Opening Bell: 12.01.10

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Fed to Name Recipients of $3.3 Trillion in Aid During Crisis (Bloomberg)
The Fed intends to post the data on its website at midday in Washington to comply with a provision in July’s Dodd-Frank law overhauling financial regulation. The information spans six loan programs as well as currency swaps with other central banks, purchases of mortgage-backed securities and the rescues of Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc.

BofA Falls On WikiLeaks Fears (WSJ)
The bank has been trying to determine for more than a year whether any documents were leaked from inside the bank, said people familiar with the situation. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asserted in an October 2009 Computerworld magazine interview that he had the 5GB computer hard drive of a Bank of America executive. "We have no evidence that supports this assertion," a bank spokesman said Tuesday. "We are unaware of any new claims by WikiLeaks that pertain specifically to Bank of America."

Deutsche Bank Says 'Mistrust' Of Spain's Banks Is 'Unjustified' (Bloomberg)
Investors’ mistrust of Spain is unjustified and problems in the banking industry are “manageable,” Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Josef Ackermann said, as Europe’s debt crisis intensified. The fundamental economic data “in no way justifies the apparent mistrust that exists in the case of Spain, though not only there,” Ackermann, who also heads the Institute of International Finance, a global industry group with more than 400 members, said yesterday in response to a request by Bloomberg News. “Spain can deal with its problems by itself.”

US States Face More Financial Stress, Says Official Report (AP)
Legislatures around the country may have to make more spending cuts over the next couple of years because of dwindling help from the federal government and a slow recovery in tax revenue, according to a new report. States will spend about $43 billion in economic stimulus funds during the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. After that, they'll probably have to get by with less federal funding.

UK Feels 'Vindicated' For Refusing Euro (CNBC)
The UK did not join the euro because that would have meant giving up decision over interest rates and removing exchange rate flexibility, George Osborne said in an interview late Tuesday. "And, you know, I feel that our view has been vindicated by recent events, and I'm very pleased the UK's not part of the euro," he said. "But 'I told you so' is not much of an economic policy when you're confronted with the challenges that we face today," Osborne added.

Co-Pilot Moved Seat, Set Jetliner Plummeting
(CNN)
The co-pilot of an Air India Express 737 sent the jetliner into a terrifying 7,000-foot plunge in May when he accidentally hit the control column while adjusting his seat, investigators report. According to the report from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the co-pilot panicked and was unable to execute the proper procedures as the jetliner dropped from 37,000 feet at a 26-degree angle. The plane and its 113 passengers were saved when the pilot, who’d gone on a bathroom break, used an emergency code to get into the locked cockpit, jumped back into his seat and grabbed the controls to bring the plummeting plane out of its dive. The aircraft would have broken apart if the descent had continued, the aviation agency report said.

U.S. Money Funds Exposed to European Banks (WSJ)
Among the major U.S. funds, Fidelity Cash Reserves, the largest retail money fund, held $4.2 billion, or 3.5% of its assets, in certificates of deposit issued by Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, or BBVA, and Italian banks UniCredit SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA as of Oct. 31. Schwab Cash Reserves, the third-largest fund, had $1.5 billion in securities from Banco Santander SA, BBVA, UniCredit and Intesa. Western Asset Money Market Fund, owned by asset manager Legg Mason Inc., the ninth-largest fund, holds $848 million in Banco Santander, BBVA and Intesa.

Women accused of hiding merchandise in body fat (Orlando Sentinel)
Two women are arrested for shoplifting and police say they used their bodies to conceal the goods. Edmond police authorities say it was at the Edmond TJ Maxx that loss prevention officers found the duo stuffing items under their belly fat and breasts. They say they took four pair of boots, three pair of jeans, a wallet and gloves; $2,600 worth of store merchandise. Ailene Brown, 28, and 37-year-old Shmeco Thomas were arrested for shoplifting and are facing felony charges. Officer James Hamm said, "These two were actually concealing them in areas of their body where excess skin was, under their chest area and armpits."

State Street to Cut 1,400 Jobs as Low Rates Squeeze Revenue (Bloomberg)
The measures, which will pare State Street’s workforce by 5 percent, are part of an effort to save as much as $625 million a year by the end of 2014, the Boston-based company said yesterday. State Street said it will book restructuring expenses of up to $450 million before taxes over four years.

Madoff Trustee Goes After 'Net Winners' (WSJ)
he trustee seeking money for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme filed more than 100 lawsuits Tuesday seeking what he says were fictitious profits earned by some of Mr. Madoff's investors. Irving Picard has a legal deadline of Dec. 11, two years from the bankruptcy filing of Benard L. Madoff Investment Securities, to launch such so-called clawback lawsuits. Up to now, Mr. Picard has mostly targeted "feeder funds" that funneled money to Mr. Madoff's firm, other financial institutions and people with connections to Mr. Madoff and his operation. But many of the suits filed Tuesday were aimed at people Mr. Picard has termed "net winners." He does not allege that they had reason to know of the Ponzi scheme; rather, he says, they withdrew more money than they invested and should return the profits to reduce the losses of others.

Related

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.