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  Tuesday, 23 Nov 2010 | 10:55 AM ET

The Government's Insane War Against Insider Trading

Posted By: John Carney

Over the weekend, we learned that the federal government has gone into panic mode over insider trading. It is using the kind of tactics developed to fight mobsters, and later, terrorists, to root out and punish the use of non-public information by hedge fund traders. It's the equivalent of TSA Rapiscan body scanners or invasive pat-downs at airports.

Wall Street sign
Paul Giamou | Aurora | Getty Images
Wall Street sign

Does this make sense? Mobsters and terrorists have genuine victims, often easily detectable by their corpses; while the victims of insider trading are far harder to detect. That should be the starting place in any story about government enforcement; who is the victim? When it comes to insider trading, the victim is so hard to detect that it's far easier to suspect that it may not exist. The victim of insider trading is a Snuffleupagus, someone visible only to the Big Birds behind government desks.

A year or so ago, I tore through every argument that purported to show how ordinary investors were victimized by insider trading. My friends over at Business Insider are now re-running it here .

» Read More
  Tuesday, 23 Nov 2010 | 10:13 AM ET

Coppola: Consumers Are Beginning to Loosening Up

Posted By: Lori Ann LaRocco

During this time of year, we'll read and hear lots of stories on the pulse of the consumer with interviews from retail CEOs as well as analysts. But another indicator on the overall health of the retail sector is the REITS that acquire, own, develop, redevelop, manage or lease regional and community shopping centers.

The occupancy of these REITs tell you just how robust the industry is performing—is it contracting or expanding? One of companies in this space is The Macerich Company \(MAC\) which owns approximately 73 million square feet of gross leasable space with primarily interests in 71 regional malls throughout the United States. Art Coppola, Chairman and CEO of the company tells me this holiday season could be a very merry one for the retail industry.

» Read More
  Tuesday, 23 Nov 2010 | 9:10 AM ET

North and South Korea Fire Artillery in Anger

Posted By: Ash Bennington

World markets are sharply lower this morning. The selloff appears to have been triggered by two principal factors: Worries about a worsening debt crisis in Europe, and North Korean shelling of a South Korean island.

Here are the raw data: (From Yahoo Finance via AP) "In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 35.77 points, or 0.6 percent at 5,645.06 while Germany's DAX fell 16.76 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,805.29. The CAC-40 in France was 30.16 points, or 0.8 percent, lower at 3,788.73."

"Wall Street was also poised to open lower—Dow futures were down 61 points, or 0.6 percent, at 11,104 while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 futures fell 9.2 points, or 0.8 percent, at 1,188.70."

North and South Korea Fire Artillery in Anger

North Korea and South Korea have exchanged artillery fire after the North shelled a South Korean island with artillery rockets near the two countries disputed maritime border. This is an international incident of a serious magnitude, with ramifications for both the regional markets in Asia, as well as for the broader global financial markets.

The New York Times provides a timeline, as well as a context for the hair-trigger potential for escalation on the Korean Peninsula:

» Read More
  Monday, 22 Nov 2010 | 5:13 PM ET

Rising Unrest in Ireland Forces PM Cowen to Call for New Elections in January

Posted By: Ash Bennington

Major Raid on Hedge Funds (CNBC's NetNet) "The FBI conducted raids on three hedge funds today in connection with its massive investigation on insider trading on Wall Street"

»Read more
  Monday, 22 Nov 2010 | 4:51 PM ET

New Fannie & Freddie Litigation the Next Ugly Shoe to Drop in Mortgage Repurchase Nightmare?

Posted By: Ash Bennington

Are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the enormous Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) that purchased about three quarters of the total single-family mortgages in the United States, about to step into the repurchase litigation fray ?

Tom Grill | Photographer's Choice RF | Getty Images

If so, it might be very frightening news indeed for the lenders potentially on the hook to repurchase the securities they sold to the GSE's.

First, a little background.

From the RealtyTrac article, a primer on Fannie May and Freddie Mac:

» Read More
  Monday, 22 Nov 2010 | 4:27 PM ET

The Stupid Bazooka Theory Rides Again in Europe

Posted By: John Carney

Don’t be so sure that the European Union’s emergency aid package for Ireland will stop the spread of debt concerns to other euro zone countries. In fact, it may accelerate it.

After Greece was bailed out of its own debt troubles this year, the various European government officials all voiced confidence that the stabilization programs put in place would probably not need to be drawn down. Just the existence of the programs—the expression of the will of European government’s to stabilize the markets—would be enough to stabilize markets. Indeed, the Eurocrats insisted that the point of constructing the bailout programs was to avoid ever having to use them.

» Read More
  Monday, 22 Nov 2010 | 4:18 PM ET

Diamondback Says It Is Cooperating With FBI

Posted By: John Carney

Diamondback Capital Management, one of the three firms that was raided Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, says that its cooperating with the FBI's investigation .

"We received an inquiry this morning from the FBI," the hedge fund firm said in a statement that was emailed to MarketWatch . "Diamondback is voluntarily cooperating. The firm is fully operational and we, along with our team, continue to manage the portfolio and Diamondback's business for the benefit of our investors," it added.

»Read more
  Monday, 22 Nov 2010 | 4:06 PM ET

Getting Carded for the Holidays

Posted By: Stephanie Landsman

Law student Samuel Jaffe won’t be standing in line in the wee hours of the night hoping to score a Black Friday deal.

Facebook And Target Begin Sale Of Facebook Gift Cards
Getty Images
Facebook And Target Begin Sale Of Facebook Gift Cards

"I'd rather be in a bathrobe at 3am ordering my discount gifts or buying gift cards than being in a stampede," says Jaffe.

A Mercator Advisory Group study finds $70.5 billion was spent on store gift cards last year versus $40 billion in 2003. Even though the amount has nearly doubled in the last six years, the growth pace has begun to stall. Purchases of gift cards were up just over two billion dollars from 2008 to 2009.

"Gift card growth over the past two years has slowed down because of the economy. People have been getting deals. So, why give cash when you can get something 50 to 60 percent off for something impressive," says Eric Beder, Brean Murray, Carret & Co. Retail Analyst.

» Read More
  Monday, 22 Nov 2010 | 3:33 PM ET

Hedge Fund Raid

Posted By: Ash Bennington

The FBI conducted raids on three hedge funds today, in connection with its massive investigation on insider trading on Wall Street.

AP

A quick rundown of hedge funds involved:

» Read More
  Monday, 22 Nov 2010 | 3:16 PM ET

Here's What's Been Happening on the 26th Floor of the News Corp Building

Posted By: Julia La Roche

The American media magnate and CEO of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch and Apple CEO, Steve Jobs worked secretively to create a tablet-based news outlet operating out of the 26th floor of the News Corp building.

News Corp
Getty Images
News Corp

The tablet-only news outlet called “The Daily” will contain what is being described as “highly visualized” and interactive content.

During the process of creating the project, the 27th and 25th floors were "quarantined" for purposes of secrecy.

» Read More

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 CNBC's 5pm ET show "Fast Money."

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