Opening Bell: 06.21.10

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BP Chief Draws Outrage for Attending Yacht Race (NYT)
BP officials on Saturday scrambled yet again to respond to another public relations challenge when their embattled chief executive, Tony Hayward, spent the day off the coast of England watching his yacht compete in one of the world’s largest races. “He is having some rare private time with his son,” a BP spokeswoman, Sheila Williams, said in a telephone interview on Saturday. On Saturday, Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, called Mr. Hayward’s yacht outing the “height of arrogance,” in an interview with Fox News. “I can tell you that yacht ought to be here skimming and cleaning up a lot of the oil,” Mr. Shelby said. “He ought to be down here seeing what is really going on. Not in a cocoon somewhere.”

London's City Buys BP While Wall Street Flees Risk in U.S. (Bloomberg)
“There’s a feeling in the U.K. that BP has been singled out unfairly and that there’s long-term value in the stock,” said Iain Armstrong, an analyst at Brewin Dolphin Ltd., which oversees more than $31 billion in London and increased its BP holdings in May. “In the U.S., it’s a very emotive issue, and politicians are making it much more personal and vindictive. If you’re a U.S. fund manager and BP doesn’t manage to stop the leak, you’ve got a lot to answer for.”

BP Says Gulf Oil Spill Response Costs Up To $2 Billion (WSJ)
"It is too early to quantify other potential costs and liabilities associated with the incident," the company said in a statement.

Germany And France Examine 'Two-Tier' Euro (Telegraph)
The creation of a "super-euro" zone would initially include France, Germany, Holland, Austria, Denmark and Finland. The likes of Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and even Ireland would be left in a larger rump mostly Mediterranean grouping. The official said French and German officials had first spent months examining how to exclude poor-performing states from the euro but decided it was not feasible.

To Help Prevent Crises, Delay Some Executive Pay (NYT)
Robert Shiller: "If our holdback measure had been in place before the last crisis, executives might have had serious second thoughts about giving a green light to mortgage-backed securities that would later go bust."

Gold at new record high after Saudi reserves double (FT)
The changes in Riyadh’s reserves were revealed by the World Gold Council, the industry-backed body which regularly tracks official bullion holdings. According to the WGC, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, the central bank, has gold reserves of 322.9 tonnes, more than double the 143 tonnes it had previously reported.

New Mexico v. Val Kilmer: Payback Time (WSJ)
When actor Val Kilmer recently applied for permits to turn his 6,000-acre ranch outside Santa Fe into an upscale bed-and-breakfast, several of his neighbors protested. They weren't worried about traffic or noise or the prospect of intruding tourists. They were incensed about comments attributed to Mr. Kilmer in magazine articles dating to 2003 and 2005. And they didn't want him to get his way on the ranch unless he apologized. "That's all he has to do, come and apologize," said Jose Garcia, who runs horses on a 50-acre ranch next to Mr. Kilmer's. "We're not intimidated by him." Mr. Kilmer was quoted—misquoted, he says—describing his rugged corner of New Mexico as "the homicide capital of the Southwest." He went on to avow that "80% of the people in my county are drunk," requiring him to carry a gun for protection. That was in a 2003 interview with Rolling Stone.

Pershing Square backs Landry’s Restaurants buyout (FT)
According to people close to the matter, Pershing has agreed to vote in favour of a deal at or above $24.50 a share, after a seven-month battle with Tilman Fertitta, Landry’s founder. The agreement could be made public as soon as today, those people added.

The Tremors From A Coding Error (NYT)
AXA Rosenberg told its clients — which include mutual funds, pension funds and holders of separately managed accounts — that it had made a “coding error” that affected returns in its various portfolios in ways that had yet to be determined. The letter didn’t explain the specific nature of the error or when it was made. It said the problem “was first discovered in late June 2009” but that the company did not correct it until somewhere “between September and mid-November.” AXA Rosenberg did not notify clients until the mid-April letter.

Worries Emerge on Boeing Cockpit-Oxygen Systems (WSJ)
Nothing to freak out about, just know the pilots may not be able to put out a fire in time to save the plane.

Barclays Bosses To Take Stand In Legal Row (NYT)
Barclays top executives will tell a New York court the British bank did not get an unfair windfall from a deal for parts of Lehman Brothers in a case that shows the need for banks to draw up "living wills." Barclays President Bob Diamond is due to appear on Monday, followed a day later by Chief Executive John Varley. Lehman Brothers creditors charge them with taking advantage of the investment bank's collapse to get an $11 billion windfall from its takeover of the U.S. operations.

A Hedge-Fund King Philosophizes on Truth and Weasels (WSJ)
The euro was plummeting. The stock market was gyrating. And Ray Dalio, president of one of the world's largest hedge funds, took a moment to talk about mosquitoes. "Man will never be able to build a flying device like a mosquito," mused Mr. Dalio, the 60-year-old founder of Bridgewater Associates. "I look at nature's complexity and think, man has the intelligence of mold growing on an apple."

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