Opening Bell: 10.11.07

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Stock Sales by Chief of Lender Questioned (NYT)
The SEC may investigate some fishy stock sales by Countrywide CEO Angelo R. Mozilo, trying to figure out what he knew and when about the company's rotten operations. Nobody's going to pre-judge the man here, but it seems safe to figure that there are going to be a lot of these investigations at various companies over the next several months. If there aren't many, it would only be because developments are occurred so swiftly, not giving folks enough time to make a sale.
Chrysler, UAW Reach Agreement (WSJ)
Just like at GM, the workers at Chrysler walked off the job for all of 5 minutes, before coming to an agreement. At that length, it's hard to even call it a strike, more like an extended smoke break, no? Anyway, glad to see them back to the business of selling cars at a loss (note: we might've used that line before, when talking about GM).
Private Equity Is on Pace for Record Fund-Raising Year (Deal Journal)
Credit is still hard to come buy, but the underlying capital, you know, the slight lever that you need to produce leverage, is plentiful. 2007 has been a banner year for private equity fundraising of all sorts, even if activity, particularly on the buyout end (as opposed to VC investments) have tailed off considerably due to credit conditions. As the post suggests, investors are looking long term, not just thinking about immediate conditions. That's, um, refreshing.
Live Nation's $120 Million Bet: Breaking Down The Madonna Deal (Silicon Alley Insider)
So the big news yesterday was that Madonna is leaving Warner Music Group, after all these years, and has signed up with Live Nation, the big concert promoter. Live Nation is paying her to put her albums out, but mainly they're going to be promoting all of her concerts and merchandise sales, hoping to make money on those things. The albums will almost certainly lose money for the company. Coming on the heels of the Radiohead announcement (free downloads), the move is called yet another crippling blow for the industry, though it's not clear that it is. Silicon Alley Insider has a couple of posts on the subject, breaking down the numbers, suggesting that if anything, Warner should be happy it let the lady go, especially given the price.

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City’s Virtues to Be Sold in New Global Ad Campaign (NYT)
Just when we started to feel assured that New York wasn't giving up its place of global prominence, the city is launching a global ad campaign, touting itself to foreigners. An ad campaign for a place? Isn't that what suburbs outside of DC do? "Come to Fairfax county, #1 for business". What's more. Also, what about the weak dollar? Isn't that free advertising enough for tourists?
MGM Plans Casino Resort to Rival Best of Las Vegas (NYT)
So did you all realize that the mayor of Atlantic City has been MIA now for some time? Yeah. Dude just took off and now the city's mayorless. We haven't been down there since it happened, though we can only imagine that it's total bedlam, not unlike the entire US when the government was shut by Newt and Bill. Oh wait. In the meantime, business goes on. MGM is building a new casino resort there, which is said to be Vegas-like. But why sell itself so short? We're sure it matches the very best in Detroit, too.
Fukui Says BOJ Kept Rates at 0.5% on Subprime Effect (Bloomberg)
The BOJ remains really slow on the rate increase trigger, which we're sure would make John McCain pretty happy. Even after working up the gumption to do an increase, there still only at .5%, with no plans to move 'em higher. The BOJ cited the subprime meltdown for not raising rates, though it did acknowledge some improvement in things. Analysts see a December rate hike as possible, though at this point, why do in December, what you can do next year?
EADS Says Insider-Trading Case Disrupting Integration (Bloomberg)
The CEO of EADS says the investigation of insider trading at the company has created an "unfair" climate and that it's messing up their plans to fix things at Airbus. How sad. Louis Gallois called the whole thing "shocking", arguing that senior management was being presumed guilty before the fact have come to light. Man, what a miserable job he has.

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