Opening Bell: 02.12.14

Hackers Launch Attacks on Bitcoin Exchanges (WSJ)
Slovenia-based Bitstamp said it halted customer withdrawals to deal with the issue. BTC-e, a bitcoin exchange based in Bulgaria, said it was experiencing delays in crediting certain transactions. During such outages, some trading can continue, but customers aren’t able to gain access to their money. Both exchanges described the problem as a denial-of-service attack, according to comments made by the companies on their websites. In denial-of-service attacks, hackers essentially disable a website by flooding it with information requests. The two exchanges account for 56% of bitcoin trading volume, according to bitcoincharts.com, which tracks trading activity. The attacks underscored the fragility of the five-year-old currency, which is created by computers and isn’t backed by a central bank. “This is a very big deal,” said Jaron Lukasiewicz, chief executive of Coinsetter, a New York-based bitcoin-trading platform that remained open as usual. “The two largest bitcoin exchanges aren’t processing withdrawals—that essentially shuts the ecosystem down.”

New York regulator moving ahead on bitcoin regulation (Reuters)
Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services, expects to adopt enhanced consumer disclosure rules, capital requirements and a framework for permissible investments with consumer money. Lawsky has said he plans to issue a “BitLicense” for businesses that use the new currencies, and he intends to provide regulations this year, which could make New York the first U.S. state to regulate virtual currencies such as bitcoins.

Two Hong Kong Firms to Pay $11 Million Over Inside Trades (Bloomberg)
Two Hong Kong-based asset-management firms agreed to pay about $11 million to settle U.S. regulatory claims related to improper trades made before China-based Cnooc Ltd. said it would acquire Canadian energy firm Nexen Inc. Citic Securities International Investment Management HK Ltd. and China Shenghai Investment Management Ltd. were the last two firms holding assets that were the subject of a 2012 Securities and Exchange Commission probe of illegal trades ahead of the merger announcement, the agency said in a statement yesterday. The SEC has collected almost $30 million in illicit profits and penalties in the case.

Ryan Seacrest To Launch Clothing Line (WSJ)
Most men don’t have two stylists coordinating their clothes the way Ryan Seacrest does. So for his new clothing line, the “American Idol” host is including a color-matching system to help regular guys match trousers to shirt to tie…The clothing will come with tags attached that are numbered 1 through 4. Each tag indicates a color family, so men can look at the number and be confident that if they wear all 1s, everything will match, for example, or get information that a 1 might also work with a 2. The color-matching system, called “Style made Smart,” is modeled after one that Mr. Seacrest uses. In his closets, each suit is on a hanger with a tie and a pocket square in the jacket pocket, and shoes for each outfit sit nearby. “I coordinate everything ahead of time,” he said.

Pimco Boosts Government Holdings as Bonds Gain Most Since 2008 (Bloomberg)
The proportion of the securities in the $237 billion Total Return Fund (PTTRX) was 46 percent last month, compared with 45 percent in December, the company’s website showed yesterday. It was the firm’s biggest holding of the securities since at least July, when it revised how it classifies assets. Gross said this month U.S. 10-year yields can fall further if labor growth remains subdued and a key inflation gauge stays below the Federal Reserve’s target. Mortgage debt accounted for 36 percent in January, compared with 35 percent the previous month.

Shia LaBeouf Launches Bizarre Public Performance Art Piece (THR)
A press release unveiling the performance art show reads: “Shia LaBeouf is sorry. Sincerely sorry. He will be in situ at 7354 Beverly Boulevard for the duration. Implements will be provided. Free admission.” The #IAmSorry show, a collaboration between LaBeouf and artists Nastja Sade Ronkko and Luke Turner, takes place Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There was no one yet at the scene when The Hollywood Reporter arrived late Tuesday morning for the unveiling, where two security guards were positioned outside. After being let into the gallery, a woman seated behind a table invites visitors to choose one object from a selection of “implements.” [...] several of the objects correspond to major films associated with LaBeouf’s career, including a whip (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) and several Transformers toys. A bowl of Hershey’s Kisses, a pair of pliers, a bottle of Brut cologne, a bottle of Jack Daniels and a bowl of folded up notes — each bearing Twitter comments about LaBeouf, according to the proposal — were also available for choosing. The visitor is then led past a curtain into a tiny room. Inside, LaBeouf sits at a small wooden table, the now-famous paper bag declaring “I am not famous anymore” placed over his head. (The wrinkled bag appears to be the same one he wore on the Berlin red carpet.) During THR’s visit, LaBeouf never broke eye contact during the one-on-one but responded with total silence to a series of questions. His only reaction came at the very end, in the form of a nodded acknowledgment after being thanked for the experience.

Goldman puts ‘for sale’ sign on Iran’s old uranium supplier (Reuters)
Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank are quietly trying to get out of a business few people know they are even in: trading supplies of raw uranium known as yellowcake. In the last four years, the banks have amassed low-grade stockpiles of the nuclear fuel ingredient larger than those held by Iran, and enough to run China’s nuclear plants for a year. Goldman’s uranium business can trace its roots back to an apartheid-era South African trading conglomerate that sold Iran its only known source of foreign yellowcake 35 years ago. To this day, that uranium delivery underpins Iran’s disputed enrichment program, which western powers fear is aimed at developing atomic weapons, although Iran denies that. Now, under mounting political scrutiny of Wall Street’s role in physical commodities trading, and following a collapse in demand after the Fukushima disaster, both firms have put their uranium trading desks up for sale.

NYSE Is Still No. 1, But Not By Much (WSJ)
Rival exchange operator BATS Global Markets was just a fraction of a percentage point shy of overtaking NYSE in January, handling 20.54% of U.S. trading volume compared with NYSE’s 20.58%, according to Sandler O’Neill + Partners. BATS was able to leapfrog ahead of Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.’s 20.01% share with the addition of Direct Edge Holdings LLC, a merger that closed at the end of last month.

Goldman Sachs Promotes Five to Management Committee Amid Moves (Bloomberg)
Paul Russo, Michael Daffey, Justin Gmelich, Sarah Smith and Craig Broderick were named to the panel, which now has 34 members, according to employee memos obtained today by Bloomberg News. The New York-based firm yesterday named Ashok Varadhan, the 41-year-old chief of macro trading, as the third co-head of its trading division.

At Long Last, Westminster Gives Rat Terriers a Chance to Show (NYT)
New breeds like rat terrier — and the other newbies at the show, the chinook and the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno — generally need time at an elite show like Westminster to demonstrate their bona fides. There are, after all, plenty of breeds that have never won. It took until 2008, more than 130 years into Westminster’s history, for a beagle, Uno, to win. And while terriers have won Westminster’s top prize 45 times, Marti was unlikely to win the terrier group and advance to Best in Show against the winners of six other groups Tuesday night. Rat terriers, it should be said, do not resemble rats. Rats are among their field prey. It is not an especially lovely name, but Browne asked, “Who forgets it?” They are small, delightful, peppy dogs whose ancestry is derived from crossbreeding the fox terrier with various other terriers, and later with more terriers, beagles, whippets, Italian greyhounds and others, the American Kennel Club said. Despite the breed’s deep roots in America, the American Kennel Club did not recognize the rat terrier until last year, an action that finally ushered in its debut showing at Westminster on Tuesday. “It’s taken a long time,” said Kimberly Seegmiller, a breeder in Glenwood, Mo., who is the interim secretary of the Rat Terrier Club of America. “But rat terriers became nearly extinct when farmers left the Dust Bowl and they didn’t need their dogs. They kind of came back when a few people had them in the ’60s and ’70s, but even by the ’80s, they were still pretty rare. And they’re still not prevalent.” It required the club petitioning the A.K.C. for five years and complying with its rules to get the rat terrier recognized last June, she said. From then until the end of 2013, the A.K.C. registered 3,268 rat terriers. Browne, who said recognition was overdue, proudly cited the date when she started to show Q in A.K.C.-sanctioned confirmation shows: June 26, 2013. “I think people took rat terriers for granted,” she said.

35 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
Show all comments ↓

Comments (35)

  1. Posted by CultureVulture | February 12, 2014 at 7:12 AM

    Seacrest item: Grranimals for adults.

  2. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    Bitcoin….

    bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  3. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    Where can I buy Ryan Seacrest clothes? I want them now! Such a great idea.

  4. Posted by segoviacobain | February 12, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    Okay guys, so friday the regional vp is coming in, please wear a two or better.

  5. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    you would have thought $5.5billion in profits could buy you some sort of protection
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/george-s
    George Soros’ ex-girlfriend goes berserk during deposition and smacks the 83-year-old billionaire in the head: court papers

  6. Posted by Quant me maybe... | February 12, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Taupe cargo pants, white frilly shirt and a red-tie are the NKI.

    >Guy who thinks NKI really means something like straight guys don't know shit about fashion, but in Italian.

  7. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    That is a serious amount of PR for someone who is not supposed to be famous anymore. I can't wait until Shia actually stfo.

  8. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    Unknown Comic + Joaquin Phoenix – Originality = Shia LaPouff

  9. Posted by London Banker | February 12, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    Or a prettier ex-girlfriend

  10. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    Well, I suppose there is a certain market for men who think their clothes are supposed to match.

  11. Posted by Monty Hall Burns | February 12, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    "Goldman Sachs promotes 5 Rat Terriers to Management Committee." Lightning-fast scrolling and minimal speed-reading skills not a bad combination if I do say.

  12. Posted by Reaper capital | February 12, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    Dudes 83, do you think he can really see that well or think completely straight anymore ?

    These guys are just happy to get the feet on the floor in the morning.

  13. Posted by Nervous Jew | February 12, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    I'm actually pretty nervous about this winter storm coming, especially because the weather channel keeps referencing storm troopers.

  14. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    I would miss it when it's gone though.

    - guy who loves watching famous idiots commit social harrakari and implode

  15. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    I mean, you can't make this shit up!
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/shia-l

  16. Posted by D. Kneale | February 12, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    I like the recent trend in Opening Bells. Keep 'em coming.

  17. Posted by Smooth | February 12, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Bess will you be my Valentine?

    - Proactive Guy

  18. Posted by Vern Troyer | February 12, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Kids today don't know how to whack off. They yank their wieners to hard and pull out their back. That's why all the jobs went over seas.

  19. Posted by vday vanisher | February 12, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    anybody else have to fly to SFO/IAH/ORD* tomorrow night?? "sorry doll, big deals to handle this weekend…."

    *actual destination: Eagle County Airport

  20. Posted by vday vanisher | February 12, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    anybody else have to fly to SFO, IAH or ORD tomorrow night? "sorry doll, huge deal just popped up out of nowhere."

  21. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    My wifey told me she is going to go bang kok tomorrow.

  22. Posted by Subsequent devel | February 12, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Doll text: He's gonna be gone til weekend !

    Lax Text: I'll swing buy if you get new panties

  23. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Don't worry about the storm troopers – this is not the winter storm watch they're looking for.

    - Obi W.-K.

  24. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Oh no, Bess, pick me instead. I don't have acne like the guy above.

  25. Posted by Guest | February 12, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Dear JPM Equity Derivatives MO,

    Please learn how to properly account for splits with equity swaps so I don't have to explain to my PM that we really didn't lose $3M.

    Thanks,

    - Hedge Fund Analyst

  26. Posted by Faol | February 12, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    and Berkeley chimes in with liberal dribble

  27. Posted by dad body at 24 | February 12, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    pretty sure bess said she wants a guy that really cares about fitness. you know, pays for an equinox membership but doesn't exactly work out, per se. unless you consider working out to be going there at 8:00p, putting on some baller looking new nike shit, carelessly walking around listening to jams on spotify, firing off some texts and emails, jumping on a bike for 6 or 7 minutes, doing 3 pull ups, hitting the steam and showers, and crushing something from the juice bar like a boss

  28. Posted by Quant me maybe... | February 12, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Losing 3 grand is not such a big hit. Losing $3MM. Now that hits your bonus.

  29. Posted by Im_a_Dude | February 12, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    right next to the trump stuff in the discount bin

  30. Posted by Gaspipe Charlie | February 12, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    As long your air drying it's all good.

  31. Posted by JPM Legal | February 12, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Heh heh….Kids

  32. Posted by Laxbro | February 12, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    "Do these pants go with my broken dreams?"

    -Seacrest clothing line owner

  33. Posted by Moseph | February 12, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    UBS MD in 3 Stooges movie >> Shia LaDouche in any movie

    Although nothing screams I am fully dedicated to my clients like acting on the side:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/financial-advisor-

  34. Posted by Bored Guest | February 12, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Where are we, middle school? Clothes don't match, they go together.

  35. Posted by Bored Guest | February 12, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    I don't work out, but I'll take her to Per Se…if I get some "per se" in return.