Opening Bell: 12.03.12

Fiscal Cliff Talks At Stalemate (WSJ)
Leading figures on both sides doubled down on their positions in interviews that aired Sunday, and they blamed each other for the current standoff, reflecting the talks that House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) told “Fox News Sunday” have gone “nowhere.” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, speaking on the same program for the Obama administration, suggested Republicans needed to take a breather from negotiations but would ultimately agree to raise tax rates—a key White House demand that is part of its push to raise $1.6 trillion in taxes over 10 years. “It’s obviously a little hard for them now, and they’re trying to figure out where they go next, and we might need to give them a little time to figure out where they go next,” Mr. Geithner said.

Geithner Joins Boehner to Trade Blame on Fiscal Cliff Talks (Bloomberg)
“There’s not going to be an agreement without rates going up,” Geithner said in a taped interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Republicans will “own the responsibility for the damage” if they “force higher rates on virtually all Americans because they’re unwilling to let tax rates go up on 2 percent of Americans.”

Clock Ticks For SAC Investors (WSJ)
Seventy-five days remain until Feb. 15, the date by which investors must tell SAC whether they want to pull money from the firm during the next redemption period…Some investors already decided to pull out. French bank Société Générale SA, which has client money in SAC through its Lyxor asset-management arm, has put in a request to pull its money from the firm, according to people familiar with the matter. It is unclear how much money Lyxor has in SAC. Many, however, said they would reserve judgment, at least for now. Ironwood Capital Management, a San Francisco-based investment firm with client money in SAC, has been in touch with investors about the position and is monitoring the situation, said a person familiar with the firm. Last week, a unit within Morgan Stanley’s MS +0.06% asset-management arm that has client money with SAC sent a note telling employees it would monitor the situation and be in touch frequently with SAC, according to a person familiar with the bank…Greycourt & Co., Inc., a Pittsburgh-based firm that manages about $9 billion for wealthy families, says it is sticking with SAC. Greycourt cited the stellar long-term returns of the firm, what it says is a robust compliance staff at SAC, Mr. Cohen’s promise to cover any penalties himself and a belief that the firm’s investment portfolio would be well-protected, even if it eventually faces charges. “The SAC portfolio is liquid enough that I’m not terribly concerned,” says Gregory Curtis, Greycourt’s chairman. “I very much hope that [Mr.] Cohen hasn’t been behaving badly, but either way I’m not too concerned about our client positions.”

UK’s Euro Trade Supremacy Under Attack (FT)
The City of London should be deposed as the euro’s main financial center so the single currency club can “control” most financial business in the euro zone, France’s central bank governor has said. Christian Noyer of the Banque de France said there was “no rationale” for allowing the euro area’s financial hub to be “offshore”, in a blunt assessment that will fan UK concerns over EU rules being rigged against it. “Most of the euro business should be done inside the euro area. It’s linked to the capacity of the central bank to provide liquidity and ensure oversight of its own currency,” Mr Noyer told the Financial Times while touring Asia to promote Paris as a renminbi trading center. “We’re not against some business being done in London, but the bulk of the business should be under our control. That’s the consequence of the choice by the UK to remain outside the euro area.”

Zoe Cruz trying to make a return to high finance, has reconciled with John Mack (NYP, earlier)
Sources say Cruz has reconciled with her former boss Mack, who helped fuel her rise within their firm before their falling out. He has been helping his one-time protégée in her efforts to land at a buyout firm such as KKR. Mack also has been a shoulder for Cruz to lean on as she copes with the split from her husband Ernesto Cruz…[who] was once reprimanded by his superiors in the mid-2000s for frolicking in a hotel pool in Midtown after a company Christmas gala with a group of female assistants, according to sources familiar with the situation.

SEC Chief Delayed Rule Over Legacy Concerns (WSJ)
Internal SEC emails, released to a congressional panel and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, appear to show how a last-minute intervention by a consumer lobbyist might have helped persuade Ms. Schapiro to change her mind and delay one of the centerpiece measures of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS, Act.

In Panicky Russia, It’s Official: End of World Is Not Near (NYT)
There are scattered reports of unusual behavior from across Russia’s nine time zones. Inmates in a women’s prison near the Chinese border are said to have experienced a “collective mass psychosis” so intense that their wardens summoned a priest to calm them. In a factory town east of Moscow, panicked citizens stripped shelves of matches, kerosene, sugar and candles. A huge Mayan-style archway is being built — out of ice — on Karl Marx Street in Chelyabinsk in the south. For those not schooled in New Age prophecy, there are rumors the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012, when a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count in the Mayan calendar supposedly comes to a close. Russia, a nation with a penchant for mystical thinking, has taken notice. Last week, Russia’s government decided to put an end to the doomsday talk. Its minister of emergency situations said Friday that he had access to “methods of monitoring what is occurring on the planet Earth,” and that he could say with confidence that the world was not going to end in December. He acknowledged, however, that Russians were still vulnerable to “blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes, floods, trouble with transportation and food supply, breakdowns in heat, electricity and water supply.” Similar assurances have been issued in recent days by Russia’s chief sanitary doctor, a top official of the Russian Orthodox Church, lawmakers from the State Duma and a former disc jockey from Siberia who recently placed first in the television show “Battle of the Psychics.” One official proposed prosecuting Russians who spread the rumor — starting on Dec. 22.

Old testimony may bite Cohen in SEC case (NYP)
Steve Cohen’s sworn testimony in another legal skirmish could come back to haunt his $14 billion hedge-fund empire…In 2011, Cohen gave several days of deposition testimony in the civil fraud case, in which Fairfax sued SAC and other firms for allegedly conspiring to drive down its share price. The case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence, but the testimony offers a rare look into Cohen’s views on illegal trading. In his testimony, Cohen called SEC rules on insider trading “vague” and said he doesn’t expect his employees to follow the company’s internal compliance manual to the letter. When asked whether it was “legal or illegal to trade on material nonpublic information,” Cohen said: “It depends on the circumstance.” “So there are circumstances, in your view, in which it is legal . . . to trade on the basis of material, nonpublic information?” asked Fairfax ’s lawyer, Michael Bowe. “Yes,” Cohen said. Among them, he said, is when employees trade in the opposite direction of the nonpublic information they receive. He also said he didn’t expect employees to adhere to the company’s compliance manual in every situation. “See, we don’t operate our firm in absolutes,” he said. “When I look at this manual, I see guidelines.”

Morgan Stanley trader probed over trades made while at Goldman (Reuters)
Morgan Stanley trader Edward Glenn Hadden is under investigation by regulators at CME Group over trades in Treasury futures four years ago while he was employed by Goldman Sachs, according to a regulatory filing. Hadden is a managing director and head of global interest rates products at Morgan Stanley. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Hadden was a partner at Goldman Sachs, and head of government bond trading.

Hedge Funds Increase Bullish Bets Most Since August (Bloomberg)
Hedge funds increased bullish bets on commodities by the most since August as evidence that China is accelerating outweighed concern that U.S. lawmakers have yet to resolve an impasse over automatic spending cuts and tax rises.

Krawcheck, possible SEC head, raises Washington (Reuters)
…many who have worked with her say Krawcheck was a smart, analytical and competent executive who not only knew the business, but was good at building consensus among different units of companies. She helped restore brokerage Smith Barney’s reputation at Citigroup and was popular with many of the financial advisers at Merrill Lynch. Schumer and other lawmakers contacted by Reuters did not return calls or requests for comment about meetings with Krawcheck or their thoughts about her. In the end, of course, Krawcheck may not land in Washington at all, two people who know her said. She has had discussions about a variety of roles with several companies, one source said. “She has lots of balls in the air,” said the source, who asked not to be named because the conversations were private. “Sallie always has a plan.”

Bret Easton Ellis mistakenly asks for cocaine on Twitter (DJ)
Bret Easton Ellis, famed author of “American Psycho,” tweeted a request for cocaine Sunday morning, leaving many to speculate that it was supposed to be a private message…“Come over at do bring coke now,” he tweeted at 3:44AM, stranding his 360,000 followers in a state of bewilderment regarding what the cryptic tweet could possibly mean.

55 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (55)

  1. Posted by Heyo! | December 3, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    "…….“She has lots of balls in the air,” said the source, who asked not to be named because the conversations were private……"

    Sounds legit. I heard she's tough and "goes for the juggler".

  2. Posted by James Deen | December 3, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    “I very much hope that [Mr.] Cohen hasn’t been behaving badly, but either way I’m not too concerned about our client positions.”

    Translation: One of my clients is an SEC attorney and will give me the heads up.

  3. Posted by J. Belushi | December 3, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Come over at do bring coke?

    Amateur.

  4. Posted by Guest | December 3, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    "For those not schooled in New Age prophecy, there are rumors the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012, when a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count in the Mayan calendar supposedly comes to a close. … One official proposed prosecuting Russians who spread the rumor — starting on Dec. 22."

    Good call!

    -Nobody

  5. Posted by Wire | December 3, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    "…stranding his 360,000 followers in a state of bewilderment regarding what the cryptic tweet could possibly mean."

    Pretty sure it means to come over and bring coke.

  6. Posted by Dow30Thou | December 3, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    I've felt like a minority only twice in my life. The first time was at a Denny's in Georgia, and the second was at the CFA round 1 this weekend.

  7. Posted by E. Nowhere | December 3, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    These comments are going nowhere.

  8. Posted by Raj shark | December 3, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    He seems like he is being ravaged.

  9. Posted by motives | December 3, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    very bad comment

    you woke up and wrote this ?

  10. Posted by VonSloneker | December 3, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Ni hao my friend, your car-cru-rator…I built it in my home country.

    - Guy sitting next to Dow30K this weekend

  11. Posted by guest | December 3, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Could Sallie handle more balls?

    –E. Cruz

  12. Posted by It's Obvious | December 3, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    No…the commenter did not write "this". More was written than that word.

  13. Posted by VonSloneker | December 3, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Come over and do bring the coke, now. I'll be in the second stall in the club bathroom, rocking out to "Pump Up the Volume."

    - Bret E.E.

  14. Posted by Maybe His Lawyer | December 3, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    Pretty sure it meant a carbonated beverage with super-secret ingrediants from a business with a protective economic moat.

  15. Posted by the desk | December 3, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Its pretty much GTC

  16. Posted by Shecky May | December 3, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Did you hear about the juggler who got sick during his act? He couldn't stop throwing up!

  17. Posted by ExtendedPanic | December 3, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    I'm wearing an "I'm with stupid" t-shirt to round two.

  18. Posted by whowhawhen | December 3, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Elliot Wave begs to differ

  19. Posted by Guest | December 3, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    So much sweetener in these Bret EE comments…. but I feel like if we make enough of them…. we'll be alright.

  20. Posted by Guest | December 3, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Brett Easton Ellis < 0

  21. Posted by guest | December 3, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Four Christmases > watching the NFL

  22. Posted by Guest | December 3, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Bret does coke? You're fucking kidding me.

  23. Posted by Flo | December 3, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    "Krawcheck, possible SEC head, raises Washington" … am I the only one that was slightly aroused by this headline?

    - Married with 4 kids and easily aroused by the possibility of head

  24. Posted by William Saphire | December 3, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Some of the commentariat may be having trouble this morning with the paranomasia or pun in the use of the word "juggler" (see 'balls') and "jugular" a vein often associated with descriptions of assertive business executives.

  25. Posted by Calpine Genius | December 3, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Where are the sweetened electrical engineering comments? And what entity is "Bret"?

  26. Posted by Quant me maybe | December 3, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    I'm with you, bro.

  27. Posted by PM69 | December 3, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    On paper, Glenn Hadden seemed to be the ideal person to run a large bond trading operation at Morgan Stanley when he was hired in early 2011. Mr. Hadden, a former Goldman partner, was one of the most profitable bond traders on Wall Street.

    But there was more to his story than just stellar financial results. He had left his previous employer, Goldman Sachs, after questions about his trading activity. And now, Mr. Hadden is under investigation over his trading in Treasury futures while at Goldman, according to a regulatory filing.

    Specifically, regulators at the CME Group, which runs commodity and futures exchanges, are investigating whether Mr. Hadden’s purchases or sales of Treasury futures late in the trading day manipulated closing prices in the market and, in turn, made other of his trades more profitable, according to people briefed on the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly.
    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/morgan-sta

    Ouch!!!!

  28. Posted by Tinfoil hat | December 3, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Come over at do bring coke now = C-O-A-D-B-C-N. When we put coadbcn in Google we end up at the website for C.O.D.E. C.O.D.E is a Design Studio and Consulting Company based in Barcelona and specialized in the fashion industry.

  29. Posted by Aunt Flo | December 3, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    There is no possibility of head.

  30. Posted by Nostradamus | December 3, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Dasvidanya, bitchez

    - Not a Mayan but a keen observer of their work

  31. Posted by Scully | December 3, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    I recorded that explanation and played it backwards repeatedly.

    It sounded garbled but I could definitely make out the words "you suck".

  32. Posted by Swiss hedge | December 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    I'm getting so shredded the night before… just in case the world does end.
    Everyone is welcome to join me.
    Bring Coke

  33. Posted by PermaGuestII | December 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Seems to me daily life in Russia basically *is* what a post-apocalyptic United States would be like– can't think what they're worried about.

  34. Posted by Charlie G. | December 3, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    The Mayans were a friend of mine.

  35. Posted by Guest | December 3, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Leave me alone. It's 3:44am. I am sleeping with the fishes.

    - Coke shark.

  36. Posted by guest | December 3, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    You know things are fucked when the previous CEO of Morgan Stanley is more helpful in getting you a job than the current CEO of Morgan Stanley.

  37. Posted by Guest | December 3, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    I would personally cover the legal fees if the world does come to an end on Dec 21.

    - Anonymous

  38. Posted by Brian Hunter | December 3, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    That would never happen in the natural gas trading industry.

  39. Posted by Gartman | December 3, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Mayan predictions? Mayan who? Amateurs.

  40. Posted by @guest | December 3, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Any chance he meant: Come Over @DoBringCokeNow

  41. Posted by M. Martoma | December 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Talked to another scientist friend of mine this weekend, the world isn't coming to an end.

  42. Posted by Nuknuk | December 3, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Worst comment since Apocalypto.

  43. Posted by Pepsi | December 3, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Hey!

  44. Posted by Guesteban | December 3, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Or possibly he needed high-carbon coal to smelt some iron ore in his blast furnace.

  45. Posted by Tinfoil hat | December 3, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    You didnt listen.

    I broke the dam

  46. Posted by Peter Schiff | December 3, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Who you callin' amateur, amateur?

  47. Posted by Anihilist | December 3, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Also dude, the proper nomenclature is "Asian American"

  48. Posted by nachocheese | December 3, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Bueller……..Bueller……Bueller…….

  49. Posted by Analyst | December 3, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Efficient fart-kets!

    -Witty commentariat

  50. Posted by SEC | December 3, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    The best comment ever was thst spice magnate to the cops in his barricaded hotel room.

  51. Posted by Guest | December 3, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Any update on the Dramatic Reading Night guest list? Who's going to at do bring coke now?

  52. Posted by not Havens | December 3, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Things will be fucked where zoe cruz finds work.

  53. Posted by mark sanchez | December 3, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Hey!

  54. Posted by PermaGuestII | December 3, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    ^ this

    -Henry C. Frick

  55. Posted by Bob | December 3, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Eternal salvation, or triple your money back?