Opening Bell: 01.03.14

U.S. Sees an Advantage in Latest SAC Case (WSJ)
When Mathew Martoma’s insider-trading trial begins next week, federal prosecutors will arrive armed with what they believe is one of the strongest cases to emerge from their decadelong investigation into SAC Capital Advisors LP. Lawyers from the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan are expected to call two doctors who will testify that they passed inside tips on pharmaceutical drug tests to Mr. Martoma, a former portfolio manager at the large hedge fund. In the prosecutors’ view, the doctors seem to provide a direct link between Mr. Martoma and the alleged inside information. Even without proving such a link, the government has won six guilty pleas and a conviction against current and former SAC employees. The most recent came last month, when a federal jury convicted another portfolio manager, Michael Steinberg, on several charges related to insider trading. Mr. Steinberg was four steps removed from the source of the inside tips.

Ex-Deutsche Bank Executive to Go to Trial Against Police (Bloomberg)
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner today denied a request by the police officers to throw out Brian Mulligan’s claims they used excessive force, violated his civil rights, and engaged in assault and battery. The judge dismissed false imprisonment and police negligence claims, saying Mulligan didn’t provide sufficient evidence for those to go to trial. Mulligan, a former vice chairman of media and telecommunications investment banking at Deutsche Bank, sued the two police officers, the city of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Protective League in February, seeking more than $20 million in damages. The case is set for trial Jan. 21. Mulligan alleged that officers James Nichols and John Miller stopped him as he was walking in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles, where he says he had gone to legally buy tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient of marijuana, for use as a sleep aid. Nichols and Miller found he wasn’t under the influence of alcohol and drugs and first took him to his car, where they discovered $3,000 in cash while searching without his consent, Mulligan said in his complaint. The policemen took him to a motel and told him not to leave before morning or he would be “dead,” according to the complaint. Mulligan claims he was afraid he was being set up and fled the motel. He encountered the policemen again, and Nichols hit him in the face with his baton, shattering his nose, and broke his shoulder blade twice after he had been handcuffed, according to the complaint.

Everything You Wanted To Know About the Kanye-Inspired ‘Coinye’ But Were Afraid To Ask (US News)
So Kanye has his own currency now? Not exactly. It looks like West — surprisingly, considering the lengths he’ll go to for self promotion — has nothing to do with it. Some techie monetary entrepreneurs — who for the time being “want to stay sorta anonymous in case Kanye gets pissed off” — are launching a cryptocurrency using West’s likeness and some clever punning called “Coinye West.” What’s the point of naming your weird online currency after a megalomaniac, Kardashian-loving rapper? Well, this is the point: attention. For these currencies to work they must have users, and the more users they have the more stable they’ll be. Just last month, some Internet geeks created a cryptocurrency called Dogecoin – inspired by 2013′s Meme of the Year, a Shiba Inu dog named Kabosu – and its value surged 900 percent in a week while its competitor currencies stumbled.

Senate sets Monday vote on Janet Yellen to head Fed (Reuters)
The Senate is expected to vote at around 5:30 p.m. EST Monday on Yellen, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide. Yellen, who would become the first woman to chair the U.S. central bank, would take the reins on February 1, one day after Bernanke ends a two-term stint during which he reached deep into the Fed’s monetary toolbox to try to revive an economy hit by a massive financial crisis that sent it into the worst downturn in decades.

Puppy Bowl books Keyboard Cat for halftime show (EW)
Also planned for the Puppy Bowl: Fantasy Puppy League. Later this month at AnimalPlanet.com/PuppyBowl, the network will launch a fantasy draft, where fans can see profiles of 11 of the 66 players and create their team of competitors before the big game. On game day, you can keep track of how your players perform via stats on the screen (so in theory you could place a wager on Cici the German Shepard mix rather than, say, the Patriots)…Animal Planet will air the two-hour Puppy Bowl X opposite the Super Bowl (where the real Bruno Mars is playing the halftime show) on Feb. 2 at 3 p.m., then repeat the program five more times. Ratings tend to increase for the telecast ever year, with 2013′s episode averaging 12.4 million viewers.

Facebook Sued Over Alleged Scanning of Private Messages (Bloomberg)
Facebook was sued over allegations it systematically intercepts its users private messages on the social network and profits by sharing the data with advertisers and marketers. When users compose messages that include links to a third-party website, Facebook scans the content of the message, follows the link and searches for information to profile the message-sender’s Web activity, violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California privacy and unfair competition laws, according to the suit. The practice compromises privacy and undermines Facebook’s promise of “unprecedented” security options for its messaging function, two Facebook users said in the complaint filed in federal court in San Jose, California.

Roubini gets bullish on global economy (CNBC)
Threats of a euro zone implosion, another U.S. government partial shutdown, a debt-ceiling fight, a hard landing in China, or a war between Israel and Iran will be far more subdued, he said. Most advanced economies will still fail to reach true growth potential in 2014, he said, but explained that the positives for the U.S. economy included the shale-energy revolution, improvement in the labor and housing markets, and the flow of manufacturing back to the country.

Ebullience Over 2013 I.P.O. Market Spills Into New Year (Dealbook)
Even as global merger activity turned in another lackluster performance, the business of taking companies public soared. The amount raised by I.P.O.’s in the United States last year jumped 40 percent over 2012, to $59.3 billion, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Overall activity in equity capital markets banking totaled nearly $797 billion for the year, up 27 percent and one of the best years in recent memory. Fees for bankers in the field rose 34 percent from the previous year, to $17.9 billion, in what Thomson Reuters described as the highest level in three years.

Coins Remain Bright Spot for Gold (WSJ)
Demand for gold coins shot up 63% to 241.6 metric tons in the first three quarters of 2013, according to the latest figures available from the World Gold Council. Sales of Gold Maple Leaf coins by the Royal Canadian Mint surged 82.5% to 876,000 ounces in the first three quarters of 2013 from the same period of 2012. The Perth Mint, Australia’s national coin and bar producer, saw sales rise 41% to 754,635 ounces last year, while the U.S. Mint sold 14% more American Eagle gold coins than it did in 2012, along with a record amount of silver coins.

Woman tried to run boyfriend over on couple’s anniversary, deputies say (Sun Sentinel)
A woman got upset with her boyfriend on the couple’s special day, so, deputies say, she tried to run him over with her car. Lisa Joy De Lapi, 28, missed him, but drove over his bicycle and then intentionally rammed his parked car, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report. It was just after 4 p.m. Monday when someone called police to report that De Lapi, driving a red Pontiac, was trying to run over a man at the intersection of Alcazar Street and Infanta Avenue in Royal Palm Beach. Deputies tracked her down less than a mile away, as she walked down the 100 block of Madrid Street. De Lapi confessed to the crime, telling them she was mad at her boyfriend because it was their anniversary, according to the report. He “set her off,” so she tried to run him over, she explained to deputies. She confessed to driving over his bike and then crashing into his car, which was parked in the driveway of his house on the 200 block of Ponce De Leon Drive, just about a half mile away. Deputies found De Lapi’s 27-year-old boyfriend at his home. He told them she ran over his bike and hit his car because she was upset, the report said.

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Comments (13)

  1. Posted by GoldDigger | January 3, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Even the homeless won't accept the Shaz-coins I drop into their cups.

  2. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Dr Doom bullish? Sell.

  3. Posted by guestimate | January 3, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Same picture, different day.

  4. Posted by Dorian Gray | January 3, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    You never see that on my premarket commentary.

  5. Posted by Guest | January 3, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    How do you have an anniversary when there isn't a date when the relationship was formalized?

    What's the anniversary of? The day he added her number to his phone? The day she friended him on Facebook? The day he realized that what he thought of as hanging out with her, she might have been thinking of as a relationship? The day he told the other dudes in his apartment that they could totally use his room as a game room, because he was pretty much going to be hanging out at her place from now on, and if they could get his name off the lease he'd appreciate it?

  6. Posted by Taint | January 3, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    I may as well stick my head in to the toilet and flush it….If I had known when i fought the Viet NAm war this sorry state of affairs here in the US would be the results as we have it now….I would have burned my freaking draft card………There is no hope for this apathetic communist controlled dump…………and I blame it all on at least six generations of Shazars.

  7. Posted by Cosmopolitan VP | January 3, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    It's ALWAYS the day you banger er in the ass.

  8. Posted by Greta Von Sustain | January 3, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    It's be easy to convict Martoma. The problem is getting Cohen.

  9. Posted by KingCo | January 3, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Someone named their child Lisa Joy De Lapi?

    Is that from "1001 Babynames Which Won't Keep Your Daughter Off the Pole"?

  10. Posted by Jugdish Prakashdrarr | January 3, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    That's like Ezra Shapiro and the SEC.

  11. Posted by Shazsore | January 3, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Isn't it the day she bangs u in the ass?

  12. Posted by Village Strategist | January 3, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Long hot tubs / short conservative clothing sales to asian female NYU students.

  13. Posted by Al Gore | January 3, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    I didn't invent the internet for the weak commentary I see here today!!