Opening Bell: 07.21.10

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Morgan Stanley Swings To Second Quarter Profit
(MarketWatch)
The bank said earnings for the quarter came in at $1.58 billion, or $1.09 a share, compared to a loss of $1.26 billion, or $1.10 a share, in the year-ago period. On an adjusted basis, profit in the latest quarter was $1.44 billion, or 80 cents a share. Quarterly net revenue at Morgan Stanley rose to $7.95 billion, up 53% from a year earlier.

Wells Fargo Earnings Rise 12% (WSJ)
The company reported a profit of $2.88 billion, or 55 cents a share, compared with $2.58 billion, or 57 cents a share, a year earlier. Shares outstanding rose 17%. Revenue declined 5% to $21.39 billion.

Tiger Management Sowing Seeds Of Growth (WSJ)
Julian Robertson is considering reopening Tiger, a launching pad for young money managers, to the outside world. Mr. Robertson has beefed up Tiger's management ranks as part of a potential expansion that could involve creating a "seeding" fund or a fund of hedge funds for outside investors. In a seeding fund, Tiger would allow outside clients to come in alongside Mr. Robertson and his team to help fund new or early-stage hedge-fund managers in exchange for a slice of their business. A more-common fund of funds would collect outside investors' money and dole it out to Tiger-seeded managers, who would in turn invest it. This month, Mr. Robertson hired a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive, John L. Townsend III, as operations chief, and promoted the youngest of his three sons, Alex Robertson, to managing partner.

Mafia Money-Laundering Profits Swell in Credit Crisis (Bloomberg)
“The crisis has given organized crime room to thrive because access to credit has become more difficult,” said Anna Maria Tarantola, the central bank’s deputy general director, in a July 12 interview in her Rome office. “Whoever holds large amounts of cash, like crime groups, can make investments that aren’t possible for others. They can now invest in fully legal businesses.” Organized crime groups boosted their revenue by 4 percent to 135 billion euros ($174.6 billion) last year, according to estimates from Rome-based anti-racketeering group SOS Impresa.

Editorial: Goldman's Go-Round (NYT)
Morning laughs: "It seems clear that one of the reasons Goldman settled was to end questions about its practices. If the S.E.C. keeps up its new investigative and enforcement rigor, that might not be so easy to do."

Australia A Problem Child For Investors Due To Tax (Reuters)
"Australia is one of a few Asian countries that are now considered problem children for foreign investors," because of the uncertainty over the tax regime, said Mark O'Reilly, a senior partner at PriceWaterhouse Coopers, who advises buyout firms on tax issues. "Private equity managers looking to invest funds in Australia are in a bit of a state of limbo in relation to what is an appropriate structure and tax outcome," he said.

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Opening Bell: 04.13.12

JPMorgan Profit Slips (WSJ) J.P. Morgan reported a profit of $5.38 billion, down from $5.56 billion a year earlier. On a per-share basis, earnings were $1.31, up from $1.28 as the share count outstanding declined. The latest quarter included a net 8-cent per-share loss tied to litigation expenses and changes in the value of the bank's debt. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a per-share profit of $1.18, excluding debt-related charges. Revenue rose 6.3% to $27.42 billion. Analysts were looking for $24.68 billion. Wells Fargo reports higher first-quarter profit (Reuters) Wells Fargo, the nation's fourth-biggest U.S. bank, said net income was $4.25 billion, or 75 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $3.76 billion, or 67 cents, a share in the same period a year earlier. The average estimate from analysts was 73 cents per share. JPMorgan Said to Transform Treasury to Prop Trading (Bloomberg) Achilles Macris, hired in 2006 as the CIO’s top executive in London, led an expansion into corporate and mortgage-debt investments with a mandate to generate profits for the New York- based bank, three of the former employees said. Dimon, 56, closely supervised the shift from the CIO’s previous focus on protecting JPMorgan from risks inherent in its banking business, such as interest-rate and currency movements, they said. Some of Macris’s bets are now so large that JPMorgan probably can’t unwind them without losing money or roiling financial markets, the former executives said, based on knowledge gleaned from people inside the bank and dealers at other firms. Bank Bonus That Tops Salary May Be Banned by EU Lawmakers (Bloomberg) Governments and lawmakers in the 27-nation EU are considering rules for lenders that would go far beyond international agreements approved by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. Denmark, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has proposed empowering nations to set surcharges of up to 3 percent across their banking systems. Karas yesterday suggested adding language to the legislation that would ban banker bonuses that exceed fixed pay, following calls from other lawmakers to rein in excessive compensation. IMF Lifts Growth Forecast, Cautiously (WSJ) Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said the world economy is marked by "a high degree of instability" even though prospects for global growth are better than they were a few months ago. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Lagarde said the IMF, which marked down its 2012 forecast for global growth in January to 3.3%, has now marked it up to reflect improving conditions in the world economy. But she said the new forecast, to be released next week, remains more pessimistic than the one it made last September, which predicted 4% growth. Europe remains the biggest single risk to the global economy, the former French finance minister said. Hedge Fund Driver Guns DownArmed Robber (NYP) A retired NYPD lieutenant blew away a drugstore bandit yesterday as the suspect tried to gun down three police officers during a foot pursuit, sources said. Thomas Barnes, Barnes — a driver for hedge fund manager Philippe Laffont, was filling his tank at the BP station on East 119th Street and First Avenue at around 11 a.m. when he saw gunman Rudolph Wyatt running from the store, and sprang into action. He crouched behind his hedge-fund boss’ Mercedes SUV and squeezed off three shots, killing Wyatt, 23. The trigger-happy thug — wanted on warrants for two other shootings — lay dead in a pool of blood on the sidewalk wearing a black stocking mask with a wad of stolen cash spilling out of his pocket, witnesses said. “Part of the back of his head was missing. He had a large head wound and there was tons of blood,” said witness John Brecevich, 59, owner of the Original Patsy’s restaurant nearby. “It was a scene straight out of NYPD Blue.” Trustees Aim For MF Execs (NYP) The trustee tasked with clawing back money for burned customers of MF Global is training his sights on the brokerage firm’s executives — a list that likely includes former CEO Jon Corzine. In a statement yesterday, trustee James Giddens said he is considering pursuing claims against “certain responsible individuals” who worked for MF at the time customers’ trading accounts were improperly tapped. Kent Jarrell, a spokesman for Giddens, declined to name names but said the trustee is considering civil suits against “officers, directors or other employees” of both the brokerage firm and the holding company. Fed Officials Differ on Need to Keep Rates Low to 2014 (Bloomberg) William C. Dudley, president of the New York Fed, and Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said the 2014 time-frame is needed to lower unemployment from 8.2 percent. Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said rising inflation may prompt an interest-rate increase as early as this year, while Philadelphia’s Charles Plosser said policy should hinge on economic performance, not a calendar commitment. Newark Mayor Cory Booker: Race into home fire was a "come to Jesus moment" (CBS) Booker arrived home last night to discover his next-door neighbor's house on fire, and rescued a young woman trapped upstairs by carrying here through the flames, suffering second-degree burns in the process. The mayor's security team discovered the fire and pounded on the door to alert residents, when an elderly woman said that her daughter was trapped upstairs. At first, Newark Police Detective Alex Rodriguez would not let Booker into the burning house. "He basically told me, 'This woman is going to die if we don't help her,' and what can I say to that?," Rodriguez said. "I let him go and without thinking twice, he just ran into the flames and rescued this young lady." Booker said that as he jumped through the kitchen on the second floor, "I actually wasn't thinking. When I got there and couldn't find her in all the smoke, looked behind me and saw the kitchen really erupting with flames all over the ceiling, that's when I had very clear thoughts that I'm not going to get out of this place alive and got ... very religious. He admitted he was "not gentle" with her - "I just sort of threw her over my shoulder and dragged her through the kitchen."