Holiday Bell: 12.27.12

Debt Ceiling Nears As Talks Stymied (WSJ)
The Treasury Department said Wednesday the government would hit its legal borrowing limit by Monday, setting in motion emergency measures to keep the government operating for several more weeks and serving as a reminder that the nation’s budget wrangling could continue well into 2013. The Treasury’s financial maneuvering is designed to put off until February or March the prospect of a full-blown debt crisis. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s two-paragraph letter to Congress didn’t specify when the emergency measures might be exhausted, blaming the “significant uncertainty that now exists with regard to unresolved tax and spending policies for 2013.” The White House and congressional leaders have shown no signs of progress toward crafting an agreement to avoid the year-end tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

Rajaratnam Pays $1.45 Million Over Gupta Insider Tips (WSJ)
As part of a consent agreement signed by Mr. Rajaratnam earlier this month and approved by a federal judge on Monday, he agreed to disgorge more than $1.29 million, representing his profits or losses avoided as a result of his alleged trading on Mr. Gupta’s tips, and to pay prejudgment interest of $147,738.

SeaWorld Files For IPO (WSJ)
Though the number of shares and the price range for offering haven’t been determined, the filing pegged it at up to $100 million.

IBM Insider Net Expands (Reuters)
Federal prosecutors charged Trent Martin, a research analyst at a Connecticut brokerage firm, with trading and tipping others before computer giant IBM’s $1.2 billion acquisition of SPSS in 2009, expanding a related insider-trading case filed last month. Martin was also charged with passing the information to others, including two stockbrokers and his roommate. The group allegedly netted more than $1 million.

Shark Tank Explodes In Shanghai Mall (NYDN)
Security video inside a Shanghai shopping mall captured the terrifying moment an aquarium with live sharks burst open, injuring at least 15 people and leading to the death of dozens of animals. The chaotic scene on Dec. 18 inside the Shanghai Oriental Shopping Center left many of the victims with cuts from the broken glass, while one of them suffered a broken ankle, according to the China Daily. Many of those hurt were mall employees. In addition, three lemon sharks and dozens of smaller fish and turtles were killed when the 33-ton tank exploded, sending water and glass cascading through part of the shopping center, the BBC reported. At least four people were standing right in front of the display at the time. “It was horrible, like a bomb explosion,” one mall vendor told the China Daily. “Some pedestrians were pushed (6-1/2 feet) away by the force of the water.” Officials were investigating whether low temperatures in Shanghai combined with shoddy building materials to make the shark tank — built just two years ago — suddenly rupture. This isn’t the first time the display has been damaged: A broken water pipe in June led to the death of three sharks, according to reports. Mall officials have apparently had enough and told local media they don’t plan to rebuild.

Jobless Claims Drop as U.S. States Tally Data After Break (Bloomberg)
Applications for jobless benefits decreased 12,000 to 350,000 in the week ended Dec. 22, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 360,000, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Claims in 19 states and territories were estimated because government office closures on Dec. 24 prevented a complete count, a Labor Department spokesman said as the figures were released.

France, Italy See Economic Bright Spots (WSJ)
So that’s nice.

Gross Doubles New York Bet as California Loses Lead (Bloomberg)
The $285 billion Total Return Fund, which Gross runs at Pacific Investment Management Co., boosted its New York state allocation to about a $3 billion market value in the quarter ending Sept. 30, from $1.4 billion as of June 30, according to a semiannual filing the firm released this month. It was the largest increase by amount among U.S. states.

Zuckerberg’s Sister Can’t Keep Privacy Rules Straight (NYP)
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s older sister, Randi, complained yesterday when one of her Twitter followers publicly posted a photo of the family, including her famous brother, standing in the kitchen reacting to the company’s new Poke app. “Not sure where you got this photo,” Randi tweeted in response @cschweitz. “I posted it only to friends on FB. You reposting it on Twitter is way uncool.” It turns out that not even Randi — Facebook’s former marketing director — is up to speed on the site’s often-confusing privacy settings. Her gaffe provided fodder for critics of the site, which in the past has changed its policies with little warning and to the dismay of users. “We’ve all been dealing with loss of privacy in Facebook, now she feels what we all do everyday,” one Twitter user responded.

Apple CEO Cook Gets $4.17 Million Compensation, No Stock (Bloomberg)
The total includes $1.36 million salary and $2.8 million in incentive plan compensation, Cupertino, California-based Apple said today in a regulatory filing. Cook’s 2011 compensation of $378 million, one of the biggest pay packages on record, was boosted by $376.2 million in stock awards that he’ll get over a decade.

McDonald’s trips cost high school secretary $9,000 in fines (NYDN)
Kappry Vera of the Urban Assembly School for Construction and Design in Hell’s Kitchen made more than $3,000 in personal purchases on the school credit card from August 2009 through May 2011, investigators charge. The administrator, who lives in Williamsburg, spent most of the money on fast food — including $765 on dozens of visits to McDonald’s between October 2009 and May 2011, charging the city for purchases there up to four times each day. Vera, 33, also dropped $342 at Subway and spent another $190 on Burger King in illegal uses of her city-funded credit card that was only meant for official school purchases, investigators said. Vera only halted her runaway junk-food spending after her principal noticed “questionable purchases” in the school budget and confronted her about it, investigators said. Under questioning, Vera admitted that she bought food for herself on the school card on five occasions, but she wouldn’t give investigators receipts to explain the bulk of her purchases.

Programming Note: We’re on an abbreviated, vacation-esque schedule this week (opening news roundups and limited updates whenever the urge to reach out and touch you moves us). We still want to hear from you, though, so if anything happens that you think might tickle our fancy, do not hesitate to let us know.

19 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (19)

  1. Posted by Thinker | December 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    How much heat does Michellamazon ass radiate?

  2. Posted by Guest | December 27, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    I’ll take it! And the physics defying gravity neutral device it's displayed in!
    -S. Cohen

  3. Posted by Quant me maybe | December 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Anyone have a good new year's resolution?

    Mine: To find and post on the internet a series of pictures of Ann Coulter wearing a vinyl dominatrix outfit while fisting John Boehner.(who incidentally has a slave ball in his mouth).

  4. Posted by Guest | December 27, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    SeaWorld Files For IPO? Sounds like a Flipper!

    We’ll take a million shares!

    We’ll take a million shares!

    We’ll take a million shares!

    -UBS Computerized Trading System Quant

  5. Posted by Planet of the Apes 2 | December 27, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Replace “Coulter” with “Clown in Chief” and “Boehner” with You &Taxpayer and I think you'll pretty much sum up 2013.

  6. Posted by Bandersnatch | December 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Kappry Vera – sounds like a South American rodent that is considered a fish by Catholics
    – UBS Religious Dietary Restrictions Quant

  7. Posted by PermaGuestII | December 27, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    No, it's a giant bloodsucking porcupine thought to be native to the Staked Plains of Texas.

    -UBS Discovery Channel quant

  8. Posted by Guest | December 27, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    The sharks might have survived if the tank was not right next to the food court.

    – Gourmet motive examiner

  9. Posted by who me? | December 27, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    it moved.

  10. Posted by guest | December 27, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Tough but fair.

  11. Posted by Gseut | December 27, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    1 order stated 3x means 1.3 million shares?

    – UBS Lots of Explaining Intern

  12. Posted by Guest | December 27, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    The cook just cut their wieners, the sharks then committed suicide.

  13. Posted by DingALing | December 27, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    The real hit to the ego is when they saw the tank was made in China.

  14. Posted by Russ | December 27, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Ahh the smell!

  15. Posted by Guy Manningham | December 28, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Raising the debt ceiling (again) is like raising your credit card limit when you can't afford the current payment. It's a recipe for disaster. The conversation shouldn't be about raising taxes. It should be about long past due spending cuts.

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