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Opening Bell: 10.14.15

JP Morgan says trading looks bleak; Tech exec headed to Chipotle; Hedge funds' rough ride; Ex-Bank of America employee's murder trial gets date; Brooklyn taqueria will award 10% stake in business to anyone who can finish 30 pound burrito (plus margarita) in an hour; and more.
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JPMorgan Says Trading Pain Isn't Over After Third-Quarter Slump (Bloomberg)
“So far in October, across asset classes, the markets are pretty quiet,” Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake said on a conference call after JPMorgan released results Tuesday. “We’re only two weeks into the quarter, and it’s too early to give specific guidance, but based on those facts alone, analysts’ estimates appear high” for the rest of the year, she said.

Fortress, Bain Lead Hedge Funds Liquidating in Market Volatility (Bloomberg)
The large-scale closures started with Comac Capital, the London-based manager run by Colm O’Shea, who shut his $1.2 billion firm in January after losses on the Swiss franc. Two months later, a pair of funds backed by billionaire investor Julian Robertson, TigerShark Management and Tiger Consumer Management, told clients they were shuttering. Meredith Whitney, who turned fame as a banking analyst into a stint running her own hedge fund, said in June that she had returned money to clients after less than two years and was done with the industry. Incapture, an investment and technology firm backed by former Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer Bob Diamond, said in August it was closing its sole fund.

Goldman Entangled in Malaysia Fund Scandal (WSJ)
As part of a broad probe into allegations of money laundering and corruption, investigators at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department have begun examining Goldman Sachs’s role in a series of transactions at 1Malaysia Development Bhd., people familiar with the matter said.

Chipotle poaches Starbucks tech exec to combat long lines (NYP)
The popular burrito chain (founded by Steve Ells in 1993), whose nearly 2,000 stores jam up during lunch hour, just poached a top Starbucks technology executive to improve its “customer experience.” Curt Garner, who will become Chipotle’s first chief information officer when he starts Nov. 23, worked on the highly praised Starbucks app during his 18 years at the Seattle-based chain. Starbucks’ know-how in the technology space is second to none, said Bernstein analyst Sara Senatore, pointing to Starbuck’s mobile app that not only allows customers to place orders but reports the wait times at nearby stores.

Eat A 30-Pound Burrito, Own Part Of A New York City Restaurant (HP)
Don Chingon recently issued a challenge to customers: Eat a behemoth burrito and gulp down a margarita in one hour or less, and you’ll win a 10 percent stake in the Brooklyn taqueria. "If you are going to eat a massive amount of food in a single sitting, you deserve real compensation," owner Victor Robey told the NY Daily News. "Some restaurants will put your name on the wall. We'll give you the wall." But The Grand Chingon Challenge is no easy feat. The burrito weighs 30 pounds and is stuffed with steak, chicken, pork, rice, cheese, beans and salsa. And the margarita? It's made with an extremely spicy ghost pepper. Customers have to pay $150 to participate in the challenge, and once they start, no bathroom breaks are allowed. Puking will also result in disqualification.

World's King of Beer Flies Coach, Wears Jeans and Loves Pressure (Bloomberg)
“If you want the best out of people you have to put pressure on them all the time,” the Brazilian chief of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV told a roomful of students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2010.

Ex-Bank of America Employee's Trial for Hong Kong Killings Set Next Year (Bloomberg)
Rurik Jutting, the former Bank of America Corp. employee charged with murdering two Indonesian women in Hong Kong, will stand trial on Oct. 25 next year.

GE to sell $30 billion specialty finance business to Wells Fargo (Reuters)
General Electric Co took a big step on Tuesday in its plan to unload most of its financing operations, saying it has agreed to sell commercial lending and leasing businesses worth more than $30 billion to Wells Fargo & Co. The U.S. conglomerate has now inked $126 billion in transactions -- more than half of its overall target -- since announcing in April it would seek to reduce its GE Capital financing business to less than 10 percent of earnings as it focuses more on industrial manufacturing. GE Capital accounted for 42 percent of the company's profit in 2014.

Why General Electric Is Unwinding Its Finance Arm (WSJ)
Though the decision to wind down the business owes a lot to investor pressure, the closing of the easy regulatory niche that had made its lending so attractive sealed the deal. GE said the new federal rules left its banking business earning lower returns than the industrial side.

Patron Arrested For McDonald's Condiment Attack (TSG)
Christopher Clark, 40, allegedly became so disorderly Sunday night inside a McDonald’s in St. Petersburg that he was asked to leave the eatery by manager Aaron Newton. In response to the eviction attempt, Clark “threw a handful of package condiments” at Newton, according to an arrest affidavit. Newton “did not sustain any injuries” as a result of the fusillade, which surely included ketchup projectiles. Clark--who was not under the influence of alcohol during the 10 PM incident--was subsequently collared by a St. Petersburg cop and charged with misdemeanor battery.


By Nordenfan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 9.9.16

Gundlach gets defensive; Deutsche Bank nears settlement; Investors prefer computers to traders; Judge cracks food jokes during Chipotle exec’s court appearance; and more.

Opening Bell: 2.27.15

Buffett Euro Trip; Icahn loss; JP Morgan is finishing school for CEOs in training; Guy who made love to mailboxes found dead; AND MORE.

Opening Bell: 2.13.15

Greece, Shaq, Fired JP Morgan Execs, Couple who fell asleep in a dumpster, AND MORE

Opening Bell: 02.06.13

RBS Fined $612M by Regulators for Manipulating Libor Rate (Bloomberg) The lender will pay $325 million to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $150 million to the Department of Justice and 87.5 million pounds ($137 million) to the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority, the CFTC said in a statement today. RBS said it will recoup about 300 million pounds to pay the fines by cutting bonuses and clawing back previous awards. The bank’s Japanese unit agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud as part of a deal with the Justice Department, the CFTC said. “The public is deprived of an honest benchmark interest rate when a group of traders sits around a desk for years falsely spinning their bank’s Libor submissions, trying to manufacture winning trades,” said David Meister, the CFTC’s director of enforcement. “That’s what happened at RBS.” Nasdaq Faces Facebook Fine (WSJ) Nasdaq is in preliminary talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a potential settlement related to its botched handling of Facebook's much-anticipated offering, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. While a settlement agreement isn't assured, the two sides are discussing a monetary penalty of about $5 million, people involved with the discussions said. In addition, Nasdaq has offered to compensate customers $62 million for losses stemming from Facebook IPO trades. U.S., S&P Settle In for Bitter Combat (WSJ) The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Los Angeles, represents the Justice Department's most aggressive move yet to try to hold accountable companies that were at the center of the financial meltdown. While banks and others have settled with the government and a settlement is possible in the S&P case, both sides indicated Tuesday that they were preparing for a long and costly legal fight. William Black, a former regulator at the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, said U.S. officials seem "willing to push this case harder than with any financial-crisis case against a major bank." The government's case relies heavily on emails and other communications that allegedly show S&P officials knew the housing market was collapsing but dragged their feet on downgrading hundreds of securities because executives worried the firm would lose business and anger clients. In March 2007, an analyst sent colleagues song lyrics about the deteriorating market, set to the tune of the Talking Heads 1980s song "Burning Down the House," according to the government's complaint. Minutes later, the analyst sent a follow-up email: "For obvious, professional reasons please do not forward this song. If you are interested, I can sing it in your cube ;-)." Default in 10 Months After AAA Spurred Justice on Credit Ratings (Bloomberg) In May 2007, Standard & Poor’s confirmed its initial AAA ratings on $772 million of a collateralized debt obligation known as Octonion I. Within 10 months, the Citigroup Inc. deal defaulted, costing investors and the bank almost all their money. The CDO, which repackaged mortgage-backed securities and other similar bundles of debt, was among dozens of transactions valued at tens of billions of dollars in 2007 that the ratings firm never should have blessed, the Justice Department said Feb. 4 in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles. Octonion I underscores how inflated grades during the credit boom contributed to more than $2.1 trillion in losses at the world’s financial institutions after home-loan defaults soared and residential prices plummeted. “During this period, nearly every single mortgage-backed CDO that was rated by S&P not only underperformed but failed,” Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday at a news conference. “Put simply, this alleged conduct is egregious, and it goes to the very heart of the recent financial crisis.” Monopoly Fans Vote To Add Cat, Toss Iron (NYP) Scottie dog has a new nemesis in Monopoly after fans voted in an online contest to add a cat token to the property trading game, replacing the iron, toy maker Hasbro Inc. announced Wednesday. The results were announced after the shoe, wheelbarrow and iron were neck and neck for elimination in the final hours of voting that sparked passionate efforts by fans to save their favorite tokens, and by businesses eager to capitalize on publicity surrounding pieces that represent their products. The vote on Facebook closed just before midnight on Tuesday, marking the first time that fans have had a say on which of the eight tokens to add and which one to toss. The pieces identify the players and have changed quite a lot since Parker Brothers bought the game from its original designer in 1935. Fed Says Internal Site Breached by Hackers, No Critical Functions Affected (Reuters) The admission, which raises questions about cyber security at the Fed, follows a claim that hackers linked to the activist group Anonymous had struck the Fed on Sunday, accessing personal information of more than 4,000 U.S. bank executives, which it published on the Web. "The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product," a Fed spokeswoman said. "Exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue. This incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve system," the spokeswoman said, adding that all individuals effected by the breach had been contacted. HSBC's Global Spread Left It Open To Crime, Says CEO (Reuters) "Our structure was not fit for purpose for a modern world," Stuart Gulliver told lawmakers on a British banking inquiry on Wednesday. "Our geographic footprint became very attractive to trans-national criminal organizations, whether they are terrorist in origin or criminal in origin." HSBC, whose former slogan "The world's local bank" reflects its presence in more than 80 countries, was in December given a $1.9 billion fine, the largest ever imposed on a bank, following a U.S. investigation into its Mexican and U.S. operations. Florida Keys 'Sea Hag' Gets 30 Years in Prison for Shooting Man Who Refused to Give Her Beer (NBC) The Florida Keys woman known as "the sea hag" who shot and killed her neighbor after he refused to give her a beer has been sentenced to 30 years behind bars. Dukeshire, who was facing a first-degree murder charge and made a deal with prosecutors, submitted a statement to the judge saying she was remorseful and would pay the rest of her life for losing her composure. Police say Dukeshire had approached Mazur outside his Conch Key home and asked him for a can of Busch Light. "Do you have a cold beer for me?" she asked, according to a Monroe County Sheriff's Office report.

By Apavlo at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 10.7.16

Pound flash crash; Twitter's no good very bad day; Qatari hearts Deutsche Bank; Vanilla Ice vows to ride out Hurricane Matthew; and more.


Opening Bell: 8.23.17

Herbalife readies finishing move on Bill Ackman; Goldman plans finishing move on Volcker rule; firefighters feast on piglets they saved from fire; and more.

Opening Bell: 1.26.16

Ackman regrets not cutting Valeant, Canadian Pacific; Deutsche Bank, RBS earnings will be bleak; AIG tells Icahn to mind his own biz; 112-year-old woman smokes 30 cigarettes a day; and more.

By Federalreserve (FED_9638) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 8.26.16

Carson Block vs St. Jude Medical; What does JP Morgan have to do to get you in a car today; Yellen, Yellen, Yellen; Couple takes wedding pictures on volcano aside hot lava; and more.