J.P. Morgan’s Earnings Rise, Hit Annual Record (WSJ)
Cost-cutting and higher earnings within the lender’s investment banking division drove fourth-quarter profit about 10% higher to $5.43 billion, or $1.32 a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of $1.25 a share. Revenue rose slightly to $23.75 billion and also beat expectations. For the year, J.P. Morgan earned $24.44 billion, an all-time record for the bank that exceeded 2014 earnings of $21.76 billion, which was then a record. The result rivaled Citigroup Inc.’s earnings before the financial crisis of $24.59 billion in 2005.
Banks’ falling book value could invite activists (CNBC)
A group of U.S banks including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America saw shares drop by at least 8 percent to begin this year. Each bank also trades below tangible book value, or the net value of the company less intangible assets and goodwill. With the stocks' value dipping beneath book value and earnings reports from U.S. banks due this week and next, underperforming banks could see activist investors clamoring for leadership changes or for spinouts at firms posting disappointing returns. "If valuations stay depressed as they are it creates incentive for banks to unlock value," CLSA banks analyst Mike Mayo said. "Shareholders have every right to push for a credible plan."
Sleazy dirtbags run Silicon Valley (NYP)
Sixty percent of the women working in Silicon Valley have endured unwanted sexual advances, and nearly two-thirds of those women said the harassment came from a supervisor, according to a new survey. Horror stories ran the gamut, from getting groped in public by a boss to employers that hosted lunches at Hooters, according to the survey published this week, titled “Elephant in the Valley.” One respondent said a hiring manager “clearly indicated that if I slept with him, he would make sure I was promoted as his ‘second in command,’ ” according to the survey.
Australian man stops car theft with flying kick through passenger window (UPI)
An Australian man stopped his car from being stolen by performing a flying "ninja" kick through the passenger window of the moving vehicle. Northern Territory Police said on Facebook they were seeking Timothy Slater, 24, for alleged offenses including an attempted auto theft Nov. 30 at a gas station in Malak. Video of the gas station incident shows a man police identified as Slater getting into the car and attempting to drive away after the owner walked away from the vehicle. The owner quickly runs back into frame as Slater tries to drive off and performs a flying kick through the passenger-side window the moving car. The man then climbs into the car, leading Slater to flee.
AB InBev sees record demand for bond deal (FT)
Anheuser-Busch InBev has pulled in more than $110bn of demand for an upsized $46bn bond deal, as investors rushed to pile their cash into the relative safety of high-grade US corporate debt at the start of a turbulent new year for markets.
Chocolate Makers Fight a Melting Supply of Cocoa (WSJ)
Demand for chocolate is stronger than ever, especially now that more consumers in China and India are buying bars and bonbons long considered an unaffordable luxury. But cocoa production is down, including a steep slide last year in Ghana, the second-largest cocoa-growing country. Cocoa prices have jumped nearly 40% since the start of 2012.
California Lottery: Powerball winners in Calif., Florida, Tennessee (CNBC)
None of the winners' identities have yet been revealed, although in Chino Hills, crowds descended on the 7-Eleven store that sold the winning ticket. The store gets a $1 million bonus for the making the lucky sale.
Ohio man who sent selfie to police arrested in Florida (Reuters)
An Ohio man wanted for drunk driving who sent police a more flattering photo of himself because he did not like his mug shot has been arrested in Florida, police said. "How's this photo Donald Pugh?" asked the Escambia County, Florida, Sheriff's Office on its Facebook page, showing the suspect's new, broadly smiling mug shot. "Maybe that selfie helped people identify you better?" Pugh, 45, had posted a photo of himself wearing sunglasses in a car after he saw the two mug shots that the Lima, Ohio, police department had posted on its Facebook page. "Here is a better photo that one is terrible," Pugh wrote when he sent in the selfie. Pugh was arrested in Century, Florida, on Tuesday morning thanks to a tip, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said.