Deutsche Bank Profit Rises on Record Consumer Bank Earnings (Bloomberg, DB Release)
Deutsche Bank reported a 17 percent increase in first-quarter profit, exceeding analyst estimates on record earnings at the consumer- banking and asset-management units. Net income climbed to 2.1 billion euros ($3.1 billion), the second-highest quarterly result ever and more than the 1.8 billion-euro average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Face EU Antitrust Probe of CDS Market (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and other 14 other investment banks face a European Union antitrust probe into credit-default swaps for companies and sovereign debt, regulators said. The European Commission said it opened two antitrust probes. It will check whether 16 bank dealers colluded by giving market information to Markit, a financial information provider. It will also examine whether nine of the banks struck deals with ICE Clear Europe that block other clearinghouses from entering the market and give rivals “no real choice where to clear their transactions.”
Facebook's value plateaus as $90B deal flops (NYP)
Ahead of the company's long-rumored IPO, a group of Facebook employees and investors tried to unload $1 billion in stock at a $90 billion valuation but couldn't find enough investor appetite. Instead, they had to lower their asking price to an implied $70 billion valuation -- the high end of where Facebook has traded on private exchanges that traffic in the shares.
US Officials Unfazed By Dollar Slide (WSJ)
In recent days, the nation's top two economic policy makers—Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner—have publicly expressed their desire for a strong dollar. But there is little indication of a change in policy from either the Fed or Treasury—or in underlying economic conditions—that would alter the currency's downward course.
Nasdaq, ICE Are Said to Consider Tender Offer for NYSE Euronext (Bloomberg)
While announcing a tender offer for NYSE Euronext shares would demonstrate Nasdaq OMX and ICE’s urgency, it carries little weight, said Sang Lee, a managing partner at Aite Group LLC, a Boston-based financial-research firm. That’s because the Big Board’s governing documents, mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, prevent investors from accumulating a 20 percent stake in the company without the approval of the board.
The Waiting Game: Notes From A Tense Courtroom (Law Blog)
One man who has attended every day of the trial, but whose identity has remained a mystery to reporters because he has repeatedly declined to give his name, said in a brief interview Thursday that he ran a brokerage, Cummins Financial, that counted Rajaratnam’s hedge fund, Galleon Group, among its clients. The brokerage closed in 2008. David Cummins, 49 years old, said he has known Mr. Rajaratnam about 10 years, and that the two men and their wives and kids are “close friends.” He said of Galleon and its employees: “They were immaculate.”...Another supporter, Peter Malaszuk, said he worked with Rajaratnam for 15 years and was a “logistics manager” at Galleon. “He’s a great man,” Malaszuk said. Asked what toll the trial is taking personally, he said, “He’s a tough man – very successful, but this is getting to him.”
Calling Animals 'Pets' Is Insulting, Academics Say (Telegraph)
Domestic dogs, cats, hamsters or budgerigars should be rebranded as “companion animals” while owners should be known as “human carers”, they insist. Even terms such as wildlife are dismissed as insulting to the animals concerned – who should instead be known as “free-living”, the academics including an Oxford professor suggest. The call comes from the editors of then Journal of Animal Ethics, a new academic publication devoted to the issue.
Can Macquarie Again Become a Millionaires Factory? (CNBC)
Friday’s results revealed yet another decline in profit at the company called the “Millionaires Factory” thanks to the huge bonuses paid to top executives and employees. From record profits of A$1.8 billion posted in 2008, Macquarie’s annual profits have now fallen nearly 50 percent to A$956 million in the year to March 2011. Now the question facing both the company and its shareholders is, can Macquarie ever recover to the glory days?
Banks Rush To Improve Foreclosure Practices (WSJ)
Under orders from U.S. regulators, 14 financial institutions have until mid-June to lay out plans to clean up their mortgage-servicing operations—and another 60 days to make the changes.
Buffett To Face Question On Praising Sokol Before Audit Reports (Bloomberg)
Berkshire is facing “governance challenges” that may hurt the company’s credit quality, Moody’s Investors Service said April 1, citing Sokol’s stock trades and resignation. The Securities and Exchange Commission is probing whether Sokol bought Lubrizol shares on inside information...“The whole notion of Berkshire Hathaway operating on a higher plane was based upon the idea they didn’t just do what was legal, they did what was ethical,” said Cornelius Hurley, a professor at Boston University School of Law and former assistant general counsel at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. “When one of your senior officers gets caught with his hand in the jar and you say, ‘Oh it’s legal,’ you’ve kind of blown away that principle of higher standards.”
William's Royal Giggle Fest (TDB)
As Kate entered Westminster Abbey, the cameras respectfully panned away from Prince William, who seemed to suffer an attack of the giggles as his future wife made her way up the aisle. When the couple were finally face to face, William mouthed, "You look beautiful," and a billion hearts melted around the globe.