Opening Bell: 01.04.12

Dimon Says JPMorgan Is Expanding Amid ‘Hostility’ Toward Banks (Bloomberg)
“2011 was another year of challenges, both for JPMorgan Chase and for countries around the world,” Dimon wrote in a year-end e-mail to staff. “There is a lot of frustration out there and more than a little hostility toward our industry.” Dimon, 55, respects the right of people to “speak their mind” and acknowledged their frustrations, he wrote in the Dec. 20 e-mail. Everyone has an interest in spurring the economy and creating jobs, he wrote. JPMorgan hired 16,000 people in the U.S. in 2011, Dimon said in the letter, expanding its total workforce to more than 260,000 in a year when financial companies announced more than 200,000 job cuts and protests against Wall Street firms spread worldwide. The New York-based lender is adding about 175 branches a year in the U.S., he said. “In the face of challenges, JPMorgan Chase is doing its part,” Dimon wrote. “We have not shrunk back.”

Yahoo Poised To Name CEO (AllThingsD)
According to sources close to the situation, Yahoo is poised to name a CEO, an announcement that could come as early as tomorrow. Sources said the leading candidate likely to get the nod is a dark horse and someone who has not been named in previous reports: PayPal President Scott Thompson, who runs eBay’s massive online payments unit.

Bank Earnings Jump 57% in Analyst Forecasts (Bloomberg)
The six largest lenders, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), may post an average profit increase of 57 percent this year, according to 184 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. A year ago, analysts predicted profit at the banks would climb 32 percent in 2011. Instead, earnings per share probably fell 18 percent as the economic recovery analysts counted on never took hold. Improved trading results, more investment-banking deals, expense-cutting measures and lower credit costs will lead to the increase in earnings that didn’t materialize last year, analysts say. That may provide a boost to stock prices after financials were the worst-performing industry in the U.S. in 2011.

MF Global U.K. Staff May Not Get Pledged Bonuses (Bloomberg)
KPMG LLP, the administrator of MF Global’s U.K. unit, said cash bonuses would be treated as unsecured claims, near the bottom of the creditor pile. Unvested share awards and stock options for the unit’s 700 employees, valued at about $62 million for the year ending in March 2011, are virtually worthless with the stock trading at less than 8 cents yesterday.

Fed Will Detail Rate Plans, Easing Market Guesswork (WSJ)
With the decision to release interest-rate plans, Mr. Bernanke is borrowing a page from central banks in Sweden, Norway and New Zealand by trying to pull back the curtain on the Fed’s internal thinking about where rates are headed. Divulging these details could affect borrowing rates for all types of consumer and business credit, from a conventional home mortgage to a blue-chip company’s multibillion-dollar loan.

RBS Woos Investment Bank Buyers (SkyNews)
“People close to RBS tell me it has appointed Lazard, the investment bank, in recent days to handle an auction of swathes of its global banking and markets (GBM) division.”

Greenspan: ‘True Revolution’ Ahead For US Fiscal Future (FT)
In an opinion piece for the Financial Times, Greenspan argued that the political landscape in the United States was more divided than ever, resulting in political paralysis as the Tea Party’s influence had created “an effective veto of new legislation before the current heavily Republican House of Representatives”. The failure last year of the Super Committee — a congressional committee tasked with finding spending cuts to cut the United States’ ballooning budget deficit — to reach a deal underscores this shift in U.S. politics, Greenspan said. “A political tsunami has emerged out of our past in the form of the Tea Party, with its ethos reminiscent of rugged individualism and self-reliance,” Greenspan wrote.

Bachmann’s Husband Spent the Day Before Iowa Caucuses Buying Doggie Sunglasses (Daily Intel)
Husband Marcus, whom Bachmann called “the best campaigner in our family,” went out on his own looking for accessories for the family dog yesterday while the rest of Bachmann’s staff mounted a last-ditch effort to stir up supporters at local businesses in Iowa. “Yesterday when we were out on Main Street in Des Moines, he was out buying doggie sunglasses for our dog Boomer, while we were out visiting all of the many business,” Bachmann said in her speech following the caucuses.

In Election Year, January Is Even More Crucial For Markets (CNBC)
Since 1945, a positive January in an election year has never missed in predicting a full-year gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500, going 8-for-8 and posting an average gain of 16 percent, well above its normal average, according to Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P. A negative first month, meanwhile, has predicted a full-year loss 56 percent of the time, with an average 3.9 percent decline.

Romney Beats Santorum by Eight Votes in Iowa Caucuses (Bloomberg)
“Thank you so much Iowa,” Santorum told supporters in Iowa early today, before the final result was known. “By standing up and not compromising, by standing up and being bold and leading, leading with that burden and responsibility you have to be first, you have taken the first step of taking back this country.”

McCain To Endorse Romney (WSJ)
“The endorsement is a signal by the GOP’s onetime standard-bearer that Republicans should start falling in line behind the former Massachusetts governor.”

German Bund Auction A Success (WSJ)
Yay Germany: Germany sold €4.057 billion ($5.28 billion) of the 2% January 2022 bund, its current 10-year benchmark paper, with bids reaching €5.14 billion. The German Finance Agency had offered €5 billion of this paper. The average yield came in at 1.93%, in line with secondary market levels, down from 1.98% at its first auction Nov. 23. By early afternoon following the auction, the yield was trading at 1.894%.

Banks Park Record Funds With ECB (WSJ)
European banks parked a record amount of funds at the European Central Bank’s overnight deposit facility Tuesday while short-term emergency borrowing from the central bank remained elevated, underscoring persistent nervousness about the health of the region’s financial system.

Pass The Large Grain Of Salt (NYT)
“HERE’S a good example of what we’re talking about,” Simon Doonan said. My Cuban sandwich had just arrived, pressed flat and bulging with cheese. He was giving it a withering once-over. “You must be on guard when you see a panini coming toward you, because they can cram an enormous amount of meat and cheese in there,” said Mr. Doonan, the author, Slate.com humorist-provocateur and creative ambassador at large for Barneys New York. “They’re not as little as they look. And then adjacent to that is this dollop of guacamole with, quelle horreur, what are clearly deep-fried chips.” “Gay chips are baked,” he said. “Straight chips are deep-fried. It’s that simple.” Mr. Doonan, slim and sprightly at 59, was doing his best to guide me through the dietary pitfalls of a typical lunch in the city. In his eyes, my problem was not merely that I was prone to eating too much, but also that I ate the way a lot of straight men automatically do: with gluttonous, meat-and-cheese-and-avocado-mad disregard for the repercussions. If I wanted to slim down after the holidays, he suggested, I should try to eat like a gay man. One of the tongue-in-cheek propositions of Mr. Doonan’s new book, “Gay Men Don’t Get Fat”, is that the vast range of the world’s culinary options can be boiled down to two core categories: gay food and straight food. Seeking out a balanced diet of both is the savviest way to stay svelte. Think of it, if you must, as bisexual eating. “Mix it up,” he said. “Gay men don’t stay trim because they only eat gay food. I don’t live on macarons and lettuce.” How about almonds? “Yeah,” he said warily. “I’ll do an almond. Or two. Not a fistful. You know when you get those mixed nuts on a plane? If I’m sitting next to a straight guy, he’ll basically take the little container and heave it into his mouth.”

39 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (39)

  1. Posted by Asdf | January 4, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    I, for one, cannot wait for the inevitable Bachmann family reality show.

  2. Posted by pazzo83 | January 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    We were gonna vote for Santorum, but we googled the guy and did not like what we saw.

    – tie-breaking Iowa voters

  3. Posted by nachocheese | January 4, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Actually, I really look forward to "Cooking with Calista"

  4. Posted by taintedastroglide | January 4, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    seriously wtf, do people have any idea what this guy is all about?

  5. Posted by Bible Republican | January 4, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    "Santorum" backwards is "murotnas", or Mexican shakey things that rattle and are used to accompany music via their percussionistic shaking.

    There is a message there.

  6. Posted by Guest | January 4, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Hey, Macaca, yeah you!

  7. Posted by Guest | January 4, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Marcus Bachmann would make a sassy, no-nonsense First Lady.

  8. Posted by dsk | January 4, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    I know everything there is to know about santorum. He's a republican, so by definition he is an inflexible, genocidal, racist, baby-eating pile of garbage who does not matter one whit to the 47% of americans who pay no taxes. I personally think the Dan Savage ruse is slanderous, but also that it has backfired and driven voters to Santorum (mmmm, foamy santourm!) If dan savage did that to me i'd pay him a persinal visit.

  9. Posted by Assburgher | January 4, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    I'm really tired of hearing about a "santorum surge".

  10. Posted by Guest | January 4, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    No, they just like his hair.

    – Guest who is worried that the fate of the USA may come down to people being able to count to 8

  11. Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Ass Juice 2012!!!!!

  12. Posted by Guest@hjklh.com | January 4, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Glad JD's taking one for the team.

  13. Posted by VonSloneker | January 4, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    If I have to get my protein that way, I'll stick with this gut thank you. In fact, I'm going to Carrabba's to toast Yahoo's new CEO with a namesake bruschetta.

    – Straight Men Who Stare at Goat Cheese

  14. Posted by AIG Quant | January 4, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    So Scott Thompson is the new head of Yahoo. I wonder how long it will be before Maria gets told there's room on the company jet?

  15. Posted by Guest | January 4, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    I stepped in some santorum once, almost ruined my shoes.

  16. Posted by Guest | January 4, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Anyone catch the Iowa voter who responded to her support of Santorum with, "Well ya know, people I like told me he supports family values, and I have a family."

    The guy elected by these noobs is going to defeat 'sell you a ketchup popsicle in white gloves' Obama?

    Cool story bro.

  17. Posted by Cut Me | January 4, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Just think of the world full of hot burnette's, and JPM will expand like the throbbing in your pants.
    -J. Dimon

  18. Posted by Cut Me | January 4, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Have you ever tried Greek Yogurt for your protein?
    -Albuquerque Sunflower Market Rep

  19. Posted by FKApmco | January 4, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Jefco execs have some of the best names ever: Dick Handler, IM Cumming, Dick Dooley, Peregrine Broadbent, Matty Baldass[ano]. If this Wall St thing doesn't work out, they already have the names for a career in porn.

    I also note no women in the senior ranks…not drawing any conclusions…just sayin

  20. Posted by Cut Me | January 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Hey! Sometimes you have to slowly let women into your gig.
    -P. North

  21. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 4, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    This would make it different than every election since 1792… how?

  22. Posted by guest | January 4, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Once again, we have no intention of acquiring RBS.

    UBS AG

  23. Posted by early_hominid | January 4, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Tell me about it. Everyone said I was a perfect fit there, but . . . no interview, nothing.

    – Anita Foch

  24. Posted by 2StopShop | January 4, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Surprise Michele – those glasses were for you.

    Love,
    Marcus

  25. Posted by trojan_ | January 4, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    alright Guest, you're off the Virginia ballot

  26. Posted by trojan_ | January 4, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Amanda Hugnkiss? I'm looking for Amanda Hugnkiss….

  27. Posted by Guestest | January 4, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    And as always, Michele is surprised

  28. Posted by Hootie J. | January 4, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Very, very, slowly. Like not at all.

  29. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 4, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Me neither.

    -Norma Lee-Horneigh

  30. Posted by FKApmco | January 4, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I love you

  31. Posted by FKApmco | January 4, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I love you too

  32. Posted by FKApmco | January 4, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I love you three

  33. Posted by early_hominid | January 4, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    I love you too honey bunny.

    .

  34. Posted by Whoops | January 4, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Why don't you try lowering your standards?

  35. Posted by trojan_ | January 4, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    pmco, meet me at Moe's Tavern tonight. prank call me in advance so i know its you

  36. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 4, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Right back at ya' pmco

  37. Posted by early_hominid | January 4, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Her name once was PMCO – it’s now FKA,
    She toys with the boys while passing the day
    Give her an inch, she won’t take a mile,
    But give her more inches and she’ll make you smile.

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