Goldman Sachs’s First Quarter Profit Beats Estimates (DealBook)
Goldman Sachs on Tuesday reported a first-quarter profit of $2.2 billion, or 4.29 a share, up from the year-ago period and driven by investment banking and investment and lending. It was well of analysts’ expectations of $3.89 a share, according to Thomson Reuters. Earnings per share were up 9 percent when compared to the same quarter in 2012. ... Net revenue in Goldman’s powerful division that trades bonds, currencies and commodities was $3.2 billion, down 7 percent from the year-ago period. ... The firm’s investing and lending division however did quite well, posting revenue of $2.07 billion, up 8 percent from year-ago levels.
BlackRock profit jumps on ETF demand (FT)
Buoyant stock markets and strong demand for BlackRock’s exchange traded funds pushed profits for the world’s largest money manager up by a tenth from the year before. Net income rose 10 per cent to $632m from $572m in the first quarter of 2012. Assets under management of $3.94tn were up 7 per cent on the same period last year to their highest-ever level.
Dell reaches deal with activist investor Icahn (Reuters)
Dell Inc said it struck a deal with billionaire Carl Icahn to limit his investment in the company, while in return allowing him to enter agreements with other shareholders on a potential bid for the PC maker. The agreement with Icahn states that the activist investor would not make purchases that would cause him to own over 10 percent of Dell's shares or sign deals with other shareholders who, together with the Icahn entities, would collectively own more than 15 percent, Dell said on Tuesday.
Paschi Prosecutors Seizing $2.4 Billion of Nomura Assets (Bloomberg)
Italian prosecutors are seizing about 1.8 billion euros ($2.4 billion) of assets from Nomura Holdings Inc. as part of a probe into Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA’s use of derivatives to hide losses. ... The seizures are linked to allegations of fraud and usury, prosecutors said. Monte Paschi has claimed Nomura colluded with its former managers to devise one of two derivatives in 2008 and 2009 that hid total losses of much as 557 million euros. Nomura reaped at least 88 million euros from the transaction, dubbed Alexandria, according to Italian lender.
Gold Makes Tentative Recovery (WSJ)
The shaky recovery has been stimulated by thin physical buying, as some buyers return to the market, although the metal failed to regain the key psychological $1,400/oz level. Gold rose 2.8% in midmorning European trading to trade around $1,389/oz.
Boston Seeks Answers in Deadly Blasts (NYT)
President Obama, speaking at the White House, vowed to bring those responsible for the blasts to justice. “We will get to the bottom of this,” the president said. “We will find who did this, and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”
Citi reaps profits from hiring rainmakers 2-3 years ago (Reuters)
In 2010, Citigroup hired Stephen Trauber, a UBS AG energy banker reputed to be among the best-connected in Houston. Hiring him was not cheap: The Wall Street Journal reported that his pay package could hit $30 million over three years. Trauber hired more bankers, telling Reuters in June 2011 that the bank had added around 50 to its energy business. ... The investment banking operation came under considerable criticism within the bank because of its high compensation costs, said a company insider who declined to be named. And the numbers sometimes did not look good. In 2011, revenue fell 9.5 percent, while expenses rose 7.5 percent. But the bank's revenue rose faster than expenses in the first quarter of 2013, boosted in part by higher deal activity. One example: Trauber's team helped advise China's CNOOC Ltd on its $15.1 billion takeover of Canadian oil and gas company Nexen Inc.
Energy Future Holdings Offers Bankruptcy Plan (DealBook)
Energy Future Holdings, the Texas energy giant that was taken private in 2007 in a record-breaking $45 billion buyout, disclosed a potential bankruptcy plan to its creditors on Monday. The proposal to restructure about $32 billion in debt is the opening move in what many say could be a long and contentious battle between the company and its largest creditors. ... Specifically, the plan would wipe out about $25 billion of debt in the affiliate that controls the retail energy and power-generation business. In exchange, the debt holders would get a stake in the parent company, as well as either $5 billion of new debt or cash, according to a filing made Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Housing Starts Top Estimates; CPI Inches Lower (Reuters)
Last month, U.S. builders started 1.04 million homes on a seasonally adjusted annual rate at the fastest pace in nearly five years, new data showed. A separate report showed that U.S. consumer prices ticked lower in March for the first time in four months. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new housing starts in March would rise to 930,000 from 917,000 in February, and estimates new building permits would tick higher to 940,000, up from 939,000.
In Break With Tradition, It’s Open Season on the Royal Family (NYT)
Spain is in the midst of an economic and identity crisis, having tied its fortunes to the now-troubled European Monetary Union. The 75-year-old king is increasingly unpopular, and polls suggest that far from attracting sympathy, his declining health has intensified calls for him to abdicate in favor of Crown Prince Felipe, his 45-year-old son. ... It seemed to start in earnest last April when the king was forced to make a highly unusual apology after returning from a lavish elephant hunting excursion to Botswana, which came to public attention only because he fell and broke his hip on the trip.
Florida Battles Giant African Land Snail Invasion (ABC)
When the Florida Department of Agriculture first discovered the current outbreak in Miami-Dade County, they found "massive amounts of these snails at every property we visited," said Mark Fagan, a spokesman. Barely more than 18 months later, Fagan estimated officials have captured more than 120,000 snails. The largest had a 6.1 inch shell. "We have a staff of 50 that's dedicated to nothing but snail hunting," Fagan said.