Here’s 36 Top Mega-Financial Stock Stories of the Week

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to this week’s top financial industry business headlines:

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS): Current price $23.62

Knowledgeable sources say that Morgan Stanley is in advanced negotiations with Gary Kaminsky for him to become the vice chairman of its brokerage department, which is a crucial position created to advance coordination between brokers and investment bankers at the firm. Kaminsky is a former high-profile money manager and currently the capital markets editor for CNBC. He is expected to be officially offered the job at any time by brokerage chief Greg Fleming. It is thought that the deal has yet to be closed, but the company might make the announcement Tuesday morning.

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MS

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC): Current price $12.58

After about five years at BofA as the chief of creating derivative investments for extremely affluent clients at Merrill Lynch, Raphael Zagury has announced his resignation. Zagury joined the company from Goldman Sachs, employed by Safra National Bank of New York prior to that. At Merrill Lynch, he was charged with creating customized derivatives for the firm’s ultra high-net-worth clients, which usually means those with in excess of $10 million to invest, according to its website. Zagury confirmed his departure but declined to comment upon the circumstances.

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According to a knowledgeable source on Thursday, BofA Merrill Lynch has recruited Nomura Holdings Australian chief of mergers and acquisitions Grant Chamberlain, who is based in Sydney. Chamberlain will join the firm as its head of mergers and acquisitions following a period of gardening leave. Before joining Nomura in 2010, Chamberlain spent 12 years at Deutsche Bank, where he rose to managing director.

A proposal originating in the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas to place a limit on government support for banks could force BofA and JPMorgan to reduce their domestic consumer and commercial-lending divisions by more than half, according to Bloomberg.

Bank of America announced it will buy back as much as $5 billion in common stock and redeem around $5.5 billion in preferred stock, subsequent to winning Federal Reserve approval on Thursday for its capital plan. However, the Charlotte bank said that its quarterly dividend will remain at one cent, at which level it has been since the aftermath of the financial crisis. The Fed decision permits Bank of America to return capital to shareholders and was part of a wider examination of the capital plans of 18 of the nation’s biggest banks. The Fed approved the plans of 14 of them, including Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC).

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BAC

China Life Insurance Company Limited (NYSE:LFC): Current price $42.53

Shares resumed trading in Hong Kong on Monday after a halt earlier in the day resulting from comments made by ChairmanYang Mingsheng, concerning the likelihood that his firm’s profits would improve in 2013. Afterwards, China Life responding in a filing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that Yang’s remarks were strictly his own opinion and should not be construed as an earnings forecast.

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LFC

Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS): Current price $154.99

In 2o12, Wall Street commodity revenues dropped to their lowest levels on record, while tighter regulation and limited price swings pressed the once dominant traders Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), and Morgan Stanley. All three posted double-digit percentage declines in revenues for oil, grains, and copper trading last year, according to Reuters. 

Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein is once again aiming at rival Morgan Stanley’s prized talent, after the latter deferred pay, including their cash bonuses, over three years for its senior bankers. Goldman recently recruited the 13-year Morgan Stanley veteran Kate Richdale to be chief of its Asia Pacific investment banking division, and sources say that the game is ongoing, as the Wall Street bank is presently in selective talks with other Morgan Stanley bankers and has also enticed a handful of traders from that bank.

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For the first time ever outside of the New York metropolitan area, Goldman Sachs will hold its annual meeting in Salt Lake City this year. Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein said in a statement to Reuters, “We’re delighted to hold our annual shareholder meeting in what has become our second-largest office in the U.S.” Goldman’s Utah operation is one of its biggest, with 1,500 employees. Also, it is also one of the few locations where the company has kept on hiring employees during broader staff cuts in the past few years, in part due to an agreement with the state to push job growth in return for tax cuts.

The firm’s metals trader, David Freeland, has exited the investment bank just over a year after being employed to build its physical copper book in London, according to market sources, who said that his departure is the surest sign thus far that the bank is struggling to move into the capital-intensive and highly risky business that was perfected by commodity merchants Glencore and Trafigura. A Goldman spokeswoman in London would not comment on Freedland’s exit.

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GS

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American International Group (NYSE:AIG): Closing price $38.92

United States Claims Judge Thomas Wheeler has decided that AIG shareholders can sue the government as a group in a lawsuit brought by former Chief Executive Maurice Greenberg, concerning losses caused by the bailout of the insurer, saying that the case could affect tens of thousands of persons. Beyond that, the judge granted a request by Greenberg’s Starr International Co. to certify two classes of AIG investors in the suit, and also appointed David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner as lead counsel for the groups. Wheeler commented in his ruling that “considering the estimation of plaintiff’s counsel that the putative plaintiffs may number more than tens of thousands of geographically dispersed persons, class certification is by far the most efficient method of adjudicating these claims.”

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AIG

CommonWealth REIT (NYSE:CWH): Closing price $22.91

On Tuesday, the real estate investment trust reported that it has sold all of the 9.95 million common shares it owned of its former subsidiary Government Properties Income Trust, at a price of $25.20 per share for aggregate net proceeds of $240.1 million. The settlement of this sale is expected should occur on March 15. The joint bookrunning managers for this offering are Citigroup (NYSE:CS), BofA Merrill Lynch, and RBC Capital Markets.

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CWH

Gramercy Capital Corp. (NYSE:GKK): Closing price $4.37

Gramercy has closed on its purchase of an approximately 600,000 square foot class A industrial building in Olive Branch, Mississippi, in an all-cash transaction for a price of roughly $24.65 million. The building is 100-percent leased to a single tenant through December 31, 2022, and includes an adjacent 13.8 acre land parcel with sufficient room for an additional 250,000 square foot building.

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GKK

Genworth Financial (NYSE:GNW): Closing price $10.50

Shares of the mortgage backer and life insurer hit their highest point in over a year and a half on Monday, on predictions that a more robust housing market might lift shares. A weekend story in Barron’s forecast that Genworth shares could nearly double in the next year, due to rising demand for mortgage insurance, higher premiums, and sales of some of its businesses. The firm named a new chief executive late in 2012, Thomas McInerney, a former officer with ING Groep, and Barron’s says that he is helping alter the firm’s operations for the better.

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GNW

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Upon being summoned to Capitol Hill for questioning, JPMorgan Chase’s (NYSE:JPM) Ina Drew will be taking the stand for her testimony regarding the $2 billion loss that the bank incurred in 2008. It will be her first public appearance since then, when she left the firm four days after the record loss was reported. Drew was formerly JPMorgan’s Chief Investment Officer.

Bruno Iksil, known as the “London Whale” for his unusually large positions, is widely accepted to be the force behind the firm’s loss. Following the debacle, he was stripped of his trading duties and has left the company. However, he is wanted for questioning in his role in the loss, which was an instrumental factor in the sinking of Lehman Brothers.

The Senate investigations subcommittee, led by Carl Levin, D-Michigan, is examining wrong-way bets made by Bruno Iksil, who was operating in JPMorgan’s U.K. division at the time, but operated under Drew’s command. Joining Drew at the hearings in Washington will be Ashley Bacon, JPMorgan’s acting chief risk officer, and Michael Cavanagh, head of the bank’s management task force reviewing the CIO losses and co-chief executive officer for the corporate and investment bank, among others. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who testified twice about the loss last year before Senate and House banking panels, will not be present for this round of hearings…

Drew was well respected in the company and for a while was considered one of the most powerful women on Wall Street. Her leadership experience includes navigating through the Russian debt crisis and subsequent collapse of hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management LP in 1998, the market uncertainty following the September 11 attacks in 2001 and the Enron scandal in 2005.

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Ex-Chief Financial Officer Douglas Braunstein and Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry will also be providing statements at the hearings this week, which are slated for Friday, March 15.

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Citigroup (NYSE:C): Current price $47.31

Since the advent of Chief Executive Michael Corbat in October, Citi shares have gained almost 30 percent. The change is so compelling that even the firm’s detractor Mike Mayo at Credit Agricole commented approvingly that ”one of the biggest leading indicators for whether a company will create or destroy value is the CEO, and in this case, the chairman too. So far so good for both.” Beyond that, Citi’s Chairman Mike O’Neill is very much admired on Wall Street due to his successes in restructuring the Bank of Hawaii and Bank of America. Plus, he is considered to have been the crucial catalyst behind last year’s abrupt exit of former Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has ruled that the company may omit from its annual meeting a question for shareholders that would require the lender to examine breaking up. The Commission’s Office of Chief Counsel agreed with Citigroup that the proposal,which was submitted by Trillium Asset Management, was sufficiently unclear that shareholders would not know what it mandated, said an SEC letter to the bank dated March 12. Bank analyst Seth Magaziner at Trillium commented that “We were surprised and disappointed, but we hope to continue the conversation about the best way for Citi to unlock value for its shareholders.”

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C

Hercules Technology Growth Capital (NASDAQ:HTGC): Current price $12.28

On Wednesday, Hercules closed its underwritten public offering of 7 million shares of common stock, and the underwriters fully exercised their over-allotment option to buy 1.05 million additional shares. The closing included the sale of the over-allotment shares, bringing the aggregate number of shares sold to 8.05 million. The underwriters purchased the shares at a price of $11.90 per share, and net proceeds from the offering after deducting estimated offering expenses payable by Hercules are expected to be roughly $95.3 million.

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HTGC

MetLife (NYSE:MET): Current price $40.20

The firm reported Wednesday that it originated, through its real estate investments department, in excess of  $9.6 billion in commercial mortgage loans in 2012. MetLife continues to be the biggest portfolio lender in the insurance industry, having $43.1 billion in commercial mortgages outstanding at the year end of 2012.

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MET

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The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX): Current price $20.85

Knowledgeable sources report that the Group is getting a first-of-its-kind securitization of REO-to-rental properties ready, and that the move might come later in 2013. News of the plans appeared a week after the private-equity firm obtained an increased bank loan from Deutsche Bank and others so as to expand its significant holdings of single-family homes. Other sources have said  that Blackstone is planning at least one securitization to help support its long-term financing in the REO-to-rental sector.

BX

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS): Current price $44.15

Shares moved up after analyst Scott Valentin at FBR Capital upgraded the stock to Outperform from Market Perform in a note to investors earlier Wednesday. After attending Discover’s Analyst Day on Tuesday, Valentin thinks that the firm”s trends are surpassing expectations. Specifically, the Discover is benefiting from higher credit card usage, improved interest trends and lower credit costs, wrote Valentin, while raising his target on the shares from $42 to $48. In a financial community briefing Tuesday, the company forecast that its net interest margin for fiscal 2013 would be above normal levels.

DFS

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UBS (NYSE:UBS): Current price $16.38

UBS’ investment bank head Andrea Orcel will get a “golden hello” package worth $26.27 million, said the firm on Thursday,which is less than two weeks after Swiss voters imposed some of the tightest controls in the world on executive pay. Orcel’s package contains $6.364 million in deferred cash and deferred UBS shares worth $19.44 million  at the grant date and was created to replace forfeited pay from his former employer, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, after he joined UBS in July 2012. Compensation continues to be a contentious subject in Switzerland five years after the near-collapse of UBS in 2008, blamed by many on a culture of big bonuses pushing bankers to make risky investments.

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UBS

Credit Suisse Group (NYSE:CS): Current price $28.40

The firm announced Thursday that it resolved a lawsuit with bond investors in the long-bankrupt National Century Financial Enterprises. The settlement trims $141 million off its fourth-quarter net profit, which was already reported. In a statement, the Swiss bank said that ”this agreement represents a full and final settlement in respect of this noteholder litigation against Credit Suisse.”

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CS

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (NYSE:KKR): Current price $19.39

KKR & Co. is poised to market its initial fund dedicated to real estate investments with $500 million committed to the pool for starters, according to Bloomberg.

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KKR

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM): Current price $50.38

The big bank just can’t put its 2012 multibillion credit derivatives trading loss behind it. Not even close. On Thursday, a United States Senate subcommittee led by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) released a report charging the firm with ignoring its own limits on risk taking, manipulating risk models to confound detection, along with ignoring warnings from traders even as chief executive Jamie Dimon was said to be deliberately holding back investment bank profit and loss data from federal regulators. The report in part credited the loss to the trader Bruno Michel Iksil, called the “London whale” for his large positions in credit derivatives. Beyond that, the document notes that the current status of the loss is uncertain as JPMorgan took apart the portfolio late last year, transferring some funds to its investment banking division.

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Chief Executive Jamie Dimon did not show federal regulators reports in May 2012 that revealed that JP Morgan had built up billions of dollars in trading losses, said its former chief financial officer, Douglas Braunstein in Congressional testimony Friday. Braunstein, who is now a vice chairman at the bank, told the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that Dimon failed to submit the daily reports for two weeks because he was worried about “confidentiality.” Dimon ultimately conceded later that month that the bank had lost $2 billion on risky trades out of its London office. Since that time, the losses have been revised to in excess of $6 billion.

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JPM

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (NASDAQ:HBAN): Current price $7.50

The firm was advised by the Federal Reserve that it has no objection to Huntington’s proposed capital actions included in its capital plan submitted in January. These moves included a 25 percent increase in the dividend per common share to five cents, beginning in the second quarter, and the potential buyback of as much as $227 million of common stock through the first quarter of 2014. Huntington’s board will consider the next quarterly dividend and share repurchase program at its April 16 meeting.

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HBAN

Two Harbors Investment Corp. (NYSE: TWO): Current price $13.85

The firm announced that one of its wholly owned subsidiaries has been approved as a servicer under the U.S. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s home mortgage 1-4 unit program. This approval permits the firm to invest in mortgage servicing rights on Freddie Mac loans.

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TWO

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Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC): Current price $38.16

Chief Executive John Stumpf’s pay rose by 8 percent in 2012, putting him among the industry’s best-paid executives, according to a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Stumpf received $19.3 million in compensation, comprised of a $4 million bonus, $12.5 million in performance-based stock grants, and $2.8 million in salary, following his bank scoring record profits. For 2011, Stumpf received an aggregate compensation of $17.9 million.

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WFC

The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC): Current price $66.79

On Friday, PNC announced that Robert Q. Reilly will succeed Richard J. Johnson as its chief financial officer. Reilly has headed PNC’s Asset Management Group, which includes its Wealth Management, Capitol Advisors, and Hawthorn asset management divisions, since 2005. He will take over his new position upon the retirement of Johnson, who is set to exit PNC in the third quarter.

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PNC

The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW): Current price $17.88

Charles Schwab highlights for February include: Net new assets brought by new and existing clients at $18.3 billion, including an $8.1 billion inflow connected with a mutual fund clearing services client. Total client assets stood at a record $2.04 trillion as of month-end, up by 13 percent year-over-year and up 1 percent compared to January 2013. Client daily average trades were at 506,100, up by 1 percent versus February 2012 and flat compared to January 2013. February trading activity included a 2 percent sequential fall in daily average revenue trades.

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SCHW

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