Opening Bell: 01.03.13

Fresh Budget Fights Brewing (WSJ)
If Congress doesn’t do more in the coming months, Moody’s warned, the company could follow Standard & Poor’s in downgrading U.S. debt. “Further measures that bring about a downward debt trajectory over the medium term are likely to be needed to support the AAA rating,” Moody’s said Wednesday. But the battles on how to do that are far from over. Republicans say any further deficit reduction or legislation to avoid across-the-board spending cuts should come from reducing spending. President Obama and many Democrats advocate a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. The most serious skirmish will arrive toward the end of February, when the U.S. Treasury is expected to be unable to pay all the government’s bills unless Congress boosts the federal borrowing limit. Then on March 1, the across-the-board spending cuts of the fiscal cliff, deferred in this week’s deal, are scheduled to begin slicing into military and domestic programs. And on March 27, a government shutdown looms unless Congress approves funding for government operations for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

CEOs Pan Fiscal Cliff Deal, Vow to Continue Debt Fight (Reuters)
“I think this deal’s a disaster,” said Peter Huntsman, chief executive of chemical producer Huntsman Corp. “We’re just living in a fantasy land. We’re borrowing more and more money. This did absolutely nothing to address the fundamental issue of the debt cliff.” Former Wells Fargo CEO Dick Kovacevich said the agreement confirms that Washington and both parties are totally out of control. “I think it’s a joke,” Kovacevich said of the deal. “It’s stunning to me that after working on this for months and supposedly really getting to work in the last 30 days that this is what you come up with.”

Obama’s Warning to Boehner Started Road to Budget Plan (Bloomberg)
President Barack Obama had a warning for John Boehner at a Dec. 13 White House meeting: Stop opposing higher tax rates for top earners, or the president would dedicate his second term to blaming Republicans for a global recession. The next day, the House speaker called the president and said he was open to a tax-rate increase on annual income of more than $1 million…While the budget deal Obama and Boehner were negotiating fell apart, the speaker’s concession on tax rates ultimately allowed Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, to craft the last-minute plan Congress passed Jan. 1.

Nouriel Roubini: US Will Soon ‘Get Messy’ Again (CNBC)
“It won’t be long before there is another crisis. Two months, in fact.”

Pershing to Take ‘Passive Shareholder’ Role in General Growth (WSJ)
Pershing Square Capital Management LP agreed to sell $271.9 million in General Growth Properties warrants to Brookfield Asset Management Inc., as part of a deal between the mall owner’s two biggest shareholders that would resolve their recent disputes and see Pershing become a passive shareholder. Brookfield, in turn, offered to sell the warrants, which represent the right to acquire 18.4 million shares of General Growth stock, back to General Growth for the same purchase price. Pershing also agreed to limit its ownership stake in General Growth to no more than 9.9% and intends to become a passive shareholder. Brookfield agreed to limit its ownership in General Growth to 45%.

Bank Of Canada won’t discuss melting plastic bills, says national security behind silence (NP)
Disclosing details of behind-the-scenes discussions about tales of melting banknotes could endanger national security or international relations, says Canada’s central bank. In response to a formal request from The Canadian Press, the Bank Of Canada released 134 pages of internal records — almost completely blanked out — concerning allegations its new polymer bills melted in the scorching summer sun. The bank began issuing $100 polymer banknotes in late 2011, saying they were harder to counterfeit than paper notes and would last much longer. Unconfirmed reports of cooked currency emerged in July when a Kelowna, B.C., bank teller said she had heard of cases in which several bills had melted together inside a car. Soon after, Mona Billard of Cambridge, Ont., reported that she had returned eight plastic bills in January, after her son stashed his $800 Christmas bonus in a tin can and hid it near a baseboard heater. When he retrieved them the next day to make a deposit, the $100 banknotes had shriveled and melted. Ms. Billard exchanged clean bills for the shrunken, unusable ones. “The leather couch is up against the baseboard heater, it doesn’t melt,” she said. “The kids’ toys are back there, they don’t melt.” The Bank of Canada will reimburse damaged notes, but only if they clear an examination by an Ottawa laboratory.

Paulson&Co Added To Abacus Suit Against Goldman (Bloomberg)
Paulson & Co. was named as a defendant in a proposed revised lawsuit by ACA Financial Guaranty Corp. against Goldman Sachs over a collateralized debt obligation called Abacus. Paulson conspired with Goldman Sachs to deceive ACA Financial, which provided financial guaranty insurance for the deal, ACA Financial said in papers filed yesterday in Manhattan.

Private Sector Added 215,000 Jobs Last Month (WSJ)
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected ADP to report a gain of 150,000 private jobs.

Preet Bharara and other financial heavyweights opposing Paul Singer’s attempt to get Argentina to pay debt (NYP)
US Attorney Preet Bharara and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink are among the latest bold-faced names to oppose Singer’s attempt to get Argentina to pay him and others $1.3 billion on defaulted debt. Singer, the hedge fund billionaire who runs Elliott Management, is among the 8 percent of Argentina debtholders who refused to accept a 70 percent haircut following a 2001 default by the embattled South American country. Singer inched closer to winning the epic legal showdown in November when a federal judge ruled Argentina could not pay Fink’s BlackRock or other holders of the reorganized debt without putting money in escrow for Singer’s band of investors. An appeals court slowed Singer’s victory parade but refused to set aside the judge’s order. Now, Bharara, Fink’s $3.67 trillion bond firm and others are urging the appeals court to throw the case out.

Basel Becomes Babel as Conflicting Rules Undermine Safety (Bloomberg)
While higher capital requirements, curbs on banks trading with their own money and other rules have reduced risk, they have magnified the complexity of supervision, according to two dozen regulators, bankers and analysts interviewed by Bloomberg News. Even if the new regulations can be enforced, they don’t go far enough to ensure safety, said Robert Jenkins, a member of the Bank of England’s financial policy committee.

Cops: Woman, 50, Battered Boyfriend, 32, Because Six Came Before Nine (TSG)
Jennie Scott, 50, was booked into the Manatee County lockup on a misdemeanor charge stemming from the 11 PM encounter in the Palmetto bedroom of Jilberto Deleon, 32. Scott has dated Deleon “for the last 5 years on and off,” according to a sheriff’s report. Deputies were summoned to Deleon’s home by a witness who heard the couple arguing and saw Scott atop Deleon “punching and scratching him.” She also allegedly struck Deleon with a stick and threatened to hit him with a wrench before the tool was taken from her hand by the witness. When questioned by a cop, Scott explained that she and Deleon “were giving each other oral pleasure in the bedroom” when Deleon “finished first and stopped pleasuring her.” Scott added that she “became upset and they began arguing.” A deputy noted that Scott said that she was also mad at Deleon because she had “heard [him] having sex with another woman over the phone earlier in the day.” Scott struggled with deputies before being placed in a police cruiser, where she kicked a window until being warned that she would be maced unless she stopped.

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

  1. Posted by 789 | January 3, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Weird… I always thought seven eight nine?

  2. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    So now we have to add heat as a deflationary risk? Eh?

    -Canadian Central Banker

  3. Posted by James S. Cramer | January 3, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    "Nouriel Roubini: US Will Soon ‘Get Messy’ Again"

    HEY GUYS JIM CRAMER HERE!!! BAH! NOURIEL ROUBINI IS A FEARMONGERING COWARD, I BET HE READS ZEROHEDGE.COM EVERY NIGHT TO HIS CHILDREN TO SPREAD HIS FEAR. THE MARKETS ARE FINE!!! NEVER BEEN BETTER!!! IF WE JUST LOOK AT THE FUNDAMENTALS WE REALIZE THAT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG AT ALL!!! WHICH IS WHY I MAINTAIN A CONVICTION BUY ON FB, AAPL, AND GRPN!!! BUY BUY BUY BABY!!!

    AND AS ALWAYS…BOOOOO YAAAAAA SKEEEEE DADDYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!

    JIMMY C SIGNING OFF.

  4. Posted by Robert Lamm | January 3, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    25 or 6 to 4.
    I fix things.

  5. Posted by Confused | January 3, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Wait – she was with him when he was "having" phone sex, or he called her while he was banging another chick? These kinds of details are important.

  6. Posted by guest | January 3, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Canadians are nothing more than Northern Mexicans.

    -UBS Geography Quant

  7. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    dont just stare at it eat it…

  8. Posted by george76 | January 3, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Please die.

  9. Posted by Electrician | January 3, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    You know, that whole "third rail bad" thing is an intentional deception by the MTA to keep ordinary civilians from enjoying the intensely pleasurable, almost orgasmic, sensation that comes from touching it. I've heard that the sensation is even greater if you lick it. I suggest you try it and report back.

  10. Posted by James S. Cramer | January 3, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    WHAT A COCK-A-MANY IDEA SKEE DADDY! MAYBE I'LL TRY IT!!!

  11. Posted by Disadvantage Paulson | January 3, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Better get a judgement soon ACA bitches.

    Looks like I'll be wrapping this up pretty soon.

  12. Posted by Pelican Bay CC | January 3, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    We prefer Nortenos

  13. Posted by Leotis | January 3, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    awwww hell naw

  14. Posted by Blue Balls | January 3, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Finishing too fast and providing no pleasure? Sounds like a Shazar post.

  15. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 3, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Wasn't there a similar Opening Bell story a few weeks ago also datelined "Manatee County, FL"?

  16. Posted by The United States | January 3, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    We are not going to rebuild New Jersey.

  17. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Hey!

    -Avril Lavigne

  18. Posted by Bob & Doug | January 3, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Take off, Señor Hoser.

  19. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Please go play the depressed mans Clarinet…also known as the 12 gauge magnum shotgun.

  20. Posted by VonSloneker | January 3, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Punching, scratching, getting hit with a wrench…these are the perils of eating pussy in a house with tires for a foundation.

    - Joe Dirt

  21. Posted by New Jooyzee | January 3, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Oh yeah? Well your motha is a terrible cook! And her red sauce taste like a raccoon's ass! She couldnt tell gabagool from salami! You're girlfriend is pal as a ghost! She does not have fake tits!

  22. Posted by Manatee | January 3, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Carl Hiaasen books are so funny because they really might be nonfiction.

  23. Posted by Canadian Fund Mgr | January 3, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Just go long Syrup Backed Securities

  24. Posted by Cos Cob Secure | January 3, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    Everyone in NJ is stupid. I wish they would all just drop dead.

  25. Posted by VonSloneker | January 3, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    Word

    - Blue Tongued Mango Vole

  26. Posted by Abe_Froman_ | January 3, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    The sad truth: a plastic Loonie is still worth more than a paper Franklin

  27. Posted by New Jersey | January 3, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    If you're going to make fun of us, at least do a good job.

  28. Posted by sum zero | January 3, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    I have yet to click the link to the story, but I am imagining that Florida couple to look exactly like the junkie couple on Season 2 of Breaking Bad

  29. Posted by Riverside Waterfront | January 3, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Pot, meet kettle.

  30. Posted by Hey guys | January 3, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    New Jersey is the worst state in the country.

  31. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 3, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    South of the Merritt = Queens North

  32. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 3, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Somehow I can imagine FT Alphaville getting really excited about this whole self-destructing-currency thing.

  33. Posted by Foghorn Leghorn | January 3, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    The link is broken but it is upfront on The Smoking Gun website. You are close. I would loose my appetite!

  34. Posted by Chicken Feed | January 3, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Upon what?

  35. Posted by pazzo83 | January 3, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Those are some nice kneecaps ya got, Congress. Shame if something should happen to 'em…

    - Gov Christie

  36. Posted by Tokeneke Waterfront | January 3, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Anddd pot, meet kettle to you as well…

  37. Posted by Click it | January 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    You'd be surprised.

  38. Posted by Flame on | January 3, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    I guess you can't really tell yours are there even if you could see them huh.

  39. Posted by Top | January 3, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    It's 'America's Hat' actually.

    -Syrup Chugging Champion of Saskatoon

  40. Posted by Houston Hammer | January 3, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    I wish everyone in Texas would execute everyone in New Jersey.

  41. Posted by Im_a_Dude | January 3, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Paulson & Co also still use an abacus? There is hope for us.

    UBS Quant.

  42. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    What would you tighten?

  43. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    I have yet to read a Shaz post that finished too fast.

  44. Posted by longpond | January 3, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    867-5309

  45. Posted by Texashedge | January 3, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Don't drag me into this, asshole

  46. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    NJ is to the US as the US is to the rest of the world

    Everyone hates on us, but we know we are the shit

  47. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 3, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Disagree.

    -Guy contemplating Fornicalia and Pennsyltucky

  48. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Or a UBS bonus

  49. Posted by nachocheese | January 3, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Saturday….in the park…I think it was the 4th of July

  50. Posted by nachocheese | January 3, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Does the "C" stand for CAPS LOCK????????

    Fool

  51. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    this is really funny, but I'm also offended, so I gave it a thumbs down, then a thumbs up

    - Canadian Guest

  52. Posted by Jennie Scott | January 3, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Hey !

  53. Posted by VonSloneker | January 3, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Motion seconded

    - Houstonhedge

  54. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    It's called a 68 – blow me and I owe you one.

  55. Posted by sohbet | May 12, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    telling these little stories, here's a good idea: Have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener.