Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 02.12.13

Barclays to Cut 3,700 Jobs After Full-Year Loss (Bloomberg)
Barclays Plc will cut 3,700 jobs to reduce annual costs by 1.7 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) as Chief Executive Officer Antony Jenkins revamps the lender following its first full-year loss in two decades. About 1,800 positions will go this year at the firm’s investment bank and 1,900 in its loss-making European consumer and business banking unit, Jenkins said in a statement today. The lender posted a net loss of 1.04 billion pounds for 2012, wider than the 307 million-pound estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, as it set aside an additional 1 billion pounds in the fourth quarter for compensating clients wrongly sold interest-rate swaps and loan-repayment insurance.

Obama Address to Focus on Economy, Social Issues (WSJ)
President Obama’s chief spokesman, Jay Carney, said Monday the core emphasis in the president’s big speeches remains the same: “The need to make the economy work for the middle class, because the middle class is the engine that drives this country forward and which will, if it’s given the right tools and the right opportunities, will drive us forward in the 21st century.” Republicans welcome the president’s expected focus on the economy, but also say he hasn’t done enough. “The White House says they’re talking about jobs and the economy. I welcome that engagement,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said in an interview Sunday. “It seems as if the president is constantly trying to pivot back to jobs and the economy. The reason you see that happening is he’s never pursued it.” Mr. Obama will also address a series of automatic spending cuts set to kick in March 1—the so-called sequester—which could threaten economic growth, national—security preparation and the jobs of thousands of federal employees. Mr. Obama has called on Congress to pass a temporary measure of spending reductions and new taxes to replace the across-the-board cuts.

BNY Mellon loses U.S. tax case, to take $850 million profit hit (Reuters)
BNY Mellon Corp said on Monday it will take an $850 million charge against first-quarter profit after losing a high-stakes tax case to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, a move that will also erode some of its capital. The BNY Mellon case was the first to go to trial since the IRS accused several U.S. banks of generating artificial foreign tax credits through loans with London-based Barclays. The IRS challenged a $900 million tax benefit claimed by BNY Mellon that stemmed from a $1.5 billion loan from Barclays. The funding was so cheap that at one point Barclays actually paid BNY Mellon to take Barclays’ money, according to court papers.

Nasdaq Steps Up Pursuit Of A Partner (WSJ)
Nasdaq, long on the hunt for a partner, has ramped up its conversations about strategic options ranging from joint ventures to a sale, according to people familiar with the talks, as rival NYSE Euronext moves ahead with a merger that will form an even-bigger competitor.

Twinkie Brand Heads For Sale (WSJ)
Judge Robert Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., cleared Hostess on Monday to proceed with several of the sale processes it has unveiled during the past several weeks. Private-equity firms Apollo Global Management LLC and Metropoulos & Co. are now officially set to kick off the contest for most of the Hostess cakes business, with a $410 million offer for brands such as Twinkie, Dolly Madison, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs. That so-called “stalking horse,” or lead, bid also covers five bakeries and certain equipment. McKee Foods Corp., the maker of Little Debbie snack cakes, is the stalking-horse bidder for Hostess’s Drake’s brand. The $27.5 million offer from McKee, based in Collegedale, Tenn., doesn’t include the Drake’s plant in New Jersey.

Tesla CEO Clashes With New York Times Over Model S Review (Bloomberg)
Elon Musk, the billionaire chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc. said a range test of the Model S electric sedan by the New York Times was “fake” as the reporter didn’t disclose all the details of his drive. “NYTimes article about Tesla range in cold is fake,” Musk said in a Twitter post yesterday. “Vehicle logs tell true story that he didn’t actually charge to max & took a long detour.” The Times on Feb. 8 published a story by John M. Broder on its website detailing how the Model S he drove failed to meet the electric sedan’s 300-mile (483-kilometer) range “under ideal conditions” while driving in temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-12 Celsius). The Times also published a blog post by Broder about the test-drive on the same day, detailing his plan to use Tesla’s new “supercharger” stations. Broder followed instructions he was given in “multiple conversations with Tesla personnel,” Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times, said in an e-mail message. The story was “completely factual, describing the trip in detail exactly as it occurred,” Murphy said. “Any suggestion that the account was ‘fake’ is, of course, flatly untrue.”

Dispute over mashed potatoes turns dangerous (TBN)
A disagreement over mashed potatoes turned dangerous over the weekend when a victim said tempers escalated and a woman came at her with box cutters. Shaquina S. Hill, 23, of Fourth Street was charged with second-degree menacing and second-degree harassment as a result, city police said. An 18-year-old woman told police she and Hill argued about mashed potatoes just before 9 p.m. Sunday at a Fourth Street address, and things escalated from there. The younger woman told police Hill grabbed box cutters and waved them at her, then dropped the knife and started throwing things at her, including a heavy ceramic vase and coffee table. She told police Hill also punched her in the chest.

U.K. Regulator to Investigate Autonomy (WSJ)
The Financial Reporting Council, the regulator tasked with promoting good corporate governance and financial reporting in the U.K., announced the investigation Monday on its website. It said the probe will look at Autonomy accounts published between Jan. 1, 2009, and June 30, 2011.

New York fund manager arrested on Ponzi scheme charges (Reuters)
Federal prosecutors charged Jason Konior, 39, with defrauding investors by promising to match their investments in his fund, Absolute Fund LP, many times over. Prosecutors said he used $2 million of the money he collected from three hedge funds to pay his own expenses and cover redemption requests from prior investors, according to the criminal complaint dated February 7.

Treasury’s Brainard Says G-20 Must Refrain From Devaluation (Bloomberg)
“The G-20 needs to deliver on the commitment to move to market-determined exchange rates and refrain from competitive devaluation,” Lael Brainard, the Treasury’s undersecretary for international affairs, said at a news conference in Washington today. Brainard said “global growth is weak and vulnerable to the downside,” and strengthening demand must be a top priority for G-20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Moscow Feb. 15-16.

Ex-Fund Manager Avoids Jail Time (WSJ)
The cooperation of Ali Far, co-founder of Spherix Capital LLC, led to the convictions of at least five people, including Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam, prosecutors said. Mr. Rajaratnam, who was convicted on conspiracy and securities-fraud charges, is serving an 11-year prison sentence, one of the longest terms ever imposed for insider trading. Mr. Far secretly agreed to cooperate with the government’s probe shortly after he was approached by federal agents in April 2009, prosecutors said. Mr. Far, a former Galleon employee, recorded about 244 calls, including calls with Mr. Rajaratnam, prosecutors said. He also was prepared to testify at Mr. Rajaratnam’s trial as a government witness in 2011 but was never called, they said. “I am truly sorry for my mistakes and I am ashamed,” Mr. Far said at a hearing in Manhattan federal court Monday. U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson sentenced Mr. Far to one year’s probation. He also imposed a $100,000 fine.

The Perils of Being A Dog Show Judge (WSJ)
Cindy Vogels had a litter of options for Best in Show at last year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. As the final judge, she could have chosen a German Shepherd, a Doberman pinscher or even a Dalmatian. Instead she picked a Pekingese named Malachy—and everyone else judged her. One person, Vogels said, called the Pekingese “that awful dog.” Vogels recalled another saying: “Why would you give Best in Show to the dog that couldn’t walk?” “The American public was horrified,” Vogels said. “The public has no appreciation for a Pekingese.” It is the ultimate honor for a show judge to name the Best in Show winner at Westminster, the year’s glitziest dog show, which concludes Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. But it also can bring out the worst in people. The math behind this logic is basic: There are 187 breeds, only seven will win their groups and just one will win the opinion of Michael Dougherty, the Best in Show judge on Tuesday. “You go in there alone,” said Elliott Weiss, the 2010 Best in Show judge, “and you come out alone.”

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Show all comments

72 Responses to “Opening Bell: 02.12.13”

  1. Kim Jong Eun says:


  2. Matt's Dog says:

    Westminster's nice and all, but their lack of a financial modeling or at least basic chart making category is somewhat frustrating.

  3. guest says:

    That's why we always serve stove top stuffing at our house.

    – Matt's mom

  4. Archieinniagra says:

    No real motives being examined in Buffalo, apparently.

  5. Guest says:

    The issue was probably whether to leave the skin on or off. Pretty divisive.

  6. Guest says:

    "Breaking" News from the WSJ…

    "Behind David Einhorn's protestations on Apple Inc. AAPL +1.03% is a novel way to return cash to shareholders.

    Last week Mr. Einhorn, the billionaire manager of hedge fund Greenlight Capital Inc., proposed that Apple issue a special class of stock, which he called "perpetual preferred," that would carry a high dividend yield."

    Wasn't the perpetual preferred idea floated months ago by Einhorn and written about extensively by Matt?

    I know this isn't in the spirit of the Dealbreaker commentary to give Matt credit, but well done.

  7. Kneale says:

    *Furiously beating it into a cup*

  8. Ad Rock says:

    And then I stuck my dick in the mashed potatoes….

  9. guest says:

    Don’t hurt my dog!

    -Buffalo Bill

  10. guestf says:

    “Barclays to Cut 3,700 Jobs After Full-Year Loss”

    How can a “full-year” = Loss?

    -UBS Reading Comprehension Quant

  11. Guestalt says:

    Damn, Cindy. I know just what you're feeling.

    -Laxbros inner monologue

  12. guest says:

    Comments….have…. really ….gone down hill…

    -Shatner's voice

  13. guest says:

    Obama Address to Focus on Economy, Social Issues = Obama Address to Cast Blame / Finger Point, and Engage in Class Warfare

  14. Guesteban says:

    Dog show judges are like contemporary art critics. Just find the weirdest, ugliest specimen of whatever they're judging, the kind of thing you'd never want in your home, and dollars to donuts that's the thing they'll judge as the best.

  15. Dad of DB admin says:

    I got a gay son.

    – Dad of DB admin.

  16. Hobbes says:

    Knowing the NY Times, I'm surprised a review of an electric car didn't mention how it could solve economic disparity, rising tuition costs, gun control and climate change.

  17. guest says:

    Obama hates gray people

  18. Guest says:

    Step off or I'll cut you

    – Hungry Jack

  19. Hakuna Matata Guy says:

    What happened to the post about the guy complaining his retirement account is down from $1mm to $100k? I figure out something witty to say for the first time in months, come back to see how it was received by the rest of the commentariat, and its completely gone. Oh well,

  20. meg swan says:

    you OBVIOUSLY don't know my dog!

  21. Soopy says:


  22. guest says:

    I think Shazar has absconded with our national treasure!

  23. guest says:

    Ah, so THAT'S where shaniqua lives now.

    – Little T and One Track Mike

  24. Where Are You Guys? says:

    Anyone here today? Did Matt finally open his copy of Excel 2013 and can't tear himself away? Is Bess grabbing lunch with Lisa Falcone and Wilbur? Is Shazar lurking in the equinox steam room and claiming it's because he's meeting with Chazzy Gazparino?