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Opening Bell: 10.1.07

Citigroup sees 60 pct drop in 3rd-quarter net (Reuters)
That old come back is going to have to wait another quarter, at least. Citigroup has warned this morning of a 60% reduction in its third-quarter net, the result of (duh) credit stuff. CEO Chuck Prince called it a clear disappointment. Well, it's only technically a disappointment if something much better had been anticipated, and it's not clear that that's the case. Either way, we feel for the Queens economy today.
Helsinki shares lower at midday, Nokia slides on reported Navteq bid (Thomson FInancial)
When your entire stock market, nay your entire economy is dominated by one company, then single events, like an overbid for another company can have a big effect. The whole Helsinki stock market, which is another way of saying Nokia, drifted lower on news that the handset maker may make an aggressive bid for navigation software maker Navteq. The upshot is that everyone in the country of Finland will be paying more for a stake in Navteq than perhaps they ought to.
Britain to fully insure personal savings accounts to 35,000 pounds (IHT)
In the wake of the Northern Rock fiasco, the UK was stepping up its level of guaranteed insurance on personal savings accounts to 35,000 pounds, which, you'll be glad to know, is still less than what we have here. That being said, there's talk of upping it further, to 100,000 pounds, which is quite a bit more than US depositors enjoy. As it had been, accounts were only insured up to 2000 and then 90% of the next 33,000.
UBS to report $3.4 billion subprime hit (MarketWatch)
What, USB? You didn't go short mortgages like Goldman did? That sucks. Of course you didn't. Nobody ever thought anything else, as it was always a matter of how much of a haircut the company would take from the subprime mess. Turns out the tally has hit $3.4 billion -- up until now. Obviously, there's no guarantee that this will be the extent of it. Oh yeah, and layoffs, 1,500 of them to be exact -- at least up until now.

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EU opens formal antitrust proceedings vs Qualcomm (Reuters)
All around the world, Quallcomm is feeling the heat over its patent-heavy business model. In the US, the importation of certain Quallcomm handsets was banned, because it was determined that the company was in violation of certain patents. Now in Europe, they're pursuing antitrust allegations against the company, in part due to its heavy-handed use of patents. Granted, the EU would pursue antitrust allegations against a television if it were the only one in your living room, so you can't get too worked up about it. Still, a thorn in the side, for sure.
The GM-UAW contract: Pace car for the U.S.? (Christian Science Monitor)
You know, we're all for working out labor issues and coming up with a much more rational way to deal with healthcare expenses. The current model never had much hope of working, because, like the Social Security system, the number of retirees just started to balloon and the active workers couldn't keep pace. That being said, we're not sure about the spin that labor issues are the root cause of Detroit's lack of competitiveness. Yes, it's an issue, but what does that have to do with falling market share, poor product timing, lack of fuel efficiency, overdependence on the SUV? Nothing. So the union could fold up right now, but it'd still be a tall order for the automakers to get back into the game.
In an about-face, central banks may start cutting rates (Bloomberg)
Central banks around the world may move towards a pro-growth, rate cut bias, away from the stern anti-growth standpoint they've held in the recent past. Maybe it's just a ruse to make the US look good, in order to preserve some semblance of global stability and order.
Why Big Newspapers Applaud Some Declines in Circulation (NYT)
The New York Times -- a newspaper -- has a nice, self-serving article about why circulation declines at newspapers aren't the big deal they've been made out to be. Basically, a lot of those readers -- they weren't very profitable to begin with. Sort of a waste of distribution money; not really the folks that advertisers were going after. Now, the companies are touting their leaner, more demographically focused readership that's perfect for spending advertising dollars on. So forget about what appears to be some lumps the industry is taking. It's all good.
Apple Users Talking Class-Action Lawsuit Over iPhone Locking (InformationWeek)
No offense, but what's the deal with iPhone owners? Seriously. First, Apple warns them not to surf the internet when they're overseas, because they'll ring up a huge bill. What happens? Nobody listens, and then they complain when they get a $3,000 roaming bill. A bit steep? Sure, but they were warned, so hard to have too much sympathy. Then Apple warns them not to unlock their iPhones and that if they do, they might be in for some nasty surprises. Again, warning delivered and then followed up upon. But people act like it's some big shock. Here's the thing about the iPhone set. It doesn't really seem to be the early adopter crowd that everyone assumed it was. Remember those pictures of frat boys walking out of the Apple store, screaming at the top of their lungs? Exactly. That's the iPhone customer, which actually explains a lot.
Some Gold Bars Held By BoE Develop Cracks; Value Threatened (AP)
This is odd. Some gold bars held by the Bank of England are showing deterioration, potentially due to the mode of their storage. The Bank is working feverishly to figure out the problem, or at least the extent of it. Yet another reason to be wary of the idea that gold is the best way to maintain stable value and back up a currency.