JPMorgan Quarterly Earnings Surge 31 Percent (DealBook)
JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, reported a 31 percent surge in second-quarter earnings on Friday, buoyed by strong gains in the bank’s investment banking business, its credit card operations and in its mortgage lending division, which is benefiting from steady improvements in the nation’s housing markets. The net earnings of $6.5 billion, or $1.6 a share, handily exceeded Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $5.47 billion, or $1.44 a share on revenue of $24.84 billion. Revenue was $20 billion, compared with $26 billion in the period a year earlier.
Wells Fargo Profit Jumps 19 Percent (DealBook)
Despite a recent uptick in interest rates, a development that has discouraged borrowers from refinancing their mortgages, Wells recorded its 14th consecutive rise in quarterly profit and ninth straight record report. The results, bolstered by overall improvements in the economy and growth across its deposit business, included net income of $5.5 billion, or 98 cents a share. That compared with $4.6 billion, or 82 cents a share, in the period a year earlier. The new returns outpaced the expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, which had forecast earnings of 93 cents a share. Revenue, roughly flat at $21.4 billion, also exceeded expectations.
A Peek at Trucking Data, and Then the Stock Surged (WSJ)
Even as federal, state and congressional investigators examine the preferential release to investors of broad economic data—such as the University of Michigan consumer-sentiment survey—some investors tap numerous other more narrowly focused and less well-known industry indicators ahead of the rest of the investing public. The activity is widespread and legal. Federal securities law doesn't prevent investors from trading based on nonpublic information they have legally bought from other private entities. Investment firms can pay anywhere from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars a year for access to a variety of specialized reports, ranging from an index that tracks monthly billings by architecture firms to a weekly report on oil inventory.
Bernanke Departure With Duke Heralds Cascade of Fed Appointments (Bloomberg)
Elizabeth Duke’s resignation from the Federal Reserve Board and Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s potential departure in January could set off a series of vacancies and appointments that give President Barack Obama the opportunity to leave his mark on the Fed for a decade or longer. ... “There’s an opportunity for the president to shape the composition of the board for a long time,” said Roberto Perli, a Washington-based partner for Cornerstone Macro LP and a former senior staff economist in the Fed’s division of monetary affairs. “Obama is unlikely to nominate someone who differs from the current policy framework. It cements the fact that monetary policy is likely to remain very accommodative for the next couple of years, if not longer.”
Schneider approaches Invensys on potential takeover (FT)
Invensys, the UK engineering group that has long been the focus of takeover speculation, revealed late on Thursday that it had received a bid approach by Schneider Electric that values the company at £3.3bn. In response to speculation, Invensys said it was in discussions with Schneider, the French power equipment maker, about details of the approach. The Paris-listed group is proposing to pay 505p per ordinary share in cash and new Schneider shares. Invensys shares opened up 15 per cent on Friday in London, above the 505p offer price. Schneider shares fell 4.4 per cent to €55.40 in Paris.
New Smokey Bear Gives Hugs, Not Just Warnings (NYT)
Smokey Bear, who has been appearing since 1944 in public service fire prevention campaigns under the aegis of the nonprofit Advertising Council, is getting a makeover in a new campaign that replaces a computer-generated look he received about five years ago with a more vintage appearance of a large bear, or perhaps a person in an impressive bear costume. The ads also give Smokey’s role and persona a makeover. Although the campaign still declares “Only you can prevent wildfires” — the wording was changed from “forest fires” in 2001 — Smokey is changing from a teacher or authority figure into a paragon of positive reinforcement. To underscore the shift, Smokey will now hug people in the wilderness who demonstrate they know how to avoid causing fires.
Eliot Spitzer Collects 27,000 Petition Signatures for Comptroller’s Race (NYO)
A beaming Mr. Spitzer, joined by staffers, arrived at the Board of Elections headquarters in Lower Manhattan shortly after 10:30 p.m. carting four large boxes of signed petitions–which he gleefully displayed to the throngs of waiting press. “It is an important statement to those who said it was not possible in the course of three-and-a-half days to gather enough signatures to get a candidate on the ballot for city-wide office. I’m proud that citizens, in an outpouring of support, have given us over 27,000 signatures,” he said to applause from his staff. He reiterated, “27,000 signatures”
Consumer Frugality Adds to Woes in France (NYT)
French consumers simply are not spending the way they used to, and that is an impediment not only for the merchants of the Marché aux Puces, but also for the country’s ability to emerge from recession. “It used to be elbow to elbow here,” said Hamidou Debo, a shoe vendor who sat quietly in his outdoor stall as a handful of people browsed through silver-hued sandals and black leather high-tops before shuffling away without buying. “Now the crowds are around half what they used to be. ... It’s the crisis,” Mr. Debo said. “People are no longer spending. They are worried about what the future will bring.”
Swiss Banks Near Deal on U.S. Tax Cheats (WSJ)
Last week, the Swiss cabinet unveiled a program that would allow roughly a dozen Swiss banks that are being investigated by the Justice Department to deliver data on Swiss bank accounts held by American clients that had been transferred to other institutions as U.S. authorities began cracking down on overseas tax evasion. Under the program, banks would deliver "leaver lists"—aggregate data on bank accounts that can be used to identify tax evaders—directly to U.S. authorities, a step that could further chip away at Switzerland's historic banking privacy.
Investing: Contrarians Rarely Succeed (USAT)
Or so everyone thinks ...
Google's Schmidt says relationship with Apple has improved (Reuters)
The relationship between Google Inc and Apple Inc has improved over the past year with the rival technology companies and sometimes partners conducting "lots and lots" of meetings, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said.
Tunnel of self-love: NJ Transit bus driver caught on VIDEO pleasuring himself while driving packed bus through Lincoln Tunnel (NYDN)
A grossed-out rider shot a cell phone video of the driver in heat, as he steered with one hand — and at times no hands. “It was disturbing,” said the Manhattan librarian who filmed the hot-to-trot driver and has since sworn off the bus. “I was in shock and disbelief.” Simpson was completely exposed during his solo performance and apparently experienced tunnel vision as he chugged through the Lincoln, according to the rider’s video. When his one-man act finally climaxed, his hands were too full to notice he was caught on video.