Opening Bell: 8.29.07

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Cheyne May Liquidate Commercial Paper Unit Amid Market Rout (Bloomberg)
Tremors in the commercial paper market scare as more than anything else, since commercial paper is like the oil that keeps the gears of commerce spinning. Without it, everything just seizes up, coming to a crashing, burning halt. Not fun. Cheyne Capital Management may be forced to liquidate its commercial operation, as S&P has lowered its credit rating (good timing). The hedge fund management firm, set up by to ex-Morgan Stanley bankers, says it has enough cash to keep the business going through November.
Credit problems are spilling over into the student loan sector (CNBC)
Last night DealBreaker editor John Carney explained to the On the Money audience how the credit crunch may combine with action on Capitol Hill to make student loans an expensive cocktail for college students. Of course, loose credit for college has probably made education an over-valued asset anyway. Introducing some rationality into this market may not be such a bad thing.
Wonder Bread bakery says region has gone stale (San Diego Union Tribune)
It's weird to think that there are whole regions of the country where you can't get Wonder Bread anymore. Granted, it's weird to think that there are people out there that still buy the stuff -- certainly we don't know any. But there was something amusing about seeing it on shelfs -- it did at least have a nice bag. That being said, you have to imagine the company could've tone just a wee bit more to change with the times. Their product wasn't so good, like Coke, where you just don't mess with it. Perhaps a sourdough, thick-crusted wonder bread would've done the trick.
General Mills to close Trenton plant (CBC.ca)
Wow, rough times for everyone in carb sector. Not only is Wonder Bread pulling out of more markets, General Mills is laying off plant workers. The company also announced that it's getting out of the once-lucrative frozen waffle business. Of course, the 800-lb. gorilla in the space, Eggo, is owned by Kellog, and that won't be going anywhere. Oh and Eggos are gross.
Home prices here up, but not way up (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
We're starting to wonder whether there are some errors about how housing prices are tabulated on a national and local scale. It just seems to be a recurring them that while the overall housing market is going down, every major municipality claims to be bucking the trend. Come on -- the whole decline can't be concentrated in Detroit and Las Vegas. Anyway, if you believe it, add Seattle to the list of cities which continues to see prices rise.

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Google CFO Reyes to step down by year's end (San Jose Mercury News)
In a completely unexpected announcement, the CFO of Google George Reyes has announced that he will depart the company as soon as a successor is named. No official reason was given for the move (which seems to be on his own volition). Maybe it's nothing, but that doesn't mean you can't speculate on deeper meaning. Let the rumors begin.
After Stumbling, Mattel Cracks Down in China (NYT)
After some awkward snafus (to say the least), Mattel is going to crack down on Chinese safety issues. So... all that stuff about the company having had the most rigorous controls in the industry, probably not so much, yeah? Either way, should be in interesting test case to see how well the company can dictate terms to its Chinese suppliers.
U.S. Stocks Headed for Higher Open (NYT)
The good news about yesterday's drop is that it's time for some bargain hunting. Although international stocks were down overnight, US futures look up up up. Don't worry, it won't hold.
ISS Blesses TXU Deal, Banks Curse (Deal Journal)
In case you missed it, ISS urged shareholders to vote in favor of TXU's plan to go private. That means that bankers behind the deal really will have to raise all that cash that they promised. We wish them the best of luck.
News Corporation and Dow Jones Announce Early Termination of U.S. Antitrust Waiting Period
There had been some grumblings that perhaps News Corp.'s purchase of Dow Jones might not clear regulatory muster. At least some Democrats went on record as saying they wanted the merger blocked. But it was not to be, as the FTC has rapidly given approval for the deal.
Hillary Clinton, corporate executive (Ideoblog)
We definitely think that politicians should have to pay a windfall profits tax when they have an extraordinarily good fundraising quarter After all, if they raise three times as much one quarter as they did the quarter before (or another politician), doesn't that suggest something untoward? And here's another suggestion -- how about holding politicians completely responsible for their fundraising a la Sarbanes-Oxley? Improper donations? Jail time. No pawning the responsibility off on some lower staffer who will be reprimanded.
Solutions to the mortgage problem (Econbrowser)
Ah, wouldn't we all love a solution to the mortgage problem. Unfortunately, few seem to be forthcoming. Tht's not for lack of effort, however. A number of pundits and politicians have weighed in with solutions. As you may have heard, Pimco's Bill Gross basically called for a big bailout of homeowners, a la Chrysler and the S&Ls. But, as others are pointing out, Gross got his history a bit wrong, suggesting that those situations aren't quite analogous. We pretty much hope that nothing happens, and that the chips fall where they may. Still, it's fun to speculate.

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