Opening Bell: 6.9.08

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Lehman Set To Raise $5 Billion Amid Losses (WSJ)
Here's the latest reckless rumor mongering from the WSJ (joke): Lehman will announce today or tomorrow that it's raised more than $5 billion from various parties including the New Jersey Division of Investment. Not clear how much the hard working folks of New Jersey will be kicking in, and how much, say, will be kicked in by the hard working folks of Singapore. Actually, mainly the cash will be coming from the US, which is a bit of a surprise. Word is, the company may decide to wait to see what happens today in the market (whether it stabilizes or not) before announcing the investment. Ultimately, it's hard to see what difference one day makes with this sort of thing though,no? Then again, you can ask Bear what kind of difference a day or two makes and get a real answer.
Heat expected to reach 100 degrees in NYC on Monday (Newsday)
Seeing as it's only 5:30 AM right now, and the air conditioner is going full bore (but to no effect) and we're pounding iced unsweetened green tea, this doesn't seem too implausible. With humidity it's supposed to feel like 105... also pretty easy to believe. Let us know if your workplace switches to its own power or takes any other measure to reduce strain on the grid.
They're Off: Trainers to Start Horse Fund (WSJ)
So by the way, we were at the Belmont and it totally ruled. Especially if you like sun-damaged drunks, and the collective gut punch that comes when the horse that everyone bet on comes in last. Anyway, the idea that we'd been flogging forever continues to pick up steam: horse funds. This time it's three top trainers -- D. Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert and Nick Zito -- pretty much the only trainers the general public can name, looking to raise $75 million or more. These details should sound pretty familiar: "Investors must commit a minimum of $3 million over three years to participate in the fund, which will charge a 2% management fee and keep 20% of profits from racing and sales."
U.S. Gasoline Rises to Record $4 a Gallon at Pump, AAA Says (Bloomberg)
This is one of those things where we actually thought this happened awhile ago, but apparently not. Maybe it was just so obvious that it was going to happen. Also, have you noticed how everyone's now talking about $200 oil as if it were a done deal? Seriously, read all the blogs and articles (true, true... not necessarily the oracles of oil knowledge, but perhaps representative of the nattering class). It's all $200 all the time now. Then again, after one more week of moves like Friday's we'd be there.


Willis to buy US rival for $2.1bn (FT)
Insurance broker merger... Willis acquiring Hilb Rogal & Hobbs for $46 per share or $2.1 billion.
FT Alphaville at the Webbys: Limited service this week (Alphaville)
Our friends at FT Alphaville remind us yet again that they won a Webby for best business blog and will be in town on a limited posting schedule to accept the award. So yeah, congrats (again), but get back to posting soon.
Sachs is Batshit Crazy (Aguanomics)
One of our favorite new blogs we've been reading around here is Aguanomics... a blog about, well, water economics. Given all the interest these days in water and ag, it's a good, well written read. Anyway, here the author takes a nice kick to the shins of Jeffrey Sachs the development economist. You may recall that Sachs at one point was known for his free market beliefs. He was even featured in that documentary Commanding Heights for the work he did going into post-socialist countries and pushing for free market reforms. But now he's firmly part of the "top-down, Bono-happy, ideas of how to save the world"-crowd. And his theories on global ag policy leave a bit to be desired.
Ben Stein Watch: June 8, 2008 (Market Movers)
We're done done done reading Ben Stein, and we can't even read another Ben Stein Fisking, which is what this post is. We're sure it's good, but life is short you know? Still, if you've got the time, here's the link.
New iPhone unveiled today? (San Jose Mercury News)
Apparently some new telephone is going to get released today. Somehow it all seems forced. Last time there was a real electricity in the air right before it got announced. This time it's all 'meh'. Or maybe that's just us. Probably just us. Some of our favorite web services are taking special precautions to not fail today. By the way, totally related to nothing, the combination of intense air condition and cold tea has us feeling a bit chilly as of this moment. We'll probably long for this sensation in just a few hours.

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