Skip to main content

Opening Bell: 03.07.14

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Exclusive: Pimco's Gross declares El-Erian is 'trying to undermine me' (Reuters)
Gross told Reuters that he had "evidence" that El-Erian "wrote" a February 24 article in the Journal, which described the worsening relationship between the two men as Pimco's performance deteriorated last year, including a showdown in which they squared off against each other in front of more than a dozen colleagues at the firm's Newport Beach, California headquarters. Gross, who oversaw more than $1.91 trillion in assets as of the end of last year and who is known on Wall Street as the 'Bond King', said in a phone call to Reuters last Friday: "I'm so sick of Mohamed trying to undermine me." When asked if Reuters could see the evidence about El-Erian and the allegation he was involved in the article, Gross said: "You're on his side. Great, he's got you, too, wrapped around his charming right finger." He said he knew that El-Erian, who had been widely seen as the heir apparent to Gross but is now due to leave in mid-March, had been in contact with Reuters as well as the Wall Street Journal. Gross indicated he had been monitoring El-Erian's phone calls...A Pimco spokesman said in an emailed statement: "Mr. Gross did not make the statements Reuters attributes to him. He categorically denies saying this firm ever listened in on Mr. El-Erian's phone calls or that Mr. El-Erian 'wrote' any previous media article."

Putin Sparking Worst Stock Rout Since Moscow Crackdown (Bloomberg)
The last time Russian stocks fell as much as they have this week was when President Vladimir Putin cracked down on protesters following his election in May 2012. Putin’s incursion into Ukraine’s Crimea region, like the imprisonment of demonstrators following his return to the presidency two years ago, is sparking investor concern that Russia’s economic growth will falter as the U.S. and Europe threaten the country with sanctions. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian companies in the U.S. has fallen 5.1 percent this week, the most since the measure dropped 11 percent in the five days to May 18, 2012.

Man called Bitcoin's father denies ties, leads LA car chase (Reuters)
In the afternoon, the silver-haired, bespectacled Nakamoto stepped outside, dressed in a gray sport coat and green striped shirt, with a pen tucked in his shirt pocket. He was mobbed by reporters and told them he was looking for someone who understood Japanese to buy him a free lunch. Newsweek estimates his wealth at $400 million. "I'm not involved in Bitcoin. Wait a minute, I want my free lunch first. I'm going with this guy," Nakamoto said, pointing at a reporter from AP. "I'm not in Bitcoin, I don't know anything about it," he said again while walking down the street with several cameras at his heels. He and the AP reporter made their way to a nearby sushi restaurant with media in tow, before leaving and heading downtown. Los Angeles Times reporter Joe Bel Bruno followed the pair and described the chase in a running stream of tweets. Eventually, the pair dashed into the Associated Press offices in downtown Los Angeles.

Washington state issues first legal-marijuana business license (AP)
Sean Green, who has operated medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane and the Seattle suburb of Shoreline, proclaimed the document “beautiful” as it was handed to him at a state Liquor Control Board meeting in Olympia. The license will allow him to grow 21,000 square feet of cannabis at his Spokane facility — the first pot that will be grown for sale under the highly taxed system approved by voters in 2012. The possession of marijuana became legal for adults over 21 soon after the vote, but it’s still illegal to grow or sell it for recreational use until pot shops open in the state later this year. Green plans to start by raising marijuana starter plants to sell to other growers, and later expand to growing buds for retail pot shops. “Cannabis prohibition is over,” Green declared to applause from a room packed with his supporters. “I’m coming home with jobs, Spokane.”

Martha Stewart Gives Sex Advice, Says She Had a Prison Name in Reddit Ask Me Anything (USW)
Stewart's fans didn't waste any time, asking her about bedroom secrets to abide by. "Always take a bath before and after," Stewart said. When one suggested to just do the dirty during a bath, she quipped: "That's good too, and don't forget to brush your teeth." She added: "What's a d*ldo?" when asked how to clean the bed sheets afterward. Stewart's AMA had its TMI moments, but she also chatted about her famous pals. "I wish I were closer friends with Snoop Dogg," she admitted...Stewart braved the slew of questions, but also seemed to reach her limit when asked of her 2004 stint in jail. "I think I did, but I can't remember," she said on whether or not she had a prison name. "I don't think about the past."

Carlyle Honchos Join Wave of Private-Equity Stock Sales (WSJ)
Top executives at three publicly traded private-equity firms have sold more than $500 million of their firms' stock over the past year, according to securities filings. The most recent sellers are Carlyle Group LP co-founders co-Chief Executive William Conway and Chairman Daniel D'Aniello, who have sold between $39.6 million and $48.9 million of stock apiece, according to a securities filing Thursday. The sale, part of a larger share offering from the Washington firm, marks the first time that any Carlyle employees have reduced stakes in the firm since it went public in May 2012.

Cerberus confirms Safeway deal worth more than $9B (CNBC)
As part of the deal, Cerberus would pay roughly $40 a share for Safeway, which includes $32.50 per share in cash. Cerberus already owns Albertsons, which operates 1,000 stores and 12 distribution centers in 29 states and employs approximately 109,000 associates. The deal would greatly expand Cerberus' reach into the grocery store arena. Currently, there are 1,600 Safeway stores across the U.S. and Canada.

Top Philippine Fund Doubles Consumer Stocks With Record Bet (Bloomberg)
The UBP Large Cap Philippine Equity Portfolio (IFDLCPE) increased positions in the consumer industry to a record 60 percent of assets from about 30 percent in mid-2013, said Robert Ramos, who oversees about $897 million as the chief investment officer at Union Bank of the Philippines. Holdings include Emperador Inc. (EMP), the nation’s largest liquor company, and Puregold Price Club Inc., the biggest grocery-store operator. Both stocks have jumped at least 12 percent this year.

Bacon Alarm Clock Means Bacon Has Finally Conquered The Universe (HP)
Oscar Mayer cooked up a gizmo to convert your smartphone into a fragrant frying pan of sizzling you-know-what. You plug in a small rectangular attachment into the iPhone headphone jack and, enabled by an app, the sounds and smell of bacon assault your senses when it's time to rise and shine. Oscar Mayer will give out 4,700 of the devices in a drawing through April 4, the company said in a press release.