Holiday Bell: 12.31.12

Cliff’s Edge Draws Close (WSJ)
What happens Monday could go some way to determining the short-term fate of the U.S. economy and the reputation of the government, both of which have been dinged by the spectacle of endless seemingly circular negotiations. Carrying the baton late into Sunday evening were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky) and Vice President Joe Biden. A spokesman for Mr. McConnell said Monday morning that the two men “will continue to work toward a solution.” In the past two weeks, at least three different sets of negotiation teams have sought a way out…Still, some remained hopeful elements of a deal were on the table and could be brought into alignment at the last minute. “We’re very close,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.). “It is like a kaleidoscope,” meaning there are many moving parts that can look beautiful or ugly depending how they’re arrayed.

Experts Forecast The Cost Of Failure To Compromise (NYT)
In the event no compromise is found, however, the Congressional Budget Office and many private economists warn that the sudden pullback in spending and the rise in taxes would push the economy into recession in the first half of the year. Under this outcome, Mr. Gault said, the economy could shrink by 0.5 percent over all of 2013. With the clock ticking, some observers bolstered their criticism of Washington. “If we have a recession, it’s unforgivable,” said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group. “For the first time in modern history, we will have a self-inflicted recession in the U.S.”

New Year’s Countdown To Higher US Taxes Starts (Bloomberg)
The IRS has said it will issue guidance by today on paycheck withholding for 2013, which depends on the income-tax rates Congress is debating. Higher rates would mean less take- home pay for workers starting as early as the first paycheck in January. Both Democrats and Republicans support extending current rates for families making less than $250,000. They disagree on whether to raise levies for top earners. Rates are scheduled to increase for all income levels Jan. 1 if Congress doesn’t act.

Parties Pivot To Blame (WSJ)
If Congress and the White House fail to strike a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, Republicans are under few illusions as to who will get much of the blame—even if past polls suggest there will be plenty to go around. “The poor Republicans will get the brunt of it, which may be unfair, but such is life,” said Republican Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a former White House budget chief under George W. Bush. “The Republicans are seen as the obstinate ones, where at the very least, the president and his side are equally so.” Polls since the November election have found Americans more ready to blame the GOP than President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats if the two sides fail to reach a deal to avoid the wave of tax increases and spending cuts coming Jan. 1. A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll earlier this month showed 24% would blame Republicans while 19% would blame Democrats.

Merkel Says Euro Zone Crisis Far From Over (Reuters)
FYI.

Mario Batali wins biz feud over UK chef Gordon Ramsay (NYP, related, related)
Batali says the prickly Brit star has agreed to give up on using the name The Spotted Pig for a London eatery — amid outcry that he had swiped it from Batali and his partners. “It didn’t make him look great,” Batali said of Ramsay’s recent trademarking of the name in the UK. “I don’t think it was an intentional shot across the bow by Gordon,” Batali told the Eater Vegas blog. “His team is just [trying] to build businesses. There’s got to be a thousand other animals they could have chosen besides The Spotted Pig. A striped minx, for example.”

Experts Back Deutsche Whistleblowers (FT)
Accounting experts say Deutsche Bank appears to have improperly accounted for billions of dollars of credit derivatives trades by failing to value adequately the risk that its trading counterparties could walk away.

Jersey woman charged at boyfriend with hammer after he refuses to pay for laundry, reports say (NJ)
Jazmin Duran, 24, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, criminal mischief, domestic violence, possession of weapon, unlawful possession of a weapon, resisting arrest police reports said. Police were called to Garfield Avenue near Armstrong Avenue at 2:52 p.m. on a report that a man was locked in the bathroom and his girlfriend was hitting the door with a hammer, reports said. When police arrived, the 49-year-old boyfriend, was still locked in the bathroom, reports said. After a brief struggle, police were able to detain Duran, reports said. When he came out he told police that Duran was mad at him and attacked him with a hammer, reports said. The victim said that he was undressing to get in the shower while talking to his girlfriend about getting her eyebrows done, when she asked for him to pay for doing her laundry, reports said. He responded that he didn’t have money to pay for her laundry, reports said. He said she became irate and began to scream, reports said.

BofA Settlement Hits Snags (WSJ)
A big legal settlement usually marks the end of the bulk of the work for the Justice Department. But a year after a $335 million deal with Bank of America Corp. to compensate minority borrowers for alleged discrimination, much remains to be done. The department’s settlement administrator just began notifying affected borrowers in November, about five months later than originally planned. Then, weeks after letters went out to more than 233,000 presumed victims, about 10% of those letters have been returned as undeliverable, according to Justice Department officials. U.S. officials had warned that it might take two years for eligible borrowers to receive money from the settlement, but they also expressed hope that checks could be mailed out sooner. Those hopes have dimmed.

Facebook Analysts Stick To Script (WSJ)
Facebook Inc. FB +1.03% has gotten a thumbs-down from investors since its initial public offering. But securities analysts who work at the investment banks that did the deal have never wavered in their enthusiasm. Since the social-networking company went public in May, analysts at Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs—Facebook’s three biggest underwriters—have issued 40 reports on the stock. Every report has urged investors to buy.

Skin In The Game (NYP)
West Village cosmetic doctor Yelena Yeretsky usually works to make the power women of Wall Street look flawless. But now men are asking for her services. Yeretsky says, “The men usually want chemical peels so they look glowy. I remove lesions and skin tags and non-cancerous growths from years of playing golf in the sun.”

French Court Says 75% Tax Rate on Rich Is Unconstitutional (Bloomberg)
President Francois Hollande’s 75 percent millionaire-tax is unconstitutional because it fails to guarantee taxpayer equality, France’s top court ruled today. The tax, one of Hollande’s campaign promises, had become a focal point of discontent among entrepreneurs and other wealth creators, some of whom have quit French shores as a result. The ruling comes as the president seeks to cut France’s public deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product next year from a projected 4.5 percent this year.

For Euro, All Eyes On ECB’s Playbook (WSJ)
“Global central banks are engaged in a race to the bottom. It’s difficult to call which major currency will be the ugliest,” said Munich-based Thomas Kressin, who heads currency strategy for Pacific Investment Management Co., one of the world’s biggest bond-fund managers.

Expert: Champagne cork can put an eye out (UPI)
The pressure inside a champagne bottle can launch a cork at 50 miles per hour as it leaves the bottle, fast enough to shatter glass, U.S. eye experts say. Dr. Monica L. Monica, an ophthalmologist and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, said the speed at which a cork can be unleashed is fast enough to permanently damage vision, including rupture of the eye wall, acute glaucoma, retinal detachment, ocular bleeding, dislocation of the lens and damage to the eye’s bone structure. These injuries sometimes require urgent eye surgeries, Monica said. “When a champagne cork flies, you really have no time to react and protect your delicate eyes,” Monica said in a statement.

Programming Note: We’re on an abbreviated, vacation-esque schedule. Opening wraps and brief updates should anything happen that people need to know about (fiscal cliff deal is struck, Raj Rajaratnam leads his fellow inmates in a NYE flashmob set to ‘Thriller,’ etc). Happy New Year and we’ll see you in 2013!

36 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (36)

  1. Posted by DingALing | December 31, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Glad to see things haven't changed in Jersey

  2. Posted by Guest | December 31, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Merry New Year!

    - Nenge Mboko, Exchange student from Cameroon

  3. Posted by Boys cry too | December 31, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    I just don’t know. I mean, I’ve been really emotion as of late. Sometimes I just want to chop my dick off and go pawn if for an acoustic guitar and tape recorded and just make really shitty emotional music about the girl I love. Call it the winter blues.

  4. Posted by Guest | December 31, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Why do we need to raise taxes?

    -Drunken Sailor

  5. Posted by CliffHanger | December 31, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    This holiday crew is pretty horrendous.

    Happy New Year, you silly SOBs

  6. Posted by Guest | December 31, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    That's "Happy New Year" In this country we say Happy New Year."
    -Beeks

  7. Posted by SellTheBorrow | December 31, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    75% is unconstitutionally low. The rich need to pay their fair share!

    - ÔWS

  8. Posted by James S. Cramer | December 31, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    WHAT'S UP GUYS! JIM CRAMER HERE SIGNING IN EARLY BECAUSE I HAVE AN ANNOYING DCF TO UPDATE, I JUST WANTED TO GIVE YOU A NICE BIG BOOOOO YAAAAAAAA SKEEEEEEE DADDYYYYYYYYY BEFORE I GOT STARTED

    UNTIL NEXT TIME,
    <3 JIMBO

  9. Posted by Guest | December 31, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Hey!

    -Santa

  10. Posted by James S. Cramer | December 31, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    OH YEAH I ALMOST FORGOT 2013 WILL BE A YEAR OF A GREAT BULL MARKET FROM WHAT I SEE. I ADVISE TO PUT 100% OF YOUR PORTFOLIO INTO FB STOCK!!! BUY BUY BUY!!!

    SEE YOU NEXT YEAR,
    JIMMY

  11. Posted by Horse | December 31, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Hay!

    Back from vacation

  12. Posted by Hakuna Matata Guy | December 31, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Too early.

  13. Posted by Van Beek | December 31, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    I call it Nickelback.

  14. Posted by Guest | December 31, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    See you sooner!

    -Darwin Award Nomination Committee

  15. Posted by Encleur des Mouches | December 31, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    We are the four-twenty-ten-nine percent.

  16. Posted by inlovewithpmco | December 31, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    PMCO Happy New Year

  17. Posted by PermaGuestII | December 31, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Will you take a wee drop of Irish whisky to usher in the New Year?

    -Father Coleman, SJ

  18. Posted by Guest | December 31, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    I call it My Chemical Romance

  19. Posted by PermaGuestII | December 31, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Go play on railroad tracks.

  20. Posted by Rick Harrison | December 31, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Now, I'm not an expert on dicks, so I need to call in an expert and have it checked out. "Hey, N'08!!"

  21. Posted by pmco | December 31, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Retired from finance. I am starting a muff-in joint.

  22. Posted by Bored Guest | December 31, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Keep it in your pants.

  23. Posted by Cookin' | December 31, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    The Herpied Penis is still open for a restaurant name, no?

  24. Posted by Guest | December 31, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Honey, I thought we where still on vacation?
    -M. Broderick

  25. Posted by pmco | December 31, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    If you like me so much why didn't you give me a creampie for Christmas?

  26. Posted by 1st Time, Long Time | December 31, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Asa longtime lurker I'm a big fan of the various ways posters here tell trolls to kill themselves.

  27. Posted by Blazer | December 31, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Thanks Obama!

  28. Posted by Joe from Yonkers | December 31, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Gotta agree with the previous guy. On a different note, its amazing how the Giants can go 9-7 one year and with the super bowl, and the next year finish with the same record and they are sent home before the new year. Any chance Perry Fewell gets the pink slip? I really think its got to be discussed within the organization. Happy new year Mike

  29. Posted by Casual Observer | December 31, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    You shouldn't say things like that. It will make people around here hate you.

  30. Posted by Echo | December 31, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    I'd like to thank Mandy for bringing the cleave on the last day of 2012

  31. Posted by Guest | December 31, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    I would rather take a pic at Kayla Tauche's runway.

  32. Posted by He Who Knows Burgers | December 31, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    The best burger in America is at Kincaid's in Ft. Worth.

  33. Posted by Guest | December 31, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Looks like we're hitting the fiscal cliff boys, I adivse all of you to hedge accordingly with leveraged real estate assets, MBSs, and CDOs as they do not decline in value. Ever.

    -LEH MD

  34. Posted by Guest | December 31, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Agreed!

    -LEH Quant

  35. Posted by Dannypartrige | December 31, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    No way a guy named Reuben maes a decent burger.

  36. Posted by UBS Trading Star | January 1, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    I'd love to do that, if only I could get my LEH sales guy on the phone, I guess they changed his number and email or something, wish they'd send over the new ones.