Cohen Said to Refuse SAC Client Push to Return Cash Early (Bloomberg)
Steven Cohen’s $14 billion SAC Capital Advisors LP, which last month was indicted by the government as a “veritable magnet for market cheaters,” has refused clients’ requests that the firm speed up payouts on the billions of dollars earmarked for withdrawals, according to three people familiar with the discussions. SAC, which faces a midnight deadline for redemption requests from investors who want to pull money from the firm, has told clients that final payments will be made at the end of the year. Some investors have pushed Cohen to give clients their money back before then, fearing that the government could freeze the funds’ assets, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Stamford, Connecticut-based SAC is private. ... “SAC is under no obligation to be more generous than the terms it negotiated with investors,” said Ron Geffner, a partner at Sadis & Goldberg in New York. “For Cohen to return assets would be inconsistent with his message that it’s business as usual.”
Apollo’s Harris and Blackstone’s Blitzer Strike Deal for Devils (DealBook)
Private equity has struck another deal for yet another professional sports team, as two prominent leveraged buyout investors agreed on Thursday to buy the New Jersey Devils for about $320 million. Ownership of the National Hockey League team will pass on to Joshua Harris, a co-founder of Apollo Global Management, and David S. Blitzer, the head of tactical opportunities for the Blackstone Group. Both men are members of the consortium that bought the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team, with Mr. Harris serving as principal owner.
Icahn seeks to fast-track his Dell lawsuit (Reuters)
Activist investor Carl Icahn will ask a Delaware court on Friday to fast-track his lawsuit against Dell Inc, a key thrust in his months-long effort to derail CEO Michael Dell's controversial $24.8 billion offer to buy and take private the No. 3 PC maker. ... Icahn holds 8.9 percent of Dell Inc, making him the second-largest shareholder behind Michael Dell, with about 16 percent. He wants the company to convene an annual general meeting at the same time it convenes the special vote, since it guarantees a best and final offer from the CEO and his partner, Silver Lake. That would also delay the special vote, buying Icahn time to nominate his own slate of board directors before a shareholder decision on the buyout offer is taken.
‘Fat finger trade’ suspected in China market spike (FT)
A Chinese brokerage has launched an internal investigation of its trading systems, just hours after a suspected fat finger trade caused a spike in the country’s main stock market. Everbright Securities said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange on Friday afternoon that it had experienced some problems with its internal trading systems earlier in the day and was looking into the cause. Shares in the company were suspended in Shanghai, while those of China Everbright International, a Hong Kong-listed entity owned by the same parent, dropped as much as 8.5 per cent. Shortly after 11am local time, the Shanghai Composite – China’s benchmark equity index – spiked suddenly, rising as much as 5.6 per cent, amid market rumours ranging from trading errors to leaked policy announcements.
But by the close, the index had given up all its gains and ended the session down 0.6 per cent.
Police marksman keeps job after having sex on duty with gun around ankles (Guardian)
A police marksman who had sex on duty with a woman while his loaded gun was in a holster around his ankles has been allowed to keep his job, it has emerged. The document recounting the incident, which Jenkins submitted, should have read: "On arrival at the address he describes that himself and (redacted) engaged in sexual activity. He states that he took off his body armour, leaving his T-shirt, and then took down his trousers to his ankles in order to engage in sexual activity. He confirmed that his sidearm was still attached to his trousers at the time, in its holster, and that it was loaded. ... PC Jenkins confirmed that he was still monitoring his radio during his time in the property."
Fed's Bullard Floats Idea of Small Cuts to Bond Buying (WSJ)
The Federal Reserve could hedge its bets by making small moves rather than large, aggressive ones when it starts pulling back on its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program, said James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. ... "A larger move would be interpreted as a faster pace of reduction," he said Thursday. "A smaller move would be considered a more hedged bet, a slower rate of reduction in purchases."
Hybrid Bond Gamble Pays Off as Stimulus Spurs Gains (Bloomberg)
Investors who bought record amounts of hybrid notes from European companies seeking to protect credit ratings as they increased debt are being rewarded with gains outstripping both junk and investment-grade bonds. About 75 percent of the 29 billion euros ($39 billion) of hybrid securities sold this year are trading above their issue price, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, beating the 67 percent of equivalent junk debt and 39 percent of high-grade new issues. Storebrand ASA (STB)’s notes due April 2043 lead increases with a 7.8 percent jump, followed by French utilities GDF Suez and Electricite de France SA with more than 5 percent gains.
EU wants one definition of bad loans for bank tests (Reuters)
Banks across the European Union will be asked to use a single definition for bad loans in the upcoming review of their loan books, a senior EU regulatory source told Reuters, making it harder for banks to conceal the state of their businesses behind local conventions. The European Central Bank (ECB) hopes to begin work on an asset quality review of major banks in the seventeen euro zone countries later this year. The review will take a detailed look at whether they've set aside enough cash to deal with debts unlikely to be repaid, so the ECB can stand over the state of the banks' before it becomes their official supervisor in late 2014.
'Alternative' Investments Draw Flak (WSJ)
Outside scrutiny is intensifying on securities firms' sales practices and whether so-called alternative products—ranging from certain types of mutual funds to vehicles that invest in highly indebted companies—are suitable for all of the Americans flocking to them. Some state securities regulators are focusing their examinations on alternative-product brokers, while officials at Wall Street's self-funded watchdog, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, say they are planning to file civil enforcement actions by year-end. "With these things, it can be like giving a 6-year-old a circular saw," said Brad Bennett, Finra's enforcement chief. Most mom-and-pop investors "don't understand the risks they're taking."
Gartman: I timed the market wrong (CNBC)
Wall Street posted its biggest loss since June on Thursday, prompting investor Dennis Gartman to not only admit he got equities wrong, but to confess his recent stock market trades were "terrible." "If a market moves and gets me by 2.5 or 3 percent, that to me is an egregious move. It tells me that I'm wrong," said Gartman, founder, editor and publisher of The Gartman Letter, after stocks finished near their session lows Thursday.
John Paulson’s faith in gold unshaken despite ETF sale (FT)
The hedge fund run by John Paulson, one of the world’s highest-profile gold bulls, has sold more than half its shares in the largest exchange traded fund backed by the metal, according to a regulatory filing. However, Paulson & Co offset much of its sale of about 1.1m ounces of bullion held in SPDR Gold Shares in the second quarter by buying gold swaps on the over-the-counter market, according to a person familiar with the matter. ... The 21 per cent tumble in gold prices so far this year has hurt Mr Paulson, who has denominated much of his own wealth in gold, as well as attracting a large amount of publicity even as many of his other investments were performing well.
The Case Against Eating Lunch Outside (Slate / Matt Yglesias)
Another big problem with eating outside is it's often difficult to find tables and chairs, so you end up (as we did today) sitting in the dirt. Outside proponents like to refer to this dirt as "grass" but if you look at it you'll see that the blades of grass are mostly just resting atop dirt. If you sit on the "grass" for a while and then stand up, the parts of your body that were in contact will the grass will be covered in "dirt." ... Even in places like Southern California where there's really great weather all the time, the landscape is covered with buildings and people spend a very large sum of their income on purchasing or renting inside space in which to live over and above the inside space in which they work. So it's not so much that I need to persuade people that inside > outside as that I need to persuade people to admit what we all know: Inside is great, and humanity has struggled for tens of thousands of years to spend as much time as possible there.
Crime-fighting American ninja bound over for trial (UPI)
Todd Kapcsos of Johnstown was charged with misdemeanor prowling, loitering and disorderly conduct after he was nabbed while allegedly skulking around city streets last month wearing the familiar black garb of the legendary ninja warrior. "I dressed up in all black, snuck around, went through bushes," Kapcsos said at a court hearing Wednesday. "I was practicing some ninja moves -- looking like a rock, just hiding in the shadows."