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Opening Bell: 4.2.08

Stocks Surge as 2 Major Banks Advance Turnaround Plans (WSJ)
It's a real relief that the worst is behind us. The big capital announcements from Lehman and USB obviously supposedly helped spur a major rally. And then all day yesterday we listened to the talking heads on CNBC debate whether a bottom had been put in. We have no idea, or even what that means (seriously). But if the worse was behind us, then it wasn't so bad. A crisis mainly confined to Wall St. and a few neighborhoods in Ohio, Detroit, Southern California, Arizona and Florida. Is that it? Cool.
A Bipartisan Bid on Mortgage Aid Is Gaining Speed (NYT)
Reminder to self: never again click on an article with the world 'bipartisan' in the title. Check out the picture in there. Very very NSFW.
Europe Launches Northern Rock Probe (AP)
Not clear exactly which part they're concerned with, but the EU will launch a probe of the Northern Rock bailout. We wonder if perhaps public funds were used to protect private interesting, which surely represents some sort of conflict. Just a thought.
Google's CIO leaves search giant for job at EMI (
A bit of a surprise jump that at first looked like an April Fools joke: Google CIO Doug Merrill is leaving the search giant for record label EMI. Usually we see Google top brass leaving to get involved with startups of sort, but this is actually more impressive. Sure he probably could've gone to any startup he wanted, and yes, startups always face long odds of success. But for an old-school major record label, its prospects are incredibly daunting. EMI, it should be noted, is owned by UK PE firm Terra Firma. Apparently his exact title or job role has not been announced, but it's a position designed especially for him.

Revolution in Coachella (Aguanomics)
We had to link to this cause of the name alone: Aguanomics -- it's a blog about water economics. And given how sexy water is these days, how could anyone not want to read that? This particularly entry is not about the music festival, but about a tiered pricing structure on water on consumption and its potential impact as a conservation inducing mechanism. We also like it, cause he ends his posts with a Bottom Line: "Coachella should meter AND the metering should be based on per-capita use -- why charge less to a guy with a golf course-sized lot than a family on a small lot. Meter and charge per capita rates that rise quickly when water is wasted." (via Marginal Revolution)
Congress to Take Testimony on Internet Gambling Ban (Bits)
We miss the days when there were like 15 fresh stories on Bear Stearns each day, cause it made writing the Opening Bell so easy. Today for example, an article about the internet gambling ban is the only interesting/relevant thing we've seen all day. Anyway, the UIGEA -- the law "banning" internet gambling -- sought to limit bank transactions to foreign gambling enterprises. But actually it's still doable. We've done it (maybe). Enforcement is tough and spotty. And right now, the banks aren't really on the hook if it happens to happen under their watch. So some are more serious about cracking down than others. So that's the debate now. You know where we stand.
It’s Not Nice To Fool With The Stock Market (TechTraderDaily)
Thank the lord that April Fools is gone for another year. Totally dumb. The one thing we were amused by was the debate about certain April Fools stories that directly related to public companies. InfoWorld, the dusty old trade rag, ran a story about Microsoft and Yahoo agreeing on a deal. Some people hated it. We loved it. For one thing, it was classic InfoWorld. It was probably the least clever story they could've come up with and the story was pretty much devoid of wit.
IMF Cuts Global Forecast on Worst Crisis Since 1930s (Bloomberg)
With a recession in the US considered to be done and done, all eyes turn to the globe to see if mother Earth can stay out of the big R. Right now the IMF is pegging the chances of a global recession at a meager 25 percent (apparently that's pretty big for the entire globe) citing the worst financial crisis since the great depression. Speaking of the US recession, on Intrade, the odds of one happening this year are down to 70 percent, from 74 percent a few weeks ago. That's a start.