Opening Bell: 02.18.09

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Bomb Defused Outside Citi HQ In Greece (DJNewswire)
So far they're considering it part of a movement by Greek anarchists to unsettle the banking system there: "Police in Athens on Wednesday defused a "powerful" makeshift time bomb outside the Greek headquarters of Citigroup Inc. (C), a police source said.
The bomb, consisting of a clock and explosives packed in gas cylinders, was hidden in the rear of a stolen car parked outside the Citibank building in the northern suburb of Kifissia."
President Obama Set To Unveil Mortgage Plan Today (Reuters)
The lasting effects of this are debatable; on one had we have pure capitalism that allows for people to lose their houses, kill their credit, and ultimately (probably) end up on some social welfare system. On the other, we have a (what could be) a plan to write down mortgages to some more reasonable level, but it's unclear who would benefit directly from the write-downs. The line in the Reuters article "The aim is to bring mortgage payments to a more affordable range of around 31 percent of borrowers' incomes" is a bit terrifying: if they look to mark houses as a percentage of current occupants' incomes they'll only distort home prices to such a point that any valuations will become completely worthless.
Fun with simple math: As is, the plan (speculatively) calls for $50B in aide to mortgage borrowers. Assuming an adjustment in the neighborhood of $25,000 per house (plus $15,000 in fees/concessions to banks), we come to $40,000 per house over some period of time - which is essentially enough to modify 1.25MM homes.
The Attorney Did It (Bloomberg)
In an almost comical move, the attorney for Stanford disaffirmed everything he had told investigators, effectively withdrawing. Hint for future attorneys/fraudsters: stick to your guns. Whenever possible, follow the sagely advice of HST: "Make the bastard chase you. He will follow."
Peter Henning, the expert du jour from Detroit's Wayne Law School had this to say:
"The attorney's withdrawal is a massive red flag" that "screams fraud, If the SEC hadn't turned up the heat by that point, it did then."
Something Like $6 or $12 or $14B. Wait, No, Definitely $14B (NYT)
The car bitches are back asking for more green with GM pushing this round to $14B in aide; I'm a fan of letting Nissan's "trunk monkey" sodomize the entire lot at this point. In return for the money, GM and Chrysler cowered like 8 year olds promising to clean their room.
Immelt Waives $12MM Bonus (FT)
"Jeff Immelt has waived his right to collect bonus and performance-based pay that would have netted the chief executive more than $12m in cash, people familiar with the company's plans said.
The decision, approved by GE's board this month, comes as Mr Immelt confronts a deepening recession that has crimped earnings and prompted its retreat from financial services, which had served as a profit engine for two decades."


Former Morgan Stanley VP Accused Of Embezzlement (AP)
"A former Morgan Stanley vice president has been arrested on charges of embezzling more than $2.5 million from the investment bank. Richard Garaventa Jr., of Manalapan, N.J., pleaded not guilty Tuesday at his arraignment in Manhattan's state Supreme Court on grand larceny and other counts. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted"

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