Harbinger Lost 47% In 2011 (Bloomberg)
Phil Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners LLC lost 47 percent for investors in his main hedge fund last year as he was forced to slash the value of his troubled wireless venture by more than half, according to a person familiar with the results. Most of the decline in the Harbinger Capital Partners Offshore Fund I came from Falcone’s investment in LightSquared Inc. (SKYT), which plans to offer high-speed data service to as many as 260 million people...That the fund had to cut the value of its LightSquared stake by 59 percent illustrates the precarious nature of the investment on which Falcone, 49, is betting the future of his firm. Harbinger, which managed $5.7 billion at the end of last year, has put about $3 billion into LightSquared, and the investment accounted for 62 percent of the main fund at the end of May.
Greece Seeks Second Rescue, Fights for Euro (Bloomberg)
The rescue plan, which European officials and Greek creditors say may be wrapped up in coming days, includes a loss of more than 70 percent for bondholders in a voluntary debt exchange and loans likely to exceed the 130 billion euros ($171 billion) now on the table. That won’t stanch the bleeding, say economists including Holger Schmieding of Berenberg Bank in London. Greece will be saddled with too much debt, too little growth and too large a budget hole to do without even more money that euro nations led by Germany are increasingly reluctant to offer, they say. “Greece is in deep trouble,” Schmieding said in a Jan. 30 report. “The current Greek adjustment program is failing. Excessive austerity, a lack of supply-side reforms, administrative incompetence and political deadlock have pushed the Greek economy into an apparent death spiral. More of the same will not work.”
Wisconsin Woman Accused of Selling Fake Facebook Stock (Reuters)
In a criminal complaint on Thursday, prosecutors said Marianne Oleson told acquaintances she obtained $1 million in stock because her daughter was an acquaintance of Facebook's founder, and persuaded several people to buy fictitious Facebook stock over a four-month period. The Oshkosh woman was charged with 31 counts of theft, forgery and making misleading statements.
UBS, Credit Suisse in Swiss Rate-Fixing Probe (Bloomberg)
“Collusion between derivative traders might have influenced” Libor and its Japanese equivalent, Tibor, the Swiss competition watchdog, Comco, said in an e-mailed statement today. “Market conditions regarding derivative products based on these reference rates might have been manipulated too.”
Unemployment Drops to 8.3%; Payrolls in U.S. Jump 243,000 (Bloomberg)
The 243,000 increase in payrolls was the most since April and exceeded all forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey, Labor Department figures showed in Washington. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent, the lowest since February 2009.
The 21 Rules Of Surviving A Super Bowl Party (WSJ)
6. It is OK for a host to sell "premium seat upgrades"—a reservation on the couch, center of the room, complimentary soft drinks—for $35 each. Everyone's been on a plane recently. They'll grumble but understand.
MF Global Risk Chief Switch Stalled Euro Debt Cut by Six Months (Bloomberg)
In his first public testimony since MF Global filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 31, Roseman told lawmakers that the futures brokerage “would still be here” if it hadn’t made a $6.3 billion bet on European sovereign debt. The concerns he expressed about the firm’s exposure “certainly played a role” in his removal, he said.
Bernanke Sees Improvement in Economy (Bloomberg)
“Fortunately, over the past few months, indicators of spending, production, and job-market activity have shown some signs of improvement,” Bernanke said today in testimony to the House Budget Committee in Washington. “The outlook remains uncertain, however, and close monitoring of economic developments will remain necessary.”
Facebook's $100 Billion Question (WSJ)
Francis Gaskins, president of IPOdesktop.com, which analyzes IPOs for investors, says he doesn't believe Facebook is worth more than $50 billion—50 times its reported profits for 2011 of $1 billion, or more than triple the market's average price-to-earnings ratio. Google Inc.'s profits are 10 times that of Facebook, but its stock-market value is $190 billion, he notes. A $100 billion valuation "would have us believe that Facebook is worth 53% of Google, even though Google's sales and profits are 10 times that of Facebook," he said.
Geithner: Key Parts of Financial Reform Coming in 2012 (Reuters)
n an address at the Treasury in which he set out an agenda for reforms, Geithner said globalized financial markets mean that dangers to the U.S. economy can arise from anywhere and thus make a more level playing field vital. "This is particularly important in the reforms that toughen rules on capital, margin, liquidity and leverage, as well as in the global derivatives market," he said. "In these areas we are working to discourage other nations from applying softer rules to their institutions in order to try to attract financial activity away from the U.S. market and U.S. institutions," Geithner added.
S.E.C. Is Avoiding Tough Sanctions for Large Banks (NYT)
Even as the Securities and Exchange Commission has stepped up its investigations of Wall Street in the last decade, the agency has repeatedly allowed the biggest firms to avoid punishments specifically meant to apply to fraud cases. By granting exemptions to laws and regulations that act as a deterrent to securities fraud, the S.E.C. has let financial giants like JPMorganChase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America continue to have advantages reserved for the most dependable companies, making it easier for them to raise money from investors, for example, and to avoid liability from lawsuits if their financial forecasts turn out to be wrong. An analysis by The New York Times of S.E.C. investigations over the last decade found nearly 350 instances where the agency has given big Wall Street institutions and other financial companies a pass on those or other sanctions. Those instances also include waivers permitting firms to underwrite certain stock and bond sales and manage mutual fund portfolios.
At Indianapolis strip club, the dancers have Big Blue fever (NYDN)
A Big Blue Super Bowl run was just the stimulus the exotic dancers of Indianapolis needed. "We were all rooting for the Giants to make it," said Kendra Gill, a dancer at Brad's Brass Flamingo. "No one knows how to party like New Yorkers. And everyone knows they are the best tippers." "Eli Manning is my favorite player. He's so cute. We’re hoping he stops by to say hi to us while he is in town," Gill added. The Giant-friendly club won't turn any one away, but Patriots fans shouldn't expect to find any sympathetic dancers. "We all hate the Patriots. Giants all the way," said Jessica Moody, 19, who was wearing a Victor Cruz jersey as she gyrated onstage.