Pimco's Bill Gross Seeks Push Beyond Bonds (WSJ)
A day after his partner at the top of Pacific Investment Management Co. stepped down, Bill Gross said he wants to double down on its efforts to turn into much more than a bond shop. His goal: to reduce the giant asset manager's reliance on bonds and raise its exposure to stocks. The firm, with nearly $2 trillion under management, has faltered in previous efforts to make this shift. The 69-year-old Mr. Gross said he relished the opportunity. He dismissed suggestions that Mohamed El-Erian, who was Pimco's chief executive and co-chief investment officer, resigned Tuesday because he didn't see a path to succeeding Mr. Gross. "I didn't want Mohamed to go but now that he is going, I am ready" to push the firm toward new growth areas, Mr. Gross said in an interview.
JPMorgan CEO Dimon says government cases were 'unfair' (Reuters)
JP Morgan Chase Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said on Thursday that government legal cases, including those over mortgage securities the company settled for more than $13 billion, were "unfair". Dimon, speaking on CNBC in a pre-recorded interview from Davos, Switzerland, said most of the government claims against the company were for dealings that took place at companies before JPMorgan bought them in the financial crisis. "I think a lot of it was unfair, but I am not going to go into the details," Dimon said in the television interview.
Doctor Goes Toe To Toe With Martoma Lawyer (NYP)
A feisty Dr. Sidney Gilman gave the lawyer for accused inside trader Mathew Martoma a run for his money — taking issue a number of times with how lawyer Richard Strassberg framed his questions. Gilman even told Strassberg his questions sounded more like declarative sentences. At another point, the 81-year old doctor took back one of his answers — which went beyond what Strassberg asked — saying it was a “moot point.” Later, as Strassberg got his first crack at the government’s key witness against his client, Judge Paul Gardephe intervened, asking the lawyer to refrain from asking questions with “compound clauses.”
Germany, France attack EU plan to curb big banks (Reuters)
Germany and France have attacked European Union plans to curb big banks, warning that this could jeopardize a delicate economic recovery, a paper seen by Reuters showed. Next week, the European Commission will unveil a blueprint to challenge the power of big banks, tackling one of the biggest risks exposed by the 2007-2009 financial crisis. The paper does not bear an author's name but five financial industry and government sources told Reuters that Germany and France, together with Italy, were behind it. It sends a warning shot from the euro zone's top economies to Brussels not to overstep the mark in a way that could challenge their national champions, such as Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) or BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA).
Bieber unleashes F-bomb rant before arrest for drag racing while stoned (NYP)
The celeb’s crew allegedly used their cars to block traffic on Pine Tree Drive at 26th Street in a residential neighborhood at 4:30 a.m. to create a drag strip where the star could race rapper buddy Crazy Khalil, police said. Bieber was allegedly incoherent and spewing F-bombs when he was busted. “Why did you stop me?” Bieber said, according police reports. “Why the f–k are you doing this?” When an officer asked Bieber to place his hands on his car’s rooftop for a routine pat down, the little guy flipped out, according to cops. “What the f–k did I do, why did you stop me,” he allegedly whined again. “I ain’t got no f–king weapons, why do you have to search me? What the f–k is this about?” After Bieber allegedly refused to comply with the pat down, cops said they had no choice to but to arrest him. “I grabbed his right hand and stated to him that he was under arrest,” police officer Fulgencio Medina wrote.
Icahn’s EBay Talks Show Boards Listening to Activists (Bloomberg)
Corporate directors, who for years often dismissed activist investors as quick-profit seeking gadflys, are starting to listen when opinionated shareholders like Carl Icahn, Nelson Peltz and Mason Morfit come calling. EBay Inc. (EBAY) pre-empted a public lashing from Icahn yesterday by disclosing his proposal to spin off its PayPal unit before he did. Peltz on Jan. 21 was invited to join the board of Mondelez International Inc. (MDLZ), the food maker he once urged to merge with PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) The same day, Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) said it welcomes “all constructive input” as Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC took a stake and called for it to spin off a petrochemical business.
Senator delves deeper into Herbalife’s business practices (NYP)
Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey is asking for more information about the business practices of nutrition supplement company Herbalife, which has been accused of running a pyramid scheme by hedge fund manager William Ackman. Markey sent letters to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and to Herbalife itself to try an obtain more information, his office said in a news release on Thursday.
Jobless Claims in U.S. Hover Near Lowest in Over a Month (Bloomberg)
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits held near a six-week low, showing firings remain muted following the holidays. Jobless claims rose by 1,000 to 326,000 in the period ended Jan. 18, Labor Department data showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected 330,000. Applications for one state and the District of Columbia were estimated and there were no other unusual circumstances, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data were released.
Good with people? Willing to capture crocodile, if needed? Apply now! (CNN)
The state of Florida is advertising for crocodile response agents to handle complaints from residents and, in the relatively rare event it is necessary, to capture and move crocs. Training will be provided. The addition of more agents comes amid the encouraging rebound of the American crocodile in Florida -- an estimated 2,000 non-hatchlings, up from about 300 in the mid-1970s -- and the accompanying rise in complaint calls. "(The crocodile) is moving back into places where they have not been seen in decades," said Lindsey Hord, crocodile response coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "That is obviously resulting in conflict." The program currently has nine agents who serve as "eyes and ears" on the crocodile population, responding to calls and patiently listening to residents unhappy with what they consider reptilian encroachment. The job pays $25 an hour, including vehicle expenses. "It is not something you do for the money," said Hord, adding the hiring process weeds out those who do not live close to where the work will take them.