Opening Bell: 03.31.14

Swiss Antitrust Regulator Probes Eight Banks Over Alleged FX-Rigging (Bloomberg)
The authorities are examining whether firms colluded to fix foreign-exchange rates, the Bern-based watchdog, also known as Weko, said in a statement today. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc are among the other firms being probed, along with Zuercher Kantonalbank and Julius Baer Group Ltd., Weko said. More banks and brokers may have been involved, the regulator added.

Yellen Says Job Market Is Far From Normal (WSJ)
“The U.S. economy is still considerably short of the two goals assigned to the Federal Reserve by the Congress” of low and stable inflation and maximum sustainable employment, Ms. Yellen told a conference on community investment.

IMF still sees advantage for ‘too important to fail’ banks (Reuters)
Top banks in the euro zone benefited from an implicit taxpayer subsidy of $90 billion to $300 billion in 2012 due to ongoing state support which makes them “too important to fail,” the International Monetary Fund said in a report on Monday. Subsidies in the United Kingdom and Japan may have been as high as $110 billion in the period of 2011-12, while they ranged from $20 billion to $70 billion in the United States, the IMF said in a chapter of its twice-yearly “Global Financial Stability Report.”

Hong Kong Regulator Probes Departed J.P. Morgan Executive (WSJ)
It isn’t known why Mr. Fang decided to leave the bank after a long period as a key deal maker in China or why exactly the ICAC visited his offices. The memo from March 24 said Mr. Fang planned to retire and people familiar with the matter said he wants to spend more time with his family and pursue new opportunities.

Columbia track star chases down alleged ticket scammer (NYP)
A Columbia University track star who was duped into buying two bogus tickets ran after the alleged scammer peddling the fake ducats — and caught him after nearly 20 blocks. The Ivy Leaguer, a 20-year-old finance major, probably should have known that the Craigslist ad offering two tickets for $210 each to the hottest sporting event in the city was too good to be true…But the Ivy League victim met up with the phony salesman outside the arena anyway, trading his cash for two inkjet printouts of tickets that were worth about as much as a pair of takeout menus. “I have never been to Madison Square Garden,” said the student, who didn’t want his name used for fear of reprisal. “So I was really looking forward to it.” But when the guy and his friend presented the printouts to an MSG ticket taker before game time, they were told they were fake. The pals then immediately concocted a plan to catch the crook. They still had the hustler’s number, so the friend called the seller and pretended that he wanted more tickets. When the alleged crook arrived at a meeting place, the track star confronted him and demanded his money back. “He just thought I was some other random customer at first, and he didn’t even recognize me,” the student said. “Then, I pulled out the tickets he scammed me with.” The seller reached into his pocket as if he was retrieving the man’s money but then turned and fled. “I was running after him screaming, ‘Help! Help!’ ” the student recalled. “He was much bigger than me. But I got him.” A pedestrian helped the fleet-footed student subdue the alleged scam artist along West 50th Street, about 17 blocks from the arena, until police arrived.

‘Candy Crush Saga’ Maker King Digital Bets on Bigger With Job Drive (WSJ)
Mobile game developer King Digital Entertainment KING PLC, in the spotlight following a lackluster listing on the New York Exchange last week, has posted 165 job openings, representing 25% of its existing workforce. The firm is in the market for a broad swath of experts, ranging from “scrum masters” to mobile game producers able to “defy the razor-sharp competition on Facebook and in the App-store.” King’s blitz comes amid a disappointing first week as a traded company. Shares were listed Wednesday at $22.50, but fell to $18.08 by the end of Friday, representing a 20% decline.

Investors Breathe Life Into European Banks’ Bad Loans (WSJ)
Centerbridge Partners LP, Oaktree Capital Management LP and Apollo Global Management LLC have been actively buying troubled debt from European banks, people familiar with the matter have said. These firms, some of which have raised big funds for distressed situations, often amass debt positions that give them significant control in a restructuring.

Spotify faces challenge from Internet giants before IPO (NYP)
With sales of music downloads slipping into decline, big guns like Google, Apple and Amazon are taking aim at the streaming music upstart as it eyes an initial public offering, possibly in the fall. First up, Google’s YouTube is prepping a Spotify-style subscription music service this summer as part of a redesign of the popular online video hub, sources told The Post. After several delays, YouTube’s relatively new boss, Susan Wojcicki, is poised to launch the service through its Music Pass app for Android mobile devices, according to sources.

All Your M&Ms Will Be Green by 2040: The Mars Mission (Bloomberg)
The Mars mission: to eliminate fossil fuel use by 2040. The maker of Snickers and M&Ms is just 3 percent green today, at least when it comes to renewable energy today. But don’t worry, your green M&Ms won’t cost a penny more than the coal-colored ones, according to Barry Parkin, chief sustainability officer at Virginia-based Mars. The big strategy? Wait until switching is a no-brainer. “There doesn’t have to be a cost disadvantage to develop green energy,” Parkin told Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Siobhan Wagner in a Q&A published last week. Mars aims to expand its renewable power — which includes solar plants in Nevada and New Jersey — but only when it costs the same or less than electricity flowing from the grid, he said.

Texas man ticketed after sending picture of his pen!s with job application (NYDN)
The unnamed work hunter reportedly emailed his resume and the improper picture to the state-run Texas Workforce Solutions agency. But it was picked up by a 25-year-old female caseworker, who – disgusted – contacted cops. The Dallas Observer reports that police tracked down the man from his email address and cited him for the class C misdemeanour, according to the Dallas Observer.

19 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (19)

  1. Posted by Im_a_Dude | March 31, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Happy to see Shazar is finally job hunting

  2. Posted by Dallas Gazette | March 31, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    "The dick clearly had Sac taint ", said the disgusted casworker when asked for comment.

  3. Posted by investorcluzo | March 31, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    "Top job-seeking tip number one"

    I see there is no shortage of puns over at NYDN.

  4. Posted by Dallas Observer | March 31, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    The recent graduate of SMU also stood out because the cover letter had a very smug style to it, and insisted on local employment only explained the caseworker.

  5. Posted by Guest | March 31, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    Cover Letter: I got your Workforce Solution right here.

  6. Posted by SMU Secure | March 31, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Stay classy MSG. Truly the pinnacle of society and decorum. Even, Houston, the hole that it is, has more class.

  7. Posted by Guest | March 31, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Colombia track star needs 20 blocks to catch a random guy off the street?

  8. Posted by Columbia Coach | March 31, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    5000 Meters guy.

  9. Posted by Web MD | March 31, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Dick Bovay > Sac taint

  10. Posted by Sean | March 31, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    When I said please provide a CV, I did not mean Cock Visual

  11. Posted by Sean's Thoughts | March 31, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Am I right? I said, Am I right?

  12. Posted by Sean | March 31, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    I guess I was wrong?

  13. Posted by Seen | March 31, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Welcome to the Third World…imported over the last few decades by "Progressives".

  14. Posted by Bean | March 31, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    I'm under your bed.

  15. Posted by Urglegroob | March 31, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    "Awww Jerry!"
    "Aww come on guys it was just farts"

  16. Posted by Ted E. | March 31, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    You have to envy the Mars PR department. They manage to grab feel-good headlines for the bombshell that they will switch to green energy when they can save money by doing so. Bravo!

  17. Posted by ESPN | March 31, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Looks like Brett Favre is having second thoughts about retirement again.

  18. Posted by Guest | March 31, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    she's not a flash boy

  19. Posted by hopy 1 | March 31, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    Antitrust is a highly recommended, especially for banking and finance sector, I agree with this approach. http://www.hopy1.com