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.
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Greek Financial Markets to Open as Talks With Creditors Continue (Bloomberg)
Greek financial markets reopen on Monday after a five-week suspension as talks continue with creditors on austerity measures and reforms required for a third bailout. Local traders will be able to buy stocks, bonds, derivatives and warrants under certain conditions, according to the Finance Ministry. International investors won’t face any restrictions, as long as they were active in the markets before they were shuttered in June.

Greeks brace for stock market carnage after five-week shutdown (Reuters)
Ilya Feygin, managing director at WallachBeth Capital, estimated late last week that losses could be in the region of 19 to 22 percent. Takis Zamanis, chief trader at Beta Securities, agreed and went further, suggesting no single share would gain on the day.

Tsipras Battling on All Sides Finds No Solace in Greek Economy (Bloomberg)
With one-quarter of the population without a job, prices falling and manufacturing shrinking, the Greek prime minister faces a mammoth task to revive growth. Data this week, including the latest unemployment statistics, will probably confirm the picture of an ailing economy mired in deflation.

Misery deepens for those in Puerto Rico who can't escape economic crisis (AP)
A $58 million bond payment due Saturday went unpaid. If defaults continue, analysts say Puerto Rico will face numerous lawsuits and increasingly limited access to markets, putting a recovery even more out of reach. Carmen Davila, a 65-year-old retired truck driver and window dresser, recently withdrew her money from the bank amid fears the government would shut down and seize it. "Things are happening in Puerto Rico that we've never seen before," Davila said. "Puerto Rico has always had its ups and downs, but you could handle it. This now is serious." The exodus of people from the island, mainly to central Florida and New York, is palpable. Nearly everyone knows someone who has left, or plans to do so soon. The impact of the departures, and the decline in spending of those remaining, is obvious.

Deadbeat Ex-Billionaire Batista Daring Bondholders to Seize Ship (Bloomberg)
The clash is the latest chapter in the saga of Brazil’s once-richest man, an investor-darling-turned-pariah who sold shares in six companies in a span of six years and lost more than $30 billion even faster when his commodities and energy empire collapsed. It’s also a cautionary tale for Brazilian creditors, whose claims can get tied up for years and even decades in the nation’s maze-like legal system.

Ohio man must spend two days in jail for petting zoo cougars (Reuters)
An Ohio man who posted a video of himself petting cougars at a Columbus zoo appealed no contest to a trespassing charge on Wednesday and has to spend two days in jail and pay more than $200 in fines, court documents said. Joshua Newell, 35, jumped an outer fence to gain access to another fenced-in enclosure and called the cougars to him in order to pet them, the documents said. Newell then posted a nearly two-minute video of the encounter on YouTube where he enticed the animals by calling "Here, kitty, kitty" and "That's a good kitty."

Icahn approached Ryan Kavanaugh for studio takeover (NYP)
Activist investor Carl Icahn and his son Brett made a last-minute approach to Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh before the company’s Thursday bankruptcy filing, sources tell On the Money. Icahn — who has previously held stakes in both MGM and Lions Gate — is rumored to be looking to install his son at the head of a studio, and Relativity may provide a possible director’s chair. Icahn is believed to have held talks as late as last week. But Kavanaugh wasn’t going for it. The money involved likely was not enough to change the murky financial picture at the Beverly Hills-based operation. Relativity laid off 75 staffers last week.

Foreigners Flee Thai Stocks as Patience Wanes Over Pledges (Bloomberg)
Overseas funds unloaded a net $774 million of Thai shares in July as the benchmark SET Index fell 4.3 percent. The baht is trading near the weakest level in more than six years after slumping 3.4 percent against the U.S. dollar last month.

HSBC First-Half Profit Rises 10% as Bank Agrees on Brazil Sale (Bloomberg)
Pretax profit rose to $13.6 billion from $12.3 billion in the year-earlier period, the London-based lender said in a statement on Monday. The company agreed to sell its Brazilian unit to Banco Bradesco SA for $5.2 billion.

‘China’s Airbnb’ Raises $300 Million in Funding Round (WSJ)
The fundraising valued the Chinese home-rental site at more than $1 billion, just a fraction of the $25.5 billion valuation Airbnb achieved in June. That valuation gap reflects Airbnb’s greater global reach, compared with Tujia’s, but also the potential upside for investors backing Tujia if it can execute on its expansion plans.

Lawsuit: Meth found at bottom of In-N-Out Burger beverage (UPI)
A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles alleges an In-N-Out Burger customer discovered his drink had been spiked with meth after the beverage made him sick. Fred Maldonado filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging he ordered a burger and a beverage at the fast food eatery's Downey location March 9, 2014, and he felt ill after drinking some of his soft drink. The lawsuit states Maldonado found two capsules and a napkin at the bottom of the cup the following morning and took them back to the restaurant, where a manager apologized and offered him a free burger. "Plaintiff did not initially know what the two capsules were, but later testing revealed that they were methamphetamine and that it appeared that they may have been illicitly manufactured," the suit states.

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