Opening Bell: 3.7.08

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World Markets Tumble Amid US Worries (AP)
And in the while-you-were-sleeping category, Japan's Nikkei fell by 3.3 percent, the Hang Seng was down 3.6 percent and India's Sensex was down about 4 percent, after having first fallen about 5 percent. So here's a quick question: do you believe in decoupling? That's not an attempt at being facetious or anything, because if the answer yes, then you have to step into these situations and be buyer. But if you have a more nuanced view, feel free to leave 'em in the comments.
Regulators Push the Banks (WSJ)
Irony alert: rather than fret about the influence of the sovereign wealthers, as elected politicians do, regulators are worried about the opposite... that banks are taking their sweet time in taking capital infusions, a risk to the economy. Then again, maybe the regulators don't know enough about the banks financial health as they think they do. We're hard pressed to think of reasons to avoid cash if it's really needed.
In Silicon Valley, a Flight to Safety (WSJ)
This would be an interesting employment issue to watch... tech workers jumping ship from small firms to large ones, attracted by the apparent safety. Companies like RIM and HP can actually hire. The article doesn't actually mention them, but this has to be good news for Google, as talent retention has been a key problem of theirs, though so far there's been no signal that the exodus of top employees has abated for the search engine.
F.A.A. Fines Southwest Air in Inspections (NYT)
So Southwest has been fined a record amount, $10 million or so, because it flew planes that weren't safe to fly. Assuming that's true: bad. But seeing as they put actual lives in danger, then whey so little? We're not trying to be cynical here, just trying to figure out what's achieved. If the point is to prevent plane crashes, then what kind of a message does a $10 million fine send? No, we don't think that there are number crunchers at Southwest figuring that a $10 million fine every once in a while is worth a few expected crashes. We suspect that type of calculus is more of a myth than it's made out to be. Still, we're not quite sure what the FAA accomplishes here, except to hit Southwest's reputation, which might have some positive externalities.
The Beige Book Goes Stag (Matrix)
Jonathan Miller takes a look at the tragically ignored Beige Book. Actually, it's not so much that the Beige Book gets ignored. It's usually mentioned when it comes out, but the problem is that it's frequently boiled down to a single number or a few numbers or something like that, when obviously it's a, you know, book, with a little more depth. Miller's interest is real estate and, well, things look pretty glum in that department. Probably didn't need the Beige Book to tell you that, but nothing like some good anecdotal evidence.


Marc Faber is All Gloom and Doom, No Boom (Infectious Greed)
A video of -- what else -- Marc Faber predicting bad things for the economy. We agree with Paul. Why the boom part in his name?
$100 Million iFund launched for iPhone developers (Macworld)
Apple announced its developer kit yesterday, so at some point in the future, folks will be able to make iPhone apps without voiding the warranty or bricking the device when it upgrades. And just to help jumpstart things, famed venture capitalist John Doerr is launch a $100 million fund called, of course, iFund (weak), to invest in iPhone apps. We'll not try to prognosticate how this will turn out, but should at least be interesting.
Jackson Calls for Changes to Visa I.P.O. (Dealbook)
Jesse Jackson is complaining that the Visa IPO isn't going with enough firms owned by minorities for underwriting. Just note that he's made this charge before with other high-profile IPOs. And note that every publicly traded investment bank has minority owners. That is all... except Larry Ribstein also has some views on the matter.
Fisher Says Credit Markets May Not Force Fed to Act (Bloomberg)
Face it: you can't cut rates forever, and as you get lower, the benchmark has to be moved higher for what constitutes the need for a rate cut. Dallas bank pres. Fisher is warning investors not to assume the Fed will but rates infinity. And he sort of rebuffed a suggestion of a surprise, pre-meeting cut, but then what else would he say on that matter?

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