Word is Morgan Stanley will be cutting more bankers soon. And in President Obama’s words, the 2008 bonus tally on Wall Street is plain “shameful” and “outrageous.”
Meanwhile, Bank of America has reportedly halted sending bonus checks to its bankers, which should not sit well with the boys in Charlotte seeing how their new Northern partners (the good ole bankers of Merrill Lynch) just bagged millions thanks to their fearless-to-spend-more-than-a-mill-to-decorate-his-office-ex-leader John Thain—who now has to answer to New York State Attorney General Andy Cuomo.
And in a sure sign that things are most definitely not going too well in the land of the free and the home of the brave, everybody’s favorite caffeine dealer Starbucks (or, as some like to call the retailer, Fivebucks—because everything in there costs a paper Lincoln) is shutting down hundreds of outlets and squashing plans to open over a hundred more.
Across the Atlantic, where they typically take their java with a little less cane if not kick, lots of bigwigs (minus some notable names like Thain, Fuld, Ospel, Mack and Blankfein) are talking world economics at day deux of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Today, among the plethora of happenings, Russian Prime Minister Putin spoke about the death of Wall Street (with likely more than a tiny glimmer in his eye) and Obama’s top aide attending the Forum received a warm welcome. Among the highlights from day one were George Soros speaking with Bloomberg about the financial implications of the U.S.’s proposed “bad bank” plan, as well as the political implications of $40/barrel oil in volatile countries such as Venezuela, Iran and Vlady's Russia.
And, lastly, though I was fighting it (largely due to my disdain for all things that even have a whiff of Sex and the City to them), I will mention that these kept women (of bankers and former bankers, that is, who call themselves DABA as in Dating A Banker Anonymous) are taking a page out of the snarky playbook of the formerly-relevant Leveraged Sellout and making quite the splash.
P dot S: Groundhog Day is right around the corner and thus the festivities in Punxsutawney, PA, are about to begin. Which has me thinking that perhaps this year instead of asking Phil if there’ll be six more weeks of winter, if it might not be more apt if we ask the little G-dog how much longer this cold recession thing will last. And no matter what we ask him, let’s hope he’s a little more optimistic than this cat, his namesake Phil Connors:
Lots going on today: in the rumor mill, the White House, the Swiss Alps, and in coffee houses across the nation.