Opening Bell: 6.4.15

Greece still screwed; Day traders dupe bankers; Free bacon for life; and more.
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Greek Groundhog Day Continues With Talks Failing to Break Impasse (Bloomberg)
After meeting in Brussels with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Tsipras stuck to his position that any basis for an accord must be a Greek proposal. Citing a draft document, German newspaper Tagesspiegel reported the plan includes extra tax for companies and higher earners. A government spokeswoman declined to comment.

Day trader, pals bagged $3.2M by conning bankers: US (NYP)
or three years, these two-faced traders duped Wall Street bankers into thinking they were big-time institutional investors — thereby unlocking a door to a treasure trove of nonpublic information on 15 biotech deals, according to Department of Justice allegations. Although the traders had promised — as a matter of everyday business on Wall Street — not to trade on the insider dope, they did and pocketed $3.2 million in fraudulent profits before they were busted, prosecutors charged on Wednesday. Steven Fishoff, 58, his brother-in-law and two friends were charged with securities fraud and conspiracy after being arrested by FBI agents at their respective homes in California, New Jersey and Florida.

HSBC to pay $43 million Geneva money laundering settlement (Reuters)
HSBC agreed on Thursday to pay Geneva authorities 40 million Swiss francs ($43 million) to settle a money laundering investigation at its Swiss private bank, one of a number of probes facing its Geneva-based wealth manager. Leaked files published earlier this year sparked allegations that HSBC's private bank may have enabled clients to conceal millions of dollars of assets and dragged Europe's largest lender into the sights of regulators including Geneva's public prosecutor.

Martha Stewart, Snoop Dogg and Jeff Ross got high together (NYP)
Jeff Ross says he got high with Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart at Justin Bieber’s Comedy Central roast earlier this year, where the three served as roasters. “We get nervous, these roasts are high-pressure,” the 49-year-old comedian said on “Conan” this week. “Snoop, a lot of times during the commercial breaks, would give me the ole elbow and we’d go in the back and decompress a little bit.” “And Snoop pulled out his — whatever you smoke stuff out of — and me and Martha Stewart got a little stoned,” he added. But the 73-year-old domestic diva and ex-convict didn’t actually smoke the weed directly. “… I shotgunned one directly into her mouth,” quipped Ross. “We only had one hit left. She was a great sport.”

U.S. Jobless Claims Fall to 276,000 (WSJ)
Initial claims for unemployment benefits, a measure of layoffs across the U.S., declined 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 276,000 in the week ended May 30, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 279,000 new claims.

IMF Cuts U.S. Economic Growth Forecast (WSJ)
In its annual review of the U.S. economy, the IMF said a series of negative shocks, including a strong dollar and bad weather, had sapped momentum for job creation and expansion, forcing the fund to downgrade its growth expectations to 2.5% for the year. Its last estimate in April was for a 3.1% expansion.

Deutsche Bank to Bond Investors: Wake Up and Smell the Fundamentals (Bloomberg)
In short, they figure that investors may (finally) be turning against an asset class that has been booming in recent years. Deutsche Bank notes that retail money has been pouring into intermediate and long-term investment-grade mutual funds at a rate of 20 percent or more per year. The size of the overall corporate bond market has exploded from $5.4 trillion in 2009 to $7.8 trillion currently as companies rush to take advantage of ultralow borrowing costs and investors keen to buy their debt.

Larry Ellison Is Spending a Fortune to Save American Tennis (Bloomberg)
Ellison, 70, has rebuilt a sport before. His love of sailing led him to his highly controversial domination of the America’s Cup, the capstone to decades of exploits that have included brushes with death while sailing in the Pacific, the construction of a real estate empire in Malibu and Hawaii (where he owns 98 percent of the island of Lanai), and liaisons with far younger women, including current girlfriend Nikita Kahn, a young actress and model from Ukraine.

Bacon-scented Indiana lottery scratch-off prize: 20 years of bacon (UPI)
Indiana's Hoosier Lottery is rolling out a bacon-scented scratch-off card that counts a 20-year supply of bacon among its potential prizes. The Hoosier Lottery's Bringin' Home the Bacon tickets, following in the footsteps of the New Hampshire Lottery's similarly bacon-scented I (Heart) Bacon tickets, officer instant prices of up to $10,000 and five chances to win a 20-year supply of bacon, which would be paid out in installments.

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Greece's Creditors Reach Aid Deal (WSJ) struck a deal in Brussels to cut Greece's debt to a level below 124% of gross domestic product by 2020, officials said. To satisfy IMF concerns that Greece's debt must fall even more to be considered "sustainable," euro-zone ministers agreed to bring the government's debt to under 110% of GDP in 2022. The deal will allow Greece to receive loan payments of about €44 billion ($57 billion) to be paid in three installments early 2013, tied to Greece's implementation of the continuing measures, said Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker. The deal will lower Greece's debt through a mix of interest-rate cuts on loans to Athens, a buyback of Greek debt at sharply discounted prices and the European Central Bank returning profits linked to its holdings of Greek bonds to the Greek government. London Bankers Bracing for Leaner Bonuses Than New York (Bloomberg) nvestment bankers and traders at European banks should expect at least a 15 percent cut in pay this year, while U.S. lenders may leave compensation unchanged, three consultants surveyed by Bloomberg said. That’s because bonus pools at European banks may be reduced by as much as half, while those at U.S. firms, which can cushion the impact of falling fees in the region with earnings from home, may fall 20 percent, they said. “The real split is coming, and we will see the quantum divide this year,” said Tom Gosling, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in London, referring to the difference in pay between the two financial centers. “U.S. regulators don’t have the same obsession with pay structures that European regulators have.” Dimon Would Be Best to Lead Treasury in Crisis, Buffett Says (Bloomberg) “If we did run into problems in markets, I think he would actually be the best person you could have in the job,” Buffett said in response to a question about Dimon from Charlie Rose, according to the transcript of an interview that was scheduled to air yesterday on PBS. “World leaders would have confidence in him.” [...] Dimon, once dubbed Obama’s “favorite banker” by the New York Times, said in a 2011 CNBC interview that he could never work as Treasury secretary and was “not suited to politics.” Carney Abondons A Haven, Leaping Into British Storm (WSJ) Philipp Hildebrand, the former head of the Swiss National Bank, described Mr. Carney as one who "speaks bluntly and politely." The son of a professor and a teacher, Mr. Carney grew up in Edmonton, the capital of Canada's western province, Alberta. He played hockey as an undergraduate at Harvard. Mr. Carney has close links to Britain, having studied in Oxford University in the early 1990s. He worked for a time in Goldman Sachs' London office...Known as a diplomat, Mr. Carney, who supports the Edmonton Oilers NHL team, in his Ottawa office displays a mock street sign alluding to one of Canada's other pro teams, the Ottawa Senators. He cultivates an everyman image, recently discussing his musical tastes—from AC/DC to the hip-hop group Down with Webster—in local media interviews. Fiscal Cliff Compromise Elusive as Congress Returns (Bloomberg) “There’s still a great deal of ground that has to be covered before they get anywhere near a budget deal, and time is running” short, said Phil English, a former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania and now a lobbyist at Arent Fox LLP in Washington. The Secret Powers Of The Son-In-Law (WSJ) In couples where the husband initially reported being close to his wife's parents, the risk of divorce over the next 16 years was 20% lower than for the group overall. Yet when the wife reported being close to her in-laws, that seemed to have the opposite effect: The risk of divorce with these couples was 20% higher. Dr. Orbuch has a possible explanation: The wife who feels close with her husband's parents may find it difficult to set boundaries and over time may come to see their close relationship with her as meddling. "Because relationships are so important to women, their identity as a wife and mother is central to their being," says Dr. Orbuch, author of the 2012 book "Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship." "They interpret what their in-laws say and do as interference into their identity as a spouse and parent." Men, for the most part, don't have this problem. Their identity as a father and a husband is often secondary to their identity as a provider, Dr. Orbuch says. As a result, they don't tend to take what their in-laws do so personally. Chicago, Illinois charges woman $105,761 for parking infractions she did not commit (TN) Jennifer Fitzgerald is fighting back against the city, her ex-boyfriend and United Airlines with a lawsuit filed November 2 in Cook County Circuit Court. According to the complaint, the somewhat confusing story starts when her former boyfriend Brandon Preveau, bought a 1999 Chevy Monte Carlo from Fitzgerald's uncle for $600 in 2008. Despite paying all the fees associated with owning a vehicle (registration, title and insurance) he put the vehicle's registration in Fitzgerald's name -- something the West Side Chicago resident claims was done without her knowledge...the couple broke up at the start of 2009 and Preveau took the car with him after their split. He used the Monte Carlo to drive to work at O'Hare Airport where he was employed by United Airlines. Preveau would leave the vehicle in O'Hare parking lot E, a secured outdoor lot surrounded by high chain link fencing, that is open to the flying public but also utilized by airport employees. The parking lot is owned by the city of Chicago and operated by Standard Parking Corporation, but according to the complaint, United Airlines leases spaces in the lot for use by airline employees. Unbeknownst to Fitzgerald, Preveau abandoned the vehicle. According to the complaints, "On or before November 17, 2009, Brandon drove the automobile into the parking lot and never drove it out again." While the car Preveau drove began receiving parking tickets at the O'Hare lot as early as May 23, 2009, the key date for this story is November 17, 2009. On that day the vehicle was issued seven different parking tickets including being in a hazardous and dilapidated condition, no city sticker, broken headlights, missing or cracked windows, expired plates, being an abandoned vehicle and most importantly a violation for parking a vehicle for more than 30 days in a city-owned lot. Intrade, Facing Charges, Won't Take U.S. Bets (WSJ) The online-predictions exchange Intrade—known for offbeat markets on presidential politics and the Academy Awards—said it would no longer accept bets from U.S. residents. The move came just hours after U.S. regulators filed a civil complaint against the firm over its commodities-focused markets. "We are sorry to announce that due to legal and regulatory pressures, Intrade can no longer allow U.S. residents to participate in our real-money prediction markets," the Dublin-based company said in a statement on its website. Intrade said that existing customers must exit their trades and close their accounts. In China, Hidden Risk of 'Shadow Finance' (WSJ) Shadow finance in China totals about 20 trillion yuan, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., or about a third the current size of the country's bank-lending market. In 2008, such informal lending represented only 5% of total bank lending. The sector is lightly regulated and opaque, raising concerns about massive loan defaults amid a softening economy, with ancillary effects on the country's banks. Harvard Doctor Turns Felon After Lure of Insider Trading (Bloomberg) Today, Joseph F. "Chip" Skowron III, 43, is serving a five-year term for insider trading at the federal prison at Minersville, Pennsylvania. At FrontPoint, Skowron lied to his bosses and law enforcement authorities, cost more than 35 people their jobs and stooped to slipping envelopes of cash to an accomplice. FrontPoint is gone. Morgan Stanley, which once owned FrontPoint, is seeking more than $65 million from Skowron, whose net worth a year ago was $22 million. Until he’s a free man, his wife of 16 years will have to care for their four children and Rocky, their golden retriever, on her own...Health care has become America’s sweet spot for insider traders like Skowron. Among researchers, physicians, government officials and corporate executives, the lure of easy money in health-care insider trading has become epidemic. Since 2008, about 400 people were sued by regulators or charged with insider trading; of those, at least 94 passed or received tips involving pharmaceutical, biotechnology or other health-care stocks. Man Arrested For Saying He Had Dynamite in His Luggage at Miami International Airport (NBC) A man was arrested for telling a TACA ticket agent that he had dynamite in his luggage, which prompted the partial evacuation of Concourse J at Miami International Airport on Monday, Miami-Dade Police said. Alejandro Leon Hurtado, 63, a doctor from Guatemala, faces a charge of false report bomb/explosives at airport, the arrest affidavit said. It wasn't immediately known if Hurtado had an attorney. The ticket agent had just accepted Hurtado luggage, when he asked him about whether it contained hazardous materials. Hurtado answered that he had dynamite in the baggage, and the ticket agent asked him again if he had dynamite in his bag, and he replied that he did and started laughing, the affidavit said. "Once the Defendant was told that police were going to be called the Defendant stated that he was joking," the affidavit said. Hurtado admitted he did say he had dynamite in his bag, but that it was a joke. Hurtado was in custody on an immigration hold Monday night, according to online Miami-Dade Corrections records.

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