Opening Bell: 11.15.12

FSA Warns Global Banks Over Bonus Levels (FT)
Global banks operating in London have been warned by the top UK bank supervisor that this year’s staff bonuses must reflect the mis-selling and market manipulation scandals that have damaged the sector in the past 12 months. Andrew Bailey, head of the Financial Services Authority’s prudential business unit, wrote to bank chief executives in late October ahead of this year’s bonus round warning them that the watchdog would be looking for evidence they had “clawed back” deferred bonuses from people involved in scandals. He also urged banks to consider firm-wide bonus reductions to account for the impact of the scandals. The letter went not only to UK banks but also global institutions with substantial presences in the country.

Blankfein Backs Higher Taxes (NYP)
“I believe that tax increases, especially for the wealthiest, are appropriate,” Blankfein wrote in his 1,000-plus-word column entitled “The Business Plan for American Revival.” He added that raising taxes needed to be coupled with “serious” cuts to discretionary spending and entitlements.

JPMorgan Energy Unit Curbed (WSJ)
U.S. energy-market regulators Wednesday handed J.P. Morgan Chase’s energy-trading unit a six-month suspension from some of its activities in electricity markets, the latest in a string of clashes with Wall Street. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cited false information it has said the company submitted as part of a probe into alleged market manipulation. It was a rare move for the commission and another signal that it is trying to assert itself as a regulatory heavy hitter. The agency, which oversees transmission lines and natural-gas pipelines, also recently proposed a record penalty of nearly $470 million against Barclays for alleged market manipulation. Barclays denies the charges.

FHA Nears Need For Taxpayer Funds (WSJ)
The Federal Housing Administration is expected to report this week it could exhaust its reserves because of rising mortgage delinquencies, according to people familiar with the agency’s finances, a development that could result in the agency needing to draw on taxpayer funding for the first time in its 78-year history.

Fed Moves Toward Tying Interest-Rate Decisions to Economic Data (Bloomberg)
Policy makers “generally favored the use of economic variables” to provide guidance on the when they are likely to approve their first interest-rate increase since 2008, according to minutes of their Oct. 23-24 meeting released yesterday. Such measures might replace or supplement a calendar date, currently set at mid-2015.

Israel Wages Twitter War With Hamas Over #Gaza Attacks (BusinessWeek)
The Israeli Defense Forces took to its Twitter account yesterday to announce “a widespread campaign on terror sites & operatives in the Gaza Strip” even as its jets began attacking. Within minutes, Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, announced through its English-language account the assassination of its “top leader Ahmed Jabari” by “Israeli drones.” As Israeli jets bombarded suspected missile facilities and other buildings in Gaza, the service run by San Francisco-based Twitter lit up with 140-character chronicles of the assault and the reaction. Most of the messages known as tweets were identified with #Gaza, a “hashtag” with a pound sign before a key word that lets those on Twitter search for information. The two sides even fought for sympathy through the names they gave the operation. While Israeli tweeters called it #PillarOfDefense, Palestinians used #GazaUnderAttack. As airstrikes intensified, an IDF spokesman tweeted that “we recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces aboveground in the days ahead.” Hamas’s @AlqassamBrigades account quickly retorted, “@idfspokesperson Our blessed hands will reach your leaders and soldiers wherever they are (You Opened Hell Gates on Yourselves.)”

Hedge Funds Back Off Apple (NYP)
Lee Ainslie’s Maverick Capital, Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global, Eric Mindich’s Eton Park Capital, David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital and Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors each pared their Apple positions during the quarter, according to reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission filed yesterday…Despite selling off Apple shares, the tech titan remains one of the biggest holdings for Maverick, Tiger Global and Greenlight. In fact, its slide pushed their monthly returns negative.

Jobless Claims Rise Following Storm (WSJ)
People seeking unemployment benefits increased by 78,000 to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 in the week ended Nov. 10, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected 375,000 new applications for jobless benefits.

Bank of America Slashes $4.75 Billion Off Mortgages (CNBC)
The bank, which took on the burden of Countrywide Financial’s mortgage ills when it bought the company, has completed or approved a total of $15.8 billion in consumer relief for about 164,000 homeowners as of Sept. 30 and is on track, according to officials, to meet its total financial obligations within the first year of the three-year agreement.

South Africa holds diamond smuggler who swallowed 220 gems (BBC)
South African police have arrested a man who they say swallowed 220 polished diamonds in an attempt to smuggle them out of the country. The man was arrested as he waited to board a plane at Johannesburg airport. Officials said a scan of his body revealed the diamonds he had ingested, worth $2.3m (£1.4m; 1.8m euros), inside.

38 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (38)

  1. Posted by Chuck Gassteinowitz | November 15, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Hamas better watch out, Israel's a friend of mine.

  2. Posted by Vest | November 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Never trust a man that has matching socks.

    -Hamilton

  3. Posted by Texashedge | November 15, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Don't you hate it when you wait years to get into an SAC fund, pay the usurious 3 and 50 tariff…and then they just go out and buy Apple stock?

  4. Posted by pazzo83 | November 15, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    @GWashington
    Approaching the Brit gunners, troops are gettin' fired up!! Bring it @Cornwallis! #Yorktown #Independence #Fuckthebrits

  5. Posted by Dateraider | November 15, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    I love that BW explains what a "hashtag" is, but not why the two sides are fighting.

  6. Posted by DingALing | November 15, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    November 13th: Hamas and Israel call a truce
    November 14th: Israel Kills Hamas Military Leader
    November 15th: Hamas Kills three Israelis
    November 16th: (hopefully) People stop giving a fuck about Middle East Conflict and who's sleeping with who and help us avoid turning into Spain/Greece/Italy/Rest of Europe

  7. Posted by WunderKid | November 15, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Why is everyone who lives in the desert so angry?

  8. Posted by Guest | November 15, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    "bonuses must reflect the mis-selling and market manipulation scandals that have damaged the sector in the past 12 months"

    So the larger the fraud, the larger the bonus?

  9. Posted by Shut Up | November 15, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    "…raising taxes on the wealthy will lead to a new generation of Accountants, Financial Advisors, and Lawyers that will go to great lengths to help their wealthiest clients reduce their tax burden. This article may seem hypocritical because I am the CEO of a company that works tirelessly to pay a tax rate no greater than 11%…”

    - Not an OWS'er but tired of ass clowns asking to raise taxes simply to avoid them

  10. Posted by artie Help | November 15, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    "you tell that mother fucker that large Marge sent ya!'"

  11. Posted by Guest | November 15, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Clothing Bernanke since 1948.
    Influencing him since 1980.

    -JoS. A. Bank

  12. Posted by guest | November 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Roadrunners!!

    - Wile E

  13. Posted by guest | November 15, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Sounds like someone has never wiped sand out of his buttcrack.

  14. Posted by truce | November 15, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    It's pretty much assumed that Israel and Hamas are going to be fighting over something.

  15. Posted by Shecky Edison | November 15, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    An investment banker takes his stressed out electricity trading girlfriend to a secluded and romantic desert get-a-way. One night in the desert he suggests they make love out in the desert under the billions of stars of the Milky Way. Being a power trader, she asks, "Well, what's in it for me?" He thinks a bit and replies, "I don't know….sand?"

  16. Posted by Financial Samurai | November 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Always interesting to see the markets CRATER into bonus time isn't it?

  17. Posted by El Guesto | November 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    So then, you cool with me doing your mom?

  18. Posted by Confused Quant | November 15, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Do we need the joke briefer or is this just another not terribly funny joke?

  19. Posted by Ezra Merkin | November 15, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Hey !

  20. Posted by Kill Yourself Please | November 15, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Which is actually good if you're getting paid mostly in RSUs, you keep on winning it though champ…er, actually, no, just kill yourself.

  21. Posted by guest | November 15, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    beyond awful. give me 10 seconds of my life back please.

  22. Posted by HungryIntern | November 15, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Instead of higher taxes, maybe we should fix this problem…aka. the retirement compensation structure for fire, police & gov. employees. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/13/us-bern

  23. Posted by LTL | November 15, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    No problem here.

    Looney Toney Liberal

  24. Posted by PermaGuestII | November 15, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    That would actually require politicians to *do* something that might be unpopular.

  25. Posted by Diamond quant | November 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    He could have just opted out of the scanner.

    - Easy button

  26. Posted by Joke Snippeter | November 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    He's so uptight . . .

  27. Posted by Jon S. corzine | November 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    I'm glad that whole MF Financial thing is behind us now. I was preoccupied there for over a year.

  28. Posted by Hobbes | November 15, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    1,000+ words? Is Lloyd taking a freshman class?

  29. Posted by guest | November 15, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    ahem. You know nothing of our work.

    -Actual liberal tired of tired caricatures from people who don't know enough to realize conservatives share as much/more of the blame

  30. Posted by Guesteban | November 15, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    1. No bacon.
    2. No beer.
    3. No premarital sex.

    That and their countries are generally shitholes.

  31. Posted by Guest | November 15, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    How was it working with Michael Jordon in Space Jam

  32. Posted by Ghost of Laxbro | November 15, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Recovering those stones is going to be a shitty job for somebody.

  33. Posted by Since 1797 | November 15, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    ahhh the ago old conundrum of "do what's right" vs "do what gets me re-elected"

  34. Posted by guest | November 15, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    What does my politics have to do with me creating a sketch of you sitting on a pony?

    - guy in central park

  35. Posted by Guest | November 15, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    #nervous

    - Not Nervous Jew but a fan of his work

  36. Posted by WaltJrLikesBacon | November 15, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    CRATER being the operative word here. Samurai, I got a feeling your whole family is going down… but now I got to study.

  37. Posted by Guestido | November 15, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Buddy, enough already…

  38. Posted by PermaGuestII | November 15, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    What do you mean? I hear Yemen is great this time of year.