Opening Bell: 3.28.08

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Judge says ex-Bear exec can't join Morgan Stanley (Reuters)
A judge has ruled that an ex-Bear exec can't take up work at Morgan Stanley, because, argued Bear itself, the just-resigned executive hadn't given the proper 90 days notice. The 20-year old vet just quit Bear 10 days ago, so the question seemed to be: in times of extreme chaos and uncertainty, do the normal rules about this apply? Apparently in this guy's case, the answer was yes.
Citi Continues Leadership Overhaul (WSJ)
New hire at Citi: Terri Dial, who currently runs Lloyd's retail banking unit in the UK, is expected to be brought on the consumer business under Vikram Pandit. More broadly, the company is expected to break down lines on a more regional basis, allowing its operations to be more in tune with the local culture and business climate.
Neeleman to leave JetBlue for Brazilian start-up? (Today in the Sky)
For some reason, this rumor is getting reignited, even though it's old: jetBlue founder and erstwhile CEO David Neeleman may go to Brazil and start a new airline there. Presumably something like the jetBlue of Brazil. So far there's nothing official, though apparently he is discussing his future as chairman of jetBlue -- obviously if he jetted down to Brazil to launch a new airline, he probably wouldn't have time to attend many board meetings. (Update: As a commenter points out, this story appears to be official) Anyway, we're all for it. We've heard the civil aviation sector in Brazil could use some improvement...
Is China Really No. 1 in Internet Users? (The Numbers Guy)
Maybe not. Carl Bialik, as he's prone to do, is able to poke a few holes in the side of the can, so that some light can get through. Some issues: the US survey only surveyed people with landline, which, given the demographics and all has to be skewing. Then there are people who have internet access, but who haven't used it in the last month (though really, that can't account for to many people). And then there's the fact that stats out of China can only be relied on so much -- sort of like stats for health and literacy out of Cuba. You're going to believe those?
Weber Says ECB Will Raise Interest Rates `If Needed' (Bloomberg)
Those stalwart inflation fighters at the ECB won't be changing their tune any time soon. With most of the world still preoccupied about liquidity and cash availability and stuff like that, an ECB member is still warning that rate increases could be coming if inflation looks like it's becoming an issue. Yeah, they really believe in this price stability thing.


Worthless Wall Street Research (Portfolio.com)
No offense, but going after Wall St. research reports is a little bit like whipping the proverbial dead horse. Sure, we've all made the rants: buy/sell ratings don't mean jack. Price targets are invariably hazy. Earnings estimates cluster near what the company says, etc. It's true, you probably couldn't select a good portfolio just going on analyst reports. If there were any value to 'em, they wouldn't be available for free with the slightest modicum of effort. That being said, if you're going to spend time selecting individual stocks for you portfolio (and it's possible that that's your first problem right there, not the research you depend on), stimulating arguments and analysis could have value in helping you form an opinion. Maybe.
Massachusetts' Manufacturing Conundrum (Evolving Excellence)
Always a good thing to remember during political season: productivity and automation are much more significant destroyers of manufacturing jobs than offshoring. Of course, taken the wrong way, some will just say, okay, we're demonizing the wrong thing. That's another problem, and obviously some politicians will take that tack. But anyway, an interesting stat out of Mass., where a period of manufacturing job losses (the last six years) coincided with a 47 percent increase in manufacturing export value, largely due to high tech compontentry.
Reason Presents: The Politics of Poker (Hit & Run)
Can't say this doesn't sound fun: a night of poker, hanging out at the CATO institute headquarters talking poker, and chatting it up with Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, at an event sponsored by Reason. It's on April 1, but it doesn't appear to be a joke. Might be a good road trip.
Palm poaches another Apple executive (Valleywag)
Let's just say we're impressed that the company behind the doudy old Palm Pilot or Treo or whatever they call it these days is able to poach execs away from Apple. Maybe the thrill of the upside is gone in Cupertino. Can't be.

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