• Geithner reportedly wary on bank reform plan
  • Obama Bank Curbs May Not Leave U.S. Financial System Much Safer
  • Obama Plan May Cost Banks $13 Billion, JPMorgan Says
  • Goldman Sachs’ record profit is upstaged by Obama’s plan
  • Morgan Stanley’s Roach Says Obama Is ‘Bank Bashing’
  • Bank Stocks Down in Europe on Concerns Over Bank Plan
  • Seven People Indicted In Galleon Insider Trading Probe
  • Pelosi admits setback in US health reform
  • GE Profit Declines on Finance Losses, Aviation
  • Fingers Still Pointing, NBC and O’Brien Reach a Deal
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner expressed support for enacting President Barack Obama’s banking reforms Thursday, even as a news report said the Treasury chief had privately voiced concerns.
Geithner was concerned that proposed limits on big banks’ risk-taking and size could impact their global competitiveness, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.
He also has worries that limits on proprietary trading won’t “get at the root of the problems” to curb excesses that fueled the 2008 financial meltdown, according to the report.
President Barack Obama’s proposal to impose limits on commercial banks may win him support on Main Street and shake up Wall Street without doing much to make the financial system safer overall.
The plan, which is still lacking in details and must be approved by Congress, aims to make the banks more secure by forcing them to minimize the trading they do on their own account and give up their stakes in hedge funds and private equity firms. “It’s the right direction,” said Henry Kaufman, president of Henry Kaufman & Co. in New York and a former vice chairman of Salomon Inc…..
President Barack Obama’s plan to curb proprietary trading will cost Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Group AG, UBS AG and Deutsche Bank AG about $13 billion in revenue next year, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts.
Of the five banks analyzed, Obama’s proposals will impact Goldman Sachs the most, resulting in an estimated $4.67 billion drop in earnings in 2011, analysts led by London-based Kian Abouhossein said in a note today. UBS stands to lose the least, with revenue declining an estimated $1.92 billion…..

Goldman Sachs’ record profit is upstaged by Obama’s plan – Los Angeles Times

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. could be excused Thursday for feeling that no good deed goes unpunished.
The vaunted investment bank, a focus of public fury since the financial crisis unfolded, started the day by releasing a fourth-quarter earnings report that had something for everyone. For shareholders, there was a record profit of $4.9 billion. For critics of Goldman’s eye-popping bonuses, the firm allocated nothing in the quarter for employee pay. The company even announced hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable donations.
But as Goldman executives were elaborating on the report, President Obama was outlining a proposal that would curtail several practices that have been central to Goldman’s success, such as proprietary trading — buying and selling securities for the firm’s own benefit…..
Morgan Stanley Asia Chairman Stephen Roach said President Barack Obama’s plan to restrict banks’ investment activities amounts to “bank bashing” and called on politicians to take a more balanced approach.
Obama asked Congress yesterday to prohibit banks from owning or making investments in private-equity and hedge funds that “are unrelated to serving customers.” Stock indexes around the world dropped after the pronouncement, led by financial firms, on expectations the rule would hurt profits…..

Bank Stocks Down in Europe on Concerns Over Bank Plan – NY Times

Financial stocks in Europe sagged Friday, following sharp losses in Asia, but broader stock indices held firm as investors balanced the conflicting prospect of tighter financial regulation with gradually improving growth rates.
The main focus of the markets remained U.S. President Barack Obama’s plans, announced Thursday, for tighter restrictions on the activity of banks.
“There’s no doubt that there will be a significant amount of regulation in the banking industry in the next year,“ said Henk Potts, equity strategist at Barclays Wealth in London. “But there’s a long road to travel and lots of discussions and negotiations before we find out exactly what this will entail.”….
Seven people were indicted Thursday in an insider-trading probe that has led to criminal charges against a number of hedge-fund executives and managers, including Raj Rajaratnam, the founder of hedge-fund firm Galleon Group.
The 10-count indictment, unsealed Thursday, expands charges against Zvi Goffer, who worked for a time at Galleon and is the founder of trading firm Incremental Capital, and six others who were originally arrested in the probe in November.
The indictment was brought against Zvi Goffer; Arthur Cutillo, a former intellectual-property lawyer at Ropes & Gray LLP; Jason Goldfarb, an associate at another New York law firm; Craig Drimal, who worked in Galleon’s office space but wasn’t employed by the firm, and several individuals associated with Incremental Capital: Zvi’s brother Emanuel Goffer, Michael Kimelman and David Plate…..
The Obama administration’s prospects for passing healthcare reform legislation grew significantly bleaker on Thursday, when Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said she could not muster the votes needed to pass the Senate plan through the lower chamber.
Democrats are frantically trying to save healthcare reform, President Barack Obama’s priority during his first year in office, after losing their super-majority in the Senate this week…..

GE Profit Declines on Finance Losses, Aviation – Bloomberg

General Electric Co.’s fourth- quarter profit fell less than analysts estimated as the finance arm absorbed losses and shipments of aviation and energy equipment slowed from a year earlier.
Profit from continuing operations declined 22 percent to $3.03 billion, or 28 cents a share, from $3.87 billion, or 36 cents, a year earlier, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE said in a statement today. The average estimate was 26 cents a share in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Revenue fell to $41.4 billion from $46.2 billion, also exceeding estimates……

Fingers Still Pointing, NBC and O’Brien Reach a Deal – NY Times

The end of the Conan O’Brien chapter of “The Tonight Show” was officially hammered out on Thursday with a lot of money — and some parting recriminations — being dished out.
Mr. O’Brien’s settlement with NBC will pay him $32.5 million, essentially a buyout of the remaining two and a half years of his guaranteed contract. His salary, which has never been confirmed, has been estimated at $12 million to $15 million a year. His last show will be Friday night, and NBC will reinstate Jay Leno as host of the “The Tonight Show” on March 1……
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