Gossip Grind: Today's Wall Street Buzz in 60 Seconds

There’s a chance that the head of China’s Central bank may have defected. Xiaochua Zhou’s name has been blocked from Chinese search engines because of the rapidly spreading rumour that Zhou may have left the country.

Someone sent 8 Swiss bankers packages containing “extremely” corosive acid last week. The acid apparently exploded upon opening, injuring two people.

Virgin magnate Richard Branson has chosen not to pursue a $1.6 billion IPO for its global heath club business, unidentified sources told The Sunday Times.

Managing directors at Credit Suisse are getting a late-summer bonus on Sept. 1 (though they won’t be able to take the loot home until 2012/13). Apparently a few banks have considered moving the date of their bonus payments to help “soften the blow of smaller incentive payments that are widely expected…”

Citigroup’s former vice chairman Michael Klein pocketed $10 million for his role in counseling Barclays on its purchase of the Lehman Brothers brokerage business back in ’08. The latest “juicy” footnote to the the story of Lehman’s demise was revealed during testimony about the Barclays deal in a Manhattan court on Friday.

BofA’s brokerage Merrill Lynch is smashing Morgan Stanley in the profit game with 2,900 fewer financial advisers. Merrill churned out $315 million more profit in the first half than Morgan Stanley; its pretax profit margin is 16.7%; Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s is at 7.8 %.

Only about 17% of hedge fund managers are bullish on S&P 500, reports Opalesque. They quote Sol Waksman,┬áthe CEO of BarclayHedge, who said “bearish sentiment skipped sharply higher, and bullish sentiment plunged.”

BONUS: The body of the 17-year-old daughter of the US ambassador to Thailand was released to a Manhattan funeral home on Sunday. Nicole John died tragically on the weekend, accidentally falling from the 25th-story ledge of a building in midtown where she was at a party. She was supposed to begin studying at Parsons today.

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