Opening Bell: 02.19.14

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.

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Comments (44)

  1. Posted by London Banker | February 19, 2014 at 7:08 AM

    Thoughts on whether the other 26% 'learnt' basic astrology instead?

  2. Posted by Guest | February 19, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    I didn't realize that the Tea Party represented 25% of Americans

  3. Posted by quant me maybe... | February 19, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    The study is deeply flawed in that is doesn't account for the fact that 90% of all Manhattanites think the sun orbits New York City and the moon the Hamptons.

  4. Posted by UBS sucks guy | February 19, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    The Antarctic scientist also remarked he had been previously trolling the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist North Pole "for a friend"

  5. Posted by HotKarl | February 19, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    It was no doubt the Tinder moose knuckle picture that led him to swipe right.

  6. Posted by J. Shazner | February 19, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    It's not about getting in early.

  7. Posted by Winter 2014 | February 19, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    The sun is dead.

  8. Posted by quant me maybe... | February 19, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    The antarctic encompasses the south pole, so trolling Craigslist North Pole would be a really futile activity. Of course with Russian chicks you never really know what could happen.

    > remember – getting eaten by Polar Bears =North Pole and getting pecked to death by penguins = South Pole

  9. Posted by Comcast Antarctica | February 19, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    We regret to inform you that we are going to throttle your broadband speed for violating our terms of service.

  10. Posted by Guest | February 19, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Thanks for your insight – but you might have considered looking at the original research first.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_i

    "As one can see from Table 6 (below), in 2012 a majority of Democrats (51.4%) could not correctly answer both that the earth revolves around the Sun and that this takes a year. Republicans fare a bit better, with only 37.9% failing to get both correct. The number of respondents who identified as liberal Republicans was so small (a weighted N of 36) that they are probably better combined with moderate Republicans (leading to a combined 49.9% getting it right). As with astrology, conservative Republicans fare the best, with non-liberal Democrats (moderate and conservative Democrats) at or near the bottom."

    Looking forward to your upcoming research note on why ZNGA is a strong buy.

  11. Posted by UVA Demure | February 19, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    1/4 of Texans don't know the Earth revolves around the sun.

  12. Posted by Go Home | February 19, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    100% of "Americans" 25% of population.

  13. Posted by Guest | February 19, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Looking forward to meeting you at Minetta's

  14. Posted by el guesto | February 19, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Did the study really say "astrology" and not "astronomy"? too lazy to look

  15. Posted by Guest | February 19, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    Yes, the study is on astrology, not astronomy. They used questions over the earth rotating around the sun as something of a control set to get a baseline for general understanding and acceptance of science.

  16. Posted by Guest | February 19, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    But 100% don't care.

  17. Posted by quant me maybe... | February 19, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Why do you think that's odd?

    > 1/2 of all Texans think the earth is flat.

  18. Posted by Southern Guy | February 19, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    99.5% of Manhattanites haven't even seen the sun for six months.

  19. Posted by Guest | February 19, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    “She was actually in her tent in the Dry Valleys when we matched,”

    - Could the UBS Erotic Metaphors Quant help us out with this one?

  20. Posted by E. Texas Gas Trader | February 19, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Given the chance, some natural gas traders will circle Uranus.

  21. Posted by AIG Polar Quant | February 19, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    There's a good chance of finding albino polar bears in the Arctic.

  22. Posted by Consultant | February 19, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    I'm not sure where all of the Texas hate comes from. Every project I've worked on in both Texas and Oklahoma there are young (energy) guys driving 2014 Porsche 911s, and inviting me to pricy dinners with their hot wives. Their homes are generally ridiculous new builds. Yes, they may be dumber than us "savvy" city slickers, probably not from a "peer" school, but a lot of them are making bank and don't use a hand-bridge to boob bang their UT sorority girl wife. Sure, making it to the top in NYC, CHI or SF is cool but maybe those southern fucks have the right idea, in that settling where the competition is weak is the ticket.

  23. Posted by Tom O'Malley | February 19, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    The second mouse gets the cheese.

  24. Posted by Mr. Carson | February 19, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    That's because they live in Lubbock, TX, which is on the Llano Estacado and the land around Lubbock is flatter than the women of "Downton Abbey".

  25. Posted by Guest | February 19, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    1 in 4 Americans is retarded, as per South Park

  26. Posted by quant me maybe... | February 19, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    Actually is was a going with the flow kind of thing.

    > Guy who admires a good prairie philosopher.

  27. Posted by Guest | February 19, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Great idea.

    - Haitian Economic Development Authority

  28. Posted by Not Dr. Tom | February 19, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    I'm not sure where all the Nebraska hate comes from. Every project I've worked on in both Nebraska and Iowa there are young (energy) guys driving salt-rusted Jeep Wranglers and inviting me to pricy dinners at Johnny's Steakhouse in Omaha with their plump blonde wives. Yes they may be dumber than us "savvy" city slickers, probably not from the University of Nebraska – Omaha, but a lot of them have at least 1 share of BRKA and a part interest in a corn farm and they don't need a hand-bridge to boob bang their red sweatshirted, white turtlenecked wife who needs a little boost from them to get their big feminine Pella, IA, ass up onto the bed. Sure, making it to the top in NYC, Chi or SF or Des Moines is cool but maybe those Manhattan Steamroller listening fucks in the mid-continent have the right idea in that settling where the competition is weak is the ticket.

  29. Posted by Southern Guy | February 19, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    We've got Jesus. You guys are stuck with a bunch of Ukrainian bimbos.

  30. Posted by Futes | February 19, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    Stay long NGJ4 in here ??

  31. Posted by Rebecca M. | February 19, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    I shutter to think of the results had the survey included only the Metro DC area

  32. Posted by Rebecca M. | February 19, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    But how does one tell when they're at the East Pole or West Pole?

    -UBS Global Derivatives MD

  33. Posted by Rebecca M. | February 19, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    "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. "

    Where does that leave us 7am – 9pm workers?

  34. Posted by quant me maybe... | February 19, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    With a bad work strategy

  35. Posted by out on the close | February 19, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    sexless, fat, one step closer to mortality

  36. Posted by nervous TX jew | February 19, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    Suffering through the suddenly viscid Austin traffic and wondering with trepidation what another half-decade of 3% a year population growth, heavy on the NY and CA transplants, will do to this place, this former NYer and present Texan appreciates the DB commentariat's work in deterring unabsorbable inflows.

  37. Posted by .Bo | February 19, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    So hardcore. You must be front office.

  38. Posted by guest | February 19, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Are you saying their wives are blessed with enormous breasts or that NYers have tiny dinkys?

    -McKinsey Genital Consulting

  39. Posted by BOA London ( Dscd.) | February 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Too soon.

  40. Posted by quant me maybe... | February 19, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Depends on the strip joint.

  41. Posted by quant me maybe... | February 19, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    But we've done a nice job of forcing them onto reservations so you hardly ever see them.

  42. Posted by Julius Ceaser | February 19, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Hey! Earth does not take 365 days to go around the Sun. It takes 365.25 days.

  43. Posted by Quant me maybe... | February 19, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    No it doesn't. It slows down once every 4 years and takes 366 days. Otherwise it takes 365 days.

    > Like duh.. that's where there are leap years.

  44. Posted by Flat Earth Society | February 19, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Motion Seconded!