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Opening Bell: 01.13.14

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First Bitcoin ATM To Debut In NYC (NYP)
Brooklyn native Willard Ling, 30, is set to introduce the first bitcoin ATM to New York City. After scouting locations, he has chosen the East Village bubble tea shop Just Sweet, on 3rd Avenue and 12th Street. He is now in talks with the owners on a rent deal. State regulators with the Department of Financial Services are expected to hold hearings later this month to discuss bitcoin and how it should be regulated. Until rules are drawn up, Ling’s bitcoin ATM will sit in his apartment. He thinks New York should get on with it if it wants to still be considered a center of finance. Ling got into bitcoin around two-and-a half years ago, when the price was around $10. It closed last week at $834.50. “I knew it would go up tenfold, just not as quickly as it did,” Ling said.

Stock-Picking Hedge Funds Win in 2013 (WSJ)
Many funds with outsize returns achieved the results less by employing sophisticated strategies or using leverage to magnify bets than simply picking the right stocks. Conviction in a handful of companies helped the $7.9 billion London-based The Children's Investment Fund Management post a 47% gain last year, its best since 2005, according to people with knowledge of the fund's performance.

Ex-SAC Trader Says He Feared Losing Job Over Drug News (Bloomberg)
Mathew Martoma’s former SAC Capital Advisors LP trader testified he came to work on July 29, 2008, thinking he and his boss might lose their jobs. “I believed that we had incurred significant losses in our portfolio,” the former trader, Timothy Jandovitz, said yesterday in Martoma’s insider-trading trial. Jandovitz, the first witness called by prosecutors, told jurors he believed that bad news about a clinical drug trial had caused losses in the fund managed by Martoma “north of $100 million.” “I was concerned about the security of my boss’s job and my job as well,” Jandovitz said. “Normally Steve Cohen doesn’t like it when you lose him money,” he said, referring to SAC’s founder and owner.

Fed Seen Sticking to Gradual Tapering Plan After Payrolls Miss (Bloomberg)
The Fed will reduce purchases by $10 billion at each of the next six meetings this year before ending the program in October, according to the median forecasts of 42 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

Mayor Rob Ford sets social media abuzz with nightclub stop (Toronto Sun)
Mayor Rob Ford caused a stir when he made a campaign stop at a downtown nightclub Saturday night, prompting those present to post several Instagram photos of the controversial civic leader. Muzik nightclub tweeted, “Rob Ford at MUZIK... need we say more?” along with a photo of the mayor posing with two people at the Exhibition Place venue. Councillor Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, said Sunday that the mayor’s appearance generated excitement at the club. “As for Rob, he stopped drinking in November and he went there, met the people,” said Doug Ford, the mayor’s campaign manager. “There have been rock stars, there have been sports heroes, there’s been the Bieber there and no one got a response like Rob did. The place went upside down ballistic.” Ford said the mayor consumed only a sugar-free energy drink and was at the club for about an hour. He added, “All he did was take pictures.”

For Financier, a Final Try to Avoid U.S. Charges (NYT)
A lawyer for Florian Homm, a German financier wanted by United States authorities, says he will appeal to the Italian Ministry of Justice in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the former hedge fund manager from being extradited to Los Angeles to face charges of securities fraud. On Friday, Italy’s highest court cleared the way for Mr. Homm, 54, to be sent to Los Angeles for trial on federal charges that he defrauded investors of at least $200 million. The most serious of the four felony counts carry maximum sentences of 25 years in prison. The last hope for Mr. Homm, who was arrested on United States charges in Italy last year after five years in hiding, is that the Italian Ministry of Justice will block the extradition, but that is considered unlikely. Mr. Homm’s lawyers argued that he has multiple sclerosis and is not healthy enough to withstand the stress of extradition and trial...While denying he has committed any crimes, Mr. Homm often seems to revel in his own notoriety. While in hiding, he published a book, “Rogue Financier: The Adventures of an Estranged Capitalist,” in which he recalled, with some regret, his exploits as a predatory investor who shook up the staid world of German industry in the 1990s. Mr. Homm later became part owner of Borussia Dortmund, one of the country’s top soccer teams.

Banks Get a Break on Leverage-Ratio Rules (WSJ)
The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision, made up of banking regulators from around the world, said it had revised the definition of its leverage ratio in ways that will allow banks to report lower levels of overall risk. The leverage ratio measures capital held by a bank against its total assets, so the changes will lead to higher reported capital ratios. That will reduce the pressure on banks to either shed assets or raise more capital to meet the requirement.

GM Is 'Closest It Has Ever Been' To Reinstating Its Dividend (WSJ)
General Motors Co. Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann said the auto maker is "the closest it has ever been" to reinstating a dividend. GM last paid a dividend on its common stock in May 2008. Mr. Ammann made the comments Sunday as he also said the European economy appears to have bottomed out. "It is at the bottom, but I am unsure how quickly we will come off the bottom," he said. "We will see how the year unfolds."

City Council candidate: 21 arrests do not disqualify me from holding office (OS)
A candidate for Orlando City Council has a rap sheet that includes 21 arrests, records show. Regina Hill, 48, said she has no plans to drop her political campaign for a council seat, despite a history of arrests for drug offenses, multiple DUIs and other charges. In fact, she said her checkered past makes her more qualified to represent District 5, which still struggles with high levels of crime, unemployment and homelessness. "There is no better leader to be the voice of the people of District 5, because I've walked in their shoes," Hill said. "I've overcome those obstacles and I know what they go through." Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show that Hill began racking up arrests a week after she turned 18 in 1983. She was last arrested in 2009, on a contempt of court charge. During that 26-year span, she was charged with an array of offenses. In 1989, at age 23, she was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell. Records show she received a four-month jail sentence and three years probation, with credit for time already served. Hill also had six arrests for driving under the influence between 1997 and 2006. Other arrests include passing bad checks in 1994, to which she pleaded no contest and was ordered to pay restitution; and marijuana possession in 2005, to which she pleaded no contest and was ordered to perform community service. Florida is one of three states that strips those with felony convictions of the right to vote, serve on juries — or hold public office. Most of the charges Hill faced were misdemeanors, but two were felonies: the cocaine conviction and a 1995 fraud arrest for using a false name to obtain a driver's license.