Opening Bell: 04.14.10

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JPMorgan Reports $3.3 Billion Profit (MarketWatch)
The bank said today its first-quarter net income was $3.3 billion, or 74 cents a share, compared to net income of $2.1 billion, or 40 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Total net revenue was $27.7 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet Research had expected, on average, profit of 65 cents a share on revenue of $25.9 billion.

Property Loss Pounds Morgan Stanley (WSJ)
Morgan Stanley has told investors in its $8.8 billion real-estate fund that it may lose nearly two-thirds of its money from bum property investments, according to fund documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. That would likely make it the biggest dollar loss—$5.4 billion—in the history of private-equity real-estate investing.

JPMorgan Executive Mobbed By Angry Borrowers (Reuters)
The JPM executive was at a congressional hearing in Washington when a lawmaker asked him who mortgage borrowers could turn to if they felt his bank's employees were not helping them hold onto their homes. "Come to me," said David Lowman, chief executive for JPMorgan Chase's home mortgage business in response to the question from Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank. Minutes later, around 50 borrowers burst from the audience and presented Lowman with a a 6-page document alleging his bank reneged on a pledge to help struggling homeowners. The activist who organized the protest said Lowman did not want to talk and left the hearing. "He ran. He ran like a dog with its tail between his legs," said Bruce Marks of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), which helps homeowners avoid foreclosure. "He was scared to death because he doesn't really want to talk to homeowners."

UBS Defends Pay Policies (WSJ)
Requiring a bank to "refrain from paying any bonuses at all and not permitting it to pay compensation in line with market rates means taking away its chances for recovery and survival," Chairman Kaspar Villiger said. "That is why I strongly reject the criticism of our remuneration policy. It fails to acknowledge the realities," he added. In a prepared speech, Chief Executive Oswald Grübel said UBS "is back in business again," but it still needs to restore investor trust and stem the outflow of funds. "The fact that we will continually be confronted with mistakes from the past is a reality we have to live with," he said.

Dear Professor Krugman... (Dealbook)
Sorkin's response to this: "I appreciate that you may have articulated the details of your views differently, or more specifically, in other columns and forums. And I appreciate that you could quibble with my words. But I do think it is clear that both you and Mr. Roubini had pressed for a Swedish-style nationalization. (By the way, at the time, I had thought the Swedish model was a pretty interesting approach, too.) Again, I love reading your column, and the bailouts are certainly an issue that is the subject of much debate. Best, Andrew."

George Soros Warns About Greek 'Debt Spiral' (CNBC)
The investor believes that the rescue package is only "a little step" that may not stop Athens falling into a "debt spiral". In comments picked up by AFP in London Soros said that while the 5 percent rate at which the EU is willing to make loans to Greece is "better than the market is willing to offer…a rescue package should offer concessionary rates."

Bank of America Names Outsider As CFO (WSJ)
The 57-year-old Charles Noski most recently was finance chief at defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp., which he left in 2005. As chief financial officer at AT&T Corp. from 1999 to 2002, he had a reputation on Wall Street as a straight-shooter amid the telecommunications giant's scramble to cut its debt load.

Spitzer spent 100G on girls (NYP)
More on this later, natch.

WaMu CEO: "I don't trust Goldy" (Crain's)
"I don't trust Goldy on this. They are smart, but this is swimming with the sharks. They were shorting mortgages big time while they were giving CfC advice. [CfC appears to be Countrywide Financial Corp.] I trust Lehman more for something this sensitive. But we would need to assess if they have the smarts we need."

Fed Shouldn’t Reveal Crisis Loans, Banks Vow to Tell High Court (Bloomberg)
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled March 19 that the central bank must release the documents. A three-judge panel of the appellate court rejected the Fed’s argument that disclosure would stigmatize borrowers and discourage banks from seeking emergency help. “Our member banks are very concerned about real-time disclosure of information that could cause a run on the banks,” said Paul Saltzman, the group’s general counsel, in an interview yesterday. “We’re not going to let the Second Circuit opinion stand without seeking a review.”

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Opening Bell: 2.1.18

J-Yellz says farewell by keeping it real; Facebook results are existential; Elon sold out of flamethrowers; Villanova student becomes millionaire by selling beer shelves in mens rooms; and more!

Opening Bell: 07.16.12

Citigroup Profit Beats Analysts’ Estimates On Investment Bank (Bloomberg) Citi reported a 12 percent drop in second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates on revenue from advising on mergers and underwriting stocks and bonds. Net income declined to $2.95 billion, or 95 cents a share, from $3.34 billion, or $1.09, a year earlier, the New York-based bank said today in a statement. Excluding accounting adjustments and a loss from the sale of a stake in a Turkish bank, earnings were $1 a share, compared with the average estimate of 89 cents in a Bloomberg survey of 18 analysts. HSBC Seeks To Evict Occupiers In Hong Kong (WSJ) HSBC said Monday it is seeking the right to evict an encampment of protesters that has been occupying the ground floor of the bank's Hong Kong headquarters since October, drawing inspiration from the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York last year. Libor Flaws Allowed Banks To Rig Rates Without Conspiracy (Bloomberg) FYI: “It is far easier to manipulate Libor than it may appear,” Andrew Verstein, a lecturer at Yale Law School, said in a paper to be published in the Winter 2013 issue of the Yale Journal on Regulation. “No conspiracy is required.” States Join Libor Probe (WSJ) Prosecutors in New York and Connecticut are investigating whether their states incurred losses as a result of interest-rate manipulation by banks, a probe that could lead to a wider multistate enforcement action, according to New York officials. The joint probe by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen could lead to civil enforcement action, including possible breaches of antitrust and fraud laws, the officials said. Libor Probe May Yield Criminal Charges By September (Bloomberg) Barclays traders involved in allegedly manipulating Libor rates between 2005 and 2007 may be charged by U.S. prosecutors before the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 3, said a person familiar with the Justice Department investigation in Washington. Zuckerberg’s Loan Gives New Meaning To The 1% (Bloomberg) The Facebook founder refinanced a $5.95 million mortgage on his Palo Alto, California, home with a 30-year adjustable-rate loan starting at 1.05 percent, according to public records for the property. Missteps Doomed Barclays Leaders (WSJ) Mr. Diamond's downfall may have been hastened because the U.S.-born investment banker, who became chief executive at the start of 2011, had never won acceptance by Britain's political and financial establishment. When the rate-fixing scandal erupted, Mr. Diamond had few allies. It wasn't for lack of trying. Mr. Diamond enthusiastically embraced British culture and tried to overcome his reputation as a brash American. Mr. Diamond, a native of Concord, Mass., supported the Chelsea Football Club, handing out trophies himself when the team won England's premier soccer league in 2010. A month before the Libor settlement, Mr. Diamond hosted British aristocrats and Barclays' clients at the annual Chelsea Flower Show, providing Champagne and canapés as his guests inspected elaborate gardens and floral arrangements...But Mr. Diamond, age 60, was criticized for his lofty pay packages, as well as perceived risks in the investment-banking business he built. He sometimes appeared tone deaf in a country still angry about the role of banks in the financial crisis. "There was a period of remorse and apology," he told Parliament last year. "That period needs to be over." Activists Go After Big Game (WSJ) William Ackman's $2 billion bet that he can boost the value of consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble Co. reflects a new era of activist investing, in which no company is too big a target and restless institutional investors are more willing to rock the boat. Mr. Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP owns a little more than 1% of P&G's shares. A few years ago, that would have been considered too small a stake in too big a company to exert much influence on management, the board or other investors. Tax Cuts Perpetuate Inequality, Should End: Summers (CNBC) The United States should not extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans even as the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ looms because it will perpetuate income inequality, says Larry Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary. Instead, these revenues should go towards strengthening public education and ensuring that low-income students are presented with equal opportunities as their wealthy counterparts so that they can participate in the economy. Tax breaks for the wealthy cannot continue to exist because it leads to a “perpetuation of privilege”, Summers said in the editorial in the Financial Times on Sunday. Unless steps were taken to “responsibly” increase the burden on those with high income and redistribute the proceeds, the trend toward inequality will continue, he said. Devils On The (B)rink (NYP) New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek is talking to private-equity firms and hedge funds about buying into his financially strapped team, according to sources close to the situation Vanderbeek is looking to sell a majority stake, but keep operating control, sources said. The talks, coming three weeks after the 55-year old former Wall Street executive seemed close to inking a deal with an investor to save the team, are leading some in the financial world to believe the deal has fallen apart. If that’s so, it would be a terrible break for Vanderbeek, who is facing an Aug. 14 deadline to get the Devils’ financing in order...Creditors are owed $80 million. Downgrade Anniversary Shows Investors Gained Buying U.S. (Bloomberg) When Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. government’s credit rating in August, predictions of serious fallout soon followed. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney described it as a “meltdown” reminiscent of the economic crises of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. He warned of higher long-term interest rates and damage to foreign investors’ confidence in the U.S. U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said the government’s loss of its AAA rating would raise the cost of mortgages and car loans. Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., said over time the standing of the dollar and U.S. financial markets would erode and credit costs rise “for virtually all American borrowers.” They were wrong. Almost a year later, mortgage rates have dropped to record lows, the government’s borrowing costs have eased, the dollar and the benchmark S&P stock index are up, and global investors’ enthusiasm for Treasury debt has strengthened. Woman tells police man sucked her toe at Grovetown Walmart (AC) The 18-year-old said she was shopping when a man, who looked to be in his late 30s or early 40s, walked up and asked if her toenails were painted, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report. After replying yes and questioning why he wanted to know, the woman was asked if she’d watched America’s Funniest Home Videos. The man told her he was with the TV show and if she complied with his requests, everything she purchased that day would be free. She said she reluctantly agreed to let him take a photo of her foot. He asked if he could kiss her foot as part of the prank and she agreed. The man guided her to an area behind a clothing rack, dropped to the floor, grabbed her ankle and told her, “Don’t worry. I don’t bite.” He then started sucking on her big toe. The woman said she screamed at him to stop. Before the man ran from the store, he told her, “It tasted so good, though.”