Opening Bell: 01.12.11 - Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 01.12.11

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Goldman Bankers, Ascendant Again (WSJ)
In the pecking order at Goldman Sachs, traders trounced investment bankers for most of the past decade. Now, the Wall Street firm's army of investment bankers is making a comeback. The 63-page internal report released by the New York company on Tuesday showed how Goldman is trying to reassert the traditional primacy of deal making while playing down the firm's recent reliance on trading. One of the biggest reasons why: Trading caused most of the turmoil, suspicion and reputational damage suffered by Goldman since the financial crisis erupted. Goldman officials say forthcoming changes detailed in the report aren't punishment for traders.

Snowstorm Blankets New York, Boston and U.S. Northeast (Bloomberg)
New York City declared a weather emergency, urging people to stay off the roads, as the storm moved in with as much as 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow. A winter storm warning is in effect until noon local time today, according to the Weather Service.

Dimon Says He Expects More Municipal Bankruptcies (Bloomberg)
“There have been six or seven municipal bankruptcies already,” Dimon, 54, said yesterday at his company’s annual health-care conference in San Francisco. “I think unfortunately you will see more.”

AIG agrees $2.2 billion sale of Taiwan unit (Reuters)
The buyer group, called Ruen Chen Investment and comprising Ruentex Industries Ltd and shoe maker Pou Chen Corp, signed a deal on Wednesday for the 97.57 percent of the Nan Shan Life unit that is for sale, Ruentex said in a statement to the Taiwan stock exchange.

JPMorgan Moves Into Qatar (WSJ)
The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority, or QFCRA, said in an emailed statement that J.P. Morgan's branch in the Qatar Financial Centre is licensed "to arrange credit facilities, deals in investments", and provide "custody services", as well as advise on investments. It was authorized on Jan. 5, the QFCRA added.

US Senate Report To Criticise Goldman (FT)
The report from the Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations, which could be published by the end of the month, will likely renew pressure on Goldman by focusing on complex transactions similar to a deal involving a mortgage-linked security called Abacus.

Clarium Slumps 90% From Peak (Bloomberg)
Clarium Capital Management LLC, which Thiel started in 2002 in San Francisco, fell about 23 percent in 2010, the third straight year of declines, according to investors. His fund’s assets are down about 90 percent and clients who stuck with him suffered losses of 65 percent from the mid-2008 peak.

New Move To Make Yuan Global Currency (WSJ)
"We're preparing for the day when renminbi becomes fully convertible," Li Xiaojing, general manager of Bank of China's New York branch, told The Wall Street Journal. He said the bank's goal is to become "the renminbi clearing center in America."

Man sneezes out bullet after being shot (Guardian)
Darco Sangermano was hit in the temple by a stray bullet while wandering around the famously rambunctious city during its new year celebrations, which involve fireworks, firecrackers and occasional gunshots. As the sky exploded with various displays, he was struck by a stray .22 calibre bullet in the side of the head, behind his right eye. Although it lodged in his nasal passage, it appears the gods were on his side, as the bullet did no serious damage. Bleeding profusely, he was rushed to hospital in the first minutes of the new year. But while waiting to be seen by a doctor, the patient astonished doctors by sneezing and propelling the bullet out through his right nostril. Doctors said they expect Sangermano, a craftsman from Turin, to make a full recovery.

Portugal Sells Bonds at Top of Range, 10-Year Yields Fall (CNBC)
Demand exceeded the offer in the four-year bond by 2.6 times and by 3.2 times in the 10-year maturity, the Portuguese debt agency said. "That is an extraordinarily good result," Louis Gargour, managing partner and chief investment officer at LNG Capital told CNBC.

Manhattan Apartment Rents Increase 5.9% (Bloomberg)
The average monthly rent rose to $3,127 from $2,952 a year earlier. Concessions such as a rent-free month or payment of broker fees were offered on 22 percent of apartments in December, down from 60 percent a year earlier, New York-based Citi Habitats said.

Attack leaves Seattle 'superhero' with broken nose (Komonews)
Phoenix Jones calls himself a crime fighter. He has a cape, a mask and a stun gun and he spends several nights each week patrolling Seattle and other areas trying to stop crime. "I endanger my life with a reason and a purpose," he says. People on the street stop him and ask him for autographs, but Phoenix said that's not what motivates him."I train for these situations," he said. "I don't just come out willy nilly and run out on the streets." But over the weekend, a man held Phoenix at gunpoint and another broke his nose. Police say enough is enough and that someone may end up getting killed. "Don't insert yourself into those situations," Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson said in an interview last week. "If you see something, call 911."

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