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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.
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Puerto Rico Halts Deposits for G.O. Bonds as Agency Defaults (Bloomberg)
Puerto Rico halted deposits into the fund that pays its general-obligation bonds and one of its agencies defaulted for the first time, marking an escalation in the island’s fiscal crisis. Puerto Rico disclosed in a filing with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board Monday that it’s temporarily suspending monthly payments into a fund that covers its $13 billion of general-obligation debt.

Pimco Gets Wells Notice Over Total Return ETF Valuations (Bloomberg)
Pacific Investment Management Co. said regulators are considering taking action against the firm over marking of securities in the exchange-traded fund version of its flagship Total Return Fund.

Citadel’s Ken Griffin Leaves 2008 Tumble Far Behind (WSJ)
Nearly seven years after standing at the brink of collapse during the financial crisis, amid heavy losses and a struggle to build an investment bank, Chicago-based Citadel has crawled back near the top of the hedge-fund heap. But rather than take it slow, as many competitors have done since the 2008 shock, Mr. Griffin is again embarking on an aggressive expansion...Citadel’s assets under management have surged by $10 billion since the start of 2014 to $26 billion, fueled by a 29% rise for its main hedge funds and a flow of new cash. Now, Citadel is again considering a move it toyed with before its near-death experience: going public. An initial public offering could come in the second half of next year, people familiar with the matter said.

New York Regulator Moves to Suspend Promontory Financial (Dealbook)
On Monday, New York State’s financial regulator effectively suspended Promontory from conducting most assignments for banks that are licensed in New York State and suspected of wrongdoing. The decision to suspend the firm indefinitely, an unusually aggressive move even for the Department of Financial Services, an agency known to scuffle with Wall Street, was detailed in a report that accused Promontory of helping to obscure some of the same bank misconduct it was supposed to unearth.

210-year-old bottle of cognac on sale for over $225,000 (CNBC)
The cognac has "a light hazel nut flavor" and still has an excellent taste despite its age, according to the description on the company's website.

China’s Response to Stock Rout Exposes Regulatory Disarray (WSJ)
Interviews with more than a dozen Chinese officials and advisers to the government show conflicting moves and a lack of coordination hampered Beijing’s initial response to the market rout. At one point, the securities regulator made a move that put downward pressure on the market in the same week that the central bank moved to push it up. Until July, a major source of market funding went largely untouched by regulators. The securities regulator more than once moved to trim lending to investors to buy shares, only to reverse course.

Farmland Investments Take Root (WSJ)
Financial-services giant TIAA-CREF is expected to announce Tuesday that it has raised $3 billion for its second global farmland-investment partnership, exceeding its initial target of $2.5 billion. The fund, which will invest in North and South America and Australia, has lined up commitments from institutional investors, including the New Mexico State Investment Council and the U.K.’s Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

No plans to probe hitchhiking robot vandalism: Philadelphia police (Reuters)
Philadelphia police said on Monday they will not investigate the weekend vandalism that ended an experimental robot's attempted hitchhiking trip across the United States unless the Canadian universities that own it file a criminal complaint. The child-sized robot, named hitchBOT, had safely hitchhiked across Canada and through parts of Europe. But its trip from Boston to San Francisco ended abruptly on Saturday in a Philadelphia alley, where it was found with its head removed. "We can't do anything without a complaint being filed," Philadelphia Police spokeswoman Leeloni Palmiero. "If they did, we would absolutely investigate."


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Opening Bell: 5.18.15

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Opening Bell: 9.3.15

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