Wall Street Lights Up, Hopes Kids/Others Will Follow In Suit

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Not too long ago, Philip Morris changed its name to Altria in order to distance itself from those pesky little cancer sticks it did such a great job of selling—specifically, Marlboro brand cigarettes. But apparently it wasn’t the cigarettes that were the dead weight. Altria is spinning off its Krafts Foods division, which makes Oreos, Tang, and a bunch of other products cigarettes are too good to associate themselves with. The split was originally announced in October; today, Altria’s chief executive, Louis c. Camilleri will set a timetable for the spinoff’s completion (shares have risen 10% since the split was announced).
An analyst from Citigroup, which just can’t seem to catch a break, told the New York Times “The exciting part for me…is that tobacco use today will evolve. It’s unlikely that there will ever be a 100 percent safe cigarette, but we feel that a reduced-risk cigarette is on the horizon.” Sounds like dropping the Kraft Foods fatties was a shrewd move for Altria. With advent of cigarettes that don’t-cause-cancer-but-will-most-likely-still-cause-things-like- Emphysema-discolored-nails-ashtray-smelling-breath-etc, shares are sure to shoot through the roof.
Tobacco’s Stigma Aside, Wall Street Finds a Lot to Like [NYT]

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Convicted Insider Trader Garrett Bauer Hoping College Kids Will Help Him Get Off

Remember Garrett Bauer? For those who need a refresher, GB was a trader (who "mostly worked from home") who was charged last year for running a decades-long insider trading scam with an M&A attorney, Matthew Kluger, that involved stealing information from several law firms. (In April 2011, 20 FBI agents knocked on Bauer's door to arrest him which, while terrifying, didn't come as much of a shock-- the duo had recently become suspicious that the authorities were onto them and, naturally, went about destroying evidence, a process Bauer recounted to a cooperating witness in a conversation he didn't realize was being recorded, telling the CC: "My heart was beating ten thousand miles an hour. I went right up to my apartment and I broke the phone in half and went to McDonald's and put it in two different garabage cans. And someone was watching me. I thought it was an FBI agent. And I asked him, 'Do you know me? You look familiar.' And, like, I was so panicked. I literally didn't sleep that entire night...I can't sleep. I am waiting for the FBI to ride into my apartment. I am on edge all night thinking they are coming in.") Anyway, Bauer ultimately pleaded guilty and is set to be sentenced today. Though he could receive up to 11 years in the big house, a judge will be taking into consideration letters "expressing support or urging leniency" sent on Bauer's behalf, some of which were written by fans he's gained working the college lecture circuit the past few months, explaining to undergrads why they don't want to follow in his footsteps (hint: it involves sleeping on bunk-beds). “I’m here hoping you won’t commit the same crime I committed, insider trading,” Bauer told the students at NYU’s Stern School of Business in February. “I feel remorse. That’s why I’m here. It’s my way of trying to apologize to everyone for what I’ve done and try to make amends.” Bauer said he hopes that his “scared straight” message, delivered in 147 speeches since last fall at business schools, law schools, churches and synagogues, will move the judge to grant him leniency. Sentencing judges can consider whether a defendant has accepted responsibility and shown remorse for his acts. “I’m not blind anymore,” Bauer said in an interview. “I see how wrong it was, how unfair it was to everybody else that’s trading. You get away with it once, and then you think you can get away with it every time. I almost never considered the question of getting caught. It was more a question of let’s figure out a way to make money and not lose money.” Bauer spoke several times a week in person or via Skype at schools including Harvard University, Yale University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Texas, the University of Michigan and Duke University. He booked his own speeches, sometimes called “Confessions of an Inside Trader.” Bauer gave the same basic narrative in two appearances observed at NYU, as well as at Cardozo Law School in New York, Drexel University in Philadelphia and a Rutgers University class in Jersey City, New Jersey. Bauer, lean at 5-foot-11 and 145 pounds, favors button-down shirts and khaki pants. He speaks rapidly in a nasal voice, lacing his account with jokes...In every talk to students, Bauer discussed how 20 FBI agents came to his apartment to arrest him and how they played the tapes for him, as well as his time in the Hudson County Jail. He tried hard to show no emotion to violent criminals. “Saying it’s a scary place kind of understates it,” he said. “It’s the scariest place on earth.” At least one professor believes Bauer's talk scarred his students for life, which should count for something. And according to Sameen Singh, a recent Stern grad who will soon start a job at Morgan Stanley, U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden ought to go easy on the guy, who is just another bro. “I was impressed by how human he was and how his friendships and relationships played a role in his crimes. My friends were quite taken aback by how similar he was to them. He came from humble beginnings, and he’s not a deviant mastermind criminal. He’s just a regular guy.” Prison-Bound Bauer Reprises ‘Confessions Of An Inside Trader’ [Bloomberg]

Matt Taibbi Is Disappointed In Wall Street

The next hedge fund manager to invest in Apple gets a horse semen pie to the face. ...all those super-rich people who turned to hedge funds with their millions in the hopes that bunches of Whiz-Kids from Wharton and Harvard and Yale would find unseen and wildly creative investment ideas to fatten their fortunes – all those rich clients are actually finding out now that those same Whiz Kids are buying Apple just like the rest of us [...] Jesus. After all that craziness in the last decade or so, after MF and the London Whale and all that nuttiness, this is what it comes down to? These guys are buying Apple? Couldn't we have just started off doing that and saved ourselves all that trouble? [...] Someday we'll get back to the time when the really smart guys from the best schools went to work for companies that built actual products, engineered more efficient cars, cured diseases, etc. Because it seems like our best minds kind of suck at investing. More Evidence That Wall Street Is Overpaid [TAIBBLOG]