Opening Bell: 6.22.15

Bankers behaving badly; Strauss-Kahn dealing with another probe; Twinkies says Twinkies are healthy; North Korea claims it's found the cure for MERS, Ebola, SARS And AIDS; and more.
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U.K. Bankers More Likely to Misbehave Under Pressure, PwC Says (Bloomberg)
Managers in banking, insurance and wealth management were more anxious and inclined to misbehave when “negative consequences or punishment for poor performance were highlighted,” PricewaterhouseCoopers and the London Business School said in a report on Monday. “When it made them feel anxious, they tended to say money was one of their key motivators,” Duncan Wardley, a behavioral science specialist at PwC, said in the statement. “They also tended to take more risks and make unethical choices.”

Strauss-Kahn Shifts Focus From Sex Trial to Hedge-Fund Probe (Bloomberg)
While Strauss-Kahn will try to put the Lille trial with its days of embarrassing testimony behind him, he and his lawyers must shift their focus to Luxembourg and the failure of a hedge fund that bore Strauss-Kahn’s name. The state prosecutor there is reviewing complaints stemming from the collapse last November of Leyne Strauss-Kahn & Partners following the suicide of Thierry Leyne, who had co-founded the investment firm with Strauss-Kahn months earlier.

Hostess pitches ‘healthy’ Twinkies to prospective buyers (NYP)
Twinkie is back — and it’s not as bad for you as you think. Believe it or not, that’s the sales pitch the owners of Twinkie and other Hostess snack cakes are making to prospective buyers who are dealing with a rising tide of junk food-averse consumers, The Post has learned. The owners claim in their sales presentations that Twinkie — which typically gets an “F” from nutritionists — actually stacks up pretty well against energy bars that are widely regarded as healthier alternatives...The owners of Hostess, Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management and Dean Metropoulos, are seeking $2 billion for the business they bought for $410 million out of liquidation. Grupo Bimbo, Flowers Foods and Aryzta are among the suitors.

Guernsey: Where Home Buyers Find Shelter (From Taxes) (WSJ)
“I used to pick clients up at the airport who would say, ‘I had never even heard of Guernsey before my accountant said I should think about moving here,’” said island estate-agent Richard Fox, director of Martel Maides. Financial advisers favor Guernsey for is its tax system. Here, income tax is capped at 20% and there is no inheritance or capital gains tax. Anybody with an EU passport can take advantage of this system by buying a property and spending at least 91 days a year on the island. (Those outside the EU will also require a visa.)

Woman Busted For Ruff Sex Is Back In Jail (TSG)
The Florida woman busted last week for allegedly engaging in sexual activity with her pit bull is back in jail following an arrest yesterday for violating her supervised release, which barred her from having contact with any animals. Ashley Miller, 18, was collared yesterday at a Bradenton home after a sheriff’s deputy responded to the residence upon receiving an anonymous call reporting that she was “in contact with animals.” Deputy Lauren Alvarado reported that Miller was living at the home with a cat named “Loki” and “2-face,” the dog at the center of Miller's criminal case. After spending three nights in jail, Miller said she returned to the house Monday, stating, “I had no other place to go.” Following her release from custody, Miller picked up “2-face,” a female Brindle pit bull, from “forensic testing” and brought the dog back to her home. According to a sheriff’s report, Miller acknowledged that she returned to the property “even though she was aware that the cat and the dog lived at the residence full time.” Miller, who denied having any physical contact with the animals, was arrested for contempt of court and booked into the county jail. Deputy Alvarado noted that “Loki” and “2-face” did not appear injured.

Italian Bonds Rise on Greek Optimism as Traders Face Turbulence (Bloomberg)
“Clearly the market is playing a positive outcome,” said Patrick Jacq, a senior fixed-income strategist at BNP Paribas SA in Paris. “What we’ve had over the weekend is a distinct improvement in negotiations. But this doesn’t mean we’re going to see an agreement. As long as we don’t have an official agreement between Greece and its creditors the situation remains vulnerable.”

California ruling seen unlikely to dent value of Uber, other start-ups (Reuters)
A California ruling requiring Uber to classify a San Francisco-based driver as an employee instead of an independent contractor could potentially change how sharing-economy companies operate, but it is unlikely to dent their value, investors said. If it holds up on appeal, the California Labor Commissioner's decision, which came to light last week, may have a limited impact on Uber and other companies that rely on networks of on-demand workers. That's because the benefits of treating workers as contractors rather than employees are more important in a start-up's early days and less so now that Uber and many similar companies have grown, investors say.

SoftBank, partners eye $20 billion investment in Indian solar projects (Reuters)
Japan's Softbank Corp (9984.T), together with Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan's Foxconn (2354.TW), will invest about $20 billion in solar projects in India, in one of the biggest investment pledges to date in the country's renewable energy sector. Softbank, which previously said it would invest $10 billion in India over time, said on Monday the companies had agreed a minimum commitment of generating 20 gigawatts of energy.

SEC Fights Challenges to Its In-House Courts (WSJ)
The agency is deploying a variety of countermeasures to fight at least seven cases brought by defendants around the country. The expanding effort prompted one federal judge last week to say the agency appears to be in “a little bit of chaos right now.” The cases are forcing the SEC to defend the growing use of its five administrative-law judges, to whom it sends hundreds of cases a year. The agency has been directing more cases to its internal courts since the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law granted it more latitude to do so.

North Korea Claims It Has Found Cure For MERS, Ebola, SARS And AIDS (AP)
North Korea says it has succeeded where the greatest minds in science have failed. The authoritarian, impoverished nation better known for pursuing a nuclear program despite global criticism announced Friday it has a drug can prevent and cure MERS, Ebola, SARS and AIDS. The secretive state did not provide proof, and the claim is likely to provoke widespread skepticism.

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Opening Bell: 02.26.13

J.P. Morgan’s Investor Day: Cut That Headcount (Deal Journal) JP Morgan is looking to cut another $1 billion out of its expenses this year, including somewhere around 4,000 jobs, according to a new presentation...And that may not be all the cuts. In a separate presentation on the consumer bank and mortgage operations the bank expects to cut costs in mortgage banking by $3 billion over this year and next year and cut headcount there by between 13,000 and 15,000. Banks Face Hurdle In Libor Fight (WSJ) Next week, lawyers for Barclays PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, UBS AG and more than a dozen other banks still under investigation are expected to ask a federal-court judge to throw out many of the suits, which seek class-action status. The suits, filed in civil court in California and New York by plaintiffs ranging from a retired cable-car driver in San Francisco to the city of Baltimore, have been piling up for nearly two years. They seek damages that could reach into the tens of billions of dollars from financial institutions that help determine the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. Barclays, RBS and UBS already have paid about $2.5 billion, and admitted wrongdoing, to settle rate-rigging allegations by U.S. and U.K. regulators. In court filings, lawyers for the 16 banks accused of wrongdoing say the lawsuits have no legal validity. The lawyers say regulatory settlements reached so far don't support the central allegation in most of the civil suits that banks engaged in illegal, anticompetitive behavior. Berlusconi Concedes as He Weighs Alliance (Bloomberg) Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi acknowledged rival Pier Luigi Bersani’s narrow victory in the lower house of Parliament and said he’s open to a broad alliance to avoid a second election. “Everyone needs to think what good can be done for Italy and this will take some time,” Berlusconi said in an interview with Canale 5, a station owned by his Mediaset SpA broadcaster. The country can’t be left without a government, he said. Lew gettin’ close: Senate panel to OK as next Treasury boss (NYP) Treasury Secretary-nominee Jack Lew will get the green light to replace Tim Geithner despite taking heat during and after his confirmation hearing over a loan he received from New York University. The 57-year-old former White House chief of staff has enough votes from the Senate Finance Committee, headed by Max Baucus (D-Mont.), to pass a vote today that will likely lead to his confirmation, sources said. 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Dominique Strauss-Kahn seeks to ban 'half-man half-pig' book (Telegraph) The "biographical novel" by Marcela Iacub, a lawyer and journalist, recounts her seven-month affair with the 64-year-old Mr Strauss-Kahn last year. It is due to be published on Wednesday under the title, Belle et Bête, or Beauty and Beast. But the one-time Socialist presidential hopeful will this morning seek to have the book banned for "violation of the intimacy of private life" and the author and her publisher fined 100,000 euros (£88,000) in damages...In the work, she claims Mr Strauss-Kahn would have transformed the Elysée Palace into a "giant swingers' club" had he been elected French president. In fresh accounts by those who have read the book yesterday, the last chapter narrates the pair's final encounter, ending in Miss Iacub receiving treatment in casualty after "the pig" left her with an "eaten ear". Mr Strauss-Kahn has slammed the work of a woman who "seduces to write a book, claiming to have amorous feelings to exploit them for financial gain". Gupta's Gotta Pay GS $6.2 Million (NYP) Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta was ordered yesterday by a Manhattan federal judge to fork over a whopping $6.2 million to repay the Wall Street bank for legal fees it spent during the government’s probe of Gupta’s insider-trading case. The 64-year-old fallen star was convicted last year of giving up secrets he learned while on Goldman’s board to his pal and hedge fund honcho Raj Rajaratnam. Among the counts, the jury found Gupta guilty of giving Rajaratnam a tip on Warren Buffett’s $5 billion investment in Goldman in the throes of the financial crisis. Gupta, the former head of consulting firm McKinsey, is out on bail while he appeals the ruling. Goldman had requested restitution of $6.9 million — and submitted 542 pages of billing records from its lawyers at Sullivan Cromwell. Yahoo’s Mayer Risks Productivity With Work-From-Home Restriction (Bloomberg) Jackie Reses, Yahoo’s executive vice president of people and development, sent a memo last week asking employees with work-from-home arrangements to make their way to the company’s offices, starting June. “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side,” according to the memo, whose contents were confirmed by a Yahoo employee who asked not to be identified because it’s not a public document. “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.” At a time when Mayer is under pressure to jump-start growth and create innovative products, the shift may compromise Yahoo’s ability to attract employees seeking the freedom to work outside the office -- a perk offered by many of the company’s competitors. Research suggests that working from home enhances productivity, said Jody Thompson, co-founder of workforce consultant CultureRx. BP Oil-Spill Trial Begins (WSJ) Both Transocean and the Justice Department focused part of their opening statements on a 10-minute ship-to-shore phone call between two BP engineers, Donald Vidrine and Mark Hafle, less than an hour before the blast. From the rig, Mr. Vidrine allegedly talked about unusual results from a test designed to ensure the cement sealing in the bottom of the well was successful. Investigators later found that rig workers misinterpreted the results of the test. Dennis Rodman Bound For North Korea (Reuters) Retired U.S. basketball player Dennis Rodman is to visit North Korea to film a television documentary and will arrive in the capital Pyongyang on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. Rodman, now 51 years old, won five NBA championships in his prime, achieving a mix of fame and notoriety for his on- and off-court antics. Thirty-year-old North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has launched two long-range rockets and carried out a nuclear weapons test during his first year in power, is reported to be an avid NBA fan and had pictures taken with players from the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers during his school days in Switzerland. "At a time when tensions between the two countries (the United States and North Korea) are running high, it's important to keep lines of communication open, no matter how non-traditional those channels are," AP quoted Shane Smith, the founder of VICE, which is to make the TV series, as saying.

Opening Bell: 12.18.15

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Opening Bell: 2.12.15

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Holiday Bell: 7.3.15

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By Agnico-Eagle (Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 7.6.16

Deutsche Bank sees 60% chance of US recession; Ashley Madison faces fembots probe; Blackrock says gold will go much higher; North Carolina couple arrested for assaulting each other with pizza rolls; and more.

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Opening Bell: 6.13.17

Inside Gary Cohn's unenviable White House job; Tim Cook dishes on Apple's autonomous car project; a thing called "potcoin" sent Dennis Rodman to North Korea; and more.

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Opening Bell: 9.7.17

The Gary Cohn Story is turning from comedy to tragedy; don't sleep on Milan post-Brexit; Dennis Rodman is going to straighten out this whole North Korea thing; and more.