One of Wall Street's Riskiest Bets Returns (WSJ)
In a sign of how hard Wall Street is trying to satisfy voracious demand for higher returns amid rock-bottom interest rates, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley bankers in London are moving to assemble so-called synthetic collateralized debt obligations. ... he interest by potential investors in new synthetic CDOs shows that demand for higher returns is intense, said Brian Reynolds, chief market strategist at brokerage firm Rosenblatt Securities Inc. "Wall Street will create new, more complex, more risky structures to satisfy that demand," he said.
F.B.I. Nominee Could Offer Peek Into the World of Ray Dalio (DealBook)
[James B. Comey left Lockheed Martin] to become Bridgewater’s general counsel in charge of the legal, compliance and security departments. ... But did he buy into the Bridgewater culture? Or was it all about the money? ... In the New Yorker profile, Mr. Comey was quoted as saying, “The mind control is working. I’ve come to believe that all the probing actually reduces inefficiencies over the long run, because it prevents bad decisions from being made.” Perhaps the F.B.I. is about to experience what “radical honesty” means for government, as well as what it means to fire people who don’t fit in.
Brazil slashes financial transactions tax (FT)
Brazil has dismantled one of the cornerstones of its so-called currency war against foreign fund inflows, by slashing a tax on overseas investments in domestic bonds. The government late on Tuesday cut the financial transactions tax, known as the IOF, from 6 per cent to zero in a move that signals its concern that Brazil’s currency, the real, is weakening too quickly against the dollar.
Ruling Blocks iPhone Sales (WSJ)
Samsung Electronics Co. won a significant legal victory against Apple Inc. that threatens to halt the sale of some iPhones and iPads in the U.S. The U.S. International Trade Commission on Tuesday ruled that Apple violated a Samsung patent covering technology used to send information over wireless networks. Unless vetoed by President Barack Obama or blocked by an appeals court, the ruling would bar the importation of certain iPhones and iPads made to work on AT&T Inc.'s network. Among them are the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, the iPad 3G, the iPad 2 3G and the iPad 3.
A County in Alabama Strikes a Bankruptcy Deal (DealBook)
Jefferson County, Ala., took a big step toward resolving its historic bankruptcy case on Tuesday, saying it had reached an agreement to refinance most of the debt at the heart of its financial breakdown. The refinancing would save the county hundreds of millions of dollars and position it to emerge from bankruptcy in a matter of months, according to people briefed on the negotiations. But the terms must still be approved by a federal bankruptcy judge, and the county must clear several other hurdles before it can emerge from bankruptcy. Lawyers for the county are scheduled to present details of the agreement in federal bankruptcy court in Birmingham on Wednesday.
Domino's tests drone pizza delivery (CNN)
In perhaps the first bit of "technological research" to involve flying pepperoni, Domino's has developed a drone capable of delivering pizzas. While the idea is likely just a PR stunt, a Domino's franchise in the United Kingdom posted a video on Monday of the unmanned "DomiCopter" actually delivering two pizzas in the company's signature Heatwave bags.
Euro zone GDP contraction slows in first quarter, April retail sales worse than forecast (Reuters)
The pace of the euro zone's economic contraction slowed quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of this year, EU statistics showed on Wednesday, but retail sales in April pointed to continued weakness in household demand. The European Union's statistics office confirmed its earlier estimates that gross domestic product in the 17 countries using the euro fell 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter in the January-March period, for a 1.1 percent year-on-year contraction. That came after a 0.6 percent decline in euro zone quarterly output in the previous three months.
Americans More Secure in Poll as 60% See No Need for Better Job (Bloomberg)
People are more upbeat about a range of financial issues -- job security, retirement savings, home values and household income -- than they were in February, the last time Bloomberg asked the question. Eight measures of financial well-being surveyed show increasing optimism among poll respondents. “The economy is doing a lot better,” Nancy Bush, 56, of San Francisco, said in a follow-up interview. “I feel very encouraged, and maybe it’s just a gut feeling, but I think we’ve made it through a four- or five-year recovery.”
MF Global ends bankruptcy as trustee Freeh steps down (Reuters)
Collapsed brokerage MF Global Holdings Ltd on Tuesday effectively ended its bankruptcy, saying court-appointed trustee Louis Freeh will step down and hand the estate's remaining wind-down duties to a new three-member board. ... The company's liquidation plan put together by Freeh, a former FBI director, and MF Global's creditors, was approved by bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn in April, and the plan went into effect on Tuesday. "With the plan approved and a new board in place, I am confident the liquidation process can be effectively administered to the satisfaction of the creditors," Freeh said in a statement.
Goldman Breaks Drought With Saudi Property Bond (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., whose shariah-compliant bond program was questioned by Islamic scholars in 2011, led its first sukuk in more than three years after helping a Saudi property developer raise $450 million. The bank was a lead arranger on Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co.’s sukuk on May 21, reforging links with the Riyadh-based real estate company after helping arrange the sale of its $450 million five-year bonds in February 2010.
Westchester mom ran million-dollar marijuana operation out of Queens warehouse: cops (NYDN)
Meet the Scarsdale version of “Weeds” — a divorced suburban mom busted for allegedly running a multimillion-dollar pot growing operation from a Queens warehouse. ... “She seemed like every other mom,” said Scott Tarter at the Twin Lakes Farm in Bronxville, where Sanderlin rode horses and one of her daughters is in the riding academy. “I did find it odd that she hadn’t been around for a couple of weeks.” At Sanderlin’s Spanish-style home, shocked neighbors said the only red flag was the father of her younger daughter. “It was obvious that he wasn’t a dad who put on a shirt and tie and took the 7:04 to the city,” one neighbor said.
Batman Wins Condom Contest, Showing Social Media Perils (Bloomberg)
In a recent online marketing campaign, Durex asked Facebook fans to vote on what city should get SOS Condoms, a service meant to allow amorous -- but unprepared -- couples to click on a smartphone app for a rush delivery. The voters chose Batman, the capital of an oil-rich and conservative-Muslim province in southeastern Turkey, and social media experts say the contest was almost certainly decided by Internet pranksters. Batman received 1,577 votes, besting Paris and London, according to the contest’s Facebook page, which has been dormant since the two-month promotion finished in April.