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Opening Bell: 01.29.09

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Ford Reports 4th Quarter 2008 Net Loss of $5.9 Billion (PRNewswire)
"Net loss of $5.9 billion, or $2.46 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2008 amid a sharp global decline in vehicle demand; pre-tax loss of $3.7 billion from continuing operations, excluding special items."
JPMorgan Exited Madoff-Linked Funds Last Fall (NYT)
The House of Dimon began pulling the millions of its own money it'd invested in the Ponz. Master in 2006 this fall, after "a wide-ranging review of our hedge fund exposure," when JPM "became concerned about the lack of transparency to some questions we posed as part of our review." Good call! Except now some investors who'd been advised to put money with Madoff are pissed they weren't told to get out too, before, you know, losing everything. So that's kind of awk.

Merrill Bonus Case Widens as Deal Struggles

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is expanding the scope of his investigation into bonuses paid by Merrill Lynch, with the inquiry now likely to include whether directors and shareholders were misled about giant losses at the Wall Street firm, a person familiar with the situation said.
Mr. Cuomo plans to press John Thain, the former Merrill chairman and chief executive who was forced to resign last week from Bank of America Corp., on what he told Merrill directors about ballooning losses in mid-December, this person said.
In addition, Mr. Cuomo wants to know why the Charlotte, N.C., bank didn't publicly disclose that Merrill's condition was deteriorating. BofA Chairman and CEO Kenneth Lewis is likely to face questions from Mr. Cuomo about bonus payouts by Merrill, including what he told directors about them, according to this person.
The investigation is at an early stage, but Mr. Cuomo's office is examining potential remedies such as trying to recover bonuses already paid, fines or alleging securities-law violations, the person familiar with the investigation said.

Weill Pitches In (NYP)
Citi is shouting from the rooftops/cockpit of the Dassault Falcon 7X that former CEO Sandy Weill has agreed to give up the perks of his retirement package, which include, among other things, a car and driver, plus use of the company's jets, and an office in the General Motors building, which Citi was paying for.