Opening Bell: 4.19.16

Puerto Rico's bondholders feud over rescue; The top undergrad business schools will surprise you; Dad uses Millennium Falcon drone to remove daughter's tooth; and more.
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Early Warning Signs of Recession Flash Faintly in U.S. Jobs Data (Bloomberg)
Take a peek below the headline jobs data, however, and there are signs that the labor market is losing some momentum. Temporary-help employment, which peaked prior to the last two recessions, is showing signs of topping out. And a broad labor-market index constructed by Federal Reserve economists -- and monitored by Chair Janet Yellen -- has fallen for three straight months, the first time that’s happened since 2009.

Puerto Rico's Bondholders Divided in Fight Over Federal Rescue (Bloomberg)
Hedge funds that own about $5 billion of Puerto Rico’s general-obligation bonds, which are guaranteed under the island’s constitution, are fighting the House measure that would give the U.S. territory ability to write off some of its $70 billion in debt. Firms that own securities backed by sales taxes are working to ensure its passage, seeing it as a way to protect their investment from a cascading series of defaults.

Argentina Returns to Debt Markets With $16.5 Billion Sale (WSJ)
The government originally marketed a deal between $10 billion and $15 billion, but it sold $16.5 billion after finding overwhelming investor demand. Underwriters for the bond offering received $70 billion in orders for the debt, according to people familiar with the matter. “This is the biggest demand in history for a bond from an emerging market country or company,” Alfonso Prat-Gay, Argentina’s new finance minister, said at a news conference in Argentina Tuesday.

Best Undergraduate Business Schools of 2016 (Bloomberg)
1. Villanova 2. Notre Dame 3. Boston College

Cheating? Don't Do It On This High-Tech Mattress (HP)
A new high-tech mattress detects hanky-panky and informs the owner via a mobile app. Reacting to a report that Spain has a high rate of infidelity, a Spanish mattress firm didn’t take the news lying down, the Local in Spain reports. Durmet developed the Smarttress and its “Lover Detection System.” Twenty-four ultrasonic sensors measure “suspicious movement” in the bed, transmitting data of the tryst, including a 3D mattress model to show where most of the exertion is taking place.

ETFs’ ‘Spider Woman’ Argues for a Bitcoin Fund (Reuters)
When one of the first exchange-traded funds launched in 1993, securities lawyer Kathleen Moriarty received a gift from her legal assistant: a Spider-Man comic-book cover altered to depict the superhero facing off against a hulking Securities and Exchange Commission. Twenty-three years later, Ms. Moriarty’s ability to navigate the arcane rules that govern financial markets and products has built her a reputation as a top lawyer in the ETF business and earned her the nickname “Spider Woman.” Her latest challenge is convincing regulators that a bitcoin ETF is appropriate for the market. That isn’t necessarily an easy sell, given the explosion of ETFs across the market and their fraught role in a market meltdown last August.

Saudi Arabia Picks JPMorgan, Klein for Aramco IPO (Bloomberg)
JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Michael Klein, the former Citigroup Inc. investment banker who runs his own boutique, have been selected to advise on state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co.’s initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

Starboard's Smith warns a full board sweep is not always possible (Yahoo)
At Yahoo, Starboard is working to repeat a feat that earned the hedge fund headlines two years ago, when it won all 12 seats at Darden Restaurants Inc (DRI.N). Replacing an entire board "seems to work really well," Smith said at the 13D Monitor's Active-Passive Summit. A full sweep, he said, helps activist investors gain trust with management and lays the groundwork for a true partnership. But he also acknowledged that companies are far more ready to find solutions so they can avoid the embarrassment and disruption of an expensive proxy fight. Starboard won 12 board seats at Darden in 2014, and Smith just stepped off the board after 18 months of working on a turnaround.

Dad uses Millennium Falcon drone to remove daughter's tooth (UPI)
A California dad was recorded using a Star Wars Millennium Falcon drone to do what the Force couldn't -- remove his daughter's loose tooth. The video, filmed Wednesday, shows Marin County dad Kelly Starrett launching his Millennium Falcon drone while a piece of string connects the aircraft to a loose tooth in the mouth of his daughter, Caroline. "I love you, Chewwy!" Caroline says with a full mouth. The drone takes off and speeds off with Caroline's tooth in tow.

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By M.Minderhoud (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 6.22.16

Puerto Rico vs bondholders; Brexit, Brexit, Brexit; Man creates smoothie made of McDonald's burgers; and more.

"This'll work." By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky/Released (http://www.navy.mil/view_image.asp?id=65509) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 6.17.16

U.S. strikes back at decision to drop MetLife's TBTF designation; 'John Paulson is co-hosting a Trump fundraiser; Microsoft gets into the pot biz; Dad uses helicopter to extract son's loose tooth; and more.

Opening Bell: 6.25.15

Greece and Puerto Rico are screwed; Uber water taxi; Testicle-eating fish caught in New Jersey; and more.

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.

Opening Bell: 03.25.13

Cyprus Gets New Bailout Deal (WSJ) Cyprus secured a bailout from its international creditors early Monday, ending a week of financial panic that threatened to see the small island nation become the first government to leave the euro zone. But lasting damage has likely been inflicted on the Cypriot economy. Officials said they believe the country will now need strict controls on money transfers in and out of the economy in the coming weeks or possibly months, cutting off its citizens and companies from much of the rest of the euro zone's financial system. And the bailout program aims to slash the size of Cypriot banks, perhaps forever ending the country's status as an offshore tax haven and financial-services center. Cyprus could see its economy contract by 10% or more in the years ahead, economists said. Dell Confirms Rival Offers (WSJ) Dell has received two alternative takeover proposals—one from activist investor Carl Icahn and the other from a private equity fund managed by Blackstone Group —that a special board committee said may result in superior proposals to the one offered last month by founder Michael Dell. Falcone Follows Michael Jackson Path Taking Fortress Loan (Bloomberg) Hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone, beset by declining assets, federal securities regulators and the bankruptcy of his largest investment, is borrowing money against personal real estate he bought during better days. Falcone and his wife, Lisa, pledged their $39 million Caribbean villa to Fortress Credit Corp., the lender that provided Michael Jackson with a mortgage on his Neverland Ranch when the late pop idol was close to insolvency, according to a February regulatory filing. Within the past year, the couple also agreed to post both of their Manhattan townhouses as collateral for about $25 million of personal loans, real estate records show. SEC Approves Facebook IPO Compensation Plan (WSJ) The Securities and Exchange Commission approved Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.'s plan to pay customers as much as $62 million for losses stemming from last year's bungled Facebook stock-market debut, according to an order made public on Monday by the regulator. Brooklyn man furious his roommate wanted to move out allegedly murdered her fish (NYP) A Brooklyn man furious that his longtime roommate wanted to move out turned his rage on her pet fish — flushing one down the toilet and letting the other suffocate, law-enforcement sources told The Post. José Santiago murdered his roommate’s scaly pals — Bonnie and Clyde — when he saw her packing her bags in their Flatbush apartment on Wednesday, she said. “They were my babies! I can’t have children, so my pets are like my kids,” Brenda Alvarez said yesterday. “They were beautiful fish and cost about $25 each. “I did everything for him, and the only thing I ever asked him to do was the laundry,” she said. “So, why did he do this to me?” Alvarez, 45, said she wanted to move out of the Nostrand Avenue apartment because of growing tension between the longtime friends, who grew up a block apart in Bay Ridge. “I was gonna leave . . . so, I started packing, but he kept antagonizing me,” Alvarez recalled. “Then he went crazy!” U.S. Hedge Funds Swoop on Traders at Struggling Europe Startups (Bloomberg) U.S. hedge funds Pine River Capital Management LP, Millennium Management LLC and SAC Capital Advisors LLC are taking advantage of the struggle of European startup funds to grab their pick of the region’s traders. The three firms, which manage a combined $46 billion, have over the past year all hired employees from hedge funds started by former European bankers, according to regulatory records and people with knowledge of the matter. They joined from firms including Edoma Partners LLP, Occitan Capital Partners LLP and Portman Square Capital LLP, London hedge funds that have either shut down, posted losses or failed to meet their fundraising goals, said the people, who declined to be identified because the companies are private. Buyout Firm to Acquire Blockbuster's U.K. Unit (WSJ) Private-equity firm Gordon Brothers Europe agreed to buy the British arm of DVD-rental firm Blockbuster Inc., which had entered a form of bankruptcy in January. The deal will help save 264 Blockbuster stores and more than 2,000 jobs in the U.K., Gordon Brothers Europe said in a statement Saturday. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Man charged with drinking $102,000 worth of pre-Prohibition whiskey (WTAE) Hidden behind a basement staircase at a Westmoreland County mansion was a secret stash of liquid gold: old farm pure rye whiskey. Distilled in 1912 and delivered to industrialist J.P. Brennan in 1917, nearly 100 bottles of West Overton Distilling Company's pure rye collected dust until their discovery recently. Homeowner Patricia Hill surmised Brennan hid the whiskey during Prohibition. Hill purchased the South Broadway mansion from Brennan's daughter at auction in 1986. Since then, Hill has been remodeling the mansion and filling it with antiques in order to open a bed and breakfast, which she did in December 2012. "The whiskey was buried right back here under these stairs. They were doing renovations down here for the plumbing and electrical and they had to rip out underneath the stairs. Whenever they did, they discovered 9 cases of the old farm, pure rye whiskey," said South Broadway Manor's chef and innkeeper, Rick Bruckner. "The story with this isn't just, 'Hey, we have some really old whiskey.' It's, 'Hey, we have some really old, historical whiskey.'" Bruckner explained Brennan was acquainted with Henry Frick and Andrew Carnegie, among other important Pittsburghers during the early 1900's. He said the men would come over to the mansion and likely drink this whiskey. Hill had rented the basement apartment to John Saunders, 62. Saunders is now charged by Scottdale police with consuming 48 bottles of the historic whiskey. In a criminal complaint, Chief Barry Pritts wrote Saunders denied drinking the whiskey or removing labels from the bottles. Saunders reportedly told police he moved the cases to clean them several times but never opened any of the bottles. "Saunders said that the whiskey probably evaporated and being that old, it was probably no good," Pritts wrote.

Opening Bell: 8.5.15

Puerto Rico; Jeb; Soros 2.0; "Meth lab remnants found inside Iowa Taco Bell"; and more.

Opening Bell: 6.29.15

Greece, Greece, Greece; Puerto Rico; "CNN mistakes sex toy sign for Islamic State flag" and more.

Opening Bell: 5.18.15

Greece is screwed; Puerto Rico is screwed; Hedge funds are screwed; "Parrot Won't Stop Cursing In Spanish"; and more.