Opening Bell: 08.30.12

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Credit Rating Gadfly Leaves S&P (WSJ)
Mark Adelson, who pushed for tough rating criteria, including those that led to the unprecedented downgrade of U.S. debt last year, left Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Monday. The departure of Mr. Adelson, a controversial figure among some market participants and colleagues alike, highlights the rating industry's difficulties in remaking itself following heavily criticized moves during the financial crisis. Mr. Adelson, S&P's chief credit officer until late 2011, left the firm to "pursue other interests," according to an internal company memo. In an email to friends and colleagues viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Adelson wrote: "I am now a free agent."

Short Sellers Cry Out For Help (WSJ)
Yelp's stock soared Wednesday, defying expectations on a day when executives and early investors were allowed to sell millions of new shares. Market participants widely attributed the online-reviews service's sharp rise to investors who had bet against the stock but then switched their positions en masse, in what is known as a "short squeeze." These investors appeared to reverse course when it quickly became clear in early trading that the end of a "lockup" preventing certain Yelp shareholders from selling wasn't going to doom the stock...Some 8.6 million shares changed hands on Wednesday. Though that is about 10 times the typical Yelp volume, it signaled the vast majority of the approximately 52.7 million newly freed Yelp shares weren't traded. "The lesson for all those people that got short in anticipation of the lockup [ending] is there is no such thing as a sure thing," said Michael Shea, a managing partner at Direct Access Partners, an institutional brokerage firm.

Paulson’s Gold Fund Faced 22% Losses in July (CNBC)
Paulson’s gold fund, which holds an array of gold miners, fell a whopping 22 percent between the beginning of the year and July 31, according to people familiar with its returns — outsinking the oft-discussed flagship funds, which were down 13 percent and 18 percent respectively during the same period, by a considerable margin.

Buffett, near 82, reflects on staying in Nebraska (AP)
"It's very easy to think clearly here. You're undisturbed by irrelevant factors and the noise generally of business investments," Buffett said. "If you can't think clearly in Omaha, you're not going to think clearly anyplace." In the city of 415,000, Buffett can drive the 20 blocks from his home to his office in about 5 minutes. "I would find a long commute quite irritating even if I did it under favorable circumstances — even if I had a driver," Buffett said. "I like being in the home and I like being in the office, and I'm not keen on in between."

Robbers Take Man's Cash But Leave Bus Fare (DDN)
The victim reported that two men walked up to him while he waited for a bus at West Hudson Avenue and North Main Street at about 5 a.m. Tuesday. According to a Dayton Police incident report, one of the men put a black .22-caliber automatic handgun against the victim’s forehead and said, “Give me everything out your pocket.” The victim handed over his cell phone and $40. Before fleeing on foot, one of the men asked the victim if he had enough money for the bus. When he said no, the suspect handed him back $2 in cash.

Gross Says QE3 Likely Even If Bernanke Doesn’t Provide Hint (Bloomberg)
Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Bill Gross said the Federal Reserve will add to monetary stimulus even if Chairman Ben S. Bernanke fails to indicate additional measures during a speech in two days. Policy makers will announce more so-called quantitative easing “relatively soon,” Gross, who runs the world’s biggest bond fund, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart” with Trish Regan. “They have a dual mandate,” Gross said, referring to the Fed’s directive of price stability and maximum employment. “Unemployment is still above 8 percent and it’s obvious that the Fed isn’t comfortable, nor is the nation or the economy with 8 percent unemployment going forward.”

MF Global Trustee Seeks End To Suits (WSJ)
Louis Freeh, the trustee for bankrupt securities firm MF Global Holdings called for settlement talks with other bankruptcy administrators in the U.S. and U.K. amid a clash over how to recover money for the company's customers and creditors. The proposal was made by Mr. Freeh in a court filing Wednesday afternoon that also outlined his opposition to a plan by a separate trustee, James Giddens, to join several plaintiff lawsuits against former MF Global officials.

BofA Trails In Mortgage Pact (WSJ)
The Charlotte, N.C., lender, the nation's second-largest bank by assets, is required to provide the lion's share of relief under a $25 billion foreclosure pact reached in early 2012 with federal agencies and 49 state attorneys general. Through June, Bank of America had made about $800 million in loan-balance cuts under trial modifications for around 18,000 borrowers, and it offered another $2 billion in loan forgiveness, the report shows.

Carriage horse who went on Midtown rampage is 'retired' and shipped to Massachusetts (NYDN)
Oreo, the black-and-white carriage horse who went on a sprint through midtown after being spooked by construction noise earlier this month, will only have a brief retirement. The steed was shipped Wednesday to a 120-acre horse sanctuary in Massachusetts, where he’ll remain for a few weeks until someone adopts him. And that new owner will likely work the 4-year-old, said Pamela Rickenbach, who runs Blue Star Equiculture, the official retirement sanctuary for Central Park carriage horses. “For him to stay healthy his whole life, he needs a job,” said Rickenbach. Oreo had steady work as a carriage horse until Aug. 16, when he got spooked near Columbus Circle and turned into Secretariat, racing through traffic, colliding with cars and then spilling an Australian family out of his carriage. The Aussie tourists were not injured. Oreo was corralled on Ninth Avenue — his career and reputation in tatters. “He’s retiring, but he could be pulling a carriage for pleasure somewhere else,” Stephen Malone of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York said. “He’s too young just to stay in a paddock.”


Opening Bell: 6.2.15

Greece will probably get its bailout; Junior bankers are stressed; 99 year-old Wall Street vet offers advice; FIFA denies $10 million bribe; "Woman jailed over loud sex"; and more.


Opening Bell: 8.23.17

Herbalife readies finishing move on Bill Ackman; Goldman plans finishing move on Volcker rule; firefighters feast on piglets they saved from fire; and more.

Opening Bell: 8.19.15

Germany will probably back Greece bailout; Gundlach doesn't like fed hike; "A Bank for People Who Hate Banks"; Touch-free vending machines; NJ manager cleared on insider trading; "Victim Wants Charge Dismissed In Dildo Attack"; and more.

Opening Bell: 09.21.12

Spain eyes pension reform with aid package in sight (Reuters) Spain is considering freezing pensions and speeding up a planned rise in the retirement age as it races to cut spending and meet conditions of an expected international sovereign aid package, sources with knowledge of the matter said. The measures would save at least 4 billion euros a year as well as fulfil European Union policy recommendations issued in May which senior euro zone sources said were being used as a blueprint for the terms of a sovereign aid program. Banker Breakups May Help Spur U.K. Divorce Law Changes (Bloomberg) The review of U.K. divorce law was triggered in part by the case of German heiress Katrin Radmacher and ex-JPMorgan investment banker Nicolas Granatino, lawyers said. In October 2010, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled for the first time that a U.S.-style pre-nuptial agreement on asset-division, reached before marriage, should be decisive. In London, it’s common for big divorce payouts to go to partners with less money even if that spouse is relatively young, the relationship was brief and there aren’t children, Gallagher’s lawyer, Katie O’Callaghan, said. “People actively try to get divorced in this country because if they are the financially weak party, they can expect a bigger payment,” said O’Callaghan. Porsche, Daimler Indicate Europe’s Car Crisis Spreading (Bloomberg) “If a downturn lasts for longer, which this one is, premium is not immune from pricing trends,” said Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG with an outperform recommendation on BMW, Porsche and VW, and a neutral on Daimler. “The pricing environment in Europe is the biggest problem,” with incentives spreading from Italy, Spain and France to Germany. Senate JPMorgan Probe Said to Seek Tougher Volcker Rule (Bloomberg) Staff members of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, headed by Senator Carl Levin, have interviewed JPMorgan officials as well as examiners and supervisors at the institution’s regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiry isn’t public. One focus of the queries is whether JPMorgan’s wrong-way bets on derivatives would have been permitted under regulators’ initial draft of the Volcker ban on proprietary trading, the people said. Cain says he'd be leading Obama if he were nominee (TGS via DI) Cain told members of the media after the speech that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's recent “47 percent” comment was a “non-story” being blown out of proportion by the media. But Cain said he would have been doing better if he was the nominee, saying that he'd probably have a “substantial lead” on President Barack Obama at this point. “The reason is quite simple: I have some depth to my ideas,” he said. US Seeks To Patch Laundering Net (WSJ) U.S. regulators are proposing to enlist companies across the financial sector—and possibly beyond—as a front-line defense against money laundering. A sweeping proposal by the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCen, could require financial institutions to collect and verify information on all customer accounts. If adopted, the new rules would create a broad new compliance structure that banks and others say would increase costs and add to complexity for the firms and their customers. Exchanges Catch Heat On Hill Over High Speed Trading (WSJ) Sens. Jack Reed (D., R.I.) and Mike Crapo (R., Idaho) and several witnesses at the Senate Banking subcommittee hearing took aim at the complex technological tools developed and sold by exchanges to lure the high-speed traders that dominate the stock market and drive exchange profits. Greek Bailout Fight Looms (WSJ) All sides, including Athens, are determined to keep Greece in the euro, officials say—they just don't know how yet. The trio must agree to a plan by November at the latest, when the government in Athens—already in financial arrears—could run out of money altogether. Correction officers at Rikers having ‘rampant’ sex on and off job: lawsuit (NYDN) Correction officers are turning city jails into their personal playpens, engaging in “rampant” sex both on and off the job, an explosive lawsuit claims. Correction Officer Tomara Bryan charges that male guards face no repercussions for bedding their counterparts — but the frisky females become targets of abuse. Bryan should know. She was one of them, the suit says. Bryan had a stormy two-year affair with a married warden named Emmanuel Bailey — and even had his last name tattooed across her lower back. In the discrimination suit filed in Bronx Supreme Court, Bryan claims that after their kinky relationship came to light she was verbally and physically abused by female supervisors, forced to take a “bogus” random drug test and given dangerous assignments.

Opening Bell: 4.28.16

Deutsche beats expectations; U.S. economy expands to to 0.5% pace; Life-Sized Noah’s Ark Replica To Hit The High Seas This Summer; and more.