Opening Bell: 07.30.14

Argentine Bond Standoff Puts U.S. Judge in Focus (WSJ)
As Argentina hurtles toward a second default in 13 years, the local press has lit upon a convenient villain: 83-year-old U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa. Cartoons in Argentine newspapers have shown the judge with a vulture perched behind him, accusing him of cozying up to the bondholders that Argentine government officials call “vulture funds.” A journalist appearing on Argentine television said Judge Griesa is “not right in the head.” A newspaper ad placed by the Argentine government blamed the judge, who has presided over the government’s disputes with bondholders for more than a decade, for pushing the country toward default. Judge Griesa is squarely in the spotlight as Argentina faces a Wednesday deadline for more than $500 million in debt payments. Argentina is seen as unlikely to make the payments, bringing to a head a standoff with holdout hedge funds that have refused the country’s two debt-restructuring offers over the past decade. At the center of the dispute is Judge Griesa’s 2012 ruling that Argentina isn’t allowed to pay its restructured bondholders until it pays the holdouts—a decision that legal analysts call unprecedented and that the Argentine government contends puts it in a costly legal bind. A default could keep Argentina out of international credit markets and dent a struggling economy.

As Talks Falter, Bond Default by Argentina Appears Likely (Dealbook)
On Tuesday, a group of investors of Argentina’s euro-denominated exchange bonds urged the judge to issue an emergency stay on his ruling. But this is unlikely to be granted unless the holdouts request it, analysts said, or the court-appointed mediator, Daniel Pollack, recommends it…last week, Judge Griesa ordered the Argentine delegation and the holdouts to meet with Mr. Pollack and talk “continuously” until an agreement was reached. The response from Argentina was tepid; the delegation met twice with Mr. Pollack last week before returning home to Buenos Aires for the weekend to consult with the government. When a group of lawyers returned to Mr. Pollack’s offices on Tuesday, they arrived more than 15 minutes late. And despite Mr. Pollack’s insistence that they engage in “face-to-face conversations with the bondholders,” as of Tuesday evening, the Argentines had yet to sit down across the table from the holdouts.

Schneiderman probes Credit Suisse’s ‘dark pool’ (NYP)
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched an investigation into whether Swiss bank giant Credit Suisse misled investors about its “dark pool” trading platform, The Post has learned. The probe comes a month after Schneiderman sued Barclays for allegedly lying about the presence of predatory traders in its dark pool. The British bank denied wrongdoing and has asked a judge to dismiss the suit. Regulators are taking a closer look at dark pools — lightly regulated alternative trading systems — because of concerns that high-frequency traders are leveraging them to their advantage. Credit Suisse is the operator of the largest bank dark pool in the US, accounting for about 14 percent of all trades, according to data from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Icahn cuts stake in Family Dollar (Reuters)
Activist investor Carl Icahn cut his stake in Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO.N), a day after the company agreed to be bought by rival discount chain Dollar Tree Inc (DLTR.O) for $8.5 billion. Icahn said he was “determined” to dispose part of his stake rather than wait for the deal to close or for higher offers to emerge. Icahn, who had threatened a proxy war against the struggling discount chain if it did not put itself up for sale, said on Monday there were “a handful of potential buyers” who could be a better fit to buy Family Dollar.

Wall Street Bids Farewell to Alan Greenberg, Head of Bear Stearns (Dealbook)
The service began on time at 11 a.m. and lasted just about an hour, honoring the no-nonsense style of Mr. Greenberg, who was known as Ace. The mourners recalled his idiosyncratic business advice, his love of big-game hunting and his magic tricks. A representative of the Society of American Magicians, as is customary, snapped Mr. Greenberg’s magic wand in two.

Man Lied About Pen!s Amputation During Circumcision: Doctors’ Lawyer (AP)
An attorney for two Alabama doctors accused in a lawsuit of amputating a man’s penis in what was supposed to have been a routine circumcision filed a motion Tuesday seeking to dismiss the claims. Attorney Mike Florie says his clients, Dr. Michael Bivins and Dr. Alan Aikens, never performed a circumcision on Johnny Lee Banks Jr. that involved the removal of tissue or the amputation of the man’s penis. He said the suit’s claims are false. Banks’ attorney, John Graves, filed the lawsuit on July 22, accusing the doctors and their medical groups of malpractice, negligence and other wrongdoing. It seeks an unspecified amount of money. Graves says he stands firmly by the allegations but would not comment on specifics of the case. “I don’t file frivolous lawsuits,” he said.

Europe’s investment banks bounce back (FT)
After a long period in which they lost market share to their US rivals in the crucial business of debt sales and trading, they are finally regaining some ground. Both Deutsche Bank and UBS published results on Tuesday that showed an outperformance in the business of trading debt and currency instruments. However, what looks like a robust showing compared with their US rivals is not actually a positive performance in absolute terms. Deutsche just managed to keep its revenues in fixed income and currencies steady at €1.8bn compared with a year ago, while Swiss rival UBS reported a drop of 2 per cent to SFr355m – excluding a one-off gain from an asset sale – in its foreign exchange, rates and credit unit. These numbers compare with an average fall in fixed income, currencies and commodities of 9 per cent across the biggest US banks. This was still much better than expected after analysts had expected steep declines in FICC trading.

Twitter Tops Quarterly Estimates for Sales, User Growth (Bloomberg)
The microblogging company’s active membership in the quarter reached 271 million, with year-over-year growth at 24 percent, compared with 25 percent in the prior period, Twitter said in a statement today. That exceeded analysts’ projections of 267 million monthly active users for the quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales more than doubled to $312.2 million, exceeding the $282.8 million average estimate.

HSBC, ABN Sue Metals Trader Detained Over Qingdao Probe (Bloomberg)
Chen, who has been detained in China according to Singapore’s foreign ministry, is the focus of a Chinese probe into alleged fraud at Qingdao port, two bankers assisting with the investigation said last month. Chinese banks have about 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) exposure to Chen’s companies, two China government officials said July 16.

Oklahoma Woman Calls Cops To Complain About Purity Of Her Meth (HP)
Police often have to ferret out illegal drug users. But a 54-year-old Oklahoma woman reportedly made it easy for the law. She allegedly called the cops to complain that she thought her methamphetamine was laced. Lynette Rae Sampson invited the officer over, showed him the goods and got arrested, despite her uncommon hospitality. “I’m glad you came,” she allegedly told the policeman when he arrived.

18 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (18)

  1. Posted by Ralf Nadir | July 30, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    Maybe she should have called the Better Business Bureau about her meth

  2. Posted by Guest | July 30, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    There are a couple more Wall Street guys who need their wands snapped in two.

  3. Posted by pokey gasbagarino | July 30, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    You can say Penis here. It's not a problem.

  4. Posted by Short, But Long | July 30, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    I don't think he will be 'standing firmly' behind anything anytime soon.. from what I can tell.

  5. Posted by Tilton | July 30, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    PENIS! PENIS EVERYWHERE!

  6. Posted by Guest | July 30, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    <sub><sub><sub><sub>penis?</sub></sub></sub></sub>

    – Guy who is not quite sure about that

  7. Posted by Guest | July 30, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Well I guess I should have consulted with the back office before I tried any fancy html here.

  8. Posted by Dr_Rosenrose | July 30, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    It's true, your honor. This man has no dick.

  9. Posted by KingCo | July 30, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    From the AP Stylebook:

    "When writing about serial killers or men who lose their junk in unfortunate circumstances, be sure to use their full name. If they do not have a middle name, please select one of the following: a) Ray b) Lee c) Joe d) Bob"

  10. Posted by guest | July 30, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    I'll take Penis Mightier than a Sword for $500 Trebek.

    Um, that's Pen is Mightier than a Sword Mr. Connery.

  11. Posted by Guest | July 30, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    for high quality meth at everyday prices, go to Walmart.

  12. Posted by Sandy Gasparino | July 30, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    Hey guys, how's everyone's vagina today?

  13. Posted by London Banker | July 30, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Sandy!

  14. Posted by Narcissus Bellicose | July 30, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    rip ace

  15. Posted by The 90s Calling | July 30, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    Comments section today looks like the Masters leaderboard…

  16. Posted by Guest | July 30, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Most of the commentariat is busy trolling Metro North or the LIRR with a bag of doritos and some rancid ranch dressing.

  17. Posted by Guesteban | July 30, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Seems like it should be easy to get to the base of his allegations before the case comes to head. If it's truly a cock-and-bull story, then his lawyer is shafted and can expect to receive a subpoena in that jurisdiction.

  18. Posted by High School Kid | July 30, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    Hahahaha get it! It's a play on words! Ah thats hilarious!