Popularized in films like Limitless, legal smart drugs called Nootropics are becoming more and more prevalent in board rooms and on Wall Street.Keep reading »
Fed adopts tough capital rules for foreign banks (Reuters)
The Federal Reserve on Tuesday adopted tight new rules for foreign banks to shield the U.S. taxpayer from costly bailouts, ceding only minor concessions despite pressure from abroad to weaken the rule. Foreign banks with sizable operations on Wall Street such as Deutsche Bank and Barclays had pushed back hard against the plan because it means they will need to transfer costly capital from Europe. The Fed, which oversees foreign banks, gave them a year longer to meet the standards, and applied it to fewer banks than in a first draft, but the rule was largely unchanged from when it was first proposed in December 2012.
New Push to Throw Assets Overboard (WSJ)
Companies ranging from chemical giants to restaurant chains have come under fire from shareholders wanting to break them apart, arguing that businesses perform better when they aren’t part of a sprawling conglomerate. The year isn’t even two months old, and already five companies have been targeted by investors pushing them to sell or spin off pieces, according to FactSet SharkWatch, which tracks such campaigns. That puts the year on pace to catch up with 2008, which marked the high-water mark for activism campaigns.
When the Boss Works Long Hours, Must We All? (WSJ)
In some cases, shifting your work hours can help. At companies where managers focus on face time, employees who work 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.—when more people are present—are more likely to get noticed than those who work 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Executive coach Michael Melcher was told in a previous job at an investment bank that “I wasn’t working long enough hours,” he says. “I started coming in later and staying later,” he says. “A couple of months later, my boss said, ‘It hasn’t gone unnoticed that you’re putting in additional hours.'”
How the Feds Can Take Even Legally Earned Bitcoins (BusinessWeek)
If you are paid in cash for mowing the lawn of a notorious drug dealer, the money is yours to keep even if the dealer obtained it illegally. But if the dealer pays you in Bitcoins, the government may seize them from you someday when you least expect it. This is Bitcoin’s nemo dat quod non habet problem, that being Latin for an old principle of English common law: “No one gives what he does not have.” If the drug lord didn’t legitimately own the Bitcoins in question because he got them via crime, then he can’t legitimately give them to you. You must give them up even if you’re not at fault. The same principle is at play when certain unwitting art buyers are forced to surrender works that were seized by the Nazis in World War II.
Tinder Makes Its First Match in Antarctica (The Cut)
On a lonely December night at Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, an American scientist conducting research there decided to log on to Tinder — “just for fun.” He’d been using the mobile dating app in the States for a few months, and wanted to see if there were any available women out on the loveless tundra. At first, no profiles showed up. But when he expanded the app’s location radius, he found someone: another researcher, working at a deep field camp a 45-minute helicopter ride away from the base station. He swiped right, indicating his interest, and a few minutes later, they matched. “She was actually in her tent in the Dry Valleys when we matched,” said the scientist, who asked not to be named out of concern that the government would revoke his internet privileges if anyone found out he was using precious broadband to look for hookups.
Wall Street wary of Candy Crush maker’s IPO (NYP)
Potential investors fear King, which makes the bulk of its money from its addictive Candy Crush game, could follow in Zynga’s footsteps — right off the fickle mobile-gaming cliff. “Candy’s IPO will get crushed like Zynga,” said Doug Kass, founder of investment shop Seabreeze Partners Management. “The games business is no different than the movie business,” Kass said. “One great hit doesn’t ensure that the next movie will be a hit.” King has five games, but Candy Crush accounted for a whopping 78 percent of its fourth-quarter gross bookings, or the revenue it receives from selling virtual items like skill boosters, according to its regulatory filing.
Lew Tells G-20 Risks Linger as Emerging Markets Cloud Outlook (Bloomberg)
“There has been considerable volatility in global markets, especially in several emerging markets,” Lew said in a letter yesterday to his Group of 20 colleagues. “We are monitoring these developments closely.” Lew, who will join the Feb. 22-23 meeting in Sydney of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers, urged China to move toward a stable economy that “delivers higher living standards to its population.” The euro area, which is “vulnerable to the persistence of very low inflation,” needs to boost domestic demand and strengthen its banking system, he said.
Argentina asks U.S. Supreme Court to hear bonds case (Reuters)
Argentina filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking to reverse lower court decisions ordering the country to pay $1.33 billion to hedge fund creditors in a case Argentine officials warn could force it to default on its sovereign debt. The appeal followed a November 18 decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York denying Argentina’s petition for a rehearing in a decade-long legal battle with bondholders who refused to accept the country’s two debt-restructuring offers after the country defaulted on $100 billion in 2002.
One quarter of Americans don’t know the Earth revolves around the sun, study finds (NYDN)
In the survey of more than 2,200 people conducted in 2012, only 74% appeared to know basic astronomy. That means at least 550 people in the study got it wrong — and it’s only been 500 years since legendary astronomer and mathematician Copernicus formulated a heliocentric model of the universe that placed the sun at the center…Out of nine questions, the average score among the participants was 6.5 correct answers.