Bad News Drew Citi CEO to Rush Home (WSJ)
The phone rang when Michael Corbat was half a world away in South Korea. It was about 6 a.m. Wednesday morning in Seoul, and on the line was a Federal Reserve official, charged with delivering news that left the Citigroup Inc. chief executive in shock and would shake the company’s stock soon after: The bank had failed the Fed’s closely watched “stress test” and would be denied the chance to raise the amount of cash it returns to shareholders for the foreseeable future. In the space of minutes, Mr. Corbat’s routine business trip to Asia turned into a mad scramble for the airport and then to New York to address the fallout from yet another setback for Citigroup, according to a person familiar with the situation.
SEC Is Urged to Shorten Window for Investor Tip-Offs (WSJ)
Some lawmakers and others are calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to cut the time that large investors can secretly amass shares in a company, following a Wall Street Journal investigation into leaks ahead of public filings. At issue is the time frame for investors who own 5% of a stock to file a report disclosing the size of their stake. A 1968 regulatory rule gives investors a 10-day window to announce their holdings. The Journal investigation showed how activist investors—who push for changes at companies or try to move stock prices with their arguments—sometimes leak word of their plans to a favored few investors during the 10-day window before they announce a big trade, which typically jolts the stock higher or lower. Since 2010, the SEC has been authorized by the Dodd-Frank regulatory-overhaul law to shorten that window but hasn’t acted. In a 2011 letter to the SEC, law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz argued for cutting the 10-day period to one, saying the lag facilitates “market manipulation and abusive tactics.”
Sydney Property Agency Accepts Bitcoin Payments to Woo Chinese (Bloomberg)
Forsyth Real Estate, a Sydney-based property broker, will accept property deposits and payments from sellers in virtual currency Bitcoin to lure business from Chinese home buyers. The realtor, which has one office in Willoughby, a suburb 8.5 kilometers (5.3 miles) north of Sydney’s center, this week became able to accept Bitcoin payments, according to spokeswoman Hayley Johnston. While it hasn’t yet taken deposits in the virtual currency, it expects to soon, she said.
Judge rules Goldman must face lawsuit over mortgage securities (Reuters)
Filed in 2010 by Detroit’s police and fire retirement system, the lawsuit accused Goldman of misrepresenting the standards used to qualify borrowers for mortgage loans that were pooled into securities and bought by the fund.
Uintah County woman uses bacon in alleged arson attempt (KSL)
A Uintah County woman is accused of trying to set fire to her ex-boyfriend’s home with a pound of bacon left burning on a gas stove. Cameo Adawn Crispi, 31, was charged Wednesday in 8th District Court with arson, a third-degree felony. Crispi’s ex-boyfriend called Naples police March 14 to report that he’d received “multiple phone calls and texts” from her in an hour and wanted it to stop, according to charging documents. He also said he did not want her at his home. An officer went to the home. He said Crispi was obviously impaired and there was smoke coming out the front door. “I asked to come in and observed a wood stove left open with a fire burning inside and hot coals on the floor around the stove,” the officer wrote, noting that he also found a cookie sheet loaded with a pound of bacon sitting on top of the kitchen stove. “I observed the burner to be on the setting ‘High’ and the bacon to be severely burned and smoking badly,” the officer wrote. The officer stopped the spread of the fire and arrested Crispi, who had a blood-alcohol content of 0.346, the charges state. Due to her impaired state, she was taken to the hospital for a medical clearance before being booked into jail. “The doctor asked her about the fire … and she stated she was attempting to start a fire in the house to get back at (her ex-boyfriend),” the charges state.
JPMorgan Seeks to Become Among Top Three in Cash Equities (Bloomberg)
The largest U.S. bank is trying to boost electronic trading and increase commission pools to climb from sixth place in cash-equities trading, said Tim Throsby, global head of equities in London. JPMorgan is ranked first in investment banking, equities origination, fixed income, commodities and currencies, while it comes second for derivatives products, according to research firm Coalition Ltd.
As Broader Fears Fade, Gold Is Tarnished (WSJ)
The pullback has cooled demand for the metal, which had been on a hot streak for much of 2014. Investors were on the hunt for safe places to park their cash amid a selloff in emerging markets and weak U.S. economic data. Gold, coming off its worst year since the early 1980s, looked cheap. But a spate of good economic news has freshly undercut the rationale for owning gold, investors say.
Judge says U.S. fraud case vs. Bank of America should be tossed (Reuters)
A federal judge has recommended dismissal of a U.S. government lawsuit accusing Bank of America Corp of defrauding investors into buying about $855 million of mortgage securities that soured during the global financial crisis. If it stands, Thursday’s ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer in Charlotte, North Carolina could mark a serious setback for the U.S. Department of Justice in its effort to fight fraud in the sale of mortgage securities. Cayer said the government fell short of demonstrating that any false statements the bank may have made were material, or that the governing law covered the securities sales. Less than two hours later, the Justice Department filed court papers saying it plans to object to Cayer’s findings.
Bank wants Hull teen to return $31,000 wrongly placed in his account (OA)
The error occurred March 7, when a Madison County man went into First Citizens Bank on U.S. Highway 29, Hull, and made a $31,000 deposit, but because there are several people by the same name with accounts at the bank, the teller put the money into the wrong account, according to the sheriff’s report. On March 17, the victim called the bank about the money missing from his account. Tellers looked into the matter and discovered the error, deputies said. However, by that time, the 18-year-old Hull man who wrongly received the money had withdrawn $20,000 cash and spent $5,000 using his ATM card, deputies said. The suspect came back into the Hull branch on March 18 wanting to withdraw more money, but a teller informed him of the mistake and asked him to return the money, deputies said. The teen then insisted the money was from an inheritance. A deputy went to the teen’s house, where the teen again said he thought the money came from his grandmother’s estate.