Goldman Sachs burned by bad currency bets in third quarter (Reuters)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc lost more than $1 billion on currency trades during the third quarter, recent regulatory filings show, offering some insight into why the firm, considered one of Wall Street's most savvy traders, reported its worst quarter in a key trading unit since the financial crisis. Foreign exchange was the only trading area that was a money loser, according to regulatory data. In the third quarter, Goldman reported its weakest revenue - $1.3 billion - in fixed-income, currency and commodities trading since the height of the financial crisis.
Inside-Trading Probe of Height Securities Over Decision on Medicare Payments Hits Wall in Capital (WSJ)
Investigators are hitting a wall in an insider-trading probe of how a government funding decision made its way to investors before it was officially released, according to people familiar with the probe. The Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Bureau of Investigation have been examining whether anyone in government illegally passed along information April 1 about a pending decision on Medicare payments, according to officials involved in the probe. A report from a Washington policy-research firm, Height Securities, correctly called the decision just before it was announced, which sent health-care stocks soaring. The incident has put the spotlight on the burgeoning business known as political intelligence, where lobbyists, policy experts and former government officials gather insights on policy changes that they then sell to investors. But investigators are struggling over how to distinguish between illegal insider tips and accurate predictions based on research and analysis, the people familiar with the probe say.
Fed Casts About for Endgame on Easy-Money Policy (WSJ)
Central-bank officials have been debating for months when to start paring the $85 billion-a-month bond-purchase program. They were surprised during the summer when their discussions and public pronouncements on the potential timing rocked markets, pushing interest rates higher and stock prices down. Minutes of the Oct. 29-30 policy meeting, released Wednesday, showed officials continued to look toward ending the bond-buying program "in coming months." But they spent hours game-planning how to handle unexpected developments and tailoring a message to the public to soften the impact of the program's end.
SAC exec used stolen info to make ‘lots of money,’ jury told (NYP)
SAC Capital Advisors ex-money manager Michael Steinberg used stolen business information to make money — “lots of money” — for himself and his company, a Manhattan federal court jury was told Wednesday. When Steinberg “traded on that illegal information, he broke the law,” prosecutor Antonia Apps said in her opening statement. The 41-year-old Steinberg, charged with conspiracy and securities fraud, is the seventh SAC executive to face charges in US Attorney Preet Bharara’s massive multiyear crackdown on insider trading. The high-stakes criminal case, which finished jury selection Wednesday morning, opened in the afternoon before a packed courtroom...The government’s key witness will be Jon Horvath, an SAC tech research analyst who reported to Steinberg. Horvath pleaded guilty last year to similar charges regarding trading in tech stocks Dell and Nvdia. Horvath was pressured into the criminal activity after some of his recommendations failed in 2007 and he was at risk of losing his job, according to the government. “Steinberg told him he needed to get edgy proprietary information,” Apps told the jury. Horvath will testify that he called Steinberg, who was vacationing in Mexico, with an illegal stock tip about Dell, and “one minute later” the accused started to sell Dell shares, making $1 million on the trade, Apps said. But Steinberg’s lawyer, Barry Berke, said Horvath made up the story because “he was facing a very long jail sentence” and “chose self-interest over the truth.”
Mexico’s president denies meeting Bieber after pop star’s tweet (AP)
Mexico’s president has denied a tweet by Justin Bieber saying the singer met with the president and his family prior to a show. It was the latest sour note in Bieber’s controversy-filled Latin American tour. President Enrique Pena Nieto’s office put out a tweet late Monday that read “@Presidenciamx denies meeting between President @EPN with the singer @justinbieber.” That was a response to a tweet from Bieber’s official account saying “just met some amazing mexican beliebers and the presidente of mexico and his familia.” Apparently, Bieber was confused about whether the president was there or not. Early Tuesday, Bieber wrote in a tweet, “correction. I met the presidente’s family and all their friends in the private meet and greet with all their security. They were very nice.”
BOJ maintains massive stimulus, rosy economic outlook (Reuters)
The Bank of Japan maintained its ultra-loose monetary policy on Thursday and reiterated the economy is recovering moderately, in a nod to signs of a pick-up in exports that is key to sustaining the momentum generated by premier Shinzo Abe's stimulus.
Bitcoin world domination ‘a bumpy ride’: Exchange CEO (CNBC)
Bitcoin has a lot of potential and a long way to go, Bobby Lee, co-founder and CEO of BTC China, said Wednesday. "In terms of its value, I wouldn't worry too much about how many percent it's been up year to date because ... if you look at the five-year history of bitcoin, it literally started at zero," he said. "For it to be a true worldwide asset class, it would have to have a very, very large circulation value to account for the global population," he said.
Rupert And Wendi Murdoch Reach A Divorce Settlement (NYT)
At a hearing at New York State Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan, the couple sat at far ends of a small table, flanked by their lawyers. Both told a judge they had signed on to the confidential hundred-page agreement that rested on the table, which made a trial unnecessary...Mr. Murdoch met Wendi Deng in 1998 on a business trip to China, where she worked for a division of News Corporation. They married a year later in New York Harbor aboard Mr. Murdoch’s 155-foot yacht, the Morning Glory. The boat has been put up for sale.
Word Games Aren't for Play at J.P. Morgan (WSJ)
What exactly did J.P. Morgan Chase admit to in its $13 billion settlement over mortgage-backed securities? The answer depends on whom you ask. In its statement trumpeting the deal Tuesday, the Justice Department said J.P. Morgan "acknowledged that it made serious misrepresentations to the public—including the investing public—about numerous [mortgage bond] transactions." On a conference call the same day, though, J.P. Morgan finance chief Marianne Lake took a far more nuanced approach. She said that while "we acknowledge" the statement of facts that accompanied the settlement, "the way things are characterized could differ depending upon who's characterizing them." And she added that, "the firm has not admitted to any violations of the law."
Kanye West slams Zappos for 's--t product,' company responds by selling $100,000 toilet (NYDN)
On novelist Bret Easton Ellis' podcast Monday, West slammed the CEO of the shoe retailer for selling a "s--t product." "I got into this giant argument with the head of Zappos that he's trying to tell me what I need to focus on," the 36-year-old rapper said. "Meanwhile, he sells all this s--t product to everybody, his whole thing is based off of selling s--t product." In response, Zappos launched a new "s--t" product page on their site, featuring a toilet and plunger for a mere $100,000. Tony Hsieh, the Zappos CEO, released a statement on the matter: "Yes, it's true that we sell s-t product," directing readers to the new page. The description of the toilet also ribbed West through some of his own lyrics: "This is the throne, everyone has been watching," it reads. "Whether you're #1 or #2, your clique will show no mercy, even in Paris." "Avoid storms," the description concludes.