Opening Bell: 02.22.13

AIG Swings to Loss on Sandy Costs, Sale of Unit (WSJ)
AIG posted a loss of $3.96 billion, or $2.68 a share, compared with profit of $21.5 billion, or $11.31, a year earlier. Its life-insurance and retirement-services business earned $1.09 billion, up 20% from a year earlier. The company also said it would take a loss of about $4.4 billion on the planned sale of a 90% stake in the plane unit, International Lease Finance Corp. AIG’s full-year net income of $3.4 billion marked a sharp decline from the $20.6 billion profit the company posted for 2011, when it adjusted its balance sheet to reflect its expected use of more than $18 billion in tax benefits.

CFTC Sues CME Group, Alleging Trade-Data Leaks (WSJ)
U.S. regulators took aim at the world’s largest futures-exchange operator, accusing CME Group Inc. and two former employees of allegedly sharing details on clients’ trades with a commodities broker. The civil charges, leveled Thursday by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, mark the first time the agency has sued CME in federal court. The case also highlights how regulators have responded to flagging confidence in the financial markets by scrutinizing more closely some of Wall Street’s central pillars: the exchanges. The CFTC charged a unit of Chicago-based CME and two former employees with disclosing private information about trading in its big energy markets to an outside party between 2008 and 2010 in return for meals and entertainment. CME said Thursday it would contest the charges. “Markets are too important for this [type of allegation] to be taken lightly,” Bart Chilton, a CFTC commissioner, said in an interview.

Citigroup bows to shareholder pressure, overhauls pay (Reuters)
Citigroup said on Thursday it has overhauled an executive pay plan that shareholders rejected last year as overly generous, revising it to tie bonus payments more closely to stock performance and profitability. The company also said it will pay new Chief Executive Mike Corbat $11.5 million for his work in 2012, in line with remuneration for his peers at other major banks. The new plan was crafted after board Chairman Michael O’Neill and other directors met with “nearly 20″ shareholders representing more than 30 percent of Citigroup stock, Citi said in a filing.

Watchdog Says LinkedIn paid no federal income tax over past three years (NYP)
The Mountain View, Calif., social network for professionals escaped the tax man because of a rule that allows companies to deduct expenses from employee stock awards, the watchdog, the Center for Tax Justice, told The Post. It’s a longstanding accounting trick that has spared many tech firms — including Amazon and Yahoo from 2009 to 2011 — from sharing any of their profits with the IRS, the CTJ said. “On $160 million profits over the last three years, LinkedIn paid zero federal income taxes,” said the CTJ’s Rebecca Wilkins. “The stock option deduction was big enough to wipe out all their taxes.”

Unemployment applications up 20,000 last week to 362,000 (AP)
The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 8,000 to 360,750, the highest in six weeks.

Trump Twitter Mystery! Who Hacked the Donald? (CNBC)
In what appears to be the latest in a minor wave of attacks on Twitter accounts belonging to out-sized corporate entities, an out-of-character tweet from Donald Trump’s verified account set the Internet abuzz, and then disappeared, shortly before noon ET on Thursday. “These hoes think they classy, well that’s the class I’m skippen,” read the suspect remark issued from @realDonaldTrump. It was a glaring non sequitur following tweets such as “Republicans must be careful with immigration—don’t give our country away,” and “Wow, Macy’s numbers just in-Trump is doing better than ever — thanks for your great support!” “Yes, obviously the account has been hacked and we are looking for the perpetrator,” Rhona Graff, senior vice president, assistant to the president of the Trump Organization, told NBC News via email. This confirmation was quickly echoed by Trump himself, in a tweet that read, “My Twitter has been seriously hacked — and we are looking for the perpetrators.”

UBS to Trade Equity Swaps in China in Structured-Product Push (Bloomberg)
Chinese regulators last month decided to allow UBS to trade total return swaps, Thomas Fang, the bank’s managing director for equities derivatives sales for Asia, said in a phone interview. The bank will use the derivatives to create structured products tied to local stocks, with plans to boost the size of its staff in the country for the business, Fang said. The China Securities Regulatory Commission’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a faxed request for confirmation.

A Tax That May Change The Trading Game (NYT)
The tax would be tiny for investors who buy and hold, but could prove to be significant for traders who place millions of orders a day. Under the proposal, a trade of shares worth 10,000 euros would face a tax of one-tenth of 1 percent, or 10 euros. A trade of a derivative would face a tax of one-hundredth of 1 percent. But that tax would be applied to the notional value, which can be very large relative to the cost of the derivative. So a credit-default swap on 1 million euros of debt would have a tax of 100 euros, or about 0.4 percent of the annual premium on such a swap.

On Currencies, What’s Fair Is Hard to Say (WSJ)
What’s the fair value of a euro? That depends on whether the answer comes from Berlin or Paris. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday weighed in on what the currency should be worth, saying the euro’s exchange rate is “normal in the historical context.” French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici had a different take earlier this month, calling the euro “perhaps too strong.” Economists say Ms. Merkel is right—technically. The euro’s buying power is roughly where it should be, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which judges currencies based on countries’ current-account balance. But others caution Germany’s relatively robust economy props up the euro’s value; if weaker countries like Spain or Italy still had their own currencies, they’d be worth much less.

Singapore GDP Growth Beats Initial Estimate as Asia Recovers (Bloomberg)
Gross domestic product rose an annualized 3.3 percent in the three months through December from the previous quarter, when it shrank a revised 4.6 percent, the Trade Ministry said in a statement today. That compares with a January estimate of 1.8 percent and the median in a Bloomberg News survey for a 2 percent expansion.

KFC employee fired for making out with boob-shaped mashed potatoes (DD)
A KFC employee in Tennessee is out of a job after photos of the culprit making out with a plate of mashed potatoes ended up on Facebook. The mashed potatoes, which were apparently not served to some unknowing customer, had been arranged into the shape of a woman’s boob. In the photos, the former employee can be found licking what we’d have to consider the underboob of the mashed potato mammary before throwing it into an oven. The photo became public information when it showed up on the Facebook page for Johnson City, Tenn., news channel WJHL, where it was shared 2,000 times and received more than 700 comments. Once the news organization was able to determine its locational origin—the KFC on North Roan Street—the suspected employee was terminated. KFC spokesman Rick Maynard confirmed the firing but would not name the culprit because that “wouldn’t be appropriate.” He stressed that the employee who took the photos is no longer with the company. “Nothing is more important to KFC than food safety,” he wrote to WJHL. “As soon as our franchisee became aware of the issue, immediate action was taken.

62 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (62)

  1. Posted by guest | February 22, 2013 at 7:55 AM

    "KFC employee fired for making out with boob-shaped mashed potatoes"

    So Howie Hubler blows up MS, doesn't get fired and gets millions of dollars while a minimum wage worker gets fired immediately for arranging food a certain way that doesn't harm anyone or break any laws. Got it.

    -Trader who def isn't part of the OWS crowd but is afraid that it's now open season on the short order cook at DENN who arranged his grits in the shape of a butt.

  2. Posted by Class Pedant | February 22, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    “My Twitter has been seriously hacked…"

    Whimsically seems more accurate.

  3. Posted by Bored Guest | February 22, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    UBS + structured products + China = ?

  4. Posted by GIRLS! | February 22, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Lena Dunham fired for making out with boob-shaped mashed potatoes, calling it art

  5. Posted by Longun | February 22, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    "The China Securities Regulatory Commission’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a faxed request for confirmation as they were all shitting themselves laughing."

  6. Posted by J. Corzine | February 22, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    That KFC employee should be arrested for what he did.

  7. Posted by Attention Please | February 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Just wanted to drop a little PSA. I was in the market for some new loafers for work. So, I checked the typical style sites and online stores, etc. I also checked YouTube. Well YouTube is where the PSA comes in because the site does have videos of loafers and guys wearing them, but they are apparently fetish videos. Now I am new to this fetish, and from what I understand guys like to jack off to people breaking in loafers. Which makes me think that although I enjoy wearning a nice pair of loafers, I am actually giving some creepy dude some grade A wanking material. Makes you stop and think about how fucked up the world is sometimes.

  8. Posted by Guest | February 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Lena Dunham = boob shaped mashed potatoes

  9. Posted by DENN Cook via UBS | February 22, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Damn it, I finally thought I found some place where i didn't need to constantly be on the lookout for wideclops.

  10. Posted by guest | February 22, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Is this an initial step for your coming out of the closet plan?

  11. Posted by Jon Paul Shazerowski | February 22, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    I live what people would call an "alternative lifestyle"

    ~ Jon Paul Shazerowski

  12. Posted by Guest | February 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Golden Dragons, ad infinitum.

  13. Posted by Ronald Dump | February 22, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Hey Twittah, yooor fired!

  14. Posted by Mike Larson | February 22, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    oh yeah the chinese….<img src="http://Now.apparelbookstore.info/rest.jpg"/&gt;

  15. Posted by Need to know | February 22, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    MD in need? N'08? Nassim Taleb? Rex Ryan? WHO ARE YOU?

  16. Posted by Caleb | February 22, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    Come one! I got 4 monitors at my workstation and a Bloomberg keyboard. I am ready for an intense Opening Bell. You better believe I have french cuffs on right now and I'm only an Analyst.

  17. Posted by guest | February 22, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    pretty sure HH did get fired.

  18. Posted by Quant me maybe | February 22, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    No one will take you seriously until you have 6 monitors.
    Now go get me a chicken salad sandwich.

  19. Posted by Will Ferrell | February 22, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    I drive a Dodge Stratus!

  20. Posted by Flashback Analyst | February 22, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    I'm less likely to believe Trump's twitter was hacked and more likely to believe he was just getting creative in his shots at Obama

    - Guy who remembers Trump's other racist twitter shots at Obama

  21. Posted by J. Epstein | February 22, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    LaxBro

  22. Posted by J. Epstein | February 22, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Sino-Forest Lane II

  23. Posted by E. Texas Gas Trader | February 22, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    So the mashed potato tittie story comes from a site referred to as (DD)?

  24. Posted by PrtScn | February 22, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    I do the two in the pink one in the stink setup.

  25. Posted by guest | February 22, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Please elaborate on the claims of racism in Trump's tweets.

  26. Posted by Hobbes | February 22, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Currently seeking applicants who speak mandarin, aspire to drive Honda Accords, and like gambling on losing odds.

    - UBS China HR

  27. Posted by Quant me maybe | February 22, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Matt:

    A seminal, or maybe seamenal, study has just been published on porn stars (and it's safe for work). Now, one striking chart correlates the use of the word, butt and boobs in the title of the movie. I think that you will concur, then, that the financial crisis was actually caused by an increase in the frequency of the word 'butts' in the title:

    <img src="http://jonmillward.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/butts-versus-boobs-large.jpg"/&gt;

    As you can see, the overuse of the word butts, and not deriviatives of the housing market bubble caused the crash.

    here's the full study:
    http://jonmillward.com/blog/studies/deep-inside-a

    — a concerned investor.

  28. Posted by Guest | February 22, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Some fine yellow journalism at work here:

    Was not fired for making boob-shaped mashed potatoes.
    Was fired for licking food during preparation.

  29. Posted by Guest | February 22, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Is that the same as two in the pumper and one in the dumper?

  30. Posted by Unoriginal Commenter | February 22, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    This is in fact what the subprime is in trouble. Related butts and boobs need to merge in order to survive.

  31. Posted by Asian correspondent | February 22, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Hey!

  32. Posted by Time Capsule Essay | February 22, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Roo Bee Ess!

  33. Posted by Noted | February 22, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!

  34. Posted by Pope B XVI | February 22, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    One in the Bieber and two in the lever ?

  35. Posted by Pope B XVI | February 22, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Meant to say, one in the Bieber and none in the beaver.

  36. Posted by Flashback Analyst | February 22, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Constantly accusing a black president of being born in Kenya in the face of overwhelming evidence is racist as fuck.

  37. Posted by Guest | February 22, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    That's opinion, not racism

  38. Posted by hopeful | February 22, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    I thought you said "cheddar cheese salad."

  39. Posted by guest | February 22, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Accusing someone of being born in another country and lying about it to be eligible to run for president, whether true or not is not racism. Let me elaborate, because you were probably brainwashed growing up by the fellow travelers that infiltrated the discourse in this country's educational and media outlets, saying negative things about someone of a different race is not automatically racism.

  40. Posted by Guest | February 22, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Who is your CF(luffer)O?

    -Waters

  41. Posted by Gabby Gifford | February 22, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    J. Edgar Hoover always insists
    Organized crime just doesn't exist
    Q.E.D. they're not in our midst
    Say Edgar, me, an' Ted E. Bear

  42. Posted by Flashback Analyst | February 22, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Obviously saying negative things about a person of another race is not racism, no one said it is. Assuming a black guy must have been born in Africa because he's black is racist, as is saying he's not viable for the presidency because he must have been born in Africa because he's black. Vehemently defending his assumption despite literally zero evidence it's true AND overwhelming evidence to the contrary in this case is a tell tale sign it's grounded in racism and not in reason.

    Also I feel it's important to point out before this goes any further I'm not pro-Obama, I'm anti-Trump.

  43. Posted by Guest What? | February 22, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    I proudly gave that dumbass comment a thumbsdown click and then I stood by my office window gazing at the skyline and nodded to myself in my own proud approval.

  44. Posted by Guest | February 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Dine in or take out?

  45. Posted by Ass Sending Order | February 22, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Consider the growth of obesity among Americans into the quanting results shown on that chart.

  46. Posted by Wig Party | February 22, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Shut up, Donald.

  47. Posted by Shrawan | February 22, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Despite the usual attitudes in the comments this morning, there's a great pic of Rihanna and Kate Moss over on Fashionista! Have an excuse ready in case a superior walks by while you're looking at it.

    -Geezer Oil Trader's New Assistant

  48. Posted by Quant me maybe... | February 22, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Actually, female porn stars have what is called a 'dance card.' Said dance card, to may way of thinking, strongly resembles a well structured portfolio, such as that held by a large institutional investor.

    <img src="http://jonmillward.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/breakdown-of-sex-acts-large.png&quot; height="25%" width="25%" />

    Maybe it's just me, but the 'spreads' here, are optimized for financial gain, the risks are spread and so on… I'm just not sure what the exact equivalents are maybe someone who has more experience in these matters may be able to clarify these equivalents.

  49. Posted by quant me maybe... | February 22, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    maybe a bit larger…

    <img src="http://jonmillward.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/breakdown-of-sex-acts-large.png&quot; height="75%" width="75%" />

  50. Posted by B. Melrose | February 22, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Two days without a Glens Falls story in the Bell? Seacrest out

  51. Posted by Matt's Excel 2013 | February 22, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    You know how I know you know you're gay?

  52. Posted by Guest | February 22, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Kentucky is the new Florida

  53. Posted by Hacksaw Jim Duggan | February 22, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Time for me to step up to the plate

  54. Posted by General Electric | February 22, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Watchdog Says LinkedIn paid no federal income tax over past three years:

    "“On $160 million profits over the last three years, LinkedIn paid zero federal income taxes,” said the CTJ’s Rebecca Wilkins. “The stock option deduction was big enough to wipe out all their taxes.”"

    Is that all you got? Amateurs.

    -GE

  55. Posted by Guest | February 22, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    I'm torn because I hate your comment, but I love your name. Nope, thumbs down.

  56. Posted by guest | February 22, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    I always appreciate your razor wit on a Friday.

  57. Posted by guest | February 22, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Trump is probably not a racist…he's just a huge attention whore and likely doesn't believe half the "birther" shit he claims to.

    That said, I'll go out on a limb and say your average redneck who goes around professing Obama was born in Kenya is prettayyy likely to hold some racist views too.

  58. Posted by Guest | February 22, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Worse comment since you got raped

  59. Posted by Office manager | February 22, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    You must be the new cleaning guy

  60. Posted by Turnip Truck | February 22, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    The footnotes on this chart must have been Matt's ultimate fantasy.

  61. Posted by Phred | February 23, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Please turn off your random word generator before posting.

    Or, better yet, stop posting.

  62. Posted by New Citroen C3 | March 29, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    You see, there are deals, but not "ofertones". Known phenomenon for the second time, vote-buying that at all who must demonize, make it clear-spending and stay him these cars, we put them and ask them pretty reasonably priced with finance option so that he would be benefit and we go home with our vehicle, secure and happy.