Opening Bell: 08.05.14

Argentina launches investigation into holdouts’ investments (Reuters)
Argentina’s markets watchdog on Monday launched an investigation into what it believes may have been unlawful speculation by holdout creditors whose litigation against the country for repayment of their defaulted bonds pushed it into a new default last week. The government also reiterated its fierce criticism of the mediator in debt talks with the holdout hedge funds for being “biased” and a “spokesman of the vulture funds”…The head of Argentina’s Securities Commission Alejandro Vanoli said it had asked its U.S. counterpart for information on trade of Argentina’s sovereign debt and credit default swaps (CDS), derivatives used to insure against default.

AIG Posts Rise in Profit, Settles Crisis-Era Suit (WSJ)
Outgoing American International Group Inc. Chief Executive Robert Benmosche left parting gifts for his successor, delivering strong earnings and settling a large piece of crisis-era litigation. In the last earnings report overseen by Mr. Benmosche, the New York-based insurer on Monday posted a 13% jump in second-quarter profit, aided by solid results in its core operations and a gain from the last of a series of divestitures prompted by its 2008 government bailout. Separately, AIG agreed to pay $960 million to settle claims that it misled investors about its financial health from 2006 to 2008, in one of the largest settlements of investor litigation stemming from the financial crisis.

Golf Resorts Change Course to Attract Younger Generation (NYT)
“Meeting people my own age, they end up being surprised that I golf,” said T. C. Green, a New York City business analyst who organizes golf outings for young professionals. Mr. Green, 31, said participants had told him they were glad to find a group of like-minded people their own age. “I get that all the time,” he said. “Now people have a venue to meet other people who golf.” Mr. Green acknowledged that he was in the minority, though. “I’ve been looking for different ways to get people to come out,” he said. Resorts are pondering that question, too, making changes that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago, adding speakers to golf carts and Wi-Fi access on the course, building high-tech training centers and miniature golf putting courses, and peppering corporate golf events with tangentially related activities like using golf clubs to hit marshmallows or throwing Frisbees around the course.

Credit Agricole Net Falls 98% on Banco Espirito Santo (Bloomberg)
Net income fell 98 percent to 17 million euros ($23 million) from 696 million euros a year earlier, France’s third-biggest bank said in a statement. Ignoring the 708 million euros in costs related to its 14.6 percent Banco Espirito Santo stake and some one-time charges, profit rose to 1 billion euros.

Murdoch’s Fox expected to push for Time Warner deal on Wednesday (Reuters)
Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox is expected to make an aggressive case for merging with Time Warner during its quarterly earnings call on Wednesday, though people familiar with the company’s plans have said it would not use that forum to raise its bid…Though Fox is expected to raise its offer it will not rise beyond the range of $90 to $95 per share, a person familiar with Fox told Reuters on July 25. The timing of another offer is unclear. Some analysts have said that an even higher bid would be needed to win over Time Warner management and shareholders.

Gator Knocks On Florida Couple’s Door (HP)
A Coral Springs, Florida, couple were perplexed when they heard a knock on their door early Thursday morning. But their confusion soon turned to shock when they found a 9-foot alligator camped out on their doorstep. “It was nuts, I couldn’t believe it,” resident Luann Alonso said, according to NBC Miami. “I thought it was not real.” Her husband, Jorge, heard a racket outside and thought it was a raccoon. He turned the porch lights on to scope out the scene and saw the huge gator. “As soon as I turned the light on, I saw that big gator right in front of the door,” Alonso told WFOR. “The tail was facing the front window and his body was against the door and we couldn’t get out.” Alonso, who usually walks the family dog early in the morning, said he’s lucky he didn’t stumble across the animal. The couple called police, who had a trapper get rid of the gator. The 9-foot reptile is considered a nuisance and will not be returned to the wild, according to CBS Miami.

Exclusive Google ‘Camp’ Draws Elite to Sicilian Resort (Dealbook)
Google is sponsoring an elite conference this week at a golf resort in Sicily, with a guest list of chief executives, investors and celebrities, all of whom were invited to bring their families. On the agenda are high-minded discussions of global issues — along with relaxation by the Mediterranean Sea. Call it the Davos of the summer. Like the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland — a rarefied annual gathering at a snowy ski resort — the Google conference projects an aura of exclusivity. Its existence has not previously been disclosed. It is called, simply, the Camp. A spokesman for Google declined to comment, and Google is not publicizing anything about it online. Among the attendees is Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, who is speaking on a panel about the future of Europe. Also on the list is Anshu Jain, a co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank, and Ana Patricia Botín, the head of the British business of the Spanish banking giant Santander.

Swiss Real Estate Market Inches Closer to Bubble, UBS Says (Bloomberg)
The UBS Swiss Real Estate Bubble Index rose to 1.24 points in the three months to end June from 1.22 points, according to a statement from UBS AG today. A reading above 2 indicates a bubble. “Risks for the Swiss economy have thus remained virtually constant at a high level for four quarters,” Matthias Holzhey and Claudio Saputelli at UBS in Zurich said in a statement.

LinkedIn Settles Over Wage Violations (WSJ)
LinkedIn Corp said Monday it paid nearly $6 million in back wages and damages to 359 current and former employees who the U.S. Labor Department says weren’t properly paid for overtime worked between February 2012 and February 2014. LinkedIn also agreed to inform managers that overtime work must be recorded and paid for, and that they shouldn’t retaliate against employees who raise concerns about workplace issues.

Wall Street banks take heart from leveraged loan exams (Reuters)
Wall Street banks have found a U.S. review of their junk-rated loans to have yielded similar results to last year, easing some concern among bankers about a crackdown on one of their most lucrative businesses. The Office of the Comptroller of Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, in an annual process called the Shared National Credit (SNC) review, examined bank portfolios for compliance with guidelines on leveraged loans that limit how much debt a company can take on. Contrary to some bankers’ expectations that excessive violations would be discovered, the SNC review’s findings are comparable to last year’s, according to banking sources. The sources didn’t provide details on the review’s findings.

Police rescue naked masturbating man who fell into Willamette River (OL)
A naked, intoxicated man masturbating in public view along the Willamette River required an emergency rescue on Saturday when he fell into the water. Oregon City Police said officers spotted the man on a cliff bank near the Oregon City/West Linn Arch bridge around 2:17 p.m. Officers tried to talk with the man, who was about 75 feet below them, but he was apparently under the influence of drugs, police said. Officers soon requested help from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit. When sheriff’s deputies and police in a boat made contact with the man, he was drifting in and out of consciousness and soon fell into the river.

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

  1. Posted by mskakel | August 5, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    really, nothing beats a good tree wank…

  2. Posted by Guest | August 5, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    Fell into the river? Rookie…

    - J Gunds

  3. Posted by ?guest? | August 5, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    Did we just go back in time by a month? It's August…WAKE UP

  4. Posted by Grunting Guest | August 5, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Deep grunting noises……

  5. Posted by guest | August 5, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Ignore my simple mindedness, but frisbee golf on an actual golf course would be fun

  6. Posted by Guest | August 5, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    CFA Summer Camp > "Davos of the Summer"

  7. Posted by Gator Gasbag | August 5, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Shazar is considered a nuisance and it will be returned to the wild.

  8. Posted by Lil CFA | August 5, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    uhhhhhhh skeeet skeeeeet skeeeeeeeet!

  9. Posted by mskakel | August 5, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Hey, at least someone recognizes the reference…

  10. Posted by Guest | August 5, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    I'll take "Institutions dependent on the largesse of elderly white people" for $200

    What are: golf courses and the GOP

  11. Posted by Guest | August 5, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Not inaccurate, just not funny.

  12. Posted by Guest | August 5, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    Wouldn't disc golf take forever to play on a normal length golf course (400 yard par 4's, 500+ yard par 5's)?