Opening Bell: 01.08.13

Obama Said Close to Choosing Lew for Treasury Secretary (Bloomberg)
President Barack Obama may choose White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to replace Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner as soon as this week, according to two people familiar with the matter. The selection of Lew would trigger a White House shuffle for Obama’s second term as he replaces his chief of staff and moves senior aides into new roles, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss personnel matters. While Obama hasn’t made a final decision to pick Lew, the president’s staff has been instructed to prepare for his nomination, said one of the people.

Rescued by a Bailout, AIG May Sue Its Savior (NYT)
The board of A.I.G. will meet on Wednesday to consider joining a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the government, court records show. The lawsuit does not argue that government help was not needed. It contends that the onerous nature of the rescue — the taking of what became a 92 percent stake in the company, the deal’s high interest rates and the funneling of billions to the insurer’s Wall Street clients — deprived shareholders of tens of billions of dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property for “public use, without just compensation.”

Greenberg: ‘Cadre’ Hurt AIG (NYP)
Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, former chief executive officer of American International Group, says in a soon-to-be-published book that the company was almost destroyed by overzealous overseers. The insurer was “ultimately taken over and run aground by a cadre of auditors, lawyers, outside directors, and government officials,” according to an excerpt of “The AIG Story” on Amazon.com’s website.

JPMorgan’s Staley Quits to Join BlueMountain Hedge Fund (Bloomberg)
ames E. Staley, the JPMorgan Chase executive who was once seen as a possible candidate to become chief executive officer, quit to join BlueMountain Capital Management LLC, a $12 billion hedge fund with close ties to the New York bank. Staley, who was at JPMorgan for more than 34 years, most recently as chairman of the corporate and investment bank, will become a managing partner and purchase a stake in BlueMountain, the New York-based firm said today in a statement. Proceeds from the stake sale will be invested in new infrastructure, technology and people, the firm said. “I’m very excited to be joining BlueMountain at a time when sea changes in the financial industry combined with the firm’s unique strengths open up enormous possibilities to deliver value to clients,” Staley, 56, said in the statement.

HSBC N.J. Client Admits Conspiracy in Offshore Tax Case (Bloomberg)
A New Jersey client of HSBC Holdings pleaded guilty to charges that he hid as much as $4.7 million through Swiss and Indian accounts not declared to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Sanjay Sethi, 52, who owns SanVision Technology Inc., conspired with HSBC bankers in New York, London and Geneva to hide assets from the IRS, he admitted yesterday in federal court in Newark, New Jersey. Sethi will pay a $2.37 million penalty for failing to file reports required for foreign accounts. “Sethi and his co-conspirators used nominee and shell companies formed in tax-haven jurisdictions and elsewhere to conceal the defendant’s ownership and control of assets and income from the IRS,” according to his charging document.

Bill Ackman Says Just Getting Started Exposing Herbalife (Bloomberg)
“We’re prepared to spend whatever it costs and do whatever is required to make sure that the world understands the facts about this company,” he said in a telephone interview. “We can’t imagine how the SEC or the Federal Trade Commission or any other relevant regulator will ignore what we have said.” Ackman said he would make all his information available to U.S. regulators.

Chinese Tech Titans Eye Brazil (WSJ)
The Chinese like emerging markets because, for a change, they don’t have to start way behind established American companies. By moving into Brazil aggressively, Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group and Internet-search company Baidu hope to gain an edge over companies like Hewlett-Packard and Google In addition, some U.S. companies that are leaders at home and in Europe have a smaller footprint here because of Brazil’s long history of protectionism and red tape and its high cost of labor, particularly compared with Asia.

Oregon brewer Daniel Keeton creates nutritional, non-alcoholic brew for his dog (NYDN)
Oregon man Daniel Keeton enjoys serving beer to customers at the brewery he works for, so why shouldn’t he serve up some healthy brew for the dog he cares about? The dog brew is non-alcoholic of course, but it is a big hit with Keeton’s canine Lola Jane. And now Keeton’s special brew is available to anyone who wants it. After years of planning, Keeton launched his company Dawg Grog over the summer. Keeton, who works at Boneyard Brewery in Bend, says Dawg Grog is good for the dogs, and they can’t seem to get enough of it. “Bend is a dog-loving community and a beer-loving community,” Keeton told the Daily News on Monday. “I wanted to marry those two together in some way.” Keeton spent years refining the ingredients to his special brew, which includes low-sodium vegetable broth, water and spent grain from Boneyard Brewery. “After a couple of years of trying recipes I came up with one that I am really happy with, and one that my dog is really happy with,” he said.

Secret Goldman Team Sidesteps Volcker After Blankfein Vow (Bloomberg)
MSI wagers about $1 billion of the New York-based firm’s own funds on the stocks and bonds of companies, including a mortgage servicer and a cement producer, according to interviews with more than 20 people who worked for and with the group, some as recently as last year. The unit, headed by two 1999 Princeton University classmates, has no clients, the people said…The team of about a dozen people, based at the firm’s Manhattan headquarters, is headed by Daniel Oneglia and Geoff Adamson. Oneglia was treasurer of the Princeton eating club Tiger Inn, where his nicknames included “the Don” and “the Weasel,” according to the university’s website. Adamson was coxswain for men’s heavyweight varsity crew. A Boston Globe photo shows teammates flinging him into a Massachusetts lake after a victory.

Carlyle Bags $4 Billion Profit From China Insurance Exit (Reuters)
Private equity firm Carlyle Group sold its remaining stake in China’s No.3 insurer CPIC in a deal valued at $793 million, exiting the business with its largest dollar profit on an investment. After several stake sales in the past two years, Carlyle will finish with a total profit of more than $4 billion, five times the $800 million it invested in CPIC between 2005 and 2007 for a 17 percent stake, Thomson Reuters calculations show. By private equity standards, where making two times cash paid and a few hundred million is considered a success, the CPIC exit is an historic deal for Carlyle.

London Quantitative Hedge Funds Report Second Year of Losses (Bloomberg)
The performance of the funds belies their popularity with investors, who’ve poured $108.2 billion into the pools since the end of 2008, according to Fairfield, Iowa-based BarclayHedge Ltd. While quants made money during the financial crisis when other hedge funds didn’t, they’ve since stumbled as market sentiment swung from optimism to pessimism following political announcements in Washington and Brussels, breaking up the trends they try to follow. That may force investors to withdraw money.

Japan Executives Warn Yen May Get Too Weak (WSJ)
The executives, who gathered at an annual New Year’s reception held by Japan’s three biggest corporate lobbies, praised Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s new government for its proposals to boost the economy and tame the strong yen, which erodes exporters’ profits and makes it harder to sell Japan-made goods overseas. But they also cautioned that if the economy stays weak, or if the government doesn’t take steps to get its bloated finances under control, investors could lose confidence in Japan and flee, sending the yen into free fall.

KFC diner stumbles upon strange brain-like organ in his meal (TS)
Disgusted Ibrahim Langoo was tucking into a Gladiator box meal when he spotted what he thought was a “wrinkled brain” inside a piece of chicken. KFC have apologised and, after having the photographs analysed, reckon the unsightly organ may in fact be a kidney. The 19-year-old took a photograph of the three-inch stomach-churning discovery on his mobile phone and complained to staff. Apologetic bosses at the fast-food chain – known for its Finger Lickin’ Good slogan – have now offered him vouchers for even more KFC meals.

47 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (47)

  1. Posted by on the open | January 8, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Don't Shaze me bro.

  2. Posted by Matt's mommy | January 8, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Matt for Treasury !

  3. Posted by VonSloneker | January 8, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Doggie O'Douls? Have we really become that pussified since the 80s?

    – Spuds Mackenzie

  4. Posted by Guest | January 8, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    "Disgusted Ibrahim Langoo was tucking into a Gladiator box meal when he spotted what he thought was a 'wrinkled brain' inside a piece of chicken."

    Let the record show that he was disgusted prior to the discovery.

  5. Posted by D. Kneal | January 8, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Seriously, what's a guy supposed to do if he can't by a dog a few adult beverages?

  6. Posted by Man Fnancial | January 8, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    CTAs are not quant funds.

  7. Posted by guest | January 8, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Man Financial is not a company

    ~J. Corzine

  8. Posted by Chaz Heston | January 8, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Man is made out of people!

  9. Posted by Guest | January 8, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    Zombie guy, this is the only day you are allowed to comment.

  10. Posted by Bejujular | January 8, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Another group of Excel jockeys pretending to be secret agents and mafia dons. Cue up another tell-all…

  11. Posted by VonSloneker | January 8, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    1:45

    [youtube GcDkp4HTIFk&feature=player_embedded#! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcDkp4HTIFk&feature=player_embedded#! youtube]

  12. Posted by Michael Moore | January 8, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    That chicken brain has turned me off to KFC forever, is there a Popeye's around here? Let's get some Popeyes.

  13. Posted by Caviar Detergent | January 8, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Roe Tide!

  14. Posted by Guest | January 8, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    @denniskneale Good to see someone coming out with an alcohol free dog brew, a drunk collie can be a handful.

  15. Posted by Asshole Commenter | January 8, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Maybe you should lay off the sauce as well if hitting "reply" is too challenging for you on a Tuesday morning.

  16. Posted by Guest | January 8, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Classic move for Staley. Wonder if he'll get a golden handshake considering they made so much money off of JPM shareholders.

  17. Posted by Man Fnancial | January 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    As if he will actually do anything at bluemount. Figurehead, sit in on client meetings.

  18. Posted by Hobbes | January 8, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Beer for dogs? Only in Oregon.

  19. Posted by James S. Cramer | January 8, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    EWWWWW YUCKY DUCKY SKEE DADDY SOME KID FOUND A BRAIN… A BRAIN!!!! IN HIS KFC CHICKEN BUCKET WTF?! I EAT THAT EVERY DAY!!!! THAT'S SO COCKANAMY!!! LOL!!!! THIS IS NOT GOOD NEWS FOR YUM BRANDS THAT'S FOR SURE… AND THIS AFTER THE COMP SALES IN CHINA FORCAST!?!?! NO THANKS, PLAY IT SAFE GUYS AND STICK WITH FB AND AAPL

    THEY ARE SAYING IT WAS JUST A KIDNEY… JUST A KIDNEY??? OH IN THAT CASE PASS THE SALT THEN SKEEEEEE DADDDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

    –<3 JIMBO

  20. Posted by Guest | January 8, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Good job, good effort.

  21. Posted by Laxbro | January 8, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Anyone else find it awkward how the announcers sounded obsessed with AJ's slam last night? If you're the starting QB at an SEC school–let alone the number one team in the nation–you should have a depth chart of cold pieces. Shit, I did dece being a washed up lacrosse player with a Tahoe. That said, she's pretty but there are a hundred "Miss Alabamas" in Tuscaloosa that would let AJ stroke on command. So hopefully he's not dumb enough to be faithful to this attention starved airhead.

  22. Posted by Van Beek | January 8, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    500,000,000 sperm and YOU were the fastest one?

  23. Posted by James S. Cramer | January 8, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    AM I ALLOWED TO COMMENT SKEEEEEEEEEE DADDDDDYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?!!?!

    LOTSA LUV,
    JIMBO

  24. Posted by Ibrahim Langoo | January 8, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    sometimes i put my wrinkled brain in other people's food too

  25. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 8, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    GS has a market cap of $64 billion, book value of $68 billion, and total assets of $949 billion. Would this really be a leading "scare quote" Bloomberg story if we were talking about two guys from the same frat at Northwestern running a $300 million internal fund for US Bancorp?

  26. Posted by Bode Miller | January 8, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Did someone yell "Ski Daddy"?

  27. Posted by Guest | January 8, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Anyone else hate the phrase "tuck into"?

  28. Posted by fittin in | January 8, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    No.

  29. Posted by gUEST | January 8, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    You must lead an awful life.

  30. Posted by bothSEC's suck | January 8, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Plus 100

  31. Posted by Guest | January 8, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    I do not always put brains in food…

    But what I do, my name is Ibrahim Langoo

  32. Posted by Mother Goose | January 8, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    -1

  33. Posted by James S. Cramer | January 8, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    HAHAHAHAHA THAT RHYMED SKEE DADDY!!!1 YOU'RE SO COCKANAMY!!! HAHAHAHA

    –<3 JIMMY C

  34. Posted by Hick quant | January 8, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    She da finest women in da world mama!

  35. Posted by Guest | January 8, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Katherine Webb profile

    Age: 23
    Date of birth: 24 April 1989
    Place of birth: Montgomery, Alabama
    Residing place: Phenix
    Education: bachelors of Science in Business and administration
    Institutions studied: Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Auburn University
    Job: Manager/ training director at Chick-fil-A

  36. Posted by Sealy | January 8, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    I prefer "tuck in to"

  37. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 8, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    You know what the cool new thing is? Train surfing. Try it on Metro-North- just climb up on the roof. Grab onto that arm that touches the wire to stabilize yourself.

  38. Posted by Guest | January 8, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Institutions studied: Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Auburn University
    Job: Manager/ training director at Chick-fil-A


    Dear A.J., pump and dump this bimbo.

    Love,
    Dad

  39. Posted by ha ha gross | January 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    ha ha. you're teabagging your name

  40. Posted by so gross | January 8, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    ha, still doin it. you and will ferrell must have studied together.

  41. Posted by Aggie Geography | January 8, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Hey, dumbass: It's "Fenix".

  42. Posted by Tuck's Brands, Inc. | January 8, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Hey!

  43. Posted by Guest | January 8, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Fuck off.

  44. Posted by Herbie | January 8, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Little known fact – if you are wearing a backpack and jump off a tall building, pulling the adjustor straps tight makes the backpack act like a "flying squirrel suit" and you can glide around Manhattan for hours. Try it.

  45. Posted by Andy | January 8, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    I think a dog living in Bend feels more like a dog if he can have a bottle of suds. That's only my opinion.

  46. Posted by sohbet | May 12, 2013 at 6:40 PM

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

  47. Posted by Arwana Red | January 16, 2014 at 1:03 PM