Opening Bell: 12.29.09

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The Man Who Wired Silicon Valley (WSJ)
The hedge fund community has been (potentially) robbed of a tremendous human being: "At Galleon, Mr. Rajaratnam took his fondness for pranks and dares to a new level. When executives from stun-gun maker Taser International Inc. came to make an investment pitch around 2005, Mr. Rajaratnam offered $5,000 to anyone who'd agree to be shocked. Employees gathered around as two people propped up trader Keryn Limmer at the elbows and another person fired the weapon. Ms. Limmer's legs buckled beneath her from the shock. Ms. Limmer declined to comment. That same year, employees arrived at Galleon's morning meeting to a surprise: In the conference room was a dwarf whom Mr. Rajaratnam introduced as an analyst hired to cover "small-cap" stocks. He was, in fact, an actor hired for an April Fool's Day gag."
Ponzi collapses nearly quadrupled in '09 (AP)
Charles P is not going to be happy to hear this. In all, more than 150 Ponzi schemes collapsed in 2009, compared to about 40 in 2008, according to the AP's examination of criminal cases at all U.S. attorneys' offices and the FBI, as well as criminal and civil actions taken by state prosecutors and regulators at both the federal and state levels. Everyone running one of these things, promise me you'll do better in 2010, okay?
Debriefed: A first look at the X-mas bomber's explosive underwear (NYDN)
Go ahead, take a peek.
Moran Stanley To Overhaul Pay Plan (WSJ)
The compensation committee has met several times over the last month-- once for 7 whole hours!-- to discuss how top executives will get paid. Thankfully, no one wants to go the way of Goldman's all-stock plan. One idea is that 65% (or more) of pay will be subject to clawbacks in the event of future losses. Also, 20% of total compensation would come in "shares awarded based on Morgan's share price compared with peers' share prices." And of course you have John Mack. Not getting paid at all. Again.
Did Tiger Cost Shareholders $12 Billion? (CNBC)
The University of California, Davis says yes. What they don't answer: did each girl cost shareholders roughly the same amount? Did Jungers and Grubbs cost more?
Ex-Hedge Fund Analyst Finds Calling On YouTube (NPR)
Salman Khan teaches math on the internet. Ping Jiang is hoping to be the next lonelygirl15.
Most cocaine diluted with unsafe livestock drug (SFGate)
Just an FYI: "Most cocaine coming into the United States has been diluted with a veterinary drug that is used to deworm horses and other animals but can cause severe illness and death in humans, public health experts say."
Departing AIG Counsel Gets Millions as She Exits (WSJ)
Anastasia Kelly is getting a few mill in severance after quitting over being fed up with Ken Feinberg and his "ideas." So that worked out pretty nicely for her.
Trump Trimmed (NYP)
Trump Entertainment Resorts, which owns the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Marina and Trump Plaza casino-hotels, "quietly acknowledged yesterday that the properties are worth an estimated $459 million -- down from $2 billion in assets when Trump Entertainment filed for bankruptcy in February 2009."
Top Videos Of 2009 (CNBC)
The network's top clips for the year include Santelli's teabagging rants, a conversation with Art Cashin, Obama swatting a fly, the Lingerie Football League and this:



Programming Note: We're on an abbreviated vacation-esque schedule 'til Monday (opening/closing wraps and very limited updates whenever the urge to reach out and touch you moves us). We still want to hear from you, though, so if anyone gets nailed for insider trading or Amanda breaks the 4th wall and acknowledges the CNBC wardrobe team keeps Dealbreaker readers in mind went determining how much of the Druries should be put on display, do not hesitate to let us know.

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