• Senator Dodd Said to Not Seek Re-election in November
  • Galleon founder faces more US charges
  • TCW Pulling Out of PPIP
  • Shumway Capital Sells Stake to Goldman Sachs’s Petershill Fund
  • Citi’s Havens Got $9 Million for ‘09
  • Hedge Fund AQR Goes ‘Mom & Pop’
  • Ex-UBS Banker, Informant Birkenfeld Seeks Probe of Prosecutors
  • Distress Calls Begin to Go Out
  • Op Ed: Why Taxing Stock Trades Is a Really Bad Idea
  • Lehman’s Plan for Claims Is Contrary to Law, Bank Creditors Say
  • Iceland Says It Won’t Default Following Junk Rating
  • Intel Vulnerable as Consumers Shift to Phones to Browse the Web
  • GM Cedes U.S. Market Share as Rising Demand Buoys Ford, Toyota
  • US retail sectors saw growth in Dec-SpendingPulse
  • Regional Mall Vacancies in U.S. Rise to Record on Unemployment

Senator Dodd Said to Not Seek Re-election in November – Bloomberg

Senator Christopher Dodd, a five-term Connecticut Democrat trailing in the polls, will not run for re-election in November, according to a Congressional aide familiar with the matter.

Dodd, 65, will hold a press conference today to announce his decision, the aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Dodd spokeswoman Justine Sessions was unavailable for comment. The Washington Post reported the retirement plan earlier……

Galleon founder faces more US charges – Financial Times

US prosecutors said on Tuesday they planned to expand the insider trading charges against Raj Rajaratnam, and accuse the billionaire founder of the Galleon hedge fund group of making at least $36m in illicit profits – more than twice the amount originally alleged.

The new claims were made in court documents filed by prosecutors in opposition to Mr Rajaratnam’s second request to reduce his $100m bail bond. Indicted last month in one of the biggest insider trading cases in history, he has denied any wrongdoing…..

TCW Pulling Out of PPIP – Wall Street Journal

In the wake of upheaval at TCW Group Inc., the Los Angeles-based money manager announced it is exiting from a government program to invest in toxic bank assets.

The UST/TCW Senior Mortgage Securities Fund, which has roughly $500 million in assets under management, has been withdrawn from the Public-Private Investment Program. TCW said it will liquidate the fund and distribute the money back to the fund’s investors…..

“As a result of certain key investment professionals at TCW leaving the firm, Treasury, the private investors and TCW have agreed, after careful consideration, that it is in the best interest of all investors to end” the fund’s involvement, a Treasury official said Tuesday…..

Shumway Capital Sells Stake to Goldman Sachs’s Petershill Fund – Bloomberg

Chris Shumway sold an 8 percent stake in his hedge-fund firm to a leveraged-buyout fund run by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to a letter sent to investors today.

Shumway Capital Partners LLC will use proceeds from the sale to help finance a partnership to include senior executives of the Greenwich, Connecticut-based firm, the letter said. Terms of the agreement with Goldman Sach’s Petershill Fund were not disclosed.

“This investment brings us together with a leading Wall Street firm while allowing us the autonomy and ability to continue to manage our investment business in the same manner that we have since inception,” Shumway wrote……

Citi’s Havens Got $9 Million for ‘09 – Wall Street Journal

Citigroup Inc. investment-banking chief John Havens took home more than $9 million in total compensation last year, making him the highest-paid employee at the New York company…..

Mr. Feinberg reviewed the structure but not the dollar amount of Mr. Havens’s pay package, because the executive wasn’t among the 20 highest-paid executives at the time of Mr. Feinberg’s review last year, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Mr. Havens’s pay package consisted primarily of 2.7 million shares of Citigroup stock, which he received Dec. 30, according to a regulatory filing. Those shares, which Mr. Havens is restricted from selling immediately, accounted for his entire bonus and a portion of his salary…..

Hedge Fund AQR Goes ‘Mom & Pop’ – Wall Street Journal

AQR Capital Management LLC, which was among the first big hedge funds to launch a line of mutual funds for mom-and-pop investors, has raised more than $1 billion in assets in less than a year, a potential challenge to the struggling mutual-fund industry.

AQR is set to launch Wednesday its seventh mutual fund, a managed-futures portfolio that seeks to take advantage of trends in commodities, bonds and other markets. The fund is called AQR Managed Futures Strategy Fund. Last week, AQR rolled out a global-stock mutual fund……

Ex-UBS Banker, Informant Birkenfeld Seeks Probe of Prosecutors – Bloomberg

Bradley Birkenfeld, a key informant in a U.S. investigation of offshore tax evasion aided by UBS AG, claimed in a complaint that federal prosecutors made false statements to a judge who sentenced him to 40 months in prison.

Lawyers for Birkenfeld, a former UBS banker, claimed prosecutors made “inaccurate, misleading and incomplete” statements about him at his Aug. 21 sentencing hearing and in an interview on CBS Corp.’s 60 Minutes television show aired Jan. 3. Birkenfeld, 44, must report to prison on Jan. 8 and can’t extend his surrender date as he requested, a judge ruled Jan. 4……

Distress Calls Begin to Go Out – Wall Street Journal

Private-equity firm CIM Group has teamed up with New York developer Harry Macklowe to help him regain control of what is regarded as one of the most valuable vacant lots in the world, according to people familiar with the matter. The site of the old Drake Hotel, in Midtown Manhattan at Park Avenue and 56th Street, has been under the cloud of foreclosure for about five months after the collapse of Mr. Macklowe’s empire.

In the other opportunistic move, private-equity giant Blackstone Group LP is making a grab for Highland Hospitality Corp., a real-estate investment trusts that owns 27 hotels. Highland has been struggling to restructure its $1.7 billion debt load amid the worst downturn for the hotel industry in decades……

Both Blackstone and the partnership of CIM and Mr. Macklowe are using a strategy that is expected to become increasingly popular this year: going after distressed commercial-property assets by buying debt or paying off creditors at a steep discount…….

Why Taxing Stock Trades Is a Really Bad Idea – Wall Street Journal

The Democrat-dominated Congress has come up with a new way for President Obama to violate his campaign pledge to not raise taxes on families earning less than $250,000 per year. It’s a tax on securities transactions—trading in stocks, options, futures and so on.

And why not single out trading for special taxation? We levy special taxes on tobacco, alcohol and other vices. Except that trading isn’t a vice. The exchange and hedging of business interests is a virtuous—and utterly essential—activity in a free economy…..

Lehman’s Plan for Claims Is Contrary to Law, Bank Creditors Say – Bloomberg

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which aims to trim $824 billion in claims filed by creditors, is asking the judge for powers that fly “in the face of” U.S. law and policy, said Bundesverband deutscher Banken, a German bank association, in a court filing.

The defunct investment bank asked a U.S. bankruptcy judge to let it file so-called omnibus objections to certain claims, notifying creditors that the amounts sought contradict Lehman’s books and records, or aren’t Lehman’s obligations. With such powers, Lehman would avoid its “burden” to explain to each creditor why a claim is being rejected, the association said……

Iceland Says It Won’t Default Following Junk Rating – Reuters

Iceland’s Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson said his government won’t default after its debt was downgraded to junk following a presidential veto of a depositor bill that had sought to repair investor relations.

“I don’t believe there’s anything that points to” Iceland defaulting, Sigfusson said in an interview in Reykjavik yesterday. Even so, “patience toward Iceland is running out. That is a reality we have to face.”….

Intel Vulnerable as Consumers Shift to Phones to Browse the Web – Bloomberg

Intel Corp.’s position as the gateway to the Internet will come under attack in 2010 as more consumers start going online via phones, tablets, e-readers and scaled- down laptops.

Qualcomm Inc., Marvell Technology Group Ltd. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. are among the chipmakers demonstrating new kinds of Internet devices at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Their goal: persuade consumers to ditch their Intel-powered personal computers as the primary way of going online……

GM Cedes U.S. Market Share as Rising Demand Buoys Ford, Toyota – Bloomberg

General Motors Co. lost U.S. market share to Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. in December as the government-controlled automaker failed to take advantage of improving consumer demand.

GM light-vehicle sales fell 5.7 percent, worse than analysts’ estimates, after it trimmed deliveries to fleet customers and worked to wind down half of its 8 domestic brands. Ford sales soared 33 percent last month, and Toyota jumped 32 percent, the automakers said yesterday…..

US retail sectors saw growth in Dec-SpendingPulse – Reuters

U.S. retailers largely experienced a strong finish to the 2009 holiday season even though sales fell at apparel chains and department stores in December, according to MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse.

Online retailers, jewelers and consumer electronics retailers all saw sales gains last month, SpendingPulse said on Wednesday…..

Regional Mall Vacancies in U.S. Rise to Record on Unemployment – Bloomberg

Vacancies at the largest U.S. shopping centers reached a record 8.8 percent in the fourth quarter as unemployment rose and consumers spent less, Reis Inc. said.

Vacancies at smaller neighborhood and community centers increased to 10.6 percent, the highest level since 1991, from 8.9 percent a year earlier, New York-based Reis, a real estate research company, said today in a statement…….

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