Opening Bell: 1.28.15

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Shake Shack now expects IPO to be priced higher at $17-$19 a share (Reuters)
Burger chain Shake Shack Inc (SHAK.N) now expects its initial public offering to be priced at $17-$19 per share, up from $14-$16 expected earlier, valuing the company at up to $674.5 million. The offering of 5 million Class A shares is expected to raise about $95 million, Shake Shack said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday. The company, which grew out of a hot dog stand in New York's Madison Square Park, is known for its Shackburgers, flat-top hot dogs and eponymous milkshakes and has developed a cult following since it was founded by restaurateur Daniel Meyer in 2001.

iPhone 6 sales boost Apple profits to stratospheric levels (NYP)
Apple disclosed Tuesday that it sold a mind-blowing 74.5 million iPhones during its holiday quarter, as shoppers snatched up the sleek new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models that boasted faster processors and thinner bodies with bigger screens. The popularity of the new models goosed the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant’s earnings to $18 billion — by some measures the biggest quarterly profit ever to be reported by a publicly traded company — as revenue climbed 29 percent to $74.6 billion. Apple ended the quarter with a whopping $178 billion in cash on its balance sheet — a figure that exceeds the market value of any number of corporate giants including Walt Disney, AT&T and Bank of America. ‘This volume is hard to comprehend,” CEO Tim Cook told analysts on a conference call. On average, Wall Street expected that 66.5 million iPhones would be sold. Doing the math, Cook noted that, for every day of the quarter ended Dec. 27, Apple sold about 34,000 iPhones per hour.

Robbers Crash Into Wells Fargo Museum to Steal Gold Nuggets (Dealbook)
Three masked robbers smashed a stolen sport utility vehicle into the entrance of Wells Fargo’s corporate museum in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district on Tuesday, then held a security guard at gunpoint and made off with gold nuggets from a display case, the San Francisco police said. The police are investigating the bold and apparently well-coordinated robbery early Tuesday at the Wells Fargo History Museum, which is on the street level of the bank’s corporate headquarters. The three robbers abandoned the S.U.V. and fled in a sedan that the police said was either parked nearby or could have been driven by a fourth person who was waiting with a getaway car. While the police say their preliminary estimates of the nuggets’ value is about $10,000, the gold has sentimental value to the bank, which takes its history seriously.

Fed seen remaining patient with rates amid global turmoil (Reuters)
The Fed's first two-day policy meeting of the year concludes on Wednesday, and policymakers will likely restate their "patient" approach to raising rates, while also voicing faith that the economy will continue improving.

‘Sex theme park’ with giant penis rides to open in Taiwan (Metro)
A sex theme park where tourists can ride astride gigantic stone penises with realistic scrotums is under construction in Taiwan. The park will be called ‘Romantic Boulevard’, and will include an outdoor garden filled with erotic sculptures of mammoth phalluses, as well as statues of people and animals making love...The park will also include a ‘scenic area’ for wedding photos (hopefully not right next to the giant penises), and is to be based on South Korea’s popular Jeju Park. ‘We want people to fall in love with Taiwan, as well as fall in love while in Taiwan,’ said Shih Chao-hui, the deputy director of the local tourist office. Shih claims that 200,000 visitors have already come to marvel at the giant dongs, and hopes to build a hotel into the park ‘just in case visitors want to turn their feelings into actions’.

Hedge Funds, Private Equity Win Big at TARP Auctions (WSJ)
A government program to rid itself of TARP investments in small banks has proved a boon to hedge funds, private-equity and other private investors, according to a new watchdog report. As the Treasury Department looks to exit from its taxpayer-backed investments in these lenders, private investors like hedge funds and others have stepped in and scooped up about 70% of the shares auctioned by the U.S. government. Other buyers included banks, institutional investors and brokers buying shares on behalf of other entities.

Swiss to Compensate Workers Hurt by Franc (WSJ)
The Swiss government said it will compensate employees forced to work fewer hours at companies hit by the sharp appreciation of the Swiss franc, marking the first domestic political action aimed at cushioning the impact of recent currency moves. The Swiss Department of Economic Affairs announced a policy Tuesday that will allow Swiss companies hit by the strengthening franc to claim compensation from Switzerland’s unemployment insurance authority for staff with reduced working hours. The move is intended to give businesses more flexibility to adjust to weakened demand for their goods, and to help them avoid laying off workers.

Do You Know The Significance Of This Day In History? (DB)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHARLIE GASPARINO.

Don’t Sneeze: Office Etiquette for Flu Season (WSJ)
Rosemarie Lopena was nervous after her boss, Maria Vizzi, said she was returning to work after four days out recently with the flu. Ms. Lopena, office manager at New York City-based Indoor Environmental Solutions Inc., put a sanitary face mask on Ms. Vizzi’s desk nearby. “It was a joke, but it was also serious, because I was really scared,” she says...Most people feel comfortable speaking up about the flu at the office. Some 57% of working adults would be willing to tell a sick colleague to go home, and 36% might say, “I’d rather not shake your hand,” according to a 2014 survey of 493 working adults by NSF International, a public health and safety organization in Ann Arbor, Mich. Some 11% worry about getting sick but suffer in silence.

Big Oil Faces Time Of Reckoning (WSJ)
In the coming days, the world’s biggest publicly traded oil companies will report fourth-quarter earnings, offering the best look yet at the bite lower crude prices have taken out of Big Oil. For BP PLC, lower oil prices are just one headwind. A federal trial now under way in New Orleans could levy penalties of as much as $13.7 billion for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, BP owns nearly 20% of Russian producer OAO Rosneft . Kremlin-controlled Rosneft faces Western sanctions on exporting certain oil-development technology to Russia. Rosneft is also struggling with the falling ruble and weaker oil prices. BP, which has sold more than $40 billion in assets to pay cleanup and legal costs from the Gulf spill, is also trying to rein in costs that are higher than those of some competitors.

Handcuffed Woman Steals Police Car: Cops (AP)
A Pennsylvania woman has been ordered to stand trial on charges she stole a police cruiser and led officers on a chase of at least 80 mph — while her hands were cuffed behind her. Center Township police say 27-year-old Roxanne Rimer was arrested after stealing earrings from a Kohl's store Jan. 14. They say officers handcuffed Rimer and put her in the back seat of the cruiser. Police say they believe she then squeezed through an opening in the partition that wasn't latched and crawled into the front seat before zooming off. Police say she led officers on a nearly 10-mile chase before she smashed into a hillside and jumped out of the car, still handcuffed.

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