Opening Bell: 1.27.15

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Goldman Sachs’s Cohn Says Oil Prices May Hit $30 in Extended Slump (Bloomberg)
Oil prices will probably continue to decline and could reach as low as $30 a barrel, according to Gary Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “We’re probably in the lower, longer view,” Cohn, a former oil trader, said Monday in an interview with CNBC.

J.P. Morgan Reportedly Gained Up to $300 Million in Swiss Franc Turmoil (WSJ)
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. notched $250 million to $300 million in gains after the Swiss central bank triggered turmoil in the markets in mid-January, a person familiar with the gains said. This comes as other banks, brokers and individual investors suffered hundreds of millions in losses when the Swiss currency jumped following the Swiss National Bank ’s decision to stop reining in the value of the franc against the euro. The currency grew by nearly 30% against the euro and 18% against the dollar and unleashed new volatility in credit and currency markets around the world.

Fink Says Swiss Avoiding Recession May Be Bad News for Euro (Bloomberg)
“There’s always been a debate, should Germany be in or out of the euro,” Fink told Bloomberg Television’s Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle during last week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “One of the arguments has always been about Germany -- is it would-be suicide if they walked away from the euro because it would have a currency that revalued 20 or 30 percent.” If Switzerland avoids a “recession and the economy continues to fare fairly nicely what does it mean for an economy a little north of here?” he said atop the Alps. “I do believe it will lead to a large debate within Germany from the right wing about look what Switzerland did.”

BBQ Burglar Steals $4,000 Worth Of Ribs, Chicken, Wings And Fries (HP)
Last Wednesday, a robber broke into Jerome Brown BBQ and stole $4,000 worth of ribs, chicken, wings and fries from the restaurant, News4Jax.com reports. The rib-loving robber gained entry by prying open a side door and also took away an empty cash register before winging it out the door. Surveillance video caught the BBQ burglar in the act, but the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office have yet to track down a suspect.

BNY Mellon may face bribery charges over sovereign wealth funds: filing (Reuters)
Bank of New York Mellon Corp has disclosed in a filing that U.S. regulators are considering charging it with violating U.S. foreign bribery laws after an investigation into internships it gave to relatives of sovereign wealth fund officials. In a regulatory filing on Friday, BNY Mellon said that U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission staff had notified it that they would recommend the SEC charge the bank over alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. A case from the SEC would be the first to come from a long-running investigation into banks' dealings with sovereign wealth funds.

Blizzard 2015: What Went Wrong With the Forecasting? (WSJ)
National Weather Service experts misjudged the path and impact of the blizzard that struck the Northeast on Monday and Tuesday, in large part because they trusted the wrong forecasting model, several independent meteorologists said. Rather than rely on their own forecasting system—upgraded in recent weeks—the federal experts placed their faith instead on a well-regarded European computer model that predicted the worst of this storm would squarely hit New York City. That system earlier had outperformed the U.S. forecasting system in predicting the path of superstorm Sandy. This time, the European forecasting model was wrong, several commercial forecasters said.

De Blasio Defends Aggressive NYC Storm Measures as ‘No-Brainer’ (Bloomberg)
“Would you rather be safe or unsafe?” the mayor asked reporters during a City Hall news briefing where he defended his and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s moves to restrict travel. “To me it was a no-brainer. We had to take precautions to keep people safe.”

Miracle cat buried alive, digs himself out of grave 5 days later (NYP)
Bart didn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of coming back from the grave — but after being buried for five days, he clawed his way back. The miracle feline’s misfortune started when he was struck by a car and his grief-stricken owner laid him to rest. “The cat appeared to be lifeless and the owner buried him. Five days later, the cat showed up in a neighbor’s yard alive!” the Humane Society of Tampa Bay in Florida told ABC7.com. The badly hurt, weak and dehydrated kitty dug himself out of the grave and crept back slowly. Bart needed treatment for facial wounds, a broken jaw and a ruined eye — but his owner couldn’t afford a vet, so he took his pal to the Humane Society. There is no purrfect ending yet, however, because Bart — who can’t eat due to pain — still has a lot of recovering to do.

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Opening Bell: 01.15.13

Westminster Hits At Goldman Sachs Bonus Plan (FT) Goldman Sachs provoked a furious reaction in Westminster after it emerged that the U.S. investment bank was mulling a plan to delay its U.K. bonus payments to take advantage of the imminent cut to the top rate of tax. John Mann, a Labour member of the Treasury select committee, criticized an "opportunistic money grab" by banks at a time of intensifying public anger against the sector. Some 10 banks had previously considered delaying bonuses until the top rate falls from 50 to 45 pence - although most have since concluded that this would be damaging. Chris Leslie, shadow Treasury minister, said banks needed to think carefully about their reputations. Fitch Warns Of US Downgrade Over Debt Fight (CNBC) In a statement Fitch said the debt ceiling was "an ineffective and potentially dangerous mechanism for enforcing fiscal discipline. It does not prevent tax and spending decisions that will incur debt issuance in excess of the ceiling while the sanction of not raising the ceilingrisks a sovereign default and renders such a threat incredible." Fitch Upbeat On Ireland (Reuters) If [Ireland's] debts could be shared out among euro zone states through the region's bailout mechanisms there could be scope for Ireland's BBB-plus rating to rise into the single-A category, according to Fitch analyst Douglas Renwick. "If there is an element of risk sharing, say perhaps through the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) over a bit of time, it could rise back to the single-A (range)," Renwick said. JPMorgan Ordered To Fix Lapses (WSJ) US regulators hit JPMorgan with four formal enforcement actions targeting lapses in risk-management and money-laundering controls, including the first sanctions in response to the bank's multibillion-dollar 2012 trading debacle. One set of cease-and-desist orders from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve instructs the largest U.S. bank by assets to remedy the breakdowns that allowed a small group of London-based traders to rack up more than $6 billion in losses last year. Another requires the bank to beef up its antimoney-laundering procedures and mirrors an action taken last April when regulators ordered Citigroup to upgrade its transaction-monitoring procedures and enhance internal audit. None of the orders issued Monday require any fines or monetary penalties, but regulators left the door open to future action. Wells Fargo Bets On Charlotte Trading After BofA Flees (Bloomberg) \Wells Fargo is betting its securities business can thrive 600 miles from New York in the same city Bank of America's traders largely abandoned. The first of 900 Wells Fargo employees moved last month into a new space on two floors of a 48-story tower in Charlotte, North Carolina. From their windows they can see the complex a half-mile away where Bank of America built its own state-of-the- art facility less than a decade ago for about 550 traders and investment bankers. Most have since been fired or moved to New York. Police: Teacher offers sexual favors to officer to avoid DUI arrest (WPBF) According to the arrest report, an empty gallon jug of Carlo Rossi wine was found behind the driver's seat of Maloney's damaged van, which was parked on the side of the street when officers arrived. Police said Maloney refused to cooperate with officers during their DUI investigation. Police said she began yelling at them and made random vulgar statements. While she was on her way to the police station, Maloney allegedly told an officer, "How much do I need to pay you to just let me go? Don't you understand I am a school teacher?" She then offered to perform oral sex on the officer and let him fondle her breasts, the report stated. RBS Libor Fine May Hit $800M+ (Bloomberg) US and UK regulators could hit the Royal Bank of Scotland with as much as $804 million in fines next week to settle allegations traders tried to rig interest rates, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Investment banking chief John Hourican and Peter Nielsen, the head of markets, may also be asked to leave because they had responsibility for the parts of the company where the alleged wrongdoing occurred. The fine would be the second-largest levied by regulators in their investigation into allegations traders at the world’s biggest lenders manipulated submissions used to set the London interbank offered rate. UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest lender, was fined $1.5 billion in December for rate-rigging, exceeding the 290 million pounds Barclays paid in June. Bob Khuzami, Master Blaster (NYP) Robert Khuzami yesterday took aim at a Columbia University professor who chided the SEC’s head of enforcement for not suing enough high-ranking individuals at large financial institutions, choosing instead to settle with those companies...Khuzami said in a blistering 1,500-word article in the National Law Journal that the SEC has charged a total of 102 individuals associated with the credit crisis, including high-level executives at Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Bear Stearns, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac...It’s the second time in as many weeks that Khuzami has called out his critics by name. Just before New Year’s Eve, the Brooklyn native blasted Simon Johnson, a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management, for a New York Times blog that said Khuzami’s hire was a “mistake” because of his former ties to Deutsche Bank. Khuzami shot back in the comment section of the blog — an unusual move for a public official. Wall Street Pay Gets Tougher Look (WSJ) Daniel Loeb, who runs hedge-fund firm Third Point LLC, has raised questions about whether compensation levels at Morgan Stanley are justified given the New York company's size and relative simplicity compared with larger bank. Hedge Funds' Manhattan Migration (WSJ) Of the new firms starting out in Manhattan, Greenwich or Stamford, about 86% picked the Big Apple, on average, from 2003 to 2008, according to eVestment, which tracks data on about 70% of U.S. hedge-fund firms. In 2009 and 2010, Manhattan was home to an average of 92% of the fund launches. Data for 2011 suggest the trend has continued. "There are blips in the data, but it's clear launches shifted toward New York after the crisis," says Peter Laurelli, eVestment's head of research. Detroit mafia boss says Jimmy Hoffa is buried in shallow grave north of Detroit (NYDN) Tony Zerilli, 85, says Hoffa was buried in a field outside Detroit, about 20 miles from the restaurant where he was last seen in July 1975. The aging Zerilli, who was in prison at the time of Hoffa’s disappearance, told TV news stations WNBC and WDIV that the plan was to move Hoffa’s body, but that never happened. “The master plan was, that I understood, was that they were going to put him in a shallow grave here. Then, they were going to take him from here to Rogers City upstate,” Zerilli said. “There was a hunting lodge and they were going to bury in a shallow grave then take him up there for final burial. Then, I understand, that it just fell through.” It was unclear why Zerilli chose to speak now about the 37-year-old mystery that has elicited dozens of false leads and conspiracy theories in the past. Zerilli said is to be ailing and penniless since his release from prison in 2008. WNBC reported he is promoting an upcoming book titled "Hoffa Found.” “All this speculation about where he is and he’s not,” Zerilli said. “They say he was in a meat grinder. It’s all baloney.”