U.S. Seeks Guilty Pleas From 4 Banks in Currency Antitrust Probe (WSJ)
The Justice Department plans to try and force four major banks to plead guilty to criminal antitrust charges for alleged collusion by traders in foreign-currency markets, people familiar with the discussions said. Justice Department officials are growing more certain they have evidence to support criminal charges of collusive conduct among employees of Barclays PLC, Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, and Royal Bank of Scotland , these people said. Justice Department officials still are pursuing separate criminal fraud cases aimed largely at individuals, and it is possible a criminal fraud charge could be filed against one or more bank. But the majority of the evidence gathered in the foreign-exchange investigations—including from bank employees who secretly cooperated with investigators—supports criminal antitrust charges, these people said.
Goldman Sachs Hired 3% of 267,000 Job Applicants Last Year (Bloomberg)
Almost 90 percent of those offered a position chose to join, Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein said Tuesday at an investor conference in Florida. Blankfein touted the firm’s simpler business model and higher profitability compared with rivals and said the bank has made progress even as return on equity remained at about 11 percent the past three years.
RadioShack Proposes Up to $3 Million in Bankruptcy Bonuses (WSJ)
Eight executives and up to 30 other employees are in line for the payouts, which the company says are essential to maximizing the sale price of the beleaguered company and to keeping people from leaving during the bankruptcy process.
In Bonds, One Man’s Big Sales Pitch (WSJ)
Can one man drag corporate-bond trading into a new age, where others have failed? Meet Mehra “Cactus” Raazi, a former salesman from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., who has been working to do just that at fixed-income technology operator Tradeweb Markets LLC. The New York firm is counting on Mr. Raazi as the frontman for its new electronic bond-trading system, an effort to bring the corporate-bond world into the 21st century. It has charged him with drumming up interest among asset managers and hedge funds for a system it says will enable easier and cheaper trading in U.S. corporate debt.
British hardware store preps for 'Fifty Shades' fans (UPI)
British hardware store chain B&Q circulated a memo telling staff to familiarize themselves with Fifty Shades of Grey ahead of an expected boost in rope sales. The email memo from B&Q bosses said copies of E.L. James' novel will be sent to stores for employees to borrow on a "one-week basis" to "familiarize themselves" with Fifty Shades of Grey ahead of film adaptation's weekend release. "Following the film release of Fifty Shades of Grey, B&Q employees may encounter increased customer product queries relating to rope, cable ties and masking or duck tape. Store Managers should anticipate the need for extra stock and store staff should read the following brief to prepare them to handle potentially sensitive customer questions," the memo reads. The authors of the email pointed to scene where Christian Grey visits a "hardware store to purchase rope, cable ties and tape." "Rather than bought for home improvement purposes, these products are intended to fulfill Mr. Grey's unconventional sexual pursuits," the memo reads. "As the U.K.'s leading DIY store, we stock many of the products featured in this notable scene and then used later in the film." A company representative confirmed the authenticity of the memo to ITV News. "B&Q remains committed to serving our customers in all their DIY needs and we strive to prepare our staff for any enquiry," the representative said. "Customer satisfaction is always our number one priority."
Apple to build $850M solar energy farm in CA (CNBC)
Apple will partner with First Solar to build an $850 million solar energy farm in California, CEO Tim Cook said on Tuesday...Cook touched on the solar project and a wide range of company developments—including Apple Pay, the Apple Watch and the company's partnership with IBM—at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.
ECB's Jazbec, on Greece, says 'we can't solve all problems' (Reuters)
The European Central Bank cannot solve all problems, ECB Governing Council member Bostjan Jazbec said, defending the central bank's decision last week to stop accepting Greek bonds in return for funding. The ECB move, in response to Athens abandoning its aid-for-reform program, has been criticized by many in Greece. "Sometimes we are unfairly made a scapegoat," Jazbec said in an early release of an interview to run in Wednesday's edition of German business daily Handelsblatt.
Top oil analyst: The worst is yet to come (CNBC)
Oil prices will get a heck of a lot worse before they get better, a top industry analyst said on Tuesday. Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, predicted that oil prices would bottom during the second quarter of the year "simultaneously to one of the expirations of the WTI contracts." He warned that the price of West Texas Intermediate crude could be in the $30s at some point in the second quarter.
FTC chairwoman to join Herbalife executive on stage (NYP)
The move is angering some consumer activists, who feel the FTC boss should steer clear of any possible conflicts. “It’s like re-victimizing the victims to know that the top law-enforcement official is sitting at the table with the alleged perpetrator,” said Julie Contreras, an organizer with the League of United Latin American Citizens, an Herbalife critic.
Hannah Davis: Don’t take the SI cover so seriously (CNBC)
Hannah Davis, this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl, has one message for her critics: "Don't take [the cover] so seriously." Davis told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Tuesday she didn't understand why consumers were so critical of her cover photo. "You can't see anything," she said. Davis and the magazine drew criticism after the issue's release on Monday, as critics found the cover to be too risqué. Brendan Ripp, the magazine's publisher, said in the same interview that the swimsuit issue always draws large amounts of criticism. "We've been doing this for 51 years, and for all 51 covers people have various opinions," he said. "We're comfortable with that."
Mayor backtracks previous comments calling Hillary Clinton 'a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital' (NYDN)
Ahead of a scheduled meeting with the former Secretary of State in New York on Wednesday, London Mayor Boris Johnson soft-pedaled the exceptionally unflattering picture he painted of Clinton in a 2007 newspaper column. “She's got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital,” Johnson wrote at the time of Clinton — who was running for President at the time and may soon declare a second bid — in the Daily Telegraph. Reminded of that rhetorical burn by ITV News Tuesday, Johnson replied, "I'm delighted to be able to meet Sen. Clinton. “I'm sure that whatever I've said in the past will be taken by the Senator, who is a very distinguished politician, in the light-hearted spirit in which it was intended,” the London chief executive continued, according to ITV...Ironically, the point of Johnson’ s column was actually to argue in favor of Clinton winning the presidency.