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Opening Bell: 7.18.08

Mortgage Giant Freddie Mac Considers Major Stock Sale (WSJ)
So say people familiar with the matter... evidently the mortgage giant (sorry, troubled mortgage giant) wants to raise up to $10 billion in a stock sale. The idea is that maybe this would help avoid a government bailout. Instead, it would be the government getting bailed out, by not having to bite the bullet on this one. Certainly if they can find a buyer, that'd be great. They'll probably end up paying through the nose for that cash. Meanwhile, to get a sense of how big this is: Freddie's market cap is just a bit over $5 billion.
Citi Reports Second Quarter Net Loss of $2.2 Billion, Loss Per Share of $0.49, from Continuing Operations
Great news: Citi didn't lose $2.86 billion as analysts had forecast. They only lost like $2.2 billion or $2.5 billion, depending on how you measure it. Evidently the stock is already ticking up a few points. The company was helped by some 11,000 layoffs in the first half of the year. 6,000 came in the first half of the ear.
Why Silicon Valley Should Be Worried (GigaOM)
As if we didn't have enough to worry about over here... it looks like the punk economy may have completed its cross-country road trip, and is now taking in the sites at the Golden Gate bridge, messing up the whole tech economy out there too. Lots of bad news all of the sudden pouring in. Google was weak last night. Microsoft was pretty sour, especially in online ads. Other smaller firms have warned. There's also been an increase in the number of companies diving headfirst into the deadpool, cause they weren't able to raise their latest round. It's kinda getting sucky out there.
As Price of Grain Rises, Catfish Farms Dry Up (NYT)
We'll cap of your Friday Opening Bell with the most depressing story we've read all week. Evidently this economy is terrible for catfish farmers, many of which are going under due to high corn and soy prices. Honestly, that's a little weird. Fish eating corn and soy? Fish? Really? Apparently so. Also, evidently margins at catfish farms are pretty thin, so there's no room for some major cost spike. Old catfishhands are even losing their jobs. Read about it. It's grim.