pleaded guilty and is set to be sentenced today. Though he could receive up to 11 years in the big house, a judge will be taking into consideration letters “expressing support or urging leniency” sent on Bauer’s behalf, some of which were written by fans he’s gained working the college lecture circuit the past few months, explaining to undergrads why they don’t want to follow in his footsteps (hint: it involves sleeping on bunk-beds).

    “I’m here hoping you won’t commit the same crime I committed, insider trading,” Bauer told the students at NYU’s Stern School of Business in February. “I feel remorse. That’s why I’m here. It’s my way of trying to apologize to everyone for what I’ve done and try to make amends.” Bauer said he hopes that his “scared straight” message, delivered in 147 speeches since last fall at business schools, law schools, churches and synagogues, will move the judge to grant him leniency. Sentencing judges can consider whether a defendant has accepted responsibility and shown remorse for his acts. “I’m not blind anymore,” Bauer said in an interview. “I see how wrong it was, how unfair it was to everybody else that’s trading. You get away with it once, and then you think you can get away with it every time. I almost never considered the question of getting caught. It was more a question of let’s figure out a way to make money and not lose money.”

    Bauer spoke several times a week in person or via Skype at schools including Harvard University, Yale University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Texas, the University of Michigan and Duke University. He booked his own speeches, sometimes called “Confessions of an Inside Trader.” Bauer gave the same basic narrative in two appearances observed at NYU, as well as at Cardozo Law School in New York, Drexel University in Philadelphia and a Rutgers University class in Jersey City, New Jersey. Bauer, lean at 5-foot-11 and 145 pounds, favors button-down shirts and khaki pants. He speaks rapidly in a nasal voice, lacing his account with jokes…In every talk to students, Bauer discussed how 20 FBI agents came to his apartment to arrest him and how they played the tapes for him, as well as his time in the Hudson County Jail. He tried hard to show no emotion to violent criminals.
    “Saying it’s a scary place kind of understates it,” he said. “It’s the scariest place on earth.”

    At least one professor believes Bauer’s talk scarred his students for life, which should count for something. And according to Sameen Singh, a recent Stern grad who will soon start a job at Morgan Stanley, U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden ought to go easy on the guy, who is just another bro. “I was impressed by how human he was and how his friendships and relationships played a role in his crimes. My friends were quite taken aback by how similar he was to them. He came from humble beginnings, and he’s not a deviant mastermind criminal. He’s just a regular guy.”

    Prison-Bound Bauer Reprises ‘Confessions Of An Inside Trader’ [Bloomberg]

    / Jun 4, 2012 at 2:44 PM
  • News

    MF Global Treasury Employees Kept The Firm Afloat By Imagining It Had More Money

    If I were writing a 275-page report explaining What Went Wrong At A Big Thing […]

    / Jun 4, 2012 at 2:14 PM
  • News

    No One Told Ken Lewis Shareholders Needed To Know About Merrill’s Massive Losses, Okay?

    Remember in 2008, when Ken Lewis was all, “Oooh, wait, I don’t know about this Merrill Lynch thing, it looks kinda bad, I don’t think I want to buy it anymore, I’m nervous [bites nails, shifts weight from one foot to the other like he has to pee]” and tried to back out of the deal? And Hank Paulson threatened to stuff him in a meat locker if he did so Lewis said okay, fine, I’ll buy it and then did, without mentioning anything to shareholders about Merrill’s impending losses? Well 1) People are still upset about
    it but 2) Ken was under the impression shareholders were on a need to know basis.

    Top executives at Bank of America Corp did not tell shareholders just prior to a 2008 vote on its purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co that losses were mounting and expected to weigh down earnings for years, papers filed in private shareholder litigation show. But the bank and former Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis said in their own court papers that they should not be liable to shareholders who claimed to have lacked information they needed to vote on the once $50 billion merger. Lewis also said he had been advised by the bank’s law firm and chief financial officer that no disclosure was necessary.

    No further questions.

    BofA masked Merrill loss before 2008 vote: filings [Reuters]

    / Jun 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM
  • News

    Go Pitch Your Money Management Skills Elsewhere, Warren Buffett Is All Stocked Up Here

    …Although Warren Buffett hired the hedge fund manager who won the last two private lunches […]

    / Jun 4, 2012 at 12:25 PM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 06.04.12

    Kerviel’s Refusal To Be SocGen Scapegoat May Harm Appeal Chances (Bloomberg)
    Jerome Kerviel began his fight today against a 2010 conviction for Societe Generale’s 4.9 billion- euro ($6.2 billion) trading loss, telling a Paris appeals court that the bank knew about his actions. His lawyers said they’ll show judges at the four-week appeal starting today that the bank knew before the 2008 trading loss that he was exceeding his mandate with risky bets and can’t claim to be an innocent victim. “I think that I’m not responsible for this loss,” Kerviel told judge Mireille Filippini at the start of the hearing today in response to a question about why he was appealing. “I always acted with the knowledge” of the bank.

    Germany Signals Crisis Shift (WSJ)
    Germany is sending strong signals that it would eventually be willing to lift its objections to ideas such as common euro-zone bonds or mutual support for European banks if other European governments were to agree to transfer further powers to Europe.

    China Making Contingency Plans for a Greek Exit (Reuters)
    The Chinese government has called on key agencies, including the central bank, to come up with plans to deal with the potential economic risks of a Greek withdrawal from the euro zone, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday. The sources said the plans may include implementing measures to keep the yuan currency stable, increasing checks on cross-border capital flows, and stepping up policies to stabilize the domestic economy.

    Oversight Of JPMorgan Probed (WSJ)
    A federal agency that oversees J.P. Morgan Chase is taking heat over how much it knew about risk-taking in the part of the bank that suffered more than $2 billion in trading losses. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) asked Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry in a letter Friday for details about the regulator’s supervision of trading operations at the largest U.S. bank by assets. Mr. Brown also wants more information about the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s “process for reviewing trading operations” at J.P. Morgan and other big banks. The Senate Banking Committee, which includes Mr. Brown, is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday that will focus on the trading loss.

    JPMorgan Was Warned About Lax Risk Controls (NYT)
    A small group of shareholder advocates delivered an urgent message to top executives at JPMorgan Chase more than a year ago: the bank’s risk controls needed to be improved. JPMorgan officials dismissed the warning from the CtW Investment Group, the advocates, who also cautioned bank officials that the company had fallen behind the risk-management practices of its peers.

    Merrill Losses Were Withheld Before Bank of America Deal (NYT)
    What Bank of America’s top executives, including its chief executive then, Kenneth D. Lewis, knew about Merrill’s vast mortgage losses and when they knew it emerged in court documents filed Sunday evening in a shareholder lawsuit being heard in Federal District Court in Manhattan: Days before Bank of America shareholders approved the bank’s $50 billion purchase of Merrill Lynch in December 2008, top bank executives were advised that losses at the investment firm would most likely hammer the combined companies’ earnings in the years to come. But shareholders were not told about the looming losses, which would prompt a second taxpayer bailout of $20 billion, leaving them instead to rely on rosier projections from the bank that the deal would make money relatively soon after it was completed.

    Mets crasher out of jail, says he ‘got caught up in the moment’ (NYP)
    Mets fanatic Rafael Diaz said he got such an adrenaline rush from Johan Santana’s no-hitter at Citi Field that “he couldn’t help” himself from running on the field to celebrate. “I was overcome with emotion, just being a die-hard Mets fan,” Diaz said after his release from jail yesterday. “That’s all it was.” Diaz, 32, was charged with trespassing for taking part in the on-field celebration. He spent two nights behind bars before a Queens judge released him and pal John Ries, 25, on their own recognizance. Diaz returned to his Massapequa, LI, home, wearing the same Gary Carter No. 8 jersey he had on Friday night. He hit the showers and donned a fresh Santana jersey before explaining his stunt. After Santana retired the final St. Louis batter on Friday night, Diaz jumped over the railing on from his field-level perch on the first-base side of Citi Field. Moments later, Diaz was rubbing elbows with Santana, R.A. Dickey and Ike Davis in a joyous Mets mob. “I couldn’t help myself,” Diaz said. “I just wanted to be on the mound celebrating the no-hitter.” Diaz paid a stiff penalty, both at home and Citi Field. He missed his 1-year-old son’s birthday party Saturday, and the Mets have banned him for life from their home park. “That’s the bad part,” Diaz said of missing his son’s bash.

    Feds Eye MFGlobal’s False Promise (Bloomberg)
    Three days before MF Global filed for bankruptcy-court protection, CME Group was assured by the New York company of a $200 million cushion in accounts that ensured customer funds were being kept separate from the firm’s own money. But the customer accounts actually were in the red, and the deficit ballooned to more than $900 million on the night of Oct. 30. MF Global tumbled into Chapter 11 on Oct. 31. The bankruptcy trustee trying to recover money for the firm’s U.S. customers has estimated that the shortfall now is roughly $1.6 billion. A large chunk of the money is stuck outside the U.S.

    IPO doubts plague Nasdaq’s Grief-eld (DJ)
    Companies in the early stages of going public are raising questions about whether they want to list with Nasdaq…The questions, coming two weeks after Bob Greifeld’s exchange botched the largest, most anticipated initial public offering in a generation – Facebook’s $16 billion coming-out party – are the first indication that Nasdaq’s headaches over the snafu are likely to linger. “There’s no question, this Facebook situation has put on the table the question of Nasdaq’s market structure and its market quality,” one exchange expert said.

    Madoff kin having trouble finding an apartment (NYP)
    Andrew Madoff and girlfriend Catherine Hooper have tried to cover up their connection to the Ponzi schemer by making appointments under Hooper’s name. She then shows up alone to view the $20,000-per-month pads, brokers said. Hooper speaks generally, saying the space is for her, her fiancé and their children, the sources said. But once the brokers explain who Hooper is to the landlord, the couple is immediately rejected, the sources added. “My owners would never, ever rent to him,” said a broker. “They will go through a lot of rejections.”

    China Muzzles Online Talk of Tiananmen Anniversary (WSJ)
    China’s Internet monitors have unleashed a broad clampdown on online discussion of the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, restricting even discussion of the nation’s main stock market when it fell by a number that hinted at the sensitive date. Officials minding China’s popular Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo beginning this weekend began blocking a number of terms that could refer to the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, an incident often referred to as June 4 or 64 in the Chinese-speaking world. Under the crackdown the government ordered troops to fire on unarmed demonstrators, likely killings hundreds.

    Dennis Gartman: 100% Chance Of Further Fed Easing (CNBC)
    Gartman believes a third round of quantitative easing could come as early as the Fed’s next meeting on June 19-20, or at the following meeting on July 31-Aug. 1. The central bank will want to ease as “far ahead” of the U.S. presidential election in November as possible, so it doesn’t come off as being “politically amenable” to the current administration, he noted.

    Dutch artist turns dead cat into remote-controlled helicopter, dubbed ‘Orvillecopter’ (NYDN)
    A Dutch artist, upset over losing his beloved pet, Orville, had the animal stuffed and transformed its body into a remote-controlled helicopter. The “half cat, half machine” piece of art was dubbed the “Orvillecopter.” The cat, who was killed when it was hit by a car, was named after famed American aviator Orville Wright. “After a period of mourning, he received his propellers posthumously,” Jansen said. A video posted to YouTube shows the flying feline slowly hover several feet in the air in a park, it’s body permanantely spread eagle with propellors on its front paws. Artist Bart Jansen teamed up with radio control helicopter expert Arjen Beltman after having a taxidermist preserve the pussy cat.

    / Jun 4, 2012 at 9:28 AM
  • News

    The CDS Market For Lemons

    A stylized picture of a credit default swap is that it’s a way for a […]

    / Jun 1, 2012 at 4:03 PM
  • News

    Former Piedmont Driving Club Bartender: Jacket And Tie Were Required, Pants Optional

    Reporter: When you read this letter, did it surprise you?
    Fred Blackburn, Former PDC Bartender: Not at all. I laughed, actually.
    Reporter: So this behavior is standard?
    Blackburn: Yeah…I remember seeing…a man’s private parts…not in the shower area.
    Reporter: So he’s in the bar and he’s exposing himself?
    Blackburn: Yeah, pretty much.

    / Jun 1, 2012 at 3:11 PM
  • News

    Actual Debate: Should Angela Merkel Slip Into Something More Comfortable To Indicate She’s Open To Euro Bonds?

    Ms. Merkel has taken Bettina Schoenbach’s advice to heart, exclusively wearing straight-cut pants and three-button, […]

    / Jun 1, 2012 at 2:05 PM
  • News

    Market Volatility Soon To Be Just A Distant Memory

    So, um, news today, not great, huh? So no surprise that stocks are down. It’s […]

    / Jun 1, 2012 at 1:55 PM
  • News

    If This Investing Thing Doesn’t Work Out, One Tudor Venture Employee Has A Future At Radio City

    Earlier this week, we had a little chat about letting your hair down in the summer months, but not so much that you get a reputation among colleagues and/or law enforcement officials. For example, while you should definitely allow yourself to enjoy some adult beverages during leisurely outdoor lunches and cut out early to grab a few or more with coworkers you actually like, you don’t want to have so many drinks that you drive a car through a stranger’s house. To that end, while you should certainly feel comfortable getting up on a bar or table to dance like nobody’s watching, you might want to think about not getting up on table and (allegedly) destroying thousands of dollars in lighting fixtures while demonstrating a roundhouse kick.

    The arraignment of Daniel J. MacKeigan, 39, of Hingham, Mass, on a single count of vandalizing property, was postponed. MacKeigaan was present in court for Monday’s hearing, but his attorney requested delay in the formal arraignment, and the assistant district attorney said he wanted time to possibly reconsider the severity of the charge against MacKeigan. MacKeigan was arrested at 1 a.m. early Sunday morning on Straight Wharf after allegedly destroying a $3,500 chandelier with a kick while standing on a table at the new Cru restaurant, in the former Ropewalk spot. The case will be back in court on June 18.

    Court Full After A Busy Weekend [Nantucket Inquirer And Mirror]

    / Jun 1, 2012 at 1:18 PM
  • News

    Nomura Shareholder Offers Novel Approach To Avoiding Bankruptcy

    Facilities that force employees to “hunker down.”

    Notice of Convocation of the 108th Annual Meeting of Shareholders [Nomura Holdings]

    / Jun 1, 2012 at 10:15 AM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 06.01.12

    Employment In U.S. Increased 69,000 In May (Bloomberg)
    American employers in May added the smallest number of workers in a year and the unemployment rate unexpectedly increased as job-seekers re-entered the workforce, further evidence that the labor-market recovery is stalling. Payrolls climbed by 69,000 last month, less than the most- pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, after a revised 77,000 gain in April that was smaller than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate called for a 150,000 May advance. The jobless rate rose to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent, while hours worked declined.

    JPMorgan Probe Widens (WSJ)
    Federal regulators are using powers they gained in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law to ramp up an inquiry into the recent trading blunders at J.P. Morgan Chase, people close to the investigation said…The probe focuses on what J.P. Morgan traders told their supervisors and internal risk-management staff as their wrong-way bets started to sour, the people said. If investigators find that employees made deceptive statements to superiors, that could constitute fraud under their authority to police the so-called swaps market…The probe could mark the agency’s first use of tools it was granted in the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. The measure extended the CFTC’s oversight and lowered the bar for bringing certain cases.

    JPMorgan’s Iksil Said To Take Big Risks Long Before Loss (Bloomberg)
    Iksil’s value-at-risk was typically $30 million to $40 million even before this year’s buildup, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the trades. Sometimes the figure could surpass $60 million, the person said. That’s about as high as the level for the firm’s entire investment bank, which employs 26,000 people.

    Josh Fink On A Losing Streak (NYP)
    Josh Fink, the son of BlackRock chairman Larry Fink, is losing money hand over fist in his hedge fund, Enso Global Fund. Enso fell 60.5 percent last year, and is down more than 7 percent through April. As a result of the losses, the 34-year-old Fink now manages just $44 million, down from as much as $700 million in 2008.

    ‘Fear of the Future’ Keeps Lid on Economic Growth Says Greenspan (CNBC)
    The former central bank leader — nicknamed “The Maestro” by his supporters — said he worries the current economy could be heading on a path similar to 1979, when the 10-year Treasury note was yielding around 9 percent before surging dramatically, gaining 4 percentage points in just a few months. “I listen to a lot of what people say that we don’t have to worry. We can do it in our own time,” Greenspan said in regard to trying to bring down Washington’s $1.2 trillion budget gap. “Good luck. The markets have not been told this.”

    This Summer an ‘Eerie Echo’ of Pre-Lehman: Zoellick (CNBC)
    The summer of 2012 is looking like an “eerie” echo of 2008 but euro zone sovereign debt has replaced mortgages as the risky asset class that markets are anxious about, said Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank. “The European Central Bank, like the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2008, has sought to reassure markets by providing generous liquidity, but collateral quality is declining as the better pickings on bank balance sheets are used up,” he added. To prevent investors from fleeing in panic, Europe must be ready with more than liquidity injections to contain the consequences of a possible Greek exit. “If Greece leaves the eurozone, the contagion is impossible to predict, just as Lehman (Brothers’ collapse) had unexpected consequences,” Zoellick said.

    Manhattan student who ‘bedded’ teacher scores $400 in wager with buddies (NYP)
    The high-school senior caught on camera locking lips with his hot-to-trot teacher won a bet with four of his buddies to see who would hook up with her first, The Post has learned. Eric Arty, 18, beat his pals — who each ponied up $100 — to win the jackpot as well as the affections of glamorous global-studies teacher Julie Warning, 26. “It was a bet with a group of his friends,” said Andrew Cabrera, a junior at Manhattan Theater Lab HS, where Warning worked until Tuesday, when she was reassigned to an administrative job. Cabrera said yesterday that Arty began the race as a long shot. “He would go after class and basically try to seduce her,’’ he said. “I don’t know if she knew [about the bet]. They were all trying to get with her. One of his [Arty’s] friends flirted with her more than anyone — I thought he would be the one, but Eric came out of nowhere and got her.”

    Spain Says It Has Months To Raise Bailout Funds (WSJ)
    Spain’s government says it has until at least October to raise the funds it needs for the €19 billion ($23.5 billion) rescue of lender Bankia SA, a move government officials hope will let Madrid pick the right moment to raise funds from financial markets and explore other funding options as it aims to avoid an international bailout. “We don’t have to raise the money right away, and when we do, it doesn’t have to be all at once,” a government spokeswoman said.

    Euro-Zone Data Deepen Gloom (WSJ)
    European Union statistics agency Eurostat said there were 17.4 million people without jobs in the 17 nations that use the euro in April, an increase of 110,000 since March and 1.8 million higher than a year earlier. That’s the highest total since comparable records began in January 1995, a spokesman said.

    Dimon Heading To The Hill (DJ)
    JPMorgan’s trader, Bruno Iksil, known as the “London Whale,” who is at the center of the bank’s $2 billion debacle, will not appear at a Senate Banking Committee hearing to discuss his role in causing the red ink.
    Instead, CEO Jamie Dimon appears set to square off against lawmakers alone on June 13. The once-unsullied bank executive will have to explain how he was blind to his Chief Investment Office’s outsized, wrong-way bet. Dimon is slated to meet with members of the House on June 19, sources said.

    Facebook Fiasco Coupled With European Crunch Freezes IPOs (Bloomberg)
    Facebook led U.S. initial public offerings to their worst monthly performance since Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed, as Europe’s debt crisis scuttled IPO plans from New York to Hong Kong. The Bloomberg IPO Index (BIPO), which tracks U.S. equities in the first year after their IPOs, sank 15 percent last month, with Facebook posting the worst one-week performance among the 30 largest U.S. IPOs since 2011. The IPO index’s decline is in line with the drop in October 2008, the month after Lehman’s bankruptcy triggered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    Green Lantern latest superhero to be outed as gay in ‘Earth 2′ issue two, following Marvel’s Northstar storyline (NYDN)
    DC Comics said Friday that Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern — a superhero first introduced in 1940 — will be reintroduced as gay in “Earth 2” issue two, hitting stores next Wednesday. The storyline was born out of the publisher’s reboot of their whole fictional universe last year, which reintroduces the heroes as younger versions of themselves again. The reboot effectively wrote out of existence Scott’s openly gay adult son, the superhero Obsidian. “I was sort of putting the team together and I realized one of the only downsides to relaunching the Justice Society as young, vibrant heroes again was that Alan Scott’s son was no longer going to exist in the reboot,” says “Earth 2” series writer James Robinson, who wrote a 1998 storyline about Obsidian that featured the first gay superhero kiss in comics. “I thought that was a shame and then it occurred to me, why not just make Alan Scott gay.”

    / Jun 1, 2012 at 9:07 AM