Opening Bell: 09.04.14

Trader Brings NFL Algorithms Back to Defend Betting Title (Bloomberg)
By day, David Frohardt-Lane puts his math skills to use as an algorithmic trader for 3Red Group in Chicago. Away from work, he uses them to cash in on the National Football League. Frohardt-Lane is seeking a repeat title in the Las Vegas Hotel SuperBook’s SuperContest, a season-long NFL betting competition that drew about 1,200 entrants this season. The winner earns more than $600,000, and the total prize pool approaches $2 million. The tournament begins with the NFL opener tonight, when the Green Bay Packers visit the champion Seattle Seahawks. “I enjoy my job quite a bit, but nothing compares to an unexpected breakaway touchdown just when you’ve given up on a game,” Frohardt-Lane said in a telephone interview. “For that rush, nothing compares to sports gambling.”

Apple Celebrity Nude-Photo Hack Shows Risk in Security Questions (Bloomberg)
Apple yesterday said that a spate of nude photos from actresses including Jennifer Lawrence that were recently posted online were individually stolen from Apple accounts. The celebrity accounts were “compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that is all too common on the Internet,” the Cupertino, California-based company said in a statement. The incident underscores how techniques adopted by companies to step up security are far from foolproof, exposing a risk for everyday Internet users. As people post more sensitive information to social networks, it has become easier for criminals to obtain the answers to security questions. That means consumers can rarely rely on just one set of defenses and have to add more layers, even if it makes online accounts less convenient. That’s especially true for famous people, who have long been ripe hacking targets because security questions protecting their online accounts from intruders are trivial to answer. Based on the public information available about them, basic questions such as where somebody went to high school or what their birthday is can be easily figured out — and don’t end up being much of a security barrier.

Investment Technology Group to Launch Dark Pool for Bond Trading (WSJ)
The New York-based brokerage and technology firm said Wednesday that it is planning to launch a trading venue known as a dark pool, a private platform in which buyers and sellers remain anonymous. While most bond trading takes place over the telephone between dealer banks and customers, ITG and a host of others are trying to tap into increasing demand from fixed-income investors to trade more cheaply and through electronic networks. The credit market has, until recently, resisted the incursion of fully electronic trading more so than markets for currencies, stocks and some derivatives. Similar efforts by firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and BlackRock Inc. have faltered, but ITG is betting it can leverage its track record in stock trading and technology to make inroads into credit markets. One of its chief rivals, Liquidnet Holdings Inc., announced in March it would open its own credit-trading network in the fall.

Regulators Propose Rule to Reduce Risk of Derivatives (Dealbook)
The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, as well as three other agencies, proposed a rule that would apply to over-the-counter derivatives, the financial instruments that banks and other financial entities use to speculate or hedge their risks. American banks have nearly $280 trillion of derivatives on their books, and they earn some of their biggest profits from trading in them. But the 2008 crisis revealed how flaws in the market had allowed for dangerous buildups of risk at large Wall Street firms and worsened the run on the banking system. Since then, regulators have been trying to make the derivatives market less risky. The rule proposed on Wednesday focuses on margin payments, which traders in derivatives make to each other to protect against the risk that they don’t get paid what they are owed. Such margin payments add discipline to a high-octane trading activity and make it more likely that derivatives traders can bear losses if one large entity collapses. But the industry, seeking to minimize its costs, has not applied margin requirements evenly across the system. The proposed rule aims to change that.

Police: Roommate stabbed birthday boy for loud threesome (MSA)
Antonio Flores Narcisso, 42, was arrested Tuesday and charged with burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit felony force, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. On May 8, Narcisso allegedly kicked down his roommate’s door while the roommate was having sex with two women and told them they were being too loud, according to the affidavit. When the roommate told Narcisso to get out, Narcisso allegedly grabbed a knife from the kitchen and stabbed the roommate a number of times in the head, back and hands, the affidavit states. The roommate, who turned 35 that day, was taken to University Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to the affidavit.

Michael Bloomberg Returning to Run Bloomberg LP (WSJ)
Less than a year after leaving office as mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg will return as head of Bloomberg LP, the financial data and media firm he founded and still controls, the company announced Wednesday. Mr. Bloomberg, 72 years old, will take charge at the end of the year, when Daniel Doctoroff, who has been chief executive since 2008, will step aside, the company said. In a statement, Mr. Bloomberg said he hadn’t intended to return to Bloomberg LP after his mayoral stint was completed. “However, the more time I spent reacquainting myself with the company, the more exciting and interesting I found it—in large part, due to Dan’s efforts. I have gotten very involved in the company again and that led to Dan coming to me recently to say he thought it would be best for him to turn the leadership of the company back to me.”

Beige Book: U.S. Economic Outlook Brightens During Summer (WSJ)
The U.S. continued its run of solid-if-unremarkable growth during the summer, the Federal Reserve found in its latest survey of regional conditions that offered little to suggest the economy was either decelerating or overheating. While Wednesday’s report said more employers are voicing concerns about shortages of certain skilled workers, there were few signs of broad-based wage growth. The Labor Department is set to report job figures for August on Friday; net job growth has exceeded 200,000 for six straight months through July. “Businesses still mentioned difficulties in finding qualified workers, which seem to be both intensifying and broadening across skills and occupations,” the Atlanta Fed reported, pointing to shortages in trucking, engineering, construction and information-technology sectors.

Trader Who Scored $100 Million Payday Bets Shale Is Dud (Bloomberg)
Hall is going all in on a bet that the shale-oil boom will play out far sooner than many analysts expect, resulting in a steady increase in prices to as much as $150 a barrel in five years or less. Investing ever-larger sums of his own money, he’s buying contracts for so-called long-dated oil, to be delivered as far out as 2019, according to interviews with two dozen current and former employees and advisers who are familiar with Hall’s trading but aren’t authorized to speak on the record. To attract buyers, the sellers of these long-dated contracts — typically shale companies that have financed the boom with mounds of debt — need to offer them at a discount to existing prices.

Trump Taj Mahal may be headed for bankruptcy (NYP)
The Trump Taj Mahal, the 24-year-old boardwalk casino, has recently broken some of its loan covenants and without a quick deal with its creditors could be headed for a Chapter 11 reorganization within days, The Post has learned. So far, talks between Trump Entertainment Resorts — which owns the Taj and its neighbor, the soon-to-close Trump Plaza — and its creditors have not found an out-of-court solution, sources said. There was hope around the negotiation table that Carl Icahn, who owns much of the Trump Entertainment debt, would agree to convert that debt into equity and keep the 2,248-room hotel-casino out of Chapter 11. That hope now appears to have faded.

‘Mickey Mouse’ And Other Costumed Characters Beat Motorist In Bizarre Road Rage Incident (HP)
The clip, caught on camera in Russia over the weekend, shows a motorist stopping a vehicle with which he’s had some kind of problem. But as people dressed as Mickey Mouse, Spongebob Squarepants, Scrat from “Ice Age” and some kind of spotted creature jump out and start beating him, he was probably wishing he had just stayed home and watched cartoons. Australia’s 9News reports that the title of the video translates into “severe Chelyabinsk Disney,” implying that the incident took place in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. It should be noted, however, that while Mickey Mouse is a Disney character, neither Spongebob nor Scrat are.

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Comments (7)

  1. Posted by Fewdollarsmore | September 4, 2014 at 7:31 AM

    It should be noted, however, that while Bloomberg is a protected species, neither Bald Eagle nor Daniel Doctoroff are.

  2. Posted by Guest | September 4, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    It's a mystery to me why people don't have the hypothetical "If I'm having a threesome on my birthday and it gets a little loud, how would that make you feel?" chat BEFORE they become roommates.

  3. Posted by Fewdollarsmore | September 4, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    The Noise-Nazi must have misunderstood when the birthday boy asked him to take a stab at it.

  4. Posted by Roomate | September 4, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    It was worth it.

  5. Posted by Capt. Renault | September 4, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    I'm shocked, shocked to hear that a Trump venture would file BK!

  6. Posted by Science | September 4, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    If you are over the age of 34 and have roommates that aren't your significant other or children there is a 94% chance you will stab or be stabbed by said roommate.

  7. Posted by J Shazar | September 4, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    So you're saying I have a chance?