Hedge Funds Struggle With Steep Losses and High Expectations (Dealbook)
As the final performance figures for the industry come in, one thing is clear: 2015 could not have ended soon enough for many managers and their investors. Hedge fund managers like Mr. Einhorn, Mr. Ackman and Larry Robbins have stunned investors with the depth of their losses — in the double digits for some of their investment portfolios through early December.
The World's Richest People Got Poorer This Year (Bloomberg)
The world’s 400 wealthiest individuals shed $19 billion in 2015, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Falling commodities prices and signs of a slower-growing China spooked investors around the world leading to the first annual decline for the daily wealth index since its 2012 debut.
For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions (NYT)
...the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means. In recent years, this apparatus has become one of the most powerful avenues of influence for wealthy Americans of all political stripes, including Mr. Loeb and Mr. Cohen, who give heavily to Republicans, and the liberal billionaire George Soros, who has called for higher levies on the rich while at the same time using tax loopholes to bolster his own fortune...Operating largely out of public view — in tax court, through arcane legislative provisions, and in private negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service — the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them. The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans.
Putin's Bailout Bank Needs a Rescue (Bloomberg)
Hit by Western sanctions last year, VEB has stopped new lending. The cost of its bailout could reach 1.3 trillion rubles ($18 billion), according to several senior government officials, ballooning the budget deficit at a time when plunging oil prices are forcing spending cuts.
KaloBios submits request to appeal Nasdaq delisting (Reuters)
KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc, which fired its controversial Chief Executive Martin Shkreli earlier this month, said it had requested an appeal of Nasdaq's decision to delist its shares. The embattled drugmaker said last week it had been notified by Nasdaq that its stock would be delisted using the exchange operator's "discretionary" authority.
Pistol Pulled During Penis Pump Beef (TSG)
According to a police report, the suspect approached a clerk at Viva Video last Wednesday night and “attempted to return a sexual device” he had previously purchased at the St. Paul business. The customer claimed the item--which police identified as a penis pump--did not work as advertised. However, the store clerk declined the return request “because [the pump] had been used,” cops noted. After being rebuffed by the employee, “the suspect pulled out a black handgun and threatened the clerk” before fleeing from the business (without a new penis pump).
Shares of Pep Boys Surge in Wake of Raised Icahn Offer (Dealbook)
The activist investor Carl C. Icahn has won the latest round of bidding for auto-parts retailer Pep Boys – Manny, Moe & Jack, but there’s still time for a rival, Bridgestone, to counteroffer. Shares of Pep Boys shot up 8 percent on Tuesday after Icahn Enterprises said that it had raised its bid to $18.50 a share in cash, valuing Pep Boys at roughly $1 billion.
Lehman Sues Japanese Investment Bank Over Derivatives (WSJ)
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is suing Daiwa Securities Capital Markets Co. over hundreds of soured swaps and options, claiming the Japanese investment bank shortchanged it on hundreds of derivatives contracts after Lehman’s bankruptcy to reap a multimillion-dollar windfall. In a lawsuit filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, lawyers for Lehman say the bank was “in the money” to the tune of $75 million on 955 derivatives transactions—mainly interest rate and credit default swaps—with Daiwa at the time of Lehman’s 2008 bankruptcy filing.
New Fannie, Freddie Bonds Aim to Shift Taxpayer Risk (WSJ)
Under government control, mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac next year plan to ramp up sales of new types of securities that in effect transfer potential losses in a housing downturn to private investors.
Faber Seeing Recession Clashes With Yellen, Likes Treasuries (Bloomberg)
“Ten-year U.S. Treasuries are quite attractive because of my outlook for a weakening economy,” Faber, the publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, said in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday. “I believe that we’re already entering a recession in the United States” and U.S. stocks will fall in 2016, he said.
Drunk driving charges dropped against woman with 'brewery' stomach condition (UPI)
A New York state judge dismissed drunken driving charges against a woman whose lawyer said her medical condition turns her stomach into a "brewery." Judge Walter Rooth, a Hamburg town justice, dismissed the charges of driving while intoxicated and aggravated driving while intoxicated after Joseph Marusak, the 35-year-old defendant's attorney, said his client suffers from "gut fermentation syndrome." Marusak said the woman's digestive system creates too much yeast, causing her stomach to act as a "brewery" and turn food into alcohol.