Opening Bell: 05.27.14

BofA Error Confirmed by a Devil in the Detail (WSJ)
A change in wording on Federal Reserve forms earlier this year helped Bank of America Corp. verify that it had made a $4 billion error in calculating its capital, according to a person familiar with the matter, jeopardizing its plans for a long-awaited stock buyback and dividend increase. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank disclosed the mistake late last month. BofA staffers began to suspect the bank had been miscalculating its regulatory capital when they prepared the bank’s first-quarter Securities and Exchange Commission filing in April, the person said. After those suspicions arose, they learned of the Fed’s wording change—a revision to instructions on computing regulatory capital that clarified which kinds of losses on debt securities a bank shouldn’t exclude from its calculations. That change confirmed for BofA that it had inadvertently been reporting an inflated amount of capital to regulators, the person said. BofA isn’t blaming its error on the Fed’s wording, said the person, who added the wording change just helped confirm for the bank that it was in error.

Canada Offers Incentives to Lure Startups Across the Border (WSJ)
Adam Adelman, co-founder of Mighty Cast, a startup working on a new kind of wearable technology, recently told me the Canadian government is paying almost 80% of his developers’ salaries. And that’s not a tax credit. It’s a rebate, a check he gets from the government whether or not his startup makes money…So far, it’s mostly established U.S. companies taking advantage of these incentives. In 2013 Cisco signed an agreement with the government of Ontario pledging up to $4 billion in investment over the next 10 years in exchange for $220 million in incentives. Seven of the 10 largest tech companies in the world have outposts in Canada, including Google, Siemens and IBM, and startups like Square are setting up offices in the Waterloo region, where tech employers tend to concentrate. But if you’re a small startup looking to take full advantage of these incentives, there’s a catch: You have to become Canadian. You don’t have to give up your current citizenship to get all the benefits, but your company must be majority controlled by person(s) who are residents of Canada (a different status than full citizenship). Companies merely setting up a satellite in Canada can still get 50% of the salary reimbursement a fully “Canadian” company would.

Finance heavyweights checking out Sag Harbor restaurant (NYP)
It will likely be a masters of the universe, model magnet crowd in the Hamptons, where Notar has a license to stay open until 4 a.m. “Maybe one or two nights we’ll have a few parties. It’ll be good, but it will be civilized fun. It’s not spraying champagne on you and people falling into the ocean,” said Notar, who worked at Studio 54 in its heyday before launching his restaurant empire.

When Cannabis Goes Corporate (NYT)
Clinical, climate-controlled rooms with artificial sunlight house rows upon rows of plants at various stages of growth. In the “mother room,” horticulturalists use cuttings to start new plants. The “flowering rooms” are flooded with intense light 12 hours a day to nurture nearly grown plants in strains with vaguely aristocratic names like Argyle, Houndstooth and Twilling. The new owner of this factory, at 1 Hershey Drive, is Tweed Marijuana. It is one of about 20 companies officially licensed to grow medical marijuana in Canada. A court ordered the government to make marijuana available for medicinal purposes in 2000, but the first system for doing so created havoc. The government sold directly to approved consumers, but individuals were also permitted to grow for their own purposes or to turn over their growing to small operations. The free-for-all approach prompted a flood of complaints from police and local governments. So the Canadian government decided to create an extensive, heavily regulated system for growing and selling marijuana. The new rules allow users with prescriptions to buy only from one of the approved, large-scale, profit-seeking producers like Tweed, a move intended to shut down the thousands of informal growing operations scattered across the country. The requirements, which went into effect in April, are giving rise to what many are betting will be a lucrative new industry of legitimate producers.

Macaulay Culkin’s band storms off stage after being booed, covered in beer (NYDN)
The actor and his comedy cover band, Pizza Underground, performed at the Dot to Dot Festival Sunday, but instead of applause they were met with boos from the audience, who also threw beer at them, reports the Nottingham Post. “Why are you throwing those?” the “Home Alone” star asked when the band dodged pints of booze being thrown from the crowd after performing a cover of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” which they called “It’s a Pizza Day.” “I’d rather drink them,” he said. Culkin, 33, and his New York City-based band, which remakes classic rock songs in order to celebrate pizza, tried to take it in stride and continued the performance. They reportedly got through three songs before calling it quits after being drenched with booze. “That’s the end of the show,” he said. “Goodnight.”

Exclusive hedge funds crack open door to Main Street (Reuters)
As a $14.8 billion hedge fund with a reputation for savvy mortgage trades and a record of double-digit returns, Pine River Capital Management has long signed up multi-billion-dollar pension and sovereign wealth funds as investors. Now the exclusive hedge fund is making some of its strategies available to Main Street investors who’ve been warned that bets on stocks and bonds may not see them through retirement. For as little as $1,000, they can include hedge funds in their nest eggs. As one of seven firms managing money in Wells Fargo’s new Alternative Strategies fund, Pine River is among the latest big-name funds to crack its doors to private clients with look-alike products known as liquid alternative funds after years of courting only the super-wealthy.

SEC Set to Spur Exchange Trading (WSJ)
The plan’s inclusion in the pilot would mark a small victory in a larger battle over stock trading between exchanges and operators of so-called dark pools. It would affect a small amount of trading, but a successful test could be a precursor to applying it on a broader scale in the future, the people familiar with the discussions said.

A Feeding Frenzy for London Homes Triggers Talk of a Bubble (BusinessWeek)
…prices rose 17.7 percent in the 12 months through February, according to the Office for National Statistics, and a typical home now sells for £458,000 ($772,000). There are bidding wars for patches of grass, parking spaces, garages, and sprawling mansions. “There is a fixation with housing, house prices, and the housing market,” says Mark Clare, chief executive officer of homebuilder Barratt Developments. “You’ve got six years of demand that’s coming back.”

Food fight leads to charges for eight students (LD)
Taco day was far from a fiesta Friday after eight students faced misdemeanor criminal charges for starting and participating in a food fight at Wilson Central High School. Sheriff Robert Bryan said school resource officers charged four adult and four juvenile students with disorderly conduct and vandalism following the incident. He said the students were issued misdemeanor citations and released to their parents. Bryan said school administrators also planned to discipline the students, but he didn’t know what consequences the students faced. […] “There are probably more charges to come,” Bryan said. “We are reviewing surveillance video. When it started, the majority of the students backed off, but these students continued to throw food.”

12 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (12)

  1. Posted by guest | May 27, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    god damn those tacos looks good.

    -starving guest

  2. Posted by Wives tail | May 27, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Four adults at Wilson Central High School?

    Don't drink the water…

  3. Posted by Citicafdenizennomore | May 27, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Everyone knows it's Taco Tuesday, not Fiesta Friday

  4. Posted by Journal Entry | May 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    Cliff Stevens, Wilson Central High School Junior, T-Day (5/23/2014)

    When I opened the door to the cafeteria, I was met with an eerie calm and silence. My olfactories were tinged with the slightest waft of Old El Paso, but my vision told me to keep my hunger at bay. Hiding behind overturned tables were the sophomores from third period Geometry. The ones who could still pull a B+ while acting like they weren’t paying attention. Across from them and to my right were the seniors on the swim team. Sure the ladies like the looks of their shaved bodies and toned muscles, but so did their own teammates. They were crouched in their Speedos behind the Dasani machine ready to call in the fast movers if things got ugly.

    The place seemed at a standstill until one of the sophomores stood up wearing a Native American headdress. He called himself Chief Sohcahtoa, and after a blood curdling war whoop he launched the first volley. He chucked a fully-loaded hard shell with all of the fixins at the Dasani machine. The ensuing cloud of shaved iceberg lettuce partially masked a scattering of swim team seniors, who immediately responded in kind. The team captain used is unusually wide wingspan to fling two taco grenades at the Chief in a way that allowed them to meet at a perfect right angle. A wry smirk came across the Chief. He could calculate in his head the exact distance each hand was at as they released the tacos. All he needed to know was the fingertip-to-Xiphoid Process distance.

    The atmosphere in the cafeteria descended into chaos. Tostadas, soft shells, and even the occasional empanada were launched in retaliatory attacks. At one point, a senior standout in the 500 freestyle started windmilling his arms furiously. With each rotation, a tostada would come hurtling out like a ninja flinging throwing stars. Each tostada was perfectly deflected by the sophomores and their TI-83s. The arms of the swim team were fast, but not fast enough to outpace the circuitry of the most reliable calculator ever invented. Somewhere, a 68 year old Texas Instruments engineer was smiling.

    The Chief escalated the conflict when he tossed a heavy chimichanga into the air. The arc that the chimichanga inscribed was slightly miscalculated, as its asymptotic landing would miss the speedos. In a last ditch effort to increase the grenade’s effectiveness, the Chief pulled out his bow and loosed an arrow into the heart of the deep fried burrito. An explosion of sour cream, guacamole, and refried beans showered down on the swim team. One 100m backstroke expert bore the brunt of the explosion. His face was covered with pico do gallo and black beans glommed onto his chin, forming a dripping beard of burrito innards.

    My excitement as a passive spectator was shared by the giggling freshman girls next to me. We started to tease, judge, analyze, and encourage the participants. But our fun ended when the Dean showed up with the school’s security guards. Cuffed seniors in speedos were paraded out into the hallway where they were debriefed. The geometry clan exited muttering something about “opposite” and “adjacent” and under the watchful eye of the Dean. I pocketed the number of a cute redheaded freshman and surveyed the battlefield. Sitting alone in amongst the detritus was the Native American headdress. I brushed off the shredded cheese and lettuce and decided to keep it as a souvenir. Just another day at Wilson Central.

  5. Posted by WCHS Frosh | May 27, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Stranger Danger…STRANGER DANGER!

  6. Posted by Pretty Weird | May 27, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    There are 14 listings for "lingerie" in the Sag Harbor yellow pages.

  7. Posted by Guest | May 27, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    So much goodness here for all types. Shaved swim team reference for SMUSecure, TI-83 drop for the quants, burrito facial for Gundy and an underage redhead for Lax

  8. Posted by el guesto | May 27, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    *slow clap* bravo good sir… bravo

  9. Posted by guest | May 27, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    +1000!

  10. Posted by guest | May 27, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    I could kiss you this comment is so good.

  11. Posted by Kenny P | May 27, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    FIXINS????? You're shittin' gold these days… .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY1o5eL8DY4

  12. Posted by Quant me maybe... | May 28, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Two years ago this would easily have garnered more than 100 thumbs up. What's going on, Bess?