Opening Bell: 1.14.15

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Extent of UBS Restructuring Disputed in Court Case (WSJ)
A senior UBS investment-banking executive, for example, disputed some past comments by UBS’s finance chief, Tom Naratil, and its investment-banking boss, Andrea Orcel , about the magnitude of the restructuring plan, known as Project Accelerate. Other executives played down the revamp’s impact on the breadth of clients the bank pursues...Notwithstanding comments during the London trial, UBS’s investment bank is a shadow of its former self. Its risk-adjusted assets are down to 61.9 billion Swiss francs ($61 billion) from 162 billion Swiss francs in 2012. Yet UBS continues to harbor ambitions of being a major global investment bank. Mr. Orcel, for example, has said he wants to increase the revenue the bank generates from the fixed-income business that took the brunt of Project Accelerate’s cuts, while reducing UBS’s reliance on its equities business.

BofA Said to Oust 150 Hedge Fund Clients Under New Rules (Bloomberg)
The second-largest U.S. bank made the decisions based on which relationships were profitable enough to keep amid new capital and liquidity rules, according to two people familiar with the bank’s strategy, who asked not to be named because details are private. The cuts included the majority of its quantitative hedge fund customers, or those that use computer programs to trade, one of the people said.

Apple to return $200 billion to holders: Analyst (CNBC)
The three-year anniversary of Apple's announcement of a record capital return program is approaching in April, and one analyst believes the cash juggernaut will mark that occasion with a new $200 billion program to buy back shares and raise its dividend. Kulbinder Garcha of Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to"outperform" from "neutral" Tuesday because of this expected announcement, seeing the shares 19 percent higher over the next 12 months from Monday's closing price. The analyst points out that Apple has more cash on hand than it had when the program began.

Oil Collapse of 1986 Shows Rebound Could Be Years Away (Bloomberg)
The CHART OF THE DAY shows how West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. oil benchmark, tumbled 69 percent from $31.82 a barrel in November 1985 to $9.75 in April 1986 when Saudi Arabia, tiring of cutting output to support prices, flooded the market. Prices didn’t claw back the losses until 1990. Oil has dropped 57 percent since June and OPEC members say they’re willing to let prices sink further.

NY Fed data confirm revolving door (FT)
A “revolving door” between US regulators and banks emphatically exists, according to new statistics published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which last year attracted criticism for its alleged coziness to Goldman Sachs. The paper published on the New York Fed’s website concludes that banking regulators move into the private sector when the economy is booming, while straitened times result in more former bankers joining regulatory agencies. Restricting hiring by either banks or regulators, however, could result in poor retention of quality staff by government authorities, the study claims.

Wife chops off cheating husband’s penis, twice (NYP)
Fan Lung, a dad of five, sealed his fate when he decided to use his wife’s cellphone to send his secret lover a hot and heavy email, Central European News reports. The 32-year-old forgot to log out of his account after the message was sent, which is how his 21-year-old wife, Feng — who is now under arrest for grievous bodily harm — came across the saucy exchange and snapped. The jilted wife went berserk, grabbed a pair of scissors, stormed into their bedroom and cut off his penis while he was sleeping. Lung was rushed to the hospital, where doctors were able to save the appendage and sew it back on. But Feng was able to sneak into the recovery room, where she chopped his penis off a second time and threw it out the window, according to CEN. A shocked Lung chased his wife outside, despite losing a lot of blood. “Staff rushed out to see what was happening and found the patient with blood streaming down his legs hitting the woman,” a hospital spokesman said. “He was stopped and the woman was taken in for treatment, and then we discovered she had chopped his penis off again.” Despite desperate search efforts, authorities were unable to find Lung’s manhood. Police believe it may have been stumbled upon by a stray dog or cat, according to CEN.

U.S. Racks Up Smallest Deficit Since 2007 (WSJ)
Capped off by a $2 billion surplus in December, the government ended the calendar year with a deficit of $488 billion, $72 billion less than the 2013 tally, according to data from the U.S. Treasury. The federal government uses a fiscal year that begins in October; on that basis, the 2014 fiscal year ended in September saw a deficit of $483 billion, also the lowest of Mr. Obama’s presidency.

Regulators Want Data on Bond-Trade Fees (WSJ)
The Securities and Exchange Commission has asked for reams of bond quotations from operators of retail-oriented electronic bond-trading platforms, in some cases asking for pricing data from August to November of last year to be delivered by the third week of January, said people familiar with the matter.

Supreme Court Backs Borrowers’ Right to Rescind Certain Mortgages (WSJ)
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday adopted a borrower-friendly interpretation of a federal law that gives consumers the right in some circumstances to unwind certain mortgage loans. The case examined the Truth in Lending Act, which allows borrowers to rescind loans like mortgage refinances and home-equity loans within three days after the transaction is consummated, or until the lender has delivered the required disclosures about the terms of the loan agreement. The law places a three-year time limit on a borrower’s right to rescind, even if the creditor still hasn’t provided all the necessary loan disclosures.

Supplier issue crimps Chipotle: Sorry, no carnitas (AP)
Chipotle says it stopped serving pork at about a third of its restaurants after suspending a supplier that violated its standards. Chris Arnold, a spokesman for the Mexican food chain, told The Associated Press it's the first time the company stopped serving a topping for its burritos and bowls. He said Chipotle learned of the violation by the supplier on Friday through a routine audit, and did not have a timeline for when carnitas would return to affected stores. In New York City on Tuesday, a sign on the door of a Chipotle location stated, "Sorry, no carnitas." Arnold declined to specify the nature of the supplier's violation. But with pork, he said the most notable demand Chipotle makes of its suppliers is that pigs are raised in humane conditions.

Head of Jefferies’ Treasury trading desk exits firm (NYP)
James Golden, co-head of government bond trading at Jefferies & Co., one of Wall Street’s main dealers for Treasury debt, has left the bank, The Post has learned.

The Bruffin, a New York pastry sensation, is about to go nationwide (NYDN)
Do you know the Bruffin, man? You will. The deliciously buttery love child of a muffin and a brioche that became a must-have pastry at Smorgasburg last year — will now be shipped nationwide by its creators Michael Bagley and Medy Youcef. “Let the ‘Bruffinization’ of the world begin!” said Bagley, whose Bruffin Cafes are on the Lower East Side and in the Meatpacking District. The pair’s success stems from a simple formula: build a better mousetrap (with lots of butter). “It’s a meal in a muffin,” says Bagley. “We were looking for a substitute for a sandwich or a slice of pizza, something that was really self contained. And we almost created a new food category.” Bagley and Youcef’s Bruffins come in 16 international flavor combinations, such as the American, featuring Buffalo-style chicken, blue cheese, and hot sauce; the Indian, made with curried chicken, chickpeas and paneer (cheese); and the popular Canadian, comprised of maple syrup, Canadian bacon and sharp cheddar.

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