JPMorgan Executive May Escape Penalty (DealBook)
Blythe Masters, a seminal Wall Street figure who is known for developing exotic financial instruments, emerged this spring at the center of an investigation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission into accusations of illegal trading in the California and Michigan electricity markets. ... Months earlier, investigators planned to recommend that the regulator find Ms. Masters, who holds a powerful position within JPMorgan as the head of its commodities business, “individually liable.” But as the investigation progressed, these people said, top energy regulatory officials have been leaning toward not pursuing any civil charges against Ms. Masters.
Morgan Stanley stock traders rebuild burned bridges (Reuters)
Institutional clients now rank Morgan Stanley as the No. 2 stock trading firm in the United States they like to do business with, behind JPMorgan Chase & Co, according to a survey by the research firm Greenwich Associates. That's up from a year ago when it was ranked No. 5, behind JPMorgan, Credit Suisse Group AG, Bank of America Corp and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Morgan Stanley Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said the bank has doubled market share over the past three years by making sure it has services for cash equities trading clients, who want to trade over the phone with people or by using algorithms. ... Chanos, the short seller, returned to Morgan Stanley's prime brokerage business in 2010, the same year Gorman took over as CEO, and has been happy with the relationship since then, a source familiar with the matter said. Another hedge fund manager, who trades with Morgan Stanley but declined to be identified, said that the bank was doing a good job of rebuilding bridges with the industry. The manager, who launched his fund after the financial crisis and focuses largely on technology stocks, said Morgan Stanley has well-connected specialty salespeople who are crucial to keep hedge funds' trading revenue.
Residents wary as Detroit faces uncertain future in bankruptcy (Reuters)
"It was like putting a thumb in a dam," said Jodie Holmes, 55, as he leaned against an abandoned restaurant marked with graffiti, waiting for a bus to take him to his temporary job. "I don't know if bankruptcy will help us or drop us to our knees," he added.
Dell Races to Sway Voters, Save Deal (WSJ)
The stakes are such that even small holders like Randolf Katz, a corporate lawyer in California who purchased 1,482 shares in February, said he has received five appeals for his vote. "No matter how many or few shares you own, your vote is essential," read one mailing Mr. Katz received from Dell dated July 8. Mr. Katz said he voted for the buyout. ... One challenge in getting out these voters: Some, such as hedge funds, may already have sold their position since June 3, the date they became eligible voters as stockholders of record. Investors in this position have no economic incentive to vote and so might not bother, said one investor in that position.
Rich parents hire play-date consultants to help kids play better for private-school admissions (NYP)
Some kids need a little bit more work” at learning how to play, said Suzanne Rheault, the CEO of one of the firms that organize play dates, called Aristotle Circle. “Sometimes [parents] hear from our experts that there are some areas to improve.” ... Experts said that kids may need the play-date tutoring because their young lives have become so regimented, with classes in subjects like Mandarin and violin, that they don’t know how to play with others. “These children have five classes a week but they don't know the simplest thing — how to be at ease and play spontaneously with a child,” said Wednesday Martin, who documents Manhattan motherhood in her upcoming book, “Primates of Park Avenue.”
Bernanke doesn’t understand gold, should we? (CNBC)
"Nobody really understands gold prices and I don't pretend to understand them either," Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday in response to a question on why gold prices have been volatile.
Investors pour huge sums into US equity funds (FT)
Investors have poured more money into US equity funds this week than at any time since the 2008 financial crisis, with the value of the benchmark S&P 500 index soaring to a record $15tn. ... Some $19.7bn was invested in global equity funds in the past week, the most for six months, while $700m was pulled from bond funds, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch citing EPFR figures. The amount put in US equity funds was the most since June 2008, the bank said.
China, U.S. companies' great hope, now a drag (Reuters)
As the world's second-largest economy - and still growing - China is seen as a primary source of revenue growth by the largest U.S. companies. But a country that once boasted double-digit growth is now growing at a more modest 7.5 percent rate, its credit markets are overheated and fears of a housing bubble remain. The slowing has occurred as major U.S. names garner more revenue from Asia. Among 18 S&P companies with large exposure to China, 12 of them were underperforming the broader S&P 500 index year-to-date, including Yum Brands Inc and Intel, which noted the slower growth in China as a headwind.
G-20 to Back Corporate Tax Reform (WSJ)
The Group of 20 largest economies is set to back a major reform of international taxation designed to eliminate loopholes that enable many companies to keep their tax bills low. ... The action plan aims to plug the gaps created by a complex web of bilateral tax treaties that has expanded since the 1920s, and which now allow for "aggressive" tax planning, where companies adopt legal structures designed to shift their profits to the lowest tax jurisdictions, regardless of where those profits are earned.
U.K. Hires JPMorgan to Provide Bank-Privatization Advice (Bloomberg)
The U.K. hired JPMorgan Chase & Co., whose senior advisers include former Prime Minister Tony Blair, as it accelerates efforts to reduce its stakes in Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. “JPMorgan Cazenove will provide ad hoc input which will complement UKFI’s expertise in devising strategies for realizing value for the government’s shareholdings in the banks,” U.K. Financial Investments Ltd., the body that oversees the government’s stakes in the lenders, said in a statement today. “This appointment does not involve any commitment in relation to other roles at any other time and UKFI intends to review this appointment on a periodic basis.”
Apache to Sell Gulf of Mexico Shelf Unit for $3.75 Billion (DealBook)
The Apache Corporation agreed to sell its business in the Gulf of Mexico’s shelf to a portfolio company owned by the private equity firm Riverstone Holdings for about $3.75 billion. The buyer, Riverstone’s Fieldwood Energy, is buying a business with 239 millions of barrels of oil equivalent in reserves at the end of last year, more than half of which is oil and 75 percent of which is already developed.
Chateau Latour 2003 Bordeaux Rebounds in London (Bloomberg)
A case of 2003 Chateau Latour, a Bordeaux first-growth wine estate, sold for 7,350 pounds ($11,190) on Liv-ex, marking a 5 percent gain from this year’s February low while remaining within its 2013 trading range. Yesterday’s deal compared with the 7,165 pounds paid for a similar case the previous day, and left the vintage still trading 29 percent below the 10,300 pound record it reached in July 2011, when demand for top Bordeaux was peaking.
Stephen Colbert Grills Eliot Spitzer, Declares 'This Ain't Charlie Rose, Motherf**ker' (HuffPo)
[Spitzer] was asked by Stephen Colbert if forgiving voters signal the "slow decay of our moral values." As Spitzer laughed the question off, Colbert declared, "This ain't Charlie Rose, motherf**ker!" "Shouldn't the job of comptroller go to someone who has shown a modicum of self-comptrol?" The comedy host asked Spitzer. "Why should the people trust you?"