Opening Bell: 06.01.07

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BP to Lose $18 Billion Field Amid Russian Crackdown (Bloomberg) More less than stellar news for BP: the oil conglomerate is going to most likely lose its license to a Siberian field that has the resources to supply Asia with natural gas for the next five years. The move comes as President Vladmir Putin extends stand control over foreign energy products. More than one third of Russia’s oil production is now controlled by the government, through Gazprom and OAO Rosneft.
SEC Steps Up Backdating Pursuit (WSJ) Another day, another company actually punished for backdating. This time it’s Mercury Interactive (which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard, those paragons of ethics and good taste, last year), who will pay $28 million to settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission, beating out Brocade Communications, the first company to agree to pay the SEC ($7 million) after accusations of similar charges. Not surprisingly, Mercury neither admitted nor denied the allegations that they’d done anything wrong. One guess as to who can’t sit still over all this riveting news.
Lehman says considering Amsterdam fund IPO in 2007 (Reuters) Lehman Brothers Holdings said yesterday afternoon that it is considering an IPO of its private equity fund of funds; the size was not disclosed. Lehman commented that it would “closely align its interests with investors in the new fund, by making a substantial investment, using the proceeds for private equity at launch, and bearing all issuance costs” itself.
Goldman Sachs' Cohen Tells CNBC: Stocks Will Keep Moving Higher (CNBC) Chief U.S. investment strategist at Goldman Sachs, Abby Joseph Cohen, told CNBC yesterday that stocks are underpriced and will continue to move higher this year. In spite of economic and profit expansion slowing down from its previously “torrid pace,” Cohen maintains that growth is “still moving forward” and will be looking at particularly closely at technology and industrial goods.
Trump Set To Take Stand On Black's Behalf (NYP) Just when you (meaning the 4 people who care about this case) thought Conrad Black’s attorney, Eddie “Fast Eddie” Greenspan was doing a terrible job defending Black, who’s on trial for possibly stealing millions from investors in his company, Hollinger International, he shows up to prove that your assumptions are…dead on. Donald Trump is set to take the stand in Black’s defense next week. We think getting a man who is perpetually flirting with bankruptcy and cares about one thing and one thing only, that being his Mystic Tan, to speak on behalf of your fiscal ethics and responsibility is a great idea. Or, maybe not such a great idea. It’s one of these two things.
Dell Cutbacks Pay Off (thestreet.com) Shares of Dell rose 5% yesterday, following the company’s announcement that it would be cutting its workforce by 10% over the next 12 months. This made Wall Street happy. First-quarter net income was reported at $759 million (34 cents per share), versus last year’s $762 million (33 cents per share). Revenue rose 2.8% this year to $14.6 billion, beating analysts predictions that had called for sales to decline to $13.95 billion.
The Butler Boom (WSJ) Some of us aren't in 100% shape this morning. It might not even be a stretch to say we feel like death, though actual death would probably make us feel better. This helps:

Of all the skills taught here at Butler Boot Camp, none is more technically challenging than the Ballet of Service.
The Ballet, used only for formal dinner parties, requires four butlers to glide into a dining room with their silver platters and serve the guests in perfect sync. The climax of the performance is a move called the "crossover" -- a plate-juggling pas de deux in which the butlers slide one platter from their right to left hand with a quick body pivot, creating the illusion that the plate is suspended in midair while it's being transferred.
When done right, the Ballet displays all the desired traits of a butler-to-be -- discipline, agility, poise and intimate familiarity with tableware. Yet on a recent evening here in the mansion of the Starkey International Institute for Household Management -- better known as Butler Boot Camp -- the butlers are botching their ballet. Dawn Carmichael, a chipper, blond, former Starbucks barista, begins her crossover before the three other servers, throwing off the whole routine. The other butlers freeze, before finally dispatching their platters and scurrying back into the kitchen.
"I lost the rhythm," Ms. Carmichael says.

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