Weil's View on Finance
Good morning. Here’s a look at some of my breakfast reading today.
Yet another new investigation at JPMorgan Chase
This time it’s the Justice Department that’s looking at whether the company manipulated energy markets in California and the Midwest, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited unidentified people familiar with the probe. The inquiry comes after the bank reached a $410 million settlement last month with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over some of the same issues. With so many investigations, it’s almost getting to the point where it would be news if a week went by without some new legal headache at JPMorgan.
Obama notices that financial regulators haven’t done much
President Barack Obama is telling bank and securities regulators to move faster on new rules aimed at preventing another financial crisis, write Michael Shear and Peter Eavis in the New York Times. No doubt, federal agencies have been moving too slowly to implement the Dodd-Frank Act, which Obama signed three years ago. So why has it taken so long for him to start complaining? The president and Congress knew Dodd-Frank didn’t end too-big-to-fail when they enacted it. They knew it required hundreds of new regulations that industry lobbyists would fight to water down. The law was designed that way. Now they’re complaining about it. Go figure.
Ugly numbers at Glencore Xstrata
Glencore bought Xstrata Plc for $29 billion only three months ago, creating a commodities and mining giant. Today the company wrote down the assets it bought by $7.7 billion and reported an $8.9 billion loss for the first half of the year. In other words, it overpaid by a lot.
Dreadful day for free speech and press freedom
Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger has a column revealing that senior British government officials explicitly told the newspaper to stop writing about NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden. They told the paper to either hand over the Snowden documents or destroy them. They even sent British intelligence agents to the paper’s headquarters to oversee the destruction of some hard drives –- which seemed like a pointless exercise given that Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, who works from Brazil, still has access to the information. “We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won't do it in London,” Rusbridger writes.
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)