Opening Bell: 4.29.08

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Panel to Look at Foreclosure Practices (NYT)
A Senate panel will look at whether banks are exacerbating the foreclosure crisis by adding all kinds of fees and stuff for borrowers that are already struggling. The efficient markets believer in us finds this hard to believe -- that banks would do stuff to make foreclosures more likely. But on the other hand, if you know you're about to lose a borrower in the next month or two, maybe you would try to squeeze as much juice out of the lemon as you can. Good thing the Senate will get a definitive answer for us on this.
Calpers Chief To Step Down In Latest Exit (WSJ)
Time to make some real cash. CEO of Calpers Fred Buenrostro has decided to step down, and will likely pursue opportunities in the private sectors. Buenrostro had been at Calpers since 2002, and he says he has a good succession plan already in place, so nothing to worry about. Just a few days ago, the CIO of Calpers said he would leave to launch his own green fund (its California after all).
No Break in the Standoff of Microsoft and Yahoo (NYT)
Still no sign of action from either side, and still no talking -- at least according every single published report we've seen anywhere. If Microsoft and Yahoo are having secret talks, they're doing a damned good job of hiding it.
Deutsche Bank reports 1Q loss on $4.2 billion in write-downs (AP)
Another $4.2 billion, but only a $220 million quarterly loss for Deutsche Bank, so the writedown wasn't totally out of proportion with the rest of the quarter. Basically, they did worse than break even, but no losses into the billions. That's a victory. Also, worth noting that Deutsche Bank had telegraphed this result, so no real surprise either way.


Thrills! Chills! High Oil Prices! A Roller-Coaster Ride of Excitement! (Knowledge Problem)
Were you going to read today's NYT article about how spare capacity is running out in the oil market? Well before you do, Knowledge Problem offers a thorough fisking: "Wow, this article on international oil supply and demand from the New York Times is fascinating, and not in a good way. Did they fire the editors? It is like a bad action movie - fast-paced, a few colorful characters, far too many plot twists, and if you stop to think you spoil the effect. It just doesn't add up." Read the whole thing.
A poem for the West (Information Processing)
We don't typically link to poetry here. Ok, this is probably the first time. But, it's a little bit of econ-related wordsmithing having to do with Chinese attitudes towards the west with respect to free trade. Most poets fail to really capture that correctly. This one did.
Is "Social Enterprise Software" An Oxymoron? (AVC)
Social media stuff, super hot, is being taken down its natural progression, as new startups emerge to sell it to businesses. Some worry that it's the whole B2B thing all over again, and that most "social software" doesn't really make sense in the enterprise. Does IBM need its own social network? Maybe. Anyway, Fred Wilson offers his characteristically astute points on the matter.
A Closer Look at Stadium Subsidies (American)
With the economy flagging, expect a lot of people to call for economic revitalization schemes that involve plopping a sports stadium in some downtown. This concept has been properly derided in the past for all kinds of reasons, but rest assured: they still don't work. A baseball stadium doesn't create this fountain of productivity and wealth. It's basically just a subsidy.

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