Opening Bell: 5.6.15

Flash crash overhaul going nowhere fast; JP Morgan to settle forex investigation; Nas is an investor in 40 startups; "Bearded men defend their facial feces traps"; and more.
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‘Flash Crash’ Overhaul Is Snarled in Red Tape (WSJ)
The Consolidated Audit Trail, or CAT, originally was conceived as a way to enable regulators to monitor stock and options orders in real time and zero in on manipulators quickly. After the flash crash—which occurred May 6, 2010, and saw some big stocks lose nearly all their value before markets rebounded—the CAT was seen as a crucial step in protecting the markets from future swings. Yet the 10 organizations overseeing the process, including Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and Intercontinental Exchange Inc., which operates the New York Stock Exchange, still haven’t chosen a firm to build and run it, and a final plan hasn’t been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission. There is also no consensus on how to pay for the project, which could face costs ranging from about $150 million to more than $500 million in its first five years of operation, according to a planning document filed last year.

JPMorgan in advanced talks to settle forex investigation (Reuters)
JPMorgan Chase & Co said on Tuesday it is in "advanced stages" of settlement talks with the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Reserve over previously disclosed investigations into its foreign exchange trading. The company gave the description of the talks in a quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. A Justice spokesman acknowledged that the department has an "active, ongoing investigation," but declined to comment further.

Market U-Turn Rams Hedge Funds (WSJ)
Many funds that bet on global financial and economic trends run by firms such as Fortress Investment Group LLC and Discovery Capital Management LLC suffered losses in April as they tried to benefit from a constellation of market moves that gained momentum in mid-2014 and were widely expected to continue throughout 2015. They included rising European bond prices, spurred by the European Central Bank’s bond-buying program, and falling commodity prices as global growth stalled.

Sprinkling a Little Celebrity Stardust on Silicon Valley (Dealbook)
Perhaps the most ambitious celebrity V.C. is Mr. Kutcher, who has made 41 investments through his firm, A-Grade Investments, according to CrunchBase. The investments include Airbnb, which is most likely a huge winner. (Mr. Kutcher was also an investor in Secret, the start-up that recently shut down.) The rapper Nas and his manager have invested in 40 start-ups including Washio. Jessica Alba’s Honest Company says it has a valuation of $1 billion, and Dr. Dre sold the company he co-founded, Beats Electronics, to Apple for $3 billion. In some sense, these successes are a result of an easy money environment of low interest rates and sky-high valuations. Everyone is throwing money at start-ups, and these celebrities are simply cashing in and investing.

Maple Leaf Wants A Bacon Ambassador (HP)
What is a bacon ambassador, you ask? It's a job for someone "who loves everything bacon and wants to tell all Canadians about it through leading marketing communications, creative, promotions, recipes and more," said Chantal Butler, Maple Leaf's Vice President, Marketing & Masterbrands, in a press release...The job would put you in charge of running Maple Leaf's bacon business. You would be responsible for providing "expert knowledge of brand, consumer interactions, product innovation" for a "diverse and innovative bacon pipeline."

Bankers and Regulators Voice Fears on Bond Market Volatility (Dealbook)
Their fear is that in an event like a surprise increase in interest rates, trading could rapidly dry up, causing violent movements in bond prices and even disrupting the functioning of the market. According to this view, the destabilizing volatility in the bond market could make it harder and more expensive for companies and countries to borrow.

Twitter Bolsters Finance Team as CFO Adds Marketing Duties (WSJ)
Twitter has hired five new senior-level finance managers—including Todd Morgenfeld from Hewlett-Packard Co. and former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive Steve McGuinness—to streamline the teams reporting to financial chief Anthony Noto, according to people familiar with the matter.

Big Property Investors Hunt for Bargains in Brazil (WSJ)
Blackstone’s real-estate group has made two acquisitions in recent months: stakes in a Brazilian home builder and a portfolio of four office buildings in Rio de Janeiro. Blackstone’s real-estate group also is opening its own office in the country for the first time, to be led by Marcelo Fedak, formerly head of real estate for Brazilian financial-services firm BTG Pactual.

Bearded men defend their facial feces traps (NYP)
“I shower twice a day and use a beard wash in the shower and a beard butter after,” counterpunches Brett David, the 35-year-old creative director of Rochelle’s bar on the Lower East Side. “It cleans, conditions and makes it shine. Upkeep is key, but that’s universal.” Another chin rug defender also maintains his cleanliness. “I promise I do not have poop on my face,” protests 29-year-old photographer Madison McGaw, who’s sported scruff for the past five years. “I take care of it — I go to a barber every other week. I comb it and wash it with special products a couple of times a day and I wash my beard whenever I shower,” adds the Upper East Sider. “And, yes, I shower every day.” He adds that even if scientists deem beards inherently unclean, the hairy look isn’t hurting his luck with the ladies. “I know tons of women who love my beard,” insists McGaw. “The beard is not a hindrance — it almost always helps the situation.”

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

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