Thursday, 11 Dec 2014 | 9:57 AM ET

Lloyd Blankfein: Welcome to the 'Chinese century'

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne

Lloyd Blankfein thinks the economy is on the right track even though it's about to be overtaken by China.

"There are a lot of positives to the economy," the CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs said at the DealBook Conference in New York Thursday.

He noted falling energy prices, an improving housing market, and lower leverage in the system.

Read MoreMaybe not a merry Christmas for Goldman Sachs

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  Thursday, 11 Dec 2014 | 10:05 AM ET

For insider trading, it's a whole new ballgame

Posted By: Everett Rosenfeld

The future of insider trading is here, and it will probably be harder to prosecute.

A federal appeals court decision Wednesday significantly redefined insider trading and may have altered the course of all further enforcement, experts said. The court's findings, which overturned convictions for former hedge fund managers Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson, place a much higher burden on prosecutors and could even change how business is done on Wall Street, legal experts said.

Read MoreInsider trading convictions overturned for Newman, Chiasson

"The stunning decision ... has the potential to rewrite the book on insider trading, while also dealing a body blow" to Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission efforts, former assistant U.S. attorney Patrick Cotter said in a statement to CNBC.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 | 12:45 PM ET

Elizabeth Warren on attack vs. Obama Treasury pick

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Getty Images
Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is going full throttle against President Barack Obama's nominee for a key Treasury Department position.

Speaking to supporters at various locales this week, the Massachusetts firebrand launched withering attacks against Antonio Weiss, the Lazard mergers and acquisitions specialist who Obama nominated as Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance. Warren labeled him as a Wall Street insider, a group she said is in too great a supply in Washington power circles.

"We'd all scratch our heads if the president nominated a theoretical physicist to be surgeon general just because she had a background in science," Warren said Tuesday at the Managing the Economy conference in Washington, according to a report in The New Republic. "It's no less puzzling to nominate an international mergers specialist to handle largely domestic issues at Treasury because he has a background in finance."

The report analyzed Warren's campaign against Weiss within the context of a potential 2016 presidential run she has insisted isn't happening. Her populist base is pushing for her to jump into a Democratic primary contest that is expected, at least at this point, to be dominated by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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  Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 | 12:35 PM ET

Be careful on this emerging markets play: Pro

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
Jankara market, located on Lagos Island and the skyline of Lagos, Nigeria.
Derrick Ceyrac | AFP | Getty Images
Jankara market, located on Lagos Island and the skyline of Lagos, Nigeria.

Optimism on investing in Africa needs to be tempered—even if there's plenty of opportunity, according to a top money manager at AllianceBernstein.

"I am hopeful ... that we will see very strong growth in Africa over the coming decades and that that will translate into very strong economic returns for investors," Morgan Harting, a senior portfolio manager focused on emerging markets at AllianceBernstein, said Wednesday at the FT Frontier Markets Summit in New York. "But I don't think either is a given, and I'm not sure investors are pricing that uncertainty today appropriately."

The key to investing in Africa is picking the right companies, Harting said. He noted a "mania" about the rise of the middle-class consumer leading some African stocks to be valued at 40 times earnings despite growing no faster than a European consumer company that trades at much lower multiples.

"We have significant investments in Africa. We're optimistic. But we don't just buy 'Africa.' You can't. You have to be discerning," he said.

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  Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 | 9:25 AM ET

Headhunter stock slides 24% on sex bias complaint

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
A NASDAQ sign welcoming CTPartners to the exchange in 2012.
CTPartners | Facebook
A NASDAQ sign welcoming CTPartners to the exchange in 2012.

Fast-rising executive search firm CTPartners is fighting back against a sexual discrimination complaint that moved its stock down by as much as 24 percent.

"CTPartners takes all allegations of discrimination very seriously," the firm said in a statement. "As soon as the firm was informed of concerns by an employee earlier this year, the chief operating officer undertook a comprehensive investigation, along with external counsel. Based on that investigation, the company believes that the claim does not have merit."

The response came after a New York Post story early Monday described the firm—according to a confidential complaint it said was filed by former employees—as "a den of discrimination where women are stripped of profitable accounts, held to a higher standard than their male colleagues and subjected to lewd behavior, including a booze-fueled naked romp held by a top partner."

The stock dropped nearly 25 percent Monday before recovering slightly Tuesday. It's now down about 17.6 percent this week but is still up 172 percent for the year.

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  Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 | 2:15 PM ET

Oil bear Andrew Hall parts ways with firm

Posted By: Kate Kelly

Andrew Hall, the noted commodity hedge-fund trader who is predicting $50 oil prices, is parting ways with 113-year-old trading firm Phibro as its U.S. desk closes, said a source familiar with the matter.

The energy-trading unit of Philipp Bros., or Phibro, the commodity-trading firm founded in Europe in 1901, has changed hands a number of times, most recently in 2009, when Citigroup sold it to Occidental Petroleum during a government crackdown on large bank pay packages.

But, under pressure to hunker down on its core business of oil and gas production, Houston-based Occidental opted earlier this year to sell the Phibro division.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 | 2:07 PM ET

As oil falls, here's where the big money is going

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne

Private money managers who invest in energy think the price of oil will continue to fall—even as crude hit a five-year low on Tuesday—but some still see opportunity in related companies.

"Oil is going to a new price point because of the revolution in production," said Bill Perkins, chief investment officer of energy-focused hedge fund firm Skylar Capital Management.

Perkins believes the price of crude could fall as low as $45 a barrel. He is personally short, a bet that the price of the commodity will drop. He believes oil will settle between $45 and $80 a barrel in the next year.

At the same time, Perkins is individually invested in an undisclosed oil-related business—Skylar focuses on natural gas—as he believes owning strong companies in the sector is a good bet because of continued demand and cheaper production.

"Companies are harnessing amazing new technology to destroy the traditional energy value chain," Perkins said. "There's a lot of money to be made on that."

»Read more
  Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 | 10:51 AM ET

The Fed may start sending a new message on rates

Posted By: Jeff Cox

Just when market participants started to adjust to the Federal Reserve being on hold even longer than originally expected comes a potential twist.

When the central bank's Open Market Committee meets in a week, it may change a key piece of language in the public statement it releases afterward, according to reports, including one Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal.

The critical words are "considerable period," a phrase used to describe when the Fed will begin raising rates after the end of the monthly bond-buying program known as quantitative easing. QE, which expanded the Fed's balance sheet past the $4.5 trillion mark, ended in October.

Here's the specific language, as put forth after the October meeting:

The Committee anticipates, based on its current assessment, that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time following the end of its asset purchase program this month, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored.

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  Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 | 11:19 AM ET

Wall Street banks making huge bet on this

Posted By: Kate Kelly

As energy prices have been hammered in recent weeks, some of Wall Street's biggest players are nonetheless ready to write billion-dollar checks to finance a nearly $16 billion Gulf Coast natural-gas project for Cheniere Energy, according to documents and people familiar with the matter.

The commitments could put banks including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley on the hook if the market for a special form of natural gas goes south.

The deal, which could yet fall through as details have not been finalized, involves Cheniere's planned natural gas facility in Corpus Christi, Texas—a gas terminal now under development that is expected to produce as much as 13.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, starting in 2018.

The terminal, which documents estimate will cost $15.5 billion overall, is currently seeking $11.5 billion in a seven-year bank-credit facility that would depend in part on the issuance of new bonds next year and the year after to repay its debt. Private lenders have already provided Cheniere with an initial $2.5 billion in funding to construct the terminal.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 | 11:46 AM ET

Wall Street raises $26M for charity...in one night

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
(left to right) Jacques (Jack) Brand, CEO, Deutsche Bank North America, and the Gustave L. Levy Award recipient; John Paulson, president, Paulson & Co. Inc.; Brett H. Barth, managing partner, BBR Partners, LLC, and the Alan C. Greenberg Young Leadership Award recipient; and Robert S. Kapito, president, BlackRock, and chair, UJA-Federation of New York’s Wall Street & Financial Services Division.
Source: UJA-Federation of New York.
(left to right) Jacques (Jack) Brand, CEO, Deutsche Bank North America, and the Gustave L. Levy Award recipient; John Paulson, president, Paulson & Co. Inc.; Brett H. Barth, managing partner, BBR Partners, LLC, and the Alan C. Greenberg Young Leadership Award recipient; and Robert S. Kapito, president, BlackRock, and chair, UJA-Federation of New York’s Wall Street & Financial Services Division.

The New York financial community raised more than $26 million for Jewish causes in one of the single largest charity events of the year.

The UJA-Federation's annual Wall Street Dinner in Manhattan sold out with 1,700 people in attendance. Some of the most important names in hedge funds were there, including managers Larry Robbins, Dan Och, Steve Tananbaum and John Paulson.

Other bold-faced names seated on stage during the gala included Rob Kapito of asset manager BlackRock, Rob Speyer of Tishman Speyer Properties and James Tisch of hotel, financial and energy company Loews. Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs was a dinner chair but did appear to attend.

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About NetNet

  • NetNet is where you'll find the low-down and the high jinks of Wall Street. It's the place for insider stories, trader gossip, and tales of the foibles of the moneyed crowd and the culture of finance.Wall Street news and commentary served fresh all day long.


  • Jeff Cox is finance editor for CNBC.com.

  • Lawrence Develingne

    Lawrence Delevingne is the ‘Big Money’ enterprise reporter for CNBC.com and NetNet.

  • Stephanie Landsman is one of the producers of "Fast Money."

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