Opening Bell: 10.01.13


U.S. Shutdown Idles 800,000 as Congress Deadlocked (Bloomberg)
Congressional leaders have scheduled no further negotiations on spending legislation, raising concerns among some lawmakers that the shutdown could bleed into the more consequential fight over how to raise the U.S. debt limit to avoid a first-ever default after Oct. 17. Chances of a last-minute deal -- seen so often in past fiscal fights -- evaporated shortly before midnight as the House stood firm on its call to delay major parts of President Barack Obama’s health-care law for a year. Senate Democrats were equally firm in refusing to concede and planned a morning vote to reject the House’s call for formal talks. “It is embarrassing that these people who were elected to represent the country are representing the Tea Party,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said after midnight. “This is an unnecessary blow to America.”

Americans by 72% Oppose Shutdown Tied to Health Care Cuts (Bloomberg)
In a rejection of congressional Republicans’ strategy, Americans overwhelmingly oppose undermining President Barack Obama’s health-care law by shutting down the federal government or resisting an increase in the nation’s debt limit, according to a poll released today. By 72 percent to 22 percent, Americans oppose Congress “shutting down major activities of the federal government” as a way to stop the Affordable Care Act from going into effect, the national survey from Quinnipiac University found.

In Government Shutdown, Few Parallels With Most Recent One (WSJ)
"The biggest difference by far is that the last one was all about spending, and this one is not. It's about policy," said former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, who was in the Democratic leadership at the time. The budget fight in late 1995 and early 1996 between GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Mr. Clinton was bitter and at times dramatic. But it was at heart a fight over taxes and spending, and it began and ended with protracted negotiations between the two sides. Neither is the case today. As the price of a budget deal, congressional Republicans demanded a delay in the implementation of President Barack Obama's health-care law, a position that Mr. Obama and Democrats have said was nonnegotiable. "The difficulty here is that Republicans have no achievable endgame," said Daniel Meyer, a former Gingrich chief of staff who went on to serve as White House liaison to the House for President George W. Bush.

RBS's new CEO takes reins with break-up decision looming (Reuters)
Royal Bank of Scotland's new chief executive, Ross McEwan, took up his role on Tuesday with Britain's finance ministry close to deciding whether to make the part-nationalized lender break itself up. The ministry is considering forcing RBS to hive off its problem loans into a separate legal entity, in a move designed to leave the rest of the bank better placed to lend. It is expected to make a decision this month, according to government sources.

Bank Secrets Exposed in EU’s Credit Derivatives Antitrust Probe (Bloomberg)
European Union regulators inadvertently sent confidential data to 13 of the world’s biggest lenders as part of an antitrust complaint in an investigation of the credit derivatives industry. The European Commission said sensitive information was accidentally left in the documents by law firms representing companies in the probe. After the revelation was discovered, recipients including Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase were told they must promise to destroy the information without reading it.

JCPenney stake takes big bite out of NY billionaire (NYP)
New York billionaire Richard Perry disclosed late Monday he dumped nearly half his Penney stake following a slew of surprises from the retailer last week that hammered its stock. Hedge fund Perry Capital sold 9 million shares Friday in open-market trades at prices ranging from $9.02 to $9.59, according to a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Those prices are off nearly 50 percent from what Perry paid when he began to accumulate a 19-million share Penney stake this summer, filings show...Perry’s big sale came just a month after raising his ownership stake to 8.6 percent by acquiring 3 million shares from activist investor Bill Ackman — who exited as Penney’s largest shareholder following a bruising battle with the retailer’s board.

Buffett Feasts On Goldman Sachs' Famine (NYP)
The Oracle of Omaha extended a helping hand to the bank run by CEO Lloyd Blankfein during the depths of the financial implosion five years ago. Today, it continues to pay dividends — literally. Buffett stands to make a paper profit of $2.15 billion in Goldman after the investment bank hands him 13.6 million shares — without the savvy investor having had to pony up a red cent, based on a special arrangement with the bank.

CFTC Enforcement Chief To Leave (WSJ)
Mr. Meister's departure comes as the agency's enforcement division is still juggling two big cases: civil charges against former MF Global Holdings Ltd. Chief Executive Jon Corzine and potential charges against J.P. Morgan Chase for market manipulation in its "London whale" trading fiasco.

BOE Warns Of Cyberattacks (WSJ)
The Bank of England said it is reviewing whether its systems can withstand a cyberattack and is pushing banks to do the same, amid heightened international concern over online threats. The U.K. central bank's Financial Policy Committee concluded in September the threat to the financial system from attackers in cyberspace "had many dimensions and was growing," according to a record of the panel's Sept. 18 policy meeting. The FPC is tasked with safeguarding financial stability.

Man named Fudge accused of stealing from Coldstone Creamery (DMR)
Iowa City Police say security footage showed Conor P. Fudge, 25, entering the 39 S. Dubuque St. Cold Stone Creamery after business hours on Sept. 11 and 12 and taking money from a safe. Fudge was also witnessed on security footage taking cakes and containers of ice cream, police say. The owner of the business told officers that Fudge used an unauthorized key to enter the business, according to a police complaint. Fudge hadn’t worked at the ice cream shop since Aug. 27, according to police. The value of stolen money and property was worth $501, according to police. Fudge has been charged with third degree burglary, a class D felony, and an aggravated misdemeanor count of third degree theft.


Opening Bell: 08.28.12

Greece Plans 'Special Economic Zones' to Boost Growth (Reuters) Greece plans to set up "special economic zones" to attract private investment and help lift its debt-laden economy out of depression, the government said on Tuesday. The zones would offer investors tax and administrative advantages. Athens is already in talks with the European Commission to get approval for the move, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis told a news conference. "We believe these zones will boost the real economy by creating a special regime to attract investment and generate exports," Hatzidakis said. Spain's Catalonia to Ask for Aid From Madrid (WSJ) Catalonia, Spain's most indebted region, said Tuesday it will ask for €5.02 billion ($6.27 billion) in financial assistance from the Spanish government's liquidity program, as it struggles to pay for basic services such as hospitals, schools and care homes. Catalan government spokesman Francesc Homs said at a news conference that the government will ask for the funding to "face debts maturing in the coming months." ECB's Draghi Stuck At The Office, To Skip Jackson Hole Symposium (WSJ) "ECB President Mario Draghi had hoped to attend the annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, but has decided not to go to Jackson Hole, due to the heavy workload foreseen in the next few days," an ECB spokesperson wrote in an email. Leonardo DiCaprio To Bare All In 'Wolf Of Wall Street' (NYDN) “There will be some pretty illicit sex scenes coming up,” said a set insider. “It involves four guys and two girls.” And there’ll even be a little guy-on-guy action in one of the orgies — but DiCaprio won’t be in those. Not that there would be anything wrong with that. Scorsese’s film follows the rise and eventual imprisonment of drugged-out real-life former stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who is now a motivational speaker and says he has been sober since his life imploded in the go-go late ’90s and he went to prison. The movie started shooting in the Financial District over the weekend and there’ll be more filming in midtown this week. Later this month, the action will move to a Hamptons estate. DiCaprio was spotted rehearsing at Bank of America with co-star Jonah Hill. Matthew McConaughey also stars, as Belfort’s mentor. “They were incognito and Leo didn’t take his sunglasses off the entire time,” said a Merrill Lynch source. There are some scenes you can bet will be shot strictly behind closed doors. “We have a scene in an office with a troupe of hookers during a coffee break,” the set insider told us. “They are in the process of casting a ton of beautiful models, who are willing to bare it all, to portray escorts and strippers,” our source said. “The girls have to be incredibly hot.” Connecticut Homes Biggest Losers As Wall Street Cuts (Bloomberg) Connecticut, for 25 years the state with the highest per capita income in the U.S., is now leading the nation in home-price declines as Wall Street trims jobs and bonuses that had driven multimillion-dollar property sales. Prices in the Fairfield County area, home of the banker bedroom communities of Greenwich and New Canaan, tumbled 12.9 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the biggest decline of the 147 U.S. metropolitan areas measured by the National Association of Realtors. Hero Reagan’s Compromise Would Collide With Tea Party Certitude (Bloomberg) Ronald Reagan remains the modern Republican Party’s most durable hero. His memory will be hailed as The Great Uncompromiser by those who insist the GOP must never flag in its support for smaller government, lower taxes and conservative social values. His record tells a different story. During Reagan’s eight years in the White House, the federal payroll grew by more than 300,000 workers. Although he was a net tax cutter who slashed individual income-tax rates, Reagan raised taxes about a dozen times. His rhetoric matched that of many of today’s most ardent Christian conservatives, yet he proved to be a reluctant warrior on abortion and other social issues. Perhaps most tellingly, he was willing to cut deals, working closely with Democratic leaders such as House Speaker Tip O’Neill of Massachusetts to overhaul Social Security and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois to revamp the tax code. Ann Romney Takes Biggest Stage Yet To Humanize Husband (Bloomberg) Mitt Romney’s likability gap was evident in a Washington Post/ABC News poll released yesterday. The poll, taken Aug. 22-25, showed 27 percent of registered voters find Romney to be more friendly or likable among the two candidates, compared with 61 percent for the incumbent. Kidney for Ohio patient's transplant put in trash (AP) A nurse accidentally disposed of a kidney from a living donor this month at an Ohio hospital, and doctors tried unsuccessfully for at least two hours to resuscitate the organ in what medical experts describe as a rare accident, health officials said. "Human error rendered the kidney unusable," University of Toledo Medical Center spokesman Toby Klinger said Saturday, but he declined to give more details, citing the hospital's investigation into what happened and its respect for the privacy of the patients involved. But one of the doctors involved told Dr. David Grossman, a Toledo-Lucas County health commissioner, that a nurse disposed of the kidney improperly. Two nurses have been placed on paid administrative leave while the hospital reviews what happened, Klinger said.

Photo: Getty Images

Opening Bell: 9.22.16

Yellen signals 2016 hike coming; Bill Gross is 'verklempt' after Fed decision; Australian hot dog and hamburger combination 'hamdog' coming to U.S.; and more.