Penney Board Assails Director (WSJ)
J.C. Penney Co.’s board is weighing whether to take action against William Ackman, a director and the company’s largest shareholder, after the hedge-fund manager publicly released confidential boardroom deliberations in two separate salvos last week, people close to the company said. … Mr. Ackman’s actions “crossed the line” and made him a “rogue” director, one of the people said—a term that doesn’t have any legal significance but which highlights the level of some directors’ concerns. It is far from clear that Mr. Ackman has violated his duty in any way, however, and his fellow directors appeared to have few options for isolating him.
Prosecutors and F.B.I. Examine JPMorgan Over Losses (DealBook)
As federal authorities prepare to charge criminally two former JPMorgan Chase employees suspected of misrepresenting a multibillion-dollar trading loss last year, prosecutors in Manhattan are separately exploring ways to penalize the bank over the trading blowup that has come to be known as the “London Whale.” The investigation, according to people briefed on the matter, could yield a fine and a reprimand of the bank for allowing the suspected wrongdoing to occur. Prosecutors at the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan could also force the bank to bolster internal controls that failed to thwart the trading loss.
Eurozone banks need to shed €3.2tn in assets to meet Basel III (FT)
Europe’s biggest banks will have to cut €661bn of assets and generate €47bn of fresh capital over the next five years to comply with forthcoming regulations aimed at reducing the likelihood of another taxpayer funded bailout. The figures form part of an analysis by the UK’s Royal Bank of Scotland – which singles out Deutsche Bank, Crédit Agricole and Barclays as the banks most in need of fresh capital – highlighting that five years on since the financial crisis, Europe’s banks are still “too big to fail”. Overall, the region’s banks need to shed €3.2tn in assets by 2018 to comply with Basel III regulations on capital and leverage, according to RBS.
With I.P.O.’s on the Rise, Analysts Get New Scrutiny (DealBook)
Today, companies routinely interview analysts when selecting bankers to underwrite their I.P.O.’s. During these meetings, the analysts say, they increasingly feel pressure to say the right things to curry favor with a company’s management and owners. They also see themselves as participating in their banks’ efforts to win business, a potential breach of government regulations. The enforcement department of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra, Wall Street’s self-regulatory body, has sent an inquiry asking several firms for information on the issue, said people briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Swedish men told to beware testicle-munching fish (Telegraph)
The alert came after a fisherman in the Oresund Sound last week retrieved a 21 centimetre pacu – a relative of the piranha that is most commonly found in the Amazon region. “Keep your swimwear on if you’re bathing in the Sound these days – maybe there are more out there!” cautioned the National History Museum in neighbouring Denmark. The freshwater fish, which can grow up to 90 centimetres and weigh up to 25 kilogrammes, has been nicknamed the “ball cutter” for its attacks on the male genitalia.
Disappointing GDP growth revives Japan sales tax debate (FT)
Japan’s economy expanded for the third straight quarter in the three months to June, yet the pace of growth was slower than experts had expected, a result that is likely to deepen an already contentious debate about whether to raise the national sales tax. Gross domestic product expanded at an annualised rate of 2.6 per cent, a preliminary government estimate showed on Monday. That was more than twice as fast as Japan’s average over the last decade, but it was less robust than the previous quarter and a full percentage point slower than the average forecast of economists surveyed by news agencies.
Euro Area’s Recession Seen Over as Champagne Kept on Ice (Bloomberg)
The euro-area economy probably edged back to growth last quarter for the first time since 2011, ending the longest recession since the single currency union started 14 years ago. Gross domestic product in the 17-nation region expanded 0.2 percent in the three months through June after shrinking for the previous six quarters, according to the median of 41 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. The European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg will release the data on Aug. 14. Germany probably grew about 0.75 percent, according to a government estimate, exceeding the 0.6 percent economists predict.
CFTC subpoenas metals warehousing firm as inquiry heats up (Reuters)
The U.S. commodities market regulator has subpoenaed a metals warehousing firm, seeking all of its documents and communications related to the London Metal Exchange since January 2010, as an inquiry into complaints about inflated metals prices gathers steam. … The subpoena is the latest sign that the CFTC is stepping up its inquiry as it looks into allegations by users of metals, such as Coca-Cola Co, that warehousing firms have made it more expensive for them to buy metal by restricting the flow of metal out of warehouses.
Deutsche Börse’s News Service for Traders Draws Scrutiny of Investigators (WSJ)
Founded by an investment firm and now owned by the Deutsche Börse stock exchange, Need To Know News has operated with an overriding mission: sending data directly from the government through high-speed lines to financial firms that are able to trade on it instantly. Some have paid $375,000 a year for the service. … Last year, the Labor Department took the unusual step of essentially banning Need To Know News from its lockups. Need To Know News retained access at other federal agencies as well as several foreign governments and private groups that release market-sensitive reports.
Liars use phony vests and ID tags to get fake service dogs into posh New York restaurants (NYP)
I borrowed my mom’s wacky golden retriever/poodle mix “Hampton” for a day to check out The Post’s recent report that dog lovers are decking out their pooches with phony vests and fake ID tags to get them into fancy restaurants and shops. The first stop for our party of five — Hampton and four human pals willing to lie for him — was Orsay on Lexington Avenue. Hampton — showing off his phony “service dog” patch we had specially embroidered — happily slobbered as he wolfed down an 8-ounce salmon filet. The 3-foot-tall, 70-pound pooch showed his appreciation of the cuisine by pawing nearby tables and jumping on their occupants — as a manager nervously looked on. “Does he have papers?” a grossed-out patron asked while Hampton strutted through the dining room, sniffing around for scraps.
Lauderhill cops accused of kinky traffic stop (Sun-Sentinel)
Prosecutors are hitting a Lauderhill cop where it hurts, charging him with a felony for getting a female drunken driver to punch him in the genitals, according to the Broward State Attorney’s Office. … Officers Thomas Merenda and Franklin Hartley turned themselves in Thursday night. Both are charged with unlawful compensation, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and battery, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days, stemming from a May 24, 2012, encounter with the two women, who had been drinking at the Vegas Cabaret strip club on University Drive. Merenda’s lawyer, Eric Schwartzreich, said the charges against his client were baffling. “The only thing that’s nuts here is the prosecution of this case and the way it’s been filed,” Schwartzreich said.