Opening Bell: 07.24.14

SEC Sends McGraw Hill Wells Notice Tied to CMBS Ratings (Bloomberg)
McGraw Hill Financial Inc. (MHFI) said it received a notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the regulator may seek an enforcement action tied to six commercial-mortgage backed securities that its Standard & Poor’s division graded in 2011.

Calpers Pulls Back From Hedge Funds (WSJ)
Public pensions from California to Ohio are backing away from hedge funds because of concerns about high fees and lackluster returns. Those having second thoughts include officials at the largest public pension fund in the U.S., the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or Calpers. Its hedge-fund investment is expected to drop this year by 40%, to $3 billion, amid a review of that part of the portfolio, said a person familiar with the changes. A spokesman declined to comment on the size of the reduction but said the fund is taking more of a “back-to-basics approach” with its holdings. The retreat comes after many pension funds poured money into hedge funds in recent years in hopes of making up huge shortfalls.

Billionaire Ken Griffin files for divorce (Crain’s)
Ken Griffin, the billionaire founder and CEO of Citadel LLC, a Chicago-based hedge fund and financial services firm, has filed for divorce from his wife of 10 years, Anne Dias Griffin, a French-born hedge-fund executive. A statement from Ms. Griffin’s attorney, Robert Stephan Cohen, indicated the divorce could be contentious: “Ken Griffin unilaterally filed a divorce petition today with no notice to either me or my client, knowing full well that she had just left for summer vacation with their three young children and would therefore be unable to respond. Anne’s highest priority remains her family, especially the wellbeing of her children. She is hopeful that this personal matter can be resolved privately and in the best interests of her children. We have no further comment at this time.”

‘Bring It On,’ Frank Tells Dodd-Frank Critics at Hearing
Barney Frank, the panel’s former chairman, returned to Washington Wednesday to sit before the committee and provide a feisty defense of that year’s regulatory overhaul, the Dodd-Frank Act that bears his name. The hearing split along partisan lines in support of and opposition to the wide-ranging law passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis. “I know the chairman said the financial reform bill is as damaging as the health-care bill,” the now-bearded Massachusetts Democrat said, referring to the current Republican chairman, Jeb Hensarling of Texas. “Well my recollection is this Republican Congress votes on a fairly regular basis to repeal the health-care bill. But where’s your bill to repeal the financial reform bill? If you have the courage of your convictions, bring it on.”

U.S. Considers Issuing Debt With Maturities of More Than 30 Years (WSJ)
The U.S. government has asked big banks whether it should issue bonds that mature in more than 30 years, as officials consider tweaking the types of debt they sell. In a questionnaire sent to dealers last Friday, the Treasury Department asked 22 primary dealer banks, which underwrite U.S. government debt sales, about possible demand for ultra-long-term sovereign bonds. A Treasury official cautioned that at this stage, the U.S. wants to get the views of market participants. “We would give significant heads up” if the Treasury decided to sell ultra-long bonds, said the official, adding that nothing is imminent. The Treasury regularly asks primary dealers about auction demand and supply. Selling longer-maturing debt could help the U.S. borrow at low rates for long periods, but it could also be an unreliable type of funding, said analysts and investors.

Moody’s downgrades Atlantic City general obligation bonds to junk status (CNBC)
The credit rating service cut the city’s underlying rating to “Ba1″ from “Baa2.” It affects $245 million in outstanding debt. “The downgrade to Ba1 reflects the city’s significantly weakened tax base, revenue-raising ability, and broader economic outlook,” Moody’s said in a statement, adding that its outlook remained negative.

Deep-Fried Doritos Debut at SoCal Fairs (LA Weekly)
Every year, Charlie Boghosian, aka Chicken Charlie, tries to outdo himself with his deep-fried concoctions sold at California fairs. The man began his arterial onslaught modestly several years ago with deep-fried Twinkies and deep-fried Snickers bars. Seeking ever greater challenges, he took on deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried cookie dough, deep-fried Spam, deep-fried Pop-Tarts and of course, the Zucchini Weeni. Many thought he had reached the apex of his hot-grease powers in 2011 with deep-fried Kool-Aid. But that was until a CBS News reporter’s daughter, along for an interview, recently challenged Charlie to deep-fry her bag of nacho cheese-flavored Doritos. “I did and it was delish,” Boghosian told the Weekly. “What’s amazing is the deep-frying made it more crunchy.” Boghosian explained his process: “I dipped the chips in a very watered down fish-and-chip batter, and after they were finished frying, I topped them with a season mixture of mine similar to Cajun seasonings.” He quickly added the new deep-fried discovery to his fair-food menu. Now a week and a half into the Orange County Fair, “It has become a fan favorite,” he says…The deep-fried Doritos aren’t the only new addition to Boghosian’s menu this year. Proving that they don’t call him Chicken Charlie for nothing, he’s also debuting deep-fried chicken skins. “You know people always say the skin is the best part,” he explains. “I thought one day, let’s just get to the best part and not waste any time on the rest of the chicken. It worked. It’s amazing and delicious. It’s like chicharrones, only better.”

Judge dismisses suit claiming JPMorgan knew of Madoff fraud (Reuters)
The lawsuit filed in February alleged that Chief Executive Jamie Dimon and 12 other current and former executives and directors turned “a blind eye to Madoff’s thievery.” The claims were based partly on statements Madoff gave in a series of interviews – including conversations with plaintiffs lawyers while in federal prison in North Carolina – about his interactions with the bank. Madoff was an important client of the bank for two decades. Judge Paul Crotty ruled there were not enough specific facts to prove the board breached their duties to shareholders.

American Apparel appoints first woman to board (NYP)
Colleen B. Brown, formerly CEO of Seattle-based TV-and-radio station group Fisher Communications, will take a seat on the retailer’s board as part of a truce that has yet to determine the fate of controversial CEO Dov Charney. Brown is the first woman to serve on the board of American Apparel, whose founder Charney in recent years was dogged by sex harassment suits from female employees…In addition to Brown, American Apparel has named as new directors RadioShack CEO Joseph Magnacca, investor Thomas J. Sullivan and David Glazek, a partner at Standard General LP, according to a securities filing Wednesday.

Chicken sees ‘it’ moment (CNBC)
…prices for red meat are surging and demand for chicken is benefiting. Chicken’s versatile appeal and its perception as a good source of protein that’s better for you than red meat are also driving sales, RBC Capital Markets’ David Palmer said in a phone interview. “Chicken is really hot right now, and poultry is viewed as a source of protein that’s relatively less inflationary,” Palmer said. “You’re seeing even the pizza players get into chicken.”

Cohen’s Point72 Hires Scott Braunstein From JPMorgan (Bloomberg)
Braunstein, 50, joins as a money manager and will work with Anna Yaeger at the firm’s EverPoint Asset Management LLC unit in New York, according to an employee memo sent today. He spent 12 years at JPMorgan Asset Management covering healthcare stocks with a focus on biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Braunstein is the brother of JPMorgan’s vice chairman and former Chief Financial Officer Doug Braunstein.

Chris Pratt stops interview to French braid an intern’s hair (NYP)
Chris Pratt, star of the upcoming summer blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy,” took a break from his interview with “Entertainment Tonight” on Tuesday to French braid an intern’s hair. This was no random request — back in April, the “Parks and Recreation” actor posted a photo to his Instagram account of wife Anna Faris, with the caption, “This is a weird thing to brag about but I did that glorious french braid. #Baller #man #ManBraid #RealMenBraid #isitBrade? #SpellingQuestion #StillBallerTho #WhyIsItFrench??? #ICallItAFreedomBraid #GoUSA.” “You’re a leading man now, you’re a superhero, a great dad, all these manly things, but apparently you’re pretty good at French braiding?” the host asked Pratt during the interview, before inviting “ET” intern Jen onto the set for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “I like the hair, it’s very nice,” Pratt said to Jen, who admitted she’s never had a man braid her hair before. In just four minutes flat, he tied off his finished product using a scrunchie, because “an elastic could damage the hair.”

23 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (23)

  1. Posted by Guest | July 24, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    Anne Dias Griffin getting cashed out. Hope this drags out in court so we can read all the lurid details like Soros. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

  2. Posted by guest | July 24, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    I wonder whom he's been sharing is milkshakes with.

  3. Posted by Quant me maybe... | July 24, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    Is it possible that Ken was the guy who created the spreadsheet of denial and Anne the poster on Reddit?

    >Timing fits.

  4. Posted by Jose Ebbbers | July 24, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    If more men took the time out to French braid, the world would be a better place.

  5. Posted by Guest | July 24, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    Anne,

    I know how to drag this out for years. Call me.

    Patty C

  6. Posted by el guesto | July 24, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    this would make my week

  7. Posted by guest | July 24, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    "“Ken Griffin unilaterally filed a divorce petition today with no notice to either me or my client, knowing full well that she had just left for summer vacation with their three young children and would therefore be unable to respond."

    oh, it's on.

  8. Posted by gasbagole | July 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Sending spreadsheet to wife whose leaving on a trip is the kind of thing a hedgefund finance guy would do. Besides I'm sure she inly speaks excel.

  9. Posted by Kant_Quant | July 24, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Dear Ken,

    I'm leaving you for a man who doesn't experience a 50% decline in NAV at all the wrong times. Don't worry, it's not me, it's you.

    Sincerely,

    Anne Dias Simons

  10. Posted by HotKarl | July 24, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    French braid an intern's hair? It must be fucking amateur hour…I've stopped interviews to French kiss an intern's fartbox.

    - J Gundlach

  11. Posted by Gargle Balls | July 24, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Where have all the Dealbreaker heroes gone?

  12. Posted by notbathingcorp | July 24, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Right- b/c where she is going there are no phones/interweb service/faxes/mail/carrier pidgeons. Southampton is nice like that. As long as you are at The Club.

  13. Posted by dbmouseoverquant | July 24, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Mouseover for Barney pic: this is the smallest violin in the world playing for all the prop traders out there.

  14. Posted by Captain Oblivious | July 24, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Anne is probably getting stuffed by the pool boy while the kids are off at day camp. Its hard to receive e-mail when you are on the business end of a proper jackhammering.

  15. Posted by Rebecca M. | July 24, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    In just four minutes flat, he tied off his finished product using a scrunchie, because “an elastic could damage the hair.”

    …and by the fifth minute, he cummed on her supple young tits.

  16. Posted by Cake n eat it quant | July 24, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    I'd love to watch this while eating some fried oreos while having my hair french braided

  17. Posted by keng312@compuserve | July 24, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Thank you! Exactly my point! There are good reasons I'm divorcing the bitch, after all!!

  18. Posted by Guest | July 24, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    Shazzy, you don't put Baby in a corner and you don't bury Ken Griffin's divorce in the Opening Bell. Have you learned nothing?

  19. Posted by not at a hedge fund | July 24, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Public sector investors dumping hedge fund investments. So we've seen the peak of the market.

  20. Posted by chicken | July 24, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Hells yeah!

    Oh no wait; this is bad.

  21. Posted by guys from ZZ Top | July 24, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    No one pulls off self-righteousness plus corruption the way Barney does. But he still can't quite grow a beard.

  22. Posted by Parabolic | July 24, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Worst trade of his life. He is going to get f'ed. She has a Harvard MBA and ran her own hedge fund. Her looks are fading so she will definitely be out for jack. Ken spoiled her rotten (wedding in Versailles, Jasper Johns, Paul Cezzane paintings, an estate in Hawaii, expensive condo in Chicago).

  23. Posted by Major Uninformed | July 24, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    speaking from experience?