Opening Bell: 02.20.13

Regulator set to weigh lifetime futures-trading ban for Corzine (NYP)
Two directors of the National Futures Association will move tomorrow to ban Corzine from the multibillion-dollar futures trading industry in light of the scandalous collapse of MF Global — the commodity futures brokerage firm Corzine once headed. If the motion is approved, NFA would hold hearings to determine whether Corzine, MF’s former CEO, deserves a “lifetime ban” from the industry…Corzine, who declined to comment on the proposed ban, is reportedly looking to set up a hedge fund. An NFA ban would limit his ability to trade futures in any fund with outside investors, experts said. It could also hinder his ability to raise money from pension funds and other large investors, experts said. Corzine could also be asked to fork over as much as $250,000 for each violation, according to NFA rules. The proposed ban cites nine rule violations, which could ding the disgraced Corzine for as much as $2.5 million.

Rhetoric Turns Harsh As Budget Cuts Loom (WSJ)
With less than two weeks to go before the latest fiscal face-off, rhetoric heated up Tuesday as the political parties exchanged fire over whom to blame if looming spending cuts take effect. With Congress in recess this week, Republican and Democratic leaders sent lawmakers home armed with fact sheets about the $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts due to start March 1, and talking points on how to blame the other side. Meantime, the White House and lawmakers are making no progress toward forging a compromise to avoid the reductions, which are known in Washington as the sequester.

Thousands of Greeks Rally in Anti-Austerity Strike (Reuters)
Tens of thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday during a nationwide strike against wage cuts and high taxes that kept ferries stuck in ports, schools shut and hospitals with only emergency staff. Beating drums and chanting “Robbers, robbers!” more than 60,000 people marched to parliament in the biggest anti-austerity protest so far this year. The two biggest labour unions brought much of crisis-hit Greece to a standstill during the 24-hour protest against policies which they say deepen the hardship of people struggling through the country’s worst peacetime downturn.

Judge Says Einhorn Hedge Fund May Succeed in Apple Case (Reuters)
David Einhorn’s hedge fund has shown a “likelihood of success” if his legal attack against Apple goes forward, a U.S. judge said, though he made no immediate ruling on fund’s request to block a shareholder vote on a proxy proposal next week. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan on Tuesday reserved decision on a lawsuit by the fund, Greenlight Capital, to stop a Feb. 27 shareholder vote on an Apple proposal to end the issuance of preferred stock without investor approval. “Candidly I do think the likelihood of success is in favor for Greenlight,” Sullivan said at a court hearing in New York.

Big Anglo-French Buyout Planned (FT)
A British-based private equity consortium is preparing a bid of 3.5 billion euros for French catering company Elior in what would be the biggest buyout in continental Europe since Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008. CVC Capital Partners and BC Partners have teamed up to launch a buyout of Elior, underlining how confidence is returning to Europe’s private equity sector.

New York mom charged with child endangerment after hiring strippers to perform lap dances at her 16-year-old son’s birthday party (NYDN)
Judy Viger, 33, hired the women from a company called Tops in Bottoms and arranged for them to perform in a private room at the Spare Time Bowling Center in South Glens Falls on Nov. 3. At the party, the women performed what police describe as “personal and intimate” dances with the party guests, some of whom were as young as 13. Approximately 80 people attended the party, including a 13-year-old and many adults who later said they were outraged at the sexually charged performances. Police were alerted to the party activities after raunchy photos of the lap dances were posted online. The mother of a 15-year-old boy who attended the party saw some of the photos on her son’s Facebook page and alerted South Glens Falls authorities…The company providing the strippers said that the dancers were unaware that the kids at the party were underage, local CBS affiliate WRGB reported, and that the incident was being “blown out of proportion.”

Heinz Deal Feeds Chatter About Food-Industry Consolidation (WSJ)
The deal sparked speculation of what Heinz may want to buy and what other food company has the wherewithal to become a consolidator. With the potential for more tie-ups, that may also jar loose some brands or businesses—possibly Heinz’s underperforming frozen-foods business—that could make a nice fit in another company’s pantry. The speculation makes just about everyone a buyer or a seller. “Most of what food companies discuss at the conference will now be taken in the context of what it may mean for further industry consolidation or portfolio change,” Barclays packaged-food analyst Andrew Lazar said.

Brink’s Says Brussels Diamond Robbery Will Hurt Quarter’s Profit (Bloomberg)
Brink’s Co., a provider of armored cars to transport valuables, said a diamond robbery at Brussels airport will have a “significant impact” on first-quarter earnings. A portion of the gems stolen two days ago was being shipped by Brink’s, the Richmond, Virgina-based company said today in a statement. The Antwerp World Diamond Centre has said about $50 million of rough and polished diamonds were stolen as the gems were being loaded onto a plane bound for Switzerland.

Revel Into Chapter 11 (AP)
Revel, the casino many people had hoped would turn around Atlantic City’s sagging fortunes, said yesterday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, less than a year after it opened. The voluntary, prepackaged bankruptcy envisioned for late March will wipe away about two-thirds of its $1.5 billion in debt by converting more than $1 billion of it into equity for lenders.

JPMorgan Leads U.S. Banks Lending Least Deposits in 5 Years (Bloomberg)
The biggest U.S. banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. are lending the smallest portion of their deposits in five years as cash floods in from savers and a slow economy damps demand from borrowers. The average loan-to-deposit ratio for the top eight commercial banks fell to 84 percent in the fourth quarter from 87 percent a year earlier and 101 percent in 2007, according to data compiled by Credit Suisse Group AG. Lending as a proportion of deposits dropped at five of the banks and was unchanged at two, the data show.

New Grey Poupon ‘Pardon Me’ ad to air during Oscars (AP)
After a 16-year hiatus, the mustard that mocked its own stuffy image in one of TV’s most famous commercials will once again take to the airwaves during the Feb. 24 Academy Awards show. The spot comes as Kraft Foods looks to boost sagging sales of the Dijon mustard, which is facing competition from a growing variety of high-end condiments on supermarket shelves. The new ad begins in the same way as the original — an aristocratic English gentleman is being chauffeured in the countryside, when another car pulls up alongside them at a stop. The back window rolls down and a second man asks in an over-the-top snooty accent, “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?”

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Comments (51)

  1. Posted by Super Sweet 16 | February 20, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    what did your mom get you for your 16th birthday this year? oh just herpes

  2. Posted by guest | February 20, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    "Regulator set to weigh lifetime futures-trading ban for Corzine"

    Meh, three years.

    -J. Corzine

  3. Posted by Gordy | February 20, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Look, I'm sorry OK. I thought that blanket you crocheted was actually a you-know-what rag and, well, I had to nut and when the time came to milk the cow I grab'd for it and let it do it's job. If I knew that you made that blanket for your grandmas 87th b-day I would have never touched it. I spent all night making brown bag lunches for the homeless crying about all of this. Everyone one of OUR friends has said that we communicate the best, like there is no other couple in the world that can connect like we can. When you sit and take shits in the bathroom and I come in and brush my teeth, you know, it's things like that which make US special. Now you want to throw it a way all because of some blanket?

  4. Posted by Twig&Berries | February 20, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Hiring entertainment from a place called Tops and Bottoms? Gonna be tough to pass that one off on how you thought you were hiring a magician.

    Who could forget the guy's 5th birthday when his mom hired 'Brazilian Lady Boy Horses' to provide pony rides for the kids?

  5. Posted by Asshole | February 20, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Haha! Your mom had you at 17! Have fun taking her to prom!! Haha!

  6. Posted by InfiniteGuest | February 20, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Sweet Sixteen Entertainers, Barely Dancing, Rub Parent Wrong Way

  7. Posted by LoneRanger | February 20, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Flashy '92 Ford Tempo I got for turning 16 > (bowling party + genital wart infested crotch sitting on my face)

  8. Posted by Still say Kane | February 20, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Couldn't afford a car so she named her daughter Alexis

  9. Posted by Puck It | February 20, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    I would love to be "blown" out of proportion.

    —old married guy

  10. Posted by mkng1 | February 20, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Apparently Revel could learn a few things from Ms. Viger about how to attract customers.

  11. Posted by guest | February 20, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    I think the prom is probably where her troubles all started.

  12. Posted by PermaGuestII | February 20, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    Never knew Glens Falls was in Florida.

  13. Posted by Ragu | February 20, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    backseat of a flashy '92 Ford Tempo?

  14. Posted by PippyLongSausage | February 20, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Infinite, you need to work on the structure of your Haiku poems.

    I know you had a rough day on yesterday's Opening Bell so I'll try to help and get you some momentum. Work on your Haikus though I won't be so generous next time.

  15. Posted by guest | February 20, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    not bad for 33

  16. Posted by Bejujular | February 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    "Approximately 80 people attended the party, including a 13-year-old and many adults who later said they were outraged at the sexually charged performances."

    Yeah I'm also usually not disgusted by porn until after I'm done with it.

  17. Posted by MENSA | February 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Please stop calling us.

  18. Posted by Guest | February 20, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Questionable at best

  19. Posted by VonSloneker | February 20, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    …almost a haiku

    - Poetry Quant

  20. Posted by Shazouwe | February 20, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    My mother stripped for me on my 16th birthday.

    -The more you know

  21. Posted by guest | February 20, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Simple math indicates it couldn't have been newer than an '87 Tempo

    - That Guy

  22. Posted by Bored Guest | February 20, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Did they hire Shecky to write the Heinz piece in the Journal? "Jar-loose opportunities"? "Nice fit in another company's pantry"?

  23. Posted by Guest | February 20, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    In truth, the closest he's been to getting some is when his finger slipped through the toilet paper

  24. Posted by InfiniteGuest | February 20, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Underage boys' laps
    Exotic dancers climb on —
    Child endangerment

  25. Posted by Shazar's mom | February 20, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    I stripped down… and proceeded to take a dump on him.

  26. Posted by Family Guy Quant | February 20, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Giggity giggity,

    -Mayor of Glen Quagmire's Falls, FL

  27. Posted by PermaGuestII | February 20, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    I'm disgusted thinking of the likely quality of the local talent in a down-at-the-heels industrial town 50 miles north of Albany.

  28. Posted by horn | February 20, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    North wind cools Moreau,
    Teens heat up via Bottoms,
    Jerked off at bowling.

  29. Posted by Vin Brownlove Farina | February 20, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Shoot me the gravy baby!!!!!!!!!

  30. Posted by 80s guest | February 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Boy George with long hair?

  31. Posted by Guest | February 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Worst comment since 2004.

  32. Posted by PermaGuestII | February 20, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    I hope you're on the other side of my trades.

    - Guy who can do simple math

  33. Posted by Guest | February 20, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Sounds like they just asked him what kind of punishment he'd like rather than made an attempt to actually look like they were they were going to seek justice for his crime.

  34. Posted by Mrs_Slocombe | February 20, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    …………stretch marks, cig burns, and knife wound scars.

    - http://www.upstateNYfetish.com

  35. Posted by PippyLongSausage | February 20, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    I'm embarrassed I counted it on my fingers but it checks out. Nice work Infinite

  36. Posted by Im_a_Dude | February 20, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    i had no idea it was upstate. just assumed was was Long Island.

  37. Posted by Fewdollarsmore | February 20, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Revel is reveling in the oldest trick in the Casino industry…chapter 11. Ask Trump…the pro!!

  38. Posted by Mike Larson | February 20, 2013 at 12:04 PM
  39. Posted by UBS M&A | February 20, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    when you were last seen on a cellphone at the airport talking about a condo you were gonna redo and sell.

  40. Posted by Jim-Bob | February 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    You think that's bad? I had to punch Hilary Duffs horse teeth out her mouth just to be able to fit my jimmy in!

  41. Posted by Peter | February 20, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    You thnk that's bad? Remember the time I got a salmon helmet from Mohammed while wearing a toga?

  42. Posted by Danker_Banker | February 20, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    I bet half of the fathers at that party were frantically washing snail trails off their foreheads before they started saying how outraged they were.

  43. Posted by Subrogate This | February 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Robbery? What robbery? The diamonds were lawfully confiscated by the Belgian Police!

    -Brinks Legal MD

  44. Posted by Upstate Guy | February 20, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    We would never stand for this in Queensbury.

  45. Posted by guest | February 20, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Eh – it's actually not so bad up there. The Vermont/Saratoga/Adirondack influence makes it nicer than you might think.

    This one was not a surprise though….

    -went to high school with her

  46. Posted by Lox Quanto | February 20, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Mmm… Me thinks Matt and Bess got a second job at a deli to pay for their IT expenses (a new Geocities account). That's why they can never post anything before the lunch rush is over.

  47. Posted by Guest | February 20, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Yeah, well we use both towns as our sewer.

    Suck my Saratoga Springs prestige, bitches.

  48. Posted by Guest | February 20, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    How provincial.

  49. Posted by Im_a_Dude | February 20, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Yea, a bunch of pimply kids and their mom. Tops in Bottoms had no idea it was underage kids…

  50. Posted by Longun | February 21, 2013 at 6:19 AM

    Err..no it's just hair gel.

    That?..Oh I spilled a White Russian..

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