Opening Bell: 12.03.13

Author:
Updated:
Original:

SAC’s Cohen Didn’t Know About Source of Dirty Tips, Analyst Says (Bloomberg)
SAC Capital Advisors LP fund manager Michael Steinberg told the analyst who gave him inside tips on Dell Inc. that the fund’s founder, Steven A. Cohen, wasn’t aware they were obtained illegally. Steinberg concealed the true source of the tips, Jon Horvath, the former SAC analyst who worked for him, told jurors in the federal insider-trading trial in Manhattan. Horvath said Steinberg told him at SAC’s Sigma Capital Management offices in Midtown Manhattan that he had told Cohen that the trading recommendations were based on “industry contacts” and “supply chain checks.” “I was in Mike’s office and he said, ‘I just got off the phone with Steve and I was telling him about Dell,’” Horvath testified yesterday. “I kind of cringed, because I didn’t want to be part of this conversation. Mike said, ‘I told him you had a Dell supply-chain check.’”

Gross Says Central Bank Cash Influx Raises Global Assets’ Risk (Bloomberg)
“Investors are all playing the same dangerous game that depends on a near perpetual policy of cheap financing and artificially low interest rates in a desperate gamble to promote growth,” Gross wrote in his monthly investment outlook posted on Newport Beach, California-based Pimco’s website today. The Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan, European Central Bank and Bank of England “are setting the example for global markets, basically telling investors that they have no alternative than to invest in riskier assets or to lever high-quality assets.”

Brazil's Economy Posts Worst Performance in Two Years (WSJ)
Brazil's continued lackluster growth comes at a delicate time for President Dilma Rousseff, who faces questions about her handling of Latin America's largest economy ahead of next year's presidential election. The government had initially forecast robust growth of 4.5% in 2013 but has since drastically tempered those expectations. Ms. Rousseff's challengers are expected to make slow growth a key part of the 2014 campaign.

Amazon Tests Drones for Same-Day Parcel Delivery, Bezos Says (Bloomberg)
Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos unveiled the plan on CBS’s “60 Minutes” news program in the U.S., showing interviewer Charlie Rose the flying machines that can serve as delivery vehicles. Bezos said the gadgets, called octocopters, can carry as much as 5 pounds within a 10-mile radius of an Amazon fulfillment center. Amazon may start using the drones, which can make a delivery within 30 minutes, within five years pending Federal Aviation Administration approval, Bezos said. “It will work, and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun,” he said in the “60 Minutes” interview broadcast yesterday.

Pope Francis worked as nightclub bouncer (NYP)
Before Pope Francis became God’s enforcer, he moonlighted as a nightclub bouncer. His Holiness told parishioners recently that he held a variety of odd jobs before embracing the call of the priesthood. As a college student in Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as he was known then, swept floors, ran tests in a chemical lab and even worked as bouncer to make extra cash, he said. The pontiff detailed his roundabout path to the priesthood during a visit to a church near Rome, after a parishioner asked him to pray for a relative who was seeking to be a Franciscan friar.

Japan preparing $53 billion economic stimulus package this week: sources (Reuters)
Japan will craft an economic stimulus package this week worth about $53 billion to bolster the economy ahead of an increase in the national sales tax in April, people familiar with the process said on Tuesday. The size of the package, ordered in October by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will be between 5.4 trillion yen ($52.43 billion)and 5.6 trillion yen, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Rogue trader should pay $118 million to Goldman Sachs: US (CNBC)
A former Goldman Sachs trader who pleaded guilty to fraudulently building an unauthorized $8.3 billion futures trade should repay $118 million to his former employer to cover its losses and spend about three years in prison, federal prosecutors said. In a Monday night filing in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, prosecutors said Matthew Taylor deserves a 33- to 41-month prison term that reflects his "blatant abuse" of the trust placed in him by Goldman, which once considered him a "rising star," and to deter other "rogue traders."

FINRA bars two ex-JP Morgan brokers for theft from elderly widow (Reuters)
The brokers' scheme occurred between April and July, FINRA said. In April, the customer, an elderly widow, deposited about $300,000 from the sale of two annuities in an account Arevalo opened for her at the JP Morgan-affiliated bank where he worked, according to FINRA. In May, Caballero opened an account at another bank, listing himself as a joint account holder with the customer. Two cashier's checks were then issued from the customer's account where Arevalo and Caballero worked, bringing her balance to zero, FINRA said. Caballero deposited those checks in the joint account at the outside bank that same day. Caballero drove the customer to the bank, which had questioned the transfer, to personally confirm the transaction, according to FINRA. Arevalo and Caballero used the money for personal expenses, including payments on a real estate loan, car loan and purchases at retail stores, FINRA said.

Bruce Lee's shrunken yellow jumpsuit goes under the hammer (Reuters)
Late kung fu star Bruce Lee's iconic yellow jumpsuit and matching nunchucks that were immortalized in his final fight scenes will go under the hammer at an auction in Hong Kong on Thursday, 40 years after his death. Fans will also get the chance to bid for 12 other personal items at the auction, which is expected to fetch a total of HK$1 million to HK$1.5 million (US$129,000 to US$193,000). The jumpsuit, which features black stripes down the sides, is one of the two Lee wore in "The Game of Death", a movie released in 1978, five years after his death at 32, using earlier fight footage. Lee designed the one-piece suit himself. The flexible, handmade costume was meant to reflect the malleable nature of his own hybrid martial art, Jeet Kune Do, which is not fixed to any traditional martial arts philosophy. A total of four such jumpsuits are believed to exist, including two that were worn only by stuntmen. Despite a broken zipper dangling at the back and some shrinkage over the years from the wash, the auction house Spink China expects it to fetch anything from HK$250,000 to HK$300,000 (US$32,000 to US$39,000) due to its rarity.

Related