EIC/Wall Street investigations
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Dec 19, 2012

SAC’s top consumer trader draws scrutiny from U.S. authorities

NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) – U.S. authorities are examining
trading by one of SAC Capital Advisors’ most successful
portfolio managers, Gabriel Plotkin, as part of a probe into the
$14 billion hedge fund firm’s investment in Weight Watchers
International Inc last year, according to a person
familiar with the investigation.

Plotkin, a specialist in consumer and retail stocks who
makes investment decisions for more than $1.2 billion worth of
assets, is among several SAC portfolio managers whose trades are
being investigated, said the source, who did not want to be
identified. The source would not name the other managers.

Dec 8, 2012

Exclusive: U.S. authorities probe SAC for Weight Watchers – sources

By Jennifer Ablan and Matthew Goldstein and Emily Flitter

(Reuters) – U.S. authorities are investigating Steven A. Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors hedge fund for possible insider trading in the shares of the popular diet company Weight Watchers International Inc, according to people familiar with the matter.

The investigation focuses on trading in Weight Watchers shares in the first half of 2011, when SAC Capital had taken a sizeable position in the stock, and potentially could implicate the billionaire hedge fund manager, the sources said on Friday.

Dec 8, 2012

US authorities probe SAC for Weight Watchers-sources

Dec 7 (Reuters) – U.S. authorities are investigating Steven
A. Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors hedge fund for possible insider
trading in the shares of the popular diet company Weight
Watchers International Inc, according to people familiar
with the matter.

The investigation focuses on trading in Weight Watchers
shares in the first half of 2011, when SAC Capital had taken a
sizeable position in the stock, and potentially could implicate
the billionaire hedge fund manager, the sources said on Friday.

Dec 5, 2012
via Unstructured Finance

What investors can look for in 2013

By Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan

Big money managers do not always agree–that’s what makes a market–but if there was one consensus coming out of our just concluded Reuters Investment Outlook Summit, it’s that next year will probably be another bang up one for the bond market.

Now the credit markets will have a tough time repeating the kind of numbers put up this year, especially with the Federal Reserve doing its darndest to push down borrowing costs and yields by buying  mortgage backed securities and even Treasuries. Speaker after speaker who joined us in New York said “junk” bonds, corporate debt, mortgage- and commercial-backed securities and even Treasuries “on a trading basis”  should do well for no other reason than credit markets still aren’t showing anything close to the kind of froth we saw in the run-up to the financial crisis. The sense is that it may be another 2 or 3 years before we see excesses build up in the system again.

Nov 30, 2012

No beef with Obama for hedge funds-Avenue’s Lasry

NEW YORK (Reuters) – There may not be a lot of hedge fund managers attending President Barack Obama’s second Inauguration in January, but count on Avenue Capital Group’s Marc Lasry to be there.

In an industry where most big money managers heavily supported Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Lasry was one of the few prominent managers bucking the trend and raising money for Obama’s re-election.

Nov 27, 2012
via Unstructured Finance

Talking straight with money managers, policy makers and econ gurus

By Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan

We may not be TV people but there’s something to be said for just sitting down and doing a video interview to discuss the big issues of the day. And that’s just what we did as part of this year’s Reuters Investment Outlook Summit and it’s something we hope to keep doing as  a regular feature going forward into the new year.

In advance of this year’s summit, we did videos with noted short-seller Carson Block, bond guru Dan Fuss, OWS bank leader Cathy O’Neill, FBI heads April Brooks and David Chaves, Avenue Capital’s Marc Lasry, economist Henry Kaufman and Steven Gluckstern of eminent domain fame. The videos were frank discussions and to make them seem more natural we went outside the environs of our Reuters newsroom in NYC and conducted them in places like the  middle of Times Square, an ice ream shop and a park.

Nov 26, 2012
via Unstructured Finance

Eminent domain or principal reductions, the bottom line is reducing mortgage debt

By Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan

It’s been almost six months since we first reported on the plan by Mortgage Resolution Partners to find a community willing to use eminent domain to condemn and restructure underwater mortgages and pay a handsome fee to the private investment group for overseeing this process. The proposal has generated a lot interest, debate and heat, but so far  no community is yet willing to go down this road.

Still, Steven Gluckstern, chief executive of the San Francisco-based group, said he’s confident that by early next year some community–most likely one in California–will go forward with the idea of condemning underwater mortgages and rewriting them so cash-strapped homeowners can afford the payments and stay in their homes.

Nov 26, 2012

Occupy Wall Street leader keeps heat on politicians

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Cathy O’Neil, the organizer of the Occupy Wall Street alternative bank group, likes to call herself a “math nerd,” who is looking to do something meaningful with her academic training.

The former Barnard College math professor and former quantitative hedge fund analyst is the guiding force behind a group that is trying to keep OWS a relevant movement now that last year’s protests in lower Manhattan over income inequality are something of a distant memory.

Nov 26, 2012

FBI uses Twitter, social media to look for securities fraud

By Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan

(Reuters) – The FBI sees social media as a potential breeding ground for securities fraud, and has agents scouring Twitter and Facebook for tips, according to two top agents overseeing a long-running investigation into insider trading in the $2 trillion hedge fund industry.

April Brooks, a special agent in charge of the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and David Chaves, a supervisory agent, said it is hard to predict the next wave of securities fraud, but they add that it will have a lot to do with advances in technology and social media.

Nov 26, 2012

Reuters Summit-Occupy Wall St leader keeps heat on politicians

NEW YORK, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Cathy O’Neil, the organizer of
the Occupy Wall Street alternative bank group, likes to call
herself a “math nerd,” who is looking to do something meaningful
with her academic training.

The former Barnard College math professor and former
quantitative hedge fund analyst is the guiding force behind a
group that is trying to keep OWS a relevant movement now that
last year’s protests in lower Manhattan over income inequality
are something of a distant memory.