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Opening Bell: 10.12.07

City Bank Announces Strong Earnings Results for First Nine Months of 2007 and Third Quarter Earnings
Here are some words we never thought we'd read again "City Bank announces strong earnings". Man, it's been so long, but hats off to 'em for turning around such a troubled company... and in such a short term. Just last week we were lamenting how far the company had fallen. Oh wait. City Bank? That's different than Citibank isn't it? Heck, it's Citigroup these days actually. Well, nonetheless, hats off to City Bank, based in Lynnwood, Washington for turning in such a handsome quarter. Bravo.
Big Shake-Up as Citigroup Combines Two Key Units (NYT)
Citigroup probably wishes it was City Bank, since it's only beginning to fix its woes. The company has announced a major organizational shakeup, as it will merge its investment banking side and its alternative investments operations. Both will be managed by Vikram Pandit, who was acq-hired last year when his hedge fund was bought.
Oracle Offers to Buy BEA Systems for $6.7 Billion (Bloomberg)
Well, finally all of the old independent software companies that have been called buyout bait for years now are finally getting bought out. Last week it was SAP buying Business Objects, and now Oracle is buying out BEA systems, a company that Carl Icahn has been harassing lately. The $6.7 billion deal is a 25% premium, which is a nice end for BEA shareholders, which are used to disappointment and underperformance. Yay, the strategic buyer is Baaack!
China's trade surplus up 56% in September
Weren't there just stories yesterday about the US narrowing its trade deficit? And yet China's is expanding like gangbusters still. Could the US and China each have more than one trading partner, making it not a zero sum situation? Seems hard to believe.

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Virgin Said to Be in Talks to Buy Northern Rock (Dealbook)
Who knows if he'll actually get there, but Richard "the rebel billionaire" Branson, is among those interested in acquiring the carcases of Northern Rock. The idea is to rebrand it under Virgin Money (duh). You have to figure that some of these other suitors, like JC Flowers, aren't going to be interested in some whimsical branding campaign.
Gore, U.N. Body Win Nobel Peace Prize (AP)
Listen, not that we like the guy, but we've always felt that Al Gore would be the best (in terms of competitiveness) candidate that the Democrats could nominate. The man is actually a larger-than-life machine, with a clean-as-a-whistle background who long ago learned how to overcome his woodenness. So now he's one the Nobel Prize for his work on promoting global awareness. Whatever. The point is, now it's time for him to jump into the race. It's not too late.