Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 04.24.13

Credit Suisse Profit Rises (WSJ)
Zurich-based Credit Suisse said its bottom line was flattered by a favorable comparison with last year’s result, when an accounting charge weighed on performance. Revenue at the bank rose 19% following several quarters of reported declines. The report from Switzerland’s second-largest bank comes amid a cost-cutting program started in 2011 that has it eliminating thousands of jobs. The program has resulted in 2.5 billion Swiss francs ($2.6 billion) in savings, and is on track to cut costs by 4.4 billion francs by the end of 2015, the bank said. Credit Suisse said its number of full-time employees fell to 46,900 in the first quarter, from 48,700 in the same period last year.

Barclays Profit Buoyed By Investment Banking Unit (WSJ)
Investment banking, headed by departing executive Rich Ricci, accounted for 74% of Barclays’ pretax profit, or £1.32 billion of the £1.79 billion total. The high proportion of profits in part reflected weakness in other areas, such as retail banking in Europe and Africa, but was underpinned by a strong quarter for underwriting stock offerings and servicing hedge fund clients…The bank as a whole posted a £839 million net profit, compared with a £598 million net loss in the first quarter of 2012. Both figures are distorted by accounting charges that reflect the market cost of Barclays’ own debt. The £1.79 billion pretax profit was down 25% from £2.4 billion in first-quarter 2012 and slightly lower than analysts had expected.

Citigroup Says Debt Beats Peers in Advance of ‘Bail-In’ Rule (Bloomberg)
Citigroup, the bank that took the most U.S. aid during the credit crisis, said it’s better- prepared than some rivals to withstand the impact of new anti- bailout rules that could force lenders to sell more debt. Citigroup’s so-called bail-in plan — a rescue that makes debt investors and stockholders absorb losses instead of taxpayers — shows the bank already has issued more long-term debt than some of its largest rivals, Treasurer Eric Aboaf said during an April 22 investor presentation. That leaves the New York-based bank in a better position as regulators decide how much more debt lenders should add to their buffers, Aboaf said.

Wall Street Jobs Plunge As Profit Soars (Bloomberg)
“The desire is to drive the cost of executing a trade to its lowest point — this means automating the system and getting rid of the traders,” Richard Bove, a bank analyst with Rafferty Capital Markets LLC, said in a telephone interview. “All they do today is hit buttons on computer screens. Twenty-five years ago they would be calling their buddies at different firms. It was a highly labor intensive effort.” New York’s “inhospitable” climate for commercial banks, along with falling demand for financial services and increasing automation is driving the decline in jobs, Bove said.

Woman could face death penalty for killing man by crushing testicles (NYDN)
A 42-year-old woman is on trial for allegedly grabbing a man’s genitals after he told her not to park her electric bike in front of his store. He later died from shock, according to reports. “I’ll squeeze it to death, you’ll never have children again,” witnesses reported her as saying as she called on her brother and husband for back-up. The woman, who could face the death penalty if convicted, got into the row – in the Meilan District of Haikou City, Hainan – more than a year ago on April 19, 2012. IBTimes reports that her 41-year-old victim went into a state of shock and died before paramedics could treat him. The final outcome of the trial, it adds, depends largely on the interpretation of the woman’s statement of “squeeze it to death.” Dr Irwin Goldstein, urologist and director of San Diego Sexual Medicine, has previously told Gizmodo it is “quite plausible” the squeeze had killed the man. “Yes, the testicles are exquisitely sensitive to touch and there is a huge release of adrenalin when there is excessive force applied to these organs,” he told the site. He added that it could have brought on a heart attack.

Hazy Future for S.E.C.’s Blossoming Whistle-Blower Effort (NYT)
Already, a whistle-blower program has bolstered an investigation into a trading blowup that nearly toppled Knight Capital, the largest stock trading firm on Wall Street, according to lawyers briefed on the case. With help from another whistle-blower, the lawyers said, the government discovered that Oppenheimer & Company had overstated the performance of a private equity fund. And after pursuing a Texas Ponzi scheme for more than a year, a cold trail heated up in 2010 when a tipster emerged. The breakthroughs—previously undisclosed—show the promise of the agency’s 20-month-old whistle-blower program. Yet, the program faces challenges on many fronts. Some Wall Street firms are urging employees to report wrongdoing internally before running to the government, and one hedge fund, Paradigm Capital Management, was accused in a lawsuit of punishing an employee who had cooperated with the S.E.C., according to court and internal documents. Another financial firm, the documents show, pressured an employee to forfeit potential “bounties or awards”—a possible violation of S.E.C. rules.

Apple’s $145 Billion in Cash Fails to Win AAA Debt Rating (Bloomberg)
Apple, which has $145 billion of cash, said yesterday it plans to use debt to help finance a $100 billion capital reward for shareholders after a 42 percent stock plunge. Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s responded by ranking the company a level below their top grades, with Gerald Granovsky of Moody’s citing “shifting consumer preferences” in a statement as a risk to Cupertino, California-based Apple’s business.

ECB Rate Cut Could Bring Big Disappointment (CNBC)
Expectations are rising that the European Central Bank will announce a rate cut when it meets next week. But according to analysts the move is likely to have a limited impact and could in fact end up being a disappointment.

Mormon bishop with Samurai sword runs off attacker (AP)
Kent Hendrix woke up Tuesday to his teenage son pounding on his bedroom door and telling him somebody was being mugged in front of their house. The 47-year-old father of six rushed out the door and grabbed the weapon closest to him — a 29-inch high carbon steel Samurai sword. He came upon what he describes as a melee between a woman and a man. His son stayed inside to call 911 while he approached the man along with other neighbors who came to help. The martial arts instructor didn’t hesitate in drawing the sword and yelling at him to get on the ground. “His eyes got as big as saucers and he kind of gasped and jumped back,” Hendrix said by phone Tuesday afternoon. “He’s probably never had anyone draw a sword on him before.”

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53 Responses to “Opening Bell: 04.24.13”

  1. Guest says:

    I'm interested in hearing Laxbro's dad's thoughts on the guy who was doing dishes and vacuuming in a fruitless quest for sex from Closing Bell yesterday.

  2. Mind da Stepchildren says:

    There is a fine line between pleasure and death when it comes to a woman squeezing a man's testicles.

  3. Guest says:

    “All they do today is hit buttons on computer screens."

    –Guy who is wondering if Dick Bove has visited a trading floor in the last two decades

  4. Guest says:

    San Diego Sexual Medicine sounds like a hair metal cover band.

  5. guest says:

    If his face was a road it would be the BQE.

    -Lost P.S.51 7th grader

  6. Hobbes says:

    “His eyes got as big as saucers and he kind of gasped and jumped back, he’s probably never had anyone draw a sword on him before.”

    Sounds like Laxbro exploring alternative lifestyles.

  7. Fewdollarsmore says:

    One major difference between how men and women handle confrontation is that a man would bring out his best tool, say a samurai sword, and not do anything with it, while a woman can just grab your balls in a bare hand and squeeze you to death.
    – Dr. Phil

  8. Just weird says:

    Tom Cruise is……Kent Hendrix-Mormon Samurai..

  9. VonSloneker says:

    …and I thought my wife was a ball buster.

    – Ugh

  10. Guest says:

    So did Matt finally take that job offer from Bridgewater or what

  11. Guest says:

    Anyone who watched the Hangover movies knows that ball-grabbing story is bullshit. Are we supposed to believe he stood there quietly for ten minutes while she rummaged around?

  12. guest says:

    Shopkeeper: Pai Mei taught you the five point palm-exploding balls technique?

    Woman: Of course he did.

    Shopkeeper: Why didn't you tell me?

    Woman: I don't know… because I'm a bad person.

    Shopkeeper: No. You're not a bad person. You're a terrific person. You're my favorite person, but every once in a while, you can be a real cunt.