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Opening Bell: 9.17.08

Stock futures slip after U.S. government's AIG move (Marketwatch)
And this is the thanks the government gets. You hammer out a last minute deal to save the entire financial system, prevent it from melting down and guaranteeing our return to gold-based money and investors don't even appreciate it. Instead they sell off a little more. AIG is down a bit too, though not that much (per muted CNBC), a testament to how well the market seems to have priced things out in the end. Also according to muted CNBC (just going on the ticker at the bottom): Charlie Gasparino says Morgan Stanley is not in merger talks, but that there have been some discussions about whether it would be necessary (in theory). Also we just saw that General Mills, the cereal company, beat earnings. Again, that's straight from the tube to you.
Asian markets mixed after US bails out insurer AIG (AP)
Meanwhile, it's the same kind of mixed reaction in Asia.
HBOS, Lloyds TSB in Merger Talks (WSJ)
Groping for flotillas isn't limited to US financial concerns. Evidently UK mortgage giant HBOS and TSB and in pretty serious merger talks. The Journal (citing sources) says a deal could come within the hour. If it happens before we're done writing this, we'll try to make a note of it.
AIG CEO Willumstad to be replaced by ex-Allstate boss - WSJ (Marketwatch)
Getting the CEO nod weill evidently be ex-Allstate CEO Edward Liddy. Seeing as "The American Taxpayer" now owns 79.99999 percent of AIG, shouldn't the job go to some regular Joe. Perhaps they could hold a contest. But really, the guy could stand up and say stuff like "I don't know much about Wall Street, but I do know that I never spend more than I have in my account, and my only debt is my mortgage." That's just the kind of regular guy horse sense we need.
Russian Markets Halted as Emergency Funding Fails to Halt Rout (Bloomberg)
Kinda feel sorry for the Russians here... they're taking all the world news even worse than we are. Cheer up guys. Two days in a row Russian markets have been halted, following a 17 percent, then a 10 percent decline in stocks. The collapse in the energy markets is making things even worse for them. This leads us to a new theory of renewed Russian geopolitical aggression -- It's all about oil, but not in the way you think: Mainly they just want to start trouble, because commodities tend to spike during trouble. They don't care about what they own, or what's in the borders. It's just about inducing the kind of chaos that typically might lead to an oil price rise.

Samsung makes $5.85 billion bid for SanDisk (MarketWatch)
Another deal that will get absolutely zero media attention.... Samsung has made a $5.85 billion offer for Sandisk, the maker of those little memory cards you stick in cameras and certain cell phones. And though it represents a mammoth premium, Sandisk has said no. But really, it's hard to see them getting out of this, given how much they'd be walking away from. The one possibility is if they have another offer lined up (Toshiba is the big name being thrown out there), in which case they're just waiting for a bidding war to emerge. Either way, it looks like Sic Transit Sandisk fairly soon. You care so much.
The Paulson Doctrine: An Uncertain Prescriptive for Uncertain Times (Information Arbitrage)
Both Obama and McCain need to be asked their views on the Paulson Doctrine of financial bailouts. Not there's one answer or anything or that this is a phrase. But it would be a Rorschach test to see what they could come up with and to see how well they've been paying attention things, which would be a worthwhile exercise, no doubt.
Turmoil presents opening for Obama (FT)
Does it? We're not so sure. Ok, it might be able to present an opening, but whether he can crawl through it is another manner. McCain has done a great job of separating himself from Bush (he's just not Bush III). So laying all this at his feat will be tough. Still, as we've suggested elsewhere, Obama should really pound on his comments about Wall St. 'breaking the social contract between capitalism and the people' which is such a pile of untramelled gobbldygook, that it really is begging for someone to take him to the cleaners over it.