Opening Bell: 02.12.09

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Bank of America, JPMorgan May Flee Bailout After Public Lashing (Bloomberg)
It's almost jaw dropping that given the circumstances elected officials would act with such irresponsibility. In truth, at this point, I hope the banks can manage to pay off the debt in the next 60 days and refuse to shore liquidity across the board - to anyone. For anything.
"Eight chief executive officers of the biggest U.S. banks heard lawmakers in Washington criticize their bonuses, underwriting fees and perks. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat, read questions from angry constituents asking what banks had done with taxpayer money they'd taken from the $700 billion TARP fund, and Rep. Michael Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat, said he "cannot believe no one has prosecuted you.""
In related news the FT touches on how the banks have agreed to put a hold on foreclosures for the next three or so weeks so as to give Congress the time to come up with a plan, which is much, much more generous than I would have been.
Houston Based Firm Under Investigation (Bloomberg)
10:1 says not a Ponzi: the money is either invested in coca fields or cross breeding humans and fish to fight Somali Pirates. Not sure how the latter makes money (yet).
Futures Down On Likelihood Of Shitty Retail Numbers (MarketWatch)
"We expect today's report to show that retail sales fell 0.4% in January, marking the seventh consecutive monthly decline and pushing the year-on-year growth rate to -10%," said economists from Barclays Capital. "This would easily be the fastest pace of decrease in the 40-year history of the data. Part of this fall reflects the sharp drop in inflation, particularly commodity prices, which have depressed gasoline sales. "
Bank Of China Not Bidding On AIG Unit (DJNewswire via CNN)
It looks like the either the FT story got it wrong, or the Chinese didn't appreciate the information being leaked - either way, the company is still for sale (and I'm willing to bet Bank Of China bids.)
GM In Talks With Red Empire About Private Bailout (Reuters)
It's almost comical that in todays push towards socialism China is stepping in to purchase a stake in our auto sector; I can't imagine what our elected's are going to say about the possibility of turning over a large part of the national defense clog to the Red Army (if anything).
Harvard Largely Bows Out Of The Market (WSJ)
"Harvard University's endowment, the largest in higher education, cut by two-thirds its direct holdings of publicly traded stocks and funds during the market plunge in last year's fourth quarter.
As of Dec. 31, Harvard Management Co., which oversees the endowment, held about 70 stocks and publicly traded funds that were valued at $571 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Three months before, the endowment held about 200 stocks and other vehicles valued at just under $2.9 billion."
Fortis Investors Challenge The Fates (Reuters)
The mighty shareholders of Fortis have cast a ballet against the state led/sponsored deal to mate Fortis and BNP:
"Faced with heavy losses and the prospect of a share of toxic assets, they first voted against the Netherlands' purchase of Fortis' Dutch assets by a 57 percent majority.
Then, by a wafer-thin 50.3 percent, they rejected Belgium's move to take control of banking unit Fortis Bank."


Hedge Funds Show Growth Despite Bad Economy (FINalternatives)
"The Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index, which fell by 12% last year, rose 0.5% last month, according to preliminary returns. Eight of the nine strategies tracked by Eureka rose in January, led by arbitrage funds at 2.3% and distressed debt at 1.7%. The only strategy index in the red last month was down 0.8%."

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By Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 6.13.16

Asian equities desks face the ax; Jennifer Lawrence to play Elizabeth Holmes; Anonymous donor pays $3,456,789 for lunch with Warren Buffett; and more.

Opening Bell: 11.21.12

Germany Hints At More Financing (WSJ) Germany on Wednesday signaled its willingness to provide additional financing for the euro zone's bailout fund and accept lower interest on loans to Athens, in order to get the Greek rescue back on track and free the next tranche of about €44 billion ($56.40 billion) in loans for the euro zone's weakest member. Merkel Sees Chance For Greek Deal Monday (Reuters) "I believe there are chances, one doesn't know for sure, but there are chances to get a solution on Monday," Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament in a debate on the German budget. But the longing for one act, one miracle solution, one truth that means all our problems are gone tomorrow...this will not be fulfilled. What was neglected over years, over decades, cannot be taken care of overnight and therefore we will need to continue to move step by step." H-P Says It Was Duped (WSJ) The technology giant said that an internal investigation had revealed "serious accounting improprieties" and "outright misrepresentations" in connection with U.K. software maker Autonomy, which H-P acquired for $11.1 billion in October 2011. "There appears to have been a willful sustained effort" to inflate Autonomy's revenue and profitability, said Chief Executive Meg Whitman. "This was designed to be hidden." Michael Lynch, Autonomy's founder and former CEO, fired back hours later, denying improper accounting and accusing H-P of trying to hide its mismanagement. "We completely reject the allegations," said Mr. Lynch, who left H-P earlier this year. "As soon as there is some flesh put on the bones we will show they are not true." Analysts Had Questioned Autonomy’s Accounting Years Ago (CNBC) Paul Morland, technology research analyst at broking and advisory house Peel Hunt, told CNBC that he had noticed three red flags in Autonomy’s accounts in the years leading up to the HP acquisition: poor cash conversion, an inflated organic growth rate, and the categorizing of hardware sales as software. London Bankers Become Landlords as Rents Hit Record (Bloomberg) Vivek Jeswani became a landlord by accident when Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) transferred him to New York two weeks after he moved into a new home in central London. Now back in the U.K., Jeswani views the apartment in Baker Street, the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes, as one of his best assets and is about to buy another home to expand his rental business. “There are no other investments as attractive and you’ve got some security if you’ve got an asset you can use yourself,” the 36-year-old risk officer at China Construction Bank Corp.’s U.K. unit said. “There’s a good yield over 5 percent and being in central London, you’ve got demand domestically and internationally.” Trading Charges Reach SAC (WSJ) The hedge funds reaped $276 million in profits and losses avoided based on that information, criminal and civil authorities said—far dwarfing that of any previous insider-trading case. The bulk of the trading profits generated by Mr. Martoma was paid to Mr. Cohen, a person close to the hedge fund said. Fed Still Trying To Push Down Rates (WSJ) Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that the central bank will keep trying to push down long-term interest rates in 2013, as federal tax and spending policies become a more substantial headwind to the U.S. economy. "We will continue to do our best to add monetary-policy support to the recovery," Mr. Bernanke said at the New York Economic Club, answering a question about how the Federal Reserve would respond to impending spending cuts or tax increases that might restrain economic growth. 'Stiletto Surgery' alters pinky toe for better fit (Fox) These days, some women will do just about anything to fit into their favorite pair of high heels – including surgery. A growing number of women are paying thousands of dollars to surgically alter their feet just to make wearing heels a more comfortable experience. Surgical procedures such as shortening toes, receiving foot injections and even completely cutting off pinky toes are on the rise. “Unless you’ve been there, and you can’t find shoes, and you’re in pain, don’t judge,” said Susan Deming, a patient who recently underwent a toe-shortening procedure. Adoboli’s Fate Decided at Wine Bar as UBS Market Bets Unraveled (Bloomberg) On a cool late summer evening last year in London’s financial district, with the euro-zone crisis worsening and Greece tottering on the edge of default, Kweku Adoboli says he asked the three traders who worked with him at UBS AG’s exchange-traded funds desk to join him for a drink. Adoboli said in a post on his Facebook page that he needed “a miracle” as his bets on the market imploded. That night at a wine bar across the street from their office, Adoboli asked John Hughes, the senior trader on the ETF desk, and two junior traders, what to do. The others decided he should take the blame for billions of dollars in losses and an elaborate web of secret trades in what he called an umbrella account that once held $40 million in hidden profits. “I knew I was going to lose my job anyway, I had already resigned myself to that, so fair enough,” the 32-year-old Adoboli testified last month about the meeting, which the other traders deny took place. Jobless Claims in U.S. Decrease (Bloomberg) Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week as damage to the labor market caused by superstorm Sandy began to subside. Jobless claims decreased by 41,000 to 410,000 in the week ended Nov. 17, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The number of applications matched the median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Soros Buying Gold as Record Prices Seen on Stimulus (Bloomberg) The metal will rise every quarter next year and average $1,925 an ounce in the final three months, or 11 percent more than now, according to the median of 16 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Paulson & Co. has a $3.66 billion bet through the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest gold-backed exchange- traded product, and Soros Fund Management LLC increased its holdings by 49 percent in the third quarter, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings show. 'Cannibal Cop' Gilberto Valle planned to to cook up 'some girl meat' on Thanksgiving (NYDN) The "Cannibal Cop" had his own twist for a Thanksgiving dinner this year — cooking up “some girl meat,” prosecutors revealed Tuesday. Gilberto Valle, 28 — who allegedly kept a database of at least 100 women he plotted to rape, cook and eat — planned the freakish feast with one of his online conspirators earlier this year, prosecutors said. “I’m planning on getting me some girl meat,” he wrote to his pal on Feb. 9. “Really tell me more,” responded the friend. “It’s this November, for Thanksgiving. It’s a long way off but I’m getting the plan in motion now,” Valle wrote.