Opening Bell: 10.18.11

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Goldman Sachs Posts Third Quarter Loss (Bloomberg)
he third-quarter loss of $393 million, or 84 cents per share, compared with a profit of $1.9 billion, or $2.98, a year earlier, the New York-based company said today in a statement. The average estimate of 26 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for an 11-cent loss per share, with estimates ranging from a $1.02 loss to a $1.22 profit. The company, which said in July that it planned to cut about 1,000 jobs to reduce annual costs by $1.2 billion, said it employed 34,200 people at the end of September, down 1,300 from the end of June. Investing and Lending, the segment that includes Goldman Sachs’s stakes in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and other companies, as well as holdings by the Special Situations Group run by Jason M. Brown, reported negative revenue of $2.48 billion for the quarter. That compared with revenue of $1.04 billion in the second quarter and $1.8 billion in the third quarter of 2010. Goldman Sachs’s third-quarter revenue fell 60 percent to $3.59 billion from $8.9 billion a year earlier and declined 51 percent from $7.28 billion in the second quarter. The company’s book value per common share decreased to $131.09 from $131.44 at the end of the second quarter.

BofA Swings To Profit In Muddled Quarter (WSJ)
Overall, the Charlotte, N.C., bank reported a profit of $6.23 billion, compared with a year-earlier loss of $7.3 billion. On a per-share basis, which includes the payment of preferred dividends, the bank reported earnings of 56 cents compared with a loss of 77 cents a year earlier. In total, the quarter included about $10.5 billion in one-time pretax gains and an additional $5.5 billion in pretax losses. That makes the profit closer to $2.7 billion before taxes. That figure still includes a boost of $1.7 billion compared to the prior year from the bank putting aside less to handle souring loans. Last year's results included a goodwill impairment charge of $10.4 billion, without which the bank would have earned $3.1 billion, or 27 cents a share. Meanwhile, the bank's surprising looking revenue growth of 6% to $28.7 billion was also inflated by the various accounting moves.

Wells Fargo Earnings Up But Revenue Slips (Charlotte Observer)
The San Francisco-based bank reported net income of $4.1 billion in the third quarter, more than 20 percent higher than the same time period last year. Aided by a decrease in loan losses and operating expenses, the bank earned 72 cents per share, falling just short of analysts' estimates. Last quarter, Wells posted earnings of 70 cents per share with a net income of $3.9 billion.

Oliver Stone Faces Down Wall Street (Dealbook)
“Jamie Dimon should be spending three weeks on a park bench, homeless, and get a taste of what it’s like on the other side,” Mr. Stone said of JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive. “Might knock out some of the arrogance out of those guys.”

Citigroup Closing Proprietary Trading Unit (Bloomberg)
The company is almost “two-thirds done” winding down the Equity Principal Strategies unit, Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said yesterday in a conference call with analysts. Market turmoil caused a revenue decline for the unit, which suffered losses as it exited trading positions, Gerspach said. “Equity Principal Strategies is a de minimis part of Citi’s overall trading operation,” Danielle Romero-Apsilos, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement. “As it does not fit with Citi’s business model under the impending Volcker rule, it is in the process of being wound down.”

He Made It On Wall Street And Used It To Help Start Protests (NYT)
Robert S. Halper, a retired Wall Street trader, spends time each day in Zuccotti Park talking to protesters about politics and their thoughts on reforming the banking system. But Mr. Halper, a 52-year-old Brooklyn native, never reveals two facts about himself: he is a former vice chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange and the largest single donor to the nonprofit magazine that ignited the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Hedges Haunt Morgan Stanley (WSJ)
The exposures that have dogged Morgan Stanley raise similar issues. They are tied mostly to MBIA Inc., a bond insurer based in Armonk, N.Y. Around 2006, before the U.S. real-estate market cratered, MBIA sold Morgan Stanley credit protection on bundles of commercial real-estate assets. The protection covered roughly $4 billion in mortgage-debt pools, to offset risks Morgan Stanley took on in trades with hedge funds and other clients, people familiar with the matter said.

Traders Warn Of Market Cracks (WSJ)
"Liquidity will continue to be a big problem," says Patrick McMahon, co-founder of hedge fund MKP Capital. Mr. McMahon says he has noted the sharp decline in liquidity, or market depth, in recent months. And, with global banks reducing their risk exposure, they are less likely to step in and take either side of trades, Mr. McMahon says. He says fewer investors are willing to buy or sell stocks, creating an effective vacuum. "That's why you get 5% moves in a matter of minutes," he says. "When there are sellers, there are few buyers, creating an air pocket down."

Paul Seek $1 Trillion In Cuts (WSJ)
Mr. Paul said he would close the departments of Education, Energy, Commerce, Interior and Housing and Urban Development, as part of a broader plan to cut federal spending. The federal work force would be cut by 10%. Mr. Paul also called for stopping foreign aid and "ending foreign wars.'' His "Plan to Restore America'' would end the estate tax and taxes on personal savings, "allowing families to build a nest egg.'' He would extend tax cuts on personal income, capital gains and dividends that were enacted under former President George W. Bush. Mr. Paul has said he would support amending the Constitution to abolish the income tax, though that does not come up in his economic plan.

Bernie Madoff's Daughter-in-Law: I'd Spit In His Face (ABC)
Stephanie Madoff Mack, the daughter-in-law of Bernie Madoff, says she blames the disgraced financier for her husband’s death. Madoff Mack is the widow of Mark Madoff, who commited suicide two years after his father’s arrest for the largest Ponzi scheme in history, and the first Madoff family member to break her silence. In an interview with “20/20″ anchor Chris Cuomo, she [says] that if she saw her father-in-law today, she’d tell him “that I hold him fully responsible for killing my husband, and I’d spit in his face.”

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Opening Bell: 10.17.12

BofA Sees Profit Slump (WSJ) Bank of America reported a profit $340 million versus a profit of $6.23 billion a year earlier. On a per-share basis, which includes the payment of preferred dividends, the bank reported a profit of less than a penny versus 56 cents a year earlier. The year-earlier period included 27 cents a share in net gains from one-time. Revenue fell 28% to $20.43 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a per-share loss of seven cents on revenue of $21.89 billion. BNY Mellon Profit Increases as Rising Stocks Boost Assets (Bloomberg) Net income increased to $720 million, or 61 cents a share, from $651 million, or 53 cents, a year earlier, the New York- based bank said today in a statement. Analysts had expected the New York-based company to report a profit of 54 cents a share, according to the average of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Citi's Pandit Quits Amid Board Clash (WSJ) The shake-up amounts to an extraordinary flexing of boardroom muscle at Citigroup, a company that until recently had a board stocked with directors handpicked by former CEO Sanford Weill who rarely challenged management decisions. The action raises questions about whether the sprawling Citigroup empire ultimately will be dramatically pared back or broken up, something Mr. Pandit opposed. When it was formed in 1998, Citigroup was envisaged as the prototype of the modern bank, a "financial supermarket" with tentacles in all areas of lending, securities and deposits. Its creation helped spark the end of the Depression-era Glass Steagall Act separating securities and banking. Citigroup's New CEO Has A Lot To Tackle (Fortune) Corbat is a Connecticut native. He is listed as the owner of a 4-bedroom, 1-and-a-half-bath, 3,500 square foot Manhattan apartment on Central Park West. The apartment has a fireplace and exposed wood beams in the living room. But Corbat doesn't appear to live there. According to the real estate website Streeteasy, the apartment was rented out in March for $33,000 a month. Corbat also owns a house in 6,300 square foot house in Wilson, Wyoming. That house was estimated to be worth $3.7 million in 2010, according to real estate website Trulia. Pay seems to be part of the reason for Pandit's department. Earlier this year, shareholders voted to reject a $15 million pay package for the Citi's former CEO. Corbat said he will take $1.5 million as a base salary, plus a bonus to be determined later. RBS Exits Government Insurance Plan (WSJ) RBS said it has struck a deal with the U.K. Treasury to exit the government's Asset Protection Scheme, effective Thursday, the earliest date possible under the terms of the contract. The program was crafted at the height of the financial crisis in an effort to shield banks by insuring their assets after the lenders absorbed an initial loss. The insurance program is now considered largely unnecessary because many of RBS's insured assets have been sold or written off. The bank, which is 81% government-owned, will have paid £2.5 billion ($4.03 billion) in fees for its participation in the APS without having made a claim, in addition to about £1.5 billion paid to the Treasury for support received during the financial crisis. Passenger Jet In Low Altitude Search (Australian) An Air Canada jet descended from 38,000ft to as low as 3700ft (1128m) to allow passengers to look for a yacht missing off the NSW coast. The Boeing 777 flying from Vancouver to Sydney joined an Air New Zealand Airbus A320 in the initial search for the damaged boat. Captain Andrew Robertson said the airline was approaching top of descent and talking to air traffic control in Brisbane at 8.18am when it was asked to assist in the search. The flight crew programmed the coordinates ofthe stricken yacht into the aircraft's flight computer and determined it was about 160 nautical miles (296km) further out from the coast than the 777 but that the aircraft was enough fuel to reach the location.. "We were at 38,000ft and we just kept going down," said Captain Andrew Robertson. "I knew we would have to get really low and we got down to 5000ft above the water as we approached the area. "I had already made a PA announcement telling passengers what we were doing and as we got into the area, I said: "We're coming into the search area, please everybody look out to the window and if you seen anything let us know. Norway’s Housing Boom Could Lead to Spain-Style Bust, Say Some (CNBC) Norway’s housing sector, which has seen prices jump by almost 30 percent since 2006 — could end up replicating a pattern of housing booms and busts seen across the globe, from the U.S. to Japan to Spain and Ireland, according to a report by Bank of New York Mellon. Indeed, Norway's house price rise has been so dramatic that the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco wrote a paper on the subject in June that made parallels between the lead up to the U.S. housing crisis and the “irrationally exuberant bubble” of Norway’s present boom. BlackRock Profit Rises 7.9% on as Assets Rise on ETFs (Bloomberg) Net income climbed 7.9 percent to $642 million, or $3.65 a share, from $595 million, or $3.23, a year earlier, the New York-based company said today in a statement. Excluding certain one-time items, profit of $3.47 per share exceeded the $3.32-a- share average estimate of 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Knight Capital Posts Third-Quarter Loss Due To Fallout Over Software Glitch (AP) The company company reported a loss attributable to common shareholders of $764.3 million, or $6.30 per share, for the period ended Sept. 30. That compares with net income of $26.9 million, or 29 cents per share, a year ago. Knight Capital said Wednesday that the loss from the software glitch was more than $400 million. Excluding $2.46 per share related to the software glitch and other items, earnings came to a penny per share. Analysts forecast 2 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey. Police: Alanis Morissette Music Leads To Domestic Violence (N4J) A 24-year-old Jacksonville man who didn't like his boyfriend's taste in music let him know about it by hitting him in the face with a plate, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Police said 33-year-old Todd Fletcher has a large cut on the side of his face to prove it. Allen Casey was arrested Sunday after police said he acted on his displeasure that Fletcher was listening to Alanis Morissette. "That's all that (expletive) listens to," Casey said, according to a police report.

Opening Bell: 07.13.12

J.P. Morgan Second-Quarter Profit Fell 8.7% (WSJ) JPMorgan's second-quarter earnings fell 8.7% from a year ago, on a double-digit decline in revenue and a $4.4 billion trading loss at its Chief Investment Office. The U.S.'s largest bank by assets also said it would restate its first-quarter results to reduce profits and revenue, amid questions about how traders at the unit marked their positions. Including the restatement, total losses on the Chief Investment Office trading hit $5.1 billion in the first half of 2012. Finance chief Doug Braunstein on Friday put the trading loss through Thursday at $5.8 billion. The bank said the restatement of first-quarter results reflects "recently discovered information that raises questions about the integrity of the trader marks and suggests that certain individuals may have been seeking to avoid showing the full amount of the losses in the portfolio during the first quarter." Overall, the bank posted a $4.96 billion second-quarter profit, worth $1.21 a share. That is down from $5.43 billion, or $1.29 a share, a year ago. Revenue fell 17% from a year earlier to $22.18 billion. Dimon Says Ina Drew Offered To Return 2 Years Of Compensation (Bloomberg) “She has acted with integrity and tried to do what was right for the company at all times, even though she was part of this mistake,” Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said today at a meeting with analysts. “In that spirit, Ina came forward and offered to give up a very significant amount of her past compensation, which is equivalent to the maximum clawback amount.” Dimon said that when Drew decided to retire he received letters from former chairmen in her support, including one who said “she saved the company.” JPMorgan Trader 'London Whale' Leaves: Source (Reuters) Goodnight, sweet prince: Bruno Iksil, the JPMorgan Chase trader known as the "London Whale" has left the bank in the wake of a trading scandal, a person familiar with the situation said. Wells Fargo Profit Up 17% (WSJ) The bank reported a profit of $4.62 billion, up from a year-earlier profit of $3.95 billion. Per-share earnings, reflecting the payment of preferred dividends, rose to 82 cents from 70 cents a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected 81 cents. Revenue increased 4.4% to $21.29 billion. Analysts were looking for $21.36 billion. Dogs From NY, Virginia Wed at Charity Extravaganza (AP) Two dogs got married Thursday night at an extravaganza to benefit the Humane Society of New York. Bride Baby Hope Diamond, a white Coton de Tulear with black-gray markings, was led down the aisle, resplendent in her canine couture gown. Her poodle groom, a dapper dude named Chilly Pasternak from Richmond, Va., didn't seem too excited about the whole affair but, nevertheless, went along with the ceremony. After they got hitched, the cuddly couple were presented with a Guinness World Record in the category of most expensive pet wedding at $158,187.26. The luxury goods and services that went into the wedding were all donated. Focus Falls On BOE Libor Claims (WSJ) In one email from June 2008, Tim Geithner, then head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and now the U.S. Treasury Secretary, copied Mr. Tucker on a message to Bank of England Governor Mervyn King in which he made several suggestions "to improve the integrity and transparency" of the Libor-setting process, "…including procedures designed to prevent accidental or deliberate misreporting." The memo followed a series of news reports in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere that questioned whether officials at some banks were gaming Libor. One of Mr. Geithner's suggestions was titled "Eliminate incentive to misreport." Banks’ Libor Costs May Hit $22 Billion (FT) Ballpark. Americans Living Larger As New-Home Sizes Defy Economy (Bloomberg) arger, as in larger homes: two-story foyers, twin front staircases, children’s wings, dedicated man caves, coffee bars, four-car garages, and bedroom closets large enough for a fifth vehicle. The percentage of new single-family homes greater than 3,000 square feet has grown by one-third in the last decade, according to data released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau. The increase has occurred even while 4.3 million homes have been foreclosed upon since January 2007, a result of the housing- bubble collapse and economic meltdown. Slightly more than 1 in 4 new homes built last year were larger than 3,000 square feet, the highest percentage since 2007. Buffett Says Euro Destined For Failure Without Rule Changes (Bloomberg) “Thesystem that they put in place had a fundamental fatal flaw,” Buffett said today on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop With Betty Liu” in an interview from the Allen & Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. “It can’t survive with the present rules. That’s what they’re learning. The question is, can 17 countries get together in a way to essentially re-do something.” ‘Occupy’ catches a few rays in the Sun (NYP) The Occupy Wall Street movement yesterday crashed Allen & Co.’s exclusive media retreat, where the nation’s wealthiest business titans rub elbows every summer. Protesters railing against the growing gap between the rich and everyone else gathered at the Sun Valley Resort near the duck pond, where Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Mayor Mike Bloomberg were enjoying a leisurely lunch. A group of seven people, dressed in “Greed Kills” T-shirts laid on the ground and refused to move. They quickly unfurled a yellow banner that read: “White Collar Crime Scene.” Arnold Schwarzenegger Confirms He’s Doing ‘Twins’ Sequel (Deadline) The former California governor said during Lionsgate‘s panel for the action pic The Expendables 2 today at Comic-Con that he will make a sequel to the 1988 movie Twins in which he co-starred with Danny DeVito. He is reteaming with that movie’s original director Ivan Reitman too, Schwarzenegger said, the project is in development and they are looking for a writer.