Opening Bell: 9.15.08

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ECB, BOE to Pump Extra Cash Into Strained Money Markets (WSJ)
You know, just in case, seems like as good a day as any to drop several billion into the overnight markets. Just so thinks don't totally seize up or anything. The Bank of England is putting up an extra $9.87 billion. As we mentioned last night, Australia, which is always ahead of the curve on these things (get it?!) pumped $1.7 billion into its money markets.
Gold jumps on safe-haven buying (FT)
On the chance that the system of fiat money as we know it unravels, there's always gold -- always jumping on days like these as a "save haven". In London it was up 2.2 percent to $779.40. Though gold is frequently described as safe in a time of crisis, in a morbid way, we'd kind of like to see how it all would work out, whereby paper money ends and the gold holders rule the world. The problem is that gold bugs tend to be just about the most obnoxious people on earth. I suspect that just to spite them, the masses, under the new regime would intentionally pick some other precious medal to be the 'gold standar" (say silver, just to make it easy), leaving gold bugs to whine some more on their blogs, and the John Birchers to send out more educational videos.
Temasek May Reap $1.5 Billion Gain From Merrill Lynch Takeover (Bloomberg)
We're still a little confused how Merrill managed to get a premium on what appeared to be a rushed sale (BTW: When we says 'we're confused' we mean that factually, a statement about The Opening Bell; it doesn't imply that the deal is illogical). Anyway, another surprising element here is that Temasek, the big Singapore fund (hey, did you know that Singapore used to be called Temasek? We didn't until our recent trip to S.E. Asia), is actually making money on the deal (assuming it closes somewhere near the headline price, which is no guarantee. By Bloomberg's calculation they stand to make $1.5 billion on the deal. So far, the US financial sector has just been a big money pit for their Asian saviors, so probably good that one isn't totally getting burned. They're probably surprised too.
Asian shares fall sharply on US concerns (AFP)
The title of this article should really be: 'Asian Markets: They're actually not down by that much.' You know, it's in the 1.5-2 percent range across the board, but we've seen some much crazier action in our morning checks than this, even on days when there's hardly any news at all. It's not uncommone to see the Asian markets fall 3-5 percent on given days, just on general "jitters" so the fact that there's all this, well, "stuff" going on, and they're not going crazy seems like a good thing. On the other hand, in the big ones, like Tokyo and Hong Kong, markets are closed for a public holiday, so who knows.


Bank meltdown wallops campaigns (Politico)
Even a day like this has a silver lining, if it gets the candidates to shut up for about five seconds. What we need, really, is an unending series of distractions (Olympics, paralympics, hurricans, bank failures, etc.) to take is straight through election day, so that there's really no room in the news cycle for election-related coverage. Let's see if these "walloping" of the two campaigns causes as much as a disruption as the death of Reagan did in 2004 -- then the campaigns paused ofr one day.
AIG looking at "options" for businesses, capital (AP)
As of 'send' time, no options arrived at for the big insurer. But look for something by tomorrow morning.
Pencils And Politics (Newsweek)
Huh. George Will (of all people) uses his latest column to channel the classic libertarian fable I, Pencil. For those of you not steeped in libertarian bedtime stories, it's the charming story explaining how nobody "knows" how to make a pencil -- just various people know how to make the various parts in the process. Anyway, spontaneous order and all that. Good stuff. Not exactly the kind of stuff that goes down to well on days like these.
Folks Who Brought You Slate Build a Business Site for the Facebook Set (NYT)
Welcome to the party! Btw, did you happen to bring any beer? Cause our keg's been empty for awhile, and everyone's too drink to drive to the store. What a day for Slate to launch The Big Money, its new financial news site helmed by our friend and veteran journalist James Ledbetter. We've seen the site, and it really is Slate for business -- not that hard to figure out really. Anyway, talk about a baptism by fire. We'll be checking in throughout the day to see how they're handling everything. We wish 'em luck.
Bye, Bye Lehman: It should have been saved. (The Big Money)
And here's their opening salvo, which came live just a second after we wrote the above paragraph. Kudos for taking a stand, advocating the uber-unpopular pro-bailout view: "So think about this: By declining to offer the kind of guarantees that would have made Lehman an acceptable risk for the likes of Barclays or Bank of America, the U.S. government has forced Lehman into bankruptcy--under which its assets will get bought for pennies on the dollar. It's hard to see how that is a better outcome than having Lehman bought for some low, $2-a-share price, as Bear initially was." There's a lot more.
Oil falls below $99 on low Ike damage (AP)
Jeez, nothing can save oil now. Not even the prospect of severe, emergency, dollar-deflating rate cuts.

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