Opening Bell: 02.26.13

J.P. Morgan’s Investor Day: Cut That Headcount (Deal Journal)
JP Morgan is looking to cut another $1 billion out of its expenses this year, including somewhere around 4,000 jobs, according to a new presentation…And that may not be all the cuts. In a separate presentation on the consumer bank and mortgage operations the bank expects to cut costs in mortgage banking by $3 billion over this year and next year and cut headcount there by between 13,000 and 15,000.

Banks Face Hurdle In Libor Fight (WSJ)
Next week, lawyers for Barclays PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, UBS AG and more than a dozen other banks still under investigation are expected to ask a federal-court judge to throw out many of the suits, which seek class-action status. The suits, filed in civil court in California and New York by plaintiffs ranging from a retired cable-car driver in San Francisco to the city of Baltimore, have been piling up for nearly two years. They seek damages that could reach into the tens of billions of dollars from financial institutions that help determine the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. Barclays, RBS and UBS already have paid about $2.5 billion, and admitted wrongdoing, to settle rate-rigging allegations by U.S. and U.K. regulators. In court filings, lawyers for the 16 banks accused of wrongdoing say the lawsuits have no legal validity. The lawyers say regulatory settlements reached so far don’t support the central allegation in most of the civil suits that banks engaged in illegal, anticompetitive behavior.

Berlusconi Concedes as He Weighs Alliance (Bloomberg)
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi acknowledged rival Pier Luigi Bersani’s narrow victory in the lower house of Parliament and said he’s open to a broad alliance to avoid a second election. “Everyone needs to think what good can be done for Italy and this will take some time,” Berlusconi said in an interview with Canale 5, a station owned by his Mediaset SpA broadcaster. The country can’t be left without a government, he said.

Lew gettin’ close: Senate panel to OK as next Treasury boss (NYP)
Treasury Secretary-nominee Jack Lew will get the green light to replace Tim Geithner despite taking heat during and after his confirmation hearing over a loan he received from New York University. The 57-year-old former White House chief of staff has enough votes from the Senate Finance Committee, headed by Max Baucus (D-Mont.), to pass a vote today that will likely lead to his confirmation, sources said. A full Senate vote is likely to be scheduled in a couple of days and held sometime next week.

Larry Summers: Sequestration ‘Meat Cleaver’ Is Irresponsible (CNBC)
Avoiding the “sequester” is “round three” in the debt-reduction debate, former Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers told CNBC Tuesday, arguing for a “balanced approach” because President Barack Obama has agreed to more spending cuts than revenue during the process. In a “Squawk Box” interview, Summers said the funding constraints of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — which resolved that year’s debt ceiling crisis — were round one. “You had spending cuts that were far larger from the discretionary side, that were far larger than anything [on revenue] that happened in December. Right now, we’re way in balance toward more spending cuts.”

Dominique Strauss-Kahn seeks to ban ‘half-man half-pig’ book (Telegraph)
The “biographical novel” by Marcela Iacub, a lawyer and journalist, recounts her seven-month affair with the 64-year-old Mr Strauss-Kahn last year. It is due to be published on Wednesday under the title, Belle et Bête, or Beauty and Beast. But the one-time Socialist presidential hopeful will this morning seek to have the book banned for “violation of the intimacy of private life” and the author and her publisher fined 100,000 euros (£88,000) in damages…In the work, she claims Mr Strauss-Kahn would have transformed the Elysée Palace into a “giant swingers’ club” had he been elected French president. In fresh accounts by those who have read the book yesterday, the last chapter narrates the pair’s final encounter, ending in Miss Iacub receiving treatment in casualty after “the pig” left her with an “eaten ear”. Mr Strauss-Kahn has slammed the work of a woman who “seduces to write a book, claiming to have amorous feelings to exploit them for financial gain”.

Gupta’s Gotta Pay GS $6.2 Million (NYP)
Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta was ordered yesterday by a Manhattan federal judge to fork over a whopping $6.2 million to repay the Wall Street bank for legal fees it spent during the government’s probe of Gupta’s insider-trading case. The 64-year-old fallen star was convicted last year of giving up secrets he learned while on Goldman’s board to his pal and hedge fund honcho Raj Rajaratnam. Among the counts, the jury found Gupta guilty of giving Rajaratnam a tip on Warren Buffett’s $5 billion investment in Goldman in the throes of the financial crisis. Gupta, the former head of consulting firm McKinsey, is out on bail while he appeals the ruling. Goldman had requested restitution of $6.9 million — and submitted 542 pages of billing records from its lawyers at Sullivan Cromwell.

Yahoo’s Mayer Risks Productivity With Work-From-Home Restriction (Bloomberg)
Jackie Reses, Yahoo’s executive vice president of people and development, sent a memo last week asking employees with work-from-home arrangements to make their way to the company’s offices, starting June. “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side,” according to the memo, whose contents were confirmed by a Yahoo employee who asked not to be identified because it’s not a public document. “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.” At a time when Mayer is under pressure to jump-start growth and create innovative products, the shift may compromise Yahoo’s ability to attract employees seeking the freedom to work outside the office — a perk offered by many of the company’s competitors. Research suggests that working from home enhances productivity, said Jody Thompson, co-founder of workforce consultant CultureRx.

BP Oil-Spill Trial Begins (WSJ)
Both Transocean and the Justice Department focused part of their opening statements on a 10-minute ship-to-shore phone call between two BP engineers, Donald Vidrine and Mark Hafle, less than an hour before the blast. From the rig, Mr. Vidrine allegedly talked about unusual results from a test designed to ensure the cement sealing in the bottom of the well was successful. Investigators later found that rig workers misinterpreted the results of the test.

Dennis Rodman Bound For North Korea (Reuters)
Retired U.S. basketball player Dennis Rodman is to visit North Korea to film a television documentary and will arrive in the capital Pyongyang on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. Rodman, now 51 years old, won five NBA championships in his prime, achieving a mix of fame and notoriety for his on- and off-court antics. Thirty-year-old North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has launched two long-range rockets and carried out a nuclear weapons test during his first year in power, is reported to be an avid NBA fan and had pictures taken with players from the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers during his school days in Switzerland. “At a time when tensions between the two countries (the United States and North Korea) are running high, it’s important to keep lines of communication open, no matter how non-traditional those channels are,” AP quoted Shane Smith, the founder of VICE, which is to make the TV series, as saying.

41 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (41)

  1. Posted by Bejujular | February 26, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Nobody takes me cereal.

    -DSK

  2. Posted by lucas | February 26, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    I found a friend! Man-pig-socialists, unite!
    – A. Gore

  3. Posted by Abe_Froman_ | February 26, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    They're always after me Lucky Charms!
    -Kim Jong-un

  4. Posted by Guesteban | February 26, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Sometimes you get hungry for ear.

    Mike T.

  5. Posted by Wasnt Me | February 26, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Why me? Why can’t anything just work out for me? I had finally built up the courage and confidence to talk to this absolutely gorgeous girl who works on my floor. I had gone over what I was going to say, practiced speaking in a mirror, and wore my finest clothes. My plan was to go over and chat with her where she always eats lunch. About 10 minutes before the plan was to go off without a hitch, I stepped into the bathroom to make sure my hair was perfect; I felt good and walked out the door. That’s when things went all downhill. I pushed the door opened and began to strut out, when all of a sudden the loudest fart erupted out of the first stall. The sound waves blasted out into the hallway. As this was happening, I turned my head to the side and there was the girl. She looked at me with a smirk as if I did it. My confidence tanked. Baby if you see this….it wasn’t me.

  6. Posted by Guest | February 26, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    I think the North Koreans are going to kill Rodman for food.

    -UBS Hunter / Gatherer Quant

  7. Posted by Guest | February 26, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    I always thought Congress should have confirmed Dennis Rodman instead of John Kerry

  8. Posted by DingALing | February 26, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Only under Obama could Rodman head up Peace Talks with N. Korea.

  9. Posted by Opening Bell Purist | February 26, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Fashionista interns! Go back to your own site early in the mornings and in between sticking a finger down your throat while admiring an image of a dress on some skinny ass model walking down a runway wearing what looks like a fucking duct tape shipping box with nude bottle trees hanging off of it, write about Lagerfeld's comfort pillow or the reasons behind the curvature of the mouths of Terry Richardson's models.

  10. Posted by Gabby Giffords | February 26, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shinin'
    Shine on the one whose gone and proved untrue
    Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shinin'
    Shine on the one whose gone and left me blue

  11. Posted by Guestido | February 26, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    DSK is barely an exaggeration of what I'm pretty most Continental European Men are like

  12. Posted by Czechakistan | February 26, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Speaking of Continental Europe. Is it true 1 out of 2 women in the Czech Republic are hookers?

  13. Posted by Guest | February 26, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Hmmm. Well as a licensed therapist, my recommendation would be for you to kill yourself.

  14. Posted by Guessy | February 26, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Speaking of Republics isnt Banna Republic holding their semi-annual sale right now?

  15. Posted by Hmmn | February 26, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Speaking of now, can you believe NOW That's What I Call Music has reached it's 45th edition?

  16. Posted by Grey Poupon Guy | February 26, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    Le Hey!!

  17. Posted by Eric Bana | February 26, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    Leave me out of this

  18. Posted by JC Penney | February 26, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    If they peel back prices they might slip in comps.

  19. Posted by Slobo Radcez | February 26, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Zeptejte se své matce

  20. Posted by Sans Motives | February 26, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    *Rucky.

    other than that, no concerns

  21. Posted by Laxbro | February 26, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Popped over to DC last weekend. Solid town, full of over-educated, average looking, white, consultants. Thought I could go visit a former squeeze from college and chill undetected. First day I’m getting texts from rando numbers, “You in DC? Swear I just saw you making out with some chick on the Metro.” I wasn't really trying to snipe anything, but it didn’t stop me from chatting up some cardio cookies on my morning jogs. And I consistently caught other girls looking at me, and then looking at the slam I was with, with that jealous head to toe look of disdain in their eyes. From what I gather, NYC gets all of the narcissistic bitches and the friendly but desperate girls head to Washington. Seems like a super easy place to round up a stable of fillies, assuming your vibe is mellow [and they think you can one day provide them an Audi Q7 and a home in Bethesda]. If you’re like me and prefer breaking a dry spell with a brainy slam with an expensive degree vs. a do nothing skank from LI, I’d rec phoning that DC douche you haven’t talked to since undergrad and setting up a weekend visit.

  22. Posted by Mighty Taco | February 26, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    What about a Volkswagen Touareg and a split level in Chevy Chase?

  23. Posted by Guest | February 26, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Uh, actually that's from Mugatu's new Derelicte line you philistine.

  24. Posted by Guest | February 26, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Hey LIBOR, meet me at Minetta's. You will know it is me because I will be dressed like Omar from the Wire.

  25. Posted by Hobbes | February 26, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    The great thing about working at the SEC is that I don't have to go home to watch porn.

    – SEC case worker, former Yahoo attorney

  26. Posted by Laxin' | February 26, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Why do politicians always say how many jobs were created, and financial news sources say how many jobs were cut? Can we just circle the wagons and draw up a formula that somehow calculates net jobs created.

    Totes preesh.

  27. Posted by Guest | February 26, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Come on now… Now's not the time.

  28. Posted by VonSloneker | February 26, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    So DSK gave her a little love bite, big deal. Fucking prude…

    – Marv Albert

  29. Posted by Guest | February 26, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    The Worm!

  30. Posted by UBS MD | February 26, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    What about a hybrid Civic and a 400 sq ft studio in Bridgeport?

  31. Posted by In who? | February 26, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    That's disgusting!

    -UBS National Lampoon Quant

  32. Posted by Totally Appreciate | February 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Kill yourself.

  33. Posted by HotKarl | February 26, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    A real man would have walked right up to that girl who smirked after hearing the fart and told her that she's next in-line for a glass bottom boat.

  34. Posted by Guest | February 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Matt, we are eagerly awaiting your Bloomberg rebuttal.

  35. Posted by Guest | February 26, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Berknake / that crazy lady commenting on that as we speak…

  36. Posted by Guest | February 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Bottom bucket again, huh?

  37. Posted by Trooper Foster | February 26, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    meow

  38. Posted by mrpink | February 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Totes.

  39. Posted by Texashedge | February 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    And as a chartered financial analyst, my recommendation would be to buy the bullet but rent the gun

  40. Posted by PermaGuestII | February 26, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la même chose.

    -Félix Faure

  41. Posted by dandraka | February 28, 2013 at 3:16 AM

    "Thirty-year-old North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has launched two long-range rockets and carried out a nuclear weapons test during his first year in power, is reported to be an avid NBA fan and had pictures taken with players from the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers during his school days in Switzerland"

    …and people thought The Dictator was exaggerating