Opening Bell: 4.22.08

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RBS Takes Further Write-Downs, Plans $23.78 Billion Rights Issue (WSJ)
That's some coinage right there. First RBS said is lot over $11 billion for all the usual reasons. And now RBS has asked shareholders to approve a nearly $24 billion raise. It needs the cash, having suffered double through all this nonsense after its $10 billion acquisition of ABN Amro. But RBS' pain is the good news of other banks, as $24 billion should generate a buck or two in underwriting fees. Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and UBS will manage the offering.
Wall Street Journal Editor Expected to Resign (NYT)
That was quick, to say the least. Four months after taking the job, under new boss Rupert Murdoch, WSJf managing editor Marcus Brauchli is out the door. There are differing accounts of why, though none suggest there was a major rift. Maybe more like a minor one. We shall see on that. The news happened to come out the same day as WSJ's big push into expanding its opinion section. Maybe Brauchil really didn't like that move.
Oil steadies near overnight record (AP)
The Guinness book of World Records must be frustrated, as it has to re-do the section for "world's most expensive barrel of oil" on a seemingly hourly basis. Actually, on this we'd refer you to Paul Kedrosky, who has a modest proposal re: oil price records. Basically, after a new record has set, you set up some silence period, where we can't talk about records again. Only at the end of the period can we point out that oil has set a new record. He calls it a "market noise abatement act" and we like it.
Nomura Employee Investigated for Insider Trading (Bloomberg)
Insider trading investigation at Nomura. Apparently these kinds of things can really hurt a bank's reputation: "Japan's Pension Fund Association, which manages 13.2 trillion yen of retirement assets, will stop placing stock- broking and bond-trading orders through Nomura until the regulator has completed its probe and Nomura has shown it's in compliance with regulations, Taku Yamamoto, head of the Pension Fund Association's equity group, said in a phone interview."


Anti CNN demo in LA (Danwei)
To what extent have people been following the broiling anti-CNN hatred in China? Ever since on-air personality Jack Cafferty insulted the Chinese by bluntly stating his opinion on the country's leadership, there's been a whole host of anti-CNN anger to bubble up in China and even here in the US. The link offers a video to a an anti-CNN protest in LA. Unless this abates, covering the games could be a tad awkward for the network. Also, the French company Carrefour has also become hated of late, but we're having trouble tracking down the genesis of this one.
Puzzled (Econbrowser)
Over at Econbrowser, economist Menzie Chinn is "puzzled" by John McCain's push to eliminate gas taxes over the "summer driving season". Chinn then goes on to provide a thorough drubbing of the concept, and why it wouldn't make an iota of difference. But it's just not worth getting too bent out of a McCain econ proposal. Most politicians have a pretty thin grasp on economics, but with McCain, you can be pretty sure he just made it up a minute before he said it. If you spend any time debunking his proposals, he's won already.
2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee (Intrade)
Yep, it's back: the election. Nope, there was no way to delay it one more week. The People of Pennsylvania have waited patiently enough, and now they have a right to speak. By most accounts, Clinton should win handily, and she currently trades at $.92 on the dollar. What's the play here? If anything, it's probably Obama-to-win, but bear in mind, that you're probably going to lose money. However, overall, Obama still has a command lead in the overall race for the nomination, has he's trading at $.82 on the dollar. So the events of tonight could very well be moot.
News Corporation Near Deal to Buy Newsday (Reuters)
On CNBC the other day, some Vanity Fair writer swore up and down that Jarod Kushner would win the bidding for Newsday. That would've been fun, especially if he made the pages FT/Observer-pink. But it looks like the winner will be Murdoch, clocking in at a bid of $580, which will go to Sam Zell's debt-reduction fund.

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