Wall Street Watch: Bank of America Readies to Dump More Employees, JPM and Morgan Stanley Compensation

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is planning to cut around 2,000 positions at the bank, hitting its investment banking, commercial banking and non-U.S. wealth-management units, according to The Wall Street Journal. The targeted list is significant as the highly paid employees assisted Merrill Lynch contribute to a large chunk of Bank of America’s profit in the last few years. The cuts are the latest ones in a plan announced by the bank last year that included the elimination of 30,000 jobs over the next three years in its consumer banking divisions. As of March 31, the bank had 278,700 employees.

Featured Reading: Fake Bank of America Site Airs Real Grievances>>

The Proxy-advisory firm ISS has endorsed compensation packages for JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) executives but does want an independent board chairman at JPM, which has been opposed by the bank. The ISS said, with JPM’s “lagging shareholder returns… shareholders could benefit from independent leadership on the board.” From ISS’s opposition to proposed pay packages at Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), it helped shareholders to reject them.

In April, China’s official PMI increased to a 13-month high of 53.3; this is up from March’s 53.1 and higher than last week’s HSBC “flash” PMI report of 49.1. But April’s number did come in lower than 53.5 expectations. April’s figures could suggest China’s economy is on the rebound after a first quarter slowdown.

A Closer Look: Interest Rates Set to Rise on Student Debt Bubble>>

On Monday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble continued his stance that the eurozone should keep its austerity measures as a precondition for “sustainable growth.” At a press conference he said, “The first condition is economic and fiscal consolidation. If now we talk about growth, it shouldn’t be understood as a change of direction. That would be a mistake. The focus (on austerity) needs to remain.” But around Germany,  fiscal consensus is unraveling, especially in France, where presidential candidate Francois Hollande is expected to unseat Nicolas Sarkozy.