Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 01.23.13

Greece Charges Statisticians Over Size of Deficit (FT)
Greece has brought criminal charges against the official responsible for measuring the country’s debt, thereby calling into question the validity of its 172 billion euros second bailout by the EU and International Monetary Fund. Andreas Georgiou, head of the independent statistical agency Elstat, and two senior officials are accused of undermining the country’s “national interests” by inflating the 2009 budget deficit figure used as the benchmark for successive austerity packages. The three statistical experts face criminal charges of making false statements and corrupt practices, a judicial official said, adding that if found guilty they could serve prison terms of five to 10 years. They have denied any wrongdoing.

Spain’s Recession Deepens (WSJ)
Spain’s central bank said a recession in the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy deepened slightly in the final quarter of last year, but it said austerity cuts are bringing the country’s runaway budget deficit under control.

Obama-Bashing Swapped for Pragmatism at Davos (Bloomberg)
“We have to move on in our society,” Blackstone found Stephen Schwarzman said today in an interview in Davos with Bloomberg Television’s Erik Schatzker. “I like President Obama as a person, and he’s well- intentioned.” Schwarzman, 65, warned in Davos in 2010 that banks could restrict lending because “their entire world is being shaken and they’re being attacked personally.” Later that year, at a nonprofit group meeting, he likened Obama’s tax proposals to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Third Point LLC CEO Daniel Loeb, who in 2010 compared Wall Street’s Obama supporters to “battered wives,” will help lead a Jan. 25 Davos dinner discussion, “Can Capitalism Evolve?” Schwarzman apologized in 2010 for his comparison of Obama’s effort to double taxes on private-equity income to the invasion of Poland. He said the analogy was inappropriate and that the administration’s need to work with business “is still of very serious concern.”

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon Apologizes, Attacks (WSJ)
James Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase was prepared in Davos to apologize for the more than $6 billion of trading losses racked up by the so-called London Whale, but he certainly wasn’t prepared to abase himself…Min Zhu, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, reeled off a string of statistics to show that the industry certainly hadn’t cleaned up its act since the crisis, and Paul Singer, principal of hedge fund Elliott Associates, was also keen to lambaste big banks, including Mr. Dimon’s. The two had some testy exchanges and the body language indicated that Messrs. Singer and Dimon have exchanged fire quite a few times previously. Still, Mr. Dimon gave us good as he got. He kicked off with repeating his apology to shareholders for the London Whale trading losses, which led to his own bonus being slashed, saying, “If you’re a shareholder of mine, I apologize deeply.” Having offered this apology he then went on the offense. He pointed out that his bank lent money to a whole host of worthy organizations such as schools, hospitals, governments, and Italian and Spanish corporates and governments. And he also had some snappy comebacks. Elliott’s Singer said that the global banks are “too big, too leveraged, too opaque,” which left Mr. Dimon with an easy retort about how could a hedge fund possibly criticize a bank about being opaque? “Our [securities filing] 10K is 400 pages long,” Mr. Dimon said. “What would you like to know?”

Geithner Exit Next Friday (AFP)
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who steered the administration of President Obama through the financial crisis, will step down from his post Friday, a source told Agence France Presse yesterday.

Golfer Mickelson recants tax rant (NYP)
Mickelson — who hinted he might move from his home state of California to escape higher taxes — said he regretted his public rant on the issue after setting off a political firestorm. “Finances and taxes are a personal matter and I should not have made my opinions on them public,” according to a statement from Mickelson, who plans to elaborate today at the Farmers Insurance Open. “I apologize to those I have upset or insulted and assure you I intend to not let it happen again.”

Senator Lautenberg Suggests Spanking In Store For Mayor Cory Booker (CI via DI)
“I have four children, I love each one of them. I can’t tell you that one of them wasn’t occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was OK,” Lautenberg said with a smile in his first public comments since Booker announced he was considering a run for Senate.

Banker’s Latest Bet: Teamwork on Bonds (WSJ)
Texas banking tycoon Andrew Beal is known for making unconventional moves, including gambling on high-stakes poker and a self-financed plan to launch rockets into space. His latest gambit: an attempt to wring money from giant banks by banding together aggrieved bondholders. Mr. Beal’s CXA Corp. ran a pair of advertisements late last year, one appearing in The Wall Street Journal. The ads listed an alphabet soup of residential mortgage-backed securities held by CXA and asked those with positions in the same securities to join the company in investigating possible infractions by banks that sold the debt. If the groups can prove the mortgages that underlie the bonds were approved through shoddy underwriting, they could be entitled to compensation—CXA’s payday alone could be tens of millions of dollars.

Firms Keep Stockpiles Of ‘Foreign’ Cash In US (WSJ)
Some companies, including Internet giant Google, software maker Microsoft, and data-storage specialist EMC Corp, keep more than three-quarters of the cash owned by their foreign subsidiaries at U.S. banks, held in U.S. dollars or parked in U.S. government and corporate securities, according to people familiar with the companies’ cash positions. In the eyes of the law, the Internal Revenue Service and company executives, however, this money is overseas. As long as it doesn’t flow back to the U.S. parent company, the U.S. doesn’t tax it. And as long as it sits in U.S. bank accounts or in U.S. Treasurys, it is safer than if it were plowed into potentially risky foreign investments.

SEC Reins In Ratings Firm (WSJ)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission barred Egan-Jones Ratings Co. from issuing ratings on certain bonds, an unprecedented step by the regulator and a setback for a small credit-rating firm with a history of courting controversy. The SEC said Tuesday that Egan-Jones couldn’t officially rate bonds issued by countries, U.S. states and local governments, or securities backed by assets such as mortgages, for at least the next 18 months. The ban was part of an agreement the SEC reached with Egan-Jones and its president, Sean Egan, to settle charges that they filed inaccurate documents with the regulator in 2008. The SEC alleged that Egan-Jones misled investors about its expertise, and that Mr. Egan caused the firm to violate conflict-of-interest provisions.

Lindenhurst dentist busted after reporting to work reeking of booze and drilling teeth while allegedly drunk (NYDN)
Dr. Robert Garelick was hauled out of his Lindenhurst office in handcuffs Monday after his dental hygienist smelled booze on his breath and caught him administering Novocain to the wrong side of a patient’s mouth. “I observed Dr. Garelick looking for cavities in the right side of the patient’s mouth, but the cavities were in the left side,” hygienist Kimberly Curtis told police in a written statement. “I pointed this out to the doctor and that’s when he ordered more Novocain for the patient,” Curtis told cops. “So now, he basically numbed the whole patient’s mouth.” After noticing Garelick’s wobbly behavior Monday, Curtis texted co-worker Dina Fara, who called 911. Curtis said she sent the message after Garelick used a drill to treat another patient who had a chipped tooth. “He was filing the tooth down,” Curtis said. “When you’re using that drill, you have to be very careful and have a steady hand.” She said that just before Garelick treated the chipped tooth, he slipped into his office. “I noticed that he was drinking from a white and purple squeeze bottle,” Curtis said. “At first I didn’t think anything was wrong,” Curtis said. “But right after, he took a drink from that bottle, he got up and walked past me. When he did this I smelled a strong odor of alcohol.” The dentist initially claimed he only had a couple of beers with pizza during lunch Monday, according to Suffolk County cops. But Garelick, who was charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment, later confessed to his drunken dentistry while being taken to a police precinct in the back of squad car. “I never had any beers with my pizza. I’ve been sipping at that bottle all along today,” he told police, referring to his squeeze bottle filled with vodka, according to a criminal complaint.

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71 Responses to “Opening Bell: 01.23.13”

  1. Guest says:

    So, Mr. Geithner, you're saying we have 4.5 options?

    -UBS Hand Gesture Quant

  2. Guest says:

    Photo Caption: …and that's when that asshole, Bilbo, stole my precious…errrr ring.

  3. guest says:

    Is it safe?
    -Dr. Garelick

  4. Guest says:

    Are you guys only able to see the first 3 posts or so on the front page before it trails off or is my browser garbage? Ever since they got Shazar on IT this has been a lot less fun.

    • guest says:

      Have you tried rebooting?

      -DB IT Hamster

    • guest says:

      No. It just means your time is up.

      -Newark Librarian

    • Guest says:

      I've had the same problem, but mainly in the horribly-out-of-date version of Internet Explorer that my employer has installed on my machine.

      . . . Not that I would ever waste time on Dealbreaker at work, mind you. But *in theory*, if I were to access DB from my work computer, I would be having the same problem.

    • guest says:

      You need to blow on the end of the monitor cable like a Nintendo cartridge.

      -IT Circ.85

  5. Josef says:

    Mr. Georgiou is in league with the Fascist-Trotskyist conspiracy to undermine the Soviet Future!

  6. Evil David Letterman says:

    Hey, if I could just say one thing. Speaking of airport layovers, is it true Italian women take big shits? I recently began hitting the gym in attempt to fulfill my New Year’s resolution, and it just so happens they have tanning beds on site. Well call me the son of a sailor, but the pump and the faux sun have caused the women to take notice. That is uh Italian women taking notice. Now I already know that if you want a woman who doesn’t shit, you go Asian, but are Italian women really at the other end of the spectrum?

    • I married an Italian says:

      Italian women absolutly unload on Sir Thomas Crapper. Add that plus having to go to her parents house EVERY Sunday for the same dinner! Get's old man, get's old real quick.

      • Guy w 1/2 Italian gf says:

        I didn't think those dinners would ever end so thank you for confirming it and hopefully making this easier.

        -Guy who hopes to be guy with a half Italian ex-girlfriend very soon, hopefully prior to Sunday at 4:30pm when I have to start thinking about, and then actually motivating to go over to her parents house for the same damn Italian meal.

      • Laxbro says:

        Even the hot Italian slams have hairy arms and need to wax their mustaches every 4-6 weeks. Pump and dump status.

    • Guest says:

      I might put black ladies over Italian women. Those girls can dookie. Assuming we are putting Canadian women in the middle.

    • Guest says:

      East Asian>Black>Italian?

  7. Guest says:

    Also like.. repeats?

  8. guest says:

    Sheesh, cant Timmy make a speech without a teleprompter?

    -S. Palin

  9. Guest says:

    One more joke about Larchmont and this hand is going to smack you into tiny little pieces.

  10. Laxbro says:

    Dental school > Medical school > MBA

    Dental surgeon in a flyover > middle-class struggle in Manhattan

    • Construction Worker says:

      Hammered while drilling? What's the issue?

    • guest says:

      you think $300,000 for 40 hrs of work, which is enough for a 4,300 sq ft new build, driving a new 650i convertible to work and come home to a hot wife from an SEC school. and still having plenty of change left over for "business trips" with a some hot pharm reps and a country club membership, which you actually get to use and shave your handicap is better than the prestige of being a banker in NY? ha, yea right

      • Vandy Blondes Fan says:

        You had me at "hot wife from an SEC school"

        • Texashedge says:

          As a Vandy alum, I'd recommend you just go with an Ole Miss girl. About 10% better looking and they don't ask so many questions.

          • guest says:

            I give southern women credit for looking nice, doing full hair and makeup just to walk out the door in the morning. And those accents! However, there's a serious obesity problem down there, and I say this as a Big Ten guy.

      • Laxbro says:

        Ehhh my Dad's dentist friends work four day weeks, have gigantic primary and vaca homes, and swap six figure sports cars every year–but remain faithful to their wives who I'd describe as "woof," at best. Other than that no concerns.

      • HungryIntern says:

        Let me understand you correctly, are you saying that you would rather get fired every few years because of rightsizing instead of picking a job/career that guarantees you $300k for 30+yrs?

      • Guest says:

        The main advantage of the New York lifestyle is that you get to casually mention to your family and friends that you live in New York and feel superior about yourself, which is more than worth the fact that you never see the sun, have no good beaches in driving distance, have little or no privacy, have no private property to call your own, can never drive anywhere, have to put up with outrageous prices on everything, have your children either in a lousy public school where they get no education or in a private school that destroys your finances, and are forced to live every day in a teeming overcrowded open landfill of trash and disease.

        • Gupta says:

          Overcrowding and disease is relative. All in all, I call NYC an improvement

        • Guest says:

          Prestige comes with working in New York because it's home to the best and brightest in finance, law, etc. (see: Silicon Valley for tech) If competition scares you, go be another loser with a 3,400 sq ft wife and play golf with mouth breathing Aggies in Texas.

          • guest says:

            Hey Guest, there's a difference between drinking the kool-aid and doing a keg stand of it

          • PippyLongSausage says:

            Lol I bet you don't understand why you leave Murray Hill by yourself every Friday night after expecting every girl to sleep with you after telling them you're going to be a summer at Morgan Stanley.


          • PermaGuestII says:

            Let me guess: you moved to New York 13 months ago, and you now: a) tell everyone you know about how you found the "greatest" deli/dim sum/whatever in the city (after you read about it in Time Out New York); b) talk incessantly about going "out East" in the summer; c) make fun of The Bronx; d) try to hail taxis that don't have the "available" light on; e) act like a complete d-bag to waiters/doormen/store clerks/drivers b/c you think it's a "New York thing."

            I give you 8 months– maybe 12– before you're on the plane back to Tulsa.

            -guy who *is* from 'round here

          • Laxbro says:

            Is Tulsa a brewing lacrosse hotbed?

      • Broseph says:

        Your argument can never be objectively processed by most Wall Streeters.

        The need to believe that we are not office lemmings like the rest of America, and that 14-hour days are time well spent on a salary-adjusted basis, is just too strong.

        Keeps us from the bottle too, at least somewhat.

    • TraderA says:

      Buddy was handed his dad's $500k practice and works 3 days a week at 30 years old. He's constantly crashing at my place because Michigan is so boring.

  11. Jerk Store says:

    If its wrong to wantonly shoot Novocain and drunkenly perform oral surgery I don't want to be right.

  12. Ashy Larry says:

    Your dentist lunching on beer and pizza is the new drilling it

  13. Guest says:

    "A North Fort Myers resident was tackled by a naked man who had leapt off his roof Monday evening – and the scene only got more bizarre from there. Deputies were called to 17000 block of Old Bayshore Road just before 7 p.m. to deal with 21-year-old Gregory Matthew Bruni of Venice. The resident said he was lying in bed when he and his wife heard what sounded like thunder. The man went outside and saw Bruni running around on the roof. He allegedly jumped off and onto the victim, hitting him in the shoulder and knocking him down. Deputies say Bruni then ran into the house and pulled a large-screen TV off its stand and dumped the contents of a vacuum onto the floor. Bruni was then cornered but threatening to attack so the man’s wife fired three shots from a .38 revolver but missed. The arrest report says Bruni fell to the floor – but then began pleasuring himself. The resident got a shotgun and held Bruni until two deputies arrived."

    Only in Florida… Video in link below.

  14. Texashedge says:

    "Later that year, at a nonprofit group meeting, Schwarzman likened Obama’s tax proposals to Hitler’s invasion of Poland."

    I think you're goring a bit too far, Steve.

  15. Im_a_Dude says:

    "Look, i was able to get most of the hair off"

  16. Yakov Smirnoff says:

    In Soviet Russia, tax rants you.

  17. Random Thought Guy says:

    If it's 15 below zero and you put your fridge outside, does it warm your food up?

    • Quant me maybe says:

      No. It just slows down but does not stop the process whereby the contents freeze and all glass bottles of carbonated water freeze and shatter.

      –Guy whose wife forgot to close the garage doors last night.

  18. Danker_Banker says:

    Great strategy by Greece and Argentina: go after the statisticians. Seems to be working out pretty well.

  19. Guest says:

    I like how the guy next to him is also staring at his own hand, while Geithner appears to be explaining a vigorous sexual maneuver.

  20. Total Action says:

    Argentina got something different

  21. lagu terbaru says:

    She figured out such a lot of issues, most notably what it is like to possess a marvelous giving character to let men and women without problems understand chosen tricky subject areas.

  22. i cant say anything about this

  23. great discussions.. but i dont know why