Opening Bell: 01.10.14

Banks Cuts As Mortgage Boom Ends (WSJ)
A sharp slowdown in mortgage refinancing is forcing banks to cut jobs, fight harder for a smaller pool of home-purchase loans and employ new tactics to drum up business. The end of a three-decade period of falling mortgage rates has slammed the brakes on a huge wave of refinancing by U.S. households. The drop-off has deprived lenders of a key source of income at a time when the growth in loans for home purchases remains weak.

Pimco’s Gross Bets on Bonds in 2014 (WSJ)
Mr. Gross, who is co-chief investment officer at Pacific Investment Management Co., said in his monthly investment commentary on the company’s website that he expects total return of 3% to 4% for bonds this year, reflecting interest payments and price appreciation. Pimco Total Return, the world’s largest bond fund with $237 billion under management, posted a negative return of 1.92% last year, its worst performance since 1994.

Millionaires now have the majority in Congress (CNBC)
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a majority—268 of the 534 members of Congress—had an average net worth in 2012 of $1 million or more, marking the first time millionaires held a majority in Congress. The previous year, only 257 members had millionaire status.

The most (and least) stressful jobs in banking and finance (eFinancial)
1. Investment Banker: The runaway choice for the most stressful job on Wall Street and in all of financial services, finishing in the top three of every ballot. The main reason is that investment bankers are confronted with the two main triggers for career stress: the difficulty of the work coupled with the sheer amount of it, particularly for associates and analysts. “The life of a junior banker is one of the last forms of legalized slavery,” said Roy Cohen, a career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “It is a gruelling survival of the fittest existence defined by all-nighters, no time to eat well or to exercise, and compensation that has remained flat for a number of years.” Within investment banking, the highest levels of stress exist in M&A, said Richard Lipstein, managing director at Wall Street search firm Gilbert Tweed International. “The most stressful job is one where revenue takes longest to be generated,” he said. “In M&A, you need to know the people, get the meeting, bring in the business, convince them to sell and then go out and get it done.” 11. Accounting: Finishing last on every ballot, accounting is “virtually stress-free as long as you like routine and are willing to work long hours on a seasonal basis,” said Cohen. There’s also minimal client-facing and you’re never on an island. “There is always someone in the assembly line with you,” according to Mogilner. Not much else to say.

At least 50 scalded by boiling-to-frozen water trick (LA Times)
Over Monday and Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times counted at least 50 people on social media who reported burning themselves or their friends after trying to turn boiling water into snow. There were also several reports of people going to the hospital to receive treatment for burns. “I’m working in the ER today &this woman just got 2nd degree burns from trying to freeze boiling water into the air!” one user tweeted. Here are a few other cases culled from Twitter: “Blayne and I just did the boiling water thing and I accidentally threw all the BOILING water against the wind and burnt myself.” “So I did the thing where you make snow and not all the boiling water froze and now my head is burned.”
“I did that boiling water thing except I threw it weird so it came back and burnt my hand.” “So I did that boiling water snow thing but the wind whipped it back at me and my hands are STILL burning lol I can’t hold anything.”

Jury of 7 Women and 5 Men Chosen for Martoma Trial (Dealbook)
The final alternate jurors were chosen late in the afternoon in Federal District Court in Manhattan, capping what was a long and arduous third day of jury selection, and paving the way for opening statements to begin on Friday…Some of the jurors have training in law and finance. One juror said she was an insurance underwriter for the American International Group, while another has a law degree and works at the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Another juror is an employment and labor lawyer who said his firm’s work included internal investigations for corporations related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Apollo raises largest PE fund since financial crisis (Reuters)
Apollo Global Management LLC said on Thursday it had completed fundraising for its latest flagship global private equity fund, amassing $17.5 billion from investors, the most any such fund has raised since the financial crisis. In their hunt for yield amid persistently low interest rates, investors who fell out of love with private equity and its debt-fueled excesses in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis are now increasing allocations to the asset class.

Goldman Sachs Denies Singapore Stock Dump, Countersues (Bloomberg)
Quah Su Ling sued Goldman Sachs International in London, accusing it of breach of contract for selling her shares in Blumont Group Ltd., Asiasons Capital Ltd. and LionGold Corp. and depressing their prices. Goldman Sachs International countersued for $12.3 million it says it’s still owed. Goldman Sachs International sold the shares in an “orderly and measured manner — consistent with industry practice and accepted standards — over the course of three weeks,” the bank said in court papers filed in London and made available this week. The lawsuit is Quah’s “attempt to delay or avoid repayment of debt.”

Man crashes into Conn. gas station, steals banana (MFNY)
Police in Connecticut say they’re looking for a man who smashed his vehicle into a gas station in Newington, swiped a banana from a shelf and ate it before leaving early Wednesday morning. Nothing else was taken. The store’s surveillance video shows a Ford Freestyle with Connecticut license plates backing repeatedly into the store and breaking the glass doors, which set off the burglar alarm at about 2 a.m. The man was gone before police arrived.

35 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (35)

  1. Posted by Occifer Friendly | January 10, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    The wages of legalized pot. Next up: Tractor-trailer stolen and rammed into convenience store for bags of Cheetos.

  2. Posted by Guest | January 10, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    7:00? Shazar wrote it last night and set for auto-post, then hit the box wine at his scrapbooking club.

  3. Posted by tent pitching | January 10, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Too early. Still got morning wood.

  4. Posted by Guest | January 10, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    The ol' grey mare ain't what she used to be.

  5. Posted by guestie | January 10, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    The saying, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" doesn't mean what you think it means.

  6. Posted by Clortho | January 10, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Shazar threw boiling water into the air 50 times?

  7. Posted by Rebecca M. | January 10, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    If the vehicle had been a Maybach, and the consumed item a Hostess Cupcake, I'd be able to assist the police with a suspect list.

  8. Posted by Board Guest | January 10, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Yes, because he drove all the way from Colorado.

  9. Posted by Dreamer | January 10, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    People think I'm crazy, but I do think Bess can be domesticated. That Manhattan city chick bitch look she gives to most guys is simply a test. I know deep down she just wants to leave the city and move to North Carolina. Chicks dig that state. Maybe get her to envision living in a nice new subdivision that backs onto a golf course with homes starting in the $330’s.

  10. Posted by I wonder | January 10, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Do you think Shazar gets tired of all these jokes made at his expense? Sometimes I worry for him…

  11. Posted by KingCo | January 10, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    “The life of a junior banker is one of the last forms of legalized slavery,” said Roy Cohen, a career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.

    Um, no.

    - Every enslaved person in history.

  12. Posted by Guest | January 10, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    I think it's ok, the jokes aren't malicious anymore, there's just nothing else funny to talk about so you may as well make a Shazuardo joke. It's not hostile like Kouwe or when we were first becoming accustomed to Shaz's journalistic style.

  13. Posted by Guest | January 10, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Bit harsh don't you think? Do you even know Shazar?

  14. Posted by Sad Lowly Assistant | January 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    The morning rush out
    the door into the snowy
    hell that is New York

    I race to my desk
    clutching bacon in my hands
    to refresh dealbreaker

    Grease on my lapels
    grease all over my keyboard
    I want nicotine!

    Dream of Steve Cohen
    his portly hands in prayer
    thinking of good times

    Zambonis, clowns in
    the backyard. Latina wife
    with a tight booty

    Can it be that it
    was all so simple babay?
    No, it never was.

  15. Posted by Dayton Fa | January 10, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Agreed. I see a future filled with articles about New Bolshevik Criminals (formerly Democrats), and about children who report their parents for crimes against the state, like telling their kids that Obama is a horrible president. The Shaz journalistic style is about brainwashing PERIOD (.)

  16. Posted by Lil Jimmy Hetfield | January 10, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Twisting……turning…. through the…….never!

  17. Posted by Guest | January 10, 2014 at 11:02 AM
  18. Posted by Rebecca M. | January 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    I thought all chicks wanted to move to Nebraska.

    -BRK Finance Analyst Lead

  19. Posted by Guest | January 10, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Aww, poor junior bankers.

  20. Posted by Hobbes | January 10, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    You obviously don't know how things work around here.

  21. Posted by Undo Me | January 10, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    It is their own decision, really, did they have sex with themselves?

  22. Posted by hyper-literal quant | January 10, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    $330k new build on a golf course in North Carolina? That's certainly ambitious in that it doesn't actually exist. $530k, sure.

  23. Posted by CB-ed | January 10, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Cock-blocked

  24. Posted by Texashedge | January 10, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    You'll feel like you're in fucking Tuscany with a spread like that.

  25. Posted by el Lame-O | January 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    good one

  26. Posted by Classic | January 10, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Zach,

    I'm going to duct tape a large assortment of dry eraser board markers to your head, making you resemble a less frightening Hellraiser, before forcing you to deliver a package to Ping Capital Management LLC. When you return, complaining about a sore neck, I will create a neck cast using another roll of duct tape. You will then resemble an African tribesman with an elongated neck. Your transformation will be complete.

    Jeff Macke

  27. Posted by Just Curious | January 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Gross betting on bonds is like Evian betting on water

  28. Posted by Guest | January 10, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    …and all the retailers you love are just a 15 min Tahoe ride away! There's even a Chanel!

  29. Posted by quant me maybe... | January 10, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    I'm going to get a ton of thumbs down for this but fuck it.

    So, I'm in Boulder this week and one of the things I'm trying to do is to hire some folks away from Google (yes, really) to come work at my firm on large scale cloud based models and so on. We couldn't get resumes and couldn't convince folks to relo to Fairfield county from Boulder even for much more money.
    Now that I'm here I understand why. This town is fucking amazing. Went to the bars every night and there are like 100 of them. Always crowded, everyone is young happy and energized — None of that fucking southern fairfield county attitude.

    Oh yeah, and there really is legal weed — I walked into two pot shops yesterday and there it was — just like a jewelry store.

    > guy who is giving serious thought to exiting financial world and going back to doing technology because this place is the balls.

  30. Posted by Guest | January 10, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    If southern Fairfield County is your baseline then the world is truly your oyster.

  31. Posted by Guy who digs Becky | January 10, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Big News! http://pagesix.com/2014/01/10/shia-labeouf-retiri

    Maybe he will turn to trading full time now…….you know, since he is so good at it.

  32. Posted by guest | January 10, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    "Man crashes into Conn. gas station, steals banana. The man was gone before police arrived."

    +1 to this mystery man.

    -D.B. Cooper, who would like to remind everyone that this guy took what he wanted – and got away with it. There are a lot of people who sit in a cage for 23 hours a day because they couldn't pull off the second half of that equation.

  33. Posted by Bored Guest | January 10, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    mystery man, plus one, minus a DB Cooper who enjoys reverie, minus getting away with it = a financial analyst who just knocked up a "dancer"?

  34. Posted by Boulder bro | January 10, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    Stay away. We don't need anymore trustafarians here.

  35. Posted by el guesto | January 10, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    What the fuck is wrong with you?