Opening Bell: 11.19.08

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Big Three CEOs Flew Private Jets to Plead for Public Funds (ABC)
If only they were based in New York, I'd love to see Andy Cuomo blow a gasket over this one.
Top Traders Still Expect The Cash (WSJ)
Wall St. has been a culture of BSD for at least the last 20 years and if traders, managers, and bankers have anything to do with it, it will stay that way. Unfortunately, in this climate, we're being hunted: so intuition would tell you to shut the hell up. So, what's the call?
If I have a vote, I say we fight the bastards until we're all either dead or in jail - but I have that "Hunter S. Thompson" streak in me.
Notable excerpt from the article:
"The year's three hottest trading areas -- commodities, currencies and interest rates -- generally are housed within banks' fixed-income trading divisions, which also typically include the hard-hit mortgage-trading and credit-derivative products. That is dragging down potential compensation for even the best performers."
Citi Liquidating Corporate Special Opportunities Fund (FT)
I'll keep this short, because FT wraps it up nicely:
"The fund faltered even though Citi supplied it with $450m in credit lines and equity infusions of about $320m. It also bought assets with a notional value of $1bn that it placed in the fund."
If we took the old "Chuck Norris" adages and could somehow find the opposite of them, I think we'd get Vikram Pandit adages. And I would love them.
CNBC Guilty Of Fear Mongering (CNBC)
Deferred Compensation is a perfect example of an Institution offering a value added service through structure. Basically, they just take part of your pay and hold on to it (generally paying interest, which compounds) - when you separate from the company (&v retire) you get the money back. It's simple: it doesn't look anything like a bonus, it doesn't smell like a bonus, and A.G. Cuomo probably won't investigate it like a bonus (though I'm not promising he won't bitch about it like a bonus).
But to CNBC, it's a Payout. Good job, CNBC. We should call salaries "capital distributions" and stock options "shareholder investment payouts".
Japanese Banks In Need Of Capital (Reuters)
Japan's leading banks are looking for capital infusions as the slow down works its way across financial markets. We all knew that ripple effects were coming. The initial shock is always a fun shit show, but much like an earthquake you can't really tell all the damage that's done until after the tremors stop - small forces can kill buildings and empires after being so thoroughly violated.
Look for the Banks to issue preffereds (and a possible pac-man for Morgan?).
CPI And Housing Starts At 8:30 (Bloomberg)
We're going to see the CPI fall and Housing Starts are going to be down (of course) but the market should have all of this priced in.
GE Capital Cutting $2B In Costs (FT)
GE is actually looking forward, restructuring its Financial unit (are you paying attention GM?) so as to account for the rising cost of credit and to face potential liquidity issues in the future.
In the move we're likely to see layoffs and the sale of roughly $90B in "highly leveraged assets". Also mentioned was a cut in exposure to GE's bottom line:
"Jeffrey Immelt, GE's chief executive, has pledged to cut the finance arm's contribution to profits from about 50 per cent to 40 per cent."
--William Richards

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