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Opening Bell: 02.11.11

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SAC's Trading Mimics Insider Dealings Identified by Prosecutors (Bloomberg)
SAC Capital traded at least 11 stocks near the time of insider trading in the same shares that prosecutors have identified at other hedge funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Former SAC portfolio managers Noah Freeman and Donald Longueuil obtained material, nonpublic information on two of the 11, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Marvell Technology Group, in a conspiracy beginning before they joined the hedge fund in 2008, according to a lawsuit filed this week by the Securities and Exchange Commission...SAC securities filings from 2006 through 2009 show position changes in at least nine other stocks during periods when prosecutors have said Galleon Group LLC co-founder Raj Rajaratnam and others were trading based on insider tips. The companies are Akamai Technologies Inc., Atheros Communications Inc., ATI Technologies Inc., Clearwire Corp., EBay Inc., Google Inc., the former Hilton Hotels Corp., Intel Corp. and Polycom Inc. SAC’s positions in the 11 stocks moved up or down consistent with buying and selling that federal prosecutors have described in criminal filings related to other insider trading cases.

Facebook mulls $1 billion employee share sale (Reuters)
Facebook may let its employees sell up to $1 billion of their shares to institutional investors at a price that values the company at about $60 billion.

Corzine Calls Most General Obligations ‘Safe’ Amid Default Talk (Bloomberg)
“Most general obligation bonds are safe,” he said on Bloomberg TV. People should “stop talking about bankruptcy,” said Corzine.

Wells Fargo Official's Exit Puzzles (WSJ)
The circumstances surrounding Chief Financial Officer Atkins's Tuesday departure were as puzzling to employees and regulators as they were for analysts and investors. In a news release about Mr. Atkins's exit, the company said only that it had nothing to do with the company's "financial condition or financial reporting." On Tuesday afternoon, some of the bank's senior executives seemed unaware that Mr. Atkins was preparing to leave, according to people familiar with the matter. Industry regulators and some of the bank's top advisers also were taken by surprise, these people said.

Buffett Tells FCIC It's Powerless to Stop `Too Big to Fail (Bloomberg)
“You will always have institutions that are too big to fail, and sometimes they will fail,” Buffett, 80, told the FCIC in a May 26 interview, according to a recording released by the panel yesterday. “We still have them now. We’ll have them after your commission report.”

Julian Assange Has At Least 4 Love Children (Gawker)
Just so you know.

Investors Warm To Big Deals (WSJ)
In 2011, there have been 12 deals valued above $5 billion, eight of them in the U.S., according to Dealogic. There were only two such deals in the U.S. at the same time last year.

Trial delayed in insider trading case against Galleon Group founder (NYP)
A federal court judge in Manhattan on Thursday postponed the start date for the securities fraud trial of Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam until March 8.

Mayor Apologizes For "Inebriated" Remark (NY1)
The mayor was speaking Wednesday night at the American Irish Historical Society to help launch a book celebrating the Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Bloomberg made a reference to the fact that he is a neighbor to the society's Upper East Side building. "I live in the neighborhood, right around the corner," said the mayor. "Normally when I walk by this building there are a bunch of people who are totally inebriated, hanging out the window waving. I know that is a stereotype of the Irish, but nevertheless we Jews from around the corner think this." While the mayor made an effort to explain away his remarks during an event on Thursday, he issued a written apology later in the day.

Kevin Warsh Departure May Reduce Fed's Insights Into Wall Street (Bloomberg)
“Unless they put someone in place who has a similar level of dialogue, I think that’s something that will probably be missed,” said Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “To the extent that a lot of this is probably going to be trial and error anyway, it may just make the process a little rougher.”

Mario Cuomo to Mediate Mets-Madoff Case (NYT)
Burton R. Lifland, the United States bankruptcy judge overseeing a lawsuit brought by the trustee against the team’s owners, said the “special issues” in the case require “an appropriately experienced mediator.”

Jan Hatzius, Goldman Sachs chief US economist, thinks the US recovery is sustainable (FT)
And he "feels inflation is unlikely in the current US environment with output and employment still far below potential."

Half of women feel more successful than their man (NYP)
Forty-nine percent of women say that they feel more successful than their significant other, and 78 percent feel they are doing well in their chosen field..."It’s evidence of what we’ve all been hearing," said Lisa Bain, "that women have fared better during the economic downturn than men have, and that they tend to be better educated and more financially secure than the men in their lives." Bain says that now that women are bringing home the bacon men aren’t feeling inferior. "The feedback we get . . . is that the guys in their lives don’t feel threatened by their success—they’re more likely to get a kick out of it," she said. "Maybe that’s because the women themselves are comfortable with it, as our poll showed—70 percent of them say they don’t need for their partner to have more career success than they do."


Opening Bell: 11.21.12

Germany Hints At More Financing (WSJ) Germany on Wednesday signaled its willingness to provide additional financing for the euro zone's bailout fund and accept lower interest on loans to Athens, in order to get the Greek rescue back on track and free the next tranche of about €44 billion ($56.40 billion) in loans for the euro zone's weakest member. Merkel Sees Chance For Greek Deal Monday (Reuters) "I believe there are chances, one doesn't know for sure, but there are chances to get a solution on Monday," Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament in a debate on the German budget. But the longing for one act, one miracle solution, one truth that means all our problems are gone tomorrow...this will not be fulfilled. What was neglected over years, over decades, cannot be taken care of overnight and therefore we will need to continue to move step by step." H-P Says It Was Duped (WSJ) The technology giant said that an internal investigation had revealed "serious accounting improprieties" and "outright misrepresentations" in connection with U.K. software maker Autonomy, which H-P acquired for $11.1 billion in October 2011. "There appears to have been a willful sustained effort" to inflate Autonomy's revenue and profitability, said Chief Executive Meg Whitman. "This was designed to be hidden." Michael Lynch, Autonomy's founder and former CEO, fired back hours later, denying improper accounting and accusing H-P of trying to hide its mismanagement. "We completely reject the allegations," said Mr. Lynch, who left H-P earlier this year. "As soon as there is some flesh put on the bones we will show they are not true." Analysts Had Questioned Autonomy’s Accounting Years Ago (CNBC) Paul Morland, technology research analyst at broking and advisory house Peel Hunt, told CNBC that he had noticed three red flags in Autonomy’s accounts in the years leading up to the HP acquisition: poor cash conversion, an inflated organic growth rate, and the categorizing of hardware sales as software. London Bankers Become Landlords as Rents Hit Record (Bloomberg) Vivek Jeswani became a landlord by accident when Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) transferred him to New York two weeks after he moved into a new home in central London. Now back in the U.K., Jeswani views the apartment in Baker Street, the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes, as one of his best assets and is about to buy another home to expand his rental business. “There are no other investments as attractive and you’ve got some security if you’ve got an asset you can use yourself,” the 36-year-old risk officer at China Construction Bank Corp.’s U.K. unit said. “There’s a good yield over 5 percent and being in central London, you’ve got demand domestically and internationally.” Trading Charges Reach SAC (WSJ) The hedge funds reaped $276 million in profits and losses avoided based on that information, criminal and civil authorities said—far dwarfing that of any previous insider-trading case. The bulk of the trading profits generated by Mr. Martoma was paid to Mr. Cohen, a person close to the hedge fund said. Fed Still Trying To Push Down Rates (WSJ) Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that the central bank will keep trying to push down long-term interest rates in 2013, as federal tax and spending policies become a more substantial headwind to the U.S. economy. "We will continue to do our best to add monetary-policy support to the recovery," Mr. Bernanke said at the New York Economic Club, answering a question about how the Federal Reserve would respond to impending spending cuts or tax increases that might restrain economic growth. 'Stiletto Surgery' alters pinky toe for better fit (Fox) These days, some women will do just about anything to fit into their favorite pair of high heels – including surgery. A growing number of women are paying thousands of dollars to surgically alter their feet just to make wearing heels a more comfortable experience. Surgical procedures such as shortening toes, receiving foot injections and even completely cutting off pinky toes are on the rise. “Unless you’ve been there, and you can’t find shoes, and you’re in pain, don’t judge,” said Susan Deming, a patient who recently underwent a toe-shortening procedure. Adoboli’s Fate Decided at Wine Bar as UBS Market Bets Unraveled (Bloomberg) On a cool late summer evening last year in London’s financial district, with the euro-zone crisis worsening and Greece tottering on the edge of default, Kweku Adoboli says he asked the three traders who worked with him at UBS AG’s exchange-traded funds desk to join him for a drink. Adoboli said in a post on his Facebook page that he needed “a miracle” as his bets on the market imploded. That night at a wine bar across the street from their office, Adoboli asked John Hughes, the senior trader on the ETF desk, and two junior traders, what to do. The others decided he should take the blame for billions of dollars in losses and an elaborate web of secret trades in what he called an umbrella account that once held $40 million in hidden profits. “I knew I was going to lose my job anyway, I had already resigned myself to that, so fair enough,” the 32-year-old Adoboli testified last month about the meeting, which the other traders deny took place. Jobless Claims in U.S. Decrease (Bloomberg) Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week as damage to the labor market caused by superstorm Sandy began to subside. Jobless claims decreased by 41,000 to 410,000 in the week ended Nov. 17, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The number of applications matched the median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Soros Buying Gold as Record Prices Seen on Stimulus (Bloomberg) The metal will rise every quarter next year and average $1,925 an ounce in the final three months, or 11 percent more than now, according to the median of 16 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Paulson & Co. has a $3.66 billion bet through the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest gold-backed exchange- traded product, and Soros Fund Management LLC increased its holdings by 49 percent in the third quarter, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings show. 'Cannibal Cop' Gilberto Valle planned to to cook up 'some girl meat' on Thanksgiving (NYDN) The "Cannibal Cop" had his own twist for a Thanksgiving dinner this year — cooking up “some girl meat,” prosecutors revealed Tuesday. Gilberto Valle, 28 — who allegedly kept a database of at least 100 women he plotted to rape, cook and eat — planned the freakish feast with one of his online conspirators earlier this year, prosecutors said. “I’m planning on getting me some girl meat,” he wrote to his pal on Feb. 9. “Really tell me more,” responded the friend. “It’s this November, for Thanksgiving. It’s a long way off but I’m getting the plan in motion now,” Valle wrote.