Opening Bell: 4.21.08

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NatCity Close To $6 Billion Cash Infusion (WSJ)
Seeing as the moniker 'merger monday' (we were sure we were going to wake up to some Yahoo-Microsoft news this morning) is all but dead, perhaps it's time to start talking about 'infusion monday'. There does seem to be a pattern of the WSJ reporting on some fresh cash infusion, late on Sunday or early on Monday, and they're always basically correct, unless the paper has low-balled the number in some way. This time its National City taking $6 billion in private equity cash.
Bank of England unveils controversial £50bn mortgage plan (Guardian)
We've sort of lost track of all the various efforts from the US government to stem the housing/credit crunch. Anyway, here's what we've got going on across the pond. the Bank of England has unveiled what it calls, cleverly a "Special Liquidity Scheme". Basically, the government will take on some £50bn in unmovable mortgage backed assets in exchange for highly liquid and safe government bonds. Does £50 billion not seem like enough to you? You're not alone. Already, some economists are asking for another £100 billion to have a dent. Ingrates.
Clinton Needs Record Margins, Turnout to Catch Obama (Bloomberg)
It's been such a blissed out seven weeks. We've felt totally comfortable tuning out the election coverage, ignoring Intrade stats, and keeping it on CNBC, rather than the occasional switcheroo to MSNBC. But all that (obviously) changes today (on the eve of the Penn. primary) and tomorrow (the primary itself). So yeah, even though Hillary seems favored, she's gotta lot of catching up to do. For the record, Clinton is at like 90 percent to win Pennsylvania on Intrade.
Selling Chat on Fox, and a Sex-Enhancing Potion on the Side (NYT)
Just, wow. NYT boldly profile John Layfield, the ex-pro wrestler, who, like Lenny Dykstra, has gotten into writing and pontificating about investments. Both Dykstra and Layfield have also done some side, non-finance businesses. Dykstra had a chain of car washes. Layfield: he sells an OTC sex potion called... Mamajuana Energy. You read that right. Mamajuana Energy: "Mr. Layfield says he first sampled the concoction in a dive bar in the Dominican Republic while on vacation and was hooked." Oh right, and his wife is the famed Meredith Whitney, who is also an investor in Mamajuana (pronounced, unbelievably: mama-Ja-wana).


In Lean Times, Biotech Grains Are Less Taboo (NYT)
It may not be pretty, but even governments can respond to market forces. With grain prices soaring, the motivation to attach "frankenfoods", with their higher yields, and in some cases lower resource demands, just isn't there. There's some lesson about substitute goods in there. Anyway, when prices come down again, it'll be open season on crops that can fight off disease, bring greater nutrition to the hungry, and can be grown in places, where traditionally framers have had a had time growing crops.
Paramount, MGM, Lionsgate to launch new premium TV channel (LA Times)
Competition for Showtime and HBO, as a consortium of major studios are set to launch their own premium cable network some time in 2009. As LA Times points out, Iron Man will be among the movies to be shown on the new chanel, which is hilarious. The backers are Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate, all of whom want to get more cash from showing their movies than they're currently getting from Showtime. No name is set yet, but we're sure the brand wizards will come up with something noxious.
href="http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djhighlights/200804202317DOWJONESDJONLINE000428.htm">Yang's Last Stand: Yahoo Earnings Could Sway Microsoft Deal (Dow Jones)
Well, there's no Yahoo news today, but there will definitely be some tomorrow. If nothing else, the company comes out with earnings tomorrow, and the pressure on the company to deliver will be huge to say the least. iIf it's got any chance of fending off Microsoft, it needs to knock the cover off, so to speak, because otherwise, it can't justify its existence as a standalone much longer -- at least not in the face of a generous offer. Microsoft, btw, reports on Thursday.

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