Purgatory For MF Global Customers (WSJ)
“My entire business has come to a halt,” said Mr. Gochberg, who can’t get to his cash. “I’m angry and I no longer have any confidence in our system.” More than two weeks after MF Global filed for Chapter 11, some 33,000 customers are stuck in a sort of purgatory, with no access to their cash until a trustee liquidating the securities firm says they can get it…A spokesman for the trustee said this week it is possible customers won’t get all their money back, due to the apparent shortfall at MF Global.
MF Global Trustee Moves To Return $520 Million In Client Cash (Reuters)
In a measure that will provide some relief to traders who have clamored to get access to their funds, James Giddens sought permission to return about $520 million to some 15,000 commodity customers even as the search continues for client money that regulators say MF Global may have misappropriated in its final days. The motion, which must still be approved by the court, came after intensifying pressure from commodity traders and the leading exchanges, who said that punishing customers who had liquidated their trading positions ahead of MF Global’s October 31 bankruptcy set a worrying precedent.
Italy’s Monti Names New Government (WSJ)
The ministers, including Mr. Monti—who will serve as prime minister and economy minister—will be formally sworn into office during a ceremony later Wednesday. Mr. Monti’s new ministers are drawn mainly from academia and the private sector. Corrado Passera, chief executive of Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, will be industry minister. Mr. Monti said that post would be “at the center” of Italy’s efforts to revive growth.
Citigroup May Cut 3,000 Jobs As Pandit Trims Costs (Bloomberg)
The reduction, equal to about 1 percent of the staff, is an estimate and may change, according to the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the cuts. Among the jobs eliminated may be 900 from the division that includes the bank’s trading and investment banking operations, the person said. Citigroup, ranked third by assets among U.S. lenders, employed about 267,000 people at the end of the third quarter.
JPMorgan Joins Goldman Keeping Investors in Dark on Italy Derivatives Risk (Bloomberg)
As concerns mount that those countries may not be creditworthy, investors are being kept in the dark about how much risk U.S. banks face from a default. Firms including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan don’t provide a full picture of potential losses and gains in such a scenario, giving only net numbers or excluding some derivatives altogether. “If you don’t have to, generally people don’t see the advantage to doing it,” said Richard Lindsey, a former director of market regulation at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who worked at Bear Stearns Cos. from 1999 through 2006. “On the other hand, if there were a run on Goldman Sachs tomorrow because the rumor was that they had exposure to Greece, you’d see them produce those numbers.”
Geithner Seeks A US Boost (WSJ)
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Europe’s smoldering fiscal crisis should compel Congress to pass legislation that boosts the economy, warning that continued global pressures are constraining U.S. growth. Mr. Geithner also said there were “lots of ways” the European Central Bank could “play a more effective, supportive role” in resolving the European crisis, though he didn’t specify what the ECB might do…Mr. Geithner said he constantly monitors the situation in Europe and is willing to help leaders and finance ministers navigate their political challenges. He chose an American football analogy for gauging Europe’s progress, likening it to “three yards and a cloud of dust.”
Blankfein: Growth To Snap Back (Bloomberg)
“I don’t think that we can conclude that this slowdown is secular rather than cyclical change,” Blankfein, 57, said today at an investor conference in New York hosted by Bank of America Corp. (BAC)’s Merrill Lynch unit. “The world will snap back and it will be a surprise and it will be faster than people think. I don’t know when that will be and we will gear ourselves accordingly.” Blankfein, while noting that the firm is cutting costs and adapting to changing regulation and slower economic growth, said he is wary of overreacting by assuming the world has permanently changed. He reminded investors that Goldman Sachs reported record earnings in 2009 following a quarterly loss in 2008, in part because competitors pulled away from making markets for clients.
Protestors Weigh Movement’s Future (WSJ)
Activists vowed that their protests would persist. Marches and other demonstrations were planned for Thursday, the two-month anniversary of the movement’s founding. Some thought the eviction would galvanize their movement, which had become increasingly bogged down in running the miniature society created in the park. “In a way, this movement is not bound to any central location,” said Andrew Carbone, a 26-year-old freelance media coordinator who lives in Brooklyn. “In many ways [the encampment] has made people a little too comfortable.”
Man walks into house; puts up Christmas decorations (WHIO)
A Vandalia family is in shock when a man broke into their house, made himself at home and even put up Christmas decorations. Police said the man’s strange behavior may involve bath salts. According to police, an 11-year-old child came home and found a stranger sitting on the couch. Tamara Henderson was next door when her son call her. She said, “What do you mean a man is in our house? You don’t know if he has a gun or if he has a knife?” Henderson called 911 and screamed for her neighbors. Police reports indicated that 44-year-old Terry Trent did have a pocket knife and was most likely on bath salts. They said Trent walked through a back door and made himself comfortable. “The candle was lit on the coffee table, the television was on and very loud, and the candle on the kitchen table was lit,” Henderson said. He also did some Christmas decorating, police said.