Opening Bell: 10.18.10

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Citigroup Profit Beats Estimates on Decline in Loss Provisions (Bloomberg)
Citi said profit rose to $2.17 billion, beating analysts’ estimates on a decline in provisions for bad loans. Third-quarter net income was 7 cents a share and compared with profit of $101 million in the same period a year earlier, the New York-based bank said today in a statement. Ten analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimated per-share earnings of 5 cents a share at the bank, the third-biggest in the U.S. by assets. The results bring Vikram Pandit, 53, one quarter closer to achieving his first annual profit after losses in 2008 and 2009 that totaled $29.3 billion.

Chicago Fed President Warns Of Liquidity Trap (FT)
Charles Evans, president of the Chicago Fed, said that “in my opinion, much more policy accommodation is appropriate today” because “the US economy is best described as being in a bona fide liquidity trap”, a point where ultra-low interest rates and high savings rates conspire to make monetary policy ineffective.

Goldman Pushes Its Image Rehab (WSJ)
The most concrete move so far has been the hiring of a new vice president in its investor-relations department who has publicly advocated some changes Goldman has resisted in the past. Bess Joffe, who had worked for London-based shareholder-advocacy firm Hermes Equity Ownership Services, has pushed companies to change their boards and to improve disclosure, said Colin Melvin, the firm's chief executive. She started at Goldman this month. Attempts to reach Ms. Joffe were referred to a spokesman, who declined to comment on her behalf.

Banks Face Mortgage Scrutiny as $49 Billion in Value Vanishes (Bloomberg)
Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan saw $49.3 billion in market value shaved off in the three days ended Oct. 15 amid concern that rising costs of faulty foreclosures will eat into profits. JPMorgan set aside $2.3 billion of reserves to cover mortgage repurchases or litigation expenses, including some for “mortgage-related matters,” the lender said Oct. 13.

Banks Shared Clients’ Profits, but Not Losses (NYT)
“If I were a shareholder, I would say, ‘I love Jamie Dimon to death because he’s going to go out there and make money every way he can, no matter what happens to his customers,’ ” Jerry D. Davis, Chairman of the municipal employee pension fund in New Orleans, said. “He’s making money off of me.”

Trump Stymied in Bid to Build at NY's Jones Beach (AP)
"The word I'd use is incomprehensible," Trump told The Associated Press in a recent telephone interview. "I was going to build a magnificent building on the boardwalk that would have made Robert Moses envious and proud. It would have been the best building in the entire state parks system."

On Runways And In Magazines, A New Masculine Ideal (NYT)
“Men have always been defined by their jobs — always,” said Joe Levy, the editor in chief of Maxim. When the economy was flush, consumers were content to indulge designer subversions of age and gender expectations, he added. That was before the recession lodged in the landscape like an errant iceberg taking its own time to thaw. “Suddenly the notion of having a job or a career is in doubt,” Mr. Levy said. “So you fall back on old notions of what it meant to be a man or to look like one.”

Pension Funds Flee Stocks (WSJ)
By this July, pension plans as a group had cut their stock exposure to 45%, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Many say the trend will continue.

Wells Fargo Prepares For Tsunami Of Loan Repurchase Demands (ZH)
"Here is the simplified flowchart that will end up costing the bank pretty much all of its balance sheet cash. The only question is how soon."

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Opening Bell: 03.08.12

Greece Readies Record Debt Swap With 60% Commitments (Bloomberg) Greece moved closer to sealing the biggest sovereign restructuring in history as investors indicated they’ll participate in the nation’s debt swap. Holders of about 60 percent of the Greek bonds eligible for the deal, including Greece’s largest banks, most of the country’s pension funds and more than 30 European banks and insurers including BNP Paribas (BNP) SA and Commerzbank AG (CBK), have agreed to the offer so far. That brings the total to about 124 billion euros ($163 billion), based on data compiled by Bloomberg from company reports and government statements. Roubini: Private Sector’s Greece Deal Is ‘Sweet’ (FT) “The reality is that private creditors got a very sweet deal, while most actual and future losses have been transferred to the official creditors." Hedge Funds See Tax Break in Republican Bill (Bloomberg) ^^^An interesting way of putting this: Cantor told House members in a memo last month his plan would let “every” business with fewer than 500 employees deduct 20 percent of its profits. Labor Dept. Asks Nuclear Guardians for Help Keeping Jobs Data Secret (CNBC) The Department of Labor has asked Sandia National Laboratories — the organization that ensures the safety of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile — to scrutinize the security procedures surrounding the release of monthly jobs report data. Separately, officials at the U.S. Energy Information Administration tell CNBC they have taken steps to block computers operating from certain Internet protocol addresses from accessing the administration’s website, arguing that some users appear to have a “malicious intent” to slow down the website’s release of data for the general public while speeding it up for themselves. U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Rose 8,000 to 362,000 (BW) Applications for unemployment insurance payments increased by 8,000 in the week ended March 3, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 352,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The average over the past four weeks held close to a four-year low. Solar Storm Races Towards Earth (AP) The storm started with a massive solar flare earlier in the week and grew as it raced outward from the sun, expanding like a giant soap bubble, scientists said. When it strikes, the particles will be moving at four million miles an hour. "It's hitting us right in the nose," said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo. The massive cloud of charged particles could disrupt utility grids, airline flights, satellite networks and GPS services, especially in northern areas. But the same blast could also paint colorful auroras farther from the poles than normal. 'Sterilized' Bond Buying an Option in Fed Arsenal (WSJ) Under the new approach, the Fed would print new money to buy long-term mortgage or Treasury bonds but effectively tie up that money by borrowing it back for short periods at low rates. The aim of such an approach would be to relieve anxieties that money printing could fuel inflation later, a fear widely expressed by critics of the Fed's previous efforts to aid the recovery. Treasury to Sell $6 Billion Worth of A.I.G. Shares (Dealbook) The Treasury Department announced a plan on Wednesday to sell $6 billion of its American International Group shares, further whittling down the federal government’s holdings in the insurance giant it helped bail out during the financial crisis. As part of the offering, which is expected to be completed in a few days, A.I.G. will buy back up to $3 billion worth of the common stock that the Treasury Department is selling. A.I.G. will also repay $8.5 billion in other obligations to the Treasury Department, principally using proceeds gained from various asset sales. The plan is the latest effort by the federal government to unwind its $182 billion bailout of A.I.G. in 2008. Last spring, the Treasury Department sold off 200 million shares of the insurer in a highly awaited offering known as the “re-I.P.O.” of A.I.G. Yet that sale still left the government owning about 77 percent of the company, down from 92 percent. ‘Madam’s my$tery man ID’d (NYP) Sources say David Walker, 47, an ultra-successful investment manager for Morgan Stanley, is the money man who met with soccer-mom-turned-Upper East Side-madam Anna Gristina right before her Feb. 22 arrest. And prosecutors say the business meeting in Morgan Stanley’s West 52nd Street offices that day was all about helping Gristina bring her high-end hooker business to the Web. It was minutes after the pair left the office building near Fifth Avenue that Gristina was arrested, the culmination of what prosecutors have described as a five-year investigation into the alleged call-girl ring. Prosecutors, without naming Walker, said at Gristina’s Feb. 23 arraignment, “We picked her up yesterday with a Morgan Stanley [broker] who she counts a close friend, and she had been present at his office for a meeting in which she was trying to solicit money to fund what we believe is another business venture on the Internet that involves matching up male clients with female prostitutes.” Gristina was arrested on East 53rd Street and Madison Avenue at 11 a.m., just a few blocks away from Walker’s home, a high-rise, doorman building on 55th near Third Avenue. Walker was not arrested, nor has he been charged with any crime. “She’s known him for a while. He was a nice guy. He was a banker trying to get her investors for her Web site,” said Vinnie Parco, a private eye working for Gristina.

Opening Bell: 9.16.15

AB InBev wants SABMiller; Kynikos gains; Bridgewater loses (and tells investors to f*ck off); Young Wall Street has no idea what a rate hike looks like; "Man Throws Brisket At Woman During Beef At BBQ Fest, Police Say"; and more.