Opening Bell: 06.14.13

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Fed Likely to Push Back on Market Expectations of Rate Increase (WSJ)
“The market is saying, ‘The fundamental economic outlook really hasn’t changed much, but we are getting more worried about Fed policy,’” says Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs. Since last December the Fed has been promising to keep short-term interest rates near zero until the jobless rate reaches 6.5%, as long as inflation doesn’t take off. Most forecasters don’t see the jobless rate reaching that threshold until mid-2015. At the same time, however, the Fed is talking about pulling back on its $85 billion-per-month bond-buying program. The chatter about pulling back the bond program has pushed up a wide range of interest rates and appears to have investors second-guessing the Fed’s broader commitment to keeping rates low. This is exactly what the Fed doesn’t want.

Bank of England Official to Leave (DealBook)
The Bank of England said Friday that Paul Tucker would resign as deputy governor. The announcement comes two weeks before Mark Carney takes over as the governor of the central bank. Mr. Tucker, who has spent 33 years at the Bank of England, was also a candidate for the top job at the central bank. Mr. Tucker said that he planned to stay through the summer to help Mr. Carney, the former governor of the Bank of Canada, settle in to his new role.

China debt auction failure raises liquidity fears (FT)
The Chinese government failed to sell all its bonds at an auction on Friday, a sign of how cash has become increasingly tight in the slowing economy. The finance ministry sold only Rmb9.5bn ($1.5bn) of the Rmb15bn in government debt on offer, the first time in nearly two years that Beijing has fallen short of its target bond sale. The failure stemmed from a jump in money market rates that has occurred because the central bank has refused to pump liquidity into the economy despite signs of stress in the banking system.

Cameron Says Return on RBS More Important Than Timing (Bloomberg)
Prime Minister David Cameron said U.K. voters are more interested in getting their money back from Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc than in its quick return to the private sector. “It will take time, because this is a bank that is still healing,” Cameron said in an interview in his London office late yesterday. “As for when we get it back into the private sector, I just have two very simple concerns -- one is we must make sure this bank contributes to the recovery of the U.K. economy. Secondly, people put their money in. I want them to get their money out.”

Teen allegedly bullied for being Canadian quits U.S. school (CBC)
A 15-year-old boy in Upstate New York alleges that two of his teachers teased him so much about being Canadian that he became depressed, prompting his mother to pull him out of school. “They’d say things like ‘Canada’s full of communists. They club baby seals. That my opinion doesn’t really matter because I’m a Canadian,’” Noah Kilpatrick said by phone from Watertown, N.Y.

Refinancings Plunge as Bond Yields Rise (WSJ)
The average rate on a 30-year mortgage rose to 4.15% last week, a 14-month high and up sharply from 3.59% in early May, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. A separate survey released Thursday by Freddie Mac FMCC -5.56% said the rate this week was at 3.98%, up from 3.35% last month. Refinancing applications last week were down 36% from the first week of May, before rates began climbing, according to the bankers association.

Euro zone inflation off three-year lows, fall in employment deepens (Reuters)
Economic recovery in the euro area is expected to kick in later this year, but risks to the growth are on the downside as governments continue with painful fiscal consolidation and companies struggle to access credit in banks. Consumer prices rose by 0.1 percent on the month in May, the EU statistic agency Eurostat said, putting the annual inflation rate at 1.4 percent compared to 1.2 percent in April. Inflation in the euro zone's strongest economy, Germany, jumped to 1.6 percent on the year in May from 1.1 percent in April, while France recorded only a small increase and Italy stayed flat at 1.3 percent. Euro zone inflation has declined markedly over the last few months and is well under the European Central Bank's (ECB) target of close to, but below 2 percent. The bank said in June it sees inflation risks as broadly balanced.

India is Asia's weakest link in QE-driven rout (Reuters)
As financial markets sell off on concerns over rising U.S. rates, what happens in India, an economy with slowing growth and a heavy dependence on foreign money, could well determine if this is merely a short-term rout or a full-blown crisis. India's rupee currency has weakened the most among emerging markets after the South African rand since May as investors flee assets most vulnerable to the end of super-loose U.S. monetary policy.

Questions Linger in Case of Copied Code (WSJ)
Nearly four years after Mr. Aleynikov's first arrest, two big questions remain: How much is the allegedly purloined computer code really worth? And what does it do? Few people even know exactly what Mr. Aleynikov took with him when he quit Goldman. At the first trial, a federal judge closed the courtroom to observers whenever portions of the code were discussed or shown in detail. The move was made at the request of Goldman, which said the code was too valuable to show to the public, according to court documents. Goldman declined to provide the code to The Wall Street Journal, and the judge hasn't unsealed the evidence.

Bloomberg Reporters’ Practices Become Crucial Issue for Company (NYT)
“We were told again and again and again, find ways to use what’s on the terminal to write stories,” said one former Bloomberg reporter who, like most employees, was required to sign a strict nondisclosure agreement that prohibits them from speaking about the company. “They never said ‘Oh, please be careful and don’t breach any kind of privacy,’ ” the former reporter said. A senior Bloomberg executive not authorized to speak for attribution confirmed the reporter’s account. “It’s not like this was some deep Bloomberg secret,” this executive said. “If it’s on the terminal, we’d say go for it.”

Hedge Fund Manager Browder: If I Get Assassinated… (CNBC)
Bill Browder, chief executive and founder of Hermitage Capital Markets, told CNBC the Russian government is "apoplectic" over sanctions imposed on Russian officials that he has campaigned for, and if he gets assassinated, "everyone would know who did it." The well-known critic of the Kremlin has been living in London since he was kicked out of Russia for accusing Russian tax officials of embezzlement, in 2007.

Lawsuit: Man allowed to curse on NY ticket payment (AP)
A 22-year-old Connecticut man who wrote obscenities and "Tyranny" on his speeding ticket payment claims in a federal lawsuit that his free speech rights were violated when he was arrested. William Barboza is suing two police officers in the Catskill-area village of Liberty over the arrest. Barboza had replaced the word "Liberty" with "Tyranny" and added an obscenity-laced insult on the payment form accompanying an August 2012 ticket.

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Opening Bell: 2.21.18

Fed to get shot at calming markets; Borrowing costs through the roof; Alan Howard blowing it again; Farts cause emergency landing; and more!

Opening Bell: 07.20.12

Eurogroup approves Spanish banking sector bailout (Reuters) Euro zone finance ministers approved an agreement on Friday to lend up to 100 billion euros ($123 billion) to Spain so it can recapitalize its banks, but the exact size of the loan will probably only be determined in September. Yahoo To Pay Mayer $100 Million Over 5 Years (WSJ) Ms. Mayer is expected to receive around $5.4 million from Yahoo for the remainder of this year and around $20 million a year after that, though some of that amount is tied to performance targets set by the board...The Yahoo pay package includes restricted stock units valued at $14 million in order to "partially compensate" Ms. Mayer for forfeiting her compensation from Google. It also includes a one-time retention award that is valued at $15 million and will vest over five years. Morgan Stanley Joins Citigroup In Job-Cut Push Amid Slump (Bloomberg) Headcount at Morgan Stanley will decline by about 700 in the second half, bringing total 2012 staff reductions to 4,000, Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat, 54, said yesterday in an interview. Deutsche Bank, Europe’s biggest lender by assets, is considering about 1,000 job cuts at its investment bank, while Citigroup plans to chop about 350, people with knowledge of the decisions said this week. London Fund-Raisers Put Romney in a Scandal’s Glare (NYT) The former chief executive and a top lobbyist for Barclays, the bank at the center of the scandal, helped organize a Romney fund-raiser. The former chief executive, Robert E. Diamond Jr., has since withdrawn his name as the event’s co-host. The bank’s lobbyist, Patrick J. Durkin, remains a co-chairman: he has bundled $1.1 million for Mr. Romney from friends and business associates, more than any other lobbyist, according to federal records. Nasdaq to Release Compensation Plan for Investors Hurt by Facebook IPO Mess (FBN) Nasdaq is looking to release next week the compensation plan for investors who lost out on the bungled IPO of Facebook...Sources say the deal being discussed will be all in cash, and likely above the $40 million originally proposed...Nadsaq had proposed a $40 million deal in which $27 million of it involved trading credits--a move that outraged investors and market makers who may have lost a combined $200 million or more on the botched IPO. Because of that one source says the new Nasdaq proposal could be as high a $100 million and all of it in cash. Insider Traders Face Longer Sentences As Judges Get Tough (Bloomberg) Since Jan. 1, 2011, the judges have sent the average violator to prison for more than 22 months, according to an analysis of sentencing data by Bloomberg News. That was a 20 percent increase from the average term of 18.4 months during the previous eight years. Boxer’s Bloody Nose Leads to Bank Robbery Charges (AP) Martin Tucker won his latest boxing match, but a bloody nose in the ring could send him to prison for bank robbery. The FBI said it obtained a swab used to stop the bleeding and found that DNA matched Tucker's DNA on other evidence from a 2009 robbery at Monroe County Community Credit Union in Temperance, near the Michigan-Ohio border. In a court filing, agent Robert Schmitz said he was aware of Tucker's bout in April in Toledo, Ohio, and obtained the "discarded" Q-tips swab. Tucker's DNA matched DNA from a mask believed to have been used in the robbery and from the steering wheel of the getaway car, the FBI said...Detroit FBI spokesman Simon Shaykhet declined to discuss how Schmitz got the bloody swab. Defense attorney Haytham Faraj said there seems nothing illegal about acquiring it. "We leave our fingerprints, bits of hair and skin all over the place. If you're a boxer, sometimes you leave your blood around," Faraj said in an interview Thursday. Bank of England Says New York Fed Gave No Warning on Rate-Rigging (Dealbook) The call for a review into Libor in 2008 came after Mr. King and Mr. Geithner had talked about potential problems with the rate during a meeting in Basel, Switzerland, in early May 2008. This discussion was followed by a flurry of e-mails a month later in which Mr. Geithner, who is now the Treasury secretary, recommended changes to the rate, which is used as a benchmark for more than $360 trillion financial products worldwide. The suggestions included ‘‘strengthen governance and establish a credible reporting procedure’’ and ‘‘eliminate incentive to misreport,’’ according to documents released by the New York Fed. Mr. King told Mr. Geithner that he supported the suggestions. Yet the New York Fed did not make any allegations of wrongful behavior connected to Libor, according to documents released on Friday. Mr. King told a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday that Mr. Geithner’s suggestions did not represent a warning about the potential manipulation of Libor. Geithner-Led Fed Didn’t Do Enough in Libor Scandal: Sheila Bair (CNBC) "Looking at those emails, it looks like they had pretty explicit notification of some very bad behavior, and I don't understand why they didn't investigate," Bair said today. Banks in Libor probe consider group settlement (Reuters) A group of banks being investigated in an interest-rate rigging scandal are looking to pursue a group settlement with regulators rather than face a Barclays-style backlash by going it alone, people familiar with the banks' thinking said...Barclays Plc was the first to settle with U.S. and British regulators, paying a $453 million penalty and admitting to its role in a deal announced June 27. Its chief executive, Bob Diamond, abruptly quit the next week, bowing to public pressure and erosion of the bank's reputation. The sources told Reuters that none of the banks involved now want to be second in line for fear that they will get similarly hostile treatment from politicians and the public. Rex Ryan's Biggest Loss (NYP) “My surgeon told me one time, ‘How many tacos do you eat?’ because I told him how much I love Mexican food,” Ryan recalled. “I said, ‘I probably can eat about 12 tacos.’ He’s like, ‘OK.’ Never flinched. He said by the time this is really working, you’ll eat about a half or three-quarters of a taco and that’s it. I was like, ‘Why would I want to do that?’ And he said, no, you’ll be satisfied. That’s exactly where I’m at now...I have no clothes that fit. Socks are the only things that fit. Even a hat, underwear, I’ve got to change everything.”

Opening Bell: 09.24.12

Germany Losing Patience With Spain as EU Warns on Crisis Effort (Bloomberg) Germany’s governing coalition showed growing exasperation with Spain, as a senior ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy must stop prevaricating and decide whether Spain needs a full rescue. “He must spell out what the situation is,” Michael Meister, the chief whip and finance spokesman for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said in an interview in Berlin today. The fact he’s not doing so shows “Rajoy evidently has a communications problem. If he needs help he must say so.” Germany Dismisses Talk of Boosting Bailout Fund (WSJ) Europe is discussing ways to leverage the assets of its €500 billion ($649.05 billion) bailout fund through the involvement of private-sector investors, but reports that this could boost the firepower of the European Stability Mechanism to more than €2 trillion are "completely illusory," a spokesman for the German Finance Ministry said on Monday. Cost of Leaving Greece Rises for Crédit Agricole (WSJ) Crédit Agricole will likely have to pour a further €600 million ($779 million) to €700 million into its flailing Greek unit before it will be able sell the subsidiary, according to people from both the private and public sectors with knowledge of the sales process. Under Ben Bernanke, An Open And More Forceful Fed (WaPo) In what might be his final years as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke is transforming the U.S. central bank, seeking to shed its reclusive habits and make it a constant presence in bolstering the economy. The new approach would make the Fed’s policies more responsive to the needs of the economy — and likely more forceful, because what the Fed is planning to do would be much clearer. A key feature of the strategy could be producing a set of scenarios for when and how the Fed would intervene, which would mark a dramatic shift for an organization that throughout its history has been famously opaque. Bernanke has already pushed the Fed far along this path. The central bank this month pledged to stimulate the economy until it no longer needs the help, an unprecedented promise to intervene for years. That’s a big change from the Fed’s usual role as a curb on inflation and buffer against financial crises. “It’s a re-imagining of Fed policy,” said John E. Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo. “It’s a much more explicit commitment than people had thought about in the past. It’s a much stronger commitment to focus on unemployment.” Economists Say US Needs More Taxes, Spending Cuts (AP) A slight majority of respondents — 59 percent — said that current U.S. monetary policy was "about right." The percentage replying that monetary policy was "too stimulative" fell slightly compared with the percentage that held that same view in March, while the proportion answering that policy was "too restrictive" edged up. Flight attendant brings revolver through Philly airport security (NYDN) Republic Airlines flight attendant Jaclyn Luby was walking through airport screening around 6:50 a.m. when she placed her carry-on bag through the X-ray machine. Transportation Security Administration screeners saw the gun, described as a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson Airweight revolver, and notified a Philadelphia police officer. Luby was in another screening room with police when the gun went off. The bullet fired into a TSA break room, where an employee was sitting, police told NBC 10 Philadelphia. The gun discharged when the officer tried to put the safety on. Luby, a flight attendant for more than five years, told authorities that she had a permit to carry a gun — but forgot hers was in her handbag...“We are human and everybody does make mistakes and I understand that, even though she’s a seasoned veteran, she needs to be careful,” US Airways passenger Andrea Burger said, adding, “I’m sure it will be a great learning opportunity for her.” Winkelvoss Twins Weigh In On Facebook IPO (NYP) Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have put their $65 million Facebook lawsuit settlement money to work, starting Winklevoss Capital, a venture-capital firm focused on technology investments. The duo were asked by Yahoo!’s Daily Ticker what went wrong with the Facebook initial public offering. Cameron Winklevoss said the insiders got greedy and didn’t leave something on the table. “I think when you alienate a group of investors, it takes time to build that rapport back.” Tyler Winklevoss thought the hoodie and “hacker way” ethos didn’t play well with public investors. Mark Zuckerberg’s business model “might work in Silicon Valley with venture-capital firms, but when you go public and you’re talking to the Street, they’re much more concerned with numbers and bottom line and accountability.” Hedge Funds Cut Bets as Prices Drop Most Since June (Bloomberg) Hedge funds cut bullish commodity bets for the first time this month as weaker manufacturing from China and Europe eclipsed central banks’ efforts to boost growth, driving down prices the most since June. Money managers decreased their net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options by 1.7 percent to 1.307 million contracts in the week ended Sept. 18, halting two weeks of gains that had sent holdings to a 16-month high, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Wells Fargo Should Buy CIT Group, Says Analyst (Reuters) FYI. U.K. to Set Up Business Bank (WSJ) The U.K. government is investing £1 billion ($1.62 billion) to set up a new state-backed business bank that it hopes will eventually support up to £10 billion of new lending for small and medium-size companies, Business Secretary Vince Cable will announce on Monday. The new wholesale bank, which will operate at arms length from the government, aims to attract more than £1 billion of private-sector capital to help tackle what it sees as the long-standing problem of a lack of credit for smaller companies. Houston Officer Kills Double Amputee in Wheelchair (AP) A Houston police officer shot and killed a one-armed, one-legged man in a wheelchair Saturday inside a group home after police say the double amputee threatened the officer and aggressively waved a metal object that turned out to be a pen. Police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said the man cornered the officer in his wheelchair and was making threats while trying to stab the officer with the pen. At the time, the officer did not know what the metal object was that the man was waving, Silva said. She said the man came "within inches to a foot" of the officer and did not follow instructions to calm down and remain still. "Fearing for his partner's safety and his own safety, he discharged his weapon," Silva told The Associated Press.