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Notwithstanding (read: Because of) certain free-airfare offers on the part of the Department of Justice! Read more »

To be fair, the Justice Department hasn’t actually thrown out that figure, but it did scoff at Brian Moynhian’s offer of $13 billion, so. Read more »

  • 16 Jul 2014 at 1:36 PM
  • Banks

Brian Moynihan’s Law Firms Had A Great Second Quarter

Brian Moynihan himself less so. Read more »

It turns out that public profanity among top executives is sensitive to economic conditions, according to a Bloomberg News review of thousands of CEO calls with investors and analysts from 2004 to last month. It spiked in the aftermath of the recession in 2009 and has been decreasing as the recovery gathers steam over the last couple of years…A kind of periodic table of salty words — the F-bomb, the blasphemous GD, the scatalogical S and derogatory term AH — shows that they were used 254 times by top executives in calls during that decade. They appeared 17, 34, 197 and 6 times, respectively. To be sure, a majority of CEOs don’t curse in public. In fact, three account for quite a bit of the graphic language. They are kind of a Cursing Hall of F. Hagedorn, along with Ryanair Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary and Emerson Electric Co. CEO David Farr are the only top executives to use the F-bomb more than once. Hagedorn used that word three times along with the other expletives for a total of 20 swear words. O’Leary followed with five F-bombs among 17 instances, and Farr with two Fs among 10 total that were transcribed. [Bloomberg]

But it’s not gambling! It’s a “prediction contest.” Read more »

Opening Bell: 07.16.14

S&P Weighs Restarting Talks on U.S. Suit (WSJ)
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, after more than a year of fighting a crisis-era lawsuit, is willing to reopen discussions with the Justice Department to settle the case, according to people familiar with the matter. The company isn’t in active talks with the Justice Department and no deal is imminent, these people said. And while no penalties have been discussed, negotiations would likely focus on a range of several hundred million dollars to around $1 billion, these people said. The firm also doesn’t want to admit wrongdoing, the people said, fearing such an admission would leave it vulnerable to further litigation. However, it is unclear whether the Justice Department would accept such terms. The government had previously demanded more than $1 billion before talks broke down. It then filed a lawsuit in February 2013 seeking $5 billion. S&P’s apparent strategy shift is in part tied to a new general counsel taking over at S&P’s parent company, McGraw Hill Financial Inc. The company also has generally grown more willing to resolve the lawsuit instead of fighting, according to the people familiar with the matter. S&P has previously called the lawsuit “meritless” and alleged it was retaliation for its 2011 downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt, which the government denied.

Bank Earnings Surprise on Pickup in Trading (WSJ)
“It’s not something we should do cartwheels over, but something we can stand up and cheer” about, said Tom Jalics, a senior investment analyst for Cleveland-based Key Private Bank, which manages J.P. Morgan and Goldman shares. “We should take note today but should be cautious about trading results going forward as well.”

Yahoo to Keep More of Alibaba After IPO, Return Cash (Bloomberg)
Yahoo! Inc will return at least half of the cash it reaps from Alibaba (BABA) Group Holding Ltd.’s initial public offering to shareholders, providing solace to investors who’ve hung on as Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer struggles to revive sales. The U.S. Web portal is also keeping a bigger stake in the Chinese e-commerce company, ensuring that Yahoo continues to benefit from its investment in the world’s largest Internet market. The plans for Alibaba were a bright spot in a report yesterday that showed Yahoo’s sales fell last quarter, missing analysts’ projections.

Ex-CalPERS CEO admits he’s a crook (Fortune)
When former CalPERS CEO Fred Buenrostro was charged more than a year ago by both federal and state officials with fraud and obstruction of justice charges, something didn’t seem right. The allegations focused on how Buenrostro had forged documents to help placement agent pal Alfred Villalobos get paid by some of his private equity clients, but there was no mention of Buenrostro personally benefiting (beyond a $300k per year job with Villalobos upon retirement from CalPERS). Not was there any evidence that Buenrostro improperly influenced investment decisions at CalPERS. But it seems he did both things, according to his guilty plea last Friday in a San Francisco courthouse. Buenrostro’s attorney had previously suggested that his client was prepared to roll over on Villalobos, who continues to insist that he did nothing wrong. And roll over he did, acknowledging not only the fraud, but also: The receipt of $200,000 in cash from Villalobos — stuffed into shoe boxes and paper bags over a series of three meetings – in exchange for confidential CalPERS information and influence in directing CalPERS to invest in Villalobos’ clients…[also] Villalobos paid for Buenrostro’s 2004 wedding.

Jamie Dimon: Companies should feel free to bail on the U.S. (Fortune)
Dimon’s public thumbs up for inversions—the growing practice where American companies buy smaller foreign companies to relocate overseas and avoid paying U.S. taxes—came in response to a question from Fortune on a media conference call after JPMorgan released its second quarter results. He said the real problem was the tax code, not CEOs trying to shirk their responsibilities. “You want the choice to be able to go to Wal-Mart to get the lowest prices,” Dimon said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday morning. “Companies should be able to make that choice as well.” Dimon did not elaborate on the difference between choosing where to buy your underwear and where a corporations calls home. In a recent cover story for Fortune, Allan Sloan argued that U.S. companies are “positively unpatriotic” when they move their corporate headquarters overseas to pay lower taxes because of the benefits they receive by being (except for tax purposes) American companies. What’s more, Sloan argued undermining the U.S. tax base will be bad for all shareholders in the long run.

Massachusetts Taco Bell employee shoots customer with BB gun (NYDN)
A Massachusetts Taco Bell employee allegedly shot a customer with a BB gun after the diner grew angry because no one would take his order. Springfield Police arrested 26-year-old Steven Noska on assault and battery charges for the Sunday morning incident, WWLP reported. Around 4 a.m., the customer, also 26, pulled into the drive-thru at the Springfield, Mass., Taco Bell, police said in a statement. He was hungry and wanted tacos, he told officers. The restaurant was open, but no one came to the window, he claimed. After waiting for a while, the customer started banging on the glass. When that didn’t getthe employees’ attention, the man parked his car and went to the restaurant’s door. He banged on that, too. Finally, Noska came to the door to confront the fuming would-be diner. The two men started arguing, police said. Then, it got violent. Noska allegedly shoved the customer, walked to his car and grabbed a BB gun. Police said Noska shot the man several times before hitting him with the pistol. Read more »

Write-Offs: 07.15.14

$$$ Yellen Says Weak Job Market Shows Economy Still Needs Stimulus [Bloomberg]

$$$ Lloyds Nears Libor Settlement [WSJ]

$$$ Alpha addict: The amazing career of Leon Cooperman [CNBC]

$$$ At the hillside home in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood that Swisher shared, until recently, with her wife, the Google executive Megan Smith, and their two sons (they’ve since separated after 15 years of marriage), a sign on the garage reads: IF YOU BLOCK THE DRIVEWAYS EVEN SLIGHTLY, VISUALIZE YOUR CAR BEING TOWED. [NYM]

$$$ Mayor steps down after being banned from every pub in his town [Express] Read more »

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  • 15 Jul 2014 at 4:41 PM

Germany Really Needed That World Cup Win

Things were looking pretty grim in the Bundesrepublik before Sunday, what with economic sentiment in the shitter and the country’s most important industry awash in scandal. Read more »