Bank of America Sells China Bank Stake (Reuters)
BAC scored $2.83 billion in exchange for its holding in China Construction Bank.
Main Citadel Hedge Funds Dropped Estimated 53% In '08 (Dow Jones)
Dow Jones tells you what we did a week ago: Citadel's Kensington and Wellington funds lost around 9 percent in the first 24 days of December. DJ is under the impression that adds up (down?) to an approximately 53 percent loss for the year, though we're thinking it's more like 57.5. Either way, that's a job well done.
Madoff Tried to Stave Off Firm's Crash Before Arrest (WSJ)
"Ten days before his arrest, Bernard Madoff received $250 million from a man who helped give him his start on Wall Street, a move that shows how the investment manager tried to raise cash to stave off his firm's collapse.
Mr. Madoff received $250 million around Dec. 1 from Carl Shapiro, a 95-year-old Palm Beach, Fla., philanthropist and entrepreneur who is one of Mr. Madoff's oldest friends and biggest financial backers, according to people familiar with the matter.
It isn't clear whether the sum was a loan or an investment, though people familiar with the matter say Mr. Madoff told Mr. Shapiro that he would be paid back quickly with interest or a gain. But none of the money was repaid, according to the people. Mr. Shapiro has personally lost an estimated $400 million from the Madoff fraud, including the $250 million. His charitable foundation has lost an estimated $100 million or more."
Credit Suisse Urged Investors To Withdraw From Madoff (Bloomberg)
"Credit Suisse Group AG, whose clients lost almost $1 billion in Bernard Madoff's alleged swindle, urged customers more than eight years ago to withdraw cash from his firm because the bank couldn't determine how he made money, said three people familiar with the matter."
It's not even a point of contention anymore: there were people who saw that Madoff was effectively full of shit and they weren't willing to take the risk of exposing their clients to him. What remains to be seen in how certain feeder funds didn't figure it out, and how the SEC remained clueless to the scheme; the latter becomes down right appalling when one considers a letter was sent specifically addressing the subject.
No 'Value' In Van Biema's Multi-Strat Hedge Funds (FINalternatives)
The former Columbia professors funds have been suffering this year, with his newest, "Asia Value Fund" (which debuted in August) already down 18.3%.
"Barclays said emerging markets was the worst-performing strategy in 2008, losing 39.34% through November. It was the best-performing strategy of 2007."
The Barclays sentiment is something that was echoed by PIMCO as they announced their intent to focus on more developed markets:
"PIMCO, the world's largest bond fund manager, is still cutting its exposure to emerging markets and turning to high-grade investments in Europe and the United States, the firm's Asia chief executive said on Wednesday."
ADP Payroll Numbers (Bloomberg)
We're going to see the ADP payroll numbers today at 8:15ET, with government numbers on Friday. The numbers for nonfarm payroll are -750k to -300k (by consensus), there hasn't been a great deal of speculation though on what the ADP numbers are going to look like.
Alcoa Drives Futures Down (MarketWatch)
"Alcoa's production and job cuts announcement came out after the bell last night and that is set to weigh down the market today, in addition to some general edginess ahead of the ADP private sector payrolls report," said Martin Slaney, head of derivatives at London-based GFT."
Alcoa's move will include "the elimination of about 15,000 jobs, more plant closures, plans to sell assets and a 50% cut in capital expenditures to contend with the sustained recession."
Austria's 'Woman on Wall St.' Now Out of Sight (NYT)
Shockingly, the disappearance probably has something to do with starts with a 'M' ends with an 'adoff.'