JPMorgan Profit Rises 47% (MarketWatch)
The bank said this morning its fourth-quarter profit rose 47% to $4.8 billion, or $1.12 a share, from $3.3 billion, or 74 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue increased to $26.1 billion, from $23.2 billion last year. Wall Street analysts expected net income of $1.00 a share on revenue of $24.2 billion, according to a survey by FactSet Research. Investment banking net income fell 21% to $1.5 billion.
SEC Probes Banks, Buyout Shops Over Dealings With Sovereign Funds (WSJ)
The SEC has sent letters of inquiry to banks such as Citigroup Inc. as well as private-equity firms including Blackstone Group LP, the people said. The letters are said to have been sent to as many as 10 firms in the past week, one person said.
Goldman Sachs Reveals Fresh Crisis Losses (FT)
Goldman Sachs has revealed details of about $5 billion in investment losses suffered during the crisis for the first time this week, in a move that will deepen the debate over companies’ financial disclosures. The figures, issued as part of internal reforms aimed at silencing Goldman’s critics, show that the bank suffered $13.5 billion in losses from “investing and lending” with its own funds in 2008.
Facebook Founder's Ex-Friends Won't Stop Suing Him (Bloomberg)
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Banks Pitch Themselves for AIG Deal (WSJ)
The proposed offering sizes ranged from $20 billion to as much as $40 billion, and some bankers said they were confident of selling a large amount of shares in the $30-$40 range, or higher, the people said. The AIG offering, which has been touted as the "Re-IPO" of the insurer, could be the largest in U.S. history if it exceeds the $23.1 billion sale by General Motors Co. last November. Attendees to Thursday's meetings included JPMorgan Chief Executive James Dimon, BofA CEO Brian Moynihan, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, Barclays Capital Co-Chief Executive Jerry del Missier and Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn. Other banks that sent representatives to the "bake-off" included UBS AG, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo and Citigroup.
Fanuc to Build Robot Factory, Count on `Cranes With Brains' to Fuel Growth (Bloomberg)
The use of thousands of robots in its own factories -- the company’s newest tool plant can run mostly unattended for 700 hours each month -- is one of the reasons for Fanuc’s profitability, Inaba said.
Fox Shoots Man (Reuters)
A wounded fox shot its would be killer in Belarus by pulling the trigger on the hunter's gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle, media said Thursday. The unnamed hunter, who had approached the fox after wounding it from a distance, was in hospital with a leg wound, while the fox made its escape, media said, citing prosecutors from the Grodno region. "The animal fiercely resisted and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw," one prosecutor was quoted as saying.
JPMorgan Recommends Investors Maintain Bullish Bets on Brent Crude Oil (Bloomberg)
Investors should hold on to long Brent positions and buy the spread between March and June contracts, JPMorgan analysts led by Lawrence Eagles, said in a research note dated Jan 13. Drilling delays resulting from regulations in the wake of BP Plc’s Macondo spill will reduce 2011 crude production by 175,000 barrels a day from pre-spill forecasts, while OECD inventories have fallen on recovering demand, the note showed.
Eurozone Inflation Hits 26-Month High (WSJ)
The euro zone's annual rate of inflation rose above the European Central Bank's medium-term target for the first time in more than two years in December, driven by fuel, food, alcohol and tobacco prices, official data showed Friday.
China Has $1.5 Trillion 'Hidden' Debt: Lawmaker (Reuters)
In an interview with Reuters Insider, Yin said local governments had incurred at least 10 trillion yuan ($1.5 trillion) of "hidden" debt, which they have concealed by creating thousands of investment vehicles that serve as borrowers. Yin Zhongqing said it is not yet clear which loans will sour because they do not have to be repaid until the projects are completed.
Hedge Funds' Pack Behavior Magnifies Market Swings (WSJ)
Hedge funds are crowding into more of the same trades these days, amplifying market swings during crises and unnerving investors. Such trading has stoked market jitters in recent months and helped to diminish the impact of corporate fundamentals on stock-market movements. Droves of small investors have reacted by pulling money from the market, questioning its stability and whether fast-moving traders are distorting prices. The pack behavior undermines the image of hedge-fund chiefs as savvy money managers who sniff out investment opportunities that others don't see—thereby justifying the hefty fees they charge clients. It also suggests that hedge funds are having a harder time coming up with money-making ideas in rocky markets.