Opening Bell: 07.18.14

Buffett buys new Cadillac (AP)
Buffett sent his daughter, Susie Buffett, to the dealership to make the purchase. Warren Buffett says the saleswoman did a great job, including recommending that Buffett buy the XTS sedan he picked, not the CTS coupe that Barra had recommended.

Lawsky proposes new Bitcoin rules (NYP)
The proposed rules are the first step in companies obtaining a “BitLicense,” which would pave the way for a regulated exchange of the crypto-currency. The DFS started looking into new bitcoin exchanges for New York after the Japanese digital currency exchange Mt. Gox imploded earlier this year, apparently from hackers stealing $460 million in investor funds. The rules include anti-money laundering provisions that would include the identities and addresses of people trading the currency, as well as receipts for trades totaling more than $10,000 per day.

Ackman says Valeant’s bid for Allergan is a ‘happy’ one (NYP)
Ackman said Thursday he is trying to line up 45 percent of shareholders to call a special meeting to replace six directors — although he only needs 25 percent — because of what he called Allergan’s “unbelievably burdensome” requirements.

Morgan Stanley rebuilds in commodities trading (Reuters)
The Wall Street bank plans to hire about a dozen traders, sales staff and other professionals in the United States. It’s building up commodities trading and financing businesses that can profit despite tougher regulations, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

A Case That Shows The Limits Of Insider Trading Laws (NYT)
In an unusual move, the judge in the case, Naomi Reice Buchwald, didn’t let most of the case get to the jury. After showing skepticism about the strength of the government’s case almost from the beginning, she dismissed two insider trading counts, leaving only a conspiracy charge for the jury to ponder. But conspiracy to do what? It’s no wonder a jury took less than four hours to find Mr. Rajaratnam innocent…Which raises a question: How might the jury have decided if it was allowed to consider all the evidence? The answer goes far beyond the Rengan Rajaratnam case, and raises some fundamental questions about the state of insider trading laws.

Shark Bites Off More Than It Can Chew, Chokes On Sea Lion (HP)
In a peculiar event that is almost too odd to seem true, a 13-foot great white shark in Australia died after choking on a sea lion. This video of a shark thrashing in shallow waters on Coronation Beach near Geraldton, Western Australia surfaced the day before the same shark washed ashore. “This could explain why the shark was exhibiting such unusual behavior in shallow waters off Coronation Beach. It is possible that the shark was trying to dislodge the blockage,” Dr McAuley, the principal research scientist who investigated the case, said in a Department of Fisheries press release. To make things even more interesting, this shark was also tagged in Southern Australia back in January, proving the incredibly mobile nature of the species. The Department of Fisheries in Western Australia concluded that the sea lion either damaged the shark’s internal organs, or the shark simply became stranded while trying to “get rid of the obstruction.”

Bond Traders Plot Response as Safeguards Vanish (Bloomberg)
Representatives from at least six firms met in London last week with the Association for Financial Markets in Europe to discuss reinforcing language in documents governing bond sales that protect investors, according to Gary Simmons, director of the group’s high-yield division. Legal & General Investment Management, Castle Hill Asset Management and Pioneer Investments are among money managers listed as members, according to AFME.

Bank Lending Accelerates After Slump (WSJ)
Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. all increased their total loans from a year ago by about 3% or more on the back of increasing demand and improving economic conditions. The rates of growth varied from 2.9% at J.P. Morgan to 3.6% at Wells Fargo and 3.7% at Citigroup, while Bank of America’s loans fell 1% from a year earlier.

Bank of Portugal Moves to Calm Investors Over Espírito Santo (WSJ)
Portugal’s central bank on Friday moved to calm fears about lender Banco Espírito Santo SA, saying the lender had a big-enough capital buffer to protect itself from its troubled parent, even in a worst-case scenario. Across the ocean, meanwhile, Panama’s banking supervisor took over a small bank owned by a unit of the parent, Espírito Santo International SA, showing companies within the group are under increased stress. Panama’s regulator, Superintendencia de Bancos de Panama, said in a statement that it was taking over ES Bank (Panama) SA, a unit of Espírito Santo International’s 49%-owned Espírito Santo Financial Group SA, “to protect and defend the interest of depositors and creditors of the institution given its illiquid and potentially insolvent situation.”

Mystery over Mandela’s valuable note to Leonardo DiCaprio (NYP)
There’s a legal battle brewing over a photo that went up for sale this week for $25,000 of Leonardo DiCaprio and the late South African leader Nelson Mandela. It was inscribed by Mandela to DiCaprio, but it never got to the actor. It’s unclear how the pic, shot while DiCaprio was filming the 2006 African epic “Blood Diamond,” made it to memorabilia and autographs dealer Moments in Time, which is offering the color image, years later. Mandela personally wrote on the image of the smiling pair: “To Leo DiCaprio, Best Wishes, Mandela, 4-8-07.” But for some reason the treasure never was sent to him. Moments in Time says it keeps its sources confidential, but owns the image’s rights. Upon learning of the picture’s existence Tuesday, DiCaprio’s camp said the photo is his — and he wants it. “The photo is clearly not their property,” said a source close to the actor. “He wants the picture. His lawyers are considering action.”

10 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (10)

  1. Posted by Shazmasterflex | July 18, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Your intern inputted the wrong time.

  2. Posted by Going to Zerohedge | July 18, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Buffett took a shit this morning, sent wife out for toilet paper and wet wipes. Jeez slow news day??

  3. Posted by Guest | July 18, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    "Judge saves innocent man from straw-grasping regulators by witholding information that would be massively misunderstood by jury"

  4. Posted by J Shazar | July 18, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    omg Buffett is just like the rest of us. His mom wipes him after he takes a dump!

  5. Posted by guest | July 18, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    1. I love it when it arguably *is* a slow news day– we're in the dead of summer, all media coverage is on the malaysia flight, there is zero vol– and people say stuff like "Jeez slow news day??"
    2. LOL @ "going to zerohedge"

  6. Posted by guest | July 18, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    That great white shark would still be alive if the Dos Equis man or Chuck Norris would have been around to give it the Heimlich maneuver..

  7. Posted by Vol trader | July 18, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    This is a finance blog. Make something up. There is plenty to talk about we don't need vol to do it asswipe.

  8. Posted by Single in FiDi | July 18, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Yeah!

    – 9th grader from 2010

  9. Posted by Guest | July 18, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    Well, if there is vol when you asswipe it's going to get messy.

  10. Posted by NakedShort | July 18, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    if you pizza when you're supposed to french fry you're gonna to have a bad time