Opening Bell: 07.22.14

Argentina asks U.S. judge to put debt payment order on hold (Reuters)
Argentina asked a U.S. judge on Monday to put on hold an order requiring it to pay bondholders who did not participate in debt restructurings following the country’s 2002 default, while it seeks a “global resolution.” Ahead of a July 30 deadline to reach a deal or face a new default, Argentina filed papers asking a New York federal judge to stay a ruling that it pay the holdout investors $1.33 billion plus interest. Argentina, which has been in settlement talks, said any deal must take into account other bondholders and factor in a clause in its restructured bonds that could open it up to further liability. “As those risks remain, so does the necessity and appropriateness of a stay,” Argentina’s lawyers wrote.

Money Manager Foiled By Bad Bets (WSJ)
A former Olympic fencer who was one of the few hedge-fund managers to predict the financial crisis is floundering in more placid markets. Balestra Capital Partners LP, founded by Wall Street veteran James Melcher, saw investors yank more than $600 million—or more than 60% of its assets—at the end of the second quarter, according to investor documents. New York-based Balestra’s investments were down more than 14% for this year through the end of June, the documents show. The 74-year-old Mr. Melcher, who competed for the U.S. in fencing at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, is an extreme example of the pain being inflicted on many of Wall Street’s so-called macro traders. Many of those traders, who bet on global economic trends, including wagers that make money when markets fall, have been negatively affected by low interest rates and damped volatility across many of the markets in which they operate.

Wall Street Adapts to New Regulatory Regime (WSJ)
Four years after the Dodd-Frank financial law became reality, Washington’s regulatory machine is altering Wall Street in fundamental ways. Banks are selling off profitable business lines, pulling back from the short-term funding market, cutting ties with businesses that could attract extra regulatory scrutiny, and building up defenses to help weather future crises. While profits are up as firms slash costs and reduce funds set aside to cover future losses, their traditional profit engine—trading—is showing signs of weakening as banks step away from some activity amid regulatory pressure.

Fantex Completes Second Football Player I.P.O., Though Demand Is Slack (Dealbook)
Shares linked to the future income of [E.J. Manuel, a 24-year-old quarterback with the Buffalo Bills] Manuel started trading on Monday on an exchange operated by Fantex, a Silicon Valley start-up that helps athletes raise money through public offerings of stock. The firm previously sold shares linked to Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers. The offering of 523,700 shares received a significant amount of support from Fantex itself. Unable to sell all of the Manuel stock to investors, the company stepped in to buy 250,000 shares, or 48 percent of the total amount offered, according to Buck French, the chief executive. This level of support was expected, Mr. French said. Despite the slack demand, the stock was trading higher in its debut on Monday. After opening for trading at $10 at noon, the shares were up 15 percent in early afternoon trading.

Fox’s Time Warner bid could hit $105 a share (NYP)
…according to Moody’s Investors Service, which in a report Monday laid out a scenario where Fox could offer $105 per share for Time Warner without jeopardizing its credit rating. That’s $20 more per share than Time Warner turned down from Rupert Murdoch’s company earlier this month. Moody’s scenario also boosts the deal’s cash component to $35.34 billion, up from $28.88 billion in Fox’s initial proposal. The beauty of Moody’s analysis, however, is Fox’s not having to break the bank to reel in Time Warner. In fact, the credit rating agency projected a Fox-Time Warner combo could return to Fox’s coveted leverage ratio — 3.0 times debt to Ebitda — inside of 18 months.

Soros Chart Shows Euro-Yen Reaching 2008 High (Bloomberg)
The euro will surge to a six-year high against the yen by the end of 2014 as the European Central Bank isn’t printing money as fast as the Bank of Japan, according to Daiwa Securities Co…Japanese traders and investors refer to this gauge as a “Soros Chart,” after billionaire investor George Soros correctly predicted in the 1990s that the yen would weaken because of Japan’s burgeoning money supply. Also tracked are the euro, which recently traded at 137 yen, up 46 percent since July 2012, and the slowing inflation rate in the 18 nations sharing the common currency.

Angry husband sends wife Excel spreadsheet detailing sex-starved month (NYDN)
A woman’s fed-up husband sent her an Excel spreadsheet listing every time she shot down his attempts to have sex over the past month, including her excuses, according to a Reddit post. The user throwwwwaway29 posted the doc to the site on Friday along with a plea for advice, Deadspin reported. “Yesterday morning, while in a taxi on the way to the airport, Husband sends a message to my work email which is connected to my phone,” the woman wrote. “I open it up, and it’s a sarcastic diatribe basically saying he won’t miss me for the 10 days I’m gone,” she said. The spurned hubby’s rundown showed the couple had only had sex three times since June 3, despite 27 tries on his part to get frisky. One column listed the wife’s apparent excuses, including protests that she felt “gross,” was too busy watching TV or ate too much. The successful rolls in the hay were marked with an italicized “Yes.” The beleaguered wife called the dry-spell “a temporary slow-down due to extenuating circumstances.”

Pershing Square’s Ackman: Why I think Herbalife is going to collapse (CNBC, earlier)
Bill Ackman, head of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, said his firm’s presentation of a Herbalife investigation will “expose incredible fraud.” The talk will be held at the AXA Equitable Center in Manhattan at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday. “We have hundreds of hours of internal video, Ackman told CNBC’s Halftime Report. “We have some internal documents that were given to us by some employees.”

For Banks Near Cutoff, Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better (WSJ)
Joseph Ficalora is CEO of New York Community Bancorp, a lender in Westbury, WBB -0.46% N.Y., with $47.6 billion in assets as of the end of the first quarter. The bank is projected to reach the $50 billion mark by the end of the year if it continues to expand at its current rate. But with that milestone will come myriad headaches. Once the bank reports assets of more than $50 billion on average for four quarters in a row, NYCB, as it is known, will be large enough to be considered “systemically important” by regulators. That status will require it to comply with stiff rules on capital, submit to yearly “stress tests” and create a road map to wind down the bank in the event of a crisis, moves that will add to its costs. As a result, Mr. Ficalora says NYCB is restraining its lending growth, since loans amount to assets. The rule characterizing bank holding companies over $50 billion as systemically important is part of the regulatory overhaul that followed the financial crisis and is aimed at keeping a closer eye on banks whose potential problems could endanger the broader financial system. But some critics argue that the $50 billion threshold is too low, catching companies, like NYCB, that are far from financial giants.

Cash Crops With Dividends: Financiers Transforming Strawberries Into Securities (Dealbook)
For now, American Farmland is a private company, and its founder, D. Dixon Boardman, is pitching the vision to Wall Street. Corn, cotton, lemons, walnuts, avocados: If it grows in the ground and has an attractive income stream, he is peddling it. “It’s like gold, but better, because there is this cash flow,” Mr. Boardman said. The income stream comes from the rent farmers pay American Farmland and also often includes a share of the revenue from the crops. The company buys farms with permanent crops like almonds and avocados and row crops like cotton and corn. Down the line, if American Farmland follows the same path as Farmland Partners and Gladstone Land and lists on a public exchange, Mr. Boardman will have another audience to pitch his vision to: ordinary investors.

Steven Seagal kicked out of Estonia music festival over his support of Vladimir Putin (NYDN)
The actor, who has previously vocalized his support of Vladimir Putin, was booted from performing with his band at a blues festival in Estonia in the wake of Russia’s president’s alleged involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which killed all 298 passengers and crew. The festival announced June 17 that Seagal, 62, and his blues band would headline Augustibluus in Haapsalu on Aug. 14, celebrating the Estonia fest’s 20th year. The news sent Estonians, whose nation was formerly invaded by the Soviet Union and borders Russia, into a frenzy due to the “Above the Law” actor’s statements of support for Putin, who he once described as “one of the greatest world leaders alive today.” Futhermore, the “Under Siege” star came to Putin’s defense for the invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea territory in March, saying it was “very reasonable.”

34 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (34)

  1. Posted by Guest | July 22, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    This would never have happened at Balls-extra Capital Partners.

  2. Posted by Guest | July 22, 2014 at 7:31 AM

    Always pressure-wash the livestock before letting it enter your quarters.

  3. Posted by guest | July 22, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    hope that fraud talk helps you cover your short….. nice jawboning.

  4. Posted by guest | July 22, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    I wouldn't expect anything less from steven seagal

  5. Posted by Shaz's beard | July 22, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    throwwwwaway29 = Shazzy's mail order bride

  6. Posted by getintheyokedamnit | July 22, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    Nothing like indentured servitude by way of pro sports/securitization of future earnings.

  7. Posted by Guest | July 22, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    they are not slaves, they are student-athletes.

  8. Posted by getintheyokedamnit | July 22, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    A rose by any other name, or something.

  9. Posted by Guest | July 22, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    every rose has its thorn

  10. Posted by Guest | July 22, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    I'm excited to see news from last Thursday on the Tuesday OB

  11. Posted by rose | July 22, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Jack, paint me like one of your French girls

  12. Posted by El Guesto | July 22, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    @throwwwwaway29,

    I smack you around,
    treat you like a clown,
    hump you like a hound,
    force-feed you hash browns,
    jeez, I hope you'll drown.

  13. Posted by 41 Years Old | July 22, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    3 times since June 3rd! That's awesome!

  14. Posted by El Walmart | July 22, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Why is it that American land-whales never like to shower?

  15. Posted by Connecticutter | July 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    What's the difference between a rose bush and a hedge fund? A rose bush has it's pricks on the outside.

  16. Posted by Speckled Trout | July 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    That white flag on the Brooklyn Bridge this morning must mean they have bait shrimp available.

  17. Posted by Captain Oblivious | July 22, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Reason number 1BB+ to never get fuckin married. Your life literally ends. I applaud this guy but I also think he seems a bit pathetic. Go get a hooker or find a slampiece to knock around if your wife doesn't want to put out. You are gonna get divorced anyway. As a bonus she is going to take all of your shit so smart investment.

  18. Posted by Designer Stubble | July 22, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    I read the "excuses" he said he received from her. I've said those myself when my side piece had been wearing me out.

  19. Posted by J Kerry | July 22, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Putin did it.

  20. Posted by Weezus | July 22, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Kanye West isn't scared of Putin. Putin is scared of Kanye.

  21. Posted by J Kerry | July 22, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    Sore loser says what? Marriage is the best thing that ever happened to me.

  22. Posted by Captain Oblivious | July 22, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Loser? Try happy guy who never has listen to a constant stream of bullshit while never getting laid and trying to convince himself that he's "happy". Now I understand why you are happy, all that ketchup cash and all but still

  23. Posted by J McCain | July 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    It's all you. Also very happy around here.

  24. Posted by Not from Kenya | July 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    Why don't you just marry a tranny?

  25. Posted by NakedShort | July 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    My wife recently told me we were expecting our third. The first words out of my mouth were "How the fuck did that happen?"

  26. Posted by Enhanced Collar | July 22, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Kanye got the name "Kanye" after continually requesting of staff, "Kanye find me a woman with a big ass?"

  27. Posted by St. Copious | July 22, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Did she specify who the "our" referred to?

  28. Posted by Guest | July 22, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    If you like your DNA you can keep your DNA.

  29. Posted by Quant me maybe... | July 22, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Did you go to reddit and read the post? She deleted her account and the thread is locked, but all comments are up except hers. If she wasn't heading for divorce before she's definitely headed that way now. Post was picked up everywhere, even Yahoo! which gets like 200 MM visitors a day.. Man, she got slammed by everyone but a couple of angry lesbians. Everyone was all "that's a shit thing for him to do, but your fault sister".

    >Wonder how long it's going to take Good Morning America to track them down to finish the job with alive nationally embarrassing interview.

  30. Posted by Finance Tool | July 22, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    QMM knows whats up. Take care of your shit at home and you won't need to worry about it. People get tired of banging the same person it's not rocket science. Marriage is a suckas bet bitches.

  31. Posted by Guest | July 22, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    Check back with us when you're 60 and either i) childless and regretting it, or ii) dealing with nonstop headaches and worries from your fucked up kids whose mother you never married. Failure-to-launch kids way, way, way more expensive than marriage…

  32. Posted by Guest | July 22, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    I wonder if there is anything I should check when I am 60. Or maybe should I get a checkup?

  33. Posted by pokey gasbagarino | July 22, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    clearly a woman

  34. Posted by Guest | July 22, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    it's spelled broad, b r o a d, broad.