Opening Bell: 04.02.13

Cyprus Finance Minister Sarris Resigns After Brokering Rescue (Bloomberg)
Cyprus Finance Minister Michael Sarris quit the government today after helping clinch the final terms of an international aid agreement to stave off a financial collapse of the island. Sarris told reporters in Nicosia that he resigned due to a committee set up today to investigate the reasons that led to Cyprus’s economic crisis. Sarris has served as chairman of Cyprus Popular Bank Pcl, the second-largest lender, which has been shut as part of the financial rescue.

Fannie Logs Record Profit (WSJ)
Fannie Mae reported an annual profit of $17.2 billion on Tuesday, its first annual profit since 2006 and its largest annual profit ever, boosted by the housing market’s turnaround and sustained declines in the number of soured home loans. Fannie’s profit compares with a year-earlier loss of $16.9 billion. Fannie and its smaller sibling, Freddie Mac, posted banner earnings for 2012 because rising home prices have allowed them to set aside much less to cover the cost of defaulting home loans.

Bank of America Finds Profit in Foreign Tax Credit Moves (Bloomberg)
Bank of America Corp. more than doubled its profits in 2012 — with some help from the tax code. What the bank calls “restructuring” of its non-U.S. operations yielded $1.7 billion in foreign tax credits, or 41 percent of the $4.2 billion the company reported in 2012 earnings, according to securities documents including the form 10-K it filed Feb. 28. While the maneuvers didn’t provide an immediate cash tax benefit for Bank of America, the foreign tax credits count toward net income under accounting rules.

Goldman Unit To Seek Risk (WSJ)
Goldman Sachs is launching a specialty finance company to invest in high-risk debt primarily of midsize U.S. companies with no credit ratings. The New York firm said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Friday that it plans to offer shares in the new unit, Goldman Sachs Liberty Harbor Capital LLC, “as soon as practicable after the effective date of this registration statement.”

SEC Ex-Chief Lands at Consultant (WSJ)
Promontory Financial Group LLC is expected to announce Tuesday that it has hired Ms. Schapiro, who was chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission for nearly four years. “In my case, there’s no revolving door…I won’t ever be going back to government,” the 57-year-old Ms. Schapiro said in an interview. She decided that after spending “28 of the last 32 years as a regulator,” now was the “right time…to do something different.”

Mothers brawl during Seattle zoo Easter egg hunt (SPI)
A fight between two women during an Easter egg hunt at Woodland Park Zoo led to a bloody nose and several crying children Sunday, according to police and a witness. The incident began about 1 p.m. when a woman allegedly pushed a child aside as her own child was scrambling toward some brightly colored eggs, police spokesman Jonah Spagenthal-Lee said. “The shoving sparked a confrontation between the first woman (the supposed shover) and the second child’s mother, who began fighting and had to be separated three or four times,” Spagenthal-Lee said in a statement. “The brawl left the first woman with a bloody nose.” The children, mostly 4- to 6-year-olds, were subjected to foul language. The bloody scene left several children crying.

Judge Questions Fairness of Citigroup $590 Million Settlement (Reuters)
A Manhattan federal judge on Monday signaled he will not rubber-stamp Citigroup’s proposed $590 million settlement of a shareholder lawsuit accusing it of hiding tens of billions of dollars of toxic mortgage assets. U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein asked lawyers for the bank and its shareholders to address several issues at an April 8 fairness hearing, including requested legal fees and expenses of roughly $100 million, and the absence of payments by former Citigroup executives.

Argentine-bond tango heats up (NYP)
The yearly cost to insure the debt in the credit default swaps market for five years jumped by nearly 10 percent yesterday after President Cristina Kirchner and her government refused to come up with a better offer for bondholders led by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer’s Elliott Management. A New York appeals court is expected to rule that Argentina must pay the Elliott group $1.44 billion, and its latest proposal indicated that it will not, which could push its bonds into default.

Nasdaq Accepts Credit Rating Risk in Quest to Expand (Bloomberg)
For Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., the benefits of expanding into electronic bond trading justify the risk of a lower credit rating. The second-biggest operator of American equity exchanges agreed yesterday to acquire eSpeed, a platform for U.S. Treasuries, from BGC Partners Inc. (BGCP) for $750 million cash, or $1.2 billion should sales goals be met. Moody’s Investors Service said Nasdaq’s Baa3 senior rating may be cut following the deal.

Hampton Waffle House employee charged for April Fool’s joke (WTKR)
A Hampton Waffle House employee is now charged after officers say she played an April Fool’s joke on them.
Susan Tinker is charged for lying about a robbery. Police say around 6 a.m. Monday morning, Tinker called to report the robbery at the restaurant on West Mercury Boulevard. Police say they got to the scene and spent more than an hour investigating. While waiting for the manger to get there to review surveillance tape, they figured out there was no robbery. Tinker told police it was all an April Fool’s joke. But officers say this was no laughing matter. A spokesperson for the Waffle House says they do not tolerate this kind of behavior and Tinker is no longer employed there.

Comments (26)

  1. Posted by Puck It | April 2, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Getting fired by Waffle House > Working for UBS

  2. Posted by Jingle Jangle | April 2, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Erock's a dinosaur dinosuar
    Erock's a dinosaur
    How did he get so fat?

  3. Posted by Guest | April 2, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    This site needs to go in a new direction. Maybe they can add a cooking with Bess vlog series and Matt can report on the weather or something. Fuck I dont know. Send Shazar down to Juarez Mexico and see how long he last.

  4. Posted by Fewdollarsmore | April 2, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    I took my kids to an Easter egg hunt just to show that the moms fighting to provide chocolate-filled plastic eggs to their kids are training them for an entitlement society. The real learning is that the supply of such eggs is limited and no hunt can fulfill our greed. Scarcity of resources is the first lesson of economics you can teach your kids.

  5. Posted by Guest | April 2, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    I would settle for adding a video every day of Matt talking about random things. He can only talk tangentially about finance though, so it would be like a live Inner Matt Thoughts.

  6. Posted by Ding | April 2, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    Funny, someone actually pulled the same prank on UBS yesterday by calling in an order! The person was not arrested. Everybody laughed.

  7. Posted by Guest | April 2, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    Juarez is pretty dangerous these days.

  8. Posted by Guest | April 2, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    NakedShort – how was your Easter?

  9. Posted by Stamford PD | April 2, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    But only because the desk could not effectively execute the order…

  10. Posted by guest | April 2, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    I'm gonna go get the papers, get the papers.

    - Michael "two timing" Sarris

  11. Posted by guest | April 2, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    "Goldman Unit To Seek Risk"…..With tax payer funds.

    There. fixed it.

  12. Posted by guest | April 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Don’t you got somewhere to be? Those bongos aren’t going to beat themselves you know.

  13. Posted by Guest | April 2, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    The guy needs to be taught a lesson that ctrl-p is not okay.

  14. Posted by Guest | April 2, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Anything to hear Bess' sweet, sweet voice.

  15. Posted by Guest | April 2, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Funny that yesterday Obama gave a crying little boy an egg after he didn't get one (Seriously)

  16. Posted by Double Down Quant | April 2, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    "Fannie and its smaller sibling, Freddie Mac, posted banner earnings for 2012 because rising home prices have allowed them to set aside much less to cover the cost of defaulting home loans."

    So, growth is outpacing projections… therefore we should reduce our loss reserves… sounds good!

  17. Posted by smug alert | April 2, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    even the police chiefs in Seattle have hyphenated names..

  18. Posted by Fewdollarsmore | April 2, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Foreign tax credits are like east-European mistresses- while the real benefits may be limited, they make you look desirable despite your (accounting) impotency.

  19. Posted by guest | April 2, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    You're both boneheads. But you especially, thanks to "don't you got."

  20. Posted by into a cup guy | April 2, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Thinking of this made it move.

  21. Posted by NakedShort | April 2, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Dont get me started I got into an altercation with some other parents at our church's Easter Egg hunt.

  22. Posted by C. Kelly | April 2, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    I would've smashed his face into a jelly.

  23. Posted by guest | April 2, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    "Deep Thoughts" with Matt Levine?

  24. Posted by Guestalt | April 2, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Don't you have a Rolling Stone article to write?

  25. Posted by ctrl - c | April 2, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    ctrl – p? UBS QWERTY Quant?

  26. Posted by Guest | April 2, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Former Cypriot Finance Minister goes into the witness protection program in 3…2….1….