Opening Bell: 07.01.14

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Argentine Debt Team to Meet With Mediator (WSJ)
Argentina said Monday night that it will send a delegation to meet with a court-appointed lawyer on July 7 as it tries to resolve a dispute with a small group of creditors that could see the South American country default for a second time in 13 years. Argentina's long-running battle with hedge funds in U.S. courts entered a critical phase after U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa on June 27 blocked the country from making $539 million in interest payments that were due on some of its bonds Monday. Argentina will likely default if it can't get that money to bondholders before a 30-day grace period expires in July. The judge has ruled that Argentina must pay the hedge funds that are suing to collect on defaulted bonds at the same time it pays investors who own bonds the country issued after its 2001 default.

Peltz's Trian Plants Its Flag in BNY Mellon (WSJ)
The sleepy world of back-office banking is about to get a bit of action following Trian Fund Management LP's purchase of a large stake in Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Trian, led by Nelson Peltz, said Monday that it has bought a position valued at $1.05 billion in BNY Mellon, representing a 2.5% stake. The move is rare in the world of activist investors, who typically avoid regulated businesses such as banks.Mr. Peltz, 72 years old, and Trian haven't had any discussions with the bank's leaders, according to a person familiar with the matter, but plans to reach out to management to discuss ideas for creating more shareholder value.

Economy could accelerate substantially: Summers (CNBC)
There's a prospect that the economy could accelerate "quite substantially" over the next couple of quarters, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told CNBC's "Closing Bell." "That would be an important and obviously positive development," he said Monday. "[There's] no assurance that will be the case, but I think that could be a surprise." However, while he is concerned that rapid economic growth could lead to a market bubble, he doesn't think the U.S. is in one yet despite the narrower credit spreads and certain asset prices that are inflated.

Not looking at pot as ‘windfall’ for economy: Colorado Gov. (CNBC)
Colorado's increased tax revenue from the sale of marijuana isn't necessarily a windfall, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Monday. Instead, he's looking to use that money to maintain the state's high quality of life.

I'm Sorry, I Think I'm Allergic to You (WSJ)
As with a lot of allergies, it's the repetition that gets to us. "The first time you are seated next to a co-worker who is loudly snapping bubble gum, you don't care," says Michael Cunningham, a psychologist and professor of communication at the University of Louisville. "After three weeks, you are praying they'll choke on it." According to Dr. Cunningham, who has studied the phenomenon for more than 15 years, social allergens can be grouped into four main types, depending on whether the behavior is intentional or not, and whether directed personally at an individual or not. The first grouping is uncouth habits. They are unintentional and they aren't directed personally. They include noisily chewing gum or talking loudly into a phone in a crowded public space. "The person isn't really thinking of you, even though the behavior has implications for you," Dr. Cunningham says. The second category is egocentric actions, he says. These behaviors aren't necessarily intentional, but they are directed personally at you. There's the friend who keeps you on the phone for 45 minutes after you said you can only talk for five, or the family member who never orders dessert at a restaurant but eats all of yours (you know who you are). This person still isn't thinking about you, but the behavior affects you specifically. The third category, norm violations, encompasses offensive behaviors that are intentional but impersonal. Examples include smoking right outside the front door, talking in a theater during the show or texting while driving. The fourth, and most irritating, social-allergen group includes actions that are both intentional and directed personally, Dr. Cunningham says. It may be an imperious command ("Bring me some coffee, will you?") instead of a request for a favor. Often, it is a backhanded complaint or criticism: "Are you really going to eat that?" or "You bought a car? I thought you were saving for college."

Formerly Tubby Police Horse Turns Life Around, Chases Down First Suspect (AP)
Murphy, carrying Officer Cassandra Wells, chased down a man suspected of breaking into a building last week and kept him trapped next to a building until officers could cuff him. The Oregonian reports Murphy galloped about six blocks. Murphy was added to the mounted patrol last year, but when he arrived at the barn he weighed 1,900 pounds. The unit didn't have a saddle big enough for him. After losing 200 pounds he went through training and is now on Portland streets.

Emerging-Market Issuers Vulnerable on $2 Trillion Debt Binge (Bloomberg)
“Like an elephant in a paddling pool, the huge size disparity between global investor portfolios and recipient markets can amplify distortions,” the analysts wrote. “It is far from reassuring that these flows have swelled on the back of an aggressive search for yield: strongly pro-cyclical, they surge and reverse as conditions and sentiment change.”

Renouncing Corporate Citizenship (Dealbook)
A little less than two years ago, Gregory D. Wasson, the chief executive of Walgreen, sought a series of tax breaks from Illinois, where his company is based. “We are proud of our Illinois heritage,” he said at the time. “Just as our stores and pharmacies are health and daily living anchors for the communities we serve, we as a company are now recommitted to serving as an economic anchor for northeastern Illinois.” The state gave Walgreen $46 million in corporate income tax credits over 10 years in exchange for a pledge to create 500 jobs and invest in upgrading its offices. The state also provided $625,000 in training money and $875,000 in other tax incentives. Mr. Wasson’s actions, however, could soon run counter to his words. The same chief executive who said he was so “proud of our Illinois heritage” is now considering moving the company’s headquarters to Switzerland as part of a merger with Alliance Boots, a European drugstore chain. Why? To lower Walgreen’s tax bill even further.

How Memphis Firm Decoded Bond Secrets Mystifying Wall Street (Bloomberg)
Working for a firm based about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from Wall Street with roots that date back to the Civil War, FTN’s Jim Vogel and Chris Low were among the few who correctly urged investors to ignore the consensus calling for an inevitable selloff in bonds this year. Since at least 2011, FTN’s head of interest-rate strategies and chief economist have rightly gone against the pack by calling for low yields.

Man Pulls Trooper Over For Alleged Speeding (HP)
In a video uploaded last week to YouTube, a man identified as Brian Miner flags down an Illinois state trooper, allegedly because the officer was speeding and talking on his cellphone. "You pulled me over with your horn, I don't know what that was about," the unidentified officer said. "Because you were speeding and had your cellphone in your hand," Miner responded. The officer then says "Police officers can actually use technology when we're driving." The officer then asks Miner for his license and registration and, after asking him if he was speeding, says he's going to write Miner a ticket for "unlawful use of horn". Then Miner tells the officer that he's being recorded and shortly after the officer decides not to write him a ticket. "I didn't want to hurt your record," the officer said.

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By VIIRS image captured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Suomi NPP satellite (NOAA View Global Data Explorer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 9.11.18

Flo is ferreal; China posturing; Carney staying; More bad news about farts; and more!

Lloyd Zoom

Opening Bell: 4.24.17

Why Goldman whiffed its earnings; how Travis Kalanick earned a tongue-lashing from Tim Cook; meet hoverboard dentist; and more.

Opening Bell: 05.11.12

JPMorgan's $2 Billion Blunder (WSJ) The CEO emphasized that the bank remains profitable despite the trading loss. "While we don't give overall earnings guidance and we are not confirming current analyst estimates, if you did adjust current analyst estimates for the loss, we still earned approximately $4 billion after-tax this quarter give or take," he said on the call. The bank earned $5.38 billion in the first quarter. Drew Built 30-Year JPMorgan Career Embracing Risk (Bloomberg) JPMorgan Chief Investment Officer Ina R. Drew, head of the unit responsible for a $2 billion trading loss, built a 30-year career at the largest U.S. bank by embracing risk and avoiding the spotlight. “With everything she does, she thinks in terms of trading,” said Stephen Murray, head of CCMP Capital Advisors LLC, created from a JPMorgan private-equity unit in 2006. “There are risk-lovers, there are risk-haters, and the best traders will take the risk as long as they get paid for it.” Drew’s operation, which helps manage the bank’s risk, has been transformed under Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon to make bigger speculative bets with the firm’s own money, according to five former employees, Bloomberg News reported last month. Some bets were so big JPMorgan probably couldn’t unwind them without roiling markets, the former executives said. JPMorgan Holding Talks With UK Regulator (WSJ) JPMorgan has been holding discussions with U.K. regulators about the roughly $2 billion of trading losses incurred by the giant bank's investment office, according to people familiar with the matter. The talks with the Financial Services Authority don't represent a formal inquiry by the regulator, one person said, and it isn't clear whether it will result in any action by the regulatory agency. The FSA has been requesting information from J.P. Morgan about how the trading losses occurred and what steps the bank is taking to avoid such situations in the future, the people said. Volcker Rule Proponents Say JPMorgan Loss Bolsters Case (Bloomberg) Senator Carl Levin, the co-author of the so-called Volcker rule and chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said the New York-based bank’s disclosure yesterday served as a “stark reminder” to regulators drafting the proprietary-trading ban required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. “The enormous loss JPMorgan announced today is just the latest evidence that what banks call ‘hedges’ are often risky bets that so-called ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks have no business making,” Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said in a statement. Wall Street's Go-To Guy Trips Up (WSJ) "I am not sure how many times I can say this: It was bad strategy, executed poorly," Mr. Dimon said of the losses the company suffered in the past six weeks. The acknowledgment is a rare blow for Mr. Dimon, 56 years old, who has been on the top of the banking heap since joining J.P. Morgan Chase in 2004. He regularly extols J.P. Morgan's "fortress balance sheet" and has repeatedly lashed out against lawmakers and regulators who have slapped more rules on the banking industry. Italian man becomes mayor by accident (BBC) Though he had not given much thought to a political platform before the vote, now he is in office he has said that he will focus on promoting tourism to the area. EU Signs Of Recovery, Risks Remain (WSJ) "A recovery is in sight, but the economic situation remains fragile, with still large disparities across member States," Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs said in a statement. "Without further determined action, however, low growth in the European Union could remain." Chesapeake Deals Carry $1.4 Billion In Undisclosed Liability (WSJ) Most of these costs will hit this year and next, at a time when the company needs to raise substantial cash to cover operating expenses and its move into the more lucrative oil business. Faber Sees '87-Type Crash If U.S. Stocks Rise Without QE3 (Bloomberg) “I think the market will have difficulties to move up strongly unless we have a massive QE3,” Faber, who manages $300 million at Marc Faber Ltd., told Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop” from Zurich today, referring to a third round of large-scale asset purchases by the Fed. “If it moves and makes a high above 1,422, the second half of the year could witness a crash, like in 1987.” Third masseur accuses John Travolta of inappropriate behavior (NYP) Fabian Zanzi, a Chilean-born cruise worker who worked in VIP services, said Travolta offered him $12,000 for the tryst. Zanzi says he refused. Travolta was on the five-day cruise in 2009 without wife Kelly Preston and hit on Zanzi with a cheesy pickup line, the cruise worker said. “He said that I had something on my neck. I thought it was lint,” Zanzi told the Chilean news show “Primer Plano.” “When he got close to me, he took off his white robe and he was naked.”

Opening Bell: 3.14.16

Carl Icahn setting up son to take his place; Gold believers tell Goldman to buzz off; RBS makes cuts; Swedish health minister says loud sex is healthy; and more.