JP Morgan Calling off the Cavalry and Cutting Jobs (Reuters)
JP Morgan Chase & Co (JPM) is looking to cut about 17,000 jobs from its ledger by the end of 2014. However, investors considering JPM shouldn’t mistake this action for mass cost-cutting. The majority of these positions were people brought in after the global financial crisis in 2008 to help deal with customers concerned about their home loans. And now that it appears the U.S. housing market may be getting back on its feet, JPM’s way of saying thanks to its reinforcements is by presenting them with pink slips. Let’s just hope the housing market trend continues, so the bank doesn’t have to go back to the well again.
How to Pay for “The Italian Job” (CNBC)
Italy’s inability to elect a president during its two-day general election caused a wave of red to sweep across global equity markets yesterday. Today, though, investors seem to be refocusing on their own personal agendas, as we see a nice, Christmas-like mix of red and green numbers on the big boards. But for investors looking to get into an asset class that’s non-correlated to Europe’s political uncertainty, Tom Essaye, president of U.S. commodities at Kinsale Trading, recommends investors get gas. That is, stocks related to natural gas. Specifically, he likes stocks in transportation (tankers) or the gathering and processing of natural gas. We’ll just have to wait and see how many investors actually get gas after a bad Italian experience.
Prodigal Son Honda Returns Home (Bloomberg)
After a 50-year hiatus, Honda Motor Co. finally returns home to Japan in the form of a new production facility. Located in Sayama, near Tokyo, the new plant boasts an annual capacity of 250,000 vehicles. And it appears the plant couldn’t have picked a better time to initiate production — as it coincides with favorable currency values. Japan’s renewed emphasis on a weaker yen means that big ticket manufacturers like Honda will be more profitable. The investing community is also taking note of the positive changes in the Japanese economy, as recent activity has pushed the Nikkei 225 up to levels not seen since 2008. Will 2013 or this quarter be the time that Japan rises from its recession? We’ll let you know.