Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 02.25.13

Current Employees Star In S&P Suit (WSJ)
As ammunition against Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, the Justice Department packed its fraud lawsuit with vivid details about more than 25 employees who allegedly put triple-A ratings on shaky bundles of subprime mortgages—or dithered on downgrading the securities as the housing market was collapsing. David Tesher, an S&P managing director in charge of one of the firm’s two collateralized-debt-obligation groups, let analysts who reported to him put the highest possible ratings on deals S&P “knew did not accurately reflect the true credit risks,” the U.S. government alleged in the suit filed Feb. 4. When a different group of analysts warned that more and more borrowers were falling behind on their payments, Mr. Tesher didn’t tell his analysts, federal prosecutors claim. They put his name in the 128-page lawsuit a total of 59 times.

Fresh Front In Budget Battle (WSJ)
A White House official said the administration wouldn’t go along with such a plan to extend the lower spending levels. And Democrats are insisting that the House GOP bill also give new latitude to domestic agencies as well as the Pentagon. But an aide to Senate Democratic leaders said such a measure might be politically difficult for the lawmakers to oppose, lest they bear the blame for shutting down the government. “There’s an emerging consensus that it would be a difficult battle to have,” said the Senate leadership aide. “I don’t think we could force a shutdown.”

Dimon: Let’s put ‘London Whale’ on ice (NYP)
That’s the message Jamie Dimon hopes to deliver at JPMorgan Chase’s annual investor day in New York tomorrow, some nine months after the infamous “London Whale” blew a $6 billion hole in the bank’s balance sheet. Dimon will stress that the nation’s biggest bank has been growing its business and taking market share in a bid to convince investors and analysts that there will be no further whale sightings. JPMorgan, for instance, has boosted its private banker ranks to better cater to wealthy investors, adding some 650 bankers since 2008, according to people familiar with the matter. Dimon is also expected to tout the bank’s ability to ring up record profits in good times and bad. JPMorgan reaped $21.3 billion in profits in 2012, a record year despite rocky markets that shook rivals here and abroad.

Knight Capital to Sell Credit Brokerage Unit to Stifel: Report (Reuters)
Knight Capital Group, which recently agreed to be bought for $1.4 billion by Getco Holding, has struck a deal to sell its credit-brokerage unit to Stifel Financial, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. The terms of the deal were not known. But Stifel will be picking up investment-grade, high-yield, asset-backed and mortgage-backed debt brokers in the U.S. and Europe through the deal the source said.

Foreign Money Is Revisiting Greece (WSJ)
A steady trickle of foreign money pumped €109 million ($143.8 million) into Greek stocks in the last six months of 2012, followed by an additional €27.6 million in January, according to the Athens Stock Exchange. That money helped lift Greece’s major stock index 33.4% last year, making it—bizarrely—the best-performing stock market in the European Union. It is up an additional 10.51% this year, to 1003.32, although it remains well off its high of 6355 reached more than 12 years ago.

IKEA Meatballs Pulled After Horse-Meat Traces Found (WSJ)
IKEA on Monday became the latest company to be drawn into Europe’s snowballing horse-meat scandal, as the Swedish furniture giant said it has recalled a batch of meatballs that had been distributed to 13 European countries. The move comes after Czech food inspectors found traces of horse meat in IKEA’s meatballs. The company also said it is withdrawing meatball products from sale in Sweden.

Japan Picks BOJ Critic to Be Its Next Chief (WSJ)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to nominate former finance-ministry official Haruhiko Kuroda, 68 years old, as the next Bank of Japan governor, according to government officials. Mr. Kuroda, currently chief of the Asian Development Bank, ran the Japanese finance ministry’s currency policy for four years in the early 2000s. There, among other things, he oversaw an extended effort to drive down the yen’s value in order to make Japanese exports more affordable on the world market.

Barnes & Noble Chairman to Bid for Company’s Retail Assets (Reuters)
Barnes & Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio has told the board he plans to buy all the retail assets of the company. The retail business includes, among other things, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and barnesandnoble.com but excludes Nook Media, Riggio said in a regulatory filing on Monday.

Mets Expect To Lose Money And Fans This Year (NYP)
The team is expecting to lose more than $10 million this year, after bleeding red the past two seasons, while attendance is projected to fall for a fifth straight year.

Monti Gets Investors’ Approval as Bonds Cast Doubt on Berlusconi (Bloomberg)
Monti “is the first leader to make it clear you have to look out for future generations and not just tomorrow’s vote,” said Fabrizio Fiorini, chief investment officer at Aletti Gestielle SGR SpA. “This concept of looking out for future generations is absolutely new for Italy.”

Angry moms condemn Geico’s cellphone app commercial they claim promotes bestiality (NYDN)
One Million Moms wants auto insurance firm Geico to pull its latest TV campaign in which a woman appears to be flirting with a pig. The conservative Christian group that monitors children’s programming issued a statement to condemn the clip. “The Geico marketing team may have thought this would be humorous, but it is disgusting to see how the company takes lightly the act of bestiality,” One Million Moms said in a statement. The press release, which urges members to email their disgust to the firm, added that the advert was “repulsive” and “unnecessary.” It was also a “horrible commercial for families to see,” the group said. The commercial starts with Maxwell the Geico pig and the woman in a parked car on what appears to be a lover’s lane. Not knowing the car has broken down, the woman seems keen to make out with the pig. But he is uninterested and instead shows her the Geico app and the game Fruit Ninjas on his cellphone. Geico has not commented on the complaint.

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44 Responses to “Opening Bell: 02.25.13”

  1. Oh yeah says:

    First, whores!

    • Bored Guest says:

      Well I guess that's one way to start your week…

      Wouldn't mind starting mine with Charlize Theron, pretty into that look from last night.

  2. seriously says:

    no mention of topless greeting for berlusconi

  3. Nice Racks says:

    I doubt she will ever see this, but I just want to thank Elizabeth Hurley's tits as presented in the smash comedy hit "Bedazzled". Kids today dont realize the skill that went into wacking off before tube smut sites and high speed internet. Ms. Hurley is in her late 40's now and probably doesnt get as many compliments as she did when gravity was still on her side, but if I ever catch myself alone on a cold winter night and "Bedazzled" is what's on cable, you better believe it will be just like old times.

    • Years of Help says:

      Add Brooke Burke from her Wild on E! days to the list. My body was still developing and these feelings and sensations were new, but if it wasnt for experimenting I wouldnt be the sorrow soul I am today.

  4. Dodd-Frank Sucks says:

    Whats wrong with horse meat?

  5. Soylent Greenstein says:

    These horses are made out of people!

  6. E. Texas Gas Trader says:

    "Flirting with pigs….."? Welcome to my world.

  7. Guest says:

    I'm just excited for Matt's response to Bloomberg's response* to Matt's article about Bloomberg's article about bank subsidies

    – guy hoping for Icahn-Ackman style cage match

    *http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-24/remember-that-83-billion-bank-subsidy-we-weren-t-kidding.html

  8. Sven says:

    Why didn't I get any meatballs with my new Vejmon coffee table? Should I call?

    • Varsagod says:

      Why would you buy a Vejmon coffee table in the first place?

      -Swedish-American guy who knows that Ikea is a terribly inaccurate representation of actual Swedish furniture and household goods

      • Bored Guest says:

        Right? Because we all know that most people buy Ikea to go for the authentic Swedish look and style, nothing to do with being cheap. Nope.

      • Shecky Von Sydow says:

        Once there came a customer into the store and asked, "Kan jag få två smørgåssar?" (May I have two sandwiches). The store-clerk then asked, "Are you Swedish?" whereupon the customer said, " er det fordi jag sa 'smørgåssar de skjønnte at jag var svensk?" (is it because I said 'smørgåssar' i.e. the swedish word for sandwitch, you knew I was a Swede?). The clerk made a cunning smirk, "no, it is because you're in a hardware store."

  9. guest says:

    "Not knowing the car has broken down, the woman seems keen to make out with the pig."

    The protestors have it backwards. It looks like they have a solution in search of a problem.

    -Pig (an actual pig) who wants to know where more of these women are

  10. Guest says:

    If Geico had any balls they would re-release the video with a orthodox jewish girl.

  11. Guest says:

    "The One Million Mom's felt that the add was in poor taste and distracted them from their favorite shows Jerseylisious, Vanderpump Rules, and Real Housewives"

  12. Turnip Truck says:

    "Not knowing the car has broken down, the woman seems keen to make out with the pig. But he is uninterested and instead shows her the Geico app and the game Fruit Ninjas on his cellphone. Geico has not commented on the complaint."

    Pretty sure when a guy would rather show a woman his cellphone than make out with her, it's not bestiality that's being promoted.

  13. Kosher Hambone says:

    This would never happen to spider pig.