Orange Squeezes Dimon
After four years of study, one would think the members of Syracuse University's class of 2010 would be smart enough not to insult one of the few people still hiring in this horrific job market. Sadly, that's not the case.
A group of Syracuse University students are petitioning the college to remove JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon as this year's commencement ceremony speaker, citing his role in the banking crisis. More than 800 students and alumni have signed the online petition sponsored by an on-campus organization called "Take Back 2010 Syracuse University Commencement," which claims it is "against using the 2010 commencement to restore the public image of the banking industry."
The student group says it is also against using the commencement ceremony to "validate the anti-environmental and anti-humanitarian interests of JPMorgan Chase."
Come on guys, let's calm down a bit. We're talking about Wall Street's golden boy here, not the skipper from the Exxon (XOM) (Stock Quote: XOM) Valdez or a "vampire squid" from Goldman Sachs (GS) . Maybe your history books have not been updated yet -- or maybe you missed it because you were playing beer pong at the frat house -- but Dimon showed more leadership than nearly all of his peers during the banking crisis, getting out of the subprime slime before the credit tsunami hit.
(XOM) (GS) Furthermore, if you go to the library and look up Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, you will learn an important lesson about how doing the right thing can pay off. Both those shops ran themselves into the ground, allowing Dimon to swoop in and buy them at bargain prices.
University Chancellor Nancy Cantor said in an open letter earlier this month that the university has no plans to bump Dimon from his speaking spot. We think that makes sense. Eventually her students will learn that the "Bank of Mom and Dad" will not be open forever and that they may need a Dimon if things get rough.
To be fair, Clark, who founded the company, froze her salary at $600,000 year over year, so the bulk of her pay bump came in the form of stock and option awards. Moreover, the stock has jumped significantly since the start of 2010 from $4.89 to over $7, bringing it back into line with the indexes.
All we can say is, the company's introduction of Zhu Zhu Pets better be worth the money. If those toy hamsters flop, then it will be even clearer to investors that Clark and her coterie aren't meriting that extra comp.
Avon announced Tuesday it put four executives on administrative leave as part of an investigation of bribery allegations in its China operations. In a filing with the SEC, Avon said it started looking into the problem in 2008 after receiving a tip that a number of the company's executives were playing fast and loose with travel and entertainment expenses.
Why are the worry lines forming in the faces of Avon execs and investors alike over a few bad apples? Easy, it's because overseas sales account for close to 80% of Avon's total revenue, which fell 3% last year to $10.38 billion.
That type of stress is bad for the complexion, and Avon has way too much skin in the game to go down that road.
Pitched for a fight, the former Washington Mutual CEO fingered federal regulators and Wall Street insiders for his bank's failure Tuesday, claiming firms that were "too clubby to fail" were sheltered during the 2008 financial crisis. Appearing before the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's investigating panel, Killinger complained of "unfair treatment" for his bank, which was seized and sold for a pittance to JPMorgan Chase (JPM) (Stock Quote: JPM) in September 2008, making it the largest U.S. bank ever to fail.
"For those that were part of the inner circle and were 'too clubby to fail,' the benefits were obvious," argued Killinger, referring to the liquidity and capital injections received by other banks. "For those outside the club, the penalty was severe."
(JPM) Come on Kerry, that's a joke and you know it. In 2006, you sold $29 billion in subprime mortgage securities to investors, up from $2.5 billion in 2000, so you clearly had no trouble rubbing elbows with Wall Street's big boys. And your paycheck certainly resembled that of a Wall Street titan with you pulling in nearly $100 million in compensation between 2003 and 2008. For heaven's sake, you made more than $20 million in 2008, and you didn't even finish the year!
The real hilarity is how you "earned" all that cash by incentivizing your staff to make loans to anybody with a pulse and a pen, while simultaneously removing even the slightest hint of risk management.
(JPM) Our largest laugh, however, came this week when it was revealed that you were afraid to hire Goldman Sachs (GS) (Stock Quote: GS) to help WaMu out in late 2007, choosing Lehman Brothers instead due to a fear that you would be "swimming with sharks" by going with Goldman.
"I trust Lehman more for something this sensitive. But we would need to assess if they have the smarts we need," wrote Killinger in an email 11 months before the crisis would consume both banks.
Oh the silly games they play on Wall Street.
Much of Palm's resurgence is due to its hiring of bankers at Goldman Sachs and Frank Quatrone's Qatalyst Partners -- yep, Frank's back! -- to shop around for a buyer. The move comes less than four weeks after Palm cut its sales target in half, which immediately raised concerns of survivability for Palm, which may not have enough cash to get through the year.
Now the stock has taken flight, thanks to merger rumors and a powerful short squeeze. The question is, however, how long can it stay aloft?
At last check, Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies was sniffing around. If it doesn't buy the company, then who knows what's next for Palm? With no buyers left, maybe this worthless stock will double.