Opening Bell: 06.28.13

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Fed Officials Intensify Effort to Curb Surge in Interest Rates (Bloomberg)
“It is pretty obvious that the Fed was caught off guard by the market’s reaction given the lengths to which they have gone to reshape market expectations,” Drew Matus, deputy U.S. chief economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, and a former analyst at the New York Fed, said in an e-mail. “The range of both speakers and outlets suggests that these comments are, if not coordinated, then at least part of a collective -- likely futile -- effort to re-mold the market’s view of the June FOMC press conference.”

White House Makes Shortlist for Bernanke's Job (WSJ)
Janet Yellen, the Fed's vice chairwoman, is widely seen in financial markets as the leading contender. ... Lawrence Summers, the former head of Mr. Obama's National Economic Council, is also seen as a contender. ... Other respected economists whom the White House might consider include two former Fed vice chairmen, Princeton University professor Alan Blinder and Roger Ferguson, who advised Mr. Obama's first campaign for president in 2008, and Christina Romer, the former head of Mr. Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. Timothy Geithner, Mr. Obama's former Treasury Secretary, is sometimes mentioned as a potential successor to Mr. Bernanke, though Mr. Geithner has said he doesn't want the job. Former central bankers, including Donald Kohn and Stanley Fischer, are sometimes mentioned by outside observers as potential candidates. And it is possible a surprise candidate could emerge.

China’s central bank assures financial markets (FT)
China will ensure there is enough money in the economy for the smooth functioning of its financial markets, central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said in his first public comments since the country was hit by a cash crunch. Mr Zhou did not directly mention the cash crunch, which last week sent interbank rates into double digits and stoked fears that the Chinese financial system was freezing up. But he indicated that the People’s Bank of China did not want to see such dislocations. “We will use all kinds of tools and methods to appropriately adjust liquidity and to maintain the overall stability of markets,” he said in a speech at a financial forum in Shanghai.

Fashionable 'Risk Parity' Funds Hit Hard (WSJ)
Risk-parity funds use leverage to try to increase returns on bond investments so they more closely resemble returns of stocks. The basic idea of the strategy is that by equally distributing risks among stocks, bonds and commodities, the portfolio can weather huge price swings without sacrificing returns. ... The recent market turmoil has tested many followers of the strategy. That is mostly because stocks have tumbled along with bonds after the Federal Reserve hinted at a reduction in its stimulus program last month. Making things worse, commodities and inflation-protected securities, which are widely used by risk-parity managers as a hedge against inflation, also suffered heavy losses because of receding inflationary expectations.

Banana Republic, Ann Taylor favored among cheating wives (Boston.com)
AshleyMadison.com, a website for folks looking to divulge an extramarital affair and a subsequent resource for a wealth of data on married people who like to cheat -- who knew? -- released another one of their handy dandy surveys on the preferred shopping and fashion habits of their female members. ... "According to AshleyMadison.com CEO Noel Biderman, 'Banana’s business casual merchandise perfectly suits the busy working woman, juggling work and family. Our typical female is a professional woman in her early 30s.'" ... "Philandering females rock pumps from Aldo, carry a Mark (sic) Jacobs tote, wear Ray Ban aviator style shades and tankinis (58.3%) when hitting the beach."

An 18-Hole Mini-Golf Course in the Office? Yep (CNBC)
"We have a lot of competitive people here – that's one of the reasons we're such a strong company," said Stewart Grilli the mastermind behind the 18-hole mini-golf course that took up an entire floor. "There's a lot of competitive juices but it's always in good fun," Grilli said. Grilli is an enterprise-relationship manager but his team consisted of 118 people spanning several departments, including sales and operations. They broke up into sub-groups to design each hole. There's a golf cart that was created by building a frame on a toy car that someone's child had grown out of. The last few holes have a carnival theme, complete with side games, a Zoltar fortune-telling machine and treats such as popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones. For the big finish, when you sink the last hole, lights flash and music plays.

Gundlach to Gross Say Worst Probably Over for Treasuries (Bloomberg)
“I do believe July will not be the same type of month,” Gundlach, chief investment officer of Los Angeles-based DoubleLine, said yesterday in a webcast for investors. “There’s profits to be made in the bond market between now and the end of the year.” Gross, in a Bloomberg Radio interview yesterday with Tom Keene, said 10-year Treasury yields can go 25 basis points, or 0.25 percentage point, lower, which would help reverse some of the losses in May and June.

Investors pull $8.6bn from US bond funds (FT)
Bruised by the first widespread losses for bondholders, investors pulled $8.6bn from US bond funds in the last week, contributing to the worst four-week streak since the depths of the financial crisis. The latest outflow takes the four-week total for withdrawals to $23.7bn, and marks the worst month of outflows since October 2008 when investors yanked a record $44bn from bonds, according to research group Lipper.

China poised to name new head for $500bn wealth fund CIC (FT)
China’s $500bn sovereign wealth fund is finally close to naming a new chief, ending a months-long delay during which several candidates turned down the job for fear it would prove to be a poisoned chalice. Ding Xuedong, deputy secretary-general of the State Council, China’s cabinet, is expected to be announced as chairman of China Investment Corp, according to two people briefed on the decision.

Bank of America Said to Send Property Reviews to India (Bloomberg)
Bank of America Corp. opened a unit in India to review home-valuation reports as it seeks to rebuild share in U.S. mortgages at a lower cost, said four people with knowledge of the move. Workers in the new Bangalore office follow checklists to determine if appraisals are complete, said the people, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to comment. The firm also eliminated jobs of licensed U.S. workers in its LandSafe business, the appraisal division of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company, which made $78.7 billion in loans last year, the people said.

SEC Reviews How ISM Releases Manufacturing Data (WSJ)
The Securities and Exchange Commission is scrutinizing how certain investors might have received potentially market-moving information from the Institute for Supply Management ahead of the public, according to a person familiar with the inquiry, as the trade group changes its procedures to eliminate a delay in the distribution of the data.

In shadow of landmark decisions, U.S. high court also rules for business (Reuters)
Overall, during the term that started nine months ago, the Supreme Court has delivered a series of victories for corporate defendants on class action lawsuits and arbitration, curbing the ability of consumers to file mass claims against companies over such matters as defective products and unfair practices. Comcast Corp and American Express Co were among the big winners in those cases. As progressive groups have been quick to point out, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the main group representing business interests, received a favorable outcome in 14 of the 18 cases in which it filed friend-of-the-court briefs.

Swedish Police Searching for Bicycle Fucker Caught on Video (Gawker)
A man who fucks bicycles is on the loose in Sweden. After Swedish cyclist Per Edstrom had his bike violated one too many times, he installed a security camera in front of his home, left his bike outside, and then waited. Sure enough, the hooded bicycle lover showed up, cut open a tire, and began to masturbate onto the bike as the tire deflated, all while holding a piece of paper in his hand. ... Somewhat unbelievably, this is not the first time there's been a bicycle-related sex scandal in Sweden. In 2007, a 35-year-old man was arrested and convicted of masturbating onto at least 20 bikes around Stockholm.

Your Pets Are Responsible For $3B in Gadget Damage (ABC)
A new survey conducted by the SquareTrade insurance company suggests that our four-legged friends are responsible for the destruction of over 8 million devices, totaling more than $3 billion in repair and replacement costs. Ty Shay, the chief marketing officer for SquareTrade, said that the inspiration behind the survey came from the various types of claims SquareTrade got from its own customers. “We were getting a lot of calls from customers with broken devices saying, ‘My dog chewed my tablet,’ or ‘My cat knocked my soda onto my laptop.’ We found that almost 1 in 5 pet owners have had this problem,” Shay told ABC News.

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