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Opening Bell: 12.19.08

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Dimon And Rubin To Skip Bonus Season (Reuters)
Rubin's opted out of even requesting a bonus, but (and this may come as a shocker) Pandit hasn't. If public outrage over compensation structure is at a two right now, we can fully expect to see that bitch lit up if Pandit elects into a bonus structure on the heels of $306B.
Dimon opted out, which really makes me lift brows. J.P. Morgan is one of the few banks that has made it through the past 6/12 months in decent financial shape, yet the head bows out of something he rightfully deserves for keeping things solid. So here's the question: is Dimon bowing out of his bonus because of public sentiment and the need to do right, or is he bowing out because in days of future passed the bank is going to face some hard times? Could J.P. Morgan be sitting on some assets that, when they go bad, people will question why in the hell Dimon took his bonus if he knew this was coming?
Deutsche Bank Faces Strike Over Refusal To Pay Bond (FT)
DB (the other DB) has recently come forward to say that they are not going to pay $1.42B bond that's due in January, which has people shocked and pissed. Strikes are looming.
Possible Survival Loans For Auto Industry (Bloomberg)
So, we're talking what? About $16B (realistically)? Here's an objection to that: even if you can stay above water for the next 14 weeks, you're fucked after that. Chrysler is paying its workers while its shut down is extended, because the UAW contracts stipulate that it does so - which is such a ridiculous inefficiency I think it caused one of my ears to start bleeding.
White House Doesn't Rule Out Bankruptcy (NYT)
We've done this before, you know where I stand. Tear it down, build it back up: pensions, UAW, and management all go.
To the point in the article that a bankruptcy would kill sales: it would. That's why this should be sold as a restructuring, with the full faith and credit (what's left) of the US government behind it. It's important to note though, that can only happen after the UAW is out - if the UAW knows that the government can and will support the car companies ad infinitum, then there's no hope of a net positive balance sheet.
GE's Outlook Lowered By S&P (Reuters)
S&P should have its dead corpse dragged behind an automobile. I'll leave it at that.
You Bastards: The Man Was Just Trying To Help (CNBC)
What's the world coming to when a guy can't tell his wife who tells another guy (or 20) about something coming down the pipe? People have yachts to buy here people. This is just dumb.
Japan Cuts Key Rate (FT)
Not to be outdone, Japan lowered its overnight rate to .1%. Other moves by the JFED:
"The BoJ also moved to increase its outright buying of Japanese government bonds to Y1,400bn ($15.7bn) a month from Y1,200bn. The central bank will also add floating-rate, inflation-linked and 30-year bonds to its buying operations, and will also temporarily buy commercial paper outright."

Italian Bovine Czar Sentenced To Prison (NYT)
Parmalat's founder and CEO was sentenced to prison overnight for his involvement in "market rigging and other charges" (one can only wonder).
I know you don't give a shit about cows, here's the good part: "Seven other people, including three former Bank of America employees, were acquitted."
After a little research, we come to an article at the BBC where we see that this little conspiracy to take down the mega moo that is Parmalat doesn't stop with BofA:
"Other financial institutions facing legal action from Parmalat include UBS, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse First Boston."
My God: what in the hell is happening in the Italian Dairy market that we don't know about?
--William Richards