Opening Bell: 12.31.10

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Your Toasting to 2011 Isn't the Boss's Business (Bloomberg)
Bloomberg columnist has important public service announcement: "Unless you return to work obviously hung over, inebriated or sipping some hair of the dog from your coffee thermos, your employer can’t legally test you for alcohol. Drugs, yes. But if the boss has no good reason to suspect an on-the-job alcohol problem and still asks for your blood, urine or breath in search of one, call the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission."

Commodities Beat Stocks, Bonds, Dollars in 2010 (Bloomberg)
Let's hear it for sugar! Give it up for cattle!

Why The NYSE Is Open New Year's Eve (CNBC)
"They have a tradition of making sure they get as much tax selling in as possible, I suspect," said Art Cashin, UBS director of floor operations at the NYSE. "I know it used to be there were special tax implications for selling on the last day of the year." Cashin said NYSE traders carry on anyway and have traditions of their own to keep. At 2:05 p.m., they will break into song, with a rendition of "Wait til the Sun Shines Nellie," just as bond traders are skipping out for the day.

City Buries Strip Club In Snow (NYP)
This is what got the Mayor to change his tune: "The Sanitation Department caused lap dances at Hell's Kitchen jiggle joint HeadQuarters Cabaret to grind to a halt, after snow-removal workers cut the gentlemen's club off from the outside world by dumping 15-foot-high piles of snow in front. Strippers were forced to totter through an arctic winterscape in their stiletto heels. By the early-morning hours, the Sanitation Department had packed such massive mounds outside the mammary mecca that men couldn't get down the street to the front door. "Its been dead," complained dancer Valentina Torres, 22. "As you can see, no one is here. The street is closed so we don't even get our regular customers. Basically, this has been a wasted week. As long as the sanitation [workers] are out there, no one will come!"

Insider Trading Defendant Fails To Post Bail (WSJ)
Winifred Jiau, 43, was required by a federal judge in San Francisco to post a $250,000 bond to obtain her release, but was unable to do so, her lawyer, Mark Goldrosen, said Thursday. Ms. Jiau, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Taiwan, surrendered her passports, her lawyer said. She is scheduled to appear in court again Monday morning.

Year-End Investor Letter: A Parody
(NYT)
"As many of you are aware, at the end of every year I move completely to cash and lock myself in a bank vault for a couple days with all of my money and all of my annual trading records. I carefully review all of my trades and try to learn what mistakes were made and what worked. I physically handle my cash; it helps me appreciate that trading is not simply an intellectual exercise involving numbers, but one which involves real money with real wealth creation and destruction."

Ex- Spy Anna Chapman Gets Lion Cub On Russian TV (BBC)
Ms Chapman, who was deported from the US earlier this year, was the main guest of the "Let Them Talk" show. She said her dream was to have a lion cub for a while, before it became dangerous, at which point one was brought into the studio.

US court dismisses $2bn Porsche lawsuit (FT)
US District Judge Harold Baer late on Thursday said the 39 hedge funds, led by Elliott Associates and Black Diamond Offshore, could not claim damages in the US from Porsche, which they had accused of misleading markets during its failed takeover attempt of VW.

Champagne Lures Big Spenders, Overall Sales Still Decline (Bloomberg)
The fall in sales “can pretty much be traced back to Lehman,” Hawes said, referring to the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. “At the back end of 2008, if you were going to be drinking a premium brand of champagne you’d better have been doing it on your own in the garden shed.”

New York Prepares for First New Year's Eve Since Bomb Attempt (Bloomberg)
"There are no specific threats against the city, Commissioner Ray Kelly said. “I think it will be a safe and happy event,” he said. If you're made happy by standing in Times Square for hours in the freezing cold with a stranger's elbow in your ribcage.

Wife Lying About Sex-Tape Threat, Husband Says (NYP)
A Manhattan "hedge-fund honcho" accused of trying to bully his wife into a cheapo divorce settlement by threatening to make their sex tapes public says the allegations are a lie - and he's considering suing his wife for defamation. "The allegations are completely false," David Glenn Rucker told The Post. "I have no idea why she would make that up." "She" is Lily Shang, Rucker's wife of 20 months - and she says Rucker's a liar. "David always says what's in his best interest," she told the Toronto Star. "I went through all our old e-mails, and there's nothing that can be construed as me trying to release a sex tape. It doesn't make sense. I'm just really confused," he said, adding that he's consulting his attorney about bringing a possible defamation case.

Academic Economists to Consider Ethics Code (NYT)
The proposal, which has not been announced to the public or to the association’s 17,000 members, is partly a response to “Inside Job,” a documentary film released in October that excoriates leading academic economists for their ties to Wall Street as consultants, advisers or corporate directors.

States Try To Force Mortgage Workouts (WSJ)
Nationwide, the number of troubled homeowners receiving assistance with their mortgages has been falling. About 470,000 homeowners received loan assistance in the third quarter, down 17% from the second quarter and down 32% from the same quarter a year earlier, federal bank regulators said in a report Wednesday.

This Is A Video Of A Guy Robbing A Store With A Giant Stick (TBD)

Programming Note: We’re on an abbreviated vacation-esque schedule ’til Monday (opening/closing wraps and very limited updates whenever the urge to reach out and touch you moves us). We still want to hear from you, though, so if someone gets nailed for insider trading, Lloyd announces he’s quitting to join the Pussycat Dolls, or anything else happens that you think might tickle our fancy, do not hesitate to let us know.

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