Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 10.30.14

The show must go on.

The show must go on.

$1.5 Million Sent in Error to Money Manager (Both Are Missing) (Dealbook)
Credit Suisse says it wired a total of $1.5 million in three transactions to the hedge fund’s bank account on one day in January. Two weeks later, according to its lawsuit, the bank realized it had made a mistake: At the time of the wire transfers, the hedge fund, Galbraith Capital Investment Management, was winding down operations and it had no cash left in its account with Credit Suisse. The bank asked for its money back. It is still waiting. The bank sued Galbraith Capital and its manager, Joseph B. Galbraith, seeking to recover the money. Credit Suisse filed a motion in a New York State court in August seeking a default judgment against Mr. Galbraith and the hedge fund. At a hearing this month, a New York State judge orally granted a judgment against the hedge fund but not against Mr. Galbraith, a person briefed on the matter said. Mr. Galbraith has yet to file a legal response in the case or be personally served with court papers. So now Credit Suisse is left to play a different game: Where in the world is Joseph B. Galbraith? People who know Mr. Galbraith, 42, who renounced his United States citizenship in 2011, say they think he is living with his second wife in Europe, possibly in Monaco. Reached by a reporter recently via email, Mr. Galbraith said he had not been aware of the Credit Suisse lawsuit. In an email, he said the accusations against him were “ridiculous, bordering on laughable” and part of an effort to malign and slander his character.

Investor Activism, Already Robust, Expected to Rise in Next Year (Dealbook)
…virtually all the senior corporate executives and activist hedge fund managers surveyed by the law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel and the data provider Mergermarket said they believed that activism would rise over the next 12 months. More than half said the increase would be “substantial.” The results, to be released at an activism conference hosted by Schulte Roth on Wednesday, signal the undiminished confidence in the power of outspoken dissident investors. Over the last year alone, activist shareholders have prompted management changes at Darden Restaurants, helped spur breakups at a slew of companies, and gained seats on numerous corporate boards. Recent data suggests that the success of activism campaigns has more than doubled over the last decade, to more than 70 percent.

Bad Bets Rock Fortress’s Macro Fund (WSJ)
The $3 billion Fortress Macro Fund, which Mr. Novogratz launched in 2002, has lost more than 9% so far this year, with half of that drop coming this month. It is the latest setback for macro funds, which seek to anticipate global economic shifts in various markets. The Fortress loss is worse than most others and stands out following years of market-beating performance. The culprit? A series of bad bets against U.S. government bonds and the Japanese yen, along with a wrong-way wager on Brazil, investors say.

Pimco Brings Back Two Former Executives (WSJ, earlier)
The food truck, called Monsieur Madame, according to its Facebook page, will continue operating, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Barclays bribed Saudi royalty: lawsuit (NYP)
Barclays bribed a member of the Saudi royal family and ignored a defaulted lease payment from the country in order to secure a rare banking license inside Saudi Arabia, a lawsuit against the bank alleges. The giant UK bank should have gone after the lease payment but chose not to because it didn’t want to anger the government and risk losing the lucrative business, according to the lawsuit, filed by a Saudi real estate company in Manhattan state court. “Barclays knew that any such license would be extremely lucrative and that its litigations against the Saudi government made obtaining such a license impossible,” according to the suit. The real estate company, Jadawel International, also claims Barclays paid millions in a “thinly disguised bribe” to a company owned by a Saudi prince for advisory services. Barclays strongly denied the accusations.

Suspected meth dealer turned in by own dog while hiding behind Alabama home: police (NYDN)
The suspected meth head managed to run out the backdoor and down a 25-foot ravine where officers temporarily managed to lose him. It was at that moment they were greeted by Henderson’s pit bull-husky mix who came out of the woods where Henderson had fled. “The dog, later identified as Bo, looked at one of the investigators and the investigator pointed at Henderson and said go get him. Bo without hesitation went down the ravine trailed by two Drug Enforcement Investigators,” the police department said in a release. While the two investigators weren’t immediately successful, Bo apparently was. Upon exiting the brush Bo tipped them off to some tall grass he was now hiding in, all by the swoosh of his tail. There with him they found Henderson lying flat on the ground. “Bo was rewarded with dog biscuits from our K-9 Sergeant,” the Prattville Police Department said. Read more »

Opening Bell: 10.29.14

Mark Zuckerberg & CoFacebook Vows Aggressive Spending (WSJ)
On a conference call with analysts, finance chief David Wehner said he expects Facebook to incur higher expenses than normal in the quarters to come, in the wake of big investments in both engineering talent and acquisitions. He expects costs to rise as much as 75% for the year. Mr. Wehner and other Facebook executives urged analysts and investors to look further into the future, and not just at the financial results before them. Mr. Zuckerberg kicked off the call by stressing the company’s long-term goals stretch more than a decade into the future and require “investing aggressively.”

Deutsche Bank Swings to Third-Quarter Loss (WSJ)
Deutsche Bank AG swung to a net loss in the third quarter after the lender boosted its reserves to cover fines from pending litigation. Germany’s largest bank on Wednesday reported a net loss of €94 million ($119.7 million) for the quarter, compared with a net profit of €41 million in the same period last year. The loss was expected after the bank said last week that it would book €894 million in additional litigation reserves in the quarter, which was more than analysts had expected. The lender has now set aside €3 billion to cover fines from pending investigations.

Pimco Replaced by BlackRock at $6 Billion Prudential Fund (Bloomberg)
Pacific Investment Management Co., seeking to stem redemptions after its co-founder Bill Gross left unexpectedly, was dropped as manager of a $6.16 billion strategy offered by a unit of Prudential Financial Inc. Pimco, based in Newport Beach, California, will be replaced as subadviser of the AST Pimco Total Return Bond Portfolio by BlackRock Inc. and Loomis Sayles & Co., according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. Pimco will also be dropped as manager of the U.S. fixed-income portion of the AST Advanced Strategies Portfolio, which had $8.75 billion in assets as of Sept. 30.

Translation Adds Complexity to European Central Bank’s Supervisory Role (WSJ)
The European Central Bank’s impending role as supervisor of the eurozone’s largest banks is reviving an issue that has long complicated its activities: the language in which it does business. About a quarter of the 120 banks the ECB will start supervising in November have chosen their national language, rather than English, for written correspondence with their new regulators. The ECB’s draft framework text for supervision made it clear it wanted banks to use English, its working language since its creation in 1998. But the ECB can’t insist on that provision because European law allows citizens to contact European institutions in any of the European Union’s 24 official languages. After negative feedback from banks, the final version of the regulation lost the reference to seeking an explicit agreement to use English.

Split MSG business would be a garden of delight for investors (NYP)
MSG, which is exploring a possible separation into two publicly traded entities — one for its Knicks, Rangers and MSG Network and the other for the venues — could be worth as much at $9.7 billion after the separation, the Wall Street pros said.

How a $1,000-an-hour escort rose to the top 1% of her field by playing the ‘perfect woman’ for Wall Street (DM)
Svetlana Z, as she refers to herself, moved to New York from Chelyabinsk, Russia, when she was 19 years old and had $300 to her name. Lured by the promise of quick money, she entered the escort industry and made a small fortune by catering to investment bankers, 90per cent of them married. ‘Mostly, I offered understanding,’ she wrote for Medium. ‘The truth is, even for guys who hire me for three or four hours, the sex usually only takes about 15 minutes.’ Not bad for $1,000 an hour. Svetlana – who describes herself as 5ft 7in, 119lbs, with long legs, hazel eyes, full lips and a slender figure – remarks that when it did come to sex, however short-lived, massaging her client’s ego was key.
Around 98per cent of men wanted to go down on her, and 80per cent of them would ask if she had come, or insist she had multiple orgasms before they did. This wasn’t about her pleasure, of course, it was their need to ‘prove themselves.’
Svetlana faked orgasms with relative ease and presumably on nearly every occasion. Her mind, she says, was always in business mode. She refers to one instance in which a client asked to pour honey all over her before they had sex. She agreed – but only after he agreed to pay triple her hourly rate – and she spent the whole rampant session mulling over cleaning the sheets and re-doing her hair and make-up…Svetlana was highly tactful when it came to demanding the best. Rather than appear spoiled in her requests to fly first class while travelling with clients, she would weave silky allusions into the conversation. For example, she would claim that her ‘really long legs’ would get cramped in coach, which would hinder her ‘flexibility’ and thus affect her ‘d***y-style’ performance…And perhaps in part to her dogged attention to detail and her carefully considered approach, she managed to avoid any dangerous or traumatic experiences.When she once caught a client attempting to videotape them having sex on the sly, she simply grabbed his phone, erased the footage, and told him to ‘get the hell out’ of her apartment. Another threatened to call the cops on her if she didn’t give him free sex, so she threatened to post his phone number to a gay escort listing…Then there was the client who had sex with her for a full hour straight, all the while making ‘woo woo woo’ train noises. Aside from these mentions, life as a high-class escort appears to have suited Svetlana. Couples were her favorite sorts of clients, and she got to charge double the fee for the same amount – often less – of work. ‘That’s the cool thing about capitalism,’ she points out.
Read more »

Opening Bell: 10.28.14

Carl BovardUBS Rises as Investors Bet Legal Challenges May Ease (Bloomberg)
UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, rose in Zurich trading after the bank set aside 1.84 billion Swiss francs ($1.94 billion) for litigation provisions, easing investor concern about the future cost of legal challenges. “We are making progress,” Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti said in a Bloomberg Television interview as the bank posted a 32 percent jump in third-quarter profit. “We are today in a position to have a better estimate of how to address those issues. In some cases we may be able to reach conclusions in the foreseeable future.” [...] Net income rose to 762 million francs in the quarter from 577 million francs a year earlier helped by a net tax gain of 1.32 billion francs. While the securities unit had a pretax loss because it booked the bulk of the legal charges, all other businesses, including the wealth-management unit, posted earnings that met or exceeded analyst forecasts.

CIT Profit Rises on Tax Benefit as Assets Grow (WSJ)
The company said CIT Bank’s total assets grew to $20.3 billion as of Sept. 30 from $18.3 billion at the end of June, reflecting its acquisition of Direct Capital as well as new business generation. Its new business volume reached $2.2 billion, up 34% from a year earlier. Loans were $14.7 billion, compared with $10.9 billion a year ago. For the overall firm, assets from continuing operations grew to $46.5 billion as of the end of the third quarter from $42.3 billion a year ago. Overall, CIT posted a profit of $514.9 million, or $2.76 a share, up from $199.6 million, or 99 cents a share, a year earlier. The most recent period included a tax benefit equal to $2.01 a share, the company said.

Phil Falcone isn’t giving up on LightSquared (NYP)
Lawyers for the investor argued in Manhattan Bankruptcy Court on Monday that LightSquared LP is worth more than the $2.5 billion owed to creditors — and therefore Falcone, as majority owner of the equity in LightSquared Inc., its parent, is entitled to receive any excess cash from the sale of its assets. The move by Falcone is a stark turnaround from his position in August — when he said he was seeking a “divorce” from the company. But the latest move shows Falcone is still trying to profit from the company. In addition to the equity, LightSquared Inc., is also part owner of a lease to make telecom’s spectrum work, according to a person familiar with the lease. Falcone tipped the world to his fighting spirit at a Minnesota conference last week. “I will continue to fight for LightSquared,” Falcone said at the Duluth conference, close to where he grew up. “We’re fighting, and will continue to fight until we win, which I know we’ll do,” he said.

Italy’s Monte Paschi discussing capital options with government (Reuters)
Italy’s Treasury has not ruled out extending repayment deadlines on hundreds of millions of euros in state aid to help troubled lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena as it struggles to raise fresh capital, a person close to the matter said on Tuesday. Officials, who declined to be cited by name, said Monte dei Paschi Chairman Alessandro Profumo and Chief Executive Fabrizio Viola had held meetings in the Economy Ministry on Monday to seek options for the bank, after it failed European Central Bank stress tests. Monte dei Paschi, Italy’s third-largest bank, was left badly exposed by the ECB’s health check of 130 European banks, needing to raise 2.1 billion euros ($2.7 billion) to meet capital thresholds designed to ensure the solidity of the financial system.

Meet the half-blind sanctuary owner who hand feeds his 14 big cats – including a 700lb Siberian tiger – and lets them cuddle in his bed (DM)
He has been bitten on the nose by a leopard and had his shoulder separated after wrestling with a full-grown Bengal tiger. But Carl Bovard, who is blind in one eye, believes living with 14 big cats including two lions, six tigers and a desert lynx, is a risk worth taking to raise awareness about endangered species. They all spend time living in his Florida home before moving into the outside enclosure and are seen clambering over the pool table and cuddling up in his bed. After an accident left him blind around 13 years ago, Mr Bovard realised the main thing he missed was seeing animals – so when he regained sight in one eye he adopted his first two tiger cubs…His biggest tiger is a Siberian named Samson – he weighs more than 700lbs and is over nine and a half feet tall when he stands on his back legs. Despite the fact that Samson could tear him in two with one swipe of his massive paw Carl still carries his food right to him. He added: ‘Some people use a guillotine system to feed their tigers but I walk the food right in. Read more »

Write-Offs: 10.24.14

$$$ About 25 Eurozone Banks to Fail ECB Stress Tests [WSJ]

$$$ Fed’s $4 Trillion Holdings to Boost Growth Beyond End of QE [Bloomberg]

$$$ Two bullet-proof doors and one small sign are the only clues that this is the control center of a financier who’s helped turn some of Vladimir Putin’s closest allies into multibillionaires. For a man who honed his trade in the hushed back rooms of Vienna and Zurich during the Cold War and who is now, as friends say, the most secretive banker in a country run by a former spy, this is how it should be. [Bloomberg]

$$$ Deutsche Bank braces for $1.3 billion in U.S., UK Libor fines: sources [Reuters]

$$$ Fisherman: ‘Tunicorn’ tuna had horn on its head [UPI] Read more »

Opening Bell: 10.24.14

warren buffett paddleAirbnb valued at $13B ahead of staff stock sale (FT)
Airbnb’s valuation is set to rise to $13 billion, up from $10 billion earlier this year, as it prepares an employee stock sale, according to people familiar with its plans. The valuation would make the accommodation site second only to Uber in the rankings of Silicon Valley’s most valuable private companies, at a time when some venture capitalists are becoming concerned about the rate at which start-ups are spending capital. Airbnb, which overhauled the design of its site and apps this summer, is without a chief financial officer after the departure of Andrew Swain last month, which may make an initial public offering unlikely in the near term.

Paul Allen To Give $100 Million To Tackle Ebola Crisis (NYT)
The billionaire Paul G. Allen said on Thursday that he would donate $100 million to the fight against Ebola, which has killed almost 5,000 people so far and crippled Western Africa. The amount roughly quadruples his earlier commitment of about $26 million to nonprofit groups and government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making him one of the largest individual donors in the Ebola crisis. “Everybody feels called sometimes to really pursue a certain thing that resonates with them, and this has resonated with me,” Mr. Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, said in a telephone interview on Thursday. He said when he first began hearing about the Ebola outbreak in July, he had a “nagging sense” that it could spiral out of control. “We’re up against an extremely tough opponent here,” he said. “The exponential nature of the growth of this disease is really a challenge — we’ve already seen in the U.S. where one case quickly became two.”

KKR Signals Buying Opportunities Amid Volatile Markets (WSJ)
Echoing sentiments from other private-equity executives, one of the top lieutenants to KKR co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts on Thursday said recent whipsawing markets could work to the firm’s advantage. “We like investing in complex situations when other investors may be nervous,” said Scott Nuttall, head of KKR’s global capital and asset management group, during a Thursday earnings call with analysts. “We’re hopeful this environment will lead to more opportunities. So, if the world gets difficult, we’ll be ready to capitalize.”

Unused vacation days at 40-year high (CNBC)
U.S. workers are using only 77 percent of their paid time off, according to the research group’s report released Tuesday. And the decline is not just tied to recent economic worries; use of vacation days are at their lowest point in the past four decades. In 2013, U.S. workers took an average of 16 days of vacation compared with 20.3 days in 2000, according to the report.

Thirty-one banks prepare for Fed tests (FT)
Global banks will have to show how they can withstand a spike in oil prices, a rise in the US unemployment rate and an increase in risky corporate loans as part of the 2015 Federal Reserve stress tests. Passing the stress tests and related capital planning review is a top priority for banks, because this determines whether they can pay additional dividends or buy back shares. Companies that fail the test, which is aimed at showing how a bank would deal with a crisis situation, can also take a reputational hit. Citigroup suffered an embarrassing blow when it failed to pass the last review, and executives are determined not to repeat that mistake in 2015. The US units of HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, which took the tests for the first time last year, also failed. Fed officials have warned they will continue to raise the bar on expectations for banks, putting additional pressure on them. Thirty-one banks will participate in the 2015 capital planning scenarios, including Deutsche Bank for the first time. It is already under pressure from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which has told it in a private letter that its regulatory reports were “low quality, inaccurate and unreliable”.

Supermarket Says Sorry For Selling Hitler Coffee Creamer (AP)
A leading Swiss supermarket chain is apologizing for what it calls an “unforgivable blunder”: distributing mini-containers of coffee cream bearing portraits of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Migros, which also sells electronics and household goods, says it is immediately withdrawing boxes containing hundreds of the coffee cream containers and is breaking all ties with Karo-Versand, the small Swiss company that designed the collectible series of 55 different motifs — including likenesses of the German and Italian fascist dictators. In a statement Wednesday, Migros described the incident as an internal failure and vowed to “tighten our controls for these products drastically” to ensure no more such mistakes. Read more »

Opening Bell: 10.23.14

Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.Credit Suisse Profit More Than Doubles as Trading Rises (Bloomberg)
Net income more than doubled to 1.03 billion Swiss francs ($1.08 billion), the Zurich-based bank said today in a statement. That compares with 454 million francs a year ago and beat the 809 million-franc average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Chief Executive Officer Brady Dougan said earnings at the investment bank reflected “robust client activity” across businesses, while October has been “mixed.” Last week, he promoted two investment bankers in a revamp that boosts the influence of the securities unit within the executive board. Trading activity has benefited from price swings stemming from a stronger U.S. dollar and a slowdown in the European economy.

Hedge Funds Add To Venture Capital Bounty (WSJ)
Maverick Capital Ltd., one of the oldest hedge-fund firms, plans to launch its first venture-capital fund on Jan. 1, according to investors, with hopes of raising $400 million to take stakes in young companies. In pitching the fund at Maverick’s annual investor meeting last week, one investor said, founder Lee Ainslie III said the New York firm was seeing the best opportunities in many years for making early-stage investments in private companies. Such deals aren’t the bread and butter of hedge funds, which typically bet on the moves of stocks and other publicly traded assets. But Maverick, with roughly $9 billion under management, is among a growing number of Wall Street firms that are trying to get a piece of the lofty valuations being achieved by startups in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. New York investment firms Tiger Global Management LLC and Coatue Management LLC have been players on the West Coast venture-capital market. Tiger Global, which started as a hedge fund, now manages more money in its venture funds than in its hedge funds, according to a person familiar with the firm. Hedge-fund firm Valiant Capital Management LP, out of San Francisco, has also been active.

UBS Hunts for Millionaires in Hong Kong’s Nine Dragons (Bloomberg)
UBS is seeking to bolster its position as the largest manager of private wealth in Asia by looking for millionaires in an unlikely place: the lower-income part of Hong Kong. Switzerland’s largest bank is searching for clients in Kowloon, a name derived from the Cantonese translation for “nine dragons,” and the New Territories, said Amy Lo, the Hong Kong and Greater China head for UBS’s wealth unit. While average incomes are 27 percent lower on the north side of Victoria Harbour than on Hong Kong Island, the business people include toy, electronic and plastics entrepreneurs who like being closer to their factories in mainland China. UBS is targeting as many as 25,000 such individuals who each have at least $1 million in cash and liquid assets, according to Lo.

As Facebook Eyes China, Zuckerberg Makes Ties With Chinese Business School (BusinessWeek)
In its quest to dominate the social media industry worldwide, Facebook has long hankered after China, where the company been been banned since 2009. Facebook may have just gained a foothold to help it infiltrate the Chinese market: the appointment of Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to the board of one of China’s top business schools, the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management.

California venture firm does not have to release documents in discrimination suit (Reuters)
California’s privacy laws have saved a high-profile venture capital firm from having to release potentially embarrassing information about a former partner in a discrimination lawsuit by a former female partner. A judge ruled Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, defending itself against allegations of discrimination and retaliation, will be able to keep to itself any other harassment complaints against former male partner at the center of the lawsuit, Ajit Nazre, in part because producing such complaints would hurt the privacy rights of other Kleiner employees. The suit, brought in 2012 by former partner Ellen Pao, claims discrimination and retaliation at the firm and helped kick off a broad and ongoing discussion in Silicon Valley about sexism in technology.

Could Allen Stanford go free? Convicted fraudster appeals (CNBC)
Jailed financier R. Allen Stanford, convicted in 2012 of running a massive global Ponzi scheme that rivals the Madoff scandal, says he is the victim of an illegal prosecution, and “the clearest of assaults on the U.S. Constitution.” The comments come in Stanford’s formal appeal of his conviction, filed in federal court on Wednesday. Stanford wrote the appeal himself at the prison in Florida where he is serving a 110-year sentence. Having fired the last of a string of court-appointed attorneys, and with no funds to hire a replacement, he is representing himself even though he has no legal background. He has also asked to argue his case in person before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, a task normally handled by experienced attorneys. Stanford calls the case against him a “reckless action,” and accuses authorities of a “by-any-means pursuit” of him to cover up their missteps in the still-unfolding financial crisis.

Romanian Princess Irina Walker Sentenced For Cockfighting (AP)
A Romanian princess was sentenced Wednesday to probation after apologizing for her role in an Oregon cockfighting enterprise that she said brought shame to her and her family. “I’m very sorry about my involvement in this business,” Irina Walker told a federal judge before she was given three years’ probation. “It was not my intention to go against the law.” She and her husband John Walker both pleaded guilty in July to operating an illegal gambling business. John Walker, a former sheriff’s deputy, was also sentenced to probation by U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman…Irina Walker, 61, is the third daughter of former Romanian King Michael I, who was forced to abdicate by communists in 1947. The judge agreed to let the Walkers travel internationally during their probation after their attorneys said the 93-year-old former king has health problems and Irina wants to visit while he’s still alive. The Walkers were arrested in 2013 after authorities said they staged at least 10 cockfighting derbies in a barn at their ranch in Irrigon, 175 miles east of Portland. The Walkers charged spectators each $20 to watch roosters with knives attached to their legs fight to the death. Crowds generally exceeded 100 people, and the couple also made money from the sale of alcohol. Authorities said the people who brought roosters paid $1,000 to enter the fights, and the prizes ranged from $10,000 to $18,000. The person whose roosters won the most matches took home the money, except for 10 percent kept by referees. Read more »

Opening Bell: 10.22.14

marissa_mayerYahoo Delivers Message to Activist Starboard: Back Off (Bloomberg)
Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer delivered a message yesterday to activist shareholder Starboard Value LP: I’ve got this. Mayer began a defense of her leadership yesterday with a third-quarter earnings report that included sales that topped analysts’ estimates. She followed up with a conference call where she talked up her stewardship of the company, ticking off a list of points to show that her turnaround effort is making progress. Mayer argued she has a clear acquisition strategy for growth and said she is focused on maximizing value for shareholders. The shares jumped as much 5.8 percent today, for the biggest intraday increase in more than six months.

Russian Economy Stops Growing (WSJ)
Russia’s economy, hit by Western sanctions, stopped growing in September, data from the economy ministry showed Wednesday. Russia this year is on track to post its lowest growth since 2009. Russia’s standoff with the West over the Ukrainian crisis adds downside pressure on the economy as sanctions and geopolitical uncertainty fuel capital flight and kill investment activity. Alexei Ulyukayev, Russia’s economy minister, said that in the first nine months of 2014 the economy grew by 0.8%, Interfax news agency reported.

Goldman Sachs Shows Investors Path Out of Economic ‘Wonderland’ (Bloomberg)
Just as Alice was confused by the strange world she found herself in, Peter Oppenheimer said in a report published yesterday that investors face the unfamiliar in an environment of zero interest rates and low economic growth. Further complicating matters is that some old relationships have also broken down since the financial crisis. “Curiouser and curiouser,” he writes, quoting from Alice, in noting equities and bonds have often both performed well at the same time. Some of the strongest market performances have also been in the weakest economies.

‘Cannibal Cop’ interested in attending law school (NYP)
Notorious “Cannibal Cop” Gilberto Valle is “interested in attending law school,” his younger brother revealed in a letter to Manhattan federal Judge Paul Gardephe. “I even bought him a number of LSAT books which he completed, and he did very well on the practice tests at the end of the books,” wrote Daniel Valle The younger Valle was one of more than a dozen people who wrote letters on the ex-cop’s behalf before he is sentenced Nov. 4 for illegally using a police database. Gardephe overturned Valle’s conviction for conspiracy to murder in July. Read more »