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Opening Bell: 11.18.08

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Reid Calls For $25B In Banking Money For Auto Sector (DJNews)
Harry Reid et al introduced a bill to the floor Monday night calling for $25B from the Baking package. Apparently the American public are as attentive as dogs, simply looking wherever people snap - makes it easy to "accomplish" things that way.
"The bill, to be introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Monday evening, would provide $25 billion in low-cost loans to General Motors Corp. (GM), Ford Motor Co. (F) and Chrysler LLC."
Dutch Insurance Company Aegon Positioning For Bailout Money (Reuters)
The company is looking to purchase a Maryland based Savings and Thrift so as to qualify for US TARP money - it looks like they'll be seeking anywhere between $1.25B and $4.75B.
Yesterday, we saw Hartford doing essentially the same with an S&L, but this move is markedly different; it's not a U.S. Entity. While it's true that Aegon holds Transamerica Insurance - the company itself isn't based in the United States - which raises the all mighty question: what the hell?
Let's expound upon that a little bit - what if a flood of Iranian banks started buying Thrifts and applying for money? Who do we let raid the taxpayer vault?
Ford Drop-Kicks Mazda's Ass Out The Door (FT)
Ford is selling the majority of its holdings (20%/33.4%) in Mazda for $540MM in an attempt to stay alive long enough for Government money.
"Ironically, Ford had succeeded in making Mazda profitable even as its own business struggled."
UAW Weakens Its Grip On Washington (NYT)
The United Autoworkers Union has long held a firm grip on the policy makers in the East, but it looks as though their influence may be waning. I'm of the opinion that we're the chief culprits in this: next to us they look like children. The Time seems to agree - in part - but also cites long standing feuds with the Senate, and poor leadership.
Also touched on was the "Jobs Bank at G.M." which (via UAW) assured that all workers that were laid off from their auto jobs had full pay until they could find other employment.
Yang To Step Down As Yahoo CEO (DJNews)
Yang is stepping down after failed talks with Microsoft, having been with the company since its founding. Yahoo, for those of you who came to the interwebs post Google, was one of the first fully functional search engines. I don't remember anything before Yahoo, except books, which you can now get on Google.
M.B.A.s Veer Off Path to Big Finance Jobs (WSJ)
Synopsis: The majority of grads are seeking employment outside of IB, as they're scared the structure is disintegrating. For those staying in the field, they'll be seeking employment at Boutique and Middle Market houses. The big winners of the purge are going to be Technology and Consulting, who are going to pick up better grads than previously thought possible - as the job everyone really wants is going to be under water for ~5 years.
Paulson's Fund Buys Troubled MBS (FT
Paulson, seeing that the MBS market is depressed, has moved to purchase the undervalued securities and could stand to make a tidy sum off them.
I've always been a fan of the adage: "when there's blood in the streets, buy real estate."
At Least One Citi Employee Will Be Okay (NYDN)
"Drug dealing on craigslist has become so rampant that the city's special narcotics prosecutor has asked the online trading post to curb the ads, the Daily News has learned.
Bridget Brennan's undercover investigators have bought drugs offered on craigslist personals from dealers ranging from a Citigroup banker to an Ivy Leaguer to a violent felon using a halfway house computer. In the past four years, her office has prosecuted dozens of dealers."
--William Richards


Opening Bell: 05.08.12

When Facebook Met Wall Street (WSJ) On Monday, investors piled into the hotel to hear what Mr. Zuckerberg and his lieutenants had to say about the offering. At one point, the line, leading to a second-floor ballroom where the meeting was scheduled to be held at 11:45 a.m., stretched down to the first floor and spilled out of the hotel for nearly half a city block. At least one investor waiting in line said he didn't expect anything to be revealed that wasn't already in Facebook's securities filings. Rather, he was there to take in the show, and lunch (which was Cobb salad and grilled chicken). A 30-minute video about Facebook, which had been widely distributed before Monday, led the lunch, according to attendees. The next part of the presentation was briefly delayed by Mr. Zuckerberg's absence. The CEO was in the bathroom, explained Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman to attendees. (Mr. Ebersman wore a navy suit.) Yahoo CEO Apologizes in Memo, Board Meets (Reuters, earlier) Yahoo Inc's board convened on Monday afternoon to discuss the mounting upset surrounding Chief Executive Scott Thompson, who has apologized to employees after being accused last week by activist investor Daniel Loeb of padding his resume, a source with knowledge of the matter said..."I want you to know how deeply I regret how this issue has affected the company and all of you," Thompson wrote in his first extended memo to employees since the disclosures emerged on May 3. "We have all been working very hard to move the company forward and this has had the opposite effect. For that, I take full responsibility, and I want to apologize to you." Billion-Dollar Traders Quit Wall Street For Hedge Funds (Bloomberg) Wall Street’s biggest banks have lost almost two dozen of their most-profitable credit traders in the past 13 months as regulators limit the kind of risk-taking that amplified the housing crisis four years ago. As banks slash or defer pay and reduce the amount they’re willing to wager, the traders are seeing better opportunities at hedge funds and investment firms that seek to profit in markets lenders are retreating from. Wall Street Banks Depressed In Secular Shift (Bloomberg) To Kevin Conn, who has been analyzing bank stocks for 15 years, the investment climate for Wall Street’s biggest firms has entered the realm of science fiction. “It’s like that Ray Bradbury short story where it rains for months in a row,” said Conn, who works for Massachusetts Financial Services Co., referring to “The Long Rain,” published in 1950. “It’s one of these terrifically depressing short stories where the weather just never changes.” Spain To Spend Billions On Bank Rescue (FT) Spain is planning a state bail-out of Bankia, the country’s third biggest bank by assets, in a move likely to involve the injection of billions of euros of public money into the troubled lender. In an abrupt reversal of policy, the Spanish government, which had previously insisted that no additional state money would be needed to clean up the country’s banking sector, confirmed that an intervention was being prepared. OWS Mom Snubs Plea (NYP) Occupy Wall Street protester Stacey Hessler, 39, arrested in November for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, yesterday refused an offer to have her charges dismissed and will instead face a trial...Hessler had originally planned to accept the judge’s offer of an adjournment contemplating dismissal, which erases the charge if the defendant stays out of trouble for six months, but later changed her mind, her attorney said. SEC Orders Probe Of Watchdog Office (WSJ) The Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered an independent inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct by current and former staff working for its office of the inspector general, according to a person familiar with the matter. The complaint includes allegations that the misconduct compromised certain investigations of the SEC, according to the person familiar with the situation. Apollo's Profit More Than Doubles (WSJ) For the first quarter, Apollo reported a profit of $98 million, or 66 cents a share, up from a year-earlier profit of $38.2 million, or 33 cents a share. Economic net income rose to $1.10 from 99 cents a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected 78 cents a share...Total revenue rose 12% to $776.7 million, far better than the $547 million expected by analysts. Bank of America Offers Principal Reductions to 200,000 Homeowners (CNBC) “If people get these things and toss them, they won’t be eligible,” says Ron Sturzenegger, the Bank of America executive charged with providing solutions to borrowers in need of mortgage assistance. But the offer is real, and eligible borrowers could get as much as $150,000 knocked off the balance of their mortgages. It is all part of the $25 billion settlement reached this year between federal and state agencies and the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers over fraudulent foreclosure document processing (so-called “robo-signing”). No Repeating Slowdown Seen by U.S. With Banks to Housing (Bloomberg) Rising auto sales, improving bank credit and stabilization of housing are among the signs the economy is more resilient now than it was around the same time in 2010 and 2011, according to Marisa Di Natale, an economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “From where we sit right now, we think the economy looks fundamentally stronger,” Di Natale said. “Surveys of business and consumer confidence are better, the labor market data looks a lot better than it did last year, even some of the housing data looks better.” Ex-Tyco CFO: Gimme the $ I didn’t steal! (Reuters) Former Tyco International Chief Financial Officer Mark Swartz, who is serving a prison sentence for looting the company, has sued for $60 million in retirement and other money he says he is owed. The lawsuit, which was made public yesterday, accuses Tyco of breach of contract and unjust enrichment for not paying him some $48 million from an executive retirement agreement, $9 million in reimbursement for New York taxes, and other money. Winner Of Mexican Presidential Debate? Julia Orayen (AP) Who won Mexico's presidential debate? According to the media and Twitter frenzy, at least, the victor wasn't any candidate but a curvaceous model in a tight gown who puzzled millions by appearing on stage for less than 30 seconds during the showdown. Julia Orayen has posed nude for Playboy and appeared barely dressed in other media, but she made her mark on Mexican minds Sunday night by carrying an urn filled with bits of paper determining the order that candidates would speak. She wore a tight, white dress with a wide, tear-drop cutout that revealed her ample decolletage. The image was splashed across newspaper front pages and websites by Monday. "The best was the girl in white with the cleavage at the beginning," tweeted former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda, who is also a New York University professor...Alfredo Figueroa, director of the Federal Electoral Institute responsible for organizing the debate, blamed the incident on a production associate hired by the institute to help with the debate. The institute later issued an apology to Mexican citizens and the candidates for the woman's dress.