JPMorgan Said to Agree to Details of $13 Billion Accord (Bloomberg)
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has resolved the last obstacles to a record $13 billion settlement of civil state and U.S. probes over the sale of mortgage bonds, clearing the way for a deal today after months of negotiations, two people briefed on the matter said. The accord includes a previously disclosed $4 billion settlement to end a 2011 Federal Housing Finance Agency lawsuit, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. While the deal would mark the largest amount paid by a financial firm in a settlement with the U.S., the Justice Department is still probing JPMorgan’s recruiting practices in Asia, energy trading and its relationship with Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff. The New York-based bank has tapped $8 billion of $28 billion in reserves set aside since 2010 to cover legal costs.
Yellen Nomination for Fed Chairman to Get Vote This Week (Bloomberg)
Janet Yellen’s nomination to be chairman of the Federal Reserve is scheduled for a Senate Banking Committee vote this week, advancing her confirmation. The banking panel vote will be Nov. 21, setting the stage for a full Senate confirmation vote later this year. Democrats hold a two-vote lead on the 22-member committee and no Democrat has opposed her nomination. If confirmed, Yellen, the Fed’s current vice chairman, will become the first woman to lead the U.S. central bank.
Ex-SAC exec’s defense probes jurors’ social media postings (NYP)
“As long as it’s public information, it’s fair game,” Barry Berke, Steinberg’s lawyer, told The Post. “The world has changed. Today people have a social-media footprint that is 100 percent public, and lawyers should be looking at it.” Steinberg’s defense team has hired DOAR Litigation Consulting, one of the top jury consultants in the country, and last week DOAR received permission to bring three laptops into the courtroom. Berke told Judge Richard Sullivan in last week’s pretrial hearing that DOAR may be doing an extra level of due diligence on prospective jurors by Googling their names, checking out their social-media profiles and looking into public sites for asset searches. Berke told The Post that the searches of prospective jurors won’t happen in the courtroom, suggesting that DOAR would set up a war room of sorts to vet the panel. Jury selection in the highly anticipated trial could last two days. Steinberg is the seventh money manager at Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors to face charges of insider trading — and the highest-ranking executive at the $14 billion hedge fund to do so. Each of the previous six has been convicted — part of US Attorney Preet Bharara’s dragnet that has bagged 75 guilty verdicts since 2009. The extra level of juror scrutiny speaks to Steinberg’s fear that pretrial publicity will make it hard for him to get a fair trial. Sullivan denied a request by Team Steinberg to either move or postpone the trial. A more-detailed-than-usual juror questionnaire will be used in the case, however. Prospective jurors will be asked extensively about their knowledge of hedge funds and SAC. Those with any knowledge of SAC’s recent guilty plea on insider trading will be pulled into the judge’s chambers for more detailed, private questioning. The juror questionnaire will identify Steinberg as “an employee of a fund called SAC Capital.” But “hedge fund” was considered a “loaded term,” the judge decided.
OECD Warns of U.S. Threat to Global Recovery (WSJ)
The uncertain future of U.S. fiscal and central bank policies poses a growing risk to a global economic recovery that has already been weakened by a slowdown in growth in many developing countries, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said Tuesday. In its twice-yearly Economic Outlook, the Paris-based research body said the U.S. debt ceiling should be abolished, and replaced by "a credible long-term budgetary consolidation plan with solid political support." The report marks a significant shift in the OECD's focus of concern, which in recent years has been centered on the euro zone's attempts to tackle its fiscal and banking crises. While the OECD remains worried about the euro zone's frailties, the most immediate threats to the global recovery now appear to come from the U.S, it said.
Toronto’s Mayor Rampages On, to City’s Shame (NYT)
The end did not come for Rob Ford, the mayor of this city, when he proclaimed his proclivity for oral sex on live television. It did not come when the police confirmed that they had a video of him smoking crack, something he had repeatedly denied, nor when he showed up drunk at a local festival, careened equally plastered on a dance floor, or when the local Santa parade told him to please stay away. It did not even come Monday, during a City Council meeting at which members voted to take away most of his budget and staff while he cantered around the chamber, heckling voters and knocking a City Council member to the floor. It seems that Mr. Ford, absent a decision to quit, will remain at the helm of Canada’s largest and most affluent city at least until his term ends next year. He says he has far too many phone calls left to make. “Are you aware that 2,200 people call me?” Mr. Ford repeatedly said Monday, adding that he also gets 138,000 emails a year that require a response, by way of explaining why he ought to keep his budget and staff. “I’m still doing the job!”
German Economic Expectations Hit Four-Year High (WSJ)
German economic expectations hit their highest level in four years in November, buoyed by an improving euro-zone outlook and the European Central Bank's surprise interest-rate cut earlier this month, according to a survey of analysts and institutional investors released Tuesday. The ZEW sentiment survey showed that the economic expectations indicator rose further above its long-term average in November, to 54.6 from 52.8 in October, and signaled that the economic recovery of the euro zone's largest economy is gradually broadening.
Eurozone recovery fragile but no deflation risk: ECB's Praet (Reuters)
The ECB cut interest rates to a record low earlier this month and said it could take them lower still to prevent the euro zone's recovery from stalling after inflation tumbled to 0.7 percent - well below its target of just under 2 percent. Praet, who last week raised the prospect of the ECB starting to buy assets to bring inflation closer to the target, said inflation in the euro zone is low but inflation expectations solidly anchored. A cyclical upswing in the euro area "is confirmed", he added.
Banks That Adapt to New Global Rules Will Fare Best, Study Says (Bloomberg)
Banks that best adapt to “relentless waves” of new rules from global regulators have the greatest chance of remaining competitive, according to Boston Consulting Group Inc. Regulatory reform has added a multitude of complex and costly rules since the financial crisis, creating barriers banks must break to remain profitable, BCG said in a report released today. Lenders that are able to “categorize, prioritize and execute” against the rules, which include higher capital requirements and leverage ratios, will have the advantage, according to the report.
Tom Brady drops F-Bomb on national television after Patriots loss to Panthers (NYDN)
Tom Brady was not a happy camper after Monday night's loss to the Carolina Panthers. Following the 24-20 loss, Brady dropped an F-bomb on national TV as ESPN cameras picked up his audio while he furiously chased and complained to referee Clete Blakeman about a controversial call which ended the game. "That is f----ing brutal," Brady is heard screaming. ESPN immediately muted the on-field audio.