Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 11.06.12

Europe, Central Bank Spar Over Athens Aid (WSJ)
Greece faces a key Treasury-bill repayment in less than two weeks, and the money isn’t there unless governments provide additional aid or the ECB agrees to lend Greek banks the money to roll over the debt. It is a particularly sensitive issue for the ECB, which is trying to create a credible financial backstop to hold the euro together while governments overhaul their economies and finances. But with each step the ECB takes to help Greece and others, it inches ever closer to rules that prevent it from printing money to help governments out of their debt problems. The bank is already facing accusations in Germany that it is straying from its primary mandate to keep inflation low.

Iceland Sees Mortgage Bubble Threat From Foreign Cash (Bloomberg)
Iceland’s lawmakers are searching for ways to keep their economy from lurching into another asset bubble as offshore investors forced to keep their money in the country channel it into the housing market. Apartment prices have soared 17 percent since April 2010 and are now just 1.7 percent below the pre-crisis peak in March 2008, Statistics Iceland estimates. The boom stems from currency restrictions imposed in 2008 to prevent the collapse of the Krona after the country’s biggest banks defaulted on $85 billion of debt. While those controls helped cauterize a capital exodus and propel a recovery, it left about $8 billion in offshore kronur that can only flow into Icelandic assets, inflating demand for housing and mortgage bonds. The government is now seeking to correct the imbalances, which risk plunging the island into yet another boom-bust cycle just four years after the banking industry dragged the economy through its worst recession since World War II.

FBI Probes Rochdale Securities (NYP)
The Stamford, Conn., broker dealer is teetering on the brink of extinction, the result of an unauthorized $1 billion purchase of Apple shares on Oct. 25, sources said. The trade of 1.6 million Apple shares was made — instead of a client’s order of one-tenth that amount, or 160,000 shares — to perpetuate the alleged stock manipulation scam, people familiar with the matter said…The alleged stock manipulation scam was being worked with at least one other unidentified trader not affiliated with Rochdale, sources said. Multiple sources said the alleged scam had already pocketed the traders roughly $20 million, sources said.

Drop In Financial Deals Spurs One (WSJ)
New York investment bank KBW made it through the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but it couldn’t outlast a drought in financial-services deal making. KBW, which struggled in recent years at the hands of a sharp slowdown in its core business—financial-industry merger advice—agreed be acquired by larger rival Stifel Financial for $575 million.

Berkshire Cash Nears Record as Buffett Extends Deal Hunt (Bloomberg)
Cash surged 17 percent to $47.8 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30, Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire said in its quarterly regulatory filing Nov. 2. That’s $115 million less than the record at the end of June 2011. “He’s elephant hunting,” said Jeff Matthews, author of “Secrets in Plain Sight: Business & Investing Secrets of Warren Buffett” and a Berkshire shareholder. “And there aren’t a lot of elephants around.”

Did Wall Street Just Give Up On Romney? (NetNet)
John Carney says yes: “On the eve of the election, many financial professionals on Wall Street believe that Mitt Romney has lost the election. In phone conversations, email and instant messaging exchanges, and text messages with over 20 people in different jobs on Wall Street today the message I picked up was almost universal: The president will be re-elected.”

Christie: Hug From Springsteen Made Me Weep (WaPo)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told reporters Monday that he had an unexpected — and moving — conversation earlier with his hero, Bruce Springsteen. He also got a hug from the rock legend on Friday, at a benefit concert for victims of Superstorm Sandy. He later cried, calling the moment a highlight in a tough week. “Bruce and I had an opportunity to chat for a while Friday night… we hugged and he told me, ‘it’s official, we’re friends,” Christie said at a news briefing. President Obama was on the phone with the Republican governor Monday, discussing storm damage, when he briefly handed the line over to Springsteen. The rock legend is traveling on Air Force One as he campaigns for the president. Before the storm Springsteen refused to acknowledge Christie, whose budget cuts he has criticized. But in the wake of the disaster, which hit the Jersey Shore particularly hard, he has started to embrace his ardent fan.

HSBC Dirty Laundry Costs (Bloomberg)
HSBC Holdings said it’s likely to face criminal charges from US anti-money-laundering probes, and the cost of a settlement may “significantly” exceed the $1.5 billion the bank has set aside. The lender has made an additional $800 million provision to cover a potential settlement, adding to the $700 million it had earmarked. A Senate committee said in July that failures in HSBC money-laundering controls allowed terrorists and drug cartels access to the US financial system.

Bharara insider streak on line (NYP)
With a 6-0 record in trial convictions against defendants caught in his insider-trading probe, Wall Street’s top cop Wednesday will kick off his final trial emanating from that investigation. Already the insider-trading probe has resulted in 68 convictions — including guilty pleas, the biggest Wall Street crackdown since the 1980s. Squaring off against Bharara in Manhattan federal court are two well-heeled hedge-fund defendants: Anthony Chiasson, founder of the $4 billion hedge fund Level Global, and Todd Newman, a former money manager with Diamondback Global. The beginning of jury selection was delayed more than a week because of Hurricane Sandy. Chiasson and Newman stand accused of reaping more than $60 million in profits from trading confidential tips about computer maker Dell and graphics firm Nvidia.

13 People Trying To Trade Gas For Sex On Craiglist (BuzzFeed)
It was probably inevitable that the gas shortages in New York and New Jersey would lead to ads like “I’ve got gas from Hess and looking for any sexy woman who may not want to wait in those long lines for hours and hours only to find the station empty when it’s their turn. So let me know, I’m sure we could work something out to get your tank filled and empty mine. Call or text.”

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75 Responses to “Opening Bell: 11.06.12”

  1. George76 says:

    "Democracy is founded on one simple rule- get out there and vote or I will motherfucking kill you" – Puff Daddy

  2. OHare spread says:

    Rochdale had 3.5 mil in capital.

    WTF ?

  3. derpies says:

    all of a sudden buying gas and selling it door to door doesn't sound so stupid, does it?!


  4. VonSloneker says:

    No call the close on Romney's margin of victory?

    "Dewey Defeats Truman" style shocker.

    – Wishful Thinking Guy

  5. Guest says:

    "Bruce and I had an opportunity to chat for a while Friday night…we hugged and he told me 'it's official, you're fat,"

  6. guest says:

    How long are Springsteen's arms?

  7. guest says:

    “He’s elephant hunting. And there aren’t a lot of elephants around.”

    Have you tried donkeys? There seem to be a few more of them around these days.

    -pre-gloating liberal.

  8. Omaha Gas Marketer says:

    Come on, people. If Buffett was really "elephant" hunting, wouldn't it be logical that he'd start out by purchasing a trunk company??

  9. Bejujular says:

    Seeing Bruce engulfed by Christie makes me recall the 1958 classic, The Blob.

  10. Babar Capital Adv. says:

    Warren, I've got a deal you might be interested in.

  11. Dallas Hedge Funder says:

    Just saw on TV that the Rockettes are coming to the Verizon Center near Dallas later this month!! I wonder if Yao Ming still plays for them?

  12. Guest says:

    I guess you can say I live in a pretty progressive neighborhood. Got something of a bohemian vide, lots of artist and the creative class in general. Anyway, went out for my standard Sunday morning walk to the local coffee spot, and then something amazing happened. A large group of people were gathering near a store front about a block down from me. I sped up and came over to see what the fuss was about. Well to my surprise I was about to take part in my first cash mob! Guys, it was amazing; seeing the local community rally around a struggling shitty used bookstore and homemade candle shop just made me feel so good inside. And you know what the best part was? Cute girl I saw at the coffee shop was there. We shared a couple looks at each other, and then when I was checking out this awful smelling candle, she walked past, and brushed up on me. At that moment, a weird euphoric feeling came over my body, I found myself busting a nut into a craft beer scented candle. I don’t really remember what happened after that, as it is all blurry. I’ve yet to see that cute girl again, and I’m banned for life from the used bookstore, but I gotta say I love Portland.

  13. Confused non S&T says:

    Maybe I'm missing something, but wouldn't Apple kind of, sort of, be one of the absolute worst stocks you could pick to try and manipulate the price of? Especially with your whopping bazooka of a couple hundred less than Laxbro had in his trust fund before he blew it all on Keaneu Reeves memorabilia?

  14. Ghost of Laxbro says:

    (Corrected) Christie: Hug From Springsteen Made Me Hungry (WaPo)

  15. Guesteban says:

    Have 25 gallons of gas available first-come-first-served to any single/not-single white female willing to do my laundry with pre-soak and extra rinse, if you know what I mean.
    – Hulk

  16. Guest says:

    Maybe it's time for the cows to come home.

  17. Energy Transhurr says:

    Buffett could buy Trunkline and the Ivory Coast. He'd never forget that deal.

  18. PermaGuestII says:

    This morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.

    -Groucho Buffet

  19. Peter Morak says:

    <img src=""/>So basically Iceland is gonna be the next country to be hit? <img src=""/&gt;

  20. Banalyst says:

    … And then KBW was sold.