Citi's share price is cruising northward for a change, on news that the 30-some-percent-owned-by-the-U.S.-government-institution is having a good time this year, stringing together a couple of profitable months in January and Februaury, and is perhaps on its way to a (dare we say it) profitable quarter. Which would, indeed, be a nice change from all those losses booked in the past several three-month periods. (A few folks, it seems, are a bit suspect about the truth of said profits, believing that The One Dollar Pandit might be stretching the facts a bit.)
In addition to Citi, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and even Bank of America (which was singled out the past two days for rescinding about 50 offers to foreign-born MBA students due to new regulations prohibiting TARP firms like itself who've fired American workers from filing special visas for foreign workers) are also supposedly putting up some solid numbers this year, expecting nice first quarters, and thus their respective share prices are moving up and not down as well.
There is a bit of bad news for big banks, which, though, is good news for some senior-level investment banking job seekers as well as good news for smaller banks themselves. According to a few heads at boutique banks such as Peter J. Solomon, in an interview with IDD, smaller firms are adding top talent to their workforces, talent that President Obama is helping to recruit by scaring said talent away from working at big firms who've accepted federal bailout bucks and, as a result, have to abide by some new regs such as restrictions on big pay days. So, says Pete Solly and others, bankers are moving to smaller boutiques where incentive checks with many zeros to the left of the decimal point are still a very good possibility, if not an inevitability.
And today, The New York Times came out with its review of William Cohan's highly anticipated, much talked about book House of Cards, and the Times' Pulitzer Prize-winner critic Michiko Kakutani calls Cards "chilling" and "riveting, edge-of-the-seat reading," which includes "almost minute-by-minute account of the 10, vertigo-inducing days that one year ago revealed Bear Stearns to be a flimsy house of cards in a perfect storm." Kakutani also compares it favorably to required financial fraud reading (for insiders and lay folk alike) such as Liar's Poker and Barbarians at the Gate.