Opening Bell: 07.22.10

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Paulson Plans New Fund (WSJ)
Paulson & Co., is launching a fund under the European standard for open-ended investment funds, known as UCITS, that will track existing investments, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. Paulson plans to launch the fund, which will be domiciled onshore in Europe, in the coming months, the person familiar said. It is being launched in conjunction with Germany's Deutsche Bank AG.

Credit Suisse Sees Small Increase In Profit (NYT)
Credit Suisse’s profit rose 1.4 percent to 1.59 billion Swiss francs, or $1.5 billion, in the second quarter, from 1.57 billion francs in the same period last year. But earnings at its investment banking operation dropped 53 percent as unnerved clients cut back on trades.

Blackstone Reports Second Quarter Profit (BW)
$205 mill buys a lotta crabs. Just sayin'.

Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Said to Pass EU's Stress Tests (Bloomberg)
Bank of Ireland’s 2.9 billion-euro ($3.7 billion) fundraising last month gave the lender enough capital to meet the threshold set by EU regulators, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. Allied Irish, the second-biggest lender by market value, passed because regulators included in their calculations the 7.4 billion euros the bank plans to raise by the end of the year, said another person who declined to be identified.

New York City Pensions Consider First Hedge-Fund Investments (Bloomberg)
The three funds, with combined assets of $64.5 billion as of March 31, want advice from firms on formulating strategy, identifying new investments and monitoring portfolios, according to a request for proposals from the comptroller’s office.

Greenwich Pillage (NYP)
In a move that dramatically turns up the heat on Walter Noel, the former socialite and jet-setter, Irving Picard claims Noel and other brass at Madoff feeder fund Fairfield Greenwich "purposefully turned a blind eye" to Madoff's shenanigans and used ill-gotten gains from the $7 billion in client funds they invested with the fraudster to fuel a lavish lifestyle. Picard says Noel and his main business partner Tucker, a former SEC attorney, each wrongfully earned $114 million in partnership distributions from 2002-08, in addition to salaries and bonuses. Tucker, Picard charges, was "acutely aware of many facts and red flags" but chose instead his "prized racehorses, private jets, and luxurious mansions."

Workers on Doomed Rig Voiced Concern About Safety (NYT)
In the survey, commissioned by the rig’s owner, Transocean, workers said that company plans were not carried out properly and that they “often saw unsafe behaviors on the rig.” Some workers also voiced concerns about poor equipment reliability, “which they believed was as a result of drilling priorities taking precedence over planned maintenance,” according to the survey, one of two Transocean reports obtained by The New York Times. “At nine years old, Deepwater Horizon has never been in dry dock,” one worker told investigators. “We can only work around so much.”

Gold rally to extend into 2011, macro fear persists (Reuters)
A poll of 55 analysts and traders showed expectations for gold prices in 2011 have risen by nearly 7 percent to a median $1,228 an ounce, from a forecast of $1,150 in a similar survey conducted in January.

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Opening Bell: 04.05.12

Falcone Says Bankruptcy Is an Option for LightSquared (Bloomberg) Phil Falcone said he may consider voluntary bankruptcy for LightSquared Inc., the broadband wireless venture majority owned by his hedge fund that has been derailed by regulators. “There are arguments that we would be better off in bankruptcy than not,” Falcone said in an interview. “LightSquared, if I have to, I’ll put it into bankruptcy. I don’t care,” adding that he would maintain control of the Reston, Virginia-based company if it filed. Jobless Claims Decline (WSJ) New applications for jobless benefits fell to the lowest level in nearly four years last week, further evidence that U.S. employers likely added a healthy number of workers to their payrolls in March. Initial jobless claims decreased by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000 in the week ended March 31, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires predicted that 360,000 new claims would be filed last week. Morgan Stanley Tries to Stave Off Ratings Cut (FT) James Gorman, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive, has been in discussions with Moody’s in an attempt to maintain its credit ratings and stave off a downgrade that could diminish the bank’s ability to buy the rest of Citigroup brokerage Smith Barney, according to people familiar with the matter...Morgan Stanley would most likely have to issue debt to fund the purchase, people say. That would become more expensive if Morgan Stanley is downgraded. Moody’s put Morgan Stanley, along with five other banks, on review for a downgrade in February. The bank could see its rating reduced by as many as three notches to Baa2 - two levels above junk status. A downgrade would also force Morgan Stanley to provide additional collateral to back its vast derivatives business, where it acts as a counterparty. JPMorgan Investment Bank Chief Widens Pay Lead on Rival (Bloomberg) Jes Staley, chief executive officer of JPMorgan’s investment bank, beat his Bank of America counterpart in compensation after boosting earnings amid a market slump. Staley’s $16 million award for 2011 almost held steady from the $17 million he made the previous year as profit at the firm’s investment bank climbed 2.3 percent to $6.8 billion. Bank of America co-chief operating officer Thomas K. Montag’s pay dropped 25 percent to $12 million after profit at the lender’s investment bank plunged by more than half to $2.97 billion. Gorman's Pay Falls (Bloomberg) Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer James Gorman’s compensation for 2011 totaled $10.5 million, a 25 percent cut from 2010 as the firm’s shares fell by almost half. Gorman, 53, got $5.04 million in restricted shares, and $1.94 million in shares tied to company performance, according to a proxy filing today from the New York-based investment bank. He also received a deferred cash bonus of $2.72 million that can be clawed back, in addition to his $800,000 salary. He didn’t receive an immediate cash bonus. Mets in Opening Day ticket panic (NYP) The Mets are so terrified by the embarrassing prospect of playing to empty seats at today's opener, they've made an Amazin' "buy one get one free" pitch. Some 15,000 of their fans have been offered one free seat for Saturday's or Sunday's Atlanta game in exchange for every ticket they buy for today’s opener. Plenty of the 41,880 seats for this afternoon’s game at Citi Field against the Braves were still available early today. If the Mets don’t sell out, it will be the first home opener since 1997 that didn’t fill their stadium. Madoff wives to face trustee claims in Ponzi case (Reuters) The trustee seeking money for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, who lost an estimated $20 billion, may pursue claims against wives of the imprisoned swindler's sons, a U.S. federal court judge said on Wednesday. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland in Manhattan said the trustee Irving Picard may pursue about $43 million of claims against Deborah Madoff, who married Andrew Madoff; and $33 million of claims against Stephanie Mack, the widow of Mark Madoff. Germany, Switzerland Sign Tax Plan (WSJ) Germany and Switzerland signed a new tax deal which allows wealthy Germans to retain their anonymity, while generating billions of euros in tax revenues for Berlin and ending a bruising dispute between the two neighboring countries over tax evasion and bank secrecy. The deal comes after Berlin and Bern agreed on last-minute amendments to a pact reached last summer in an effort to make it more appealing to German opposition leaders, who said Thursday they plan to veto it. "We believe it would be irresponsible to sign this deal, which is a slap in the face of every honest taxpayer," said Sigmar Gabriel, leader of the Social Democrats. Mega Millions ‘winner’ Mirlande Wilson's lawyer: 'I cannot say with any certainty this ticket exists' (NYDN) McDonald’s worker who claims she has a $218 million-winning Mega Millions ticket called a huge press conference Wednesday - and then arrived late only to tell the press to leave. Her lawyer announced to the mystified journalists packed into his Baltimore law office that the purpose of the press conference was “to ask you all to go home.” Mirlande Wilson, 37, of Maryland, who is said by coworkers to crave attention, hit one jackpot: a chaotic scrum of reporters and camera crews waiting to talk to her. But she never spoke. Asked if this was her plea for 15 minutes of fame, she shook her head. Her lawyer, Edward Smith, said, “no, she doesn't want 15 minutes of fame." Instead, he said, she would "like you all to go home." For the record, Smith says he hasn’t seen the purported ticket either. “I cannot say with any certainty this ticket exists,” he said, unreasurringly. Wilson has told various conflicting stories about how she came by her alleged ducat. She told a TV station she bought it at a 7-Eleven store for herself. Then she said a coworker purchased it for her alone while separately buying tickets for the pool organized at her McDonald’s in Baltimore. “I thought I'd play one dollar by myself,” she told the Daily News. She has said she definitely won; she thinks she won; she has the ticket at home; she stashed the ticket at McDonalds; and she has it in another, unspecified secret “safe” place. On Monday, she told the News that she hasn’t even checked her ticket against the winning numbers.

Opening Bell: 7.16.15

Goldman, Citi, Blackstone earnings; Greece; Icahn v Fink; "Kissing Your Pet Chicken Can Spread Salmonella, CDC Warns"; and more.