Opening Bell: 02.12.09

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Bank of America, JPMorgan May Flee Bailout After Public Lashing (Bloomberg)
It's almost jaw dropping that given the circumstances elected officials would act with such irresponsibility. In truth, at this point, I hope the banks can manage to pay off the debt in the next 60 days and refuse to shore liquidity across the board - to anyone. For anything.
"Eight chief executive officers of the biggest U.S. banks heard lawmakers in Washington criticize their bonuses, underwriting fees and perks. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat, read questions from angry constituents asking what banks had done with taxpayer money they'd taken from the $700 billion TARP fund, and Rep. Michael Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat, said he "cannot believe no one has prosecuted you.""
In related news the FT touches on how the banks have agreed to put a hold on foreclosures for the next three or so weeks so as to give Congress the time to come up with a plan, which is much, much more generous than I would have been.
Houston Based Firm Under Investigation (Bloomberg)
10:1 says not a Ponzi: the money is either invested in coca fields or cross breeding humans and fish to fight Somali Pirates. Not sure how the latter makes money (yet).
Futures Down On Likelihood Of Shitty Retail Numbers (MarketWatch)
"We expect today's report to show that retail sales fell 0.4% in January, marking the seventh consecutive monthly decline and pushing the year-on-year growth rate to -10%," said economists from Barclays Capital. "This would easily be the fastest pace of decrease in the 40-year history of the data. Part of this fall reflects the sharp drop in inflation, particularly commodity prices, which have depressed gasoline sales. "
Bank Of China Not Bidding On AIG Unit (DJNewswire via CNN)
It looks like the either the FT story got it wrong, or the Chinese didn't appreciate the information being leaked - either way, the company is still for sale (and I'm willing to bet Bank Of China bids.)
GM In Talks With Red Empire About Private Bailout (Reuters)
It's almost comical that in todays push towards socialism China is stepping in to purchase a stake in our auto sector; I can't imagine what our elected's are going to say about the possibility of turning over a large part of the national defense clog to the Red Army (if anything).
Harvard Largely Bows Out Of The Market (WSJ)
"Harvard University's endowment, the largest in higher education, cut by two-thirds its direct holdings of publicly traded stocks and funds during the market plunge in last year's fourth quarter.
As of Dec. 31, Harvard Management Co., which oversees the endowment, held about 70 stocks and publicly traded funds that were valued at $571 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Three months before, the endowment held about 200 stocks and other vehicles valued at just under $2.9 billion."
Fortis Investors Challenge The Fates (Reuters)
The mighty shareholders of Fortis have cast a ballet against the state led/sponsored deal to mate Fortis and BNP:
"Faced with heavy losses and the prospect of a share of toxic assets, they first voted against the Netherlands' purchase of Fortis' Dutch assets by a 57 percent majority.
Then, by a wafer-thin 50.3 percent, they rejected Belgium's move to take control of banking unit Fortis Bank."


Hedge Funds Show Growth Despite Bad Economy (FINalternatives)
"The Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index, which fell by 12% last year, rose 0.5% last month, according to preliminary returns. Eight of the nine strategies tracked by Eureka rose in January, led by arbitrage funds at 2.3% and distressed debt at 1.7%. The only strategy index in the red last month was down 0.8%."

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