Opening Bell: 08.20.14

Argentina’s Bonds Decline on Plan to Offer Local-Law Swap (Bloomberg)
Argentina’s bonds sank to a two-month low after the government said it plans to pay foreign-currency notes locally to sidestep a U.S. court ruling that blocked payments and caused its second default in 13 years. The government will submit a bill to Congress that lets overseas debt holders swap into new dollar-denominated bonds governed by domestic law, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said in a nationwide address yesterday. Payments will be made into accounts at the central bank instead of through Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the current trustee.

Standard Chartered Said to Probe Failures on Lawsky Fine (Bloomberg)
Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) is probing why anti-money laundering controls implemented as part of a 2012 deal with New York’s banking regulator missed numerous suspicious transactions, a person with knowledge of the matter said. The so-called accountability review could lead to firings over the compliance failures that cost the bank another $300 million in fines yesterday, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is private. Standard Chartered said that it’s “begun extensive remediation efforts,” without elaborating.

Harvard Wall Streeters Buy Minor-League Dragons for $40 Million (Bloomberg)
Minor-league baseball’s Dayton Dragons have been sold to Palisades Arcadia Baseball LLC, which is led by three Harvard University friends and graduates, according to a news release announcing the transaction. The new ownership group, which is led by Nick Sakellariadis, Greg Rosenbaum and Michael Savit, paid a minor-league record $40 million for the team that had been owned by Mandalay Baseball Properties LLC. Sakellariadis recently retired after a 35-year investment banking career at Citigroup-related companies, according to the news release. Rosenbaum is president of Palisades Associates, Inc., a merchant banking and investment firm, and Savit is a minority owner of the National Basketball Association’s Memphis Grizzlies.

Islanders’ Owner Announces He Will Sell N.H.L. Team to an Investment Group (NYT)
The Islanders’ owner, Charles B. Wang, announced Tuesday that he would sell the team to Jonathan Ledecky, a former owner of a minority stake in the Washington Capitals, and Scott Malkin, a London-based investor. Wang said in a statement that he would initially sell the group led by Ledecky and Malkin a “substantial minority interest,” pending N.H.L. approval, and that Ledecky and Malkin would become majority owners of the Islanders in two years. Financial details were not announced, and Wang did not reveal how much of a stake he would retain after surrendering majority control of the team. Wang had been listening to offers for the team since at least March. One of the suitors, Andrew Barroway, a hedge fund manager, thought he had a handshake deal to buy the Islanders for $420 million. Last week, he filed suit against Wang, accusing him of reneging on the sale and raising the asking price to $548 million so that he could pursue an agreement with another buyer. Barroway is seeking $10 million in damages.

Man Gets Stuck In Highchair (HP)
Video of the bloke, identified only as Darren, has captured the attention of many. The incident reportedly took place at a hotel lobby in Cambridge, England. His attempts to escape as his friends watch, help and laugh will astound, but the topper is when he takes off his pants. “No one wants to see that,” one pal can be heard saying. Even as Darren appears to get agitated, onlookers still cannot conceal their mirth. CNN reported that friends, who put Darren there in the first place, were finally able to extricate him by “dismantling” the high chair with keys.

Uber Faces Added German Setbacks as More Cities Weigh Ban (Bloomberg)
Uber Technologies Inc., maker of the ride-hailing application that’s fighting bans by two German cities, may face additional setbacks in the country as other communities weigh blocking or restricting the service. The Munich and Dusseldorf administrations agree with Berlin and Hamburg that those offering rides via Uber’s smartphone app need a cab driver’s license because they are doing so to earn a profit, representatives for the cities said. “We’re currently focusing on the drivers whom we’ll control and fine if they transport people without a license,” Daniela Schlegel, a Munich spokeswoman, said in an interview. “But we’re also considering whether to issue a ban later.” Governments and regulators in cities around the world are restricting Uber’s business on the grounds it poses safety risks and unfairly competes with licensed taxi services. Cabbies with licenses that can cost 200,000 euros ($266,000) apiece have staged protests in European cities including London, Madrid, Paris and Berlin.

Citigroup Said to Consider Sale of Japan Consumer Bank (Bloomberg)
Citigroup Inc., the firm that earns the most international revenue of any U.S. lender, is considering selling its consumer-banking business in Japan, two people with knowledge of the matter said. The company has begun approaching Japanese firms including the three largest lenders, trust banks and regional lenders to gauge their interest, one of the people said, asking not to be named as the matter is confidential. New York-based Citigroup could start a bidding process next month, the people said.

Steve Ballmer Steps Down From Microsoft Board (WSJ)
Mr. Ballmer, fresh off his $2 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball franchise, indicated that his duties as team owner, among other interests, wouldn’t leave enough time to stay on Microsoft’s board. “I think it would be impractical for me to continue to serve on the board, and it is best for me to move off,” Mr. Ballmer said in a public letter to Mr. Nadella, who became CEO in February. “I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time.”

Bottles of Corona Extra Beer Recalled for Glass Particles (CNBC)
Constellation Brands, which imports the Mexican beer, is recalling select packages of Corona Extra in the United States because bottles may contain small particles of glass. The recall covers 12-ounce clear glass bottles in select six-pack, 12-pack and 18-pack packages containing bottles with specific production codes. A Constellation spokesman said the problem originated with a third-party company that supplies bottles to the brewery in Mexico. She said the problem of tiny glass shards in the beer was estimated to affect only 1 percent of the bottles shipped. Consumers are asked to call Constellation’s hotline for a refund if they purchased bottles with the specific production codes.

15 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (15)

  1. Posted by Weak | August 20, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    11:30 am and no one has commented on the fact that there has been the weakest wage growth in this recovery. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-20/worst-re

  2. Posted by crickets chirping | August 20, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    [tumbleweed rolls by]

  3. Posted by Guest | August 20, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    The comments section in that link makes me lose faith in humanity.

  4. Posted by Guest | August 20, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Mistake? Or a great idea for a Mexican version of Goldshlager?

  5. Posted by Guest | August 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Which is ironic, because that entire website is basically just a collection of news stories spun in a way that makes it seem like humanity is doomed.

  6. Posted by Guest | August 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Think about those comments the next time you are tipping your server. Ungrateful bastards.

  7. Posted by Dustin Shazar | August 20, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Lose faith in humanity? Guess I already have. You see I have an alter-ego. Sometimes I go by the name Danny Adams. You see Danny Adams is the best analyst on the street, but he loves to be bad. He's always telling me things that would get me thrown in juvy. Got caught masturbating behind the admin assistant. Who cares. She's just a rich preppy valley girl anyway.

  8. Posted by Le Pen | August 20, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Dude its totally normal for analyst your age to feel this way. Personally I have a hot body and girls like me, but I don't want to have sex with them. Just cuddle and lay down. Does that make me weird? Guess what we're all weird.

  9. Posted by Depressed WC | August 20, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Zero Hedge is just describing reality. The Bankers' team is up big and giving the working class a Johnny Manziel finger. What is the Bankers' solution? Maybe if you bankrolled an industry that would hire people, the working class wouldn't be so depressed.

  10. Posted by Drunk | August 20, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Schlager de Oro actually sounds pretty good right now.

  11. Posted by Guest | August 20, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    Banks hire people?

  12. Posted by Highchair quant | August 20, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    "Man" gets stuck in high chair? Hmmmm… let's look into this

  13. Posted by Guest | August 20, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    The unemployment rate is down 3.8% from it's peak, if you're keeping score at home.

  14. Posted by Guest | August 20, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    Nope. Banks hire demi-gods.

  15. Posted by InstaKill | August 21, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    "America's silent parasite – 300 million people in danger…"

    Does anyone know what is in that picture?