Opening Bell: 02.16.10

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Barclays Net Profit Doubles (MarketWatch)
The bank said that its 2009 net profit more than doubled to 9.39 billion pounds ($14.73 billion) from 4.38 billion pounds a year earlier, due to gains from the disposal of Barclays Global Investors. The bank said pretax profit, including a 6.33 billion pounds gain from BGI, rose 92% to 11.64 billion pounds, slightly ahead of a 11.31 billion pound forecast.
Phibro chief's new fund delivers a touch of history (FT)
Andrew Hall has started a hedge fund! It's called Astenbeck Capital Management and it will be "run parallel with Phibro." The team has $1.4bn under management already but it still accepting new money. $25 million minimum. Get in now.
RBS Rejiggers Fixed Income Unit (WSJ)
RBS said on Monday that London-based head of interest-rates trading Steve Ashley had resigned along with European flow-sales head Chris Fleming, prompting global markets head Peter Nielsen to announce a reorganization of the division. The bank is adopting the fixed-income, currencies and commodities structure. "By aligning our world-class fixed-income businesses, we will be able to more effectively face off with our competitors, service our clients, and this will assist us in developing both our products and our people in accordance with global best practices," Mr. Nielsen wrote in a memo.
The Power Of Art (NYT)
Rich people stopped shelling out record amounts for it last year but just for a little while. Earlier this month, an anonymous art lover paid a record $104.3 million to scoop up "Walking Man I," a 1960 sculpture by Alberto Giacometti.
What Is Hedge Fund King John Paulson Doing in Greece? (AlterNet)
"That Goldman was shepherding hedge fund client Paulson around Athens in recent weeks would seem to suggest that the bank and hedge fund are working together in Greece." And not just on making money but on their tans. Not saying JP and LB were spotted rubbing each other down with baby oil, but not not saying it either.


Benihana family sharpens knives over merger plan (NYP)
The Aoki clan, which holds the largest stake in the Miami-based company, says a merger with a Benihana subsidiary called BHI Mergersub, which involves issuing 12.5 million shares of Class A stock, will dilute the family's interest in the company. Any they're not happy about it! How will this affect your ability to sit at a table with strangers while food is cut midair? Unclear at this time.
Charges in Web Video Bring Unusual Rebuttal From F.D.I.C. (NYT)
"It is unfortunate but necessary to respond to blatantly false claims in a Web video that is being circulated" about the creation of OneWest Bank out of the assets of IndyMac, the agency's chief spokesman, Andrew Gray, said in a written statement late Friday. In the statement, he went on to say that the video "has no credibility" and was replete with "falsehoods." Also, he expressed skepticism that this 2-G's 1-C video is entirely legit.
You, Too, Can Soon Be Like Tom Cruise in 'Minority Report' (Bits)
John Underkoffler, who led the team that came up with the interface that Tom Cruise's character used in the 2002 movie "Minority Report," co-founded a company, Oblong Industries, to make the gesture-activated interface a reality.

Greece: Helping Governments Deceive
(High and Low Finance)
Floyd Norris: this is just like Enron!

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