Opening Bell: 09.29.10

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Morgan Stanley Third Quarter Estimates Reduced By Goldman Sachs (Bloomberg)
Morgan Stanley’s earnings-per-share estimate was reduced to 15 cents from 60 cents, analysts led by Richard Ramsden said in a note to clients dated yesterday. The analysts kept their “neutral” recommendation on the stock. “Investment bank earnings are likely to be soft in the third quarter 2010, as evidenced by Jefferies’ shortfall last week,” the analysts said. The largest adjustments are due to “muted activity” in fixed income and equities, they said.

Anti-austerity protests sweep across Europe (AP)
In Dublin, a man rammed a cement mixer into the gates of the Irish parliament Wednesday in an apparent protest at the country's catastrophically expensive bank bailout. Written across the truck's barrel in red letters were the words: "Toxic Bank Anglo."

Bill Gross: Say Good-Bye To Double Digit Returns (CNBC)
In his investment outlook, Gross wrote that future investment returns will be "far lower" than the historical averages and a less levered hedge fund community, faced with lower yielding assets, will likely resign itself to "a high single-digit future...Some characterize it in biblical terms – seven fat years to be followed by seven years of lean," he wrote.

US Said To Be Looking For A Way Out Of AIG (NYT)
Breaking away from A.I.G. will be a tough and complicated process, in part because of the insurance giant’s fragile state and in part because several parties jumped in to save the company in 2008 and used different forms of assistance. Officials working on the exit plan are seeking a way for the various rescuers to pull out without damaging one another’s interests in the company. Anyone have any suggestions? They're open to ideas.

Icahn Folds In Vegas (NYP)
After picking up the bankrupt Fontainebleau Las Vegas on the cheap, the investor is now holding a fire sale at the massive unfinished casino resort. While the project, which is 70 percent complete, sits idle on the Las Vegas Strip, Icahn has started selling off beds, dressers, TVs and other furnishings, according to a source.

Obama As Comeback Kid Just Needs A Weaker Dollar (Bloomberg)
Simon Johnson: "What conventional wisdom misses is that we experienced a severe credit crisis of the kind more typically seen in recent decades in middle-income emerging-market countries. The U.S. can recover quickly -- and jobs can come back much faster than expected -- but only if the dollar now depreciates...The Obama administration is blamed for high unemployment -- the result of a financial mania that was emerged long before it came to power. It would be a nice irony if, also through no fault of the administration, jobs return faster than expected as we head into the 2012 presidential election."

Las Vegas hotel guests left with severe burns from 'death ray' caused by building's design (DM)
Due to the concave shape of the Vdara hotel, the strong Nevada sun reflects off its all-glass front and directly onto sections of the swimming pool area below. The result has left some guests with burns from the powerful rays and even plastic bags have been recorded as melting in the heat. Chicago attorney Bill Pintas felt the power of the dangerous ray first hand last week. 'It felt like I had a chemical burn. I couldn't imagine why my head was burning,' he said. 'Within 30 seconds, the back of my legs were burning. My first though was, 'Jesus, they destroyed the ozone layer!'

Gates, Buffett Set To Dine With China's Rich (NYT)
The private dinner, which local media says will be in a mansion on the edge of Beijing modeled after the baroque 17th century Chateau de Maisons-Laffitte in France, is expected to gather several dozen people.

Case On Amaranth Collapse Gets Class Action Status (Reuters)
In a ruling dated on Monday, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin granted class-action status to futures traders who bought, sold or held natural gas futures or options on futures contracts from Feb. 16 to Sept. 28, 2006. The case "involves more than 1,000 potential claimants who are asserting claims based on common issues," Scheindlin wrote.

Investors, Regulators Laid Path To Flash Crash (WSJ)
One area of discussion, one person said, concerns the so-called "E-mini" futures contract, which mimics movements in the Standard & Poor's 500 index and was a source of heavy trading that day when liquidity dried up. Part of the discussion concerns whether to disclose the number of contracts exchanged in the E-mini contract, which could show the size and impact of the trades. The CFTC doesn't want to name the company behind the trade, this person said. The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets have identified the firm as Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. Waddell has said it didn't intend to "disrupt" the market.

HSBC Dismisses Talk Of Moving To Hong Kong (WSJ)
So you know.

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Opening Bell: 7.18.16

Draghi will ask governments to help counter Brexit fallout; Bridgewater slows hiring; HSBC to cut bond traders; Man quits job to become full-time ‘Pokemon Go’ player; and more.

Opening Bell: 03.26.12

Ex-Goldman Worker Said to Seek Book Deal (NYT) Greg Smith has met with publishers this week, including imprints at several prominent houses. According to several people who were present, Mr. Smith described his book as a coming-of-age story, the tale of someone who came into the business with good intentions and sky-high ideals that were ultimately pierced by Goldman’s obsessive focus on making money. It would also be a story of the history of Goldman Sachs and the perceived change in the culture of the firm that left Mr. Smith, a native of South Africa who lived in London, disillusioned and eager to leave after spending nearly 12 years there. JPMorgan Wins Case Against Trader Over Decimal Point Dispute (Bloomberg) JPMorgan doesn’t have to pay a trader 580,000 pounds ($921,000) after a missing decimal point in an employment contract led him to believe his salary would be 10 times what was offered, a London court ruled. Kai Herbert, a Switzerland-based currency trader, sued JPMorgan for lost earnings claiming he signed a contract to relocate to Johannesburg for a salary of 24 million rand ($3.1 million). JPMorgan said there was a typographical error and the figure should have been 2.4 million rand. “Herbert took the commercial risk of accepting the offer, knowing full well that the figure was an error,” Judge Henry Globe said in today’s judgment. E-Mail to Corzine Said Transfer Was Not Customer Money (Dealbook) But the e-mail, a copy of which was reviewed by The New York Times, did not capture the full story behind the wire, which turned out to contain customer money. MF Global employees in Chicago had first transferred $200 million from a customer account to the firm’s house account, people briefed on the matter said. Once it was in the firm’s coffers, the people said, Chicago employees then promptly transferred $175 million of the money to the MF Global account at JPMorgan in London — the account that was overdrawn...The e-mail suggests that Mr. Corzine, a former governor of New Jersey, was unaware that the money had been transferred from a customer account. Germany Backs Boost To Bailout Fund (WSJ) Germany has been staunchly opposed to raising the planned €500 billion ($664 billion) ceiling on the ESM, but has left the question of the EFSF open until now. It was widely believed that the EFSF would be retired as soon as the ESM is launched and that the EFSF loans already awarded would be assumed by the ESM, reducing its future lending capacity. But now Berlin is suggesting allowing the EFSF to run longer and by doing so ensure that the ESM can use its full lending capacity, effectively boosting the firewall to about €700 billion. "We are saying that the ESM should permanently have €500 billion," Ms. Merkel told a news conference in Berlin on Monday. BATS Faced Revolt Over IPO (WSJ) "The fact that our own stock was out there to be traded for the first time, and we showed systems problems, eroded customer confidence," Joe Ratterman, BATS's chief executive, said Sunday in an interview. "Of course investors are going to say, 'Hey, wait a second.'" Some traders and investors considered the offering pricey. At $16 a share, BATS would have traded at about 10 times analysts' 2013 earnings estimates. That is roughly on par with New York Stock Exchange owner NYSE Euronext and a premium to the Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., which trades at 8.6 times 2013 estimates. Even before the glitches appeared, the offering was off to a rocky start. When trading in BATS shares opened at 10:45 a.m., they were down 75 cents, to $15.25. From there, things only got worse. Hedge Funds Capitulating Buy Most Stocks Since 2010 (Bloomberg) A gauge of hedge-fund bullishness measuring the proportion of bets that shares will rise climbed to 48.6 last week from 42 at the end of November 2011, the biggest increase since April 2010, according to data compiled by the International Strategy & Investment Group. The Bloomberg aggregate hedge fund index gained 1.4 percent last month, lagging behind the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index by 2.65 percentage points. Banks Set to Cut $1 Trillion From Balance Sheets (FT) Investment banks are to shrink their balance sheets by another $1 trillion or up to 7 percent globally within the next two years, says a report that foresees a shake-up of market share in the industry. Higher funding costs and increased regulatory pressure to bolster capital will force wholesale banks also to cut 15 percent, or up to $0.9 trillion, of assets that are weighted by risk, a joint report by Morgan Stanley and consultants Oliver Wyman predicts. In addition, banks are expected take out $10 billion to $12 billion in costs by reducing pay, firing employees and paring back investments in areas that are no longer considered core. Larry Summers: Strong Recovery A "Substantial Possibility" (FT) According to Summers, the biggest risk to the recovery in the next few years is that policy will move away too quickly from its emphasis on boosting demand. "A lurch back this year towards the kind of policies that are appropriate in normal times would be quite premature," he added. Bernanke Notes Labor Market Concerns (WSJ) "Further significant improvements in the unemployment rate will likely require a more-rapid expansion of production and demand from consumers and businesses, a process that can be supported by continued accommodative policies," Mr. Bernanke said in prepared remarks to the annual conference of the National Association for Business Economics. Bad fliers get boot – & bill (NYP) Fed up with disruptive fliers, the Port Authority plans to go after them for the money they cost their airline and the PA. “We’re going to use every lever at our disposal,” said PA chief Pat Foye. “These delays cost thousands of dollars — maybe tens of thousands — each. One Alec Baldwin incident can delay a whole airport for a day with cascading delays.” (Baldwin, the “30 Rock” star, made international headlines in December when he got booted by American Airlines at LAX after refusing to turn off his phone.) The PA is going to “aggressively’’ remind passengers to keep cool and listen to instructions from airline crews — even if they think they’re stupid, Foye said.