Opening Bell: 1.15.15

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BlackBerry, Samsung Deny They’re in Talks About a Deal (Bloomberg)
BlackBerry Ltd. and Samsung Electronics Co. denied reports that they are in talks about Samsung potentially acquiring the Canadian smartphone maker. BlackBerry retreated after an earlier surge, falling as much as 17 percent to $10.50 in late trading in New York. Reuters, citing an unnamed person and documents, reported that Samsung had recently approached BlackBerry with an initial offer price of $13.35 to $15.49 a share, valuing the company at as much as $7.5 billion. Reuters also said executives from the two companies met last week to discuss a transaction.

Son accused of murdering hedge-fund dad to share in $1.6M will (NYP)
The spoiled hedge-fund scion charged with murdering his dad after the old man cut his allowance may get the dough after all The will of Thomas Gilbert Sr. was filed in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court Wednesday and it splits his $1.6 million fortune between his wife, daughter and the son who is charged in his death. The will says Thomas Gilbert Jr., 30, should receive quarterly payments from a trust in his name until he’s 35. After that he gets whatever is left in the account in a lump sum.

Continental Resources’ Hamm Pledges Stock as Collateral for Loan (WSJ)
Harold Hamm, chairman of Continental Resources Inc., has pledged 18% of his company’s shares outstanding—a portion valued at about $2.6 billion—as collateral for a personal loan. It isn’t immediately clear from his regulatory filing why Mr. Hamm took out the loan backed by his Continental shares, or where the funds came from. Mr. Hamm’s move comes just days after his ex-wife, Sue Ann Arnall, cashed a check for nearly $975 million, meant to satisfy the couple’s recent divorce decree. Both Mr. Hamm and Ms. Arnall are appealing the judge’s ruling in the divorce, with Ms. Arnall saying she is entitled to more and Mr. Hamm arguing he should owe less.

JP Morgan’s Breakup Agitators Get a Hand as Profit Disappoints (Bloomberg)
“Jamie, could you remind us how you’re thinking about the benefits of keeping the franchise consolidated for the shareholders versus some of the conversation that investors are having today about breaking up or shrinking the bank?” said Erika Najarian, a Bank of America Corp. analyst. JPMorgan benefits from its size and diversity, which helped it weather the financial crisis without a quarterly loss, Dimon said. Splitting up the firm would be a mistake for both customers and shareholders and could give foreign competitors such as Chinese banks an advantage, he said. “The unscrambling would be extraordinarily complex, and it would be extraordinarily complex in debt, in systems and technology,” Dimon said. Disassembling JPMorgan during a low for the banking environment would be “premature,” Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake said.

JP Morgan's Dimon Says Big Is Beautiful (WSJ)
“A lot of people just look at size, and it scares them,” Mr. Dimon said. “But that isn’t the determinant.” Though he complained about being “under assault” from regulators and used an expletive when referencing the firm’s occasional mistakes, Mr. Dimon argued that the bank is effective in its current form.

Handcuffed woman steals police car, leads 120 mph chase in Pennsylvania: report (NYDN)
A handcuffed woman stole the police car she was in and then led seven different police agencies in western Pennsylvania on a wild chase at speeds up to 120 mph Wednesday evening. The 27-year-old woman briefly evaded authorities before being apprehended after jumping out of a second stolen vehicle, the Beaver County Times reported. Police arrested Roxanne Rimer, of Beaver Falls, Pa., about 30 minutes after she allegedly drove off in a Center Township cruiser. She had initially been taken into custody at 6:45 p.m. after being accused of shoplifting at Kohl's in Monaca, Pa., 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Rimer reportedly maneuvered her cuffed hands in front of her and climbed into the driver's seat of the police car while the officer was dealing with another suspect, the Times reported. "She managed somehow to crawl through the window and get into the controls of the police car," Center Township Police Chief Barry Kramer told the Times. "The officer sees it, but he is unable to get back in the car." It kicked off a high-speed chase that included five townships, state police and the Beaver County Sheriff's Department before cops found the stolen cruiser — which suffered front end damage — abandoned in nearby Crescent, Pa.

Unscheduled India Rate Cut Sends Stocks Soaring (Bloomberg)
Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan cut interest rates in an unscheduled review to revive growth in Asia’s third-largest economy after inflation eased. Stocks, bonds and the rupee surged. Rajan lowered the benchmark repurchase rate to 7.75 percent from 8 percent, he said in a statement today, the first reduction since May 2013. Consumer-price inflation will probably be below the central bank’s target of 6 percent by January 2016, he said.

Economists Stay Upbeat as Markets See Trouble (Bloomberg)
“It feels like a global recession when you look at the markets,” said David Hensley, director of global economics for JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. But looking at economic data, “we’re certainly not seeing anything that’s unnerving us.”

Two proxy firms back Dollar Tree's bid for Family Dollar (Reuters)
Changing their previous stance, two influential proxy advisory firms advised Family Dollar Stores Inc shareholders to vote for the retailer's acquisition by Dollar Tree Inc, saying the deal offered more certainty of closure. Institutional Shareholder Services said on Wednesday Dollar Tree's proposal was in the best interest of shareholders and was more likely to close as it faces fewer antitrust hurdles. The proxy advisory firm had asked Family Dollar's shareholders in December to oppose Dollar Tree's $8.5 billion cash-and-stock offer, delay voting on the deal and consider Dollar General Corp's higher cash offer of $9.1 billion. Dollar Tree has said it would divest as many stores as required to get antitrust approval for the deal, while Dollar General has stuck to its offer to shed up to 1,500 stores.

Bank of America strikes deal to avoid activist resolution on chairman role (Bloomberg)
An activist investor group said it is withdrawing a shareholder resolution that called for Bank of America to have an independent board chair, easing some of the pressure the bank faced after giving its Chief Executive Brian Moynihan the additional title of chairman last year. In return for avoiding a vote on the resolution at its springtime annual meeting, Bank of America agreed to produce a report on its corporate culture and business practices, said Seamus Finn, chair of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.

Aussie Company Claims It Will Ship Your Enemies Glitter Anonymously (HP)
The "irreverent" website Ship Your Enemies Glitter claims that it'll send "so much glitter in an envelope that [the recipient will] be finding that s*** everywhere for weeks." The Australia-based company supposedly acts as a middleman in a passive-aggressive assault on anyone the sender hates who hates glitter. It costs about $8 U.S. The company claims it's a legit operation...This wouldn't be the first business to offer to send people bothersome crap in the mail. Some have claimed to send dog poop in the mail, which is illegal in the U.S. if your intent is to harass.

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Opening Bell: 4.29.15

SEC to propose new rules re: executive pay; Elizabeth Warren gains a friend in fight to curb bailouts; Twitter CEO's no good very bad day; "Baseball Coach Suspended After Forcing Players To Spit In His Face"; and more.