Dow Runs to New Record (The Street) Despite light trading, the Dow closed at a new record today, finishing at 12,511, thanks to gains in Alcoa, Citigroup, and GM. Over the past two days, only 1.67 billion shares were traded on the NYSE, while the NASDAQ only traded 1.24. Tomorrow could be the last day in 2006 for Wall Street, as trading may be cancelled in light of former President Ford’s death. Four-day weekend? Yes please.
Merrill brokers get plum (NYDN) Merrill Lynch’s 2007 Focus on Growth bonus program will very sweetly reward brokers who bring “lots of revenue into the firm,” while still increasing fee-based business.
Brokers who are growing their business can achieve a much greater award under the production-based program than under the current scheme, according to an internal memo. Bonuses of 10%, 20% and 30% of the commissions and fees produced over the past 12 months are available, according to people briefed on its specifics. Since advisers at Merrill Lynch on average take home about 40% of the revenue they produce as base pay, those who win the top bonuses theoretically could end up taking home more than 70% of their production.
Trump mortgage chief inflated resume (Money) Not that the whole “Miss Teen USA is a cokehead, Trump, arbiter of all things moral and not etc may or may not pardon her, TONIGHT! on things we're too educatedwell-bred coked-out ourselves to work up the energy to get our panties in a bunch over but will watch because, honestly, who knows where the remote is Network” and Big D and Big O’D, Live at the Garden were getting stale but…you know how it is. We needed some fresh meat. Apparently the big guy heard our prayers and said, “I think I’ve got something you might like, if you’ll just step over here, and take a look in the trunk of my car, I’m sure we can find something you’d be interested in.” E.J. Ridings, the man brought into Trump Mortgage to “inject integrity into an industry that has the reputation for giving customers a raw deal” may have given old Donny-boy the “raw deal” himself.
First, Ridings' initial bio stated that before joining the company he was "a top executive at one of Wall Street's most prestigious investment banks." Second, the bio had said that Ridings was an "established leader" at one of New York's leading mortgage boutiques. Third, the bio said he had 15 years of experience in the financial industry. All three claims appear to be false, according to regulatory documents obtained by Money and interviews with former colleagues of Ridings.
Ridings, 42, has never been a top professional on Wall Street. Ridings, in an interview with Money in September, said the "top-executive" reference in his bio refers to an 18-month period in which he was a retail stockbroker at Morgan Stanley.
Shares of Apple Computer Inc. fell almost 5 percent in early trading Wednesday after a legal publication reported that federal prosecutors are probing whether former company executives forged documents to maximize executives' stock option profits.
When asked for comment, Steve Jobs apparently remarked off-handedly (and off-the-record): "F the S.E.C. Have you seen our 'I'm a MAC/I'm a P.C. commericals'? Seriously, that Hodgman gets me every time. I dare you to look me in the eye and tell me that shit's not adorable. You can't do it. You can't."
U.S. regulator does turnabout on stock options reporting rule (International Herald Tribune)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in a move announced late on the last business day before Christmas, reversed a decision it made in July and adopted a rule that would allow many companies to report significantly lower total compensation for top executives.
The change in the way grants of stock options are to be explained to investors is a victory for corporations that had opposed the rule when it was issued in July, and a defeat for institutional investors that had backed the SEC's original rule.
Finally, justice for corporate America. [fist pump] Finally. [chest bumps all around]
Philip Morris Altria rebrands Lindsay [WallStrip]