Opening Bell: 4.23.15

Alexis Tsipras and Angela Merkel to meet; Deutsche Bank to pay $2.14 Billion over Libor; Flash crash trader spurs debate about spoofing; "New York's 'noisiest lovers' revealed"; and more.
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Deutsche Bank Said to Pay $2.14 Billion in Libor Case (Bloomberg)
New York’s Department of Financial Services also may install a monitor at the bank to oversee its compliance with the settlements to be announced as soon as today according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks were private. The Frankfurt-based firm said Wednesday it will log 1.5 billion euros in litigation costs in the first quarter.

Trader’s Arrest Raises Concerns About Market Rigging (Dealbook)
In the criminal complaint filed against a British trader on Tuesday, prosecutors said that a trading strategy known as spoofing was used to manipulate prices and helped lead to the 2010 “flash crash,” in which the biggest markets in the United States were thrown into disarray in minutes...Long before this week’s case, however, spoofing was one of the most contentious — and according to some analysts, most common — ways for some high-frequency trading firms to manipulate stock prices. Traders using the technique look to make money by buying and selling securities in seconds, sometimes milliseconds. A trader involved in spoofing puts in orders with the intention of moving the price of a financial asset — in the flash crash case, it was a futures contract betting on the direction of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. When the price moves, that trader quickly cancels the orders and takes advantage of the price change.

Day Trader in Leather Jacket Far Cry From Wall Street Flash Boy (Bloomberg)
Navinder Singh Sarao always stood out among the day traders sweating it out for small change. Everybody noticed the lanky Londoner when he removed his leather jacket, snapped on noise-reduction headphones and took a seat in front of his three screens. Not because “Nav,” as he was known, made a scene -- a fellow trader called him distant. The 30 or so who toiled in the nondescript building in a southwest London suburb watched his every move because he did what they desperately wished they could: make a pot of money.

Greek crisis talks as Tsipras, Merkel meet (CNBC)
Just one day ahead of a crucial meeting of euro zone finance ministers, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss Greece's ongoing solvency crisis. A spokesperson for the German government confirmed to CNBC that the pair were due to have a "private discussion" in Brussels Thursday, but that the meeting was not officially scheduled.

Brit Arrested After Urinating In Florida Hotel Ice Machine (HP)
A British man vacationing in Orlando, Florida, got a chance to tour the local jail after he allegedly urinated in the ice machine at his hotel. Andrew Wood, 41, was arrested early Tuesday morning after a security officer at the Hard Rock Hotel reported a very intoxicated man in the lobby. The security guard told police he had seen Wood whizzing into the ice machine, but said the suspect refused several times to identify himself or the room...The guard gave Wood the option of staying in his room for the night, the suspect refused, which is when the police were called. Responding officers said Wood smelled of alcohol and kept making random outbursts, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

American Activist Investors Take Another Charge at Europe (WSJ)
American activist investors are taking another charge at Europe, a market that has been notably unkind to U.S. funds that campaign for change at large corporations. There has been a resurgence of activity this year from funds trying to force through changes at publicly traded companies in Europe, with 22 such campaigns in the first quarter, according to data provider Activist Insight. There were 39 in all of 2014. Six of the instigators in the first quarter this year were U.S.-based, compared with 18 for all of last year.

Two shareholders sue American Apparel over CEO's ouster (Reuters)
Two American Apparel (APP.A) shareholders have filed a lawsuit against the clothing and accessories retailer, alleging its founder and former Chief Executive Dov Charney was fired because he refused to sell the company. Some shareholders, including Charney, who voted at an annual meeting on June 18 last year were not aware the CEO was under investigation for misconduct, which amounted to a proxy fraud as he was suspended later that day, complainants Jan Hubner and Eric Ribner alleged in the petition.

Facebook will be decider in 2016 election: Analyst (CNBC)
Facebook is all about connecting people—and that includes the 2016 presidential candidates, the chief investment officer of Tigress Asset Management said Thursday. "I think the most interesting thing about the upcoming presidential election—that will be won by the candidate with the best Facebook strategy," Ivan Feinseth told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Hamptons Million-Dollar Homes Bolster Real Estate Sales (Bloomberg)
The median price of all Hamptons homes that sold in the three months through March was $920,500, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier, brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate and appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. said in a report Thursday. Transactions rose 2.5 percent to 541, led by an increase in deals in the $1 million to $5 million range. “That’s the bread and butter of the newer product in the Hamptons,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel and a Bloomberg View contributor. “Wall Street is part of this, as well as the foreign buyers.”

Steven Cohen, others pledge $250,000 each to pro-Christie super PAC (WaPo)
Several donors, including billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen, each pledged to give $250,000 to the group, called America Leads, after attending a dinner with Christie at Manhattan's 21 Club, according to two people familiar with the event.

New York's 'noisiest lovers' revealed (Daily Mail)
The lovers who got the most complaints in New York City for loud sex are a handyman and the girlfriend he pops round for quickies within the building where he works. The 25-year-old boytoy is the lover, of a Dominican woman in her late 30s, who invites him round for romps around her entire apartment in Brooklyn. The apartment block was named in a league table of complaints made to New York authorities about loud sex...One complaint said woman was screaming 'Oh yeah, oh, do it to me' and frustrated neighbor said today: 'I can hear them all over the apartment'

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Opening Bell: 4.28.15

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By Apavlo at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 10.7.16

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Opening Bell: 8.3.15

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Opening Bell: 5.8.15

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Opening Bell: 09.11.12

Before Scandal, Class Over Control Of Libor (WSJ) At an April 25, 2008, meeting with officials at the Bank of England, Angela Knight, head of the British Bankers' Association, argued that the London interbank offered rate had become too big for her organization to manage, according to minutes of the meeting and a person who was there. Her suggestion went nowhere. Even as Libor's deep flaws became apparent, regulators resisted a greater oversight role, the BBA's member banks clung to control of Libor, and BBA executives bickered with one another over whether to hang onto the lucrative business, according to people who were involved and a Wall Street Journal review of hundreds of pages of emails, meeting minutes and other documents. Treasury Sells Big Chunk Of AIG Stock (WSJ) The Treasury sold about 554 million shares to the public at $32.50 apiece for a total of $18 billion in one of the biggest global follow-on stock offerings since the financial crisis. The offering was the Treasury's fifth sale of AIG stock since early last year and reduced the government's stake in the company to about 22% from 92% in early 2011. The price set Monday was above the government's cost basis of $28.73 a share, meaning taxpayers will earn a profit on the sale. New iPhone could boost U.S. GDP by up to 0.5 percent, JP Morgan says (Reuters) "Calculated using the so-called retail control method, sales of iPhone 5 could boost annualized GDP growth by $3.2 billion, or $12.8 billion at an annual rate," Feroli wrote. That 0.33 percentage-point boost, he added, "would limit the downside risk to our Q4 GDP growth protection, which remains 2.0 percent." Feroli laid out his math. J.P. Morgan's analysts expect Apple to sell around 8 million iPhone 5s in the fourth quarter. They expect the sales price to be about $600. With about $200 in discounted import component costs, the government can factor in $400 per phone into its measure of gross domestic product for the fourth quarter. Feroli said the estimate of between a quarter to a half point of annualized GDP "seems fairly large, and for that reason should be treated skeptically." But, he added, "we think the recent evidence is consistent with this projection." Geithner Holds His Own on Triathlon Front (Dealbook) Geithner participated in the 7th annual Nation’s Triathlon to Benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on Sunday, swimming, biking and running his way through the nation’s capital. The race involved a 1.5-kilometer swim in the Potomac River, a 40-kilometer bike ride through the city and a 10-kilometer run. And Mr. Geithner, 51, can boast of a pretty good finish to his race, completing the course in 2:33:07. He placed ninth in his division, men aged 50 to 54, according to the race’s Web site. Individually, he completed the swim in 29:10, the bike ride in 1:13:52 and the run in 45:51. New Yorker Cartoon Dept Temporarily Banned From Facebook For Violating ‘Nudity And Sex’ Standards (Mediaite) In a post entitled “Nipplegate,” the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Robert Mankoff, detailed how the magazine’s cartoon department became temporarily banned on Facebook: a particular Mick Stevens cartoon violated the social networking site’s community standards on “Nudity and Sex.” Stevens redrew the cartoon, he said, “but the gain in clothes caused too great a loss in humor.” He then noted that Facebook has different standards when it comes to males and females. As “the guidelines say, ‘male nipples are ok.’ It’s the ‘female nipple bulges’ that are the problem.” Big Banks Hide Risk Transforming Collateral for Traders (Bloomberg) JPMorgan and Bank of America are helping clients find an extra $2.6 trillion to back derivatives trades amid signs that a shortage of quality collateral will erode efforts to safeguard the financial system. Starting next year, new rules designed to prevent another meltdown will force traders to post U.S. Treasury bonds or other top-rated holdings to guarantee more of their bets. The change takes effect as the $10.8 trillion market for Treasuries is already stretched thin by banks rebuilding balance sheets and investors seeking safety, leaving fewer bonds available to backstop the $648 trillion derivatives market. The solution: At least seven banks plan to let customers swap lower-rated securities that don’t meet standards in return for a loan of Treasuries or similar holdings that do qualify, a process dubbed “collateral transformation.” That’s raising concerns among investors, bank executives and academics that measures intended to avert risk are hiding it instead. Soros: Germany going into depression in 6 months (MarketWatch) The recession in Europe will spread to Germany, the euro-zone's largest economy, within six months, said George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management. "The policy of fiscal retrenchment in the midst of rising unemployment is pro-cyclical and pushing Europe into a deeper and longer depression," Soros said in prepared remarks for a speech in Berlin Monday. "That is no longer a forecast; it is an observation. The German public doesn't yet feel it and doesn't quite believe it. But it is all too real in the periphery and it will reach Germany in the next six months or so." Lindsay Lohan encourages President Obama to slash taxes for 'Forbes millionaires' (DM) In a tweet fired off on Friday, the 26-year-old actress encouraged President Barack Obama to consider lowering taxes for the one-percenters listed on the Forbes Magazine’ millionaires’ list. Lohan, who has been very active on Twitter recently, was responding to a message posted by the Obama campaign following his Thursday speech at the Democratic National Convention. ‘I’ve cut taxes for those who need it: middle-class families, small businesses,’ the tweet read. About 10 minutes later, the star of the upcoming Elizabeth Taylor biopic ‘Liz and Dick’ put in her two cents on the issue of tax cuts: ‘We also need to cut them for those that are listed on Forbes as "millionaires" if they are not, you must consider that as well,’ her late-night message read. Gross Says Age of Credit Expansion Led Fund Returns Over (Bloomberg) Gross’s outlook follows his commentary last month, which sparked debate among investors and analysts after he declared that the “cult of equity” was dying. In his August comments, he compared long-term returns from equities to a “Ponzi scheme” and said returns of 6.6 percent above inflation, known as the Siegel Constant, won’t be seen again. “Our credit-based financial system is burdened by excessive fat and interest rates that are too low,” Gross wrote. “Central banks are agog in disbelief that the endless stream of” liquidity pumped into the banking sector has not stimulated lending, Gross wrote. Queen's Corgi Buried At Balmor (TDB) The dog, Monty was involved in a fight recently when he was one of a number of dogs which attacked Princess Beatrice's terrier Max over the summer, but it appears the fight - Max came off worst and nearly lost an ear in the fracas - was not a contributory cause of death. Buckingham Palace is not officially revealing how or when the corgi, named Monty (after the American horse whisperer Monty Roberts who has advised the queen on dogs and horses) met his end, but palace sources told the Royalist the animal passed away of old age over the summer. The animal died at the Royal Scottish residence of Balmoral, where, in accordance with tradition, he has been buried in the Royal pet cemetery opened by Queen Victoria when her beloved Collie, Noble, died there in 1887...the Queen is known to take the deaths of her pets hard: Lady Pamela Hicks, the mother of India Hicks once wrote a note when one of the Queen’s corgis died and received a six-page letter back.

Opening Bell: 4.27.15

Greece may demote finance minister Yanis Varoufakis in talks; Deutsche Bank to cut $3.8 billion in costs; Flash Crash investigators probably missed a lotta clues; "Teen Suspended For Bomb-Themed 'Promposal' Calls Punishment 'Racist'"; and more.