Opening Bell: 6.25.15

Greece and Puerto Rico are screwed; Uber water taxi; Testicle-eating fish caught in New Jersey; and more.
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Dueling Greece Plans Confound Race for Bailout Deal (Bloomberg)
“We have run out of comments and also run out of patience,” Malta’s Finance Minister Edward Scicluna told reporters as he arrived for the meeting in Brussels Thursday. The two documents were merged minutes before ministers met, he said. “We don’t know what has been deleted or added. We don’t know where the disagreements are.”

Greece’s Fragile Banks Leave Alexis Tsipras Few Options in Bailout Talks (WSJ)
As nervous Greek savers continue to pull their money from banks, the country’s four major lenders are being sustained by a life-support drip of emergency liquidity reviewed daily by the European Central Bank. If the ECB chooses to end that assistance, Greece would be forced overnight into a perilous regime of capital controls.

Puerto Rico Debt Crisis Mounts With Key Deadline Just Week Away (Bloomberg)
Prices of the junk-rated island’s newest general obligations reached a record low Wednesday after David Chafey, chairman of the territory’s Government Development Bank, said he’s resigning for personal reasons. The departure, which sparked worries about a leadership void, came as a group of hedge funds asked GDB officials and the governor for a meeting to discuss terms of a planned bond sale.

Morgan Stanley flouts Fed guidelines with risky $1B loan (NYP)
The investment bank, led by CEO James Gorman, has underwritten a roughly $1 billion highly leveraged loan — one that rivals passed on — at a ratio of 7.5 times debt-to-earnings. That’s 150 basis points over the Federal Reserve guideline designed to limit the amount of loans that banks extend to indebted companies, said a source at a rival bank. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. Morgan Stanley is providing debt that will fund Stone Point Capital’s agreement to buy Alliant Insurance from KKR.

'Testicle Eating Fish' With Human-Like Teeth Caught In New Jersey (HP)
A fisherman at a South New Jersey lake caught an exotic fish native to South America with human-like teeth and an overblown reputation for munching on male genitalia. Ron Rossi caught a pacu -- a tropical freshwater fish typically found in the Amazon River -- in Swedes Lake on Sunday, according to WPVI. Pacus gained a reputation as "testicle eating fish" after Jeremy Wade featured them on a 2011 episode of his Animal Planet show "River Monsters." Wade said Amazonian locals told him two men died after they had their testicles bitten off by a fish.

Uber Crosses Continents With Istanbul Water-Taxi Service (Bloomberg)
The service, called UberBOAT, will appear on the smartphone app when a user stands near the coastline of the city’s central waterway. Trips will be made in Beneteau boats owned by a local company, Navette-Tezman Holding, which will compete with tanker traffic and pleasure cruisers to take customers to their desired destination.

The Mansion Bedroom Boom (WSJ)
A new crop of luxury homes on the market come with an unusual promise: The owner can go at least two weeks without sleeping in the same bedroom twice. Real-estate agents say there’s a pickup in activity for extreme second homes with 15 or more bedrooms. These summer getaways appeal to billionaires primarily looking for privacy and security—somewhere to host their friends and extended families without having to use hotels or multiple properties.

Last-minute Father’s Day gift turns dad into a millionaire (AP)
Joseph Morrah, 61, was given the winning $1 Million Payout ticket on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. His daughter, Christina Morrah, put the ticket in a card she gave to him. But his wife, Debbie Morrah, said it was her idea to buy the $20 ticket. “I said, ‘Buy a lottery ticket for him,’ because I didn’t get him anything, and I felt bad,” she said.

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Opening Bell: 7.5.16

Italian banks are screwed; Barclays traders found guilty of Libor rigging; Can SnapChat survive old people?; Joey Chestnut eats way back to Nathan's hot dog eating title; and more.

Opening Bell: 08.23.12

Fed Moving Closer To Action (WSJ) The Federal Reserve sent its strongest signal yet that it is preparing new steps to bolster the economic recovery, saying measures would be needed fairly soon unless growth substantially and convincingly picks up. Minutes released Wednesday from the Fed's July 31-Aug. 1 policy meeting suggested that a new round of bond buying, known as quantitative easing, was high on its list of options. Jobless Claims In U.S. Climb For Second Week To One-Month High (Bloomberg) Jobless claims rose by 4,000 for a second week to reach 372,000 in the period ended Aug. 18, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 365,000. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, increased to 368,000. SAC Takes New Activist Role (NYP) The move is being spearheaded by SAC portfolio manager David Rosen, who has been butting heads with Spokane, Wash.-based Clearwater Paper Corp. since May, sources said. In May, Rosen penned a letter to Clearwater Chairman and CEO Gordon Jones calling the stock “deeply undervalued.” Last week, SAC, which has a 7.1 percent stake in the papermaker, proposed to Clearwater’s board that the company split itself in two and consider selling one or both parts. “We continue to carefully analyze their ideas, and we look forward to continuing a dialogue,” a Clearwater spokesman said. People familiar with Rosen’s plans say Clearwater won’t be the last, and that Rosen and SAC analyst Shoney Katz are scouting out more opportunities to make money through corporate cage-rattling. “My understanding is that Rosen’s portfolio has expanded its mandate to include activism,” said Ken Squire of activist research firm 13D Monitor. Citigroup Slams Nasdaq's Facebook Compensation Plan (Reuters) Citigroup slammed Nasdaq OMX Group's plan to compensate firms harmed by Facebook's botched market debut to the tune of $62 million, saying in a regulatory filing the exchange should be liable for hundreds of millions more, according to a letter seen by Reuters. Citi said Nasdaq's actions in the May 18 initial public offering amounted to "gross negligence," in the letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which had not yet been made public. Facebook Director’s Quick $1 Billion Share Sale Lacks Precedent (Bloomberg) While venture capitalists commonly sell their stakes after helping startups reach the public markets, they usually whittle their holdings over a period of quarters or even years. That’s to avoid flooding the market with too much new stock, which can drive down the shares, and to show continuing support for the company. Thiel’s timing was particularly precarious, because Facebook was already down about 50 percent from the IPO. “With the benefit of hindsight, you could say that the underwriters probably regret agreeing to an early release of the shares,” said Ted Hollifield, a partner at Alston & Bird LLP in Menlo Park, California, and an expert in venture capital. “The stock still seems to be searching for an actual trading range and you would ideally like to see that take place before there’s additional selling pressure.” The Morning After: A Wedding Album With A Different Spin (NYDN) Wedding photographers are being invited to an unusual kind of afterparty. Brides and grooms — who already often obsessively document their first kiss, first cake slice and first dance — are adding yet another first to their wedding photographer’s list: the morning after. Sexy shoots featuring rumpled beds and steamy showers are a hot new trend within the wedding business. As the seating charts and floral arrangements fade into memory, these intimate photo shoots take place in newlyweds’ bedrooms or even the hotels where they’ve spent their first night as husband and wife. “We do it very sexy and implied,” said New Jersey-based photographer Michelle Jonné, 34, who charges about $650 for the service...Past happy clients include Inna Shamis. “The minute she told me, I thought ‘that is brilliant,’” Shamis said. “When you get married, you’re in the best shape of your life and why not have these memories.” The New Jersey PR exec, 38, only hesitated for a few seconds when Jonné asked her and husband to jump in the shower, she said. “As the day progressed, we established this fantastic chemistry with her," said Shamis, who later posted the racy photos on Facebook and intends to someday share them with her kids. Greek Crisis Evasion To Fore As Merkel Hosts Hollande (Bloomberg) With the leaders of Europe’s two biggest economies still at the confidence-building stage, Merkel and Hollande are seeking common ground on Greece and the wider euro-area debt crisis almost three years after its inception. France sees the program targets set for Greece as too harsh given the state of its economy, a French government official said yesterday on condition of anonymity because the talks are private. Merkel and Hollande are due to give statements at 7 p.m. in Berlin. “On balance we still take the view that they’ll keep Greece ticking over,” David Owen, chief European financial economist at Jefferies International Ltd. in London, said by phone. “If that does require giving it more time, so be it.” Whale Of A Tale (NYP) Boaz Weinstein may have harpooned the London Whale, but his main fund barely has its head above water. Weinstein’s Saba Capital Master Fund is up only 0.62 percent for the year through July 31, according to an investor letter. SEC's Schapiro Cancels Vote on Money-Fund Curbs (WSJ) Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro called off a highly anticipated vote on rules for the money-market mutual-fund industry after losing a swing vote she needed to push through the rules. The newly announced position of Luis Aguilar, a Democrat and former mutual-fund executive, marks a defeat for Ms. Schapiro and a setback for the Obama administration and top federal regulators, who see money funds as a source of systemic risk left over from the last financial crisis. LL Cool J breaks burglar's jaw in 'knock-down, drag-out' fight (LA Times) The burglar who broke into the Studio City home of actor-rapper LL Cool J suffered a broken nose and jaw in what police sources described as a "knock-down, drag-out" fight. Los Angeles police were called to the star's home in the 12000 block of Blairwood Drive around 1 a.m. Wednesday, officials said. LL Cool J was holding the suspect when officers arrived, officials said...LL Cool J was upstairs in his home when he heard noise coming from the kitchen area. When he went down to see what was happening, the unidentified suspect came at him, leading to the fight. LL Cool J, born James Todd Smith, rose to fame with musical hits such as "Mama Said Knock You Out."

Opening Bell: 8.4.15

Puerto Rico; Pimco; Promontory Financial; 210 year-old bottle of cognac; "No plans to probe hitchhiking robot vandalism"; and more.