Computer-Driven, Automatic Trading Strategies Score Big (WSJ)
Hedge-fund managers who employ complicated, automatic-trading strategies made millions off the wild swings in currency and commodity markets in recent weeks, investors said. Many of these so-called quants——including Leda Braga ’s BlueTrend fund, Cantab Capital Partners LLP and R.G. Niederhoffer Capital Management Inc.—performed well because they positioned themselves ahead of market moves that befuddled traditional investors. In many cases, they ramped up bets on the momentum against the euro and reaped a huge win when the Swiss National Bank removed its currency peg, pushing the euro down deeper. They also have capitalized on what was until recently a consistent plunge in oil prices without worrying about when they would hit a bottom.
Strategic Confusion Put RadioShack At The Mercy Of Lenders (WSJ)
Joe Magnacca, RadioShack’s seventh CEO in nine years, inherited a company buffeted by some of the toughest forces in retail. The business of selling electronics was being pillaged by the Web, and a giant bet on cellphones fell apart when Apple Inc. ’s pricey iPhones started pulling the margin out of sales that had once been lucrative for RadioShack. Revenue was falling, and cash was drying up. The more immediate cause of the downfall, however, was a series of missed financial targets and strategic confusion that handed power to bare-knuckled lenders. RadioShack also spent millions of its increasingly scarce dollars advertising an ambitious store overhaul, many elements of which the chain never had the money to roll out.
Rich Brazilians, Wary of Government, Look Abroad (WSJ)
Brazil’s wealthy and powerful have been buying Miami luxury condos and indulging in Bal Harbour shopping sprees for decades. But in recent months a number of Brazilians have reacted to Ms. Rousseff’s re-election by seeking to lay down longer-term roots in greater Miami and, to a lesser extent, Orlando, New York and Boston. Although exact figures aren’t available, Miami-based developers, real-estate agents, bankers, retailers and immigration lawyers say growing numbers of wealthy Brazilians are trying to move to the region, set up businesses there, and trying to obtain residency or citizenship for themselves and their families. “Mainly they feel concerned about the instability of Brazil’s political environment; they don’t want to be the last ones to leave,” said Genilde Guerra, an attorney at Miami-based Kravitz & Guerra law offices.
Rise in Swiss forex reserves suggests SNB still curbing franc (Reuters)
Switzerland's foreign exchange reserves hit a record high in January, data showed, suggesting its central bank is still actively curbing the franc with interventions one researcher estimated at close to 2 billion francs per day. The figures are the first to show changes in the Swiss National Bank's currency holdings since it surprised financial markets in mid-January by scrapping its more than three-year-old cap of 1.20 francs against the euro. The SNB later said maintaining that policy would have cost 100 billion francs ($109 billion) to defend in January alone.
Man-On-Dolphin Sex Documentary Makes Big Splash At Film Festival (HP)
"Dolphin Lover" debuted last week at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Brenner, now 63, was 18 years old when he met Dolly at the dolphin show of the now-defunct Floridaland. He speaks of his time with the aquatic mammal as if it were a romance, and not an act of bestiality, enraging animal rights advocates. “At first I discouraged her, I wasn't interested. After some time I thought, 'If this was a woman, would I come up with these rationalizations and excuses?’” Brenner told the New York Daily News. "There's something quite transcendental about making love with a dolphin." "She would thrust herself against me," he told The Huffington Post in 2011, after he wrote a book about Dolly. He claims she became more gentle during their nine-month affair.
Jobs Report Crushes Expectations (Bloomberg)
The 257,000 advance in payrolls last month followed a 329,000 gain in December that was bigger than previously reported, figures from the Labor Department showed Friday in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 228,000 increase. The unemployment rate climbed to 5.7 percent as the improving job market lured more Americans into the labor force.
Exclusive: Recording shows how UBS drove reluctant brokers to sell high-risk Puerto Rico funds (Reuters)
In April 2011, two years before their prices sank, a slew of bond funds that were being sold by UBS’s Puerto Rico arm appeared to its brokers to be such risky investments that they balked at promoting them to their clients...Their views were unacceptable to Miguel Ferrer, then the chairman of UBS Financial Services Inc of Puerto Rico, a unit of UBS AG. On June 2 of that year he told a meeting of the firm’s brokers, held at its offices in the Golden Mile banking district of San Juan, they had to change their mindset or leave, according to an audio recording reviewed by Reuters. “You need to focus again on the attractive benefits of our funds and stop this nonsense that there are no products available – because if there are no products, go home, get a new job!” Ferrer can be heard telling them in Spanish in the recording, which was made by one of those attending.
Twitter revenue rises 97% in 4th quarter (NYP)
For the fourth quarter, revenue surged to $479 million, up 97 percent from a year ago, blowing past analysts’ forecast of $453.6 million. Adjusted earnings per share, excluding stock-based compensation, were 12 cents, doubling the consensus. Twitter shares, which have been hammered over the past year on worries that its pace of growth doesn’t justify the price, rose as high as $45.50 in after-hours trading, giving the company a market capitalization of $28.4 billion.
Troubled CTPartners gets takeover bid from rival recruiter (NYP)
Troubled Wall Street executive search firm CTPartners has received a $7-a-share takeover bid from a Chicago rival, The Post has learned. DHR International, a 25-year-old firm with offices around the globe, sent the CTPartners board a letter Feb. 4 outlining its $61 million cash offer. CTPartners has run into cash flow problems in recent weeks, sources said — and on Jan. 30 announced a $5 million private placement of shares with an unidentified investor. CTPartners, run by CEO Brian Sullivan, has been beset by sexual discrimination scandals and stock that has done nothing since November but tumble.
S.E.C. Accuses 4 in Silicon Valley of Insider Trading (Dealbook)
As an in-house financial specialist at two Silicon Valley technology companies, Christian B. Keller was privy to confidential information he agreed not to share. Instead, according to government regulators, he used his knowledge to help run an insider-trading scheme that generated nearly $750,000 in illicit profits. The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Mr. Keller and three others, including an analyst at Barclay’s, of illegally trading ahead of four news announcements made by Mr. Keller’s employers, Applied Materials and then Rovi.
Tinder-style dating app pairs marijuana users (UPI)
A new mobile app allowing marijuana users to meet potential mates and network about the best places to score the drug is coming to Apple devices. Named "High There," the Tinder-style app was created by CEO Todd Mitchem after one of his dinner dates quickly ended when he revealed his marijuana use. "We wanted to build a cool piece of technology that solved the problem of where do million and millions of cannabis consumers go to meet people, connect with people and build relationships," Mitchem told Mashable. The app is based in Denver, Colo., where recreational marijuana use was made legal in 2012. High There is only available in the 23 states that have legalized medical marijuana, Mitchem said. Aside from pairing weed-smokers, the app allows users to discern preferences, such as whether a person smokes wax hash with a vaporizer or regular marijuana in cigarette form, as well as whether a person is energetic or sluggish when high. Users may also network and exchange advice about dispensary prices and other details.