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Four More Years, Sins of JPM/Bear

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Receiving Wide Coverage ...

Well, that's that. Despite a few seats changing hands, both the executive and legislative branches are going to look the same as they did before the election, plus one Elizabeth Warren. How we got there involves a feisty Republican primary, plenty of vitriol over basic facts and statistics, and a broad win for the president that was shallower than the one four years ago.

It's hard to argue with the notion that, given the state of the economy, Obama should have lost. Why didn't he? The Times cites the Republicans' Tea Party base.

The FT chooses Romney's campaign missteps and inconsistency.

And the Journal suggests a demographic disaster for the GOP, with some compelling data to back it up:

"Exit polls showed that Mr. Romney won handily among white Americans—almost six in 10 of them—but lost by breathtaking margins among the nation's increasingly important ethnic groups: By almost 40 percentage points among Hispanics, by almost 50 points among Asians, and by more than 80 points among African-Americans."

And for Obama, it's now a question of how to overcome resistance in the House that stymied much of his first-term economic program. That isn't going to be easy, judging by a snarling editorial in the Journal that calls Obama's reelection "the definition of winning ugly" and blasts John Roberts and Ben Bernanke for aiding and abetting. "Speaker John Boehner can negotiate knowing he has as much of a mandate as the President," the Journal concludes without much explanation — the authors typed this one through tears of anger. 

Get ready for a lot more fighting over the "Fiscal Cliff." Yesterday the Times predicted that markets would take a second Obama term in stride, and that appears to be right.

There are easier ways to make money than investing, of course: The Times runs a mock consolation "deal professor" column noting the pleasures of becoming a Wall Street lobbyist for political losers.

Finally, the FT's Lex column makes a pretty good case that Obama's relationship with the banking industry is set to improve: "Assume the anti-banker rhetoric ends now. The administration has essentially won its argument with the banks over regulation and practices. US banks are in much better shape than their European counterparts. A truce between Wall Street and the White House is desirable, and a buy signal."

OK, onto actual banking and finance news, shall we?

The Wall Street Journal

Despite a lot of complaining in public, JPMorgan is close to settling an SEC probe into Bear Stearns' mortgage backed securities sales practices. Unnamed sources tell the Journal that the bank's payout "isn't expected" to exceed the $550 million paid by Goldman over the Abacus deal (though why that's a benchmark we don't know.) A deal would be the "first tangible victory" of the SEC's investigation of RMBS. They sure do work fast! An SEC settlement wouldn't end the New York state suit on similar subjects.

The lead on a story about financial-focused investment bank KBW's sale says it all: "KBW Inc. made it through the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but it couldn't outlast a drought in financial-services deal making."

Goldman execs cashed in $22 million in options, though the incentive pay they gave themselves between 2005 and 2008 is still worthless.

The Financial Times

Despite steadily laying off employees since the financial crisis, European investment banks have got a lot of bleeding left to do. "European investment banks will cut staff costs by at least a fifth and shed tens of thousands of jobs in the next few years, consultants and recruitment experts estimate," the FT declares, adding that the industry is "still trying to come to grips with its notorious inefficiency."

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(Image: Bloomberg News)

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