MF Global Collapses As Books Questioned (WSJ)
U.S. regulators are investigating the discrepancy, which relates to money from customers that couldn't be accounted for as MF Global raced to sell itself, according to people with knowledge of the probe. The probe is at an early stage, and it isn't clear if the money is missing or if the inconsistencies relate to sloppy bookkeeping...Because of the company's dire condition when trading opened Monday, CME Group Inc., the owner of the Nymex and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, blocked traders working for MF Global or backed by the securities firm from buying and selling. Some of their security cards were deactivated as they left the trading pits in Chicago. At the Nymex in lower Manhattan, three marooned traders wearing MF Global's light-blue jackets sat off to the side of the oil-options pit with sullen expressions.
Credit Suisse Plans 1,500 More Job Cuts After Loss at Securities Division (Bloomberg)
Credit Suisse fell the most in almost three years in Zurich trading as third-quarter net income of 683 million Swiss francs ($767 million) missed the 979 million-franc mean estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Chief Executive Officer Brady Dougan, who said current volatility in the markets is “similar” to the 2008 crisis, is adding to the 2,000 staff cuts announced in July. That may make it more difficult for the Zurich-based bank to compete with larger rivals amid the European sovereign debt crisis and as the global economic slowdown crimps investment-banking revenue.
Greek Vote Threatens Bailout (WSJ)
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stunned Europe by announcing a referendum on his country's latest bailout—a high-stakes gamble that could undermine the international effort to preserve the euro. A "yes" vote in the referendum could deflate the massive street protests and strikes that threaten to paralyze Greece as it tries to enact a brutal austerity program to earn rescue loans from the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund. A "no" vote, however, could bring down the government and cut off international funding for Greece, leaving the country facing a financial meltdown. The government expects to hold the referendum in January.
Paulson Received $1.5 Billion in Redemptions (II)
John Paulson has so far received $1.5 billion in redemption requests as of Friday, according to a knowledgeable source. This works out to 5 percent of the firm’s total assets of $30 billion, which are up from $27 billion thanks to strong performance in the October market rally. If Paulson does not get a sudden surge of redemptions by the Monday deadline, the total will wind up much less than many experts had anticipated. In addition, Paulson is allowing existing investors to put additional money into any of the firm’s funds, and won’t charge a performance fee until that particular fund hits its high water mark.
Occupy Wall Street Applies For Trademark (Fortune)
In an application dated October 24, the unincorporated association "Occupy Wall Street" applied for the trademark to "Occupy Wall Street." The trademark application says the group would like to use the phrase on merchandise such as clothing and bags, in periodicals and newsletters, and on a website featuring "photographic, audio, video and prose presentations" about the Occupy movement.
Citigroup Number One At Picking Financial Stocks (Bloomberg)
The No. 1 financial stock-picking firm was Citigroup Inc. (C), whose London-based team of capital markets analysts made 26 accurate calls on the 43 financial stocks they follow that met the Bloomberg Markets ranking’s criteria. Citigroup was No. 5 in 2010. “It is not, and it hasn’t been for a while, a stock picker’s environment,” says Andrew Pitt, Citigroup’s global head of investment research and a former financial company analyst. “So doing well picking financial stocks over the last 12 months has required judgment and probably also a degree of luck.”
One Analyst Is Detailing His "Fight" (WSJ)
A forthcoming book, written in near-total secrecy over the past decade by longtime banking analyst Mike Mayo, promises to reopen old wounds and shine a light on how banks behave toward their investor clients. Mr. Mayo is a controversial figure with a reputation as a bruiser with a passion for the limelight, and the title of the book underscores those traits. "Exile on Wall Street: One Analyst's Fight to Save the Big Banks From Themselves" chronicles Mr. Mayo's 20-plus years working for, and writing about, some of the world's biggest financial firms. In the ensuing 200 pages, Mr. Mayo argues that, when it comes to research, big banks look after themselves first and their clients much later...In the executives' view, Mr. Mayo's perspective is also undermined by his temperament: combative, stubborn and unyielding. In short, not conducive to the kind of subtle business that is the stuff of Wall Street. "He is a royal pain," growled an executive who knows him well. Mr. Mayo retorts that his job isn't to please executives. "I work for shareholders," he said. "I am one of the thousand eyes of the market."
Fannie, Freddie dole out big bonuses (Politico)
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government regulator for Fannie and Freddie, approved $12.79 million in bonus pay after 10 executives from the two government-sponsored corporations last year met modest performance targets tied to modifying mortgages in jeopardy of foreclosure.
Obama Pivots To Call For Patience On Economy (Bloomberg)
Obama is promoting themes similar to those he used four years ago even as he tempers expectations. “It is going to take time to rebuild an America where we can restore security for the middle class and opportunity for folks trying to get in the middle class,” he said last month. And he has tried to maintain a post-partisan tone, even if conciliatory words are sometimes followed by fighting ones. “I’m not the Democratic president, I’m not the Republican president -- I’m the president,” Obama said to applause last month in Emporia. “This is not the Republican jobs act, this is not called the Democratic jobs act -- this is the American Jobs Act.” Then he added: “One poll found that 63 percent of Americans support the ideas in this jobs bill. And yet 100 percent of Republicans in the Senate voted against it. Does that make any sense?” Obama asked at Greensville County High School.
Groupon IPO Holds Price At $16 To $18 A Share (WSJ)
Groupon is expected to price its IPO shares after the market close on Thursday, and to begin trading as a public company on Friday.
Camping sorry for failed apocalypse predictions (AP)
Religious broadcaster Harold Camping says he and his Family Radio network are embarrassed that the world didn't end on Oct. 21 as he predicted. In a message posted on his network's website, the 90-year-old Camping says, "When it comes to trying to recognize the truth of prophecy, we're finding that it is very, very difficult." Camping also apologizes for saying last May that people who didn't believe his prophecy that Christians would be taken up to heaven in the rapture on May 21 probably were not saved.