Opening Bell: 6.29.15

Greece, Greece, Greece; Puerto Rico; "CNN mistakes sex toy sign for Islamic State flag" and more.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Merkel and Hollande Turn Away From Greece (Bloomberg)
Merkel and Hollande, who have repeatedly said they want to hold the euro together, gave the Greek premier no leeway after he broke off negotiations over future bailout aid. Hollande suggested the referendum would determine whether Greece could stay in the 19-nation euro area, while Merkel said Europe’s credibility was at stake with its response.

Greece Imposes Capital Controls as Fears of Grexit Grow (Bloomberg)
The measures, which were announced in the dead of night, limit daily cash withdrawals to 60 euros ($66) and ban payments and transfers abroad. The stock market and banks will be closed at least until July 6, the day after Greeks will vote in a referendum on proposals needed to restore bailout aid.

German, Dutch banks 'well-prepared' for Greek financial ructions (Reuters)
"We are very well-prepared because we've been anticipating a situation like this for a long time," said a spokesman for Germany's second biggest lender, Commerzbank.

Panic Sets in Among Hardy Hedge Fund Investors Remaining in Greece (Dealbook)
Through the weekend, Nicholas L. Papapolitis, a corporate lawyer here, was working round the clock comforting and cajoling his frantic hedge fund clients. “People are freaking out,” said Mr. Papapolitis, 32, his eyes red and his voice hoarse. “They have made some really big bets on Greece.

CNN mistakes sex toy sign for Islamic State flag (UPI)
On Saturday, CNN ran an entire segment on the possible sighting of an Islamic State flag at a pride parade in London. "Just in: ISIS flag spotted at gay pride parade," read a banner stretching across the bottom of the news channel's TV feed as cameras repeatedly panned and zoomed in on what turned out to be a flag featuring crude drawings of sex toys. "ISIS flag amongst a sea of rainbow colours was spotted by a CNN international assignment editor," CNN's anchor said. The flag was apparently spotted by CNN International reporter Lucy Pawle, who joined the segment via phone to talk about her startling discovery.

Puerto Rico Bonds Tumble After Governor's Warning (WSJ)
With two days left in Puerto Rico’s fiscal year, the commonwealth is struggling to pass a budget that would allow it to make payments on a $72 billion debt load. Investors should work with the commonwealth to reduce its obligations, Garcia Padilla told the New York Times in an interview.
“The debt is not payable,” the governor said. “There is no other option.”

Morgan Stanley Weighs New Bond-Trading Push (WSJ)
The Wall Street firm is pushing for more fixed-income trading business, where it lost billions of dollars during the crisis and historically suffered from bad timing. Now, the firm hopes adding market share in the division, which trades bonds, swaps, currencies and other debt securities, could help Chairman and Chief Executive James Gorman hit long-held profitability targets. But the effort could also turn off analysts and investors who have lauded the firm’s recent embrace of less-risky activities.

Name Your Baby Quinoa And BJ's Might Give You $10,000 (HP)
Do you want a $10,000 gift card to casual dining restaurant BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse? Just name your baby Quinoa. The chain, which has 163 "BJ's" restaurants across the nation, announced Wednesday that in celebration of its new quinoa bowl dishes, it is offering the massive gift card to parents who name their newborn baby after the high-protein grain. “We are so excited to introduce these amazing new Quinoa Bowls that we wanted to do something big, maybe even a little crazy,” Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Maye said in a statement.

Related

Opening Bell: 9.22.15

Blankfein has lymphoma; UBS sued over Puerto Rico; Greece closes in on $3.4 billion; "Woman, 27, Arrested For Pooper Scooper Attack On Her Live-In Boyfriend": AND MORE.

Opening Bell: 12.22.15

Deustche Bank flags $10 billion in suspicious trades; Carlos Slim is poor(er); "You Can Exchange Driving Lessons For Sex In Holland"; and more.

Opening Bell: 08.27.12

RBS May Be Bigger Libor Culprit Than Barclays, Says MP (Guardian) John Mann, a Labour MP on the Treasury select committee, said "City insiders" had suggested RBS's involvement may be "noticeably worse" than Barclays.' [...] Mann's comments came as a former RBS trader claimed that the bank's internal checks were so lax that anyone could change Libor rates. Court documents filed in Singapore show that Tan Chi Min, who is suing RBS for wrongful dismissal, claimed that in 2008 a trader for the bank, Will Hall, changed the Libor submission even though he was part of the Japanese yen swap desk in London. The papers show that Tan, who worked for RBS in Singapore, raised the issue at his disciplinary meeting last September, saying the bank's internal procedure in London seemed to be that "anyone can change Libor". Spain Expects to Tap About $75 Billion in Rescue Financing for Its Banks (NYT) Spain expects to use about 60 billion euros, or $75 billion, of the 100 billion euros of bank rescue financing offered by European finance ministers in June, according to the Spanish economy minister, Luis de Guindos. UK Investment Bankers Prefer Singapore (FT) The southeast-Asian city state has become the most favored location for investment bankers who are based in London, research by financial services recruitment firm Astbury Marsden shows. Of the 462 investment bankers that were asked, 31 percent said they would most like to work in Singapore. By comparison, only a fifth preferred New York and only 19 percent opted in favor of London. In the year before, 22 percent named London as their preferred location, underlining how the British capital has lost some appeal among investment bankers amid tighter regulation and a clampdown on bonuses. “A fast growing, low tax and bank friendly environment like Singapore stands as a perfect antidote to the comparatively high tax and anti-banker sentiment of London and New York,” said Mark Cameron, chief operating officer at Astbury Marsden. “Far more London-based bankers are now more willing and able to relocate the 6,700 miles to Singapore.” Another Madoff Name Nix (NYP) The second of Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff’s daughters-in-law is asking a court for permission to shed her now notorious married name. Deborah West Madoff, who started divorce proceedings against Bernie’s son Andrew back in 2008, has sought permission in Manhattan Supreme Court to revert to her maiden name. The couple have two children. She’s not the first in the family to do so: in 2010, her sister-in-law made a similar court application. Suits Mount In Rate Scandal (WSJ) It won't be easy for the plaintiffs to win in court even though financial institutions are likely to reach settlements with regulators in coming months totaling billions of dollars, according to people close to the Libor investigation. The plaintiffs must prove that banks successfully manipulated interest-rate benchmarks such as the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, and caused the plaintiffs to suffer a loss. Still, some investors and analysts are forecasting huge damages despite the legal hurdles. In a July report, Macquarie Research estimated that banks face potential legal liability of about $176 billion, based on the assumption that Libor was "understated" by 0.4 percentage points in 2008 and 2009. Carlyle Group marketed $25 million deal without license: Kuwaiti firm (AP) A Kuwaiti company suing the Carlyle Group over a $25 million investment that went bad is now accusing the private equity firm of marketing the deal without a license as it seeks to have its case heard in Kuwaiti courts. The latest claim by Kuwait's National Industries Group adds a new twist to its more than two-and-a-half year legal challenge to Carlyle, and could complicate the American company's relationships with other wealthy Mideast investors. NIG's lawsuit focuses on a Carlyle investment fund that was one of the earliest casualties of the financial crisis when it collapsed in 2008. The fund has been the subject of multiple lawsuits against Washington-based Carlyle. Couple in court for disturbing the peace for 'screaming, moaning and swearing during seven-hour sex romps five nights a week' (DM) Jessica Angel and Colin MacKenzie had been issued with an order requiring them to prevent ‘screaming, loud moaning, swearing and raised voices’ after police were called to their flat 20 times in just four months. However, following further complaints from neighbours, the couple were charged under the Environmental Protection Act. They face a £3,000 fine if convicted...Mr MacKenzie, 45, from Sturt, South Australia, said: ‘How can you live in a place where you can’t have sex? It’s ridiculous. Anyway, it’s mostly Jessie. The sex goes from four to seven hours, five nights a week. I’ll probably die of a heart attack – she’s almost killing me.’ German Official Opposes European Debt Purchases (NYT) The president of the German central bank said in an interview published Sunday that he remained staunchly opposed to government bond purchases by the European Central Bank, a position that could make it more difficult to deploy a weapon many economists believe is essential to saving the euro. But in a sign that the mood in Germany could be shifting, Chancellor Angela Merkel adopted a more dovish tone during a separate interview. She told members of her governing coalition to stop talking about Greece leaving the euro. “We are in a decisive phase in the battle against the euro zone debt crisis,” Ms. Merkel told ARD television. “Everyone should weigh their words very carefully.” Fed mulls open season on bond buys to help economy (Reuters) The Federal Reserve is considering a new approach to unconventional monetary policy that would give it more leeway to tailor the scale of its stimulus to changing economic winds. While fresh measures are not assured and the timing of any potential moves are still in question, some officials have said any new bond buying, or quantitative easing, could be open-ended, meaning it would not be bound by a fixed amount or time frame. "I am inclined to think that if the Fed decides on more QE it would be of the open-ended variety," said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan and a former Fed economist. BlackRock Bullish On Thai Bonds, Region’s Worst (Bloomberg) BlackRock is bullish on Thai bonds, Asia’s worst-performing in 2012, saying the central bank has room to ease monetary policy as a global slump cools demand for exports from Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy. Former SC Gov. Mark Sanford to wed ex-mistress Maria Belen Chapur (NYDN) "Yes, we are engaged, and I'm both happy and excited for what that means," Sanford said in a statement obtained by CNN. "I have long expressed my feelings for her, she's a wonderful person. My closest friends have met and love her, and I look forward to introducing her to still many more that have yet to do so." The conservative Republican's political aspirations were dashed in 2009 when he disappeared from South Carolina for five days under the pretense that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. The father of four, who was once thought to be a potential 2012 presidential contender, later admitted that he was actually visiting Chapur, who he professed to be his "soul mate." "I've been unfaithful to my wife," Sanford said at the time. "I developed a relationship with what started as a dear, dear friend from Argentina."

Opening Bell: 8.3.15

Greek financial markets reopen; Alexis Tsipras could use a hand here; Puerto Rico; Ichan; Batista; "Ohio man must spend two days in jail for petting zoo cougars"; and more.