90 years is the amount of prison time looming over each of three former ICAP employees. The men face charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and commission of wire fraud stemming from their attempt to manipulate the LIBOR rate. LIBOR is used to price $800 trillion worth of financial instruments, from loans to derivatives. ICAP itself must pay fines of $65 million to U.S. authorities and 14 million British pounds to U.K. authorities.
13,000 acres in Southern New York are being abandoned by Chesapeake Energy. One of the largest "frackers" in the business, Chesapeake signed leases for the land 13 years ago in hopes of exploring it for unconventional oil and gas deposits. Now, rather than work with landowners who want to renew the leases on more favorable terms, Chesapeake is walking away. The company hasn't extracted one solitary cubic foot of gas from that acreage. Meanwhile...
$175 trillion represents the possible worth of the total amount of unconventional oil and gas located in just four South American countries. In terms of proven reserves, the number is $34.5 trillion. There are dozens of ways for investors to participate and tap into this "Super-Shift."
3 top people, all veteran professional investors, have fled embattled hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors so far this month. Steve Cohen was once heralded as a virtuoso investor, one of the most intelligent and gifted of the age. But now, his firm is fighting for its life amidst insider trading charges, more than $600 million in fines, and the prospect of $2 billion more. The investment pros have gone to work with Israel Englander's $18 billion juggernaut, Millennium Management.
$30 billion is all the cash the tapped-out U.S. Treasury will have on hand by Oct. 17. But a single day's net expenditure can be as high as $60 billion. This puts the country at a real risk of default. The consequences of such a default on the global economy are nearly unthinkable, but would surely be dire. It's far from certain that the Congress will pass a budget or continuing resolution or even vote to extend the debt ceiling. This would be a one-two punch of government shutdown and then default.
1 bank in particular drew unwelcome comparisons to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this week: JPMorgan Chase & Co. Investment research firm GrahamFisher said that JPMorgan was "out of control," referring to the uber-bank's risk management and internal control environment. GrahamFisher noted that JPMorgan's shareholders were increasingly hit-up to cover spiraling liabilities and fines. Then again, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reported that precisely none of the country's 19 largest banks had adequate risk management or internal controls. But this isn't exactly news to us.
21 hours and 19 minutes was the length of time Tea Party upstart Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, held the floor this week. Among other things, the senator spoke about the need to defund the Affordable Healthcare Act, or Obamacare. Oddly enough, Senator Cruz's stand wasn't technically a filibuster. His aim was to keep the rest of the Senate from restoring funding to a continuing resolution passed by the House that stripped funding. Cruz's antics have drawn fire from Democrats, moderates, and even right-leaning Republicans.
7 milliseconds is the lead time that one or more traders are believed to have had on the Fed's "surprise" decision not to taper. Someone placed massive orders for gold futures contracts, betting on a no-taper outcome, approximately 2 milliseconds before the 2:00 p.m. EDT news release, which itself took 7 milliseconds to "unlock" and travel from Washington, D.C., to Chicago. Analysis firm Nanex estimates that up to $600 million in assets could change hands in those fractions of a second. That's not the only way high-frequency trading can make for an interesting day.
~1,309 feet is the length of a Maersk Triple E-class container ship, the largest container ships in the world. Just one of these vessels - there will be 20 eventually - can transport 745 million bananas in 15,000-TEU shipping containers. That's a banana for every citizen of North America and Europe. Yum! At this rate, it won't be long before Maersk breaks the billion-banana barrier. Shipping touches 90% of the world's industries, and, as an investment prospect, has rarely looked better.
$100 million - or more, it's impossible to tell. That's how large Detroit's undisclosed pension payments became in some years, even though each of the nearly 12,000 workers drew pensions of just $19,213 a year on average. By 2005, Detroit's dwindling tax revenues were no longer sufficient to fund the pensions, so the city borrowed $1.44 billion to make up the shortfall. That's just the clincher on Detroit's truckload of trouble. But there's no need for Detroit's woes to darken your portfolio.
Don't miss today's top story: The Most Unlikely Beneficiary of the Natural Gas Boom