Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Different Fed Chair, Slightly Different Story: The Federal Reserve, pretty much as expected, will continue to reduce its monthly bond-buying program by $10 billion. (For those keeping track, that means the Fed will now pump $55 million back into the economy each month.) But, during her press conference, Chair Janet Yellen also seemingly laid the groundwork for a future interest rate hike. And the markets well, they didn't really like that suggestion. Stocks tumbled upon Yellen's statement that interest rates could start to climb as soon as six months after the Fed's stimulus program ends, despite her numerous caveats. "The market response was emblematic of the market's hypersensitivity to the Fed's interest-rate decisions after seven years of aggressive central-bank action to stabilize and strengthen the economy," the Journal notes.
JPM Commodities Deal, Day Two: The Journal profiles Mercuria, the Swiss company buying JPMorgan Chase's commodities trading business for $3.5 billion. ("The deal on its own won't put Mercuria in the same league as industry giants Glencore Xstrata PLC, Trafigura Beheer B.V. and Vitol Group SA. But the planned acquisition has helped elevate the company's profile," the paper notes.) So does Dealbook, kind of. (Its article links back to the Journal's.) And the FT declares JPM was right to get rid of the unit: "At the very least, there is one less opaque business inside of JPMorgan. For investors, that's a good deal." But, no, we still don't know the fate of Blythe Masters, the unit's head.
Betting on Bitcoin: Hong Kong investors are betting big on Bitcoin. "A growing field of technology experts, financial players and crypto-geeks are betting that an unfavorable regulatory environment in mainland China has put this special administrative region with its more laissez-faire attitude on the edge of something big," reports the Times. And some investors, it appears, in the U.S. feel similarly. The Journal profiles SecondMarket, a private Bitcoin fund that is rushing to open up to ordinary investors. "SecondMarket's move comes as other firms ramp up efforts to build a more robust investment infrastructure for bitcoin and other digital currencies," the paper notes.
A Spate of Weird Goldman News, Courtesy of Dealbook: A former Goldman Sachs senior partner has a cameo in the upcoming season of HBO's Game of Thrones. The guy who runs the @GSElevator Twitter handle you know, the one who didn't actually ever work at Goldman has a new book deal. And Jesse Eisinger takes a really deep dive into whether Goldman's takeover of a hotel company was driven by conflicting interests.
Wall Street Journal
Bank dividends are on the rise. New estimates of firms participating in the forthcoming Fed stress tests reveal publicly traded banks "will distribute an average of about $1.21 billion each in dividends to common shareholders for the year starting April 1 the highest since at least 2007."
Deutsche Bank is set to cut another 500 jobs in its investment banking unit.
New York Times
New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley had expressed concerns privately to senior Fed officials about the leverage rule. "Dudley raised the possibility that the rule could inhibit the Fed's ability to conduct monetary policy," anonymice tell Dealbook.
A federal judge has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission has the "authority to go after payday lenders that claim their ties to Native American tribes make them immune to laws restricting high-cost loans."