Opening Bell: 04.21.14

Barclays to Exit Most Commodities Trading in Bid to Bolster Profit (WSJ)
The U.K. bank will pull back from trading in base metals, energy and agricultural products and fold its precious metals business into its currency trading unit, people familiar with the plans said Monday. The move comes as Barclays prepares to tell investors on May 8 how it will reshape its investment bank, where the commodities business is housed, to adapt to costly new regulations and a slowdown in some business areas.

SEC Weighs Making Brokers Disclose Where Trades Are Sent (Bloomberg)
The proposal could give investors more insight into whether they are getting the best price when they buy and sell large numbers of shares, according to three people familiar with the matter. Brokers entrusted with orders in the U.S. stock market can choose from dozens of exchanges and private venues. Some money managers such as T. Rowe Price Group Inc. (TROW) have told regulators that incentives offered by exchanges for attracting orders can put a broker’s financial interest at odds with the customer’s.

TPG-Led Group Closes $450 Million Investment in Airbnb (WSJ)
A group led by private-equity firm TPG has finalized an agreement to invest more than $450 million in Airbnb Inc., valuing the home-rental site at $10 billion, according to people familiar with the situation. The funding round makes Airbnb one of the world’s most valuable startups, matching investors’ price tags for file-storage company Dropbox Inc. and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc. Airbnb, which lets people rent their homes to travelers, is also now valued higher than large publicly traded hotel chains Wyndham Worldwide Corp. and Hyatt Hotels.

Ice Cream Turf War Breaks Out On Easter (Fox2)
A ice cream truck turf war broke out Easter morning in north St. Louis County on Parker Road, near Highway 367. Just after 1 pm, two ice cream trucks got into a dust up, when the driver of one truck cut off another truck, threatening the driver of the first truck. The driver of the second truck then proceeded to damage the first truck, music siren and merchandise. The driver of the damage truck says he’s had the same route for seven years and the second driver wanted to take over his route. But the real kicker here is that both drivers work for the same company. The victim says he plans on keeping his route, and that other driver may lose his job.

U.S. insider trading cases face test at appeals court (Reuters)
The question facing the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Tuesday is one that has divided lower court judges: whether to be convicted of insider trading, the recipient of non-public information must know that the source of the tip benefited from the disclosure. The issue is at the heart of the appeal brought by Todd Newman, a former portfolio manager at the hedge fund Diamondback Capital Management, and Anthony Chiasson, co-founder of the hedge fund Level Global Investors. Newman and Chiasson were convicted in 2012 for their roles in a scheme prosecutors said reaped $72 million in illicit profits after trading on inside information about Dell Inc and Nvidia Corp.

Hedge Funds Cut Gold Bets in Longest Slide of 2014 (Bloomberg)
The net-long position contracted to the lowest since mid-February as speculators sold bullion on signs of accelerating U.S. economic growth. The investors more than doubled bets on lower prices in the past month while reducing wagers on a rally in six of the past seven weeks.

Techie creates starter ‘black card’ for 20-somethings (NYP)
A young tech entrepreneur has launched an aspirational “black card”’ for 20-somethings who are working their way toward American Express’ famous Black card. Billy McFarland, 22, launched the Magnises card in March. It’s his third company. The tech wiz from New Jersey started when he was 13 with an outsourcing company, then founded the successful Internet startup Spling. McFarland says the card, made of heavyweight metal, is linked to your own bank card. It’s not a real charge card, because it’s not connected to any financial institution itself, but it does offer members access to a clubhouse in Greenwich Village, where there are wine tastings and private dinners (recently Mario Batali’s restaurant chef prepared a five-course meal), a 24/7 concierge, discounts and special treatment at restaurants.

Business savior or a sin? Jesus tokes up in local burger ad (Q13)
The advertisement inevitably raised some eyebrows. Heck, it was intended to. “I wanted you to look at Jesus smoking a blunt, eating a hamburger and say, ‘hey, I’m going to tell my friend,” said John Schmidt. Schmidt is the owner of Seattle-based Lunchbox Laboratory restaurants and behind a much talked about email-blast. The ad, emailed out to 13,000 Lunchbox Laboratory deals subscribers, features a picture the Lord and Savior in a not-so-classical pose with a burger in one hand and a marijuana joint in the other. Text springing from Jesus’ mouth reads, “When I Get Back, All I Want is the Burger of the Gods.”Above him is Easter’s date with the number 4.20 highlighted in green. The advertisement, originally seen by around 1,000 of the 13,000 subscribers, is meant to highlight the sale date for the scrumptious Burger of the Gods…Inevitably though, Schmidt has received some complaints from his depiction of a Jesus with munchies. Conservative-leaning talking heads on the airwaves questioned if Schmidt would confidently display Martin Luther King Jr. or the prophet Muhammed holding a joint. Or if Schmidt — who says he is a practicing christian and a “family man” – asked his pastor if the advertisement was agreeable before he sent it to restaurant email subscribers Schmidt laughed off the later suggestion. “When my business is struggling to pay my bills, I’m not going to go to my pastor,” Schmidt said. “I am trying to get people excited about this advertising.”

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Comments (4)

  1. Posted by Rebecca M. | April 21, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Plebs max out Chase debit cards. Ballers overdraw on their Magnises.

  2. Posted by The Savior | April 21, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

  3. Posted by guesst | April 21, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Love it when fights are referred to as dust-ups.

  4. Posted by Quant me maybe... | April 21, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    Bess:

    You have to fix the bug in the comments. It's killing me. If you partially enter a comment then hit the back arrow (not the backspace key) before posting it, you go to the previous article and lose whatever gem it was that you were trying to post.

    >making me crazy.