Opening Bell: 09.27.13

Opening Bell: 09.27.13

No Clear Path to Avoid Shutdown as House GOP Stands Firm (WSJ)
The Senate is expected to pass a bill Friday that would fund the government for the first 1½ months of the new fiscal year. But Senate Democrats plan to restore money for the Affordable Care Act that House Republicans had stripped out, leaving the two chambers in conflict. While the House and Senate struggled for agreement on a government-funding plan, Mr. Boehner was wrestling with the more daunting task of persuading members of his own party to support an increase in the federal debt ceiling.

Lazard: We’re Not Going Away (NYP)
Lazard Capital, the closely held brokerage controlled by current and former Lazard employees, including CEO Ken Jacobs said it’s still exploring options such as a sale and has no plans to close. “It’s business as usual, serving clients,” Scott Sunshine, a spokesman for the New York-based broker-dealer, said in a phone interview. “There is no deal announcement imminent, and there are no plans to shut the firm down.” Fox Business Net’s Charles Gasparino sent a message on Twitter on Thursday saying the firm’s executives are looking for jobs as “speculation swirls” that the company is close to reaching a takeover deal or may shut down.

Carlyle To Invest In Dr. Dre’s Beats (WSJ)
The Washington-based private-equity firm is planning to invest $ 500 million for a minority stake in Beats Electronics LLC, which makes pricey headphones branded by American rapper Dr. Dre, according to people familiar with the matter.

SEC’s White: Fines Aren’t Enough (NYP)
Mary Jo White, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said she is supporting legislation introduced last year to give the regulator greater power to penalize wrongdoers. Currently, the SEC is limited to fines tied to ill-gotten gains, which can often be less than what investors lost, especially in a Ponzi scheme. Under the proposed, tougher rules, the SEC would be allowed to base its penalty on either the current formula of three-times the ill-gotten gains or the amount of investor losses — whichever is greater.

Soros Adviser Turned Lawmaker Sees Crisis In Japan by 2020 (Bloomberg)
Takeshi Fujimaki, a former adviser to billionaire George Soros and now a member of Japan’s upper house of parliament, said a fiscal crisis in Asia’s second-biggest economy is inevitable and neither a higher sales tax nor the 2020 Olympics will be able to stop it.

BATS Prepares To Take On Big Bell Ringers (WSJ)
BATS Global Markets Inc., based in Lenexa, Kan., last month announced an all-stock deal to merge with smaller U.S. rival Direct Edge Holdings LLC, based in Jersey City, N.J. The deal, terms of which weren’t disclosed, would topple Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. as the second-largest U.S. exchange operator in terms of trading activity, and last week the volume at BATS and Direct Edge combined to virtually match that of the country’s biggest market operator, NYSE Euronext. Adding Direct Edge’s two U.S. exchanges to BATS’ s own pair would give BATS one-fifth of the U.S. market, a bigger pool of liquidity that officials believe will give the company a leg up in the competition to capture trades and sell pricing data to traders.

Ballmer goes out punching at last Microsoft meeting (Reuters)
The CEO, whose screeching and dancing at company events is the stuff of YouTube legend, stormed the stage to “Can’t Hold Us” by Seattle rap/producer duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and kept up his usual high tempo, according to several people present at the employee-only meeting. He departed to the strains of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” the song played at Microsoft’s first employee meeting in 1983, followed by “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from the finale of “Dirty Dancing,” getting a standing ovation from the 13,000 or so Microsoft full-time employees in attendance.

Bond Funds Enjoy Bounce on Taper Delay (WSJ)
Some marquee bond-fund managers who took a beating in the second quarter were vindicated when bets that the Federal Reserve would be cautious in paring its stimulus program recently paid off. Pacific Investment Management Co.’s $ 251.1 billion Total Return Fund, the world’s largest bond fund—run by the company’s co-chief investment officer Bill Gross—has delivered a return of 1.05% in the third quarter through Wednesday, according to Morningstar. DoubleLine Capital LP’s $ 35.4 billion DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund, run by Jeffrey Gundlach, returned 0.655% over the same period. The gains compare with a 0.63% climb in the benchmark Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index. Meanwhile, Dan Fuss’s $ 21.5 billion Loomis Sayles Bond Fund at Loomis Sayles & Co., has posted a total return of 2.61% this quarter through Wednesday, while Michael Hasenstab’s $ 67.9 billion Templeton Global Bond Fund at Franklin Templeton Investments has handed investors a total return of 1.47%.

NYSE Wooed Twitter Listing From The Start (NYP)
The New York Stock Exchange began wooing the microblogging service nearly two years ago, when the exchange operator became an early adopter of the service’s promoted-tweets program.

Corporate Debt Bonanza Sets A New Record (CNBC)
Corporate America took on a record amount of debt in the month of September as corporate Treasurers rushed to take advantage of a dip in rates and a receptive market.

Fed needs better way to signal policy, officials say (Reuters)
The Federal Reserve confused financial markets over scaling back its bond buying, four top officials said on Thursday, with one arguing the central bank should link tapering to drops in the jobless rate and another calling for a broad remake of strategy. Fed Board Governor Jeremy Stein said he would have been comfortable with acting at the September 17-18 meeting, and the decision to keep buying bonds at an $ 85 billion monthly pace had been, for him, a “close call”. “But whether we start in September or a bit later is not in itself the key issue – the difference in the overall amount of securities we buy will be modest,” he told a monetary policy conference in Frankfurt. “What is much more important is doing everything we can to ensure that this difficult transition is implemented in as transparent and predictable a manner as possible. On this front, I think it is safe to say that there may be room for improvement,” he said in prepared remarks.

Kanye West goes after Jimmy Kimmel on Twitter over BBC interview spoof (NYDN)
The “Yeezus” rapper launched a Twitter war with Jimmy Kimmel Thursday night, venting over the late-night funnyman poking fun at him for boasting of being the No. 1 rock star on the planet in a BBC interview. “Jimmy Kimmel is out of line to try and spoof in any way the first piece of honest media in years,” Kanye tweeted in capital letters. “I don’t take it as a joke … You don’t have scum bags hopping over fences trying to take pictures of your daughter. Jimmy Kimmel, put yourself in my shoes.” The Twitter explosion came a day after a skit on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” featured two bratty kids reenacting his BBC Radio 1 interview. In the real interview, Kanye, 33, said rappers are the new rock stars “and I’m the biggest of them all.” He also said he’s gotten to a “point that Michael Jackson did not break.” Besides insulting Kimmel’s looks, Kanye delivered a low blow comparing Kimmel to ex-girlfriend Sarah Silverman. “SARAH SILVERMAN IS A THOUSAND TIMES FUNNIER THAN YOU AND THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS IT!!!” Kanye tweeted.

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