JPMorgan Profit Jumps 34 Percent (WSJ)
Chief Executive James Dimon said he believes "the housing market has turned the corner." The gains in the company's home-loan business included a $900 million release of loan-loss reserves, reflecting the view that future defaults in that unit will be lower. The nation's largest bank by assets also said it "effectively closed out" the so-called London Whale trade, which led to more than $6 billion in losses and tarnished the company's sterling reputation for risk management. The New York company said net income rose to $5.71 billion, or $1.40 a share, from a year-ago $4.26 billion, or $1.02 a share. The latest period included four cents a share in net benefits tied to the loss-reserve releases and extraordinary gains on redeemed securities. Wall Street analysts were expecting the company to earn around $1.20 a share. Revenue rose 6% from a year ago to $25.9 billion, after several periods of year-over-year declines. The company cited gains in consumer-banking deposits, credit-card sales and asset-management fund flows.
JPMorgan Deploys New VaR Model for CIO Bet, Reports Lower Risk (Bloomberg)
JPMorgan, which has said risk models contributed to misjudging a derivative bet that lost more than $5.8 billion, developed a new formula for the position, at least the third such model it’s used this year. The new analysis cut the firm’s calculation of overall value-at-risk, or VaR, by $36 million, or 24 percent, to $115 million in the third quarter, the New York-based bank said today on its website. The model cut VaR by $26 million within the fixed-income category, which still more than doubled from a year earlier as the bulk of the money-losing position was transferred into the investment bank.
Wells Fargo Profit Rises But Misses Analysts' View (WSJ)
The bank reported a profit of $4.94 billion, compared with a year-earlier profit of $4.06 billion. Per-share earnings, reflecting the payment of preferred dividends, were 88 cents versus 72 cents a year earlier. Revenue increased 8.1% to $21.21 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share earnings of 87 cents on revenue of $21.47 billion.
Geithner Has A Phone Friend At BlackRock (FT)
Larry Fink, the group’s founder and chief executive, featured more frequently in Mr. Geithner’s diary during an 18-month period than any other corporate executive, according to a Financial Times review. The two men spoke on at least 49 separate occasions, an average of about once every 11 days. Calls and meetings with Mr. Fink throughout 2011 and up to the end of June this year outnumber the combined calls and meetings with the heads of the six largest U.S. banks by assets.
RBS Seeks Asset Protection Scheme Exit (WSJ)
The 81%-government-owned bank is currently in negotiations with regulators and the U.K. Treasury over its exit from the Asset Protection Scheme, which insures some of the group's riskier assets against default, people familiar with the matter said. The APS was put in place following RBS' state bailout in 2008 but is now considered largely redundant as many of the assets insured have been sold or written off. At the end of 2008 the portfolio of RBS assets insured by the program was valued at about £282 billion.
Court Allows Hedge Fund To Keep Seized Argentine Naval Vessel (NYP)
New York hedge-fund titan Paul Singer gets to keep the prized Argentine naval vessel seized last week as partial settlement of a $1.6 billion court judgment, a Ghana court ruled yesterday. In handing the ship over to a unit of Singer’s Elliott Management fund, the court — which shocked the world when it ordered the ARA Libertad be detained — rejected Argentina’s claim that the military vessel is sovereign property immune to seizure. “The order [to detain the ship] was properly and validly made,” judge Richard Adjei-Frimpong said in the 25-page ruling.
Sydney restaurant agrees to remove lip-shaped urinals (NYDN)
A recently opened Sydney restaurant will kiss its lip-shaped urinals goodbye after feminists accused the restaurant of misogyny. Ananas Bar and Brasserie in Sydney issued an apology to anyone the "commonly used European design piece" offended and agreed to remove them. "We sincerely apologize if they have caused offense. They are being removed today," a spokeswoman for the three week old restaurant said. Female Dutch artist Meike van Schijnde of Bathroom Mania designed the "Kisses" urinals, which somewhat resemble the Rolling Stones' "Tongue and Lip Design." Australian feminist Anne Summers considers the urinals a symptom of a sexist society. "Misogyny is very widespread, and this is just an example of misogyny," Summers said. "The concept is pretty challenging and confronting. They're asking men to put their d---s in these mouths as urinals."
'Distressed' Investors Circle AMR (WSJ)
Over cookies, popcorn and soda in the conference rooms of a Manhattan law firm, AMR executives and advisers have been briefing investors that hold large chunks of the airline's bonds and other debts on the company's bankruptcy proceedings and possible ways to exit Chapter 11. Bondholders and their advisers, during and outside these meetings, have been clamoring to start negotiating a plan under which AMR would emerge from bankruptcy independent.
John McCain Slams Ben Bernanke And Jamie Dimon (CNBC)
McCain, who lost to President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race, told CNBC that Wall Street had taken precedence over Main Street during much of the financial crisis and he hit back at Dimon, head of JPMorgan Chase, who said on Wednesday that the acquisition of Bear Stearns during the 2008 collapse had done the Federal Reserve a “favor.” “I don’t owe Mr. Dimon anything,” McCain said. “Mr. Dimon has done very well as have major financial institutions, and the American people are very unhappy and dissatisfied with it, as they should be.” McCain also said he was not sure he’d support Fed chief Ben Bernanke for another term and he criticized the central bank’s decision to buy $40 billion in mortgage debt a month, as part of its next round of quantitative easing. “I’d have to think about it. … But I’m very unhappy with his performance and what’s happened to the economy when he’s announced all these measures and all the easy money. Who gets the benefit of the easy money? The big businesses on Wall Street.”
Morgan Stanley Emails Show Doubts In Doomed Vehicle (Bloomberg)
Morgan Stanley executives told a partner in its Rhinebridge structured investment vehicle that mortgages underlying the SIV may cause it to fail, according to e-mails cited by investors who were sold $100 million of the fund’s notes just days after the warning...Steve D’Agostino, a Morgan Stanley senior managing director according to the court filing, had been “expressing very strong view” that Rhinebridge’s portfolio of securities, backed by subprime mortgages, could cause it to “hit triggers and unwind quickly,” MS executive Robert Rooney wrote in the July 19 e-mail.
French phone bill waived after 12qn-euro blunder (BBC)
Solenne San Jose, from Pessac outside Bordeaux, said she received a huge shock when she opened the bill for 11,721,000,000,000,000 euros (£9.4qn). This is nearly 6,000 times France's annual economic output. She had requested her account be closed after losing her job last month. The former teaching assistant said she "almost had a heart attack. There were so many zeroes I couldn't even work out how much it was". The phone company, Bouygues Telecom, initially told her there was nothing they could do to amend the computer-generated statement and later offered to set up instalments to pay off the bill.