Opening Bell: 10.10.13

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Blackstone's Tony James: A Federal Default Invites Catastrophe (WSJ)
"I have always been amazed that anyone would choose to play Russian roulette. Who could ever be so bored, so irresponsible, or have such low future aspirations that they would flirt willfully with death while having nothing to gain? Yet Congress is doing just that with the debt ceiling. Except there won't be just one victim. Every American will suffer. Oct. 17 is just a guess of when the government runs out of cash. Look at Treasury's daily cash balance. It can swing by $50 billion a day. Can we be so sure we won't trip into the abyss sooner? Won't government suppliers and creditors, wherever possible, rush in to seek payment early, severely increasing the risk of a miscalculation? [...] It is time for both sides in Congress, and the White House, to hit the reset button and do the job the country needs and elected them to do. Using the debt ceiling to settle domestic squabbles is playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun. And worse, by continuing on the present course, we are playing a deadly game with a gun held by some of this nation's biggest rivals."

Lew Says Debt-Limit Stalemate Threatens Markets, Retirees (Bloomberg)
“Failing to raise the debt ceiling will impact everyday Americans beyond its impact on financial markets,” Lew told the Senate Finance Committee today. Between Oct. 17 and Nov. 1, the U.S. has “large payments to Medicare providers, Social Security beneficiaries, and veterans, as well as salaries for active-duty members of the military. A failure to raise the debt limit could put timely payment of all of these at risk.”

Ex-Trader Looks Poised To Fight Libor Charges (WSJ)
Tom Hayes , the former bank trader accused of orchestrating a scheme to manipulate interest rates, appears to be gearing up for a fight. Mr. Hayes, the former UBS AG and Citigroup trader who faces criminal fraud charges in the U.S. and U.K., recently switched law firms, a likely prelude to his pleading not guilty to the British charges, according to people familiar with the move. Mr. Hayes has hired a pair of high-profile U.K. lawyers with reputations for mounting aggressive defenses in financial-fraud cases. He has dismissed the London law firm that had been representing him as he cooperated with the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office over the past several months, the people said.

Russian millionaires splurge $200,000 in bar tab battle (CNBC)
Two Russian multimillionaires racked up a £130,000 ($207,116) bill between them in a head-to-head contest to see who could amass the biggest bar tab. The men got into a spending competition last night during the Amsterdam-themed special event at private members club Kitsch, which opened last Wednesday. They began by ordering high-end champagne bottles Dom Perignon and Cristal, in order to match each other. One reveler clocked up £41,400 on 30 magnums of Cristal at £1,380 a bottle. The victorious clubber jumped up and down waving his receipt while the bills were added up in the early hours of the morning at the nightclub in Old Burlington Street, London.

As Fed chair, Yellen unlikely to let big banks off the hook (Reuters)
Yellen's primary focus will likely be monetary policy and getting Americans back to work, banking experts said, but she is not expected to divert the Fed from its current course of insisting on robust bank capital levels and risk reduction. Yellen's nomination was "a dark cloud for the largest U.S. banks hoping for a reprieve from tough new rules," Karen Shaw Petrou of Federal Financial Analytics, a consulting firm, said in a note to clients on Wednesday. "Yellen supports much of what the Fed has been doing with regard to the very tough rules," Petrou said in an interview.

Kanye and Kimmel settle their ‘rap feud’ (NYP)
The grudge developed last month, after Kimmel aired a Kanye parody sketch using a child actor to mock the rapper’s interview with BBC. West answered back the way people do these days – on Twitter, ripping the host’s humor … and his face … and his talent … in 140-character, caps-locked bursts...Wednesday Kimmel expressed remorse for the skit, saying he simply enjoys seeing children curse. “I’m not running for office,” Kanye said. “I’m just here to make good music, make people feel good when they hear my music, and y’know, when I did that interview (with BBC), I was really vocal with a lot of things I’ve been dealing with in the past 10 years, and the classification of ‘just’ a celebrity. “To me, I’m a creative genius, there’s no other way to word it. You’re not supposed to say that about yourself, and I say things the wrong way a lot of times, but my intention’s always positive.” In stream-of-consciousness rants, West also discussed the concept of luxury; fatherhood; “protecting his ideas and his dreams;” his heroes and ambitions; his Chicago roots; trappings of fame; and lobbied for his fiancee, Kim Kardashian, to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Government Pursuit Of JP Morgan Aggressive: Bill Daley (CNBC)
The federal investigations into JPMorgan Chase show "a bit of an aggressiveness" because of CEO Jamie Dimon's "notoriety" and the bank's success, William Daley, former JPMorgan man and White House chief of staff to President Barack Obama, told CNBC on Thursday. "They make a great target because they make a lot of money and they've done real well. Jamie's as good a CEO as there is in any industry," Daley said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "The government's got to look at them," he added. "I think there's a bit of an aggressiveness here because of Jamie's notoriety, and the fact is JPMorgan has been very successful financially. They are an easy target. If they were on their knees [the government] probably wouldn't be so anxious to try to pound them."

World Bank urges emerging economy reforms before Fed tapering (Reuters)
Emerging market economies have a window of two or three months to make reforms now that the Federal Reserve has refrained from scaling back its bond-buying program, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley Sees Gold Lower in 2014 as Goldman Says Sell (Bloomberg)
Gold is a “slam dunk” sell for next year because the U.S. will extend the recovery after lawmakers resolve the stalemate, Jeffrey Currie, Goldman’s head of commodities research, said this week. The political deadlock in Washington is a “farce,” according to Marex Spectron Group.

Federal agents seize cocaine from yacht docked in West Palm Beach (WPBF)
As Costenbader was loading the bags into his truck, agents approached and asked him if he had cleared customs after returning from his last port of call in the Bahamas. Costenbader said he had not, and when agents asked him what was in the bags, he replied "cocaine," according to the complaint...In all, agents found 11 bags containing about 282 bricks of cocaine, the complaint added. Costenbader told authorities he got the cocaine in the Bahamas and was supposed to deliver it to someone else, the complaint said.

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