Friday, April 11, 2008

Soros sounds the alarm again on world economy

George Soros will not go quietly.

At the age of 77, Soros, one the world's most successful investors and richest men, leapt out of retirement last summer to safeguard his fortune and legacy. Alarmed by the unfolding crisis in the financial markets, he once again began trading for his giant hedge fund — and won big while so many others lost.

Soros has always been a controversial figure. But he is becoming more so with a new, dire forecast for the world economy. Last week he rushed out a book, his 10th, warning that the financial pain has only just begun.

"I consider this the biggest financial crisis of my lifetime," Soros said during an interview Monday in his office overlooking Central Park. A "superbubble" that has been swelling for a quarter of a century is finally bursting, he said.

Soros sounds the alarm again on world economy

Samuel W. Childs: Ex-Assent LLC employee pleads guilty in UBS insider court case

Samuel W Childs, Former Regional(NYC) compliance officer for Assent LLC (Day Trading) Pleads Guilty

updated 5:33 p.m. ET, Thurs., April. 10, 2008

NEW YORK - A former employee of Assent LLC has pleaded guilty to conspiracy in an insider-trading case involving analyst reports by UBS AG.

Samuel W. Childs Jr., who worked in the broker dealer's New York office, entered his plea Wednesday at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska in Manhattan.

"I agreed to accept money to not report suspicious trading activity to upper level management at Assent," Childs said.

Under a plea agreement with the government, the stipulated sentencing guidelines range is 18 months to 24 months. Sentencing is set for July 10.

He also will forfeit $30,000 (euro18,897) under the plea agreement.

Childs, 35, is the 13th person to plead guilty to criminal charges in two separate schemes to allegedly use inside information to make improper trades ahead of public announcements of stock recommendations by UBS analysts and ahead of news of pending mergers and acquisitions in which Morgan Stanley was acting as an adviser.

Prosecutors had alleged that Childs and Laurence McKeever, another Assent employee, each received about $30,000 (euro18,897) in kickbacks for concealing trades made by customers based on the UBS inside information from higher-level management at Assent. McKeever pleaded guilty to conspiracy in January.

Childs was originally charged last March with conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of commercial bribery.

from the north county gazette:

NEW YORK—A general securities principal and regional administrator at a brokerage firm called Assent LLC has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge stemming from a scheme in which he agreed to conceal the insider trading activity of two individuals in exchange for payments of $100,000. Samuel Childs, 35 entered the guilty plea in Manhattan federal court before U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska.

Prosecutors said in August 2006, Childs determined that two individuals were executing an insider trading scheme through an Assent account and were reaping large, illegal profits from that trading. In particular, these individuals were executing securities transactions based on material, nonpublic information regarding upcoming upgrades and downgrades in stock recommendations by analysts at UBS Securities LLC.

Childs, in violation of his duty to Assent, agreed to conceal the insider trading scheme from higher level Assent management in exchange for payments totaling $100,000 to him and $50,000 to co-defendant Laurence McKeever. Between August 2006 and November 2006, Childs received $30,000 pursuant to the agreement.

McKeever pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge on Jan. 23 and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 1. Childs pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud, and commercial bribery. His sentencing is scheduled for July 10. He faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.

Childs is the last of 13 defendants, against whom criminal charges were announced last year in connection with this investigation, to enter a guilty plea. 4-10-08

From Reuters:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A broker in what U.S. officials called one of the most pervasive insider-trading rings in the last 20 years pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme.

Samuel Childs, 35, became the last of 13 defendants to plead guilty in the case that involved former employees of firms such as UBS AG, Bank of America Corp, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns Co Inc.

"I agreed to accept money to not report suspicious trading activity to upper management at Assent," Childs told U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, referring to the securities broker-dealer based in lower Manhattan where he worked.

As his parents looked on, the judge asked Childs if he was pleading guilty because he was, in fact, guilty. He replied: "100 percent."

According to the original indictment, Childs agreed to keep mum about the illegal scheme in exchange for about $100,000, prosecutors said. But he had only received $30,000 at the time of his arrest.

Under the plea deal, Childs is likely to face between 18 months and 24 months in prison and forfeit $30,000 in return for admitting to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud and commercial bribery.

The case was announced by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan and the FBI in March 2007. Among the defendants was a former institutional client manager, Mitchel Guttenberg, at UBS and a former in-house attorney at Morgan Stanley.

The information about upcoming UBS analysts' upgrades and downgrades was used to execute hundreds of transactions, netting more than $17.5 million, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Fish said.

Guttenberg pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and four counts of securities fraud and faces 78 months to 97 months in prison under sentencing guidelines. His sentencing is set for June 2.

previous posts on this case:

how david glass wore a wire and ratted everyone out, ny magazine:
NY magazine

NYC DAY Traders and compliance officer going to jail.

Larry Mckeever guilty plea:

Insider Trading Case assent llc mckeever


Laurence (Larry) Mckeever sentencing delayed until may 20th

Harm reduction-the cannabis paradox

Cannabinoids and Cancer

Possibly the greatest harm-reducing potential afforded by cannabinoids comes from their use by cancer patients. Cannabinoids possess numerous pharmacological properties that are often beneficial to cancer patients. Many people are aware of the anti-emetic and appetite stimulating effects of cannabinoids [64]. A systemic study designed to quantify the efficacy of cannabinoids as an anti-emetic agent examined data from 30 randomized controlled studies that were published between 1975 and 1997 and included 1366 patients who were administered non-smoked cannabis [65]. For patients requiring a medium level of control, cannabinoids were the preferred treatment (between 38% and 90%). This preference was lost for patients requiring a low or a high level of control. Sedation and euphoria were noted as beneficial side effects, whereas dizziness, dysphoria, hallucinations, and arterial hypotension were identified as harmful side effects.

The cancer cell killing [66] and pain relieving properties of cannabinoids are less well known to the general public. Cannabinoids may prove to be useful chemotherapeutic agents [67]. Numerous cancer types are killed in cell cultures and in animals by cannabinoids. For example, cannabinoids kill the cancer cells of various lymphoblastic malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma [68], skin cancer [69], glioma [70], breast and prostate cancer [71], pheochromocytoma [72], thyroid cancer [73], and colorectal cancer[74]. Since 2002 THC has been used in a clinical trial in Spain for the treatment of glioma [75]. However, not all cancers are the same, and cannabinoid-induced biochemical modifications, while effective in killing the cells of some cancers, as indicated above, can have the opposite effect on the cells of other types of cancer. For example, recent work has shown that the synthetic cannabinoid, methanandamide, can promote the growth of lung cancer cells by a receptor independent pathway that involves the up-regulation of COX2 [76]. Although much has been learned about the therapeutic value of cannabinoid agonists and antagonists in different situations, scientific understanding of how to appropriately modulate the endocannabinoid pathways remains preliminary, with much remaining to be learned.

Multiple Sclerosis

Both animal and human studies provide strong evidence of the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids to provide relief from a number of neurological disease states [49]. The use of cannabinoids to treat people suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) is an excellent example of the importance of "medical marijuana" as an agent of harm reduction[50] MS is a neurodegenerative disease in which the immune system attacks components of the nervous system. The axons of many central nervous system (CNS) neurons are surrounded by a myelin sheath that acts much like an insulator around a wire. MS is associated with the degradation of the myelin sheath that leads to loss of axon function and cell death, thus producing the disease symptoms.

Cannabis-based therapies for the treatment of MS can provide symptomatic and true therapeutic relief. On the one hand, cannabinoids help to reduce spasticity in an animal model of MS (chronic relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (CREAE) [51]. However, the involvement of the cannabinoid system in the etiology of MS goes much deeper. MS is in reality an autoimmune disease. In order to appreciate why cannabinoids can have in important role, beyond what has already been mentioned, in treating MS on a mechanistic level [52], a brief introduction to immunology is required.

Cannabinoids and Th1 Mediated Auto-Immune Diseases

In contrast to the Th1 immune response, the Th2 immune response promotes the humoral arm of the immune system. It turns down the Th1 response, is characterized by antibody production, and is typically anti-inflammatory. Ideally, the Th1 and Th2 pathways are functionally balanced to optimally meet the survival needs of an organism in its environment. In reality however, many autoimmune diseases, and other age related diseases, are characterized by an excessive Th1-driven immune response at the site of the of the tissue damage involved. Multiple sclerosis, arthritis, Crohn's disease, and diabetes are all diseases that fall into this category.

The therapeutic impact of cannabinoids on these diseases can be dramatic. For example, when rodents were given experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) as an MS animal model and were treated with cannabinoids, the results were profound [56]. In a study that involved both guinea pigs and rats, 98% of the EAE animals that were not treated with THC died. In contrast, greater than 95% of THC-treated animals survived. They had only mild symptoms with a delayed onset or no symptoms at all. The capacity of cannabinoids to down-regulate a spectrum of auto-immune diseases should serve as a warning against the long term use of CB1 inhibitors for weight control. Such drugs are currently in the regulatory pipeline [57] and one of the participants in the clinical trial unexpectedly developed multiple sclerosis [58].

Full article

Pre Market Trading Talk with Bob Pisani -


General Electric Co

32.41 -4.34 -11.81%

[GE 32.41 -4.34 (-11.81%) ] reported first quarter earnings of $0.44, below the $0.51 consensus and $0.50-$0.53 guidance. Full year guidance was cut to $2.20-$2.30 from $2.42. Down 11 percent pre-open.

This was the biggest miss most analysts can remember; certainly the biggest miss in over a decade.

Commercial Finance was a problem. Analysts--including Jeff Sprague at Citigroup--noted that GE attributed $0.05 of the miss to mark to market losses, impairments and the inability to get asset sales done. Provision for losses was up 41 percent about double what was expected. The other 2 cents from the other non-financial parts.

Industrial and Healthcare were also disappointments; Healthcare had a 17 percent profit drop on flat sales. Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse downgrades GE.

Any good news? Parts of the international business are doing well, and the dividend yield is 3.7 percent now.

Disclosure: CNBC is owned by NBC Universal, which is a unit of GE.


1) Financials are weak pre-open. GE's financial business is highly thought of on the Street; most feel it is the was creme of the crop, and if they had unforeseen problems at the end of Q1, than many others in the industry did too.

Little surprise, then, that financials are trading down here, particularly since many of the big banks are reporting earnings next week. Fannie Mae, AIG, Capital One, Lehman, other financials trading down about 3 percent.

Note CIT

CIT Group Inc

11.52 -0.84 -6.8%

[CIT 11.52 -0.84 (-6.8%) ] --which competes against GE in leasing and financing--down 7 percent.

Some of the other big industrial companies, like Tyco, Honeywell, and Whirlpool, are also down, though on much lighter volume. Washington Mutual down 6 percent.

2) Delta

Delta Air Lines Inc

10.27 0.52 +5.33%

[DAL 10.27 0.52 (+5.33%) ] is up 5 percent as Credit Suisse raises its rating to outperform

3) Genentech

Genentech Inc

76.25 -1.75 -2.24%

[DNA 76.25 -1.75 (-2.24%) ] beat and reaffirmed guidance, but revenues were below expectations. Cancer drug Avastin sales were short of expectations. Down 2 percent.

Pre Market Trading Talk with Bob Pisani -

Pre Market Trading Indications

Gapping up in reaction to strong earnings/guidance: CDIC +16.1%, PRLS +11.1%, EXAC +5.8%, PZN +5.1%, FAST +4.0%, SJR +2.8%, BSET +2.1%, CTCT +1.3%, IRIX +1.1%...

M&A news: TZIX +18.8% (to be acquired by Apax Partners for $22/share)...

Other news: ADLS +11.7% (announces that, based on a productive meeting with the FDA, it plans to submit a New Drug Application in the third quarter of 2008 for its novel once-a-day oral antibiotic; also upgraded to Buy at Lazard), CVTX +10.8% (CV Therapeutics and Astellas announce FDA approval for Lexiscan injection), PDLI +10.6% (declares a special cash dividend of $4.25 per share; announces plan to separate its biotechnology operations from its antibody humanization royalty assets), BNS +6.9% (WSJ reports NCC draws interest of Bank of Nova Scotia), DAL +6.2% (continued strength following report that Delta-Northwest merger may be announced next week; also upgraded to Outperform at Credit Suisse), CCJ +2.9% (continued speculation that China signals takeover interest), FTE +2.7% (says 'no current plans' for major share buyback - Thomson), NCC +2.1% (draws interest of Bank of Nova Scotia - WSJ), ANGO +1.6% (offers to purchase certain Diomed assets in the United States and United Kingdom; co to pay $11 mln for assets), BHI +1.5% (Cramer makes positive comments on MadMoney), HRB +1.5% (Director Richard Breeden buys 2 mln shares at $21.61-21.89), NWA +1.2% (continued strength following report that Delta-Northwest merger may be announced next week; also upgraded to Outperform at Credit Suisse)...

Analyst upgrades
: CNTF +2.1% (initiated with Buy at Roth), CLNE +1.3% (initiated with a Buy at Lazard), MHS +1.0% (upgraded to Outperform at Credit Suisse).

Gapping up: CVTX +18.3%, PDLI +11.0%, PRLS +6.8%, EXAC +5.8%, NVDA +3.4%, DAL +2.6%, CCJ +2.1%, ANGO +1.6%, BHI +1.5%, NWA +1.2%...

Gapping down
: FRNT -23.6%, PWER -17.2%, FDRY -16.2%, ACPW -11.6%, PCOP -11.1%, GE -9.5%, INTV -7.8%, WM -1.5%, GS -1.4%, ABB -1.3%, C -1.3%, PRU -1.0%.

NYSE Arca Morning Pre Market Trading Update

NYSE Arca Morning Update for Friday, Apr 11, 2008 :

Stocks trading on NYSE Arca at a price more than 15% away from the previous trade day's consolidated close price. (As of 08:30:00 ET)

Thursday's Close Current Price Pct Chng Current NYSE Arca Vol





10 Most Active stocks on NYSE Arca as of 08:30:00 ET

Based on Dollar Volume: Based on Share Volume:
Dollar Volume
Share Volume

NYSE Arca Morning Pre Market Trading

Pre-Market Trading - NASDAQ Premarket

NASDAQ - Pre-Market Ten Most Advanced

Active Share Volume Declined


Company Name

Last Sale (Pre-Market) % Change


CV Therapeutics, Inc.
$8.03 $9.50 18.31% 10,000

PDL BioPharma, Inc.
$11.71 $13 11.02% 103,791

JetBlue Airways Corporation
$5.35 $5.45 1.87% 3,000

3Com Corporation
$2.36 $2.37 0.42% 4,300

Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
$24.34 $24.41 0.29% 253,792

LM Ericsson Telephone Company
$20.01 $20.06 0.25% 14,400

As of 4/11/2008 8:01:47 AM

NASDAQ - Pre-Market Ten Most Declined

Active Share Volume Advanced


Company Name

Last Sale (Pre-Market) % Change


Foundry Networks, Inc.
$11.59 $10.50 9.40% 46,077

E*TRADE Financial Corporation
$3.91 $3.85 1.53% 58,843, Inc.
$292 $288 1.37% 5,887

Research in Motion Limited
$120.68 $119.20 1.23% 8,090

Cisco Systems, Inc.
$24.04 $23.75 1.21% 15,900

Randgold Resources Limited
$52.90 $52.35 1.04% 4,700

Intel Corporation
$22.08 $21.90 0.82% 8,470

Apple Inc.
$154.55 $153.37 0.76% 28,110

Microsoft Corporation
$29.11 $28.94 0.58% 8,720

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1
$45.54 $45.36 0.40% 1,211,518

As of 4/11/2008 8:01:51 AM

Pre-Market Most Active Stocks - NASDAQ Premarket

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