Opening Bell: 10.21.10

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Goldman Eyes Its Buffett Tab (WSJ)
The bank is considering paying back a $5 billion investment from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. that bolstered the securities firm during the worst of the financial crisis, according to people familiar with the situation...One reason for the potential move: Hefty dividend payments of 10% a year on Berkshire's "perpetual" preferred shares have cost Goldman about $1 billion so far. The payout is equivalent to more than $1.3 million a day—or $15 a second.

Profit At Credit Suisse Slumps (MarketWatch)
The bank reported a 74% drop in third-quarter net profit, falling short of market expectations as its investment-banking arm was hit by lower client activity. The group reported a net profit of 609 million Swiss francs ($633 million) in the latest quarter, compared to 2.35 billion francs a year earlier, while core net revenue dropped 30% to 6.28 billion francs. On a pretax basis, profit fell at all three of its divisions — private banking, investment banking and asset management.

Geithner's Goal: Rebalanced World Economy (WSJ)
Geithner said he would use weekend meetings of G-20 finance ministers to advance efforts to "rebalance" the world economy so it is less reliant on U.S. consumers, to move toward establishing "norms" on exchange-rate policy, and to persuade others the U.S. doesn't aim to devalue its way to prosperity.

Guinness Heiress Sued By Hedge Fund Neighbor For Flooding Apartment (NYP)
British brewery heiress Daphne Guinness is being sued by her downstairs neighbors at 995 Fifth Avenue for repeatedly sudsing their $12 million apartment with her bath water. Karim and Tina Samii say since Guinness moved into her $15 million, 4100 square foot apartment in the former Stanhope Hotel in 2008, she's flooded their apartment four times. The first flooding incident was the fault of Guinness's contractors, the suit says, but the other three all happened after the skunk-haired style maven left the bath running and forgot to turn it off. Now hedge fund honcho Samii and his wife want a court order barring Guinness from taking baths - as well as over $1 million in damages.

Avenue Capital Group to Raise Fund to Invest in High-Yield Debt (Bloomberg)
The firm has hired Randy Takian from Morgan Stanley to oversee the fund as Avenue looks to diversify its product offerings and potentially raise more portfolios by selling shares to the public, according to people familiar with the decision.

HFT's Don't Front-Run Institutional Clients, Study Says (TM)
FYI.

Banks Face Two-Front War On Bad Mortgages, Foreclosures (Bloomberg)
“It’s going to be trench warfare with years of lawyering,” Christopher Whalen said. “The banks can’t afford to lose.”

French Union Calls For 'Massive' Strike Next Week (CNBC)
Union leaders meet on Thursday evening to plan their next move. Speaking on RMC radio, Bernard Thibault, head of the powerful CGT union, called for a new day of protests next week. "The government remains intransigent. We need to continue with massive action as soon as next week," he said. "We will ask the unions for strong action that will allow people to stop work and go on to the streets."

Buy-Outs Look Set To Divide Private Equity (FT)
David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, has predicted the private equity industry will be split between the hunters and hunted, as the big global groups diversify by acquiring smaller niche investment companies. “I think more and more of the big firms will become broader alternative asset managers,” said Mr Rubenstein, who declined to comment on the AlpInvest auction. “We’ll see more deals where private equity firms buy companies to bolt on, and start new ones to become broader asset management firms.”

Bair: US Bank Rules To Be Stricter Than Basel (Reuters)
"I have fairly high confidence there will be higher capitalization requirements for systemic institutions," or large U.S. banks, said Sheila Bair, head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, speaking at Harvard University on Wednesday evening. "The standards aren't as high as many of us would have liked, but they are a big, big improvement," she said. She added that "I do not agree the new requirements will reduce the availability of credit or raise borrowing costs," as some critics have charged.

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Opening Bell: 06.28.12

Interest Rate Probe Escalates (WSJ) Investigators in the U.S., Europe and Asia have been probing alleged wrongdoing in the interest-rate-setting process for about two years. The Barclays settlement marks their biggest win yet. A series of Wall Street Journal articles in 2008 raised questions about whether global banks were manipulating the process by low-balling a key interest rate to avoid looking desperate for cash amid the financial crisis. Emails and instant messages disclosed in the bank's settlement show how Barclays's traders tried to manipulate rates to benefit their own trading positions. "This is the way you pull off deals like this chicken," one trader told another trader in March 2007, according to the U.K. regulator. "Don't tell ANYBODY." Other banks that have disclosed they are under investigation include Citigroup, JPMorgan, Lloyds Banking Group, and RBS. None of these banks have been charged with any wrongdoing in the matter by U.S. or U.K. regulators. Calls for Diamond’s Exit After Barclays ‘Moral Failure’ (CNBC) Lord Oakeshott, a high-profile Liberal Democrat politician, said: "If Bob Diamond had a scintilla of shame he would resign. If Barclays' board had an inch of backbone between them they would sack him." Barclays admitted Wednesday that the actions "fell well short of standards.” Madoff's Brother To Plead Guilty (WSJ) Peter Madoff, 66 years old, is expected to plead guilty to two charges at a hearing Friday in Manhattan federal court, including falsifying the records of an investment adviser and a broad conspiracy count to commit securities fraud and other crimes, according to a letter sent to U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain and filed in court on Wednesday. However, Peter Madoff, the firm's chief compliance officer, isn't expected to admit to knowing about the fraud itself. Instead, he is expected to admit to conduct that enabled the fraud to continue, even if he didn't know new investor money was being used to pay older investors or that no trading was being conducted at the investment firm. JPMorgan Trading Loss May Reach $9 Billion (WSJ) The bank’s exit from its money-losing trade is happening faster than many expected. JPMorgan previously said it hoped to clear its position by early next year; now it is already out of more than half of the trade and may be completely free this year. As JPMorgan has moved rapidly to unwind the position — its most volatile assets in particular — internal models at the bank have recently projected losses of as much as $9 billion. In April, the bank generated an internal report that showed that the losses, assuming worst-case conditions, could reach $8 billion to $9 billion, according to a person who reviewed the report. With much of the most volatile slice of the position sold, however, regulators are unsure how deep the reported losses will eventually be. Some expect that the red ink will not exceed $6 billion to $7 billion. Kerviel ‘Love’ May Not Be Enough To Overturn SocGen Verdict (Bloomberg) Jerome Kerviel’s statement last week that he “loved” Societe Generale may have come too late to help him win a reduced sentence for causing the bank’s 4.9 billion-euro ($6.1 billion) trading loss. Kerviel lawyer David Koubbi may use his client’s remarks during closing arguments in Paris today to offset his own frequent clashes with Judge Mireille Filippini, who threatened to notify the bar about his treatment of witnesses. With Time Running Out California Gorging Itself On Foie Gras (WSJ) California will ban foie gras sales starting Sunday. Meanwhile, goose-liver lovers still have time to enjoy foie gras jelly doughnuts at Umamicatessen in Los Angeles. Chefs there and around the state are counting down their foie gras days by putting it anywhere they can. Some plan foie gras finale feasts on Saturday night. Others offer foie gras in cotton candy, cheesecake, waffles and toffee. "It's a very difficult thing to say goodbye to," says Michael Cimarusti, co-owner and chef at Providence, a celebrated Los Angeles restaurant. He plans to leave a gap on his menu in memory of the dearly departed, with the notation: "formerly a foie gras dish."...At Craftsman & Wolves, a San Francisco bakery, Chef William Werner covers a chunk of foie-gras torchon with a chocolate cremeux that he inserts into chocolate cake batter to create his Devil Inside cake. Some chefs accept the inevitable. Celebrity chef Thomas Keller at Bouchon in Los Angeles recently replaced his foie gras dog biscuits with ones made from chicken livers. Others are looking for ways to duck the ban. Daniel Scherotter, who owns Palio D'Asti in San Francisco, is checking with his lawyer to see whether he can legally give away—rather than sell—a serving of foie gras with a $20 salad. Mr. Scherotter and others expect some restaurants to turn into "duckeasies," where diners can order foie gras using certain code words. They take inspiration from chefs such as Didier Durand, who says that, during a Chicago foie gras ban from 2006 to 2008, he served it at his Cyrano's Bistrot by listing it as potatoes. "People understood that roasted potatoes wouldn't cost $21," he says, but that's what he charged. After two years the ban was rescinded. Merkel Stands Ground Ahead Of Euro Summit (Reuters) EU leaders arrived for a Brussels summit on Thursday more openly divided than at any time since the euro crisis began, with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel showing no sign of relenting in her refusal to back other countries' debts. Merkel is being urged at home to hang tough and reject all efforts to make Germany underwrite European partners' borrowing or banks, while her European Union partners say that may be the only way to save the single currency. "Nein! No! Non!" shouted a headline splashed across the front page of the normally sober German business daily Handelsblatt, with a commentary by its editor-in-chief saying Merkel must remain firm at the two-day summit. Lenny Dykstra Takes Plea Deal On Fraud Charges (LAT) Former New York Mets star and self-styled financial guru Lenny Dykstra, already sentenced to three years in state prison for a car scam, has agreed to a plea deal on federal bankruptcy fraud charges after allegedly looting his mansion of valuables as he struggled to battle numerous creditors...According to federal prosecutors, Dykstra sold sports memorabilia and items from his Ventura County mansion, including a $50,000 sink, that were frozen as part of the bankruptcy case. Typically, a person in bankruptcy can't touch assets that are part of the case so that they are available to repay creditors. Dykstra allegedly had dozens of items, including chandeliers, mirrors, artwork, a stove and a grandfather clock delivered to a consignment store, Uniques, on South Barrington Avenue in West Los Angeles. The owner of the store paid him cash for a U-Haul truckload of goods, according to the agent. Manhattan philanthropist behind alleged madam's $250K bond post (NYP) Bonnie Lunt is the mystery hero who put up $250,000 collateral to spring the accused hockey mom madam from Rikers last night, court records show. The 65-year-old Lunt -- a top New York headhunter who has been dubbed the “Jerry Maguire of the communications industry”-- posted her own Upper East Side home to help Gristina make bail, according to bail documents. Lunt’s East 76th street pad is just around the corner from the tiny East 78th Street apartment prosecutors claim Gristina used as headquarters for an alleged multi-million dollar prostitution operation. Miami attacker who chewed man's face was not high on 'bath salts,' officials say (DJ) The Miami "cannibal" who chewed off half of another man's face last month had no drugs in his system other than marijuana, officials said Wednesday, defying suspicions that he was high on "bath salts" during the grisly attack. Rudy Eugene, 31, was shot and killed by police on May 26 after he was found naked and biting into a homeless man's face and eyes beside Miami's MacArthur Causeway. Authorities had suspected Eugene was under the influence of synthetic drugs sold as "bath salts," which have been known to make some users aggressive and behave bizarrely. Witnesses said he had taken off his clothes and was swinging on a light pole before the attack.

Opening Bell: 6.16.15

Tsipras says ECB is choking him; 'WALL ST' vanity plate could be yours for 12k; Derek Jeter gets funding; "Financier in harassment suit lasted 2 minutes in bed"; and more.

Opening Bell: 3.2.15

Warren Buffett hates investment bankers, loves Ajit Jain and Greg Abel; Citi CEO might get to keep his job, might not; Dennis Kozlowski is a free man; Wall Street burger club; Cap'n Crunch Donut Holes; AND MORE.