Opening Bell: 01.06.09

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Prosecutors Urge Judge To Jail Madoff (FT)
Prosecutors are still calling for the revocation of Madoff's bail, after he was caught turning over roughly a million dollars worth of family heirlooms to his children including jewelry, watches, and pens. Madoff's attorney responded that there wasn't actually any intent to violate the terms it's just that his client is a dumbass. The "no intent" to violate the law defense should be taken seriously: it could come in handy during any number of post weekend-drug-binge scenarios.
Also mentioned: claim forms and $830MM found at Madoff's fund.
Thundering Herd Leader Leaves (Bloomberg)
Bob McCann has decided to separate from Merrill Lynch not even a week after the close of the Bank of America deal.
"McCann, 50, a 26-year veteran of New York-based Merrill, was head of the brokerage unit since 2003. He announced his departure yesterday in an internal memo from John Thain, head of Bank of America's investment-banking and wealth-management business. Spokeswoman Selena Morris confirmed the memo."
Ex-Goldman Chief Closes $1B Hedge Fund (FINalternatives)
"One of the first casualties of 2009 is JD Capital Management's $1 billion Tempo Master Fund. Firm founder J. David Rogers, the former Goldman Sachs equity derivatives co-chief, (sic) announced that the fund would be liquidated after suffering big losses last year.
Rogers said the fund was exposed to the "more troubled" parts of the market; the fund lost more than 40% last year."
Morgan Stanley Loses Ground On M&A's (Bloomberg)
"Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. were the world's top three advisers on mergers and acquisitions in 2008, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The three New York-based firms advised on $1.8 trillion of takeovers in all, a 44 percent decline from the previous year's total of $3.2 trillion. Morgan Stanley dropped three places from second spot, working on bids worth 61 percent less than in 2007."


Automaker's Numbers (WSJ)
"For the month, sales of cars and light trucks fell 36% to 896,124 vehicles, according to Autodata Corp, a Woodcliff Lake, N.J., research firm. That is an improvement over both November and October; still, it was the fourth month in a row that sales failed to exceed one million vehicles."
"For the full year, U.S. auto sales declined 18% to 13.24 million vehicles -- the lowest total since 1992, Autodata said."
An 18% decline in sales shouldn't have so thoroughly rocked the industry, which is a testament to the fundamental instability inherent in the current operating model. The humor in the failure of our automotive sector is trumped though by the fact that Subaru is showing promising numbers over the same period: truly ugly cars making a difference in American's lives. Well done, Subaru, well done. Toyota, however, is closing its doors for 11 days in February and March:
"Toyota does not disclose the number of vehicles affected by production stoppages. Together, the four Japanese assembly plants built an average 130,000 vehicles a month in 2007, according to latest available data. Toyota plans to turn the 11 days in February and March into paid company holiday, a spokesman said."
--William Richards

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