Investors, Bank Near Pact in Madoff Cases (WSJ)
The tentative settlement, reached just as the two sides were about to deliver closing arguments, may return a fraction of the $60 million that the investors said they lost. But any sums could be a blow for the bank, Connecticut Community Bank and its branch, Westport National Bank, which are controlled by William R. Berkley, chairman of a large insurance company. The bank, which has reported losses for the last four years, also faces a $28 million lawsuit from the trustee overseeing the liquidation of Mr. Madoff's securities firm and it is operating under a formal order from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency demanding operational improvements as a result of what the regulator said were "unsafe and unsound" practices and violations of the law, according to a notice on the comptroller's website.
SEC takes Goldman's 'Fabulous Fab' to trial in civil fraud case (Reuters)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission heads to trial Monday against a former Goldman Sachs bond trader in a case it says highlights what went wrong on Wall Street in the financial crisis. Jury selection begins in federal court in New York in the civil fraud case against Fabrice Tourre, 34, who the SEC says misled investors in an ill-fated mortgage securities investment called Abacus 2007-AC1.
Greenberg Sues Spitzer for Alleged Defamatory Remarks (FBN)
Former American International Group (AIG) chief executive Hank Greenberg sued former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer late Friday for what he alleges are defamatory remarks against his character. The lawsuit, which was filed in New York Supreme Court in Putnam County, said Spitzer embarked on a “long-standing malicious campaign … to discredit Mr. Greenberg, and damage Mr. Greenberg’s reputation and career, while attempting to bolster Mr. Spitzer’s career and reputation.”
Great rotation still a 'long way' off (CNBC)
The "Great Rotation" out of bonds and into equities has been a hot topic this year, but recent research has found although investor cash is fast leaving the bond market, it is not going in the direction of equities yet. According to U.S.-based Trim Tabs Investment Research, which tracks stock market liquidity, money coming out of bonds is now going into savings deposits or money market funds. "We think we are a long way away from the 'Great Rotation' that so many market strategists are anticipating. Far more of the money coming out of bonds seems to be making its way under the mattress than into equities," said Trim Tabs in a report.
University Apologizes for Hitler Banner (AP)
Thailand's premier university has apologized for displaying a billboard that showed Adolf Hitler alongside Superman and other superheroes, saying Monday it was painted by ignorant students who didn't realize Hitler's image would offend anyone. The huge billboard was placed outside the art faculty of Chulalongkorn University as part of a tribute to this year's graduating class. It said "Congratulations" in bold white letters and showed Hitler with his arm raised in a Nazi salute next to Batman, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man.
Hedge Funds Bought Gold in Biggest Rally Since 2011 (Bloomberg)
Speculators increased their net-long position by 4.1 percent to 35,691 futures and options, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data for July 9 show. Net holdings expanded even as speculators increased short bets to a record. Net-bullish wagers across 18 U.S.-traded commodities retreated 3.4 percent as investors became the most bearish ever on corn. They were more bullish on silver and palladium. ... “Bernanke’s comments put some positive feeling back into gold and into all commodities,” said Dan Denbow, a fund manager at the $1 billion USAA Precious Metals & Minerals Fund in San Antonio. “The Fed has been working hard to show that taking back a little bit of bond buying isn’t removing accommodation, and Bernanke was very firm on that. There was a bit of a sentiment shift.”
Loblaw to Buy Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada (DealBook)
The Loblaw Companies, Canada’s largest food retailer, announced on Monday that it would acquire Shoppers Drug Mart, the country’s biggest pharmacy chain, for $11.9 billion in cash and stock. The total offer of 61.54 Canadian dollars ($59.05) represents a premium of 27 percent to Shoppers Drug Mart’s closing stock price on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Loblaw agreed to pay 33.18 Canadian dollars in cash plus 0.5965 Loblaw share for each share of Shoppers Drug Mart.
Restoration Hardware's Renovation Is Private-Equity Boon (WSJ)
Five years ago, as the housing crash crimped the company's profits, a group led by Connecticut private-equity firms Catterton Partners and Tower Three Partners LLC and the retailer's chief executive took the company private for about $177 million. Restoration still doesn't turn out consistent profits. But today the retailer, which returned to public ownership in a November initial public offering, has a stock-market value of about $2.7 billion. At one point last week, shares traded at more than three times their IPO price of $24. The surge has prompted the company's owners to cash in. Late Thursday, the buyout group and executives sold some $560 million of stock.
GSK accused of being ‘ringleader’ in China probe (FT)
Chinese police have accused GlaxoSmithKline of being the “ringleader” in a bribery scandal involving 700 companies and deals worth as much as half a billion dollars. In a rare briefing to foreign media, Gao Feng, the lead Chinese investigator on a probe into the UK drugs group, said police were examining Rmb3bn in deals from as far back as 2007. He said Chinese police believe that GSK used travel agencies and consultancies as a conduit to bribe doctors and lawyers in order to boost sales and profits.
Greeks Wait Tables and Hope for Economic Dawn (Bloomberg)
“Greece has the holy trinity of crises,” said Andreas Koutras, an adviser at the Lucerne, Switzerland-based investment company SteppenWolf Capital LLC, an investment fund that holds Greek debt. “It has a public debt crisis, a bank crisis and a cultural-political crisis. These are self-feeding. Greece has become the lighthouse of Europe: Steer well clear of that area.” While wage and pension cuts have slimmed the country’s deficit, a slump in consumer confidence, a failure to tackle tax collection and a 2013 debt burden the International Monetary Fund says will hit 175 percent of GDP are keeping up the pressure.
A $439 million camp adds to Boy Scouts money crunch (Reuters)
In the misty, oak-filled woods of West Virginia, the Boy Scouts of America are building their answer to Disney World. Known as The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, the 10,600-acre park opens Monday, when 30,000 scouts are expected to visit for the quadrennial National Jamboree. The Summit will have more than five miles of zip lines, a whitewater-rafting circuit, a 120-foot tree house and a stadium for 85,000 people.
Brazilian Man Killed in His Bed By Falling Cow (Gawker)
45-year-old Joao Maria de Souza was lying beside his wife in bed in the Brazilian town of Caratinga when a one-ton cow walked from an adjacent hill onto the roof of Mr. Souza's home. The roof, unfortunately, was not strong enough for the weight of the cow. ... Surprisingly, this was third recent incident of cows crashing through roofs in the area.