Opening Bell: 10.28.13


Man Making Ireland Tax Avoidance Hub Proves Local Hero (Bloomberg)
Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. wound up in Ireland because they could reduce their tax bills. Their success is leading European and U.S. politicians to label the country a tax haven that must change its ways. The grand architect of much of that success: Feargal O’Rourke, the scion of a political dynasty who heads the tax practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Ireland. He advises both multinational companies and the government on tax policy and has emerged as his country’s leading defender. “Under no circumstances is Ireland a tax haven,” O’Rourke said recently at his corner office on the River Liffey in Dublin, a ritual stop for many tech companies in their Irish quest. “I’m a player in this game and we play by the rules.”

JP Morgan's Subprime Troubles Ran Deep (WSJ)
J.P. Morgan sidestepped many of the subprime-mortgage problems that bedeviled rivals during the financial crisis, and avoided much of the postcrisis scrutiny that dragged down others on Wall Street. But now its own behavior during the housing boom is coming under close examination as investigators work through a backlog of cases. The bank dealt with some of the biggest subprime lenders of the time, including Countrywide Financial Corp., Fremont Investment & Loan and WMC Mortgage Corp., a former unit of General Electric, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency complaint. J.P. Morgan's relationship with New Century, a subprime lender that went bankrupt in 2007 and later faced a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and shareholder suits, shows that the New York bank was part of the frenzied push to package mortgages for investors at the end of the housing boom.

Hedge Fund Chief Set On Selling NY-Based Satellite Company (NYP)
Rachesky, who is Loral’s chairman and biggest shareholder with a 38 percent stake, is putting the New York satellite company on the block, sources told The Post. The 55-year-old investor has recently put out feelers to potential suitors, a source close to the situation said. While Rachesky, a medical doctor and a former protégé of Carl Icahn, is set on selling Loral, a holding company whose biggest asset is a 62.8 percent stake in Telesat, a Canadian satellite company, he has not yet hired a sell-side banker, a source said. Some investors are hoping Rachesky’s tough negotiating tactics don’t foil any potential sale. In 2011, the investor rejected a $6 billion offer for Telesat, calling it too low. The auction was then canceled, sources said. Private equity firms Carlyle, KKR and Providence Equity Partners each has bid for Telesat. The Ottawa-based company owns a fleet of 13 in-orbit satellites that offer telecommunication services to the private sector and government from perches 22,000 miles above Earth.

At Fed, Some Want A Rule For When To Act (WSJ)
The Federal Reserve has struggled to communicate clearly about its plans for winding down its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program. Some Fed officials think they'd have an easier time if they established a rule to determine when and how to trim the purchases. With the Fed unlikely to change the program at its policy meeting Tuesday and Wednesday, discussion is likely to focus on issues such as this. Some members of the Fed's policy-making committee want to clearly define when they will start scaling back the program—also known as quantitative easing, or QE—perhaps when the unemployment rate reaches a certain point. But others worry that firm rules could limit their options as they navigate unknown territory or be hard to follow when circumstances change.

Georgia Man Runs Into Burning Home To Save Beer (ABC)
The flames broke out while six adults and two young children were watching TV. Everyone quickly made it outside safely. But then Walter Serpit, who walks with a cane, rushed back into the burning building to save something near and dear to him. "I told them to get the kids out and everything, and me myself, being an alcoholic, I was trying to get my beer out," he said. "You feel me?" Serpit managed to rescue several cans of beer from the fire without getting burned. Firefighters say you should never go back into a building that's on fire.

If Wall Street Worked Like the Art Market, It Would Be a Crime (Bloomberg)
The way the game is supposed to work, art essentially comes with a money-back guarantee. If a client wants to sell work, he or she sells it back to the gallery — which then turns around and sells it to another client. Some powerful galleries even write the option to buy back a work into sales contracts with collectors.

China Is Back In Vogue With Investors (WSJ)
The willingness to take another chance on Chinese stocks and on other markets tightly linked to the country's economy underscores the paucity of attractive options available. Global growth continues to be soft, while hefty central-bank support for Western economies has resulted in near record prices in many stock and bond markets. Though China's economic rise drove global markets for much of the past decade, the recent rough patch presents a fresh opportunity to get in, some investors say. "China comes along with a story—a real bombed-out market, with low valuations—and a lot of people jumped on that," said Gary Dugan, chief investment officer, Asia and Middle East at private bank Coutts & Co. Ltd., who raised his allocations to Chinese stocks in September.

Local Florida Woman Is Crime Kingpin, Cops Say (OS)
Charmaine Roman lived in a Dr. Phillips condo, drove a Land Rover and helped raise her young grandson — nothing likely to rouse an outsider's suspicion. But law-enforcement officers say Roman's lifestyle was funded not by her concert-promotion business but by a violent Jamaican drug-trafficking ring that brought thousands of pounds of marijuana into Central Florida and a host of violent crimes. Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation agents who have been investigating Roman for years say the 42-year-old was in charge of the group's finances and laundered money at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas.