Trading Activity Likely to Buoy Banks (WSJ)
The pickup in action was driven by signs of an improving U.S. economy, the European Central Bank’s push to stimulate growth and Scotland’s bid for independence. Choppier markets helped lift trading revenue for banks that had previously been leaning more heavily on lending and investment-banking deals to increase profits. Banks face an easy comparison from a year ago when trading volumes slumped amid uncertainty about when the Federal Reserve could move to raise rates. But trading “hasn’t been the albatross it had been in past quarters,” said Devin Ryan, an analyst with JMP Securities, referring specifically to the long slump in trading revenue in bonds, currencies and commodities.
Johnson Controls Fires Consultant After Affair With CEO (Bloomberg)
Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) fired a consulting firm after learning that one of its principals had an extramarital affair with Chief Executive Officer Alex Molinaroli. Molinaroli, 55, told his family about his affair with Kristin Ihle, a 45-year-old psychologist, in late May, according to the transcript of a court hearing at which Ihle unsuccessfully sought a restraining order against the CEO’s estranged wife. Ihle’s Milwaukee company, which helps businesses with leader development and succession planning, had been working with auto supplier Johnson Controls for years, according the consulting firm’s website...On May 29, Molinaroli’s wife of 28 years, Patsy, 59, sent an e-mail to Ihle: “I will destroy you, your family, and business just as you have done to me,” according to the transcript of the hearing. Later that day, while her husband was absent, Patsy Molinaroli fired a .38 caliber pistol at least four times in their Brookfield, Wisconsin, home, according to the criminal complaint. She also smashed window panes, a Pac Man arcade game and a china cabinet, leaving holes consistent with an aluminum baseball bat found in the kitchen, according to the complaint.
Fuld Advises on Deal to Buy National Stock Exchange (WSJ)
A little-known company called OpenMatch Holdings LLC agreed to buy the 130-year-old National Stock Exchange in a deal in that was advised by former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. CEO Richard Fuld, according to people familiar with the plans. The Jersey City, N.J.-based NSX, which is part-owned by the CBOE Stock Exchange, closed down at the end of May amid low trading activity. It handled roughly 13 million shares on its last day of operations, or about 0.2% of all U.S. stocks traded...Mr. Fuld, who was chief executive of Lehman Brothers when it collapsed in 2008, has played a role in the acquisition talks, the people said. Mr. Fuld’s firm, Matrix Advisors LLC, is advising OpenMatch on the deal.
Bill Ackman adds to Fannie, Freddie stakes (NYP)
Ackman has added to his Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bets since the stocks got clobbered by a federal court ruling last week, The Post has learned. Ackman’s Pershing Square hedge fund said it added to its 10 percent stakes in the two mortgage giants. Pershing Square quit reporting its Fannie and Freddie holdings earlier this year, so it’s unclear how big the stake has become. Uncle Sam owns 80 percent of both companies.
Noah's Ark Theme Park Plans To Only Hire People Who Believe Biblical Flood Actually Happened (Reuters)
The developer of a Noah's Ark-based theme park in Kentucky said on Wednesday he would fight for his religious rights after state officials warned he could lose millions in potential tax credits if he hires only people who believe in the biblical flood. Ark Encounter, which is slated to open in 2016 in Williamston, Kentucky, is not hiring anyone yet, but its parent company Answers in Genesis asks employees to sign a faith statement including a belief in creationism and the flood. State officials and Ark Encounter lawyers have exchanged letters in which the state threatened not to proceed with tax incentives for the park if there was discriminatory hiring practices, a state official confirmed on Wednesday. The letters between the parties came to light after the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader obtained them through open records requests. "We're hoping the state takes a hard look at their position, and changes their position so it doesn't go further than this," Ark Encounter's Executive President Mike Zovath told Reuters.
Nomura’s Credit Rating Raised by Moody’s on Profitability (Bloomberg)
The company’s long-term rating was increased by two levels to Baa1 from the lowest investment grade of Baa3, Moody’s said in a statement yesterday. Nomura’s capitalization had benefited from a cost-reduction program and lower holdings of illiquid assets, the agency said.
Pimco Total Return Cut U.S. Government-Related Holdings in September (WSJ)
U.S. government-related holdings accounted for 38% of the $201.6 billion bond fund at the end of last month, compared with 41% at the end of August, according to data available late Thursday on Pacific Investment Management Co.’s website.
Former Fed Chairman Bernanke takes stand in AIG bailout trial (Reuters)
On Thursday afternoon, Bernanke distinguished between the $85 billion loan package provided to AIG, which came with an interest rate of more than 12 percent and a nearly 80 percent stake in the company, and loans the government provided to banks at the height of the 2007-2009 financial crisis through broad lending facilities at the New York Fed. While officials designed the AIG rescue to "minimize windfall" for shareholders, they considered countervailing factors when designing the other programs, including the need to get the funds into the financial system and avoid any stigma associated with taking advantage of the loans, Bernanke said.
Wife-carrying contest offers wife's weight in beer (UPI)
Organizers of the North American Wife Carrying Championship in Maine said the winner will receive their wife's weight in beer and five times her weight in cash. The organizers announced the Oct. 11 competition at the Sunday River Resort in Newry will feature a 278-yard obstacle course and the fastest finisher will receive their wife's weight in beer and five times the woman's weight in cash as a prize. The event will also offer prizes for the team with the greatest combined weight and the spousal pairing with the greatest combined age.