Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 07.03.14

Goldman says Google has blocked email with leaked client data (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs Group on Wednesday said Google Inc has blocked access to an email containing confidential client data that a contractor sent to a stranger’s Gmail account by mistake, an error that the bank said threatened a “needless and massive” breach of privacy. The breach occurred on June 23 and included “highly confidential brokerage account information,” Goldman said in a complaint filed on Friday in a New York state court in Manhattan. Goldman did not say how many clients were affected. It has been seeking a court order compelling Google to delete the email, which it said on Wednesday had yet to occur. “Google complied with our request that it block access to the email,” Goldman spokeswoman Andrea Raphael said. “It has also notified us that the email account had not been accessed from the time the email was sent to the time Google blocked access. No client information has been breached.” A Google spokeswoman declined to comment. According to Goldman, the outside contractor had been testing changes to the bank’s internal processes in connection with reporting requirements set forth by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Goldman said the contractor meant to email her report, which contained the client data, to a “gs.com” account, but instead sent it to a similarly named, unrelated “gmail.com” account.

Exclusive: SEC official dissented on BNP Paribas waiver (Reuters)
An official at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) broke ranks with other commissioners, and voted against granting BNP Paribas a critical waiver to continue operating several investment advisory units in the United States. Kara Stein, a Democratic SEC commissioner who has recently demanded more accountability for big banks who break the law, was the sole dissenting vote on Monday on the temporary waiver, according to a document made public this week. BNP’s application was granted the same day that BNP, France’s largest bank, pleaded guilty to criminal charges it violated U.S. sanctions. The temporary waiver will become permanent, unless an “interested person” in the matter is granted a hearing. The deadline for requesting a hearing is July 25.

Barclays Probe Casts Ugly Light on Dark Pools (BusinessWeek)
The ultimate promise of a dark pool, however, was that no matter who was invited inside, prices weren’t immediately reported—in theory, at least, limiting the impact a large trade can have on the market. In public exchanges, by contrast, bids and offers are displayed (often at varying speeds depending on which feeds you buy) and prices are reported immediately after a trade is executed. This information can create ripples across the market, allowing faster firms to trade ahead of a big order and make a profit. This was the problem that dark pools sought to fix. By keeping orders in the dark, effectively blinding traders to what was happening around them, there were no ripples. Or if there were, they went unnoticed. The picture Schneiderman paints is much worse. There’s still a room filled with blindfolded traders buying and selling to each other. But now there’s a speed trader or two lurking in the corner, secretly watching everything that’s going on.

JPMorgan Investors Show Support for Dimon in Cancer Fight (Bloomberg)
The bank has deep contingency and succession plans, and Dimon’s illness may serve as no more than a valuable “fire drill,” said Michael Farr, president of Farr Miller & Washington LLC, a Washington-based asset manager that oversees more than $1.1 billion, including JPMorgan shares. “The good news is that every indication is that they will never be needed and that Jamie Dimon has many years to work and that he’ll retire on his own schedule as a much older man,” Farr said. “It feels unfair to watch someone who has really been through so much have to suffer through this.”

Owners send dogs to ‘fat farms’ as more pets become obese (AP)
Growing rates of obesity in pets have led to the emergence of fat farms offering ‘‘pawlates,’’ ‘’doga’’ and ‘‘Barko Polo,’’ doggie versions of Pilates, yoga and Marco Polo to help slim down man’s best friend. In the U.S., 53 percent of dogs are overweight or obese, up from 45 percent four years ago. In cats, the figure is almost 58 percent, said Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian and founder of the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention in Calabash, North Carolina. Overweight pets can suffer diabetes, joint problems, heart disease and decreased life expectancy, just like obese people, he said. Most luxury pet hotels and spas nationwide will customize a fitness program for a pudgy dog or cat, but only a few facilities have fat camps for large groups. For golden retriever Ceili, it was easy to fatten up when living with a boy who pushed tasty morsels over the edge of his high chair. The extra weight led Eileen Bowers of Bedminster, New Jersey, to sign up the more than 100-pound pooch for a five-day fitness camp last month at Morris Animal Inn. Besides the ‘‘pawlates,’’ the camp was filled with swimming, nature hikes, treadmill trots, facials, massages and healthy treats like organic granola, string beans and carrots. It was designed to give Ceili and 40 other dogs a head start on a healthier life, said Debora Montgomery, the New Jersey facility’s spokeswoman…the ‘‘Barko Polo’’ pool game varies from its human inspiration: A staffer will shout ‘‘barko’’ and whichever dog-paddling pooch yelps first gets a toy. Read more »

Opening Bell: 07.02.14

JPMorgan CEO Dimon Will Undergo Treatment for Throat Cancer (Bloomberg)
Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), told employees and shareholders in a memo that he’s beginning treatment for throat cancer and will continue to run the company “as normal.” “The good news is that the prognosis from my doctors is excellent, the cancer was caught quickly and my condition is curable,” Dimon said, according to a statement today from the company. “The cancer is confined to the original site and the adjacent lymph nodes on the right side of my neck. Importantly, there is no evidence of cancer elsewhere in my body.” [...] Dimon will soon begin radiation and chemotherapy treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital in New York, he said in the statement. The treatment should take about eight weeks, he said. “While the treatment will curtail my travel during this period, I have been advised that I will be able to continue to be actively involved in our business, and we will continue to run the company as normal,” he wrote. “Our board has been fully briefed and is totally supportive.”

Ousted American Apparel CEO Charney reports 43 percent stake (Reuters)
Dov Charney, ousted as American Apparel Inc’s chairman and chief executive two weeks ago, said he has increased his stake in the apparel retailer to 43 percent, as he fights to regain control of the company he founded. Charney, fired for alleged misuse of corporate funds and his role in disseminating nude photos of an ex-employee, also called for a special meeting of stockholders on Sept. 25. The former CEO and founder, already the biggest shareholder in American Apparel with a previously reported 27.2 percent stake, said he increased his holding last week. The additional shares could enable Charney to gain control of the company if he won the support of shareholders holding 7 percent of the stock.

Goldman ‘Boys Club’ Accused of Mocking Women as ‘Bimbos’ and ‘Party Girls’ (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs was accused of widespread gender discrimination and a “boy’s club” atmosphere that included bouts of binge drinking and trips to strip clubs, as two former female employees seek to expand their lawsuit against the firm with new evidence. The women asked a federal judge in Manhattan today to let them sue on behalf of current and former female associates and vice presidents. Support for their claims includes statements of former Goldman Sachs employees, expert statistical analyses and evidence on earnings and promotions from the firm’s own records, they said in a court filing. “Women report a ‘boy’s club’ atmosphere, where binge drinking is common and women are either sexualized or ignored,” according to the filing. The two women, H. Cristina Chen-Oster and Shanna Orlich, sued in 2010 and are seeking to broaden the case to include more than a decade of claimed discrimination at Goldman Sachs. A decision by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres to allow the women to sue as a class would increase the risk to Goldman Sachs.

Tinder Is Target of Sexual Harassment Lawsuit (NYT)
Whitney Wolfe, a former executive at the popular dating start-up Tinder, has filed a lawsuit against the company, along with its majority owner, IAC/InterActiveCorp, on sexual harassment and discrimination claims. The lawsuit, filed on Monday in state court in Los Angeles, says that Tinder’s chief executive and chief marketing officer subjected Ms. Wolfe to “a barrage of horrendously sexist, racist and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails and text messages.” Ms. Wolfe’s suit also said that complaints about the harassment to high-level executives at IAC were ignored and that she was forced to resign as a result. Ms. Wolfe said in the lawsuit that even though she was instrumental in the establishment of the dating app, her colleagues did not call her a founder because of her age and gender. When she would ask why only her name among the five founders was absent from some new coverage, the lawsuit said, the other founders would tell her “you’re a girl” and that a 24-year-old “girl founder” would devalue the company.

Bitcoin Auction Ends, Single Bidder Wins Entire Cache (Bloomberg)
The auction attracted 45 bidders, including New York brokerage SecondMarket Inc., and 63 bids were submitted during the 12 hours of the auction on June 27, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. The agency, which notified the bidder and transferred the money, isn’t disclosing the winner’s identity. The auction of 29,656 bitcoins, part of more than 144,000 the FBI transferred to U.S. Marshals after shutting down the Silk Road marketplace and arresting its operator last year, represented a rare opportunity to secure a large cache of the virtual currency. While the actual price of the winning bid isn’t known, the cache sold yesterday was worth about $19 million at current exchange prices.

Shia LaBeouf voluntarily receiving treatment for alcohol addiction (NYDN)
According to X17Online, the 27-year-old star is getting help at a “celebrity-frequented” treatment facility in Hollywood. LaBeouf was seen heading to the private center Monday afternoon, and greeted at the gate by a nurse and security guard, X17 reports. “Shia was nervous; he didn’t look good all morning,” a photographer told the website. “He was looking down and wasn’t even talking to his driver. It looked like he didn’t want to do it, but he knew he had to.” Earlier in the day the “Fury” actor was seen toting a book, reportedly the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book,” outside of his Hollywood Hills home. LaBeouf arrived back in Los Angeles over the weekend, after a tumultuous few days in New York City, which included him getting arrested Thursday for disrupting a “Cabaret” performance on Broadway with an apparently drunken display. He was also seen in Times Square earlier that day engaging with a homeless man. Read more »

Opening Bell: 07.01.14

Argentine Debt Team to Meet With Mediator (WSJ)
Argentina said Monday night that it will send a delegation to meet with a court-appointed lawyer on July 7 as it tries to resolve a dispute with a small group of creditors that could see the South American country default for a second time in 13 years. Argentina’s long-running battle with hedge funds in U.S. courts entered a critical phase after U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa on June 27 blocked the country from making $539 million in interest payments that were due on some of its bonds Monday. Argentina will likely default if it can’t get that money to bondholders before a 30-day grace period expires in July. The judge has ruled that Argentina must pay the hedge funds that are suing to collect on defaulted bonds at the same time it pays investors who own bonds the country issued after its 2001 default.

Peltz’s Trian Plants Its Flag in BNY Mellon (WSJ)
The sleepy world of back-office banking is about to get a bit of action following Trian Fund Management LP’s purchase of a large stake in Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Trian, led by Nelson Peltz, said Monday that it has bought a position valued at $1.05 billion in BNY Mellon, representing a 2.5% stake. The move is rare in the world of activist investors, who typically avoid regulated businesses such as banks.Mr. Peltz, 72 years old, and Trian haven’t had any discussions with the bank’s leaders, according to a person familiar with the matter, but plans to reach out to management to discuss ideas for creating more shareholder value.

Economy could accelerate substantially: Summers (CNBC)
There’s a prospect that the economy could accelerate “quite substantially” over the next couple of quarters, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “That would be an important and obviously positive development,” he said Monday. “[There's] no assurance that will be the case, but I think that could be a surprise.” However, while he is concerned that rapid economic growth could lead to a market bubble, he doesn’t think the U.S. is in one yet despite the narrower credit spreads and certain asset prices that are inflated.

Not looking at pot as ‘windfall’ for economy: Colorado Gov. (CNBC)
Colorado’s increased tax revenue from the sale of marijuana isn’t necessarily a windfall, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Monday. Instead, he’s looking to use that money to maintain the state’s high quality of life.

I’m Sorry, I Think I’m Allergic to You (WSJ)
As with a lot of allergies, it’s the repetition that gets to us. “The first time you are seated next to a co-worker who is loudly snapping bubble gum, you don’t care,” says Michael Cunningham, a psychologist and professor of communication at the University of Louisville. “After three weeks, you are praying they’ll choke on it.” According to Dr. Cunningham, who has studied the phenomenon for more than 15 years, social allergens can be grouped into four main types, depending on whether the behavior is intentional or not, and whether directed personally at an individual or not. The first grouping is uncouth habits. They are unintentional and they aren’t directed personally. They include noisily chewing gum or talking loudly into a phone in a crowded public space. “The person isn’t really thinking of you, even though the behavior has implications for you,” Dr. Cunningham says. The second category is egocentric actions, he says. These behaviors aren’t necessarily intentional, but they are directed personally at you. There’s the friend who keeps you on the phone for 45 minutes after you said you can only talk for five, or the family member who never orders dessert at a restaurant but eats all of yours (you know who you are). This person still isn’t thinking about you, but the behavior affects you specifically. The third category, norm violations, encompasses offensive behaviors that are intentional but impersonal. Examples include smoking right outside the front door, talking in a theater during the show or texting while driving. The fourth, and most irritating, social-allergen group includes actions that are both intentional and directed personally, Dr. Cunningham says. It may be an imperious command (“Bring me some coffee, will you?”) instead of a request for a favor. Often, it is a backhanded complaint or criticism: “Are you really going to eat that?” or “You bought a car? I thought you were saving for college.”

Formerly Tubby Police Horse Turns Life Around, Chases Down First Suspect (AP)
Murphy, carrying Officer Cassandra Wells, chased down a man suspected of breaking into a building last week and kept him trapped next to a building until officers could cuff him. The Oregonian reports Murphy galloped about six blocks. Murphy was added to the mounted patrol last year, but when he arrived at the barn he weighed 1,900 pounds. The unit didn’t have a saddle big enough for him. After losing 200 pounds he went through training and is now on Portland streets. Read more »

Opening Bell: 06.26.14

Dark Pool Greed Drove Barclays to Lie to Clients, N.Y. Says (Bloomberg)
Barclays was so bent on lifting its private trading venue to the upper ranks of Wall Street dark pools that it lied to customers and masked the role of high-frequency traders, according to New York’s attorney general. Barclays falsified marketing materials to hide how much high-frequency traders were buying and selling, according to a complaint filed today by Eric Schneiderman. Barclays runs one of Wall Street’s largest dark pools, a private trading venue where investors can trade stocks mostly anonymously.

Barclays pulls bond offering after lawsuit emerges (Reuters)
Barclays pulled a US$1.5bn bond offering on Wednesday after it emerged that the New York attorney general was preparing to sue the UK bank for securities fraud. It had already amassed more than US$4.5bn in orders for the 10-year subordinated deal, market sources said, when reports of the lawsuit hit trading screens. “Investors just baulked,” one portfolio manager who had been looking at the deal told IFR. “If something dire does come out the suit, then that could mean that the deal has to be nullified anyway – so it was just better to pull it.”

Greek Bonds Beat Lottery as Funds Surge on Smashed Glass (Bloomberg)
The economy will expand this year after the worst downturn in peacetime, the highest unemployment in the region has peaked and investors are buyers of Greek bonds again. The yield on benchmark 10-year government debt is 5.79 percent, down from the high of 44.2 percent in March 2012 — a return better than most winning lottery tickets.

Soccer Break: Why It Pays to Watch the World Cup at Work (CNBC)
Americans aren’t really known for their devotion to soccer, but come Thursday, there are going to be a lot of worker bees stuck in a quandary when the United States faces off against Germany at noon, Eastern Time. Perhaps surprisingly, HR is on your side here. “It’s an inspiring and motivating thing that’s going on, and we need to take advantage of that,” said Monique Honaman, founding partner of HR consulting company ISHR Group.

Puerto Rico Moves to Restructure Debt (WSJ)
Puerto Rico paved the way to overhaul the finances of its power and transportation agencies, potentially saddling investors with losses on about $13.6 billion of debt. Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla proposed legislation Wednesday that would allow some debt-laden public entities to restructure their bonds. The proposed bill doesn’t include a way for the island’s general-obligation bonds and sales-tax debt to be restructured. The step, if approved, would be the first significant move since the Puerto Rico government hired advisers this year to help it find a way to turn around its utilities, which are heavily indebted and face mounting deficits. The island, which has about $70 billion in obligations, has labored under rising unemployment and declining tax revenue.

Man Sues British Airways After He’s Sent To Grenada Instead Of Granada (AP)
A Maryland dentist who said he hadn’t had a vacation in two years, is suing British Airways after a booking mistake landed him in Grenada in the Caribbean instead of Granada, Spain, according to NBC News. Edward Gamson said he told the British Airways booker he wanted to go to Spain and didn’t notice the error on his ticket because it didn’t have an airport code or the flight duration printed on it. He only learned that he was headed to the tiny island nation after his connecting flight in London was in the air and the flight map showed his plane flying west. Gamson said he wasted 375,000 frequent flyer miles for the trip and was only offered $376 for him and his partner and 50,000 miles for their trouble. He is now suing the airline for $34,000 to cover the cost of “pre-booked hotels, trains and other tours” he and his partner had planned, according to NBC. Read more »

Opening Bell: 06.25.14

Fight Breaks Out on Floor of New York Merc in Throwback to Bygone Era (The Street)
People who work on the floor of the Merc in lower Manhattan told TheStreet that two traders in the so-called ‘open outcry pits,’ where investors sell futures and options of precious metals, crude oil and natural gas, engaged in what might be euphemistically called a physical confrontation but which a half-dozen people interviewed described as including shoving or throwing punches. The altercation became quite heated, according to four traders, one of whom said someone’s shirt was ripped during the fracas. Two other traders called it a “fist fight.” The two men were subsequently escorted from the building by security, said two security guards. A source said that one trader walked-up to another trader to tell him to get out of “his spot” in the pits. When the “spot” was not vacated, the first trader shoved the other man, another trader said. “We’re not in the schoolyard and you can’t push anybody, and that’s it,” he said. “Once you put your hands on somebody then that’s like the real no-no, so that’s what happened.”

Potential BNP Penalty Worries European Banks (WSJ)
The prospect of a gigantic U.S. penalty against BNP Paribas is sowing fear in the executive suites of other top European banks that also are under investigation for allegedly doing business in countries subject to U.S. sanctions. Officials at Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG, Italy’s UniCredit SpA and France’s Crédit Agricole are all now bracing for bigger penalties than they had previously expected to resolve investigations into alleged violations of U.S. sanctions, industry officials say.

SEC Is Gearing Up to Focus on Ratings Firms (WSJ)
Thomas J. Butler, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Credit Ratings, said he has referred multiple cases to the agency’s enforcement division and is helping complete several industry regulations to address quality and transparency in how big debt deals are rated. Those moves signal a potential flurry of regulatory activity involving ratings firms, which have been largely untouched as government oversight has increased in most other financial sectors in recent years.

Ghana Sends Plane With $3 Million to Calm World Cup Team (Bloomberg)
Ghana has sent a plane carrying more than $3 million in cash to Brazil to pay the World Cup appearance fees owed to the national soccer team, known as the Black Stars. “The players insisted that they will want physical cash,” Deputy Sports Minister Joseph Yammin said in comments broadcast by Accra-based Citi FM. “Government had to mobilize the money and a chartered flight to Brazil. The money is in excess of $3 million.” Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama contacted the team and the arrangements for payment were made after, the Ghana Football Association said in a statement on its website. The players will be paid today and government will be reimbursed by money awarded to Ghana by FIFA, soccer’s governing body, the association said.

GoPro Brings Rare Gadget Deal to Hot IPO Market (WSJ)
As the bull market in initial public offerings rolls on, video-camera maker GoPro Inc. is cuing up the largest stock debut by a consumer-electronics company in 23 years. San Mateo, Calif.-based GoPro, along with early investors, plans to sell as much as $427 million of stock in the IPO late Wednesday. That would mark the largest consumer-electronics IPO since battery company Duracell International Inc.’s 1991 debut raised $433 million, according to data provider Dealogic. Gillette Co., now a unit of Procter & Gamble Co., bought Duracell in 1997. GoPro is the latest consumer business to cash in on investor demand for U.S. stocks, which has given the likes of microblogging service Twitter Inc., perfume maker Coty Inc. and theme-park operator SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. a window to float shares in the past year and a half.

Drunk Driver Falls Out of Own Vehicle, Runs Over Self (KX News)
30-year-old Robert Alan Pullar is charged with DUI, driving with a suspended licence, and refusal to submit to a chemical test. The incident happened early Saturday morning. Police say Pullar was driving on Hiawatha Street near 15 1/2 Ave SE when he fell out onto the street. Police say his vehicle continued forward, striking him. He was able to get back in the vehicle and drive away, but officers tracked him down later and made the arrest. Read more »

Opening Bell: 06.24.14

Allergan Rejects Latest Offer from Valeant (WSJ)
Allergan again rebuffed advances from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., saying Monday that its board has unanimously determined that the unsolicited exchange offer to acquire all of the Botox maker’s shares outstanding is “grossly inadequate.” Allergan said its board strongly recommends that Allergan shareholders not tender any Allergan shares to Valeant, adding that the offer substantially undervalues the company, creates significant risks and uncertainties for Allergan shareholders, and isn’t in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. A representative for Valeant said Allergan’s rejection of the proposal is based on assumptions about the business that aren’t supported by the facts. Pershing Square didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dean Foods Subpoenaed in Icahn Insider-Trading Case (WSJ)
Federal authorities have sought information from two companies in connection with an insider-trading investigation of activist investor Carl Icahn, sports bettor William T. Walters, and golfer Phil Mickelson, according to people familiar with the matter. Dean Foods Co. in recent weeks received a subpoena from criminal authorities ordering the company to produce information, said a person familiar with the matter. Clorox Co. and Mr. Icahn received requests for information from the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2011 related to trading in the company’s shares, according to a person familiar with the matter. Neither of those developments has been previously reported. In the case of Dean Foods, authorities are probing whether Mr. Walters provided stock tips to Mr. Mickelson, said people familiar with the matter. In the case of Clorox, investigators are looking into whether Mr. Icahn tipped Mr. Walters about his actions involving Clorox, the people said.

Ex-Millennium Fund Manager Gets Four Years in Prison (Bloomberg)
Former Millennium Global Investments portfolio manager Michael Balboa was sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding investors by inflating the value of Nigerian sovereign debt by $80 million. Balboa, convicted in December in a retrial in Manhattan federal court, had faced a possible life sentence because of the size of his fraud. The U.S. said investors lost more than $390 million based on Balboa’s misstatements…Balboa, a London-based investment manager, was convicted of providing fake valuations to inflate month-end market prices on Nigerian warrants. The scheme generated millions of dollars in management and performance fees for which he earned as much as $6.5 million, prosecutors said.

American Apparel: Charney’s Bad Behavior Was Very, Very Expensive (BusinessWeek)
Dov Charney’s behavior has never been a secret. For starters, as the chief executive of American Apparel (APP), he occasionally walked around the Los Angeles headquarters in his underwear. He was open about his libertine attitudes toward sex in general and sex in the workplace in particular, at one point “putting on a show” for a journalist on assignment for Jane magazine. So when Charney was fired last week “for cause,” it was reasonable to wonder “why now?” In his termination letter, posted on BuzzFeed yesterday, the board accuses him of sexually harassing employees, paying off some of them with “significant” severance packages, and refusing to participate in sexual harassment training…It is true that Charney’s antics are not new, but apparently they have grown unacceptably expensive. The [termination] letter to Charney eventually comes around to this point: “Your conduct has required the Company to incur significant and unwarranted expenses, including expenses associated with litigation and defense costs, significant settlement payments, substantial severance packages that were granted to employees, and unwarranted business expenses that you incurred for personal reasons. The Company’s employment practices liability insurance retention has grown to $1 million from $350,000. … The resources American Apparel had to dedicate to defend the numerous lawsuits resulting from your conduct, and the loss of critical, qualified Company employees as a result of your misconduct cannot be overlooked.”

How Marissa Mayer Fell Asleep and Kept Ad Executives Waiting For Hours (CMO Today)
Last Tuesday evening, Interpublic Group arranged a private dinner at the swanky L’Oasis for Ms. Mayer to meet executives from marketers such as Mondelez International , brewer MillerCoors and Greek yogurt maker Chobani. It was supposed to be a chance for Interpublic and some of its clients to get a first hand update from Ms. Mayer on what Yahoo has to offer. But Ms. Mayer was nearly two hours late, and several dinner attendees including IPG Chief Executive Michael Roth ended up leaving before she arrived, people familiar with the matter said. Ms. Mayer told some attendees that she had fallen asleep, some of the people said.

Crash captain left helm for ‘drunken 3-way sex romp’ (NYP)
Craig Gallo…was busy messing around with a pal and a woman they’d just met when his 28-foot Wellcraft boat crashed early Sunday into runway approach lights at La Guardia Airport, sources told The Post. Gallo later admitted to cops that he’d been drinking and was involved in a boating accident, prosecutors said.“I was driving, I had a few beers,” Gallo told cops, who noticed he reeked of booze. Gallo, who was arrested in 1999 for urinating in public, refused a Breathalyzer test…The boat captain and friend James Benenato, 60, were boozing it up from 9 pm to 11:30 pm at a tiki party at the Arrow Yacht Club in College Point, when they picked up Mary Ann Belson, sources said. Gallo docks his 1981 fishing boat at Skyline Marina next door. The crash happened at 11:47 pm, cops said. Both Gallo and Belson, 60, suffered facial injuries in the crash, while Benenato, 60, was not hurt. Photos taken after the crash showed a dozen or so Budweiser beer cans overflowing a bucket and strewn about the deck and cabin, with sheets and clothing strewn about the ship’s cramped cabin. Read more »

Opening Bell: 06.23.14

BNP Paribas nears up to $9 billion settlement with U.S. authorities: source (Reuters)
French bank BNP Paribas SA is likely to pay $8 billion to $9 billion as part of a potential settlement with U.S. authorities over violations of sanctions, according to a person familiar with the matter. U.S. authorities are probing whether BNP Paribas evaded U.S. sanctions relating primarily to Sudan between 2002 and 2009, and whether it stripped out identifying information from wire transfers so they could pass through the U.S. financial system without raising red flags, sources have said.

Insider-Trade Probe Eyes Call With House Aide (WSJ)
About an hour before stock trading closed April 1, 2013, a lobbyist at the center of a federal insider-trading probe spoke on the phone with a senior House health-care aide. The disclosure of that conversation represents the latest twist in a long-running federal investigation into whether congressional aides or other federal officials leaked word of a change in health-care policy to traders or anyone seeking information on behalf of investors. The conversation between the lobbyist, Mark Hayes, and Brian Sutter, staff director of the House Ways and Means Committee’s health-care subpanel, was revealed Friday in court filings by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC has taken the unusual step of seeking to enforce subpoenas for documents and testimony from Mr. Sutter and the committee led by Rep. David Camp (R., Mich.). The agency on Friday said for the first time it believes Mr. Sutter could have been a source for Mr. Hayes. According to a series of articles by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Hayes sent an email predicting the change to a Washington-based investment-research firm shortly before the announcement on April 1, 2013, citing “very credible sources.” Health-insurance stocks jumped moments before the government announced the news, a surge prompted by an alert the research firm sent to its clients on Wall Street.

Harvard Seeks Fund Chief for the Long Haul (WSJ)
Jane Mendillo, 55, told Harvard Management Co. board members months ago that she was leaving, before a succession plan was in place, according to a person familiar with the matter. At least two directors tried to convince her to stay on longer but she agreed to remain only through the end of the year, according to people familiar with the conversations. Ms. Mendillo’s decision leaves Harvard Management, which oversees the world’s largest endowment, searching for its fourth chief executive in nine years.

Banks speed up shift to forex automation (FT)
Banks including Barclays and UBS are accelerating a shift towards automation in foreign exchange and rates trading as they move to slash costs and reduce the risk of further price manipulation scandals.
Senior bankers are aiming to minimise human intervention because traditional trading over the phone has come under an intense regulatory spotlight. Authorities around the globe are investigating alleged manipulation of benchmarks such as currency fixes and interbank lending rates.

Inflation Is Back on Wall Street Agenda (WSJ)
If inflation returns to more normal levels and stays there, that could signal a stronger economy, which could be good for stocks. But an inflation uptick also could mark the end of the decadeslong bond rally that has kept bond prices up and yields down since the early 1980s. It would mean higher interest rates, which are bad for home buyers, businesses and holders of existing, low-yielding bonds. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen played down the news last week, saying the data were distorted by statistical “noise.” She reiterated that the Fed intends to keep interest rates exceptionally low for a long time.

Sexy mugshot guy’s wife ‘furious’ over social media fervor (NYP)
Sexy mugshot felon Jeremy Meeks has set hearts aflutter on social media but his wife isn’t quite so happy with the attention he is receiving. CBS Sacramento reports that she is furious people can only talk about his chiseled good looks while he is languishing in prison away from his family. The father appeared in court last week after he was arraigned on 11 felony counts. A friend, Simon Johnson, said Meek’s wife was “upset and furious.” “Her man’s in there, and people are taking it as a joke. I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t see her at all in the cameras, because she’s upset.” Meeks internet fame began after police posted his mug shot on their Stockton Police Department Facebook page. His good looks and piercing blue eyes quickly attracted thousands of likes, appreciative comments, lustful memes and sent #JeremyMeeks trending on Twitter. Meeks has a long rap sheet and is an alleged gang member, although his family say he has turned his back on gang life and discovered religion…There are already plans afoot by his internet fans to free Meeks. His Facebook page has more than 120,000 fans. Read more »