Wishing you a spooky Friday the 13th! Dan DeFrancesco in NYC, and I’m laughing at how silly corporate America is when it comes to ridiculous C-level titles.
Fun-Fact Friday: The iconic green code in ‘The Matrix’ is actually just sushi recipes.
On tap, we’ve got stories about the newest class of managing directors at a big bank, why there might not be a recession after all, and a big change to the Delta Sky Club.
But first, we’ve got bank earnings.
1. Place your bets.
Starting today, the six big US banks (Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo) report their Q4 and year-end earnings.
If you’re interested in instant feedback on the actual numbers, check our colleagues over on Markets Insider.
For me, earnings calls are where the juiciest stuff is. But instead of a boring preview on what to expect, I figured I’d have some fun by setting gambling lines on some of the biggest storylines heading into earnings.
A quick refresher on betting: If the odds of something to occur are +110, that means a $100 bet wins you $110 in profit. On the flip side, if something is -110 that means you need to wager $110 for a $100 profit.
So a line set at +500 would be a massive longshot ($100 bet wins you $500 in profit) and a -500 line is a huge favorite ($500 bet only wins you $100).
Does that make sense? If not, I’m starting to question how you work in finance.
OK, let’s get into the biggest storylines and their odds:
David Solomon discusses the recent headcount reduction at Goldman Sachs. (-500)
Background: Solomon will almost certainly field questions about this week’s layoffs, which impacted around 6.5% of the bank’s total headcount. What’ll be interesting is if he teases even more cuts coming down the line as the bank looks to cut costs.
Background: I doubt executives bring this up unprompted, but analysts are probably eager to ask Dimon his thoughts, as acquisitions have been a lightning-rod issue at the bank. Analysts have questioned the value of the deals the bank has made in recent years, while Dimon has insisted he’ll spend whatever it takes to compete with fintechs. The CEO detailed those plans during JPMorgan’s investor day last May. Now that the $175 million Frank deal has blown up in his face, I’m sure some analysts will be keen to take a victory lap.
Charlie Scharf details what’s next for Wells Fargo’s mortgage business. (-150)
Background: The bank got ahead of this one by announcing its plans to step back from mortgages earlier this week. But a lot of questions still remain, and Scharf hasn’t shied away from bemoaning the problems he sees in the industry these days. Is there an eventual plan to sunset the entire business? Where will Wells look to pivot to make up that revenue? This seems like a key talking point, but how much color we get remains to be seen.
Jane Fraser maps out where she wants to take the bank’s wealth business. (+250)
Background: Reorganizing Citi’s wealth division was one of Fraser’s first big moves when she took over as CEO in 2021. But two years later, the group has reportedly fallen behind on growth targets and is in search of a new leader. That type of shakeup is bound to lead analysts to ask questions about the future of the biz, but I doubt she wants to show her hand while Citi is in the midst of finding a new head.
James Gorman hints at retirement and a potential succession plan. (+500)
Background: The departure of COO Jon Pruzan means that there are three prime candidates to take over for the 64-year-old Gorman: Co-Presidents Ted Pick and Andy Saperstein and Dan Simkowitz, the head of investment management. But will Gorman, who has served as CEO since January 2010 and chairman since January 2012, discuss his succession plans? Executives don’t like to acknowledge their mortality, so it seems like a longshot.
Brian Moynihan makes a prediction on a potential recession. (-110)
Background: Banks with a large consumer footprint are often viewed as an indicator of the wider economy, so Moynihan is likely to get at least some questions about what his bank’s performance means for this will-they-won’t-they recession.
In other news:
2. A new class of MDs at Morgan Stanley. The bank announced its latest class of managing directors, with 184 people getting the nod. Here’s more info on the newest class, including which division got the most promotions.
3. Sift names a new CEO. The $1.7 billion startup that’s focused on fraud prevention in payments named Kris Nagel its new CEO. From going public to what sector he’s targeting, this is what Nagel’s focused on in his new role.
4. A 2023 recession? Not so fast, my friend! Inflation slowed in December, which could mean we avert a recession altogether. Here’s the case for a recession-free 2023.
5. Sam Bankman-Fried just won’t stop. The disgraced crypto founder won’t stay quiet, this time posting on Substack. Topics included: why FTX International still has plenty of assets; the state of Alameda Research’s balance sheet in 2021 and 2022; how Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s November tweets were a “targeted attack,” and how FTX and Alameda were actually raking in billions in 2021. And that concludes your daily SBF update.
6. Starter home? More like stay-at-your-parents’ home! If you’re planning on buying your first home in 2023, just give up now. The so-called entry-level home is essentially disappearing from the market. More on why we’re all destined to be renters forever.
7. Stripe’s internal valuation takes another dip. The payments-focused fintech saw its internal valuation drop by 11%, according to The Information, the third time since June the startup has made a cut. Click here to read more about what’s going on at Stripe.
8. Word is spreading about a settlement with a senior female employee at Tiger Global, and it’s making it harder for the firm to raise its money for its newest venture fund, Semafor reports. More details on the settlement here.
9. Delta Sky Club just got a lot more exclusive. The airline notified their staff they won’t be permitted to enter a Sky Club lounge unless they are traveling with a paid ticket in an effort to cut down on long lines and overcrowding. Now pilots and flight attendants flying on standby will be forced to eat stale Auntie Anne’s pretzels like the rest of us.
10. The many faces of Miss Universe. This competition, which is one of the “Big Four” pageants (who knew that was a thing?), has been around for 71 years. Take a stroll, with good posture of course, down memory lane to see some pics of how the competition has evolved.
Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @dandefrancesco, or connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.