Opening Bell: 02.11.09

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CEOs To Sit For Congress Today (Reuters)
Today, if and when you're watching CSPAN/CNBC, you're going to be privy to the worst of America: petty for the sake of populism. I think we can expect the top questions to revolve around: conferences, office redecoration, and the all mighty bonus. So sayeth Lewis:
""Taxpayers want us to manage our expenses carefully, and provide transparency about how we are putting their money to work to restart the economy," Bank of America Corp CEO Kenneth Lewis says in his prepared remarks. "These expectations are appropriate and we are working to meet them."
Toward that end, Lewis says, he and other top bank managers went without bonuses for 2008, while less-senior executives had their 2008 incentive payments cut by an average of 80 percent."
Credit Suisse 4Q Loss: $5.2B (NYT)
Credit Suisse had a marginally better quarter than their we're-not-giving-up counterpart UBS at down $5.2B, saying it was related to "poor trading and restructuring charges."
"Shares in Credit Suisse were down 5.5 percent at 29.14 francs at 0831 GMT, while UBS shares, which gained strongly on Tuesday, rose 0.2 percent to 13.64 francs, compared with a 1.7 percent weaker DJ Stoxx European banking index."
Nadel Seeks Bail In New York (FINalternatives)
Former Florida fugitive Nadel will seek bail in New York on charges related to his (allegedly) defrauding investors and after playing hide-and-seek for a couple of weeks with authorities. The Florida judge seems to be drawing a distinction here between Madoff and Nadel, as one peacefully turned himself in and the other did his best Harrison Ford:
"U.S. District Judge Mark Pizzo in Tampa, Fla., rejected Nadel's bid for freedom earlier this month, noting that he was unable to put up a significant bond and that "there is a quantifiable risk and simple house arrest with electronic monitoring doesn't resolve the matter."
There Seems To Be A Problem With Consensus (Reuters)
There's standing debate over whether Geithner actually said anything at all yesterday, and this seems to further the idea that if he did: no one understood it. Simply put, at the Times we see the headline: Bailout Plan: $2.5 Trillion and a Strong U.S. Hand, while at Reuters (above) we see: U.S. offers $2 trillion bank plan but stocks slump. And then there's this.
You decide.


Wal-Mart Pushes In To Chicago (WSJ)
"Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mounting a new push to expand in Chicago, hoping that its promises of jobs and sales-tax dollars will prove more tempting in the recession than when city leaders first rebuffed the discount chain earlier this decade.
The world's largest retailer, which so far has been able to build only one store in the nation's third-largest city, hopes to open a half-dozen more in the coming years, according to the company and politicians familiar with its plans. It has been heavily courting Chicago leaders and is studying a dozen potential sites."
Fortis Shareholders Meet On Breakup (Reuters)
"Shareholders of Fortis (FOR.BR) will give their verdict on Wednesday on the state-led deals that carved up their stricken financial group and left them with huge losses and a share of toxic assets.
The largest shareholder, Chinese insurance company Ping An (601318.SS), has already said it plans to oppose the deals with its 4.99 percent stake. Shareholder groups argue their members could swell the "no" vote to a decisive 15 percent.
[...]
Analysts are divided on whether that would be good or bad for BNP, which paid for much of the deal in its shares, which were valued at 68 euros then, compared with 28.40 euros at Tuesday's close."
Morgan Stanley Names Kindler Head Of Mergers And Acquisitions (Bloomberg)
"Morgan Stanley named Robert Kindler global head of mergers and acquisitions following the death of Gavin MacDonald in December.
Kindler will be based in New York and continue in his role as vice chairman, the bank said in a memo to employees yesterday."

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