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Opening Bell: 10.20.11

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SAC Capital Faces Second Deal Probe (WSJ)
The SEC is trying to determine whether SAC's CR Intrinsic unit used inside information to profit from Johnson & Johnson's 2009 takeover of Cougar Biotechnology Inc., the people said. The civil inquiry also encompasses whether an "expert network" business that is part of an investment bank leaked nonpublic information to traders, the people said. The hedge fund held 7,800 Cougar shares at the end of 2008. By March 31, 2009, SAC owned 632,291 shares, according to SEC filings. Johnson & Johnson announced its Cougar deal on May 21 of that year. SAC also is facing a criminal probe by federal prosecutors in New York examining trades made in an account overseen by the fund's billionaire founder, Steven A. Cohen, according to court documents and people familiar with the matter. Representatives for SAC, Mr. Cohen, Johnson & Johnson and Cougar declined to comment. SAC has said it is cooperating with the probe. The SEC hasn't accused SAC or the other entities involved in the Cougar probe of wrongdoing. It is unclear whether the inquiries, which have been ongoing for more than a year, will result in any charges.

Protests Show Capitalism 'Nearly Broken' (Bloomberg)
The protesters camping in London in support of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators may be right and capitalism risks losing its “license to operate,” Generation Investment Management LLP’s David Blood said. Blood, who worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) for 18 years before starting fund manager Generation with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in 2004, said the protesters’ message is that the financial system is “broken” and “unfair.” “In many respects, their concerns are right, and their assessment of where we’ve got to is right,” Blood, 52, said yesterday at a debate at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, near where the protesters have gathered. “The problem is that capitalism itself is broken or nearly broken.”

Investment Banking's Uncertain Future At UBS (NYT)
The abrupt resignation of Oswald J. Grübel as chief executive last month over the trading loss left the new investment banking strategy mainly in the hands of Mr. Zeltner and Mr. Kengeter, the head of investment banking, who came from Goldman Sachs three years ago. UBS’s interim chief executive, Sergio P. Ermotti, came to UBS only in April and it was unclear whether his role would be made permanent. “What they are trying to do has never been done before,” Christopher Wheeler, an analyst at Mediobanca, said. “They want to shrink the investment bank by choice, which means unwinding positions without loss and running down their books while keeping the morale among staff, and it’s unclear who’s running the shop.”

Howard Camping, Rapture Prophet, Hedges New Bet (SF Gate)
"I do believe we're getting very near the very end," Camping, 90, said during a podcast recorded earlier this month and posted on his Family Radio website. "Oct. 21, that's coming very shortly, that looks like it will be, at this point, it will be the final end of everything." After his last apocalyptic prediction failed to materialize, Camping said he was "flabbergasted" and was reconsidering his calculations.

On SS Morgan, It's Half-Steam Ahead (WSJ)
The unit's 61% compensation ratio is something of a millstone for Morgan. It pushed the firm's overall ratio to 57% when the effect of the accounting quirk is excluded. That compares with a ratio of 44% at Goldman Sachs. Plus, while both Morgan and Goldman can ratchet down compensation in their banking and trading units, most of the brokerage compensation is based on formulas that are hard to change. So while Morgan's stock doesn't deserve to trade at its current "going out of business" discount of about 40% to tangible book value, it runs the risk of being becalmed at a lowly valuation even when there is a chance for smoother sailing.

Barney Frank Supports Protests, Raises Wall Street Cash (Politico)
The Massachusetts Democrat is heading to New York hoping to raise tens of thousands of dollars Thursday at a fundraiser at the home of Charles Myers, a senior investment banking advisor at Evercore Partners. Myers is one of several Wall Street execs listed on the invite soliciting up to $2,500 from attendees for Frank’s reelection committee...Frank, the co-author of the sweeping financial regulatory reform bill signed into law last year, said in a recent interview with POLITICO that he didn’t see any conflict between supporting the protests and taking financial services money. “If you take money from them, but you don’t vote [for] the things they want, how does that put you in conflict?” Frank questioned.

Wall Street Has Worst Quarter Since Crisis (Bloomberg)

Qaddafi Captured by Libya’s NTC Forces, State TV Reports (Bloomberg)
“We have captured the criminal who destroyed this country,” according to a statement aired by the channel. “Libya is joyous, Libya is celebrating.”

Steven Slater Gets A Year Of Probation And Fine For 2010 Jetblue Incident (NYP)
Steven Slater, the former JetBlue flight attendant who made a dramatic take-this-job-and-shove-it exit from his job in August 2010 when he grabbed some beers, deployed his JetBlue plane's emergency chute on the JFK tarmac and slid right of his job after a fight with a testy passenger, graduated today from a court-ordered mental health program, and walked away with a sentence of a year's probation for misdemeanor attempted criminal mischief in his notorious case. The sandy-haired unemployed Slater was also ordered to cough up $10,000 in restitution to JetBlue -- in hefty $831.25 a month payments. When asked if he'd ever fly JetBlue again, Slater said "not until hell freezes over."


Opening Bell: 01.24.13

Witness Adds Thread To SAC Probe (WSJ) A government informant has implicated a prominent former trader at SAC Capital Advisors, telling federal investigators the two swapped confidential stock tips for years, according to people briefed on the matter. The connection between ex-SAC portfolio manager Dipak Patel and the undercover mole, a California-based former portfolio manager at an investment fund, hasn't previously been disclosed. Mr. Patel and his lawyer didn't respond to requests for comment...Mr. Patel, who hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing, was a technology-stock manager who worked under Mr. Cohen for years before leaving in 2010. Obama To Name White As SEC Chief (WSJ) President Barack Obama on Thursday will name Mary Jo White, a former star prosecutor who pursued terrorists and mobsters in New York, to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, a White House official said. Barclays CEO Says Bank Was Too Aggressive, Too Self-Serving (CNBC) The bank which paid a fine of 290 million pounds for manipulating Libor and was caught up in the payment protection insurance scandal, has been trying to turn a new leaf. Jenkins, who took over as CEO in August, said the company was addressing its past mistakes. "We were too aggressive, we were too short-term focused and too self-serving," Jenkins told CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos. "The industry, and Barclays, got it wrong on occasions," he added. Merkel Says Europe Must Persist With Reforms (CNBC) German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged European nations to continue the economic reforms they have begun and argued that the debt crisis offered an opportunity for the bloc to become more competitive. "The political experience is that often you need pressure for political structural reforms," she told delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "If Europe is in a difficult situation today we need to implement structural reforms now so that we may live better tomorrow," she said. Knight Capital's Profit Slides 84% (WSJ) Profit in the quarter to Dec. 31 fell to $6.5 million from $40.2 million a year earlier, with per-share earnings sliding to a penny from 43 cents, below the three-cent consensus among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Revenue fell 16% to $287.7 million. Jobless Claims Fall To 5-Year Low (WSJ) Initial jobless claims, a measure of layoffs, fell by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 330,000 in the week ended Jan. 19, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected 360,000 new applications for jobless benefits last week. Two men charged with robbery, assault and battery after stealing $400 from Girl Scouts selling cookies (NYDN) Two men are being held on charges they stole nearly $400 from a group of Girl Scouts selling cookies at a store in Massachussetts. An adult supervising the Scouts suffered a broken nose and arm injuries trying to stop the men. Authorities say 22-year-old Nicholas Taverna of Greenfield and 25-year-old Cassidy Michalski of Deerfield were held on $5,000 bail each at their arraignment Tuesday on charges of unarmed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and shoplifting. Police say the suspects stole two cellphones from the Walmart in Northampton on Saturday and tried to trade them for drugs in Holyoke. When that failed, they returned to Northampton where they had seen the 11- and 12-year-old Scouts earlier, and stole their cash box. US Lawmaker Set to Unveil Financial Revamp (Reuters) The proposal, expected as early as this week, will come from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, whose panel has been exploring a broad tax code overhaul for more than a year. Camp wants to slash the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent and simplify the code.Critics of the current corporate tax system note that the United States has one of the steepest corporate tax rates in the world. Commerzbank to Cut 6,000 Jobs (WSJ) The cuts, representing up to 12% of the bank's 49,215 full-time staff, will affect all group levels and units, in Germany and abroad, although online bank Comdirect AG and Polish unit BRE Bank will be excluded, according to an internal memo to staff. Japan Posts Record Trade Deficit (WSJ) Japan's trade deficit nearly tripled to a record ¥6.927 trillion ($78.3 billion) last year and few expect a drastic improvement anytime soon, leaving Tokyo no choice but to carry on with efforts to boost the economy. Citigroup’s Corbat Says Environment to Stay ‘Challenging’ (Bloomberg) “People recognize the times we are in, these are challenging times,” Corbat, 52, said in an interview with with Bloomberg Television’s Erik Schatzker at the World Economic Forum in Davos today. “Things will remain challenging going forward for a period of time. Our people recognize that.” Corbat replaced the ousted Vikram Pandit as CEO at the third-biggest U.S. bank in October. He has since announced plans to fire about 11,000 employees and pull back from certain markets as he seeks to cut Citigroup’s costs and boost rewards for shareholders. Profit at the lender’s ongoing businesses slid 8 percent last year while costs rose. Citigroup cut investment bankers’ bonuses by 10 percent to 20 percent globally after a revenue slump, people with knowledge of the matter said last week. Corbat said the firm can still be “absolutely competitive,” on banker pay. “I think morale is good,” he said, without saying whether the company plans to cut more jobs. “Our employees are very confident around the strategy if you think about what’s going on in the world today.” N.J. men sue Subway, claim they've been shorted on footlong sandwiches (AP) The suit, filed Tuesday in Superior Court in Mount Holly, may be the first legal filing aimed at the sandwich shops after an embarrassment went viral last week when someone posted a photo of a footlong and a ruler on the company's Facebook page to show that the sandwich was not as long as advertised. At the time, the company issued a statement saying that the sandwich length can vary a bit when franchises do not bake to the exact corporate standards. Stephen DeNittis, the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the New Jersey suit, said he's seeking class-action status and is also preparing to file a similar suit in Pennsylvania state court in Philadelphia. He said he's had sandwiches from 17 shops measured — and every one came up short. "The case is about holding companies to deliver what they've promised," he said.

(Getty Images)

Opening Bell: 9.18.17

Why does BNY Mellon get to have all the repo fun?; ladies first when it comes to hedge funds; JPMorgan buys bitcoin as Jamie calls it a fraud; guess which body part this guy got stuck in a gym weight; and more.

By Sadie Hernandez [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 8.17.16

Brevan Howard, Tudor hit hard; Steve Cohen settles with CFTC; Pokémon Go players hit with a laser attack by pig-masked couple having public sex in Sweden; and more.