Euro-Zone Economy Shows Weak Expansion (WSJ)
Euro-zone GDP has risen only 1% since the first quarter of 2013, the lowest point of the bloc’s six-year slump, and remains 2.5% below its peak in early 2008. Economists reckon output would have to rise at closer to 2% a year to make a meaningful dent in euro-zone unemployment, currently 11.8% of the workforce.
SAC’s Steinberg loses bid for insider trading acquittal (Reuters)
U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan rejected various arguments by Steinberg’s lawyers, including that a jury could not have rationally found he knew corporate insiders were receiving benefits to provide illegal tips. “On the facts presented at trial, a rational jury could find that (Steinberg) knew or was willfully blind to the fact that the tippers breached duties of trust and confidence by disclosing material nonpublic information for their personal benefits,” Sullivan wrote.
SAC Fund Manager’s Backers Cite Charity Before Sentencing (Bloomberg)
From co-founding a group that’s donated more than $8.7 million for work such as providing clean water and medicine in Africa, to raising money for a friend’s organ transplant with a bake sale, Steinberg has shown he deserves leniency at his sentencing today in Manhattan federal court, his supporters told the judge.
At SALT Conference, Stocks Induce Anxiety (Dealbook)
“There seems to be a general unease that with central bank policy, the only thing it is impacting are financial markets,” said Jim Chanos, president of Kynikos Associates and a well-known short-seller. “It’s not transmitting to the economy, and I think that is a real, real growing concern.” “You sort of get a growing sense that this grand experiment may be quite inconclusive when it comes to monetary policy and financial markets,” Mr. Chanos added, speaking on the sidelines of the conference on Thursday.
Investors Reject Chipotle Chiefs’ Pay Plan (Dealbook)
Investors in Chipotle Mexican Grill voted overwhelmingly on Thursday against the company’s executive compensation plans, sending a strong rebuke to a company that had awarded more than $300 million to its co-chief executives in recent years. More than 75 percent of investors voted against Chipotle’s say-on-pay measure, which asked investors to ratify a compensation plan that would continue such payments to Steve Ells, Chipotle’s founder, and his co-chief, Montgomery F. Moran, over the next few years. That was the highest vote against any say-on-pay measure among the country’s largest 3,000 companies this year.
U.S. Takes a Shot at Latte Art Championship (WSJ)
Latte art has gained steam in recent years. The whimsical, swirly designs, like tulips and hearts, drawn with the steamed milk and foam that is poured over a shot of espresso to make a latte, have tens of thousands of online fans and enthusiasts. But the final stages of the contest are stripped of whimsy. Six finalists each received eight minutes to complete two “free pour” lattes, using just swirling milk and gravity to make four drinks: two lattes and two macchiatos, which are half the size of a latte and therefore considered the most difficult…Donald Morrison says he tries to take his latte art to the dark side. His signature drink featured a winged bat. “I wanted to do something that wasn’t so cute—a little more punk rock,” he said. But it was Mr. Bricker’s twin latte phoenix, whose tail-curls were sharpened with the tip of a golf tee, that earned him the top score at the U.S. competition. He will be up against the world’s best at the championship which ends Sunday.
Paulson Sticks With Gold ETF Stake as Prices Rebound (Bloomberg)
Billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson stuck with his holding in the biggest exchange-traded product backed by gold as prices rebounded on the escalating tension between Ukraine and Russia. Paulson & Co., the largest investor in the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), kept its stake at 10.23 million shares as of March 31, a government filing showed yesterday. The holdings were unchanged for the third straight quarter.
Sony woes could spark another battle with Loeb (NYP)
Loeb, the founder of the Third Point hedge fund, may jump back into a battle with the Sony board if shares of the electronics company — down 5.2 percent this year, to $16.39 — continue to tumble, sources familiar with Loeb’s thinking said.
Portugal Laden With $293 Billion Debt Exits Bailout Plan (Dealbook)
The Iberian country’s 214 billion euros ($293 billion) of debt is the third highest in the euro region as a percentage of gross domestic product. The economy is about 4 percent smaller than in 2010, a year before the government had to ask for an international rescue. Borrowing costs based on 10-year (GSPT10YR) bond yields are almost twice those of France and all three major ratings companies consider the country non-investment grade.
Brooklyn love shack gets makeover as swinger haven (NYP)
A Bushwick brownstone is being gutted and repurposed as a haven for the “sex-positive community,” according to Open Love NY, a group dedicated to the polyamory community, which encourages consensual romantic relationships with multiple partners. The “Hacienda Villa” is a 15-bedroom apartment building only open to those that defy the “one true love philosophy.” “It’s not a one-size-fits-all relationship-style like monogamy, where you get one partner,” said Mischa Lin, who co-founded Open Love NY in 2009. “With polyamory, it’s all about how much you can handle.” Each floor of the sex haven boasts multiple bedrooms ranging from $750 to $1,500, depending on size and if there is a private bathroom attached.