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Dec 19, 2014

FDIC Press Release - December 19, 2014.


Press Release

BankVista, Sartell, Minnesota, Assumes All of the Deposits of Northern Star Bank, Mankato, Minnesota

December 19, 2014
Media Contact:
LaJuan Williams-Young
Office: 202-898-3876
Cell: 571-215-6027
Northern Star Bank, Mankato, Minnesota, was closed today by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with BankVista, Sartell, Minnesota, to assume all of the deposits of Northern Star Bank.
The two branches of Northern Star Bank will reopen as branches of BankVista during their normal business hours. Depositors of Northern Star Bank will automatically become depositors of BankVista. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits. Customers of Northern Star Bank should continue to use their current branch until they receive notice from BankVista that systems conversions have been completed to allow full-service banking at all branches of BankVista.
Depositors of Northern Star Bank can continue to access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.
As of September 30, 2014, Northern Star Bank had approximately $18.8 million in total assets and $18.2 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of Northern Star Bank, BankVista agreed to purchase essentially all of the failed bank's assets.
Customers with questions about today's transaction should call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-895-0586. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m.; Central Standard Time (CST); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., CST; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m., CST; on Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., CST; and thereafter from9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., CST. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at
The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $5.9 million. Compared to other alternatives, BankVista's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Northern Star Bank is the 18th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the first in Minnesota. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was 1st Regents Bank, Andover, January 18, 2013.

GATA | THE GATA DISPATCH - December 19, 2014: Russia expanded gold reserves for 8th month amid ruble rout.

Russia expanded gold reserves for 8th month amid ruble rout

Submitted by cpowell on  Friday, December 19, 2014. 
By Anna Andrianova and Laura Clarke
Bloomberg News
Friday, December 19, 2014
Russia, the world's fifth-biggest gold holder, added to its hoard for an eighth month even after having to use its international reserves on defending the ruble.
The gold stockpile rose to 38.2 million ounces as of Dec. 1 from 37.6 million ounces a month earlier, the central bank said today on its website. Its value in dollar terms fell by $85 million. Total reserves shrank by $9.7 billion in November to $418.9 billion, the lowest level since 2009.
"Physical volumes are increasing but their dollar value is not changing that much because the gold price has fallen," Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at BCS Financial Group in Moscow, said before the release. "Many central banks are buying gold since the price for gold has fallen." ...
"I cannot imagine that Russia has sold gold or would sell gold, unless its foreign-exchange reserve are depleted," Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said by phone. "Gold is the final bullet, because gold is a store of value and outside of the dollar system and not subject to sanctions."
... For the remainder of the report:

GATA | THE GATA DISPATCH - December 19, 3014: Too big to tax: Settlements are tax write-offs for big banks.

Too big to tax: Settlements are tax write-offs for big banks

Submitted by cpowell on Friday, December 19, 2014. 
By Lynnley Browning
Newsweek, New York
Monday, October 27, 2014
At the Justice Department, senior officials like to congratulate themselves on the headline-making, big-bucks settlements they have imposed upon banks and lenders for their part in causing the 2008 mortgage meltdown that sparked the biggest American financial crisis since the Great Depression.
But wait a moment. Those settlement figures are not quite what they seem. Buried deep in the announcements of the astronomical sums that Wall Street banks are being forced to pay is a dirty secret: A big chunk of the hundreds of billions of dollars banks have paid in settlements to various federal agencies and regulators since 2010 is deductible from the taxes banks and lenders pay.
When is a fine not a fine? When it can be put against your tax bill. ...
... For the remainder of the report:

The Washington Post | Wonkbook P.M. Edition on December 19, 2014.

The Washington Post Evening Edition - December 19, 2014: Obama says Sony ‘made a mistake’ canceling film and other headlines.

The Washington Post
Newsletter Name
Your evening update to Today's Headlines  •  Fri., Dec. 19, 2014

Obama says Sony ‘made a mistake’ canceling film
The president said the studio erred in opting to cancel the release of “The Interview,” which has been at the center of a cyberattack attributed to North Korea.

U.S. pledges ‘proportional’ response for N. Korea hack
The United States for the first time laid blame on a foreign government for a destructive cyberattack.
It’s never too late to tell your story of rape. 14 years later, this is mine.
The Post’s Cairo bureau chief, who lives in a high-risk zone, finally confronts the pain she has been carrying for years.
Half of Dr. Oz’s medical advice is baseless or wrong, study says
“America’s doctor” is wrong more than half of the time, the British Medical Journal says.
Suspicion of lynching in teen’s death stirs old fears in North Carolina
Lennon Lacy, 17, was found hanging from a swing set. Authorities called the death a suicide.
The Washington Post. The all-new app is now on the Fire tablet.
U-Va. board leader denounces ‘drive-by journalism’
George Keith Martin criticizes Rolling Stone for article on the alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.
Fixing the broken U.S. talent flow
LIFTOFF & LETDOWN, PART 6 | An exceptional economy has been lost because Americans stopped doing exceptional work.
Ghostly new fish discovered at record-breaking depths
It came from the deep. The very, very deep. Recorded during a recent exploration of the Mariana Trench (the deepest place on the planet), the strange-looking new species has set a record for fish depth.

Wonkblog: Private colleges are a waste of money for white, middle class kids
Students from disadvantaged families might benefit, but others typically do not.
Fact Checker: Gruber’s after-the-fact explanation of his Obamacare remarks
Jonathan Gruber gives an after-the-fact explanation of his 2012 remarks on Obamacare, but confuses the issue further.
Pr. George’s Baker loses Cabinet member to Arlington
After seven months, Victor Hoskins is leaving as Baker’s appointee in Pr. George’s for Arlington County.
In the Loop: State Department warns travelers about worldwide terror threat
Nothing like spreading a little holiday fear.

FTC Press Release - December 19, 2014: FTC Approves Community Health Systems’ Application to Divest Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center to Capella Healthcare, Inc.

FTC@100 Banner

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved an application by Community Health Systems to sell Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center and its associated assets in Hartsville, South Carolina to Capella Healthcare, Inc. CHS was required to divest Carolina Pines by the FTC’s April 2014 final order settling charges that CHS’s acquisition of rival health system Health Management Associates, Inc. would likely be anticompetitive.
CHS is a Tennessee-based for-profit company, operating hospitals nationwide. In addition to the South Carolina assets, the order also requires CHS to sell Riverview Regional Medical Center and its associated assets in Alabama.
The Commission vote to approve Community Health Systems’ divestiture of Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center and its associated assets to Capella Healthcare, Inc. was 5-0. (FTC File No. 131 0202, Docket No. C-4427; the staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526)
The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Room CC-5422, Washington, DC 20580. To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs
More news from the FTC >>

SEC Litigation Release - December 19, 2014: Premier Links, Inc., et al..

SEC Seal


Litigation Release No. 23163 / December 19, 2014

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Premier Links, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 14-cv-7375-CBA

SEC Charges Staten Island-Based Firm with Operating Boiler Room Scheme Targeting Seniors

On December 18, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged a Staten Island, N.Y. based firm, its former president, and two sales representatives involved in a fraudulent boiler room scheme targeting seniors to invest in speculative start-up companies.
The SEC alleges that Dwayne Malloy, Chris Damon, and Theirry Ruffin treated vulnerable older investors as their personal ATM machines. They cold-called names from a list they maintained at Premier Links Inc. and used high-pressure sales tactics to convince seniors to invest in companies purportedly on the brink of conducting initial public offerings (IPOs). They never disclosed to the investors that only a small fraction of the money would be transmitted to the promoted companies, and Premier Links diverted investor funds to other entities controlled by the sales representatives or other associates.
According to the SEC's complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Premier Links has never been registered with the SEC as a broker-dealer as required under the federal securities laws to conduct this type of business with investors. Premier Links, Malloy, Damon, and Ruffin fraudulently obtained at least $9 million from more than 300 investors across the country by building a relationship of purported trust and confidence with them. In one particularly egregious example, Damon and Malloy spent months earning the trust of an elderly veteran in order to defraud him of $300,000. In many instances, investors were provided with misleading account statements showing the shares they purportedly purchased as being held for safekeeping in their Premier Links accounts while awaiting the promised IPOs. Yet transfer agent records for the relevant companies indicate that shares were never purchased for these investors. Investor money was simply stolen instead.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York filed criminal charges.
The SEC's complaint charges Premier Links, Malloy (who was company president from 2007 to 2012), Damon, and Ruffin with violating the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as well as the broker-dealer registration provisions of the Exchange Act. They also are charged with selling securities without a registration statement filed with the SEC. The complaint seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and financial penalties among other remedies. The complaint also names several relief defendants for the purposes of recovering money from the scheme in their possession.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Joshua Newville, Peter Pizzani, Thomas P. Smith Jr., and Michael Osnato of the SEC's New York Regional Office. The case was supervised by Amelia A. Cottrell, and the litigation will be led by Todd Brody. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

SEC Litigation Release - December 19, 2014: Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Release No. 3617 / December 19, 2014

SEC Seal


Litigation Release No. 23165 / December 19, 2014

Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Release No. 3617 / December 19, 2014

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Frank A. Dunn, et al., Civil Action No. 07-CV-2058 (S.D.N.Y.)

On December 19, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed Stipulations of Dismissal that dismiss with prejudice all claims against the remaining five defendants in SEC v. Dunn, et al., Civil Action No. 07 CV 2058 (S.D.N.Y.) -- Frank A. Dunn, Douglas C. Beatty, Michael J. Gollogly, MaryAnne E. Pahapill (a.k.a. Mary Anne Poland), and Douglas A. Hamilton -- arising out of their alleged role in accounting misconduct at Nortel Networks Corporation. The Commission's case, filed in 2007, has been stayed since 2009. In January 2013, a Canadian court acquitted Dunn, Beatty and Gollogly of all criminal charges brought against them for the same earnings management allegations charged by the Commission.
The dismissals filed today conclude the Commission's litigation in this matter. The distribution of the Fair Fund established in 2009 from the Commission's related enforcement actions, which consists of approximately $35 million, is nearly complete.

Bloomberg View | Share the View - December 18, 2014: Climate Change and Russian Billionaires.

Bloomberg View
Share The View


The Editors: Let's get moving on addressing climate change. Experience the GlobalView...

Barry Ritholtz: "Once again, the markets prove that nobody knows nuthin'." Read more...

Marc Champion: "The U.S. is unusual in the way it allows the legislature to get involved in the details of making foreign policy, beyond oversight and approving declarations of war (Congress's day job, which it often doesn't do enough of)." Read more...

Leonid Bershidsky: "Russian billionaires have lost big chunks of their fortunes, and now, in some cases, the prestigious toys they have acquired abroad are said to be worth as much as the Russian industrial assets that made them rich." Yet "actual cash flows to their assets in Russia are relatively high." Read more...

Zara Kessler on What's Popping
Ritholtz (Read the news roundup)
  • How North Korea, one of the world's poorest countries, got so good at hacking: Read more...
  • Buffett and Munger on how to be a hack: Read more...
  • What happens when you turn over regulatory responsibilities to people who think there is really no need for regulation? Read more...
Matt Levine (Read the news roundup)
  • MetLife is too big to fail.
  • Financial regulatory delays and reversals.
  • "Bill Gross is our Peyton Manning, that game-changing level of talent for us." Read more...
Jonathan Bernstein (Read the news roundup)
  • Elizabeth Suhay at the Monkey Cage writes in defense of comments.Read more...
  • At the Upshot, Lynn Vavreck writes about persuasion and attitudes about marriage. Read more...
  • Julia Azari on the Jeb Bush campaign, at Mischiefs of Faction. Read more...

Mark Gilbert: "It's probably too late for Lithuania to reconsider its plan to abandon its currency, the litas, and become the 19th member of the euro on Jan. 1. But Greece's mess is a cautionary tale about the potential consequences of ceding sovereignty over monetary policy." Read more...

Dhiraj Nayyar: Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan has triggered "a debate within India over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship 'Make in India' campaign: an effort to boost India's manufacturing sector to China-like levels." Read more...
Chandrahas Choudhury: "One of the most complex policy discussions in the history of modern India -- one that affects almost every citizen; involves debates about federalism, economic history and statistical techniques; requires the cooperation of more than half of the nearly 30 state governments; and passes through dozens of permutations of conflict and compromise ­-- appears to have reached its endgame." Read more...

WSJ | Most Actives Closing on December 19, 2014.

Most Actives Closing
Most Active Stocks by Volume
4:32 pm ET 12/19/2014
Bank of America (BAC)101,554,886$17.620.090.51
General Electric (GE)83,755,73125.620.481.91
IAMGOLD (IAG)53,486,9502.59-0.01-0.38
Petroleo Brasileiro ADS A (PBRA)51,732,9787.340.172.37
Vale ADS (VALE)51,464,5938.140.536.96
Kinder Morgan (KMI)49,471,40841.631.072.64
Petroleo Brasileiro ADS (PBR)46,801,1177.110.213.04
Hecla Mining (HL)45,704,3532.810.155.64
Ford Motor (F)39,430,96515.030.221.49
Rite Aid (RAD)39,430,1816.77-0.01-0.15
Sprint (S)38,638,0284.160.081.96
AT&T (T)38,562,69933.540.030.09
Transocean (RIG)37,753,09019.701.447.89
Pfizer (PFE)37,352,38231.94-0.03-0.09
Oracle (ORCL)37,234,35946.000.651.43
Ally Financial (ALLY)36,936,19823.260.512.24
Exxon Mobil (XOM)36,504,35493.642.482.72
Harmony Gold Mining ADS (HMY)36,125,4381.80-0.02-1.10
Barrick Gold (ABX)34,460,37810.83-0.26-2.34
Kinross Gold (KGC)33,197,4512.890.000.00
Wells Fargo (WFC)32,606,77654.45-0.76-1.38
Talisman Energy (TLM)31,179,5867.850.070.90
McEwen Mining (MUX)29,852,5750.95-0.06-5.69
Verizon Communications (VZ)26,998,48447.02-0.03-0.06
Yamana Gold (AUY)26,470,2594.130.102.48
Apple (AAPL)76,853,429$111.78-0.87-0.77
Intel (INTC)65,674,72536.37-0.65-1.76
Microsoft (MSFT)60,204,59347.660.140.29
Cisco Systems (CSCO)51,456,12127.770.120.43
BlackBerry (BBRY)50,426,3599.99-0.08-0.79
PowerShares QQQ Trust Series 1 (QQQ)49,763,283104.320.460.44
Sirius XM Holdings (SIRI)42,745,1113.470.020.43
Facebook Cl A (FB)41,819,44579.881.481.89
Zynga (ZNGA)29,257,7552.690.2510.45
American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP)28,243,6138.02-0.05-0.62
VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short Term ETN (XIV)22,452,48733.220.170.51
VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short Term ETN (TVIX)22,108,5802.53-0.05-1.94
21st Century Fox Cl A (FOXA)21,874,24438.510.762.01
Yahoo! (YHOO)21,266,81750.88-0.03-0.06
Huntington Bancshares (HBAN)20,792,45710.33-0.14-1.29
Groupon (GRPN)20,084,5227.920.131.67
American Airlines Group (AAL)19,764,63050.710.571.14
Frontier Communications (FTR)19,729,4826.72-0.02-0.30
Gilead Sciences (GILD)19,706,116108.452.912.76
Mattel (MAT)19,657,43129.19-2.00-6.41
Staples (SPLS)19,451,21817.55-0.09-0.51
Comcast Cl A (CMCSA)19,333,17757.170.881.56
Office Depot (ODP)17,176,5588.650.263.10
Micron Technology (MU)16,559,33234.490.040.12
Immunogen (IMGN)15,991,2576.11-4.74-43.69
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY)210,304,320$206.520.880.43
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM)56,752,34838.840.270.70
Barclays Bank iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX)46,831,02829.90-0.27-0.89
Select Sector SPDR-Energy (XLE)45,124,17180.572.503.20
iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM)44,226,514118.900.270.23
Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX)39,170,16318.53-0.23-1.23
Market Vectors Russia ETF Trust SBI (RSX)36,236,76116.191.278.51
Select Sector SPDR-Financial (XLF)35,578,91824.680.020.08
VelocityShares 3x Long Natural Gas ETN linked to the S&P GSCI Natural Gas Index Excess Return (UGAZ)28,388,1577.27-1.39-16.05
iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA)27,646,91861.700.090.15
iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ)26,114,91636.010.361.01
iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ)24,471,62111.510.060.52
Direxion Daily Junior Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares (JNUG)20,449,5432.54-0.14-5.22
Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)20,227,65839.670.190.48
Market Vectors Junior Gold Minets ETF (GDXJ)18,189,22724.15-0.64-2.58
Select Sector SPDR-Health Care (XLV)17,608,18570.410.170.24
Select Sector SPDR-Utilities (XLU)16,912,66046.860.080.17
iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI)15,711,89540.260.240.60
Direxion Daily Small Cap Bear 3x Shares (TZA)15,595,66912.38-0.12-0.95
Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA)14,180,38038.630.080.21
VelocityShares 3x Inverse Natural Gas ETN linked to the S&P GSCI Natural Gas Index Excess Return (DGAZ)13,784,7695.200.7516.85
Direxion Daily Russia Bull 3x Shares (RUSL)12,880,3763.510.7125.36
Select Sector SPDR-Consumer Staples (XLP)12,819,34248.62-0.04-0.08
Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3x Shares (NUGT)12,780,47111.43-0.39-3.27
Select Sector SPDR-Industrial (XLI)12,028,35256.590.320.57
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY)210,304,320$206.520.880.43
Bank of America (BAC)101,554,88617.620.090.51
General Electric (GE)83,755,73125.620.481.91
Apple (AAPL)77,087,568111.78-0.87-0.77
Intel (INTC)65,904,95136.37-0.65-1.76
Microsoft (MSFT)60,205,99347.660.140.29
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM)56,752,34838.840.270.70
IAMGOLD (IAG)53,486,9502.59-0.01-0.38
Petroleo Brasileiro ADS A (PBRA)51,732,9787.340.172.37
Cisco Systems (CSCO)51,479,42127.770.120.43
Vale ADS (VALE)51,464,5938.140.536.96
BlackBerry (BBRY)50,426,3599.99-0.08-0.79
PowerShares QQQ Trust Series 1 (QQQ)49,763,283104.320.460.44
Kinder Morgan (KMI)49,471,40841.631.072.64
Barclays Bank iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX)46,831,02829.90-0.27-0.89
Petroleo Brasileiro ADS (PBR)46,801,1177.110.213.04
Hecla Mining (HL)45,736,2092.810.155.64
Select Sector SPDR-Energy (XLE)45,124,17180.572.503.20
iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM)44,226,514118.900.270.23
Sirius XM Holdings (SIRI)42,790,2533.470.020.43
Facebook Cl A (FB)41,819,44579.881.481.89
Ford Motor (F)39,607,14115.030.221.49
Rite Aid (RAD)39,578,6686.77-0.01-0.15
Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX)39,170,16318.53-0.23-1.23
Sprint (S)38,638,0284.160.081.96
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Includes common, closed end funds, ETFs, ETNs and REITS
x - stock is trading ex-dividend
Source: WSJ Market Data Group