We hope you had no pressing need to trade on the Chicago Board Options Exchange this morning, as it was rendered impossible by one of the more spectacular recent exchange-technology glitches. Read more »
Apple Readies Its First Bond Offering (WSJ)
Apple’s announcement Tuesday that it plans to borrow for the first time could be as well received as its smartphone launches. Investors are desperate to take cash off the sidelines, even on high-quality securities that will yield relatively little. Despite its huge cash stockpile, Apple plans to issue debt to help fund dividend payments and stock buybacks in part because much of its cash is overseas. Raising money in the debt market would help Apple avoid the big tax bill that would come from bringing the cash back to the U.S. “We would likely buy the deal,” said Matt Brill, a portfolio manager overseeing $40 billion of investment-grade bondholdings at ING Investment Management.
Twitter Said To Bolster Security After AP Hack (Bloomberg)
Two-step authentication will be introduced to make it harder for outsiders to gain access to an account, said the person, who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public. In addition to a password, the security measure usually requires a code sent as a text message to a user’s mobile phone, or generated on a device or software. Twitter’s defense against hacks involving the theft of passwords came under scrutiny this week after a hacker sent a false post about explosions at the White House, triggering a drop in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index that wiped out $136 billion in market value. The attack came the same month the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said companies can use social-media sites to share market-sensitive news. It also threatened to complicate efforts by Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo to establish the service as a viable business ahead of a possible initial public offering.
Hoax Won’t Deter Tweeting (WSJ)
The Twitter hoax won’t affect the company’s disclosure plans or those of companies like Dell and Exxon Mobil, which have indicated they will use social media to communicate corporate news, according to company officials…Banks say they consider sites like Twitter an increasingly important news source and expect them to become essential outlets given the SEC’s recent blessing of social media as a way for companies to disclose market-moving information.
PIMCO’s Rising Stars Pull In Money For Future After Gross (Bloomberg)
Pacific Investment Management Co. is becoming less dependent on Bill Gross, preparing for an eventual future without the world’s best-known bond investor and adding pressure on its rising stars to live up to his legacy. Gross is overseeing a smaller share of Pimco’s mutual-fund assets and pulling in less of its cash. His $289 billion Pimco Total Return Fund got 19 percent of Pimco’s new mutual-fund deposits in the two years ended March 31, down from 42 percent in the prior period and 79 percent before that, Morningstar estimates. The portion of mutual-fund assets run by Gross fell to 63 percent as of March 31 from 84 percent a decade ago.
Virgin America Wants Fliers to ‘Get Lucky’ at 35,000 Feet (CNBC)
The carrier on Monday introduced a cheeky new seat-to-seat ordering system. Without the assistance of an attendant, you can discreetly order a drink, snack or meal delivered to a fellow passenger onboard your flight. Your flirting begins on the airline’s touch-screen personal entertainment system, located on the back of headrests. Call up the flight’s digital seat map and send a cocktail, snack or meal to a fellow traveler onboard. After selecting items and paying with a credit card, a flight attendant delivers the goodies directly to the passenger’s seat. After the delivery, you can follow up and chat with your object of affection with Virgin America’s existing seat-to-seat chat platform via its Red in-flight entertainment system. The chat platform allows travelers to send text messages to other fliers. “I’m not a betting man, but I say your chance of deplaning with a plus-one are at least 50 percent,” Branson said in the Get Lucky on Virgin America video posted on the airline’s Facebook page. Read more »
Mr. O’Neill, meanwhile, told shareholders that the main work in shrinking Citi has been done. “Look at the performance of Citicorp: It’s quite respectable,” he said about the division that is Citi’s core lending and capital markets business. “We have the makings here of a very attractive company,” he said. [WSJ]
The line forms to the left! Read more »
Credit Suisse Profit Rises (WSJ)
Zurich-based Credit Suisse said its bottom line was flattered by a favorable comparison with last year’s result, when an accounting charge weighed on performance. Revenue at the bank rose 19% following several quarters of reported declines. The report from Switzerland’s second-largest bank comes amid a cost-cutting program started in 2011 that has it eliminating thousands of jobs. The program has resulted in 2.5 billion Swiss francs ($2.6 billion) in savings, and is on track to cut costs by 4.4 billion francs by the end of 2015, the bank said. Credit Suisse said its number of full-time employees fell to 46,900 in the first quarter, from 48,700 in the same period last year.
Barclays Profit Buoyed By Investment Banking Unit (WSJ)
Investment banking, headed by departing executive Rich Ricci, accounted for 74% of Barclays’ pretax profit, or £1.32 billion of the £1.79 billion total. The high proportion of profits in part reflected weakness in other areas, such as retail banking in Europe and Africa, but was underpinned by a strong quarter for underwriting stock offerings and servicing hedge fund clients…The bank as a whole posted a £839 million net profit, compared with a £598 million net loss in the first quarter of 2012. Both figures are distorted by accounting charges that reflect the market cost of Barclays’ own debt. The £1.79 billion pretax profit was down 25% from £2.4 billion in first-quarter 2012 and slightly lower than analysts had expected.
Citigroup Says Debt Beats Peers in Advance of ‘Bail-In’ Rule (Bloomberg)
Citigroup, the bank that took the most U.S. aid during the credit crisis, said it’s better- prepared than some rivals to withstand the impact of new anti- bailout rules that could force lenders to sell more debt. Citigroup’s so-called bail-in plan — a rescue that makes debt investors and stockholders absorb losses instead of taxpayers — shows the bank already has issued more long-term debt than some of its largest rivals, Treasurer Eric Aboaf said during an April 22 investor presentation. That leaves the New York-based bank in a better position as regulators decide how much more debt lenders should add to their buffers, Aboaf said.
Wall Street Jobs Plunge As Profit Soars (Bloomberg)
“The desire is to drive the cost of executing a trade to its lowest point — this means automating the system and getting rid of the traders,” Richard Bove, a bank analyst with Rafferty Capital Markets LLC, said in a telephone interview. “All they do today is hit buttons on computer screens. Twenty-five years ago they would be calling their buddies at different firms. It was a highly labor intensive effort.” New York’s “inhospitable” climate for commercial banks, along with falling demand for financial services and increasing automation is driving the decline in jobs, Bove said.
Woman could face death penalty for killing man by crushing testicles (NYDN)
A 42-year-old woman is on trial for allegedly grabbing a man’s genitals after he told her not to park her electric bike in front of his store. He later died from shock, according to reports. “I’ll squeeze it to death, you’ll never have children again,” witnesses reported her as saying as she called on her brother and husband for back-up. The woman, who could face the death penalty if convicted, got into the row – in the Meilan District of Haikou City, Hainan – more than a year ago on April 19, 2012. IBTimes reports that her 41-year-old victim went into a state of shock and died before paramedics could treat him. The final outcome of the trial, it adds, depends largely on the interpretation of the woman’s statement of “squeeze it to death.” Dr Irwin Goldstein, urologist and director of San Diego Sexual Medicine, has previously told Gizmodo it is “quite plausible” the squeeze had killed the man. “Yes, the testicles are exquisitely sensitive to touch and there is a huge release of adrenalin when there is excessive force applied to these organs,” he told the site. He added that it could have brought on a heart attack. Read more »
$$$ Apple Returning $55 Billion to Investors as Forecast Trails [Bloomberg]
$$$ Chesapeake, Bank of New York, square off in bond trial [Reuters]
$$$ Ron Paul on Bitcoin: If I can’t put it in my pocket, I have reservations [Bloomberg TV]
$$$ When Mr. Mower attempted to talk to his wife about the problem, she changed the subject. He tried whispering in her ear. She ignored him. After reading online that women are turned on by men who do housework, he washed the dishes and vacuumed more often…Months stretched into years. Mr. Mower tracked their sex life in a notebook he kept in his nightstand. He drew a chart and filled in different-shaped dots to represent various scenarios: He initiated sex but was declined. They planned on sex but didn’t follow through. They actually had sex. Mr. Mower says he was rebuffed 95% of the time; his wife says his memory is highly subjective. [WSJ] Read more »
All BlackRock wanted to do was make things easier for you. It had no prurient pecuniary motive in launching its own corporate bond-trading platform. It just wanted to help. That’s how it’s become the world’s largest money manager, after all. Read more »