Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 07.31.12

RBS Braces Itself For Libor Deal (WSJ)
RBS stands apart from the other banks caught up in a trans-Atlantic probe of the rate misdeeds because of the U.K. government’s 83% stake in the lender. That has put U.K. authorities in an awkward position: They are under intense pressure to get tough on wayward banks but also are eager to protect the value of a taxpayer asset.

Defendant in Insider Case: I Was Just Doing My Job (WSJ)
Doug Whitman, a former hedge-fund manager, doesn’t deny that he probed public companies for nonpublic information. But his criminal-defense team plans to argue that its client was doing exactly what he was supposed to do when he persuaded employees of public companies to give him information that those companies’ top brass didn’t want getting out. Mr. Whitman “was doing what every diligent, competent fund manager and analyst should do—checking up on companies’ management to make sure they are being forthright with their investors,” said David Anderson, Mr. Whitman’s lead defense attorney, in an email.

Tiger Management Helps Next Generation Funds (NYT)
In a relatively young industry where stars can quickly fade, Tiger Management — and its myriad affiliates like Falcon Edge — is the closest thing to a hedge fund dynasty. After a brief career in finance, Mr. Robertson started Tiger in 1980 with seed money from friends and family. He regularly racked up double-digit returns by taking big positions in companies with good long-term growth prospects and aggressively betting against those stocks poised to fall. Mr. Robertson trained his young protégés — the so-called Tiger cubs — in the same tradition, creating the next generation of hedge funds stars. After leaving Tiger in 1993, Lee Ainslie started Maverick Capital, which currently manages roughly $10 billion. Stephen F. Mandel Jr. began Lone Pine Capital in 1997. Two years later, Andreas Halvorsen opened Viking Global. “We really gravitated to young people, and that was a great deal of our success,” said Mr. Robertson, 80, who often hired people in their 20s. “I was just an old goat with all these young geniuses around.” As the first wave of Tiger cubs age, they are breeding new funds, too. Blue Ridge Capital, where Mr. Gerson honed his skills, has been a particularly good incubator for talent. While Blue Ridge has subscribed to the long-term strategy of Tiger, the founder, Mr. Griffin, has infused the firm with his own philosophy. As a proponent of behavioral finance, he trained analysts like Mr. Gerson to identify how ego and emotion can affect the market and stock performance.

Biggest Chapter Yet For A Poison Pen (WSJ)
Daniel Loeb isn’t one given to half-measures. The hedge-fund manager competes in triathlons, never, ever drinks from a plastic water bottle and is unsparing at times in his criticism of corporate executives. That is exactly how his investors like him. “I didn’t give him the money to have a mellow Dan Loeb,” said Hugh F. Culverhouse, a Miami investor whose family once owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team. “If I want a mellow Dan Loeb, let me redeem.”…The Yahoo campaign signals a new phase in Mr. Loeb’s career. Until now, he was perhaps best-known for his poison-pen letters, in which he has scolded executives for everything from keeping relatives on the payroll to socializing at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Armed with a much bigger war chest—Third Point managed just $1.7 billion as of April 2009—Mr. Loeb can now aim for bigger targets. Mr. Loeb and his investors have a lot riding on a Yahoo revival. “If he makes money on his position, it will be good,” said David Tepper, a fellow hedge-fund manager who has known Mr. Loeb for years. “If he doesn’t make money, what is the point?”

British man rescued off French Atlantic coast after being overcome with Olympic mania and trying to swim to America (DM)
The unnamed 34 year old holidaymaker told his friends on the beach at Biarritz that he was off to New York to carry the Olympic spirit across the Atlantic. They thought he was joking but knowing that he was a strong swimmer decided to let him go telling him that a boat would come to rescue him if he got into difficulty. The man swam well beyond buoys 300 yards out to sea marking legal limits for bathing. Then, watched by lifeguards on the shore, he continued swimming until he was out of sight on his 3,594-mile journey. The lifeguards called out a helicopter and a diver dropped into the sea and explained to the man that it was not a good idea to swim across the Atlantic and advised him to head back towards France. He replied that he was a strong swimmer and felt up to it. At the same time lifeguards arrived in a rescue dinghy and threw the eccentric a line before towing him back to the beach. Laurent Saintespes, senior officer at Biarritz airbase told Agence France Presse, ‘He was a bit naive. But at a time when the Olympics are taking place in London you have to see the funny side of things’.

Billionaire Jeff Greene On Democracy (NYM)
Lately—like at a recent lunch with Steve Schwarzman, who has likened Obama to Hitler—Greene’s been trying another tactic. “Now I appeal to them selfishly,” he says. “ ‘Don’t you realize that if you don’t take care of this kid when they are 10 years old, you’ll take care of them when they are 20 and 100 instead? We just have to pay a little more taxes. It’s not going to kill us. You buy car insurance. Why not buy some democracy insurance?’ People think that Obama is this leftist, socialist guy,” he says. “But I don’t think they understand what people can go for when they are at the end of their line.”

South Korean Youth Eschew Samsung Jobs For Facebook Dreams (Bloomberg)
Not so long ago, South Korean students dreamed of lifetime jobs at Samsung Electronics Co. Now, many are shunning the juggernaut, intent on trying to emulate the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Sim Cheol Hwan, 27, is typical of the trend. He wants to take a break from college in Seoul to set up a company rather than line up for job interviews at Asia’s biggest electronics company paying an average of 77.6 million won ($68,300) a year. So he’s set himself up in his own business making apps for Samsung and Apple phones. “I don’t want to get a job at a top 10 Korean company,” said the Hanyang University engineering student, who spent two years in the military. “Zuckerberg’s success proves that there is a lot of money to be made” in startups.

Regulators Target Day-Trading Firm (WSJ)
In the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca, inside a garret up a narrow wooden staircase, four young men in T-shirts spend the day moving rapidly in and out of stocks, trying to ride their shifting momentum for profits. “It’s very stressful,” says one, dressed in a green T-shirt, blue shorts and Adidas sneakers. “The market is very hard to figure out.” The four traders are part of a world-wide network initially set up by a Toronto-owned firm called Swift Trade Inc. Swift’s founder, Peter Beck, turned it into one of the largest day-trading operations in the world over the past decade by aggressively expanding into far-flung locations, from China to Nicaragua to Romania, where he could recruit traders on the cheap. Mr. Beck also took an aggressive stance toward the law, say regulators in several countries where his firm has traded. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is expected on Tuesday to announce a settlement with Mr. Beck and an in-house brokerage unit for not establishing a supervisory system to prevent “a pattern of manipulative trading activity,” according to a copy of the settlement reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The Best CFOs: A Wall Street Journal Ranking (WSJ)
#16: Ann Marie Petach, BlackRock.

Chewbacca costume head from ‘Star Wars’ sold for $172K (NYDN)
A Chewbacca headpiece used in the original “Star Wars” trilogy sold for a whopping $172,200 at a movie memorabilia auction this weekend. The loyal and lovable walking carpet swept the competition, which included an “Edward Scissorhands” costume worn by Johnny Depp that sold for $86,100 and an Everlasting Gobstopper used in the 1971 movie “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” that sold for $49,200. The Chewie mask was described by auctioneer Profiles in History as the “finest full costume headpiece of Chewbacca from the original trilogy in private hands,” and “the finest screen-correct Chewbacca costume head from the Star Wars trilogy known to exist.” The eyes are actual casts of Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew’s closed eyes, the auctioneer said. The expected price for the well-liked Wookie was between $60,000 and $80,000, plus fees and taxes, according to the auction catalog…Four years ago, someone spent a reported $240,000 to get the lightsaber prop used by actor Mark Hamill in the first two movies.

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96 Responses to “Opening Bell: 07.31.12”

  1. Guest says:

    Opening Bell now at 7:30. Really?

  2. Hyena Wannabe says:

    I was sort of surprised as well.

    -Unemployed Trader in Bathrobe at Home Taking a Break While Applying Online for A Sears Blue Crew Position

  3. JohnnyCanes says:

    Daniel Loeb isn’t one given to half-measures. If the Europeans bring that torch over, he will swim back with it himself.

  4. Deleveraging says:

    Bess pulled an all nighter awaiting the UBS earnings.

  5. Guest says:

    Congrats? Ann?

  6. Brennan says:

    It's okay that mine's not movie quality…

  7. E. Cartman says:

    Hey, Bess: I'll chew your bacca.

  8. pazzo83 says:

    "a diver dropped into the sea and explained to the man that it was not a good idea to swim across the Atlantic"

    Try sailing across.

    – RMS Titanic

  9. Guest says:

    How much did the penguin suit from Billy Madison go for?

  10. Mighty Taco says:

    An MD, VP, Associate, and Analyst walk into a talent agents office, The talent agent looks up and says "what's the act that makes you four so special" . The Analyst, who's holding a boombox, turns it on and it begins to blair a bizzare avant-garde techno mix. The four all begin to strip and take their close off. Now nude, the MD, VP, Associate circle around a crouching Analyst and being peeing on him. While this is happening, the MD covers his fist in vasoline……ah forget it the mod wouldnt like an Aristocrate joke anyhow.

  11. Guest says:

    Did the French surrender when he came ashore?

    – Apologies to my French friends. I couldn't help myself.

    Examining motives

  12. Bonobo says:

    You lost me at "blair" and "close." But other than that I have no issue with this.

  13. InfiniteGuest says:

    Yes.

  14. Richy says:

    The grammar police need to go back to The Huffington Post.

  15. Nervous Laxbro says:

    Just read on Google news that Dennis Hopper's 21 year old son (handsome kid) is being sued for sexually assaulting a 16 year old girl after "plying her with drugs and alcohol." Wait, that's illegal?

  16. Raj Rajatanam says:

    I will carry the olympic spirit to Sri Lanka.

    –Raj Rajatanam

  17. facebook ipo says:

    ubs…

    candy from baby

  18. Guest says:

    Can we talk about the biggest news story in the nation: Taylor Swift getting slammed by some eighteen y/o Kennedy kid? http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/07

  19. Guest says:

    Just proved your gay! If you work for UBS go for the Miata its more in your price range.

  20. 25th Hour Trader says:

    "Defendant in Insider Case: I Was Just Doing My Job"

    That's gonna fly like a lead balloon.

    -Bud Fox

  21. crork says:

    xQtF5F Wow, great blog article. Keep writing.