Opening Bell: 3.6.07

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Citigroup Offers $10.8 Billion to Buy Nikko Cordial (Bloomberg)
Citigroup is looking to expand the international section of its financial supermarket. The company announced a $10.8 billion takeover bid for Japanese brokerage Nikko Cordial, in what would be the largest takeover of the Chuck Prince era. Citigroup may have sensed an opportunity to pick up the company on the cheap, since it's in the midst of an accounting scandal that's threatening its continued listing on the Nikkei. Already, the two companies have a joint venture and Citigroup has a 4.9% stake in Nikko Cordial.
Greenspan Sees `One-Third Probability' of Recession This Year (Bloomberg)
You've gotta figure that Ben Bernanke is getting pretty annoyed right now. In the past week or so, Alan Greenspan has pretty much completely reassumed his old role, minus the little part about moving interest rates up or down. In an interview yesterday, Greenspan put a 33% chance of a recession happening this year -- very precise there Alan. Now what's Bernanke going to do next time he's asked this question, disagree? Maybe he'll say 35%, in the hopes that he gets closer without going over the top.
Asia Stocks Rally After Global Sell-Off (AP)
The picture accompanying this article has the required Asian businessman looking down at this handheld in front of a wall of numbers. But, we really thought you needed a break from that. Man, that really is some sort of photographer's cliche, isn't it. Probably if you went back and looked at news reports from the last Asian meltdown, you'd see basically the same thing. Anyway, the good news is the market finally snapped their losing streak. This doesn't mean US markets won't go down too. But if they do go down, they won't have Asia to blame. They'll have to do their own soul searching on this one.
Wall Street district gets federal designation Monday (AP)
Good news, Wall Street will never be scrawled upon by the draftsman's pen, and never be developed in a manner that reeks of crass capitalism. The sacred land will never be plundered for an extra dollar to be in some businessman's pocket. On Monday, the area will be officially granted a historic district and be entered into National Register of Historic Places. This is a great boon for the environment as well, as it means that another 36 blocks of urban land have been saved.


Wal-Mart fires technician for recording phone calls (AP)
Oh and Wal-Mart had been doing so well reviving its image. Then it has to go and do something stupid like tape the conversation of a New York Times reporter. To be fair, it wasn't the actions of the whole company, rather just one technician, but why did he have to tape the Times? They're already looking for an excuse to hate the company.
G.O.P. Shift Is Seen on Trade (NYT)
Before moving on to the meat of this post, here's a little something that needs to be gotten of our chests. The New York Times website has gotten bad? Anyone already know what I'm talking about? Yes, it's that silly feature they've added that pops up a new window anytime you click on a word. Like, sure, I really need a popup with the definition of "trade" or "seen" just because I clicked on the headline to cut and paste it. Please, get rid of that annoying, idiotic nonsense. Ok, onto the article. The Times notes that the GOP is shifting its stance on trade issues -- frankly, this has been obvious for some time. Both parties have been on a collision course ever since they both decided they would be populists. Both parties are the party of Bill O'Reilly and Lou Dobbs these days, so the fact that Bush & Co are interested in special labor provisions in trade deals is totally unsurprising.
Eisner firm, Madison Dearborn to pay $385 mln for Topps (MarketWatch)
Topps, the maker of baseball cards and Bazooke bubblegum has agreed to be taken private for $385 million. To be honest, we had only been vaguely aware that Topps was a public company, or, honestly, that it was still a going concern. The baseball card industry really shot itself in the foot over the last 10 years, as each company flooded the market with card after card, with a blatantly greedy mindset that "took all of the fun out of collecting". Essentially, companies like Topps became pink sheet companies that flooded the market with new shares every time they needed to make payroll.
Counterfeit wine prompts probe, report says (CNN Money)
The FBI has launched an investigation into counterfeit wine sales and has sent subpoenas to rare wine collectors. Now watch all of these wine collectors say things to their friends like, "Oh, I thought that one tasted a bit tannic, considering the year", or, "now that explains why I was never able to pick up the pencil shaving notes in the '88!".

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