Opening Bell: 10.11.16

Fugitive accused of hacking JPMorgan being held in Russian cell; Dorsey tells Twitter staff "Life is short...we can do this!"; North Carolina man's phone-tossing high-five selfie inspires Twitter craze; and more.
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By World Economic Forum (Flickr: The Global Financial Context: James Dimon) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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What Wells Fargo Knew (Vice)
A Wells Fargo bank manager tried to warn the head of the company’s regional banking unit of an improperly created customer account in January 2006, five years earlier than the bank has said its board first learned of abuses at its branches...Dennis Hambek, a former branch manager in West Yakima, Washington, sent a certified letter in January 2006 to Carrie Tolstedt, then Wells Fargo’s head of regional banking, outlining unethical “gaming” activity at area branches. In 2007, Tolstedt was made the company’s head of community banking, the division where many of the unethical practices occurred.

Dorsey Tells Twitter Staff 'We Can Do This!' in Internal Memo (Bloomberg)
"We're only limited by our sense of urgency," Dorsey said in the memo. "Life is short. Every day matters. And the people who use Twitter every day deserve our best. They are why we're here. So let's show them what we're made of and deliver a better Twitter faster than they thought possible. We can do this every day. We can do this!"

Salesforce still mulls bid for Twitter as shareholders resist: sources (Reuters)
Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N) is still deliberating whether it should make an offer for Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) in the face of resistance from Salesforce shareholders over the strategic merits and valuation of such a deal, people familiar with the matter said on Monday. Twitter shares have lost as much as a third of their value since Oct. 5 on concerns the company has attracted less interest from potential acquirers than previously envisaged. It now has a market capitalization of $12 billion. Salesforce is deliberating whether it is worth making a lowball offer for Twitter in the coming days based on Twitter's stock performance and any news of other bidders, the people said.

The American Fugitive From the JPMorgan Hack Turns Up in a Russian Cell (Bloomberg)
Joshua Aaron, a Maryland native who attended Florida State University, has been held at a facility for illegal immigrants outside Moscow since failing to show police a valid passport during a midnight check at his apartment above the Beverly Hills Diner near downtown in May, court records show. He and two Israelis are suspected of perpetrating what U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called “securities fraud on cyber steroids” from 2007 to mid-2015. They’re accused of stealing data on more than 100 million customers from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other companies, using it in schemes such as stock manipulation that generated hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit gains.

North Carolina man's phone-tossing high-five selfie inspires Twitter craze (UPI)
Seth Schneider posted a blurry-but-impressive photo to Twitter Saturday showing him slapping his hands together in the air while his phone captures the moment in a mirror while in mid-air from being tossed. "Today is the proudest day of my life. I successfully took a picture of me high fiving myself," the North Carolina State University student wrote. Schneider's accomplishment quickly spread across Twitter with more than 160,000 retweets and dozens of imitators -- some more successful than others. "I am not responsible for any broken phones," Schneider wrote as a disclaimer in his Twitter bio.

Major Investor Sues Theranos (WSJ)
One of Theranos Inc.’s biggest financial backers has sued the embattled startup and its founder for allegedly lying to attract its nearly $100 million investment, according to a fund document and people familiar with the matter. Partner Fund Management LP, a San Francisco-based hedge fund, filed the suit in Delaware Court of Chancery Monday afternoon, a letter to the hedge-fund’s investors says. “Through a series of lies, material misstatements, and omissions, the defendants engaged in securities fraud and other violations by fraudulently inducing PFM to invest and maintain its investment in the company,” says the letter, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Singapore Fines Three Banks in 1MDB Investigation (WSJ)
Singapore’s central bank on Tuesday said it would withdraw the license of a Swiss private bank operating in the city-state and fine two large banks as part of a wide-ranging investigation into fund flows related to Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB. The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it would fine DBS Bank Ltd. and UBS Group AG’s Singapore branch 1 million Singapore dollars (US$726,126) and S$1.3 million, respectively, for failures of anti-money-laundering controls. The central bank said it would also withdraw the merchant banking license of Falcon Private Bank’s Singapore branch for “persistent and severe lack of understanding” of its regulations.

Ability to fight recession a matter of serious concern, Larry Summers says (CNBC)
The concern about low interest rates and the ability to fight off a recession should be keeping central banks up at night, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told CNBC on Monday. That's because interest rates typically come down 500 basis points to contain a recession, and according to market pricing, there's not going to be 500 basis points of room anytime soon, he said in an interview with "Closing Bell." "Probably sometime in the foreseeable future we'll have a recession in some major part of the world. And yet we don't really have the fuel in the tank to respond," said Summers.

Couples Face Heavy Competition In The Bizarre Sport Of Wife Carrying (HP)
This year’s competition took place Saturday at a ski resort in Newry, Maine. Forty-four competing couples put their relationship ― and their muscles ― to the test by running through an obstacle course that included log hurdles, sand traps and mud. Lots and lots of mud. As the event title implies, the man has to carry his beloved through the whole 278-yard course, according to The Associated Press. The couples don’t have to be married, but each team must have a male and female member over the age of 21. The couple with the fastest time wins fame, glory, the woman’s weight in beer and an amount of cash equal to five times her weight...Competing men can carry their partner any way they choose, but the preferred method is the “Estonian” carry, where the woman holds the man’s waist with her hands while squeezing his neck with her legs. The “chicken carry,” where she sits on his shoulders, also has its proponents.

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Opening Bell: 7.29.15

Puerto Rico sitch not great for US; Hedge funds like London; Disneyland Paris probe; Twitter; Yelp; Brazil; "Fugitive-turned-actor arrested after U.S. Marshals read film write-up"; and more.

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Opening Bell: 7.6.16

Deutsche Bank sees 60% chance of US recession; Ashley Madison faces fembots probe; Blackrock says gold will go much higher; North Carolina couple arrested for assaulting each other with pizza rolls; and more.

Opening Bell: 02.22.13

AIG Swings to Loss on Sandy Costs, Sale of Unit (WSJ) AIG posted a loss of $3.96 billion, or $2.68 a share, compared with profit of $21.5 billion, or $11.31, a year earlier. Its life-insurance and retirement-services business earned $1.09 billion, up 20% from a year earlier. The company also said it would take a loss of about $4.4 billion on the planned sale of a 90% stake in the plane unit, International Lease Finance Corp. AIG's full-year net income of $3.4 billion marked a sharp decline from the $20.6 billion profit the company posted for 2011, when it adjusted its balance sheet to reflect its expected use of more than $18 billion in tax benefits. CFTC Sues CME Group, Alleging Trade-Data Leaks (WSJ) U.S. regulators took aim at the world's largest futures-exchange operator, accusing CME Group Inc. and two former employees of allegedly sharing details on clients' trades with a commodities broker. The civil charges, leveled Thursday by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, mark the first time the agency has sued CME in federal court. The case also highlights how regulators have responded to flagging confidence in the financial markets by scrutinizing more closely some of Wall Street's central pillars: the exchanges. The CFTC charged a unit of Chicago-based CME and two former employees with disclosing private information about trading in its big energy markets to an outside party between 2008 and 2010 in return for meals and entertainment. CME said Thursday it would contest the charges. "Markets are too important for this [type of allegation] to be taken lightly," Bart Chilton, a CFTC commissioner, said in an interview. Citigroup bows to shareholder pressure, overhauls pay (Reuters) Citigroup said on Thursday it has overhauled an executive pay plan that shareholders rejected last year as overly generous, revising it to tie bonus payments more closely to stock performance and profitability. The company also said it will pay new Chief Executive Mike Corbat $11.5 million for his work in 2012, in line with remuneration for his peers at other major banks. The new plan was crafted after board Chairman Michael O'Neill and other directors met with "nearly 20" shareholders representing more than 30 percent of Citigroup stock, Citi said in a filing. Watchdog Says LinkedIn paid no federal income tax over past three years (NYP) The Mountain View, Calif., social network for professionals escaped the tax man because of a rule that allows companies to deduct expenses from employee stock awards, the watchdog, the Center for Tax Justice, told The Post. It’s a longstanding accounting trick that has spared many tech firms — including Amazon and Yahoo from 2009 to 2011 — from sharing any of their profits with the IRS, the CTJ said. “On $160 million profits over the last three years, LinkedIn paid zero federal income taxes,” said the CTJ’s Rebecca Wilkins. “The stock option deduction was big enough to wipe out all their taxes.” Unemployment applications up 20,000 last week to 362,000 (AP) The Labor Department said Thursday that thefour-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 8,000 to 360,750, the highest in six weeks. Trump Twitter Mystery! Who Hacked the Donald? (CNBC) In what appears to be the latest in a minor wave of attacks on Twitter accounts belonging to out-sized corporate entities, an out-of-character tweet from Donald Trump's verified account set the Internet abuzz, and then disappeared, shortly before noon ET on Thursday. "These hoes think they classy, well that's the class I'm skippen," read the suspect remark issued from @realDonaldTrump. It was a glaring non sequitur following tweets such as "Republicans must be careful with immigration—don't give our country away," and "Wow, Macy's numbers just in-Trump is doing better than ever — thanks for your great support!" "Yes, obviously the account has been hacked and we are looking for the perpetrator," Rhona Graff, senior vice president, assistant to the president of the Trump Organization, told NBC News via email. This confirmation was quickly echoed by Trump himself, in a tweet that read, "My Twitter has been seriously hacked — and we are looking for the perpetrators." UBS to Trade Equity Swaps in China in Structured-Product Push (Bloomberg) Chinese regulators last month decided to allow UBS to trade total return swaps, Thomas Fang, the bank’s managing director for equities derivatives sales for Asia, said in a phone interview. The bank will use the derivatives to create structured products tied to local stocks, with plans to boost the size of its staff in the country for the business, Fang said. The China Securities Regulatory Commission’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a faxed request for confirmation. A Tax That May Change The Trading Game (NYT) The tax would be tiny for investors who buy and hold, but could prove to be significant for traders who place millions of orders a day. Under the proposal, a trade of shares worth 10,000 euros would face a tax of one-tenth of 1 percent, or 10 euros. A trade of a derivative would face a tax of one-hundredth of 1 percent. But that tax would be applied to the notional value, which can be very large relative to the cost of the derivative. So a credit-default swap on 1 million euros of debt would have a tax of 100 euros, or about 0.4 percent of the annual premium on such a swap. On Currencies, What's Fair Is Hard to Say (WSJ) What's the fair value of a euro? That depends on whether the answer comes from Berlin or Paris. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday weighed in on what the currency should be worth, saying the euro's exchange rate is "normal in the historical context." French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici had a different take earlier this month, calling the euro "perhaps too strong." Economists say Ms. Merkel is right—technically. The euro's buying power is roughly where it should be, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which judges currencies based on countries' current-account balance. But others caution Germany's relatively robust economy props up the euro's value; if weaker countries like Spain or Italy still had their own currencies, they'd be worth much less. Singapore GDP Growth Beats Initial Estimate as Asia Recovers (Bloomberg) Gross domestic product rose an annualized 3.3 percent in the three months through December from the previous quarter, when it shrank a revised 4.6 percent, the Trade Ministry said in a statement today. That compares with a January estimate of 1.8 percent and the median in a Bloomberg News survey for a 2 percent expansion. KFC employee fired for making out with boob-shaped mashed potatoes (DD) A KFC employee in Tennessee is out of a job after photos of the culprit making out with a plate of mashed potatoes ended up on Facebook. The mashed potatoes, which were apparently not served to some unknowing customer, had been arranged into the shape of a woman's boob. In the photos, the former employee can be found licking what we'd have to consider the underboob of the mashed potato mammary before throwing it into an oven. The photo became public information when it showed up on the Facebook page for Johnson City, Tenn., news channel WJHL, where it was shared 2,000 times and received more than 700 comments. Once the news organization was able to determine its locational origin—the KFC on North Roan Street—the suspected employee was terminated. KFC spokesman Rick Maynard confirmed the firing but would not name the culprit because that "wouldn't be appropriate." He stressed that the employee who took the photos is no longer with the company. "Nothing is more important to KFC than food safety," he wrote to WJHL. "As soon as our franchisee became aware of the issue, immediate action was taken.

Opening Bell: 6.18.15

Greece; Lee; Hamilton; Dorsey; "Couple Allegedly Stabs Neighbor With Rake After Loud Sex Complaints"; and more.

By Alex Guibord [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 9.5.18

Trudeau getting tough; Dorsey and Sandberg getting grilled; Goldman getting sued; Jeff Goldblum everywhere; and more!

Opening Bell: 4.2.15

Twitter hedge fund; Silicon Valley Bank; Bonuses; "April Fools' Day prank gone wrong burns Michigan apartment"; and more.

Opening Bell: 6.3.16

Ex-Barclays employees tell jury of ‘humiliation’ and pressure; Silicon Valley not feeling Trump; 'Selfie Statue' sparks fury; and more.