Opening Bell: 06.04.10

Publish date:

BP places cap on leaking pipe, but success unclear (MarketWatch)
U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the cap was a "positive development" but added that "it will be some time before we can confirm that this method will work," according to media reports. The cap was lowered into place late Thursday after the oil giant earlier managed to sever the leaking pipe. However, the company had to resort to using shears to complete the cut after a bid to saw through the pipe failed.

Super Fast Traders' New Edge (WSJ)
"It is a rigged game," Sal Arnuk, co-founder of brokerage firm Themis Trading, said at a Securities and Exchange Commission roundtable discussion in Washington, D.C., referring to the trading activity, which some call "latency arbitrage."

Laos Set For Capitalist Leap Into Stock Market (Reuters)
"There is huge potential in development but limited sources of financing," said Vathana Dalaloy, deputy secretary general of the country's newly formed Securities and Exchange Commission, which is setting up the bourse as a $20-million joint venture with Korea Exchange, Asia's fourth-largest bourse operator. Plans for the exchange also cast a spotlight on one of the world's last remaining hermit economies where annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth has averaged more than 7 percent over recent years, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). GDP was worth about $6 billion in 2009, according to World Bank data, with GDP per capita of nearly $900 compared with $4,000 in neighboring Thailand. With numerous rivers flowing through its misty, forest-clad mountains, Laos wants to become the "battery of Southeast Asia," selling power to its energy-hungry neighbors. Its jungles are also rich in minerals, attracting miners.

Man Sets Himself On Fire In Greek Bank (BW)
Police said the man entered a central Piraeus Bank branch Wednesday, carrying a can of fuel, and asked for the loans official. When told the official was away, he poured fuel over himself and set himself alight. Police said the man claimed to have financial problems.

Paulson Agrees To Buy Harrah's Shares For Debt (AP)
A 9.9 percent stake in exchange for $710 million in debt.

Hedge-Fund Clients Withdrew $3.5 Billion in April (BW)
“Proposed financial regulation in the U.S. and Europe -- some government folks aim to restrict the ability of banks to invest in hedge funds -- might help explain domestic flow weakness,” TrimTabs and BarclayHedge said. Hedge funds in Asia and Canada received more money than those in the U.S. and Europe over the past 12 months, they said. Investors pulled a net $7.3 billion from equity long-short funds, according to the firms. That category had the highest redemptions.

Austerity Drive? Not For Luxury Execs (Reuters)
"I buy art. The price doesn't mean anything. It's totally emotional and what we need today is emotion," said Jean-Marc Jacot, CEO at Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier. "I like traveling for fun. I like very much to travel. My last travel for fun was Zanzibar." Alex Bolen, CEO of U.S.-based fashion house Oscar de la Renta, likes his indulgences to keep bearing fruit. "I am desperate to have a nice garden. I have spent large sums of money on plants for my garden. I bought some fig trees," he said.

Taconic Miracle (NYP)
A Lower East Side man whose BMW went flying off the Taconic State Parkway in Dutchess County early Sunday was found badly hurt but alive yesterday in dense woods. "I'm so happy to see you guys!" Thomas Wopat-Moreau told the troopers who found him. Wopat-Moreau, who had just left a late-night party, suffered a severe back injury in the accident and was unable to crawl more than 120 feet from the vehicle before getting stuck in a swamp. Wopat-Moreau, 22, was driving his 2005 silver BMW when it toppled down an embankment, going airborne before coming to rest about 480 feet away, upside down. Brown was covered with bugs and spiders and badly dehydrated as a result of his 100-hour ordeal. "He repeatedly said, 'I want four pitchers of ice water,' " Brown said. Authorities had been hunting for Wopat-Moreau since he was reported missing after leaving a party in Stormville at 3 a.m. Sunday.

Morgan Stanley Says Roach To Relocate To New York (Bloomberg)
The 64-year-old economist, who has predicted China will overtake the U.S. as the dominant economy by 2025, relocated to Hong Kong in 2007 to lead a push to arrange more takeovers and stock sales in the region. Roach, who joined Morgan Stanley in 1982, said he wants to rejoin his family after three years “living out of a suitcase” in Asia and plans to use a teaching post at Yale to correct “misperceptions” of China.

Betting On Madoff Recovery Claims (WSJ)
ASM Capital is offering either to make an immediate payment of 20% of claims in exchange for the full claim; or make an upfront payment of 16% of the claims, with the investor keeping 33% of future recoveries. For those with claims less than $1 million, the payout could be slightly less, ASM says.



Opening Bell: 2.14.18

Inflation report key to market rally; Chipotle gets new boss; Insider trading still rampant; Time traveler passes lie detector; and more!

Opening Bell: 12.20.12

Report Says Libor-Tied Losses at Fannie, Freddie May Top $3 Billion (WSJ) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may have lost more than $3 billion as a result of banks' alleged manipulation of a key interest rate, according to an internal report by a federal watchdog sent to the mortgage companies' regulator and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The unpublished report urges Fannie and Freddie to consider suing the banks involved in setting the London interbank offered rate, which would add to the mounting legal headaches financial firms such as UBS AG and Barclays face from cities, insurers, investors and lenders over claims tied to the benchmark rate. Libor Documents May Boost Civil Suits (WSJ) Analysts have published a range of estimates of the potential impact to the industry of lawsuits stemming from the manipulation—in some cases they reach into the tens of billions of dollars or more. It likely will be years before the extent of any liabilities becomes clear. For the lawsuits to succeed, plaintiffs must prove that banks successfully altered the interest-rate benchmarks and caused the plaintiffs to suffer a loss. Michael Hausfeld, chairman of Hausfeld LLP, a co-lead counsel on one of the lawsuits, said the UBS settlement was "extremely useful" for the litigation. The "extraordinary emails" published by the regulators exposed the "pervasiveness of the culture and the activity." UBS Trader Hayes Exposed at Core of Libor Investigation (Bloomberg) Tom Hayes, one of two former UBS AG traders charged by U.S. prosecutors, is portrayed by American regulators as the kingpin of a three-year campaign that succeeded in manipulating global interest rates. Hayes, 33, was charged with wire fraud and price-fixing, the Department of Justice said in a criminal complaint unsealed yesterday. The trader and Roger Darin, a former short-term interest-rates trader at UBS whose responsibilities included the firm’s yen Libor quotes, were also charged with conspiracy...Hayes colluded with brokers, counterparts at other firms and his colleagues to manipulate the rate, the Justice Department said. Between 2006 and 2009, a UBS trader made at least 800 requests to the firm’s yen Libor rate-setters, about 100 to traders at other banks, and 1,200 to interdealer brokers, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which didn’t identify Hayes by name. “Many UBS yen derivatives traders and managers were involved in the manipulative conduct and made requests to serve their own trading positions’ interests,” the CFTC said. “But the volume of unlawful requests submitted by one particular senior yen derivatives trader in Tokyo dwarfed them all.” IntercontinentalExchange Agrees to Acquire NYSE Euronext (Bloomberg) IntercontinentalExchange Inc., the 12-year-old energy and commodity futures bourse, agreed to acquire NYSE Euronext for cash and stock worth $8.2 billion, moving to take control of the world’s biggest equities market. ICE, based in Atlanta, will pay $33.12 a share for the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, 38 percent above yesterday’s closing price, according to a statement today. Both boards approved the proposal and the companies expect to complete the transaction in the second half of 2013. Last year, the U.S. Justice Department blocked a joint hostile bid by ICE and Nasdaq OMX Group for the New York-based company on concern the combination would dominate U.S. stock listings. Greece Faces 'Make or Break' Year (FT) We can make it next year if we can stick to the program agreed with the EU and IMF," finance minister Yannis Stournaras said in an interview with the Financial Times. However, "the break would be if the political system finds the situation too difficult to handle", he added, referring to the danger of social unrest about austerity that could force the two left-of-center parties to bring down the governing coalition. "What we have done so far is necessary but not sufficient to achieve a permanent solution for Greece," Mr Stournaras said. "The issue now is implementation." Boehner's 'Plan B' Gets Pushback (WSJ) The mood at the White House was gloomy, while on Capitol Hill it fluctuated. Few seemed confident the nation would avoid the tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff, but others noted major Washington deals are usually reached only after several near-death experiences. Preparing for the World's End, Just in Case (WSJ) Tony Brown, a private investigator in Southern California, says he has spent nearly $60,000 preparing for Teotwawki — an acronym for "the end of the world as we know it"—or SHTF—when the "s--- hits the fan." Mr. Brown has purchased an ultralight plane and amassed three tons of food in his kitchen, about a third in freeze-dried meals. About a year ago, Mr. Brown started a website to recruit a community of preppers to plan for a cataclysm. In the first several months, he said he received few inquiries. But by the summer, traffic to the site soared and applications have come rolling in since. He recently capped the group at 175 members—all are responsible for their own one-year supply of food—though he is still seeking a doctor, meteorologist and ham-radio operator. Mr. Brown has contingency plans for four doomsday scenarios he deems most likely—a supervolcano, solar flare, major earthquake or hyper inflation—and a large underground bunker in case of a nuclear attack. He doesn't believe the world will end on Dec. 21, "but, just in case, I want to have everything ready by then," he said. US Economy Grew 3.1%; Jobless Claims Rise (Reuters) Weekly jobless claims rose to 361,000 in the latest week. Claims has been expected to rise to 357,000, from 343,000 the prior week. BofA’s Moynihan Said to Kill Proposal to Cut Pay for Brokers (Bloomberg) Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan blocked a proposal to cut the main component of most brokers’ pay for 2013, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The plan would have reduced the so-called grid payout for Merrill Lynch financial advisers by two percentage points, the person said, requesting anonymity because it wasn’t made public. The changes, which would have affected advisers generating less than $1 million in commissions, were seen as a way to cushion the costs of new bonuses, the person said. In $18 Million Theft, Victim Was a Canadian Maple Syrup Cartel (NYT) It was an inside job of sorts. Thieves with access to a warehouse and a careful plan loaded up trucks and, over time, made off with $18 million of a valuable commodity. The question is what was more unusual: that the commodity in question was maple syrup, or that it came from something called the global strategic maple syrup reserve, run by what amounts to a Canadian cartel. On Tuesday, the police in Quebec arrested three men in connection with the theft from the warehouse, which is southwest of Quebec City. The authorities are searching for five others suspected of being involved, and law enforcement agencies in other parts of Canada and the United States are trying to recover some of the stolen syrup. Both the size and the international scope of the theft underscore Quebec’s outsize position in the maple syrup industry. Depending on the year, the province can produce more than three-quarters of the world’s supply. And its marketing organization appears to have taken some tips from the producers of another valuable liquid commodity when it comes to exploiting market dominance. “It’s like OPEC,” said Simon Trépanier, acting general manager of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. “We’re not producing all the maple syrup in the world. But by producing 70 to 78 percent, we have the ability to adjust the quantity that is in the marketplace.” NYers who believe in Mayan apocalypse search for sex before the world ends (NYP) While some people around the world are arming themselves and digging into bunkers, many New Yorkers are simply hoping for a hot time. “I will be looking for an end-of-the-world hook-up,” Dennis Cintron, 29, a Lower East Side bartender, told The Post. “If you’re going to go out, go out with a bang.” Cintron said he’ll buy new clothes and get a haircut for the big day because he wants some “companionship” to ring in the rapture. Sara Saperstein, 26, of Bushwick is also hoping for one last romp. “It’s like New Year’s. I want to go out on a wild note!” Saperstein said. She won’t have trouble finding a spot for that. More than a dozen bars and clubs in New York City are throwing end-of-days bashes, including a comedy show at the Bell House in Gowanus and an “End of the Funking World Party” at B.B. King Blues Club in Midtown. Other singles posted ads on and, seeking apocalypse-themed dates, “casual encounters” and even “end of the world sex.” “If you’ve got no plans for the apocalypse, let’s get together,” wrote a 30-year-old single guy from Midtown. He added, “Send me how you’d like to spend your last hours on earth — and a photo.”