Berkshire Hathaway Ups Investment in DaVita, BofA Expands Its NJ Campus: Weekly Financial Biz Recap

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

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Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B) boosts its investment in the dialysis clinic operator DaVita (NYSE:DVA) to around 10.8 percent. Last week, Berkshire had acquired an additional 282,000 shares, which brought the total holdings to approximately 10.2 percent. On Friday DaVita closed at a 52-week high at $103.61, which represents a 22 percent rise since the February disclosure of a Berkshire position.

The trustee for investors is suing Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) for a minimum of $110.8 million in a $609 million face value of mortgage backed securities. It’s just another in a long series of legal actions against the top banks because of mortgages they sold.

Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) sees four of its employees, including a former managing director, charged by United Kingdom authorities, linked to an insider-trading ring that operated between 2006 and 2010. It is claimed that the four made more than $4.8 million from the scheme, which is said to be the most high-profile case of its kind.

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American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) will shell out $112.5 million to make a federal investigation go away. The inquiry uncovered practices such as charging unlawful late fees, and misleading clients in regards to debt collection. The firm reports that it has previously set aside reserves for a “substantial portion” of the fines and refunds.

MasterCard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) and Visa (NYSE:V) shareholders should enjoy higher capital returns during the next three years, says Tien-tsin Huang at J.P. Morgan. With relatively low capital expenditure requirements and few large acquisition candidates, the analyst believes that the companies can reimburse shareholders with the majority of profits, while still investing for future growth. Each firm has approximately $5 billion in unrestricted cash on hand.

Credit Suisse has upgraded certain banks in the United States to Overweight, on the impression that loan growth and asset quality are about to “surprise on the upside.” Moreover, analysts contend that banks are a leveraged play on the cost of debt and investment grade spreads, which appear too high in the U.S., falling. Among those companies receiving the upgrade is JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM). At the same time, Credit Suisse downgraded to Neutral a three United Kingdom lenders: Barclays (NYSE:BCS), Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE:LYG), and The Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS).

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Bill Ackman says that General Growth Properties (NYSE:GGP) could be a $29 stock, were it to merge with Simon Property Group. But the latter says that it’s no longer interested in a acquisition of GGP, to which Ackman responds that “I’m now David Simon’s best friend.”

Don’t Miss: JPMorgan: We Are Finally Getting Sued For This. Merrill Lynch is compiling lists of prominent Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) wealth management brokers which the Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) division thinks might be coaxed away with signing-on bonuses of a minimum of $1.5 million plus deferred compensation according to the Wall Street Journal. For its part, Morgan says that the brokers it has poached from Merrill Lynch have posted $38 million more in revenue in 2012 than those who have made the opposite transition.

Shares of MSCI Inc. (NYSE:MSCI) collapse following news that Vanguard deciding to swap out of the use of the firm’s indices as benchmarks for 22 of its ETFs. MSCI’s Index Business chief commented that, “We are disappointed”.

American International Group (NYSE:AIG) reported on Tuesday has been notified by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, that it might be designated as a potential risk to the financial system. The insurer is the first non-bank to acknowledge such a notification.

The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) is partnering with its competitor Anacap, says a source, as the companies expect to shell out almost $400 million on acquisitions. The former has been having difficulties making banking deals on the Continent, so this is a marked change in strategy.

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ING Groep (NYSE:ING) nears the divestiture of its Malaysian and Thai insurance businesses to AIA Group for approximately $1.8 billion, according to sources. AIA rose more than 2 percent on the news, as ING could be ridding itself of assets for less than their values, as it worries more about European Commission regulators than it does returns.

On Wednesday BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) initiated phase 3 of its 5-year branding campaign as it tries to expand by luring assets. This series of ads pushes investors to get out of cash and fixed income so as to put money in stocks and exchange-traded funds along with other income generators.

Javelin Mortgage Investment (JMI) has boosted the size of its initial public offering to 7.25 million shares from 6.25 million via a private placement to two directors. This newly created mortgage real estate investment trust, which is externally managed by ARMOUR Residential REIT (AMEX:ARR), raised $145 million.

New York Mortgage Trust (NASDAQ:NYMT) prices a 13.5 million share secondary offering at $6.89 per share; underwriters will keep an option to acquire an additional 2.025 million shares.

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, which is the biggest holder of Standard Chartered 5 (SCBFF.PK), is pushing for changes to the latter’s board, say sources. If this is true, chatter that Temasek wants a buyer for its 18 percent interest in the lender would seem to be moot.

Don’t Miss: Hedge Fund Pop Star David Einhorn Picks and Pans These Stocks.

The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW) and TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:AMTD) are in the process of closing some operations in Europe because of the weak trading environment. More specifically, Schwab is shutting its European division of OptionsXpress, and TD will no longer accept new business in a number of countries, among which include Italy and Belgium.

Ameriprise Financial (NYSE:AMP) recruits two Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (NYSE:MS) heavy hitters, who in 2011 brought approximately $1 million in revenue. It had been reported that some of Morgan’s best producers were near to exiting, as they were said to be unhappy with the company since its merger with Smith Barney.

Fortress Investment Group (NYSE:FIG) is said to be buying a 12-builidng New Jersey office campus from Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC), which is looking to reduce costs. The transaction might be the largest office sale on record in that state, exceeding one that went for $377.5 million in 2011. A spokesperson commented that “Corporate real estate ownership is not really a core business for BofA.”

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Barclays (NYSE:BCS) has conducted a shakeup in the organizational chart at its investment banking unit, says an internal memo seen by Retuers. It appears that the changes target the streamlining of some teams into a new groups under new lines of command, and also include a number of senior level exits.

Chief Executive Mike Farrell of Annaly Capital Management (NYSE:NLY) has exercised his option to buy 112,000 shares of company stock at $15.61; the shares closed on the day at $16.65. The transaction increases his position in the firm by 4.3 percent to 2.7 million shares.

Don’t Miss: Are Regional Banks on the Rise? Barry Zubrow, who heads regulatory affairs at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), and also the trusted trusted lieutenant of Jamie Dimon, will step down before the end of December, say sources. It appears that he might be the most recent victim in an organizational housecleaning subsequent to the ‘London Whale’ trading loss.

It isn’t enough that Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) is being investigated by the Justice Department and ths State of New York, but now the National Credit Union Administration has brought a lawsuit against the company, for allegedly misrepresenting the underwriting and divestiture of mortgage bonds to three unions which collapsed after paying more than $715 million for them.

First Niagara Financial Group’s (NASDAQ:FNFG) has laid off 180 employees out of 6,000, but it’s said that it does not necessarily indicate a major cost reduction program, such as the one that Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) is pulling off. Niagara is replacing 50 of the positions elsewhere inside, and is actively recruiting for more than 250 vacancies.

Don’t Miss: Are Regional Banks on the Rise?

The United States Justice Department and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are looking into Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) concerning its actions on mortgage-backed securities, according to Reuters. Earlier in the week, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) was sued by New York, which alleges fraud by the firm’s Bear Stearns division in the packaging and selling of mortgages.

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The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) would like to divest an office park in London for $1.3 billion, which represents around 67 percent more than it paid it only 18 months ago, according to sources. Since that acquisition, Blackstone has reduced the vacancy rate to 1 percent from 9, and has initiated work on constructing additional space.

The National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) and Eurobank Ergasias are said to be in discussion in regards to a possible merger, that if successful, could form that country’s largest lending institution. The talks emerge while Greece’s struggling lenders are under enormous pressure to survive by supporting one another.